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678842 No. 678842 ID: dd338c

I always thought those border lines on maps were arbitrary.

Wiki/Thread List: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest
Inventory and References: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Lagotrope

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>>
No. 678843 ID: dd338c
File 144557121196.png - (59.98KB , 800x800 , 132.png )
678843

And that my brother was just on some mind altering mushrooms when he talked about how standing on a border felt like you were standing on earth you were never supposed to be on, and that the reason why no kobold empire could ever take over the western lands isn't because of a lack of power, but because all the earth outside of the familiar world is like this. It would drive an army insane after weeks.

I can see why. I feel a vague sense of unknown danger and displacement. That doesn't matter, though. I'm at the border, meaning I've reached the empire's lands.

What really made me gawk when I reached the clearing, though, are these plants! They look dead, but they're a good treat back home when we trade with the north, and now, I'm looking at an endless field of them. I've never seen so much food before. Neither these crops nor the trees appear to grow across the border. I know these crops would be valuable to barbarians, even the ones close to the border that I had to evade. I just don't know what to think; not just could I reach over and grab as many as I could carry, but the ones right along the fence are still untouched.

I wouldn't even need to cross the fence, but it doesn't look like it could keep anything out. They reach just a bit below my neck, but I still can't see too far, as it looks like the hills here constantly roll up and down.

I don't see any paths, but I don't have high ground either.

Although I'm low on food currently, it hasn't been difficult to find more. My archery has improved, and I wouldn't be allowed to forget my tracking. That may not be useful, though, past the fence.

..... also, the sky is blue over there.
>>
No. 678844 ID: 5ad4a7

>>678843
Don't steal crops. Keep moving. Maybe see if you can find signs of whoever owns the crops, perhaps you can buy some.
>>
No. 678845 ID: 211d83

That fence was built to contain those fields. Lots of work goes into farming food at that scale and I bet they do not look kindly on strange forest folk pilfering stuff. Look around for watch towers and I bet you will notice someone keeping a eye on things in the distance.

This much food is needed when you stuff a ton of people into a small area. Just imagine how bad hunting would get if you had a tribe ten times the size in your forest. You would have to learn to grow food like this, break up the tribe, or starve.

Past here you will be out of the endless forest. So hunting might not be possible shortly. Keep a eye out for anything new. There will be people living nearby these fields you can get directions from. Do not cross the fence but keep going around it until you find a trail through.
>>
No. 678847 ID: 025c3c

>I just don't know what to think; not just could I reach over and grab as many as I could carry, but the ones right along the fence are still untouched.
They're untouched because stealing has consequences. This place has laws, and it enforces them. No need to cross that, or set the locals against you by making yourself a criminal.

>actual line of color transition in the sky
Huh. Yeah, that's different. The border is literal. (I wonder if the color shift is due to some kind of nationalist boundary magic set up, or if this world is made up of a bunch of different places that were stitched together).
>>
No. 678851 ID: bb78f2

>>678843
Be careful, you're out in owned territory now. Who knows, they might have anti-hunting laws on these owned lands, at least without the permission of the owner. These people sell everything, that means they probably sell things like land rights and whoever can hunt on specific territory, and territory disputes are settled with money instead of war, except when it is also handled with war, because that happens too.

Get to civilization fast, set that pace to grueling and rations to minuscule. I hope you have valuables and items to trade for currency! You better have made good use out of every animal you've hunted yet!
>>
No. 678864 ID: 225f37

Yeah, the fact that even the SKY is divided means that there is some pretty literal boundries happening right here. Almost certainly magic.
>>
No. 678911 ID: 7d828f

All this might seem strange at first but think about what you would do if you had this much food. You would have it guarded so your rivals could not steal it. So someone is watching over this stuff.

As for the sky you will have to ask around later on.

I would avoid tromping on someones food so maybe climb a tree to get a better view of things? That or follow this fence for awhile until you find a path around.
>>
No. 679146 ID: dd338c
File 144573291048.png - (20.71KB , 800x800 , 133.png )
679146

>Someone is guarding it
That's what I would think, but I just don't see anyone. It's possible there are hidden detectors, though. I know the population of the north is staggering, but I can't imagine them having enough guards to look over the whole field at once.

>Border is literal
I don't know much about these few feet of dead stretches, but I know that when a greater beast dies, not just does a new kind of kobold come from its corpse, but its magic influences the land around it. So, each region is divided into segments of where a greater beasts' influence is cut off and another begins.

It affects people who grow up, too. For instance, my mom spent a little bit of her childhood at where the dragon died, and that's why she has just a few more spikes than most of the rest of us.

I climb a tree to get a better look. It's just rolling hills and food for as far as I can see, except for a couple of guard towers that seem too far apart to guard the crops effectively. I do see a sign though and a slight break in the crops, and that my be the path I take.
>>
No. 679147 ID: dd338c
File 144573292038.png - (32.63KB , 800x800 , 134.png )
679147

I traverse the border to get a better look at the sign. It warns barbarians about stealing crops, but it looks like there's something tied below it. I go onto the path to get a closer look.
>>
No. 679148 ID: dd338c
File 144573298761.png - (40.00KB , 800x800 , 135.png )
679148

Oh! What?! Zizi didn't tell me the empire did things like this to thieves! Or, at least, he really underplayed this! I wasn't planning on stealing anything, but that's too much!

I know that there's a lot more tension between barbarians and empires along the border, than there is for central barbarians like myself and more inland imperials. I shouldn't be too surprised, but still, we don't even kill other tribesmen often, let alone disrespect their dead like this.
>>
No. 679149 ID: dd338c
File 144573311770.png - (31.24KB , 800x800 , 136.png )
679149

I keep moving. If decency wasn't enough to keep me from stealing, then that was. And if not for that, this place would look peaceable.

My quick pace brings me to a house on the side when it's still midday. I don't think I need to stop, but maybe I could ask for information. Zizi always said that speaking with strangers in the empire was a lot more acceptable than speaking to different tribes.
>>
No. 679150 ID: 12b273

>dunno how they watch the whole trail
>war dogs
Scent, maybe? Guard dogs patrolling the area, and they can tell is a person-scent leaves the trail, and if a food-scent goes with them.

That or maybe some kind of warding magic, but so far this seems like a low (practical) magic setting. It's stuff in the background and above your head (literally, in both cases, with the sky-border), not cantrips people throw around.

>speak to them?
Well, you might as well get practiced to speaking with Empire-folks. If things go badly, at least these guys are out in the middle of nowhere and you plan you put them behind you.
>>
No. 679153 ID: 5ad4a7

>>679149
Why not. Ask if you can buy rations from them. If not, do they know anywhere nearby that you can?
>>
No. 679154 ID: 90f3c0

Living this close to the border, the locals are probably used to barbarians stealing their crops. They will likely meet you with hostility, it might be best just to move on.
>>
No. 679155 ID: 211d83

Life is cheaper when you have more people around.

Remember how Lily's father was made a noble for developing some farming magic? They could have a low level noble wizard who just keeps a eye on the crops around here. That or its mostly unguarded and the bodies they leave out have taught the local barbarians to be wary.

Anyways go over and knock on the door. Be polite and ask for directions. If they ask say you are traveling inland to join the army. Say that some of lord Shups elite guards took a liking to you and you want to use the training they gave you to start a career.

Also ask if hunting is allowed in these parts and what the best way to resupply is. Don't let anyone see how much money you have by the way. You should keep most of it in a separate hidden pouch and only keep like one coin somewhere you can get to it. Might be a good idea to start wearing Lily's gift as well. Will show people you are not just some random out of the woods tribal. Cept if it backfires cause they think you stole it.
>>
No. 679533 ID: dd338c
File 144590454707.png - (82.79KB , 800x800 , 137.png )
679533

The more I think about it, the more it would make sense that a high level wizard is around here. If these crops are so important to the empire's population, then it would make sense that the best wizards, at least for guarding crops, would be put where the most guarding is needed.

I'll go to the house. As soon as I walk off the path, though, I hear some rustling in the crops.
>>
No. 679535 ID: dd338c
File 144590464342.png - (64.80KB , 800x800 , 138.png )
679535

A girl, shorter than the crops, nearly runs through the fence.

>"Whoa whoa whoa? Where do you think you're going? Can you read? Of course you can't, you savage, that's why we put up corpses! Did you not see those? Did you, and they turned out to be your enemy tribe and so you just thought hey, enemy of my enemy is my friend, so just trot your claws right in and make yourself at home, in the nearest home? Do we need to string you up there before it sinks in?"
"I'm sorry, but I-"
>"Get your sorry leaking mouth back onto the path and keep on walking on the path, greenie!" She starts right up again, talking faster the more she goes on. "You think we like having corpses up there? Our workers gotta harvest the whole country doing their job, and just duck under the festering corpses, don't mind the arm falling off, don't mind the smell, cause if they scooch on and ignore that little bit of crops under the corpses, poor little Lulu off in Erja Nokol will just have to go hungry tonight! And those poor dead bastards up on the string, I bet my socks they were useless, scale covered parasites in life, but here you are, not even giving them a chance to be useful as corpse warnings! Who do you think has to throw up new ones? You think Ol' Yahtli likes lugging some idiot barbarian what got himself slain up and down hill after hill and leave him hanging? He had dreams, now he's a glorified gravekeeper minus the grave and keeper! Maybe our monster neighbors would like his job, but we're civilized here!"

She sucks in a sharp breath, and I don't know if that means she's just going to keep going or let me go.
>>
No. 679536 ID: 5ad4a7

>>679535
"Are you done?"

Then, say hello. Ask for directions or something.
>>
No. 679537 ID: 12b273

>>679535
...I had only meant to exchange words with you, but I do not think I have ever heard so many spoken in such quick succession.
>>
No. 679538 ID: 211d83

I can actually read you know. I just wanted to ask for some directions to the capitol.

Blindly following the path after the corpse thing seemed like a bad idea.
>>
No. 679539 ID: bb78f2

>>679535
Hi, what's you're name? I'm Fen. I just want to join the army in this country, see if I can't make a name for myself in your lands. I must have skipped all those corpses you were talking about since I just came out of the woods.

I have to say though, corpses don't sound very civilized, and they sound like they'll send a message to the tribes that they're more civilized than the village's out here. In all honestly, it might embarrass your village rather then make you seem scary. You should probably have someone study the local tribes and understand what symbols they understand best to let them know not to meddle around here. Knowledge is power, and key to efficient diplomacy.
>>
No. 679591 ID: dd338c
File 144592362337.png - (139.23KB , 800x800 , 139.png )
679591

"My name is Fen and I can read but I want directions for the capital of the empire what is your name?" I have to talk at least as fast, her mouth looks like it's about ready to explode if I have the slightest pause mid-sentence.
>"My name is Nonyour Bizniss. If you can read, then follow the path! It'll lead to our province capital! Then if you aren't flat broke, you can get a warp to any other province, and way away from here."
"Warp?"
>"Oh. Good. Gods. Why are you going to the capital of a place you know nothing about?"
"I know some things, but I wasn't told there were warps. I didn't know that level of magic was possible."
>"Yeah, well, in your tree forts, you don't have a half dozen legendary wizards spending the greater portion of their lives working on connecting an empire together, do you? Didn't even have a brochure to say it existed! It's not like it's been around for all of over a year, now!... I guess that isn't that long, but didn't you ask anyone anything about the empire?"
"Yes, my brother informed me of... things."
>"Do you even know what kind of place you're going to? Do you even know what province you're in?! Who's your brother and why is he so bad at telling you things?"

That does hit home, Zizi has managed to answer most of my questions about the empire without actually giving me any information about it.

Just follow the roads northeast, but nothing about something so powerful as warps.
>>
No. 679593 ID: bb78f2

His name is Zizi. You might know him? Bit of a lady's man? Probably could even have a kid around here without knowing it.
>>
No. 679594 ID: 5ad4a7

>>679591
Tell her that your brother is a soldier, and mostly just told you stories and answered specific questions. It probably didn't occur to him to mention this stuff.

Ask if she could kindly fill in the gaps a little? If not you will continue.
>>
No. 679611 ID: a107fd

Questions seem rhetorical, not meant to be answered. "Sorry to trouble you, miz Nonyour, I'll just be leaving now." Make a mental note to comply meticulously and unquestioningly with all posted directions and ordinances henceforth.
>>
No. 679618 ID: 88960e

>>679591
Well, in my brother'a defense, I never knew to ask about any warps!

>It's not like it's been around for all of over a year, now!... I guess that isn't that long
Although that's the real reason. Zizi's been home more than a year.

I am sorry to have distressed you. I will leave you be, thank you for the information.
>>
No. 679625 ID: 211d83

Well Zizi has been home more than a year so they built the warp after he left.

Honestly my brother was rather bad at explaining things to me. Possibly he just wanted me to learn the hard way like he did. Maybe it was his idea of a prank. That asshole.

Anyways his name is Zizi and he was apparently pretty well known in the army. But maybe you could take a little pity on a guy and give me a quick rundown of how I could get where I am going without to many problems? If not I will get back on the path and stop bothering you.
>>
No. 679632 ID: 7d828f

Well my brother Zizi was fairly well known in the army but who knows if that means anything elsewhere.

Starting to suspect he kept his explanations vague just to screw with me. That or he really did not like to talk about his time in the army.
>>
No. 679798 ID: dd338c
File 144601055119.png - (40.20KB , 800x800 , 140.png )
679798

"My brother is Zizi. That is just how he is, although he has not been a soldier here in years."
>"Oh wowwww, who would have believed that the brother of Kingslayer Zizi has come to grace our fields today of all days, knowing that I wouldn't be one of his enemies who'd love to..."
>>
No. 679800 ID: dd338c
File 144601061040.png - (97.18KB , 800x800 , 141.png )
679800

>"... wait... a second... that would actually explain some things, and you actually look like you... wait, you have white eyes! White eyes, from the forest?! Erm... oh. Uh... uh... sorry? You're, uh, going to the capital, to, well, join the army, if I'm guessing?"
"Yes."
>"Oh. That's... good. Actually. Yeah, it probably is! Oh, man! Wait. Don't get all friendly with me now, I'm still not your friend. Your brother made some nasty enemies. I'll keep my mouth shut, but maybe you should be careful where you go dropping that name, huh?? Zizi didn't kill all the people who wanted him dead, and some of those people would be fine taking out his brother."
"Is my brother that well known?"
>"Wh- oh gods, he was notorious for being the worst storyteller this half of the continent, but I'd think he'd manage to find words for his own family! Look, just get going. To get to the capital, just follow this path, and when you get to forks, follow the wider path. Once you reach the big town, you'll have to wait for the next warp. Do some labor if you can't afford it right away, 'cause it'll still be faster and safer than walking the whole way. Oh, and here's the best tip I'll give. If you run into any bandits, just... the fields will look like a tempting escape, but don't enter them, you got me? Find some way to get through the bandits while on the path. The crops on these borderlands? They've been given eyes. They're more than just plants now."
"Can you fill in the gaps of my information?"
>"I told ya, I'm not gonna be seen bein' friendly to some sword wielding barbarian this side of the border, no matter what sort you are! You caught me off guard, don't go thinking I'm open for interrogation!"

I'll be excusing myself from here, but I'm worried about what she said about bandits. There's long stretches of thin paths through the crops with poor visibility for long distances. It would be trivial to approach me from ahead and from behind to trap me.
>>
No. 679803 ID: 12b273

>Kingslayer Zizi
>enemies
Um. Maybe you shouldn't go throwing your brother's name around. It might draw the wrong sort of attention.

>There's long stretches of thin paths through the crops with poor visibility for long distances. It would be trivial to approach me from ahead and from behind to trap me.
>The crops on these borderlands? They've been given eyes. They're more than just plants now.
Wait, if it's a strait path through the fields, and the fields aren't safe to travel, where are these bandits ambushing you from two sides coming from? That suggests they can travel through or hide in the crops.
>>
No. 679804 ID: 5ad4a7

>>679800
Yeah let's keep quiet from now on about Zizi, and keep going along the path. As for bandits, we'll just have to deal with them when they come. If the odds don't look too bad you could just fight them.
>>
No. 679842 ID: 211d83

Well your brother is much more famous than you thought. Will have to avoid dropping his name unless needed.

Good to know about the crop spells. Lets hope they just watch and not come to life and devour intruders. I wonder if whatever they do only affects "barbarians" or bandits as well. They would have to have some way of recognizing local farmers though. I am guessing any bandits you run across will be ex farmers looking to make a living robbing people.

Well you have a sword and the training to use it. As long as you do not get caught sleeping or something you should be able to deal with bandits. Just keep a eye open for anything suspicious along the path.

Oh and if someone tries to steal your stuff or hurt you don't try to go easy on them.
>>
No. 679848 ID: 7d828f

Lets hope those crops just watch people.

Well you are planning on winning your fortune by strength of arms so learning to fight bandits will help. The more real combat experience you have before reaching the army the better chance you have at getting promotions quickly.

You are skilled enough to deal with simple bandits in a fight. But if they have bows or something you could be in trouble. Lets hope any bandits around here are just ex farmers looking for unarmed travelers.
>>
No. 680182 ID: ea0ad9

>There's long stretches of thin paths through the crops with poor visibility for long distances. It would be trivial to approach me from ahead and from behind to trap me.
If escaping through the fields is out of the question, then ambushing through them is too, I'm sure. I think the eyes don't simply watch for people pushing or touching the crops, they probably watch for anybody on the wrong side of the fence.
>>
No. 687189 ID: dd338c
File 144936631079.png - (28.39KB , 800x800 , 142.png )
687189

Before I can ask more specifics, she steps back into the crops.

I don't have much choice except to keep going forward for now. I see a few branching paths that the girl from before mentioned, but I only see a couple despite walking for hours. When I do, I take the simple directions of following the wider path.
>>
No. 687190 ID: dd338c
File 144936631808.png - (62.95KB , 800x800 , 143.png )
687190

As I take a bend and see another long stretch, I I stop a moment to readjust my pack and take a brief rest.
>>
No. 687191 ID: dd338c
File 144936632941.png - (44.74KB , 800x800 , 144.png )
687191

Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone start walking around the bend.
>>
No. 687192 ID: dd338c
File 144936633973.png - (44.63KB , 800x800 , 145.png )
687192

Whoever it is backs out of sight again.
>>
No. 687194 ID: 424e89

From the brief impression of colours, it could be that girl, or someone who looks like her. Probably most people around here have similar colours.
>>
No. 687195 ID: 211d83

Could be a bandit or could be someone who is worried that you are a bandit. Either way stow your gear and have your sword ready but not fully drawn.

That being said if they are a bandit its unlikely they have a sign on there chest that reads bandit. So be very careful as you head around the corner.

Do not want to accidentally become a bandit yourself by assaulting another traveler so be careful.
>>
No. 687197 ID: 86cfc3

>>687192
Right. So that's either a bandit waiting / watching in ambush, another traveler afraid you're a bandit, or another farmer being cautious.

Make sure your stuff is secured, have your weapon ready to draw, and take the corner slowly, on the outside, so no one waiting just around the bend can jump out at you.
>>
No. 687204 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687192
Dash over and see who's following you. Be prepared for a fight.
>>
No. 687206 ID: dd338c
File 144937001814.png - (63.72KB , 800x800 , 146.png )
687206

I almost got turned around, but this person is going in the same direction I am. They simply caught up since I stopped. It's suspicious that this one would suddenly back up as soon as they noticed me, but it's also possible that they think I'm the bandit, so I secure my things and backtrack around the bend to meet him or her. My hand is by my sword, but I don't have it drawn.

It's a him.

>"Er... I mean - you aren't a bandit, are you?!"
>>
No. 687207 ID: 424e89

"No, a traveler. How about you, are you a bandit?"
>>
No. 687209 ID: 211d83

Nope just a mercenary headed to the capitol to enlist in the army. Not looking for any trouble and rather not have to explain any corpses to the creepy magic plants.

How about you?

Keep watching the surroundings and keep your ears open. Hard to sneak up on someone through plants this thick without making noise.
>>
No. 687210 ID: 86cfc3

>>687206
I'm not if you're not.

Name's Fen. I'm headed to capital. And you?
>>
No. 687211 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687206
Say no, ask where he's headed.

If he seems okay then extend the invitation to travel together until your paths diverge. Bandits will have a harder time dealing with two armed travelers.
Don't let down your guard though. Don't ignore your surroundings either. Make sure you aren't getting approached from behind now that someone's in front of you.
>>
No. 687212 ID: 211d83

I see a rounded blob that looks slightly out of place in the straight lines of the crops forward and to your right.

While you respond to him glance over there to make sure you are not dealing with several people.
>>
No. 687213 ID: dd338c
File 144937241927.png - (47.29KB , 800x800 , 147.png )
687213

"No, I'm a traveller by the name of Fen, and I'm headed to the capital. I'm not looking for trouble. Are you a bandit?"
>"Er, no, of course not! Do I look like one? Sheesh."

I look fast around my right side. There's hardly any wind, but sometimes the crops do look like they move. Still, I don't see anything through the sticks.

"Where are you headed?"
>"Oh, um... town. You?"
"Like I said. The capital. The empire's, but first this province's."
>"The same, huh? Well, I guess these roads don't lead anywhere else!.... so, uh, yeah, you know, if you keep walking this way, you'll get there before nightfall."

I don't respond immediately, but he stands there expecting me to either give a response or leave.
>>
No. 687214 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687213
Alright, just go. We've been warned about talking too much.
>>
No. 687215 ID: 86cfc3

>so, uh, yeah, you know, if you keep walking this way, you'll get there before nightfall
"Well that's good.

So are you walking this way...?"

An implicit offer to walk with you, if he doesn't take it, walk way carefully. If he does walk with you, ask his name.
>>
No. 687216 ID: 211d83

By town do you mean the house back there? Or is there another town I missed?

That response is very suspicious.

This could be him distracting you until his gang can surround you. I would just thank him for the info and then quickly jog down the road until you are out of ambush range. Just make sure to keep your hand on your sword and do not hesitate to pull it out if anything so much as feels wrong.

Better that you scare the crap out of a local by holding them at sword point for a moment than to get caught off guard and murdered by bandits. Apologizing is easy and you do not have the time to heal up from any wounds you might get in a fight.
>>
No. 687218 ID: f21c75

If he was walking the other way I would be suspicious of him suddenly wanting to tag along. And you know he was going this way cause you were stopped and he saw you and backed up.

Wish him a good day and keep a move on.
>>
No. 687317 ID: 424e89

Quick glance around to make sure there's not anyone else around.

Jovially announce "well, we're going the same way the, travelling buddy!" and come up to put an arm around his shoulder/neck. Do it from his left so you "coincidentally" pin his sword arm. Then you can drag him along on your way, asking him various chattering questions to make yourself seem like a cheerful idiot.
>>
No. 687330 ID: ea0ad9

>By town do you mean the house back there? Or is there another town I missed?
He was going the same way as Fen, not the opposite way. He caught up because Fen stopped for a bit.

Just let him know as long as he's at least few yards away you'll be fine with it.
>We've been warned about talking too much.
Only necessary to say what's necessary, after all. You can maybe talk more once you reach town.
>>
No. 687611 ID: dd338c
File 144954062983.png - (74.17KB , 800x800 , 148.png )
687611

>Put an arm around his shoulder/neck to "coincidentally" pin his sword arm
I can do that if I knew he just had a sword, but I know that some people like to hold concealed daggers as backup.

"When you said town, which did you mean?"
>"Er, you know. The only big town around. Province Capital. Turtle Town. Same as you, whatever you want to call it."
"I'm in a hurry. Are you walking this way?"
>"Yep!"
"Just stay within a few yards of me, and don't walk directly behind me."
>"Oh, uh, sure, sure! Can't be too careful around here, can ya? Of course not."
>>
No. 687612 ID: dd338c
File 144954063832.png - (60.00KB , 800x800 , 149.png )
687612

I can at least hear his footsteps behind me this closely. I still keep my hand on my sword. There might be something about him I don't like, but we walk a little while longer.

"What's your name?" I ask after a moment.
>"Oh, uh,... Zabza."

Around yet another bend, I see a long, flat, straightaway. With the crops supposedly a bad idea to enter, this area would be alarmingly tempting for someone with a sling or bow to lay an ambush at.
>>
No. 687613 ID: 211d83

Not much you can do about the terrain right now. Just be ready to use your bag to block any projectiles if it comes to that. Getting shot at from one side is somewhat avoidable. If you get shot at from both sides you might have to make a dive for the crops.

So far the only thing this guy is doing is distracting you. Have him move up to your side so you don't have to keep glancing back at him. Tell him that this straight away is a good spot for lurking archers so to keep a eye out.

If he is a bandit he will make some sort of signal to others at some point if there is a ambush set up. So better keep him in sight and watch for anything odd.
>>
No. 687614 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687612
...where is he traveling from?

Considering the only place in the direction he came from is the farmhouse... does he look like a farmhand to you?
>>
No. 687615 ID: 86cfc3

>this area would be alarmingly tempting for someone with a sling or bow to lay an ambush at.
From where? Anyone not on the road would have to be among the crops themselves. And if they were there, they're either supposed to be there, or somehow otherwise unconcerned about these scary crop protections.

If you are attacked by a ranged weapon, I don't know that you have many options besides using your backback as a shield. (Or your fellow traveler). Well that, and just running the gauntlet.

You kind of don't have anywhere to go but forward, though.

Is the road wide enough you can walk besides Zabza instead of in front of them?
>>
No. 687618 ID: 90f3c0

Presumably, bandits wouldn't be allowed in the fields either. The straight path should be safer then curvy sections, you only need to watch the horizon, with no chance of enemies suddenly jumping around corners.

Zabza seems like the biggest danger right now. You'd be able do hear him closing in, but he could silently draw a hidden throwing weapon. Maybe you could persuade him to walk in front.
>>
No. 687621 ID: ea0ad9

>...where is he traveling from?
Probably best to wait to ask questions until you reach town. Was kind of mentioned that talking too much is a bad idea here.
>>
No. 687756 ID: dd338c
File 144962654095.png - (54.60KB , 800x800 , 150.png )
687756

>Where would the ambush come from
That's a good question. I'm unfamiliar with crops like these, but at my home, if there were a canyon passage like this that forced traffic through it, this would be ideal. Especially if both ends were blocked off. If these bandits can't enter the fields either, then perhaps the curved sections are safer after all.

"Where are you travelling from?" I ask him.
>"Oh, uh... I'm one of the farmhands."
"You aren't wearing any tools, though?"
>"I'm... off shift? And my weapons, er, yeah, that's... can't be too careful, like you!"

I've been told that asking too many questions isn't seen as nice around here, but this person seems perfectly content to answer my questions, even if he seems like he isn't expecting a question every single time I ask one.

"... this area seems wrong to me. Perhaps it is just because I'm far from home, but... would you mind walking in front of me? I'll watch your back."
>"Uh... hey, how about I watch your back instead?"
"No, I'd like you to go in front."
>"No, no, I insist, I'll watch yours! "He's raising his voice.
"... I'd like to know why you want to stay behind me so much."
>"Well, I wanna know why you want to stay behind me so much!"
"I'm not quick to trust."
>"Well maybe I'm not either, huh, and I'm just trying to be nice about it?!"

There's something weird about how he's yelling, like he's just trying to make noise, now.

"Please walk in front of me."
>"Absolutely not, since you're making a big deal of it! How about we walk side by side, like equals, down this road?!"

I don't hear anything when he isn't talking, but when he does speak, I can hear some quiet rustling underneath his voice.
>>
No. 687757 ID: 88e46e

"You should know better than to ask questions, plant."
>>
No. 687767 ID: bb78f2

>>687756
Well, I'm going back until you're gone. You can go right ahead to your destination. You're just too suspicious. Have to be safe. There's no too much of a timelimit for my own goal.
See ya!
Then just go back for some time maybe. You won't have lost much time, and it's honestly more just to monitor him than REALLY go back.
>>
No. 687768 ID: 86cfc3

>There's something weird about how he's yelling, like he's just trying to make noise, now.
>I don't hear anything when he isn't talking, but when he does speak, I can hear some quiet rustling underneath his voice.
His sentences are getting longer and longer, too. He's just trying to make noise to cover up the sounds of his allies approaching, I think. And/or he's yelling to let them know he's blown it, and won't be leading us any further into a planned ambush.

Take him hostage. On arm wrapped around him, pinning arms, the other holding a sword against him.
>>
No. 687769 ID: fbc59e

hrrm. We can try to fight but...How exactly are his allies moving about in the grass without being attacked?
I think we should flee if we can. Just stop talking and start running, one way or the other.
>>
No. 687783 ID: 211d83

He is speaking loudly to conceal the noise his friends make when they move in the crops.

Remember that any bandits in this region used to be or are still farmers here. Who else would dare risk attacking travelers other than people who knew how to get around the magic watching the crops.

I mean you harvest crops during the day and kill travelers in your spare time for extra cash. Then you claim they were barbarians and get a bonus for keeping things safe.

Pull your sword on him and tell him if he speaks up again he is dead. Just better be prepared to follow through.

That or you can run for it before people get into position.
>>
No. 687784 ID: f7a64f

I'd say it's time to bail before something bad happens. This guy is sketchy as fuck.
>>
No. 687791 ID: a57387

If the farmers can be in the crops there is a way to avoid the magic. Probably a amulet or something they carry.

Would be the first thing a bandit would steal around here.

This guy could be a ex farmer that took up banditry. Your sword skills are going to be better but if you get surrounded you are screwed.

I say run for it and make them chase you a bit. Get in a better spot to fight.
>>
No. 687819 ID: 5ad4a7

>>687756
Yeah this guy is a bandit. Ice him. This is also definitely an ambush, so get out of the ambush corridor. Like, move back around the bend.
>>
No. 687827 ID: 563401

Draw your sword. Feint at him to make him flinch, then book it.
>>
No. 687829 ID: 487dbd

Disarming him and taking him hostage sounds good.
>>
No. 687863 ID: a107fd

Punch him in the throat to make the noise stop, then start running.
>>
No. 688286 ID: dd338c
File 144994360579.png - (53.30KB , 800x800 , 151.png )
688286

I start to draw my sword towards him. He takes a big step back and starts doing the same, intentionally going on the defensive while blocking my path. My action was a feint; by the time he has his sword out, I'm running.

By the time I get anywhere, two bandits do a somersault out of the crops and through the fence to block me in.
>>
No. 688287 ID: dd338c
File 144994361489.png - (57.56KB , 800x800 , 152.png )
688287

I start running the other way back towards where I and the original bandit came from, but this guy is still blocking me.

He's slow, but I hear some commotion from the way I came, now, and I don't think I can run through there before more bandits show up from where I came. It wasn't my first choice, but this guy doesn't seem like he's a good swordsman. I go for a close slash, and his focus on blocking it leaves him open to get punched.
>>
No. 688288 ID: dd338c
File 144994362721.png - (70.72KB , 800x800 , 153.png )
688288

Instead of letting him drop to the floor, I kick his sword out from his hand and bring him up, putting my sword at his neck.

>".... Oh, goddamnit, Firlin!" the field kobold ahead of me yells.
>"Sorry! This guy is fast!" says my hostage.
>"No, you just suck!" he continues. "You're not even a good hostage, see if we care if he cuts your throat!"
>"Don't say that, everyone knows that you care except the person who can cut his throat." the draconic girl besides him says.
>"Well don't tell the barbarian that! Let him guess!"
>"First of all, the barbarian is the one who needs to know right now. Secondly, barbarians have bad hearing, love. He can't hear me."

I can hear them fine.
>>
No. 688289 ID: 47160d

Ask why they think barbarians have bad hearing
>>
No. 688290 ID: 86cfc3

>two bandits do a somersault out of the crops and through the fence to block me in.
So they are able to go into the crops without getting in trouble. Either that means the protections you were warned about are a bluff, or they're somehow safe from them.

So much for my idea of just shoving anyone who attacked you off the path.

>Secondly, barbarians have bad hearing, love. He can't hear me.
I suppose it might be advantageous to let them think they're right? If you let them think you can't hear them when they low talk, they'll keep giving you free information. Pretend to ignore anything they say that isn't raised voices, or your hostage talking.

(Unless they're just faking thinking you have bad hearing to try and deliberately mislead you).

>what say
Hey, speak up! No games, unless you don't care about your friend's neck.

I have nothing worth stealing, and I don't fancy fighting outnumbered. But I'll take 2 to 1 over 3 to 1 any day.
>>
No. 688292 ID: 211d83

"Just because I don't have giant ears like this guy does not mean I can not hear you".

Start moving him forward while you talk. Might be people sneaking up on you from behind.

I just want to get to town. I would rather not have to kill all of you to do it though. So how about you wander back into the fields and I will let this guy go a few miles down the road?

I am not a rich merchant worth robbing. Just a swordsman heading to the capitol to find work.
>>
No. 688293 ID: cee89f

>>688288
If they think you're deaf and stupid, let them. It just makes it easier to outmanuver them.

"What was that? Kill him and drink his blood?"
>>
No. 688294 ID: bb78f2

>>688288
"Shut the fuck up, leave me alone, you know nothing of Barbarians. I have nothing worth stealing anyway, so what you're going to do is let me go past you two with my hostage in tow until a certain point, and then I'm going to run after dropping him and you're going to leave me alone. You soft city and farm folk have nothing on us who war every day. What little I have isn't worth it. I will kill a few of you even if you eventually kill me. All that loss for a little haul. Shitty risk vs. reward situation, right? REAL shitty ratio. Go raid a farm, they're softer and less protected than you with more gains."
>>
No. 688295 ID: 90f3c0

Targeting barbarians seems like odd behavior for bandits. I can't imagine most of them carry anything of value.


Keep threatening the hostage and have the other two stand to one side so you can pass. Once you're past them knock him to the ground and run.
>>
No. 688300 ID: 6577a9

I can hear you fine and I will twist this bastard's head off if you don't let me pass.

Push him forward, try to move past them before they are able to adapt and make a move. If they do try anything, throw your hostage at them full force and run, into the fields if you need to.
>>
No. 688306 ID: dd338c
File 144994852498.png - (59.67KB , 800x800 , 154.png )
688306

"Speak up! Why are all of you targetting barbarians? I have nothing of value!"
>"Says the barbarian, holding a nice looking sword and who knows how much in a backpack, inside of a nice looking backpack! You think we'd attack the farm itself or some rich merchant with a hundred bodyguards? Ha, we know what rules to play by, that's why we're the best bandits in the farms of turtle's hideaway!"
>"We're actually terrible bandits." the girl says.
>"Hun, please, if I'm the only one who can hear you, there's no need to say that."
>"Yes, but we're so good at keeping other bandits out of here, we're really just unofficial farm guards."
>"We'll talk later, okay?"
>"Okay."
"Barbarian! If you didn't have anything worth stealing than you'd hardly have the clothes on your back!"

They talk while I move closer to them, pushing my hostage farther along.

"Even if I had much, is it worth the life of a companion of yours? This one, and I'm sure I could take down at least a couple of whoever you have. Is it worth a sword and a few rations?"

>"If you don't have anything worth stealing, barbarian, why don't you drop your backpack?" the girl asks. "We'll drop some of our rations for you here, and even throw in a few copper pieces so you can get a good night's rest at town. And let you keep your sword, too, so you can protect yourself. If you have nothing worth stealing, it should be worth it, right?"
>"Yeah!" he yells after her. "And before you say we'll just backstab you, don't even think it! We're beings of our word, and that trust and special rule following is why we can operate in the middle of the farm! We have oaths, and we have honor among - excuse me - we have honor among --"
>>
No. 688307 ID: dd338c
File 144994853017.png - (51.87KB , 800x800 , 155.png )
688307

>"SNRK"
>"Dear, dear, we rehearsed this so many times."
>"Honor among bandits, though?! That's too much!"
"Go to one side of the path!" I call out to them, now that I'm getting close.

They respond by blocking the path more.

"I will twist this person's head off if you don't move."

They fidget, but their feet don't leave the ground.

>"I am so sorry about this!" my hostage says. "Please don't kill me." he whispers. "The crops are blind below the waist. If you crawl through and don't damage and of the crops, it'll be slow, but you can get through."
>>
No. 688311 ID: a107fd

They're not willing to cooperate all-or-nothing, so go for incremental concessions. "Green girl! One step to the left before a count of three or I break this guy's littlest finger. One... two..."
>>
No. 688313 ID: b61260

>>688307
Let's go there together, then.
>>
No. 688321 ID: bb78f2

Stab him through, but don't kill him. Try your best not to hit anything vital.

"Your friend needs healing now. You won't have time to fight me. Get him to a healer before he bleeds out or lose one of your numbers. I will remove the sword as soon as you let me pass. Try anything, and I will rip it out of his sides ensuring his death. Keeping the sword in will keep him alive and stabilized for now, but I have to remove it when I leave, so you'll need to keep pressure on the wound as soon as you can. Bind him tightly with cloth to prevent premature bleed out, and you'll need the two of you to transport him to a healer quickly enough. You could also try making a fire and sodering the wound yourself, but if he dies of his wounds, it's both your own fault and his, not mine."
>>
No. 688322 ID: bfb318

Showing you mean business but in a non-permanent way would be a good start, go with >>688311 and follow through with breaking his finger if they aren't moving by 3.
>>
No. 688323 ID: 86cfc3

>The crops are blind below the waist. If you crawl through and don't damage and of the crops, it'll be slow, but you can get through.
That doesn't really help us. We can't crawl slowly and low when there are people pursuing us. Especially if they like, just throw something at a plant above us to piss them off.

>what do
Make more threats. If they're not scared of us cutting his neck, how do they feel about us shoving him face first into the crops and bringing the defenses down on all of us?
>>
No. 688335 ID: 6577a9

Keep moving forward.

You think I'm joking?!? I used to stack fuckers like this five foot high and use 'em like earthworks! One side, now!
>>
No. 688342 ID: 211d83

The crops being blind is good to know but am not about to trust that info or try to use it to escape.

Pull him over to the side of the road and order him to put his hand into the crops. Above waist height. If he hesitates tell him you can just as easily test this with his cut off arm. See how everyone reacts.

Is anyone behind you? Or is it just these two so far?
>>
No. 688343 ID: 602c82

You are going to have to show them you are serious. Otherwise you will have to slit his throat. Which is fine but will have to kill them all most likely. This is probably the other guys brother.

I like the using the crops idea. Would also let us test what they do. Just be ready to kill him if things go south.
>>
No. 688344 ID: 91cfcf

Tell him to stick his hand into the crops above waist height or get his arm cut off.
>>
No. 688358 ID: a81394

Slow crawling through the crops, while these guys who seem able to move quickly through them can just come up behind and stab you? Phaw. Don't cut his throat yet, but draw a little blood. See how they react when he starts whining.

Once he's a bit more spooked, ask him how they get past the crop protection.
>>
No. 688359 ID: cf91e4

This is the only road you know of right now; going into the crops where you will be outnumbered, on equal ground, and lost is a terrible idea. Start breaking his hand.
>>
No. 688420 ID: ea0ad9

Call them out on calling you a barbarian. Brigandry and Banditry are much more barbaric than travelling. Obviously they can't hear their own thoughts too well, being barbarians, which is why they seem to be too dumb to notice the flaws of their reasoning!
>>
No. 688794 ID: dd338c
File 145014547846.png - (61.37KB , 800x800 , 156.png )
688794

I'm tempted to show them that I'm serious by giving this person a broken finger, but then I get the idea to test whether or not his words about the crops sensing waist high and above is correct.

"Put your hands on the crops. at chest level or hire."
>"Wh-what?! I just told you what that does!"
"And I want you to prove it! I can easily test it with a chopped off arm."
>"Don't even fuckin' dare make him, you idiot! You'll sic the dogs on all of us!" the man says.

I hear some running from where I came, and I make sure to keep my vision where I can see them around the bend. In the interest of maintaining my hold on him, I scrape my blade against Firlin's skin enough to start drawing blood. He makes a loud exhale while holding back a cry.

>"Stopstopstop!" the girl yells at me. "We'll let you go, barbarian! Get on the side, Rals, let him through!"
>"Fine, fine! Are you okay, Firlin?!" the man, who must be Rals, asks. Firlin nods his head in short, sporadic bursts while trying to suck in his neck.

>Call them out on barbarianism
Although 'barbarian' is said like a slur a lot, it also just means 'someone from between the two empires.' It's hard to tell if they're using it as an insult here.

They start moving to the side. I should be able to leave now.
>>
No. 688795 ID: 86cfc3

Advance through, cautiously, holding your prisoner. Make sure you keep facing them. Back away a few paces, then shove him at them.

Ultimatum before you release him: if you come after me, someone is going in the crops. Even if you bring me down with numbers. I'll bring the dogs down on us all before I let myself be cheated.
>>
No. 688796 ID: b3c50d

Make your way past them, then shove him at them full force and book it.
>>
No. 688797 ID: 211d83

Keep a hold on him as you move and watch for anyone trying to grab you from behind the fence. Might still be some of them crawling around behind you. If someone tried something right now with how tight you have your sword this guy is probably dead whether you mean to kill him or not.

Tell them loudly that you will let him go once you are well out of range. But any tricks or sudden movement and he is dead.
>>
No. 688798 ID: 5ad4a7

>>688794
Shove him into the others, then start running. At some point you should get into the crops, and start crawling. Try to move deeper into the crops then forward and back towards the road so you can get back onto the road further on.
>>
No. 688804 ID: 88e46e

>>688795
This. There's no honor among bandits and you'd rather they die along you than get killed.
>>
No. 688907 ID: 91ee5f

>>688795
This seems like the best thing to do.
>>
No. 688909 ID: 91ee5f

>>688907
Also, just for fun, tell them, "And just so you know, even though I don't have big ears like your friend here, I can still hear perfectly fine."
>>
No. 688922 ID: 88960e

>>688909
No, no need to make things harder for the next barbarian they ambush.
>>
No. 689850 ID: dd338c
File 145074913937.png - (83.70KB , 800x800 , 157.png )
689850

I move very slowly forward so that I can keep my sword in Firlin's neck and not cut him too deeply. I get to the other side, and a couple more bandits show up from where I came from. At their leader's raised palm, they don't come after me.

"Know this. If I see any of you, or anyone I think is associated with you, I am going to cut the crops."
>"Are you suicidal, outsider?" the girl asks. "Have you ever fought a farm dog?"
"What matters is that if I'm going to be taken down, I'll take down as many of you as I can."
>"Goddamn, what shithole was he raised in?" the leader whispers loudly to the girl. "This one doesn't screw around."
>>
No. 689851 ID: dd338c
File 145074915073.png - (39.98KB , 800x800 , 158.png )
689851

I walk a ways longer, making sure I don't see anyone else through the crops. Once satisfied, I shove Firlin at the others. I almost think I have to sprint, as it looks like they might be chasing me, but they only ran to Firlin. It looks like they might care for one another after all. Still, I run for a long ways before stopping.

At the top of a hill, I see a town. It's definitely about the biggest settlement I've ever seen before.

Which probably means that it's not the capital.

I can either take a chance and try to walk through it, as it looks like this path leads straight there with no forks, but I can see another path on the other side of the town. I can probably avoid this village altogether by crawling through the crops if I wanted.
>>
No. 689855 ID: 977a6a

>>689851
Head through the town. If the biggest threats to you in the army or in the arena are gonna be foreign kobolds, you might as well get used to dealing with them in these minor leagues instead of sneaking around.
>>
No. 689856 ID: 76978c

Through town. You need to acclimatize yourself to the culture where it's less likely to cause you serious trouble, instead of waiting until you're somewhere where you can get executed for sneezing in a noble's direction or something.
>>
No. 689857 ID: 211d83

This is the place the chatty lady mentioned and she seemed trustworthy enough. I say head to town.

Save crawling through the crops for a emergency. Its not easy to crawl around for long distances and it would wear you out quick.

Plus the farm lady said they had a magic warp to get to the capital here. If it can get you to the capitol faster than its worth the cost. Just make sure you are getting the official price and not the lets cheat the barbarian rate.
>>
No. 690020 ID: 15720c

You, uh, had a way to wipe the bit of blood off the blade, right? Even just a bit of cloth that you then dirty up with the ground beneath you afterwards to hide it on the cloth would work.
>>
No. 691575 ID: dd338c
File 145187420844.png - (33.76KB , 800x800 , 159.png )
691575

I'll go to town.

>You, uh, had a way to wipe the bit of blood off the blade, right?
Yes.

I'm almost worried I'm off the right path, as that girl from before mentioned nothing about towns between me and the province capital.

I get closer, and it seems like it's hardly a more complex village than most barbarian villages. Just some basic wooden structures and tents for shelter, and not much more aside from a basic town wall.

As I get closer, though, I can see that the town wall doesn't appear to have been maintained well at all, and may even be rotted in areas.

The town also seems suspiciously quiet.
>>
No. 691578 ID: 90f3c0

Check the guy on the ground, has he been injured? Keep your guard up, rundown mostly abandoned towns are likely places for bandits and criminals to hide out.
>>
No. 691586 ID: bb78f2

>>691575
Looks like it's been raided. How damaged are the buildings, any smell of smoke?
>>
No. 691588 ID: 211d83

This doesn't seem right. This area is important enough for them to enchant all the crops so any towns should be kept up.

Keep a eye out and maybe go poke at the guy over there and ask where you are.

Starting to see how the incompetent bandits you met survived. If things have fallen apart around here it will breed bandits like crazy.

If need be can quickly pass through and keep a move on.
>>
No. 691590 ID: d0868f

Is this really a town I wonder, or just some kind of overgrown vagrant camp?

But yeah, the wall is falling down, and that guard looks like he's asleep (or passed out drunk?), not felled by violence. It doesn't look like the silence / lack of people and the damage is the result of some kind of raid or attack.

Still, there should be people out and about in the middle of the day. That suggests that something is wrong, maybe that we're walking in more dregs of society, or that this is some kind of trap.

I'm almost reconsidering sneaking around, but that would require doubling back a bit and would take a long while, and if there are any watchers here, they've already made you.

Advance, cautiously.
>>
No. 691595 ID: 5ad4a7

Speak to no one. Just pass through.
>>
No. 691734 ID: dd338c
File 145196617126.png - (27.71KB , 800x800 , 160.png )
691734

I move forward, cautiously, towards the guy on the ground. There's no sign of injury, and then I notice that he's breathing. Even if there's a slight wheeze to his breathe, he's just sleeping.

If the town was raided, then it was from a long time ago. There's no smoke or signs of battle, and the wall appears more unmaintained than destroyed.

I decide not to poke him. I don't know what guards are like, and guards who shirk their duties even less.
>>
No. 691735 ID: dd338c
File 145196618562.png - (66.56KB , 800x800 , 161.png )
691735

Moving forward, I look around while making my way through to where the exit is. It's terribly empty, but on walking past the maze of tents, I do see one person eyeing me carefully.
>>
No. 691736 ID: dd338c
File 145196619324.png - (60.98KB , 800x800 , 162.png )
691736

And on the other side, there's a few people unloading boxes onto some tables. I can't see them clearly, but I think one waves to me.
>>
No. 691738 ID: d0868f

>>691736
Might as well approach? They at least look like they're doing something productive, which is a good sign.
>>
No. 691739 ID: bb78f2

>>691736
Probably to someone else. You can just slip by, no one cares about you.
Let's keep moving, because someone who might be friends of those thieves earlier might be here, then we'll get lynched if the thieves show up and say we're a thief or something.
>>
No. 691740 ID: 211d83

Oh crap this is not a town. This is a harvesting station. Its just some tents for storage and where people hang out while prepping crops for shipping.

The walls are crap because they have gotten lazy with the protection of the spells and its a mess cause it only exists for part of the season. Is probably nothing here in the winter.

That's why the guard is sleeping because there is nothing to worry about guarding.

I would continue on through and ask directions from one or two people on how far the actual town is from here.

That or its a bandit camp and things are way worse than they should be.

So say hi to the waving person and get directions.
>>
No. 691748 ID: 5ad4a7

>>691736
Wave back. Maybe go see what's going on. If they seem friendly you can ask what's up with this little town, you weren't told it was here at all.
>>
No. 691766 ID: 15720c

Don't bother approaching unless they make an approach, themselves. Stop for a few seconds to wave back, but if they just carry on with what they were doing before, continue on yourself.
>>
No. 691897 ID: dd338c
File 145204469793.png - (79.96KB , 800x800 , 163.png )
691897

I wave back. The smaller kobold waves harder back at me. I'm not approached, but no one has given me the impression that northern kobolds wave people they dislike over, and I can't just keep my eyes to the ground the whole way to the capital. Therefore, I will go over and at least see if they are willing to give me directions.

.... I'm not sure what I'm approaching.
>>
No. 691899 ID: dd338c
File 145204485616.png - (21.13KB , 800x800 , 164.png )
691899

>"Oh hey hey you're not shying away from me or even averting your gaze! That only means you just made a goodbuddy for life. So who are you?"
"I'm - my name is Fen."
>"Oh my god you actually are a sava I mean barbarian I mean - yeah barbarian - right?"
"I've been called worse." I take a moment to respond. Her accent is heavy, and not one I've ever heard before, so I'm having difficulty understanding her. It's like her enunciation on words breaks up in the middle of each word, while she strings the end of one word and the beginning of the next together to join them awkwardly.
>"Hahaha so have I! I'm Cheese." Her voice is also strange, like her mouth is popping a hundred bubbles in different ways to make different sounds.
"Why are you named Cheese?"
>"Cause I smell funny if I don't bathe for too long."
"Did your parents not find a better name?"
>"Haha who said I had parents?!"
"Everyone has parents."
>"Well - wait a second, you ever seen someone like me?"
"No." I barely hold myself back from asking what she is.
>"Well there you go! I don't got no parents to name me."
"I'm looking for the capital."
>"Province or empire?"
"Province, to teleport to the empire."
>"Oh cool, you just came from the forest?"
"Yes."
>"Well if you got a copper on you, I got rations for sale!"
"I have food."
>"What? From here?"
"From the forest."
>"It's gonna rot in like a single day! Get one of my rations from my shop I'm in the middle of setting up, it'll last a whole week!"
"What? I didn't think food rotted that quickly outside of its boundary." That explains why Zizi didn't make me try to bring more.
>"Well it depends on what, but why do you think the wood around here is so rotted? I mean this is just a little break town to store supplies and stuff, and sleep overnight and all that, so no one cares too much about the wall here anymore, but this wall is only like 5 years old! I mean 'ey I didn't even see a damn guard on the way in so they can't care that much. It's not like nobles hang out here."
"Thank you for explaining. I almost thought this place was raided at first glance."
>"Pffff the guard that supposed to be on duty would love the excitement from it.
"I also thought the crops here were highly guarded against barbarians."
>"Yeah don't go fondling the crops, still, but I mean, you're gonna get nothing but all hostility right by the border cause that's where you guys make the trouble, but this far and beyond in the empire, it's just some hostility. Because really, what kind of barbarian would travel a buncha hours to try to sneak into a dumb encampment for a bushel of hay or whatever? "

The two mountain kobolds glance at me.

I didn't mean to talk so much, but this is the first cordial conversation I've had in days.
>>
No. 691900 ID: 5ad4a7

>>691899
Wait... is she... not a kobold?
Ask her if there are any more bandits further on. You met some but managed to avoid a fight or a robbery.

Buy some rations. How long will they last, though?
>>
No. 691902 ID: d0868f

>I'm not sure what I'm approaching.
A weird kobold? Although if green and spikey comes from a deciduous (?) forest, and brown and fuzzy comes from wan farmlands, I'm not sure where purple and burbly would be normal. Some kind of mushroom biome? Something slime or swamp based? Underground, or landscape like the moon?

Although I think she's a good deal further from home than you, especially since if she never knew her parents, I doubt she even knows where home is to her sub-type of kobold. (Which is probably why she asked if you've seen others).

>stuff rots / decays when you move it from one region to another
Well damn, that makes trade and using natural resources somewhat challenging, doesn't it.

Why aren't people affected when they go from one region to another? Is there a time limit to how long a kobold can be away from home before they start going to pieces?

>trade for food
You probably should. In fact, the stuff you brought with you needs to be eaten today, before it goes bad. So you should see if you can trade the stuff you can't eat- there's gotta be a bit of demand for fresh food that's different than the stuff they get every day.
>>
No. 691904 ID: 211d83

I think everyone starts to smell funny after not bathing for awhile.

Buying some rations might be a good idea. Just make sure to not go flashing silver around if you can help it. Might want to quietly ask about making change while no one else is in earshot.

We did not expect to talk but here is a friendly shopkeep who might be able to give us plenty of info. Just keep from mentioning your brother for the moment and stick to the story that you are here to join the military.

Ask what is up with the boundaries. If there are more of those along your travels might be nice to know if they affect stuff other than organic materials. Like how would Shup bring back the shiny plant stuff and not have it rot for instance.

Also ask what she is doing setting up shop here. Is she expecting a influx of customers soon?

I wonder if she is a hybrid or some crazy rare sub species. No parents and her questioning you if you had seen anyone like her points to her not knowing herself. Might ask about that and can always let her know if we ever run into anyone else like her.
>>
No. 691905 ID: 700555

Well, then keep on having your conversation with your new... crossbred magical experiment amalgamation abomination maybe friend? It seems like you could both do with a nice chat.

Ask what it is that makes things rot faster here than in the forest, and also ask if she knows any common mistakes barbarians make that you should avoid. Also ask if she wants help setting up her shop, you can get a look at what she has while you do, and if you don't want anything you'll be able to back off without looking like you were properly evaluating them for purchase and then rejecting them.
>>
No. 691910 ID: bb78f2

>>691899
How much money you have on you? I suppose some rations wouldn't be too bad.
Is the rotting thing magic based? If I found something in the forest, captured it, brought it to THIS region, and killed it, would the food last?
You have a map, right? I forget, but it would be useful for her to tell you where her rations will last a week, and where it will rot immediately. We're going to have to do some math here and we don't really have the proper information to do it with. We can approximate walking speed from our previous experience using the map, assuming most of this is flatlands.
>>
No. 691983 ID: 91ee5f

Carefully watch those 2 mountain kobolds. I think they're just helping her set up shop, but just in case they try something, watch them so that they don't catch you off guard. And if they're friendly, then be nice to them.
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No. 692354 ID: dd338c
File 145231634953.png - (64.16KB , 800x800 , 165.png )
692354

>Why aren't people affected when they go from one region to another?
The most accepted guess is that us kobolds are partially magical beings to begin with, and we and our offspring's magic creates a shield against normal deterioration. Dead people and normal organic material, though, decay faster outside of their home areas. I think even some non-organic materials like stone do, as well, but stone lasts for so long that even if it decayed faster, it would still last for awhile.

I think that wild animals are attuned to where they were born, though, so their meat would rot in a foreign land even if they were killed after being moved to the foreign place.

"I have a question."
>"Just ask it!"
"If all of this rots, how do people like nobles have keepsakes from other lands?"

She puts her hands up and wiggles her fingers around.

>"Maaaaagic. No, seriously, just having a wizard who grew up in the local land have shove some generic magic in the object works fine! Even just a mediocre wizard can maintain a big part of town. Which is why this land can have towns built out of cool materials now! Well and not end up like this place. No one cares about this place!"

That's probably why us kobolds can survive in foreign areas.

"Are you magic?"
>"Uh, I'm a kobold, so as much as you I guess?"
"What kind of kobold has no parents?"
>"What?"
"You said you had no parents."
>"...pffffft oh my gosh barbarians are the best, I just meant I never knew 'em!"
"Did they not raise you?"
>"Oh my gosh - okay, I'm just a cave kobold, but I was raised in a place called Erja Nokol, and the kobolds there are extinct, probably! The land got really screwed up there, so people who grow up there get really twisted up by it - wait, you know people's appearances get changed based on where they grew up from, right?"
>"Yes, my mother - " I shouldn't say too much, for all I know, Zizi made it apparent that our mother spent part of her childhood in Dragon's Fall, so she is spikier than most. "Is different."
>"Oh okay. Anyways, people in Erja don't want to have their little babies grow up there, but people still have sex! And a long time ago, when that happened, I came out of one of them! Because when two people - "
"I understand."
>"Oh sorry it's just so... great. That people don't know what Erja grown people look like." I avoid saying that I have never seen a cave kobold in my life.
"Why did you not move out as soon as you could, to minimize the effects of growing up there?"
>"Well I did! But Erja Nokol's effects are pretty distinguishable, soooo it didn't help. But I ran away when I was 6 or something! I had adventures! It was terrible! So I went back. But you didn't want to hear about my life story, right?"
"It's just nice to talk to someone. I'm obviously a foreigner, so please tell me about common mistakes us barbarians make."
>"Try to be careful about murdering people in towns! You'll probably be seen."
"That might be the worst advice I have ever heard."
>"Do you think stabbing people is okay?!"
"No! That's the point, why would I ever do that?! More importantly, how dumb do you think barbarians are, that that advice would help anyone?"
>"I, uhm, don't want to answer that! Ask another question!"
>>
No. 692355 ID: dd338c
File 145231635910.png - (27.79KB , 800x800 , 166.png )
692355

"I'm just going to change the subject. Why are you setting up shop here, if no one cares about here?"
>"Lemme elaborate! I should say wizards and nobles don't care about this place! But it's one of the outposts for people to take breaks and sleep in, and in about one hour, it's breaktime, and this place is gonna be crawling with people!"
"Do you want help setting up your shop?"
>"Wha- are you offering?"
"Yes."
"No." says a mountain kobold.
"You can't be trusted." says the other.
>"Noo, let him! Take it out of my - oh wait no nevermind yeah uh.... uh... thanks anyway, Fen."
"Okay. I have rations for days from the forest that have only been through the boundary for a few hours. Could I trade for rations here, that would last a week?"
>"Some people like imports, yeah! Okay, not evenly, but do you have a couple copper? Then I'll give you food for a full week."
"Does it last only in this land?"
>"Yyyyeah, but unless you just stop eating, you'll get your money's worth!"
"I'll do it. What else do you have for sale?"
>"I got food! I got weapons! Supplies for travelling, supplies for not travelling, you name it, I might have it!"
"A map?" Zizi would have given me his, but he lost it.
>"I've got a map, yeah! It's a beatiful map! So beautiful that it costs too damn much! Who would even pay that much? No one!"
"How much?"
>"60 silver!"

That is much more than I have. I should have at least 20 silver, but I don't know how much silver a copper piece is worth.

>Carefully watch those 2 mountain kobolds.
I keep my eye on them, but so far they have only been moderately unfriendly and look like they want to be anywhere else.
>>
No. 692356 ID: 211d83

Hmm sort of worried that the bandit group might show up over the break. Being locals they could make trouble for you by claiming you attacked one of them. If the others don't know they are bandits they would automatically believe there side of the story.

On the other hand they did seem pretty stupid.

Might be worth it to hang around over the break chatting with Cheese and getting more info about life in the empire. We want to move fast but would be nice to learn more before we get to a big town.

Plus you could maybe do some work around her for a few copper for food. Would help you figure out how much a copper is worth and keep your silvers out of sight.
>>
No. 692360 ID: 61fd94

>Take it out of my
Her pay? Her debt? Sounds like she's not in charge at least. She's working for and/or indebted to someone and answers to the guards, not the other way around.

>Even just a mediocre wizard can maintain a big part of town.
Huh. So I guess anyone with magic has a pretty steady gig. There will be a lot of demand to keep stuff from falling apart, especially in big cities.

>dead people outside of their region decay fast
Well I suppose that's convenient for the army.

>don't know how many silvers to a copper
Maybe see if she can break a silver for you? (Ie, trade a silver for equivalent worth in copper?). She doesn't seem like she'd be bold enough or a good enough a liar to cheat you.

Buy the local rations, see if she's willing to buy any of your imported rations for resale. (She's got the shop, and should have an easier time selling stuff than you trying to sell to people all trying to rip off the barbarian).

Should we stick around long enough to see what this place is like once it gets busy?
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No. 692361 ID: 0a216e

Tell here that is a ridiculous price seeing as you don't even have a copper to tour name. (technically true).

Ask if there is anything you could do around here to earn some traveling money for food.

Also ask how many coppers 60 silvers is.
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No. 692362 ID: 61fd94

Oh, maybe you could ask to see the map? A good look might be enough to get you where you're going, and if you don't even touch it it's not like you're wearing it out.
>>
No. 692365 ID: 396385

How is it that you can hear us, or was that already established?
>>
No. 692366 ID: 211d83

>>692365

As per most Lago quests our suggestions are just thoughts Fen is having. No orb or spirits needed.
>>
No. 692375 ID: c9b901

Asking to just see the map would be a decent idea. Even if you forget the details, a vague image could still be a little useful. It'd be like renting it for a very short time. She could keep a hold on it and everything.

Say that as a dull barbarian you have not much familiarity with the higher coins. How much does one silver buy? Or ten silver?
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No. 692380 ID: dd338c
File 145232139238.png - (43.49KB , 800x800 , 167.png )
692380

>So I guess anyone with magic has a pretty steady gig.
From what I have gathered, almost anyone capable of outputting reliable, steady magic is virtually guaranteed an easy life.

"I can't afford it, but how much copper are 60 silvers?"
>"Exchange rate, uh, roughly 5 copper a silver, now!"
"That makes it easy."
>"Well it's more like..." she pulls out a piece of paper with a lot of notes. "4.6 down this far south and could actually have breached 5 up in the capital right now, but most merchants prefer to round up since a lot of people have trouble with math but the shopkeeps obviously to come out ahead on the exchange rate and it's just called a gratuity fee for making the merchant deal with small change but if you wanna haggle you can really argue for hours about exchange rates and patterns."
"I don't."
>"5 copper a silver!"
"Can I break a silver?"
>"Yeah! Going the other way, it's 4 copper coins, but since you're trading in your imported food, I'll give you an extra small chunk of food to make up the difference."
"Why is a map so expensive?"
>"Because this thing is a week old, and has information on bandit movements, current rebellions, warband, towns, populations, all sorts of stuff! Everything you could want to know, and some you don't. I gotta move it out inside of 2 weeks or it'll expire and be worth, I dunno, affordable!"
"Could I see the map?"

The mountain kobolds laugh loudly. Cheese doesn't, but only out of politeness.

>"Nope! I once tried to set up a thing where 1 silver got you 1 minute of looking, but of course then just a few people would team up to basically recreate the whole map, and then it's competition, and... actually you're a barbarian, obviously alone! No, then I gotta be fair and let others do it - wait, if you promise not to tell anyone I let you see it, then yeah! Do you have silver to spare, though? Oh wait the other idea, since it's quiet right now, is that I can draw a map for you right now for 1 silver. It'll be, uh, well, your standards can't be that high!"

I can probably memorize the overall layout of the empire if I saw one minute of it, and might be able to remember a few facts here and there. 5 silver, and I can get some good detail that may be somewhat worthless to me.
>>
No. 692381 ID: c3e932

>>692380
Draw a map and let you see the good map, 7 copper.
>>
No. 692382 ID: 61fd94

I think we can afford spending one silver to learn the layout of things. Spending more to learn a lot of political details you really aren't gonna be in a position to use doesn't seem worth it.
>>
No. 692388 ID: a107fd

Get the cheap map. Don't care about military intel, you just want to know which roads go where so you can find your way to the capital. A basic navigation aid that you can bring along for reference (and maybe even resell!) is more useful than momentary access to a dense jumble of information which you'd probably memorize the wrong details of.

As long as you're bartering, offer descriptions of the three bandits you encountered on the way here. Might be worth something to pass that data back up the map-making supply chain, incorporate it into next week's edition.
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No. 692404 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692381
Yeah I like that. We can take a look at the full map for long enough to get a good deal more useful basic facts than a full minute of trying to memorize it, and we won't have to worry about possibly-faulty memorization for the routes and stuff.
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No. 692428 ID: 211d83

You will have to put become a Mage on your list of insane goals for the next year then. Lily said it can take years of training but if Shup bypassed that somehow there is a trick to learning it faster. Course that method might involve something horrifyingly expensive or secret or lethal but keep a eye out.

Tell her you just want to get to the next big town with a warpgate so you can get to the capitol. So do not need a very good map for the moment.

Also ask what the going price for warp travel is right now so we can make sure we have the funds or not.

Oh another thought. If good up to date maps are worth that much it might benefit you to start learning to make your own. A good cartographer can make a fortune and while you might never reach that level you should at least be able to chart your own journey. Plus if you get decent at it you could make some side money.
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No. 692476 ID: c9b901

1 minute, and the cruder sketch map. Since you're looking to join the army, offer another silver or two if she'll point out where armies are likely to be active for the next while, and what big nobles are doing what.
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No. 692491 ID: dd338c
File 145237245837.png - (31.06KB , 1000x1000 , 168.png )
692491

"Both. You draw me a simple map, and I will look at the detailed map, all for 7 copper."
>"Uhhhehhhhhh okay I tell you what, 7 copper, plus 3 for the food trade, so, exchanging silver, you'll give me 3 silver, and I'll give you, uh... 2 copper back!"
"Okay."

She draws one of the worst maps I have ever seen in my life on some cheap paper. The good map, on the other hand, is amazingly crafted. Unfortunately it also assumes at least basic knowledge about the land, and so I spend nearly the entire minute trying to piece a general good picture from the details. It's fine, though, as I don't need to know about the low level banditry migration in a far off land.

It almost seems like a straight shot between here and this province's capital, Graskin, so I shouldn't have trouble getting there. I still make a point to memorize some forks in the road.

"How did they make this map so accurately if they expire so quickly?"
>"Oh, by having a big old cartographer meeting! A huge amount of cartographers will keep track of small segments of land, and they get together with a chief cartographer to map out the province, then those guys get together and go to the royal cartographer to map out the whole known map as we know it, then it goes to a small army of artists to replicate the map quickly and effectively before getting distributed."

A cartographer doesn't sound like easy money anymore.

While a magician would almost definitely grant me nobility, most mages have to show some knack for magic to be able to get started learning it. I've been told about exceptions, but only people who had the funds for tutilage and time to practice. I think that Shup's only ability to 'bypass' the training was him practically purchasing the ability to use magic.

"By the way, I met some bandits on my way over." I tell Cheese, and give a description of the event.
>"Oh yeah those guys! They're the worst bandits, but believe it or not, the best guys there are really good fighters. Like, I wouldn't get in a fight with 'em! You probably got one of their recruits. Or maybe you're really good that's possible too!"

For inventory and brief map descriptions:
http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
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No. 692501 ID: 211d83

So wait does the world change then? Cause they should not have this many problems if the terrain is not moving around. I can see borders shifting all the time but mountains and roads and rivers stay the same right?

Shouldn't the trade equal 2 silver with no change back? Unless I am missing something.

If Shup bought his magical ability it would still be a good idea to find out how he did it. Even if you have the innate magic ability of a rock it never hurts to at least explore some options.

Well I think we have what we need from here. I think it would be safe to tell Cheese our plan of going to join the army and finding out if she has any advice. Plus find out more about warp travel and such.
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No. 692510 ID: c9b901

If 5 copper is 1 silver, then 7 copper plus 3 copper is 10 copper which is 2 silver. 3 silver minus 2 overcharges by 3 copper.

Ask her if people are going to expect you to not know basic math or be able to read because you're a barbarian.

Also ask if she could add some of the most major roads and rivers on, there, that's pretty essential map material.
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No. 692511 ID: 61fd94

>They're the worst bandits, but believe it or not, the best guys there are really good fighters.
Uh, the best and the worst bandits aren't in the same group, right? I won't have angered the best bandits by embarrassing the worst ones?
>>
No. 692526 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692491
>7 copper, plus 3 for the food trade, so, exchanging silver, you'll give me 3 silver, and I'll give you, uh... 2 copper back!
7 plus 3 is 10. 5 copper per silver is 2 silver even, isn't it? 15-2 would be 13. I mean if she wants to charge more for looking at the map that's fine but the math she gave us is wrong. Also wasn't it 4 copper for the food?

I'm guessing the graskin on the map is actually graslow.
Anyway, it seems like we're about set. Ask for info about prices you can expect in the capital, then we can go.
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No. 692532 ID: dd338c
File 145238324007.png - (26.95KB , 800x800 , 169.png )
692532

I'll investigate looking into magic when I have the chance, I'm sure I can pick up some facts while I travel.

"Do the maps change? I can see bandit movements changing, but what of the borders?"
>"Yeah those change too! Well, borders, anyway. That's why maps that just show land are cheaper, it doesn't change toooo much. But roads, smaller towns, and the people, that changes all the darn time! The good map is made for you know bigtime merchants who need to route stuff well.
"Also, those bandits, would I have angered the best ones?"
>"Eh? Sounds like you met the two leaders, so that's them! Really good fighters, just terrible at being bandits."
"Oh. Also, was it not 5 copper a silver? The math you gave me back does not add up."
>"Yeah if you wanted to convert copper to silver, you'd need to give 5 copper for a silver! But if you want to break a silver, it's 4 silver a copper. I mean, that's just if it's involving one silver, if you had ten silver, we could say 45 copper."

I'm not sure I want to argue with someone who's been hospitable to me, even if I remember what Zizi told me about merchants only being nice to swindle me.

"Alright. I am traveling to Dragonspine to join the army. I heard there are teleports every once in awhile."
>"Yep! Uh, the next one is in 4 days, I think."
"And how expensive is it to live in that capital?"
>"Like 4 copper a day for a healthy amount of food, and 3 or 4 copper for a night that isn't in a disgusting place. You could probably survive for 2 a day, though! But hey, if you're going to join the army, they'll feed you! Then feed you to the enemy! There's a difference between barbarians who get drafted and barbarians who join up, you know?"
"How so?"
>"Oh, they probably won't send you on suicide missions, but they will assume that you want to fight! Especially if you join the main dragon army."
"Do you have any advice?"

"Hey, Cheese." the mountain kobold interrupts. "I'm seeing workers come. If you're going to coddle this guy, you better start charging. Maybe he can afford it, if he has silver coin."
>>
No. 692533 ID: 61fd94

>I'm not sure I want to argue with someone who's been hospitable to me, even if I remember what Zizi told me about merchants only being nice to swindle me.
If you were going to argue / haggle over pricing, you should have done so before coins changed hands and she showed you the maps. Now all you're going to do is get your butt tossed if the guards decide you pushed it too far.

Lesson learned: make sure you've done the math first.

>"I'm seeing workers come. If you're going to coddle this guy, you better start charging. Maybe he can afford it, if he has silver coin."
I won't keep you busy if it's going to cost you customers. Thank you for the help, Cheese.

I don't think we need to spend silver on anything else, unless she has something specific she thinks we'd want...?
>>
No. 692534 ID: 211d83

So far this has been good advice. Staying around during lunch and chatting with Cheese seems like it might be worth the time and effort. Even if you do have to work a bit for it.

Tell her that you are very thankful for all the advice and if it would be ok to help her out at her stall in exchange for being able to hang out over lunch and learning more from her.

Say that while you are a ignorant barbarian you would like to learn enough to avoid making any huge blunders once you reach civilization.
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No. 692535 ID: 90f3c0

You should seek out a second source of info on coin exchange rates, if she's lying it would be an easy way for her to rip you off.
>>
No. 692538 ID: cf91e4

>if it would be ok to help her out at her stall
They kinda already said no.
>"Do you want help setting up your shop?"
>"Wha- are you offering?"
>"Yes."
>"No." says a mountain kobold.
>"You can't be trusted." says the other.

Pay for your stuff and thank her for her time.
>>
No. 692541 ID: 8894d0

She seems like a good one to get advice on finding your fortune. Can tell you if she knows of a better plan than the one you have.

Like finding a way to join the elite guards or a nice mercenary company. Or more about the arena.

Once you do leave thank her for all the help.
>>
No. 692547 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692532
Her math makes sense since you're exchanging silver to copper, and the merchant gets profit by rounding down in that case. You gave 3 silver so that's 12 copper. If any of the items involved silver directly then there wouldn't have been an exchange loss for those items. (the author) just forgot you were carrying silver, not copper, thus the confusion over the exchange rate.

Anyway, thank the merchant and go.
>>
No. 692549 ID: bb78f2

Is there a service or favor we can do that within the amount of trust we've acquired so far?
>>
No. 692609 ID: dd338c
File 145240361653.png - (60.47KB , 800x800 , 170.png )
692609

>You should seek out a second source of info on coin exchange rates
I'll be sure to ask when I get a better chance. However, I have reason to believe that if she is scamming me, it isn't to a ridiculous amount. There is no way that a silver is worth dozens of copper, as Zizi would tell me if I was holding on to that much wealth.

"Okay. Let's trade, then."

My coin bag is wrapped tightly so that it won't jingle too much when I pull it out. Even so, the mountain kobolds stare at me a bit too much as I pull out a few silver.

"Thank you for your time." I say, and sure enough, I begin to hear the commotion of many people coming up from behind me. "I'll leave you be for the time, but would you be willing to talk with me more during any lunch breaks or other time off you may have?"
>"Haha are you kidding me? Are you willing to talk to me? Do you know how many people here think I'm contagious or whatever, and just won't talk to me? I shouldn't even be a shopkeep, you know! I'm talking too much but I am so desperate for friendly banter!"
"Can you not speak with your guards, here?"
>"Don't even start!"
".... okay."
>"Uh, I mean I'm going back to the capital in time for the teleportation if you want to just hitch a ride with us and be a hired guard or something. Hired for like... food and shelter as long as you follow the rules, cause I don't have the authority to pay you. But I'd love the company!"
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No. 692618 ID: 211d83

I like the idea of tagging along with her. Gives you more time to talk and more people in case of bandits.

Go check stuff out while lunch is going on. Maybe find some more people to talk to. The more info we have on the army and such the better choices we can make.

Maybe see if that guard is awake now? Or anyone else that looks like they would chat with a horrible barbarian.
>>
No. 692619 ID: 86ff22

That sounds like it would be a good idea. Say that you intend to continue looking around, and it may be that something else will come up to demand a different plan, but it's unlikely as far as you know. If not, then you'll take her up on that. Then thank her for her time, and for being the first friendly face you've seen since you set out.
>>
No. 692622 ID: 61fd94

Well, no one was paying you to walk this road in the first place, and you have no objection to walking it with her.
>>
No. 692627 ID: dd338c
File 145240589931.png - (66.27KB , 800x800 , 171.png )
692627

"Yes, I would like that. I am going to look around, but will come back."
>"Okay!"
"And thank you, you are the first friendly face thus far."
>"Hahaha well I mean don't single me out now!"

I move around. There are a lot of people.

A lot. I knew there was supposedly a lot, but I have never seen so many people at once before. There are dozens in town, and I see many dozen more walking down the trail. I get a few glances now and then, but not a bad amount. I may not look terribly out of place, and I may just be one of many new faces. There can't be any way everyone is familiar with everyone, here.

I have no idea how to approach new people like this. Everyone is either speaking already, or looking like they don't want to speak.

I do manage to get sight at the gate. That guard is not just awake, but standing on something, appearing ot take his job seriously.
>>
No. 692638 ID: 211d83

Well slide on over to him and ask if he has a moment to chat while keeping watch.

If he is up for talking tell him you are new to town and figured he might be able to tell you more about being a guard and what the local peacekeeping forces were like.

If he asks why mention you are fresh out of the wilds and trying to learn more about how to make a living in civilized lands. You had been pointed to the army but want to learn more before you go that route.
>>
No. 692640 ID: cf8d7a

You won't get anything if you don't ask for it. So go over and ask him about his job.

Maybe he is busy watching for trouble and wont have time to chat but you never know.
>>
No. 692646 ID: dd338c
File 145241546969.png - (24.54KB , 800x800 , 172.png )
692646

The guard may be more willing to speak than random northerners, so that is who I go towards.

"Hello."
>"Good afternoon."
"I would like to ask about your job. I understand if you are too busy."
>"Does it look like I'm busy?"

....

>"'cause I'm not."
"I've just came from the Shroomleaf forest. I am considering the army, but I want to learn more about making a living in this empire before I make a certain decision."
>"An ex savage, huh? Asking about my job?"
"Yes."
>"You don't think I was in the army, kid?"
"These are the things I would like to learn about."
>"Hah, right, right. Listen up and listen well then, my barbarian acquaintance. Up here, we like to fight. Anyone who's anyone has either been in the army, or can do magic. Men, woman, tall ones, short ones, doesn't matter, near everyone's got experience in their local militia at the very least. You see all these fine folk you see coming in town to relax? They can fight better than you think, but most of them haven't joined a real army before. No matter how much I look down on the cowards, I still hope that every single last one of them is happy with where they're at right now, because right now is where they'll be till the day they die. So here's the bottom line for you. If you want a cushiony, boring job like mine, you get in a respectable army for some years and make some connections. If you don't want to fight for your life, then you'd be better off asking these talented farmers for advice on their jobs, not me on mine."
>>
No. 692647 ID: 211d83

And what if I don't want a cushy job? What if I want to reach for the stars and make a name for myself? Find fame and fortune even though it might cost me my life?

What would be the best path for someone with those sort of ambitions?
>>
No. 692648 ID: cf8d7a

Ok then what sort of advice would you give a young ambitious guy who wants to become a noble someday?

And for some crazy reason has to do it before the end of the year?
>>
No. 692649 ID: bb78f2

>>692646
I just want to get noble quick and dirty so I can offer a awesome noble girl an alternative to saving her family from going not noble, basically.

Which means capital to buy a nobility, I think.
>>
No. 692662 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692646
Ask a leading question like, "What if I wanted to aim higher than that?"
DO NOT let slip that you're straight up trying to become a noble.
>>
No. 692711 ID: dd338c
File 145245071436.png - (106.71KB , 800x800 , 173.png )
692711

"I don't need a cushy job. What if I want to reach higher, and faster?"
>"Get off that thought. If you reach too high too fast, the only thing you'll grab are the worms from your grave. If you want to test if you'll be the one out of a million other people with the same ideas, then keep it simple. Join the Dragon Army and tell 'em you want to make a name for yourself. All you need to do from there on out is live. Wait a second, you from Zizi's tribe?"

That gets the attention of a couple others in close earshot.
>>
No. 692712 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692711
Say something like "I'd prefer not to be associated with them."
>>
No. 692713 ID: c3e932

'Ha ha... what makes you think that?'
>>
No. 692714 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692713
Probably the white eyes that only Zizi/Fen's tribe has.

My theory is that they're all magic resistant.
>>
No. 692716 ID: 86ff22

"That... depends. Would that be good, or bad?"
>>
No. 692717 ID: 211d83

Why do I keep getting asked that? Who is this Zizi guy?
>>
No. 692720 ID: 61fd94

>>692646
That sounds... like I don't really believe him. I think he's exaggerating how tough the citizens around here are to try and discourage you from trying anything.

>Wait a second, you from Zizi's tribe?
Let's avoid the fame and notoriety this time.

Who? Sorry, don't know him. The different forest tribes don't really talk to each other much.

If they push you on the white eyes, lie. It's not one tribe, it's how far you live from the center of the forest. The further in your tribe lives, the yellower they get.

Where do you guys get these ideas? Was this Zizi guy telling stories about his tribe being special or something?
>>
No. 692721 ID: 4171d1

"Yeah, and I don't intend to let that arse hog all the fame and glory."
Better to come off as an envious member of Zizi's tribe than the alternative, perhaps?

Might work as an excuse as to why you're so insistent on climbing the ranks, too.
>>
No. 692722 ID: 91ee5f

>>692711
Say, "Zizi? Who's she?"

Pretend you don't know Zizi's gender, that'll make it easier to convince everyone that you don't know who Zizi is. And if they go into more detail, then we can find out what it is that Zizi did that got him so famous.
>>
No. 692723 ID: 623d08

>>692721
Oh, I like this one. "I'm tired of being 'Zizi's tribe'. I want it to become known as 'Fen's tribe'!"
>>
No. 692726 ID: bb78f2

>>692711
No, rival tribe. I'd like to know what's gotten everyone up in arms over Zizi though. All information I've gotten from my own tribe's scouts describes the one we know as Zizi as a lazy warrior that does nothing but lay in the sun all day... okay, I also know that when he DOES fight us, we haven't won against him once but some warriors are just lucky like that. Actually, and I quote "There's this super lucky and spiky green motherfucker who keeps getting our meat and dodging our traps, and it's NOT you Fen, stop smirking you shit."

This is the SECOND time I've been asked this question, and it's annoying. I didn't think too much of it the first time, but something tells me I'm going to be asked it constantly.
>>
No. 692742 ID: 86ff22

Let's not be a liar if we can avoid it. We don't just want to reach as high as we can go, we want to build a reputation that makes Fen admirable and attractive and so on, someone a lady could love. Obviously we will have to pull some dick moves on the way up, but we should keep it to a minimum. Keeping good habits on the small stuff helps you stay in good habits for the big stuff.

Also, building a reputation for honesty will be very helpful when you really need to lie. Gotta think ahead, too. The adventure won't stop once Fen's a noble. The old-nobility won't ever like him much for being an upstart, so he'll have to build his powerbase from being popular with the lower orders, and he should think forward about setting that up all through his ascent.
>>
No. 692843 ID: dd338c
File 145247884613.png - (48.96KB , 800x800 , 174.png )
692843

I don't like to lie about things that are important to me. I am sure I will lie at some point, but I would like to avoid this. I will try to avoid direct answers towards my relation with him.

"I am continually asked that. Zizi's tribe is not the only one with white eyes."
>"Really? What made you think it was the white eyes?"
"Because you are not the first one to ask me if I was related to Zizi in some way. I know very little about him." That is less of a lie than I would like.
>"Well, you better get used to hearing about the guy, cause he really set up a high standard for you dirt rollers."
"I'm hoping to not live under his shadow."
>"You'll have to do more than hope, cause there aren't any rogue dragon knights to slay these days."
"I am not familiar with dragon knights."
>"Immortal, first generation draconic kobolds that founded the empire."
"That only makes me have more questions."
>"All you need to know is don't piss 'em off."
>>
No. 692844 ID: dd338c
File 145247885662.png - (72.65KB , 800x800 , 175.png )
692844

"I dunno 'bout you." someone from behind me says, walking forward. "Empire likes to keep eyes on the barbarians, ya know, make sure they're not banding together or nothin'. An' I pay attention to this stuff, bein' so close to the border ya know, an' as far as anyone has seen or I've heard, there's only the one white eye tribe."
"We don't know what causes it. What if I am related to Zizi, though, is that not a good thing?"

He spits.

"You listen, I got half a mind to kick your ass right now. I had family in the rebellion, and if Zizi didn't lop off its head too early, they might still be alive now. And you know what, the other half of mind is to kick your ass just for thinking you can walk into the empire like we take in forest trash."
>"If you guys have something to settle, keep it a clean fight." says the guard. "If one of you ends up crippled or dead, I'll see to it the other one ends up just as bad, too."
"It's not worth it, then. Just get out of here, barbarian, we don't want your ty-"
>"Darken your tongue, you filthy worker. If you have the energy to fight, you didn't work hard enough. Go play and rest, while I do my job."
"Look at his clothes, fresher than us workers, and fresher than him! You think he doesn't have stolen goods in that bigass backpack of his?"
>"You really wanna push me, huh? Sure, I can search 'im, and if he's just holding food and sticks in that pack, you'll be the town's finger pointing asshole. How about it, Barbarian, mind if I rummage through your pack?"
>>
No. 692846 ID: 61fd94

>Immortal, first generation draconic kobolds that founded the empire.
Huh. So the first generation of kobolds born from the death of a great beast are immortal? If they can be slain, I guess they're elf-type immortal- just no death of natural causes / old ages / illness. Something has to kill 'em.

>How about it, Barbarian, mind if I rummage through your pack?
If they search you, they'll probably make a big deal over the dragon cloth. We should avoid being searched, if possible.

"I don't have to be particularly savvy to know if you accuse me of having stolen something, I have no way to prove I own in fairly. Unless you have more of a reason to search me than indulging his anger, I would prefer not to engage in such foolishness.

I am sorry for the death of your kin, and I wish no quarrel with you."
>>
No. 692847 ID: 162ab6

Hmm... if I'm right, the only possibly dangerous things for him to see in your pack are your silver and Lily's cloth.

Say yes, but only if you and he can move off to the side so others can't see. You don't want anyone taking a chance on grabbing something or to get ideas about ambushing you for your stuff later. Once you have moved off, you can whisper to him that you are actually Zizi's brother, since the guard seems trustworthy, and that he gave you your money. You can also tell him about the cloth, and that it was given to you. If he seems suspicious, you can ask him how he thinks a forest barbarian could have possibly stolen it.
>>
No. 692849 ID: 211d83

I would rather not to be honest. Letting anyone in sight knowing what I am carrying seems like a bad idea. Even if it is just food and traveling supplies.

If you do insist it would have to be in private. I already had to fight off some bandits to get here and would rather not have anyone get any ideas about following me out of town so they can rob me.
>>
No. 692853 ID: 162ab6

If you do get privacy for him to search your bag, you could even just say "Zizi gave me a few things to take with me, and I didn't want anyone to see them", and let him believe that the cloth is included in that. If Zizi did things like what was just mentioned, it wouldn't be unbelievable that he could have had such a thing.
>>
No. 692923 ID: bb78f2

>>692844
I did just buy some stuff from Cheese, one of your merchants so there's more than food and sticks. Got a map and some coin, just a little though, the trade cleaned me out. Please do not tell me I was swindled by the "Shit rots outside its home region", because that sort of made sense considering the travel advice I was given at home, but my advisor was vague as shit on details.
>>
No. 692957 ID: 5ad4a7

>>692844
Tell him you'd rather fight than be searched. Time for a demonstration of your prowess.
>>
No. 692964 ID: cf91e4

>>692844
He's just being pushy because he thinks he's stronger because he's bigger. You'd like to show him which of the two of you measures up better. If he's got more guts than gut, he'll accept accept a formal challenge from a barbarian.
>>
No. 692974 ID: c3e932

Yeah if you let them search that's just going to be a lot more questions considering the cloth you have obtained from Lily, You may have to fight.
>>
No. 692984 ID: 0099e1

This guy seems to respect strength so stand up for yourself. Fighting him on the other hand would just be silly. No need to escalate things just yet.

Yes I do mind. I don't like being accused of being a thief just because some farmhand with a grudge is envious of my clothes.
>>
No. 693035 ID: 91ee5f

>>692844
(Just to clarify, this is aimed at the pissed off guy, not the guard.)

"Everyone here seems to stereotype me as an idiot who only knows how to fight and steal. Where I come from we stereotype all of you as intelligent and honest. But as you can see, there's exceptions to both stereotypes. Sure, I don't know much, but I am smart enough to know how to avoid pointless fights, like the one you're trying to start. If anything, I'm the one who's acting civilized and you're the one acting like a barbarian. A childish one I might add, considering the fact that you're trying to use violence to solve your problems instead of words. Besides, I was told I would always be accused of stealing, even if I actually paid for something. So if I show you what's in my bag, what's going to stop you from claiming I stole something? Actually, what's to stop you from claiming what's in my bag belongs to you and you say I stole it from you? No, I refuse to fight you and I refuse to show you what's in my bag. Oh and before you say I'm trying to hide something, which I know you will, continuously accusing me will only prove that you're trying to start a pointless fight based only on the fact of who I am and where I came from. Now, unless you have anything meaningful to add to the conversation, I must be on my way. Have a nice day."
>>
No. 693098 ID: 211d83

Make sure you get close and whisper back before talking.

A noble friend. If you can keep a secret I will consider telling you the tale.

But if you can't its probably better you don't know.

And before you ask it was a gift freely given. So no one is chasing after me looking for it.
>>
No. 693100 ID: 162ab6

"That was the one I was worried about, yes. Our mother told me that if I showed that further north, muggers and so on would be less likely to bother me, as only nobles or people connected to them would normally possess such a thing. I assume she got that from Zizi."

You'll intend "assume she got that from zizi" to refer to the information, but with luck he'll take it to mean she got the cloth from him, too.
>>
No. 693102 ID: dd338c
File 145256032685.png - (63.52KB , 800x800 , 176.png )
693102

"I'd rather fight him than be searched for no reason."
>"You hear that, farmer? He wants to fight you."
"Does that mean I can break a bone or two?"
>"No."
"Then it's pointless."
>"Sorry, outsider. I answered your questions, so consider this repaying the favor. It'll just take a second."
"Fine, but only if the search be done in private."
>"Got something to hide, buddy?"
"All I got from this town are local rations, which I purchased from your merchant. Is privacy a difficult request when the accuser has no proof?"
>"Naw, I'm just testing ya for cracks. Come on, I'll show you to privacy."

He leads me away from the farmer's hmphs and into a nearby tent right by the entrance. It looks more like his house.

>"This is my house. Don't get too comfy, there isn't much. Normally I'd show you in first, but I'm just going through this for an excuse to punch that guy when you got nothin', so let's do this."
"By the way, I am Zizi's brother. I wished to hide this, since I would like to keep my enemies at a minimum. Most of my gear is from my family, including him."
>"That so? You got the look but you're nothin' like him. Well, whatever, it doesn't matter to me too much. Just set your bag down there."
"Fine. By the way, food does rot outside of its home region, correct?"
>"Huh?"

...
>>
No. 693103 ID: dd338c
File 145256033472.png - (18.98KB , 800x800 , 177.png )
693103

>"Yeah, that's right. And quit looking so mad, alright? You look like that asshole plantfondler out there, and no one likes him."
"Then why are you entertaining his wishes?"
>"Cause I wanted an excuse to look through your stuff, because you wouldn't be the first outsider to try and get comfy with the guards so that we wouldn't be looking when the swiping starts. But hey, it just looks like you got appropriate food, here, like you said. Not too much. You gotta loosen up. Try to visit the big tent tonight when people stop working for the day, get to know 'em. Anyway, you got anything else to come clean about, before I check out what's in this bag that looks like a nice-"
>>
No. 693104 ID: dd338c
File 145256034129.png - (21.78KB , 800x800 , 178.png )
693104

He yanks his hand out like he got bit by a bad bug.

>"Like where you got this cloth from?!" he whispers at the highest volume a whisper would allow.
>>
No. 693105 ID: 61fd94

>Like where you got this cloth from?!
Be completely casual about it.

From Lord Shup's betrothed. The Lord's party passed through our forest recently, and inspired me to leave myself, and seek out the army. (Half truth, we're leaving out your interest in Lily).

I think you can understand why I didn't want to show it off in public. And I don't think I could have possibly stolen anything like this from the farmers around here.
>>
No. 693106 ID: 5ad4a7

It's a gift. You made a good friend who happens to be very rich, and they gave it to you so you could eventually get something nice to wear made out of it. You were hoping to keep it hidden until you got further north, where it would keep people from bothering you as much.
>>
No. 693113 ID: bb78f2

>>693104
Noble girl, Lord Shup's wife to be. She took an interest in our tribe, so Shup and her came out with a convoy. We became good friends, and she gave me this as a gift.

I have no method to prove this story, just that it is the truth. I know the choas it would bring should word get out that something like this is in town. If it IS stolen, it's too hot to fence, too hot to keep in an evidence locker, too hot to wear or fashion it into something. It's pricelessness actually, in form, makes it worthless beyond personal value.
>>
No. 693120 ID: b6178d

>>693104

Be brutally honest.

Tell him you were gifted the cloth from a very kind and lovely lady from a noble family who visited the forest and stayed with your tribe for a week this spring. You're currently headed to the capital in your quest to become a noble, so that you can find some way to properly express your feelings to her and annul her end-of-winter engagement to Lord Shup. You're not sure how you will manage, probably either from getting into the Dragon Army in Dragon's Fall or the gladiatorial bouts at the capital, but you are going to try.

Clean enough?
>>
No. 693123 ID: 13ac27

he is probably not gonna buy the truth,sounds outlandish as heck. try lying and telling him your brother or family had it for a long time and gave it to you.if not, just be honest as you possibly can.
>>
No. 693129 ID: dd338c
File 145257468059.png - (73.30KB , 800x800 , 179.png )
693129

"A gift, from a noble."
>"That must have been a long story."
"Lord Shup's wife to be. She came with Shup some time ago, soon after winter. She left me with this as a gift."
>"If you didn't have white eyes, I'd probably throw you in a cell, barbarian, for a blatant goddamn lie."
"If I lied, I would say that it was Zizi's gift to me."
>"Ha! Then I would know you were full of it! Zizi had a noble title ready with his name already on it, and he walks off right back to his home without even healing his scars, a couple of which he got for not wearing the right armor 'cause it was too flashy for him! Like hell he'd ever bother with something like dragon cloth. But hey, I'm not his brother. What did you do to earn a piece like this from a noble lady?"
"Nothing. She simply... she was lovely and kind. At best, she found it admirable that I was inspired by Shup's arrival, and was not happy with my life in the forest. In any case, this is priceless for me as a gift, not for its monetary value."
>"Friend, that 'monetary' worth is more than some family of peasants makes in their lifetime, and that life of comfort is beyond monetary value. I don't know if you're the biggest dumbass to carry it like this around here, or just think it's that important to you."
"I was told that if I wore it more up north, bandits would be less likely to attempt to assault me."
>"Yeah, you'd lose the attention of bandits, but gain the attention of more dangerous people. The only people who wear this are nobles and royal guards. There's no law saying you can't, but damn your head if you aren't aware of the message that would send."

He puts his hand on my shoulder.

>"But I like your attitude, barbarian. Just know how easy it would have been to slip a knife in your back and take this for myself, and think about that the next time you put yourself in a position to be searched, you hear me? As hot as dragon cloth may be, there's a lot of people who will do some dumb things in the hopes of coming out covered in gold at the finish line. And by the sounds of it, you're one of them. But hey, I think I've lectured you long enough you think?"
>>
No. 693131 ID: ea60ef

"Perhaps. I'm beginning to think I should be given a few more lectures, but you've already been more than generous enough to me. Particularly so, considering what the common attitude toward barbarians seems to be. Thank you."
>>
No. 693133 ID: bb78f2

>>693129
Perhaps it's time to leave, I'll likely irritate too much of the populace if that worker is going to start spreading rumors, which he probably will.
>>
No. 693134 ID: 211d83

Honestly I could probably use a good lecture. This is literally my first day out in the world and I need to learn as much as I can as fast as I can.

I have a few weeks worth of training as a soldier and a brother who told me less than nothing about life up here. So any advice from someone who has gone down this road would be appreciated.

A half hour talking to you is probably better than days chatting with random farmers I meet along the way to the capitol.
>>
No. 693141 ID: 91ee5f

>>693129
Hey! I may be a dumbass for carrying this around, but I'd like to think that I'm smarter than other barbarians I've seen walking around naked with a big club saying, "Unga bunga! Me smash puny head!"
>>
No. 693145 ID: e34813

Lectures beat object lessons.
>>
No. 693340 ID: 8c66a6

>>693129
I might not be as easy to stab as you think, but I take your point. I need to work on keeping a lower profile, I can't keep explaining myself to everyone I come across and hoping they will all be trustworthy.

Maybe you need to modify your pack, later. Hide the dragoncloth beneath a false bottom?
>>
No. 693355 ID: 5ad4a7

>>693129
Probably. Wanna spar?

Hmm. If you can't wear the dragon cloth visibly, then what the hell are we going to do with it? Seems inappropriate to make it into underwear.
>>
No. 693411 ID: dd338c
File 145266191764.png - (18.58KB , 800x800 , 180.png )
693411

>Hide the dragoncloth beneath a false bottom?
I may look into this, but I doubt I can personally craft one that would look convincing. It would already be difficult, since the cloth is thick and doesn't take a small amount of space.

"Is that farmer going to spread rumors about me?"
>"He can try, but you're not the only savage in town, and no one likes that guy, barbarian or farmer."
"Okay. I don't think I'm as easy to stab as you may think, but I understand your point. I also am not against lectures; they are invaluable for me. I was told a great deal of nothing in preparation, and talking with you for half an hour would be more informative than days with these farmers, I think. Thank you for your kindness in place of where others look down on my kind."
>"Hey, don't get sappy on me, it's my job to keep the peace."
"You are doing a good job."
>"What did I just say, savage! But hey thanks."
"Sorry. Would you like to spar?"
>"What? Guards aren't training dummies."
"I know this. I'm not demanding this of you, it's only a request."
>"People are going to have the wrong idea if they see us fighting, friend. And even if not, I'm still on duty. Now when I'm off duty, if you buy me a drink tonight, I'll tell you a story or two and even make it educational. And if you want to get some respect, go clean yourself up, you're getting my ground dirty. There's a river 20 minutes west. And unless you bathe with your backpack on, you can leave your stuff with me if you're more comfortable with that."
>>
No. 693412 ID: 0e2750

>>693411
I we're still in town tonight, we probably do owe him a drink.
>>
No. 693413 ID: 211d83

Mention you were thinking of traveling with Cheese's caravan back to the city so you could have some safety in numbers and someone to chat with during the trip but if she is not leaving today that sounds like a good plan.

Mention the bandit attack and if wandering off to the river is safe with them lusting for revenge.
>>
No. 693419 ID: bb78f2

>>693411
20 minutes west? We're surrounded by deadly, magic grass protected by monsters and bandits that know how to hide in it without triggering the monsters.

How much are drinks in this town?
Also, be careful, due might be setting you up for a robbery. Might be feeding you a line a bullshit and kindness like he thought maybe you were, so be careful. A man is most vulnerable when he is bathing.
>>
No. 693422 ID: 91ee5f

If we're going to leave with Cheese, then we can't get him that drink. But we could give him the money for a drink, if that still counts as getting him a drink.
>>
No. 693459 ID: 5ad4a7

>>693411
Leave your stuff with him and go wash up. If he wanted to steal the cloth he could just take it from you right here right now, and it'd be his word against yours that you didn't steal it.

One thing is vaguely worrying, what if the farmer attacks you while you're bathing? Ask him exactly how far you would be allowed to go in defending yourself.
Also do we have 40-50 minutes to spare? When exactly is Cheese leaving?
>>
No. 693543 ID: 007e78

You should probably get his name. (And give him yours, if you didn't already).

>>693422
Actually, Cheese didn't give us an exact departure time. If the caravan is leaving say, in the morning, we might be able to. (Or if we just planned to catch up, assuming we could travel further alone than the group could).
>>
No. 693682 ID: dd338c
File 145274873870.png - (89.02KB , 800x800 , 181.png )
693682

"Alright, I will leave it in your care. What is your name?" I ask of him, while I know I have given him mine earlier.
>"Moss. You know where to find me when you want your bag back."
"I am planning on leaving with Cheese, and I don't know when she intends on departing."
>"You can bet late tonight after everyone goes to bed. A lot of people are getting paid today, so a lot of purses are untied."
"In that case, I understand. What if the farmer attacks me while I bathe?"
>"Then you can give him another black eye."
"I was also attacked by bandits. Is there any chance of them lying in wait?"
>"No, it's the same river everyone else uses, so it's way too populated for bandits to touch. There's safety in numbers."
"That's why I'm leaving with Cheese."
>"Odd choice, but I won't judge much. Now let's get out of here before the town starts thinking something's going on."
"Final question. How much are drinks?"
>"Ahahh, good question. One copper'll get you a good amount. Two will get some good food. And three... well, I'd be surprised if they had anything worth three. People will trade smaller goods for smaller denominations, but that's a different game."
"Alright. Thank you, Moss."
>"Anytime, unless I'm busy. Speaking of which, come with me."

He locks my backpack away in a chest, including my coin purse, and starts pushing me out of the tent. I'm not sure what he is doing, but he isn't being forceful with his pushes.
>>
No. 693683 ID: dd338c
File 145274874707.png - (86.07KB , 800x800 , 182.png )
693683

We don't get far before the farmer is nearby.

"Ha, he did have something, didn't he?!"
>"About that! All of you, gather around! This farmer had the courtesy to accuse this barbarian of stealing and looting from the country side! And what do we say to barbarians like that?!

There's a lot of people nearby, and by the time Moss stops speaking, there's a lot of people that start booing. I may be in trouble, but Moss's actions don't match up with backstabbing me now of all times, so I just stand glaring.

>"Silence!... That's right! And what do we say to local farmers who accuse barbarians of crimes with no evidence?!"

The crowd remains quiet.
>>
No. 693684 ID: dd338c
File 145274879648.png - (66.88KB , 800x800 , 183.png )
693684

>"We tell them to shut their goddamned mouths and quit causing trouble! We take barbarians on a case by case basis, and this one's fine!"

He punches the farmer to a sound between a thud and a crack.
>>
No. 693685 ID: dd338c
File 145274880755.png - (71.59KB , 800x800 , 184.png )
693685

The farmer skids back on the ground, rolling with limp limbs. He was knocked out.

>"Keep on not causing trouble, and I'll keep calling you friend, alright?"
>>
No. 693689 ID: 211d83

I would have said keep your sword with you at all times but if Moss is convinced you don't have to worry then should be ok.

Plus you need plenty of practice in unarmed combat so if something does come up its a learning experience.

So go clean up but keep a eye out for trouble or friends of that idiot.
>>
No. 693747 ID: 5ad4a7

>>693685
Yes sir.
>>
No. 693797 ID: 3d2d5f

>black eye
Interesting word choice, since fuzzbolds shouldn't get them. Fur don't bruise.

>>693684
>>693685
I don't think Moss made you any friends in that crowd today. Still, we should probably trust he knows the right balance of intimidation to keep the people around here behaved.

>>"Keep on not causing trouble, and I'll keep calling you friend, alright?"
I don't plan on causing any, friend.
>>
No. 693833 ID: 0099e1

Tell him that he has a deal.

That was a interesting display of frontier law. While they probably handle stuff a bit differently in the big city you can learn some good lessons from that.

I think the biggest thing is to watch your use of force. If someone attacks you with fists try to respond in kind if possible. Is a lot easier to explain some black eyes or bruises to a constable than a chopped off arm.

Once you join the army or arena or some mercenary guild you should have some protection. Until then be careful around authority figures because you are bottom on the totem pole until you get some status under your belt. Moss could have very easily been some thug who let his position go to his head.
>>
No. 693836 ID: f79998

"Deal, friend. I just hope no-one else is going to want to cause trouble, after that."
>>
No. 693847 ID: 91ee5f

>>693682
>"Then you can give him another black eye."
Wait, what? Another? But he doesn't already have a-

>>693684
Oh.....Oh, now I get it! He was telling us that he was going to punch that guy! Clever! XD

>>693685
"Yes, sir!"
>>
No. 693933 ID: dd338c
File 145281840093.png - (90.66KB , 800x800 , 185.png )
693933

I still have my sword. While there is merit in unarmed combat, I am not willing to leave my sword behind to practice it.

>Furbolds can't get a blackeye
The term blackeye is still used to describe a bruised eye, since all other kobolds do get a visual bruising.

"Yes, friend. Moreso, I am hoping no one else would want to cause trouble after that."
>"Not unless they want the same treatment."

I leave to take a bath. The path is frequented by others, and even the dirt is hard from being stepped on by so many people. Some other barbarians cross my paths. We stare ahead, not making eye contact. Furthermore, I trail another kobold headed on the same path, who never bothers looking behind him despite that I am not walking quietly.
>>
No. 693934 ID: dd338c
File 145281844079.png - (63.26KB , 800x800 , 186.png )
693934

As Moss said, there is a river this way, and the crops are fenced off leaving grass to grow up until the river. There are many people bathing or gathering water upstream, and I see some children chasing one another.
>>
No. 693936 ID: 5ad4a7

>>693934
wosh u body
>>
No. 693941 ID: f79998

Hmm. Seems like underpants are in fashion. Do you have underpants, Fen?

Because those other barbarians walking back the other way looked like they didn't, and they also looked like they were still dirty. Maybe they got turned away for improper modesty?
>>
No. 693947 ID: 33e63a

God you are filthy. Go find a quiet spot and wash up.
>>
No. 693948 ID: 007e78

>>693934
Give the others and their kids a little bit of space, so as to be nonthreatening.

At least lots of witnesses and the presence of families / children mean you're less likely to see any aggression.

Make sure you bathe downstream of the people gathering water for drinking / cooking / whatever. It would be rude to put your dirt in their mouths!
>>
No. 693950 ID: 5ad4a7

...oh, you should probably ask if there's some sort of proper procedure.
>>
No. 693953 ID: 33e63a

Also keep your sword on while bathing. Or at least within arms reach at all times. Get used to never being without it.
>>
No. 693957 ID: bb78f2

>>693934
Anyone catch your eye?

I know you have strong feelings for Lily, but, like, extremely low odds stopping the wedding in time with a nobleship of your own, and even then she may deny you over Shup. Your mostly using your feelings for her as inspiration to move on, adventure and become something more than what you were, so like... maybe you'll meet someone special here or elsewhere on your journey, so don't be too shy man!

Though I guess you shouldn't be creepin' here either. So look but don't creep.
>>
No. 693959 ID: cf91e4

>keep your sword on while bathing
No. Intentionally getting your sword wet while you have no way of oiling it is one of the worst things you can do quality wise.

Leave it on the shore. The people seem honorable enough, and openly stealing from someone (even a barbarian) is probably a no-go.
>>
No. 694015 ID: b88e47

Head downstream so you don't get everyone's water dirty.
>>
No. 694016 ID: bb78f2

>>694015
Maybe you should take a bucket instead, or handbathe yourself since you don't have a bucket, Fen. Or use your shirt as a sponge/towel and give you a shirtbath, which is like spongebath.
Bathing downstream will just get you covered in THIER filth.
>>
No. 694082 ID: c74b84

>>694016

It goes in filth order, filthiest people downstream, cleaner people upstream. Fen is pretty filthy compared to everyone already in the river so he should go downstream.
>>
No. 694083 ID: 91ee5f

>>693934
If you take your clothes off, make sure you keep them close by. Because we REALLY don't want someone to come and steal your clothes while you're bathing! DX
>>
No. 694198 ID: dd338c
File 145291090668.png - (30.20KB , 800x800 , 187.png )
694198

>Anyone catch your eye?
No one appears to be out of the ordinary.

>Anyone catch your eye in an attractive way?
No one. Although I would be lying if I said that I only found Lily to be attractive, Lily is the only one that I felt strongly for outside of my direct family. Furthermore, most of the people here are field kobolds.

>wosh u body
I remain within the clearing so that I have a wide field of vision from any approachers, but I do head more downstream than most others.

I notice that there is no one not wearing any underwear. Although I do have a softer cloth underneath my shorts, I was not expecting to have to wear them. Nonetheless, they are durable, and should not react unfavorably being wet, other than taking me longer to dry.

My sword and clothes are left at the shoreline, but I do wade far into the river, only enough to be able to submerge myself while lying down. I make sure there is no one approaching me, swimming to me from behind, or that no birds are overhead. I begin simply washing myself with my hands.

>"Ewwww!" a child cries out nearby. I look over, and see many people swimming to the edge of the river, or exitting it entirely.
>>
No. 694199 ID: dd338c
File 145291091394.png - (43.17KB , 800x800 , 188.png )
694199

I do the same, if only to stand out. However, soon I see the reason, as a rotten corpse floats down the river. Everyone upstream starts reentering the river as the corpse clears out.
>>
No. 694200 ID: dd338c
File 145291092263.png - (21.83KB , 800x800 , 189.png )
694200

I do the same, although only for a moment, as I am nearly done.

Apparently this is not seen as anything more than a mild inconvenience. The people go back to swimming, fishers fishing, and children playing.

Once I finish, I begin putting on my clothes.

>"Hey, what're you doing?!" a girl calls out nearby.
>>
No. 694201 ID: dd338c
File 145291098258.png - (31.18KB , 800x800 , 190.png )
694201

I look over to her, and it does appear that she is calling out to me.

"I was bathing, but now I am done."

She laughs.

>"What's the dang point if you're just going to put those filthy clothes back on? I saw you just leave them there! Where are you from, Goldyard?"
>>
No. 694202 ID: 47160d

getting ready for you!
>>
No. 694203 ID: 211d83

To be honest this is my first time in civilized lands. I am traveling to the capitol to find a job and realized I had a bit to much of the wild covering me. Sadly have no spare clothes at the moment.

Washing your clothes lightly in the river might be a good idea. But sort of depends on what they are made of and how long it takes to dry. If you do it quickly can bask in the sun for a bit.
>>
No. 694204 ID: 007e78

>What's the dang point if you're just going to put those filthy clothes back on?
*Shrug* Well, I'm cleaner than I was.

I suppose you could wash your clothes too, but then you'd have to wait for them to dry. Dunno if you want to take the time for that?

>Goldyard
Shroomleaf, actually.
>>
No. 694205 ID: c74b84

"I don't have any other clothes, and these won't wash well with just water. I'd buy some more, but once I leave this area, any made here will decay quickly, won't they? So I should wait until I'm somewhere I intend to stay for a while."
>>
No. 694215 ID: 5ad4a7

>>694201
>Goldleaf
Yeah, somewhere around there.
Well, if we're to wash the clothes, how long would they take to dry? Gonna have to wait around. I guess we could watch people fish in the meantime. Or do some fishing if we can borrow a fishing rod.

I saw some racks to dry clothes on.

>>694204
>shroomleaf
Ahh, we shouldn't keep saying that. There's only one white-eyed tribe in Shroomleaf, and we're trying to distance ourselves from Zizi.
>>
No. 694280 ID: dd338c
File 145292679384.png - (22.38KB , 800x800 , 191.png )
694280

I decide to just ignore the last question.

"My shirt and shorts are not intended to be dunked in water, and they may shrink."
>"So are you going to end up wearing a coat of dirt held together with leather?"
"They only get so dirty."
>"Oh gods, that's awful! No one's gonna want you around if you have that mentality."
"These are my only clothes, and I don't wish to lay here all evening waiting for a single set of clothes to dry."
>"Ugh, you here to stay?"
"No, I'm headed towards the capital. These clothes will be rotting quickly, I assume."
>"Looks like they'd last a month or two, three if you take good care of 'em. Just clean your damn shirt, you being clean just makes your clothes look even worse!"

She starts getting closer to me, like she's about to yank my shirt from my hands.
>>
No. 694282 ID: 6de7d9

Say ok. Worse comes to worse you can just go about topless, or buy a shirt if that gets problematic.
>>
No. 694283 ID: 211d83

She does have a point. That and you being that filthy screams "barbarian" to everyone who sees you. I think its worth the time to clean and dry your clothes. Will help you blend in better.

Let her help if she insists.
>>
No. 694285 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh my god fine. Back off lady, I'll wash the shirt.
>>
No. 694295 ID: bb78f2

>>694280
Just do it Fin.
>>
No. 694347 ID: 007e78

Cave in, wash your shirt before she can.

It won't kill you to go topless for a little while.
>>
No. 694507 ID: dd338c
File 145299582373.png - (31.66KB , 800x800 , 192.png )
694507

I take a large step back.

"Okay! I will wash my clothes. Are those drying racks available to anyone?"
>"Yeah, just don't be an ass about using it."

She walks off, leaving me to wonder why she found this to be such a big deal. She doesn't insist on helping me, but I have a feeling she's going to make sure that I do it.

I wash my clothes.
>>
No. 694510 ID: dd338c
File 145299589733.png - (36.44KB , 800x800 , 193.png )
694510

The sun is soft in this land, and I feel like it will take longer to dry than it would on top of the forest at home.

I stand and wait, but I get impatient. I have a lot to do in a single year, and I will get nothing by doing nothing. There are some fishers, and I see a few people sparring near the crop fields. There is no one guarding the clothes, just individuals using it as well before going back to other activities.

Perhaps, I should do something. However, I was told that northerners take great value in clothing, and if that is true, these people must be seen as low class. If I were to lose my clothes, I may be rejected by the army as being too indecent.

A) Approach a fisher about finding a spare fishing rod
B) Join the sparring session
C) Go back to the break town
D) Stand vigilant and guard the clothes
D) Other
>>
No. 694517 ID: 5ad4a7

>>694510
Nobody keeping watch over the clothing makes it sound like nobody's worried about clothes being stolen.
Keep in mind you have money, which you can use to buy more clothes if yours DO for some reason get stolen.

Go spar.
>>
No. 694518 ID: 007e78

I think those topless girlbolds behind you will be suitably vigilant in making sure their own clothes don't get stolen that you can trust that yours will be safe.

B.
>>
No. 694522 ID: 211d83

Could always ask the lady that bothered you earlier if its safe to leave your clothes here to dry. Or one of the ladies behind you.

As long as you stay nearby they should be safe.

I am torn between sparing and fishing. You need more fighting experience but fishing would save you food money and you could chat with the fishermen and learn stuff about the area. Plus if you catch extra fish might be able to sell the extra.
>>
No. 694526 ID: 6de7d9

I dunno, stealing your clothes could be exactly the thing that someone who wants to get at you without drawing that guard's ire would do.

Stand vigilant. You'll have to do your share of guard duty in the army, Fen, so get practice in now.
>>
No. 694546 ID: c22069

>>694510
As much as I want to say Guard the Clothes, it looks like you'll also earn a mistaken reputation for ogling changers.

A)Fishing.
You can chat up some of the locals, get some fishing pointers and maybe catch a meal. The whole "Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" and such.
>>
No. 694567 ID: f7a64f

I would agree that things are fine if both those bolds werent looking directly at Fen for some reason.

Assume they'll take your clothes if you leave them and don't go far enough away you can't see them.
>>
No. 694674 ID: 91ee5f

>>694510
Stay and guard your precious (and only) clothing!
>>
No. 694681 ID: dd338c
File 145301371091.png - (35.89KB , 800x800 , 194.png )
694681

>I think those topless girlbolds behind you will be suitably vigilant in making sure their own clothes don't get stolen that you can trust that yours will be safe.
Although they stare oddly at me, they leave, as others have done before them.

I will stand guard, as even staying vigilant and focused for hours at a time is an exercise in itself, especially to observe what northerners are like in more detail.

There are a few scuffles between farmers. I believe it is common to fight over disagreements, and even the losers will simply admit defeat, defer to the winner, and move on. I imagine, then, that if anyone truly had a problem with me standing by the rack for so long, they would approach me. Nonetheless, I only feel wary eyes on me, as though I would be the thief.

I can hear what I assume are the farm dogs barking. They sound odd, like the noise of a brief earthquake. They are far off in the distance.

Gradually, more and more people leave, including most fishers and the sparring group. Soon, I am the only one on this particular rack, and I believe that my clothes are adequately dry.
>>
No. 694682 ID: 007e78

>>694681
Get dressed, you boring person.

I think you owe someone a drink.
>>
No. 694684 ID: 211d83

Well I hoped you learned something. Possibly how to look like a weirdo who is obsessed with his clothes.

Keep at this for a year and you will definitely make it to noble status after someone notices your standing in one place talents.

Anyways back to town to check on when Cheese leaves and drink with Moss.
>>
No. 694685 ID: 91ee5f

>>694682
I agree with this guy. On the getting dressed and owing someone a drink thing.

I disagree with him on you being boring. You're not boring! You're interesting in your own special way!

Oh, and don't forget your sword when you get your clothes! Wait, where is your sword anyways? Didn't you have it while you were bathing?
>>
No. 694719 ID: 5ad4a7

>>694681
Well, keeping guard and staying focused on such a task IS a useful skill if you join the army.
That was probably the right decision, in that respect.

Get dressed, go back to town, buy a drink for your buddy.
>>
No. 694737 ID: dd338c
File 145305200785.png - (44.37KB , 800x800 , 195.png )
694737

I gather my possessions, clothes and head back to town. The town is quieter than how I left it, but I feel that many people are simply resting in the tents, or perhaps many went back to work. Either way, there is a large enough commotion coming from a large tent, making it easy to find where the food and drinks are served. I'm hoping Moss is there, since I cannot find him at his station, and I am hungry.
>>
No. 694738 ID: dd338c
File 145305204449.png - (51.30KB , 800x800 , 196.png )
694738

There are a lot of people in here, and it smells of smoke and cooking. Despite the crowd, it isn't difficult to find Moss, eating at a table near the corner. He waves me over, so I approach.

>"Looking fresh, friend."
"Hello. You are alone?"
>"The only people who want to make friends with a guard are people I've got to be suspicious of, barbarian. Makes my job easier, though."
"Then why do you call me friend?"
>"Because people just passing through are the only company I get. Have a seat, now! Have you ever been to a tavern?"
"No, but I've heard of them."
>"Not surprising. Say, I heard a mention of someone with your description standing like a statue in front of the drying racks the whole afternoon. That true?"
"Yes. This is my only set of clothes, and while I can obtain new ones, these ones were made personally for me."

He laughs.

>"You're more guard material than I thought. You'll probably be known as the rag stalker for awhile, but don't worry about it. You barbarians are the stiffest ones about, but a bit of time in the north'll cure that. You can't take too much seriously here."
"It seems like the northerners have plenty to take seriously. I saw a detailed map, there were rebellions and war scrawled all over it."
>"That's exactly why we can't take life too seriously. We have a saying to use up our lives as fast as possible, because you'll be lucky to get the time to do so slowly. We're abrasive, aggressive and confrontational, because it's easy. I'm honestly surprised you didn't get in a fight at the river! Anyways, loosen up. If you stay like a rock, you're going to get cracks."
"Thanks for the advice."
>"Someday you might actually follow it." he says, before turning to the side and shouting. "Hey, girl!"
>>
No. 694739 ID: dd338c
File 145305205992.png - (46.22KB , 800x800 , 197.png )
694739

>"Yes, sir?" an oceanic girl comes by.
>"Tell her what you want, barbarian."
"What is there?"
>"We have meat for 1 copper, and a side of meat for another copper. For drinks, water is 1 copper if by itself, or free if you buy a meal with it. Local beer for 1, ale for 2, dragonfall mead for 3."
>>
No. 694741 ID: bb78f2

>>694739
Can we get a reminder of held currency whenever we're shopping? It's hard to keep track! I mean, I think it's two silver, two copper, but I'm not sure!

A meat with water for us, and an ale for our friend here.
>>
No. 694742 ID: 444abd

>"We have meat for 1 copper, and a side of meat for another copper."

So you can spend a copper to get meat and then spend another copper to get less meat.

A+ deal.
>>
No. 694743 ID: 5ad4a7

Get meat with water, and an ale for Moss.

Hey, is your money still in the chest? You can't pay without retrieving that.
>>
No. 694744 ID: 007e78

Meat, beer for you, ale for Moss.

>>694741
>Can we get a reminder of held currency whenever we're shopping? It's hard to keep track! I mean, I think it's two silver, two copper, but I'm not sure!
Check the statistics link the OP. It includes our inventory and is kept up to date.
>>
No. 694757 ID: dd338c
File 145305668062.png - (45.09KB , 800x800 , 198.png )
694757

"A copper for meat, and a copper for less meat?"
>".... AH. One copper for meat, or a copper for a loaf of bread! I'm sorry!" she replies.
"Moss, where is the money I left with you?"
>"Ah, I got it right here, since you'd have to find me anyway." Moss hands the bag back to me.
"Alright. One beer and meat with water for me, and an ale for Moss."
>"Coming right up then, it'll be 4 copper!"

Reminder that inventory is listed on the wiki statistics; and now has a link in the OP.
http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
>>
No. 694760 ID: 47160d

Out of curiosity do you find her attractive? I'm just curious as to your tastes
>>
No. 694761 ID: dd338c
File 145305679288.png - (40.97KB , 800x800 , 199.png )
694761

>"We'll get the drinks soon." says Moss. "So what kind of stories do you want to hear? Or hey, let me rephrase, what do you want to learn about? I've got a lot of stories. I'm pretty old, and to pass the time in the army, we shared a lot of stories that I bet are mostly true."
>>
No. 694763 ID: 5ad4a7

Is it taboo to talk about the rogue dragon knight?
>>
No. 694764 ID: bb78f2

How was boot camp?
>>
No. 694767 ID: 211d83

How is the army even set up? Is there one big one run by the empire or does each region have its own?

Also my brother mentioned something about gladiators and a arena. What exactly is that?

As for stories how about your first big mission. And maybe the story of your most dangerous mission.
>>
No. 694772 ID: 9815dc

When you spoke about him, you sounded like you'd actually met Zizi. Or perhaps just heard about him very often, from people who had. If people are going to hate me or like me because of things he's done, I feel like I should know a few of them.

Aside that... is there anything in particular that gets a man well-liked or badly hated, in the army or in the north in general? I would assume general honourable behaviour, generosity and competence and so on, but who knows what I might be ignorant of. Do you have any stories of people with otherwise promising futures who lost it all on one big mistake or faux pas?
>>
No. 694822 ID: dd338c
File 145307040319.png - (52.75KB , 800x800 , 200.png )
694822

"I'd like to know how you started, and how you got trained for the army. I don't even know how the armies are set up, either. It sounds like there are multiple."
>"Yeah. Each province has their own army, and are supposed to deal with their own rebellions. No one in their right mind would start a rebellion in Dragonfall, so the dragon army wouldn't have much to do if they just quelled their own rebellion. So, if a province can't deal with a threat, then they call in Dragonfall. It's tough though, on the province, to do that, for a variety of reasons, so a lot of times, provinces will hold out on calling the dragon army for longer than they should.
>"It becomes a balance of three options for the province, and the easiest option is done. First, try and hold out and deal with the rebels with their own power, even if it means they're going to cause a great deal of turmoil in the country for longer. Second, call in the dragon army, and have them cause a great deal of turmoil putting huge parts of the province under general empire law to support the army while they deal with the threat. And third, pay off the rebel's demands."
"Northerners do that?"
>"Yes. Rebels typically don't try to overthrow the empire or anything like that. They're just families who are paid too little, worked too hard, under too little safety. Don't let me make you think they're honorable, 'cause they turn into some real shitheads once they get mad enough to fight a province, and hurt way more bystanders than help themselves. Anyways, if their demands are reasonable and they have enough force behind them, we negotiate, they get what they want, everything calms down."
"What's stopping them from just rebelling again, for more?"
>"That's a good way for the province's patience to evaporate and go for the other two options. Remember that even if we count on living short lives, we still have some sense of survival. Rebels always want the province to choose the third option. The other two always lead to death. So, rebellions led by smart people for a good cause can be successful. That's why we have so many."
"Why aren't they given enough to live happily?"
>"First off kid, some people won't be happy unless they always have a gold coin in arm's reach. Second off, well, nobles. Powers that be. They care for peasants like they care for a wagon wheel. A lot of nobles try to keep everyone on the verge of rebellion, and occasionally, they tip over the line a bit. And that's how I started. Just a farmhand on a western slice of Turtle's Hideaway. We had no wizard back then in that region, so our crops, well, were chancey. Sometimes crops were bad."
>>
No. 694823 ID: dd338c
File 145307041181.png - (32.42KB , 800x800 , 201.png )
694823

>"Our village elders though weren't fools, and had stashed food and gold for bad seasons. But we were still in the middle of a large segment of our province, full of villages of foolish elders. The biggest town in there rebelled, and drew in all of our towns to fight for them or die, even if we didn't want to rebel. My village broke apart. Some ran to safer areas, many of them were killed for running. Some just tried to live as normal, but were beaten by the rebels for not supporting their cause enough. I joined the rebels when it was clear it was do that, or die. The only training I got was sparring with 'fellow' rebels. I probably got more scars there than any time in the army, you know?
>"Now, these guys, they killed some of my family and friends and ran out the rest, and it was just me and my brother in the rebellion. We managed to get into a division that was being sent to take over a port town to cause enough trouble for the province to see them as a real threat. What we were actually trying to do is to escape to an island, since the rebels got damn good and damn quick about killing deserters on land. I don't like to talk about the next part, but our division reached the port town, and won. First night we were there, me and my brother snuck under the piers to swim off. And right there, were a ton of other soldiers gawking at us right as we dip our heads under the wood.
>"We all thought we were found out by each other, but it turns out, my brother and I weren't the only ones with the big idea. Me and what must've been a hundred other kobolds stole some boats and rowed off to an island."
"This province has islands?"
>"No. The islands are deadlands to kobolds, and were mentally taxing to live on even in good situations. The rebels, though, they thought the island had some good resources. Maybe it did, but we didn't care, we ended up having to hide in some caverns, having to go out hunting for food at the risk of being found. That's a story in of itself, but that wasn't an army, so skipping ahead, eventually, the rebels sail back off with every single damn ship, even the ones we took! Even with the island to ourselves, we only lasted about a week longer and had to make a decision. We stay and go mad, or try and swim back. I almost stayed there, as my brother was killed by the rebels when he was found. But! I still had family who made it out, so I swam. It was probably just me and a dozen people who made it back."
>So after I learn that my big family was almost completely annihilated, I joined the army. I wouldn't even say it was something noble like saying I never wanted anyone to go through what I went through, but you know? I was just pissed at rebels in general and wanted to kill some. So that's what I did, I joined the turtle army, and travelled the land for a few years quelling rebellions that demanded too much."
"What happened to the rebellion you were caught in?"
>"The leader, our venerable, honorable warlord Krix, who can only be spoken of in the most flattering terms, took nearly took over a third of the province and became a wood noble with the wealth he got from the payoff."
"No one sought revenge on him?"
>"Plenty did. Only thing that happened is that Krix had such a good record keeping rebellions away from his swath of land that now he's a gold noble. Believe me, I was even under his command - well, his chain of command, I never had to have the honor forced on me to meet him - for some time, so I watched him gain power one step at a time through some real nasty means. Even took over a big portion of the merchant industry. That merchant, outside, Cheese? Probably has ties to him, even if just to get permission to do business here."
>>
No. 694824 ID: dd338c
File 145307042723.png - (34.33KB , 800x800 , 202.png )
694824

>"Drinks and food! 4 copper, please."

I give her a silver.

>"Oh, um... that's less than a copper in cange, we can't give minor goods, I'm sorry."
"Keep it."
>"Ah thanks!"
>>
No. 694825 ID: dd338c
File 145307044961.png - (26.48KB , 800x800 , 203.png )
694825

>"Hold on, I need a drink." Moss says.

I drink some of my beer. I've had some before, and although I gained a taste for it, this is just awful. I doubt I can finish it. Moss downs half his ale almost immediately.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was pulling out such memories."
>"Nah, you just picked the worst one right away. It's all better from there. Thanks for the ale, friend, this stuff isn't cheap."
"What makes one well liked, or hated, in the army?"
>"One or the other? Not much, barbarian, that's a package deal. Krix is a good example. A lot of people see him as a hero, a lot of people would pay to put his head on their wall."
"You spoke about my brother like you knew him personally."
>"Oh, no, but he kind of became the spokesman for aspiring barbarians, so we heard a lot of what he had to say. Even if we didn't learn anything from it."
"Can you tell me about the rogue dragon knight, or is that taboo?"
>>
No. 694826 ID: dd338c
File 145307046661.png - (25.53KB , 800x800 , 204.png )
694826

>"Alright. The rogue dragon knight. Most rebellions, like I said, are just when people are pushed so far they'll risk their lives to help themselves. This guy, though, wanted to destroy the empire. It didn't sound like he wanted it for himself, just thought that some anarchy and a new leader would be better than what we had now. At first, it wasn't a proper rebellion, that dragon knight just worked from the shadows, inciting normal rebellions where they normally would not have occurred. Then he talks with the provinces, and has them kill the rebellions where they might have negotiated. For awhile there, in the middle of the empire, it felt like rebelling would be a death sentence no matter how hard you fought. So this dragon knight takes them to the Land of the Conquered, and sets up a network of bases and living structures for the noncontent. He managed to get a surprising amount, but eventually, people knew that - that the dragon knight was going against the empire, when he started calling himself king. A lot of loyalists were on board with it, but it was inevitable that word would leak out into the world about this dragon knight making a new kingdom, and... ah, what next." Moss takes another drink from the ale.
>"So the dragon army goes in. Zizi started in Erja Nokol's purple blood army, but he got picked up by the dragon's by this point. That was the toughest time the dragon army had in a long time, because the spires, canyons, and geography was, over just a few years, transformed into a constant, layered defensive fortress. The dragon knight made sure that for every one person he lost, the empire lost 10. A siege wasn't viable either, as the dragon knight pulled some powerful wizards that made sure the land's new population wasn't just self sushtaining, but growing at a whole rhapid pace. Zizi, being a barbarian who got sent with the dragon army as much of a punishment as his skill, got put on the front line. And every single time, he came out alive of spire after spire. He got such a reputation as being the go-to conquered land fighter that they say that when the dragon knight's capital spire was reached, Zizi was the first to be asked how to approach, was the first to approach, the first to breach every wall, and the first and only to confront the knight himself. Never really knew how Zizi, some barbarian who fought for a dozen hours before he reached the ancient throne room, managed to kill a fully armored, first generation dragon knight."
"He never told me much about his army days, but I imagine he just said he stabbed the knight like everyone else."

Moss laughs hard enough to get some people's attention.

>"That's exactly what he said. Anyways, that network of fortresses was remembered fondly by a great deal of people as being proof that even the dragon army isn't invincible. A lot of the dragon army, in fact, found Zizi's involvement stupidly shameful that they had to get his help for this. So, even if Zizi took out one of the empire's greatest enemies, he still made a lot of enemies between the tale of a paradise in the middle of the empire, and the army that was shamed. Get me another drink, would you? The ale was damn good, but you don't need to get me the expensive stuff. Ah, you don't need to get me a drop, if I've already yacked your ears off. People don't usually listen for that long."
>>
No. 694829 ID: 211d83

Give him yours and then get some water. Tell him you don't have a taste for this beer stuff yet.
>>
No. 694836 ID: 5ad4a7

>>694826
I dunno if you want to inflict that "beer" on him, unless he actually likes it. Buy another ale with the 2 actual copper you have, if not.
You've still got your free water from the meal.

Ask about the farm dogs. Has he ever seen them? Or the bandits, has he ever had to deal with them?
>>
No. 694837 ID: 007e78

>People don't usually listen for that long.
I'm going to guess people don't usually have a reason to listen! It's all quite useful to me.
>>
No. 694852 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, let's get the guy who has all of our stuff at his tent really drunk. And when he passes out, we're going to need to take his keys to unlock the chest in his tent to get our stuff, then we come return his keys. But then someone (probably that asshole that Moss knocked out) is going to see us leave Moss' tent and just assume the bag we have belongs to Moss and say we're stealing! Then we're going to have to run and somehow return Moss' keys to him and then leave town without Cheese because we don't want to cause her any trouble!

I'm not saying that will happen, I'm just saying be careful of how drunk we get Moss.
>>
No. 695535 ID: dd338c
File 145324938737.png - (58.55KB , 800x800 , 205.png )
695535

"I do not think I like this beer, but if you want it, then please have it."

He downs it as easily as the ale. The waiter does return with my water, so I can still drink.

"My brother also mentioned something about gladiators and an arena. What exactly is that?"
>"There's a decent chunk of ones spread out here and there. You can earn some bucks in those if you don't die."
"What about the yearly one in the capital?"
>"That one? Suicide, but glamorous."
"Is it that bad?"
>"I doubt they ever manage to get the blood out of the walls. People enter anyway, when they want to go out in a puff of flame. Even though that's all it's good for, it's good for that!"
"Oh. How about the farm dogs around here? I've only heard of them."
>"If you see them, you fucked up bad. So keep it like that. Anyway, I got all kinds more if you want to stick around for an hour or two, but I'm curious about this noble girl of yours. Because, barbarian, giving away dragon cloth to outsiders, peasants and other lower class citizens is considered quite an unnoble thing to do, so I'm convinced there's not as much as you're letting on."
>>
No. 695542 ID: 5ad4a7

>>695535
Time to bow out, then. Bid him good night, go uh... actually where are we going to sleep tonight?
>>
No. 695547 ID: 211d83

Tell him the story. I know its dangerous to give out info but you need more ideas or you will go in blindly and die or fail.

The likelihood of him telling anyone or the info getting out is low.
>>
No. 695556 ID: 5ad4a7

>>695547
Well he might be trustworthy but we ARE in a public space where people can overhear, and he might blurt out something loudly now that he's drunk-ish.
>>
No. 695564 ID: a573b3

It being an unnoble thing to do is exactly why you don't want to speak of it, at least not here. The bandits you met earlier seemed to think barbarians had terrible hearing; and though they overestimated it, there's probably some basis to it, that these ear-havers have a superior sense of sound. What you'd think of as a whisper could well not be enough.

You already did tell him who the cloth was from, though, so you'll elaborate this much, for his curiosity: that you feel, very strongly, that you owe that lady something, and the only way to provide it is if you can become a noble yourself.
>>
No. 695565 ID: 007e78

>Because, barbarian, giving away dragon cloth to outsiders, peasants and other lower class citizens is considered quite an unnoble thing to do, so I'm convinced there's not as much as you're letting on.
She's not noble by birth. Not lower class either, but maybe that excuses some unnoble-like things.

...I would almost dare to hope it means she has some affection for me.
>>
No. 695568 ID: 88e46e

"Maybe later. Guess how good of an idea talking about that in a public bar is."
>>
No. 695570 ID: 14219f

Don't mention Shup's name. Just say you fell in love with a girl who loves you back but is engaged to a noble so she can save her family.

If you can find your fortune before winter she will choose you. If not she has to go with the other guy to keep food on the table.
>>
No. 695585 ID: dd338c
File 145325602271.png - (31.07KB , 800x800 , 206.png )
695585

"That isn't something I can talk about in public. She was not even a noble, even if she will be on in the future. I dare to think that she might like me, but I also feel that I must repay her somehow for this kind of a gift. I am looking, now, to make a fortune by winter's end."
>"Hmph. Well, it'd be rude of me to pry after downing your drinks. Winter's end, though? Here's some advice, don't play it cautiously. You see a chance for glory, you dive right in. You'll probably die, but you definitely won't get far by just doing what you're told. ... Ah, sorry, you reminded me of my own wife."
"Is she alright?"
>"I hope so. She lives in the province capital. It's not like I want to be out guarding this dump from its own idiots, you know, but I've got to make a living somehow. It's worth it, though! She's - nah, I shouldn't let myself get homesick. I'd ask you to check in on her if you're stopping in the area, but you wouldn't have a way to get back to me. Let's change the subject to another girl. Don't get involved with cheese, alright?"
"What?"
>"As in - Cheese, the girl that - you're the one who said you were leaving with her, weren't ya?!"
"Yes, just as a trip to the capital."
>"Yeah, what I mean is that you should keep it to that, alright? I saw her wares. She's a damn informant, not a shopkeep, alright? Don't let her suck you into any further offers or deals or anything like that, because you'll end up under someone's muddy boot for the rest of your life."
>>
No. 695591 ID: 007e78

>she's an informant
Do you have any idea who she works for?
>>
No. 695592 ID: 211d83

A informant? So you are saying she is just pretending to be a merchant so she can travel and get info for someone?

Wouldn't it be a good idea to be friends with her then? As long as I did not get involved in her business would be nice to know someone with lots of info on current events.

Will be careful though.
>>
No. 695598 ID: 5ad4a7

>>695585
Informant, eh? Good, you'll keep that in mind for when you have the money to buy her services.
>>
No. 695638 ID: 91ee5f

>>695585
Do a spit-take in response to this surprising information about Cheese!
>>
No. 695944 ID: 007e78

Wait, reality check. Wouldn't an informant be the kind of person who was good at talking to people are getting information from them? It seemed like her appearance kept her pretty starved for conversation, at all. She'd be at a big disadvantage there.
>>
No. 696097 ID: dd338c
File 145335301089.png - (23.16KB , 800x800 , 207.png )
696097

>Do a spit-take in response to this surprising information about Cheese!
I'm not sure why, but I am not even a little bit surprised.

"What if I were friends with her?"
>"That's a good way to get into her business."
"... an informant is someone who informs people, right? Does that mean she has to find information for certain people? She seemed starved for conversation when I spoke to her."
>"More like she's just passing on information. Someone's going to buy certain wares to give a sign. You want my guess, Cheese is valuable enough to trust with the information in the first place, but expendable enough to take a fall if things go bad."
"Who does she work for?"
>"I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if she has hands from all over the empire pointing at her. The sooner she gets out of my town, the better."
"Still, it seems like..."
>>
No. 696098 ID: dd338c
File 145335301702.png - (29.44KB , 800x800 , 208.png )
696098

.... he fell asleep! He didn't even drink a lot.
>>
No. 696102 ID: 007e78

>>696098
...drugs. He was drugged.

You gave him your drink! Someone tried to drug you!

High alert now. If someone was planning to try something against you, it's going to be now.
>>
No. 696103 ID: aa6f31

Get in under his shoulder and bring him back to his house, then.
>>
No. 696104 ID: 40c872

Look around, see if anyone's got an eye on you. You might be in danger
>>
No. 696107 ID: 5ad4a7

Someone could pickpocket the key to the chest off him now that he's asleep.

...before you panic, ask the waitress if he's usually such a lightweight.
>>
No. 696108 ID: 90f3c0

It could be drugs, but I wouldn't think anyone would have a big enough reason to go to such lengths to get you.

Look around and see if anyone suspicious is watching you. If no one stands out, question the waitress about your drinks.
>>
No. 696110 ID: dd338c
File 145335533701.png - (35.79KB , 800x800 , 209.png )
696110

>Drugs
I try not to make a scene right away. First, I get a waitress over, asking if this guard is usually a lightweight.

>"Moss? Well, he does sleep an awful lot for a guard. Usually he doesn't fall asleep right here, though! Should we wake him."
"I will, if need be, but don't bother yourself for it."

Once she walks off, I spin around. Was the drink even drugged? Maybe I feel kind of drowsy after that beer, but maybe I'm only realizing that I'm not at full energy now that I'm thinking about it.

An oceanic kobold is looking... not at me, but in my direction, and then gets a girl's attention for a drink.

I don't know if it's anything, but he's the only one who visibly had his attention anywhere near me. There's still a lot of people around, though, and he's only a few tables away, at about 20 feet.
>>
No. 696112 ID: 5ad4a7

>>696110
...just try to wake up Moss, first.
I mean how would a bar patron even be able to get sleeping powder into your drink? It'd have to be the waitress.
>>
No. 696113 ID: bb78f2

>>696110
The waitress is an oceanic too
>>
No. 696126 ID: 91ee5f

>>696112
>>696113
First, if it was the waitress then Fen would already be out cold. She's the one who brought him his water and yet Fen's still awake! Unless it just hasn't hit him yet. Second, just because she's oceanic doesn't mean she's in on it, that's just being racist!

Try to wake Moss up. If that doesn't work, then just pick him up and take him home.
>>
No. 696150 ID: 211d83

Hmm if someone did try to drug just your beer then you would have fallen asleep in front of Moss and he would have noticed. So possibly drugs in both the Ale and the beer?

Or it could just have been a long day and he got tired after a few drinks. You both have been standing guard all day.

That being said he did fall asleep mid sentence. Seems a bit odd.

Well don't panic just yet. Tickle his big old dangly ears a bit and see if you get a response. Also if anyone is going to try anything I doubt it will be in a room full of people like this. Worst case you carry him home and maybe find somewhere to hide for the night in case someone is up to something.
>>
No. 696162 ID: 5ad4a7

Both the ale and beer being drugged makes sense. With both of you knocked out, whoever did it could easily take the key then steal the dragon cloth without anyone interfering.

If we can confirm there were drugs, then we can get the other guards on the case. Is there any way to confirm it though? Maybe we should try to bring it up with another guard, if we can't get Moss to wake up.
>>
No. 696171 ID: df2ec0

Who cares about drugged booze. This is your only chance to play with his big old floppy ears. Unless you seduce a field kobold somehow down the road.

Plus its the best way to wake him up.

If your ear fondling cant wake him up you know its drugs. Just be careful because if everyone finds out someone tried to drug Moss and his new barbarian friend there will be a lot of questions flying.

The biggest of them would be what would make it worth drugging a guard and random barbarian in the middle of the tavern with witness's. And since Moss is well known all eyes would be on you.
>>
No. 696175 ID: 77d0b2

Touch fluffy tail (ears).
>>
No. 696184 ID: 11b11a

Flap his ears and pretend it's a bird
>>
No. 696196 ID: 211d83

Wait if you pretend to fall asleep you can wait until someone makes a move and catch them in the act!

Unless this is just to get you both sleeping in the tavern while someone robs Moss's tent.

Did Moss have a locked chest to store your stuff?
>>
No. 696214 ID: 0b66e1

>>696110
...I'm having a hard time telling if that's supposed to be a significant glance between those two, or just bedroom eyes.

>what do
You lack sufficient info to know who was responsible, and no one is making a move now. You can't afford to go after anyone right now, because you might pick the wrong person. And even if you pick right, they could deny it and the crowd could turn against you.

You're alert and wary. Best you can do for now.

Next opportunity for someone to make a move against you is when you leave, especially if you try and help Moss home.

Maybe... you could get help taking him home. Can't trust anyone local, they're the ones who disliked you, and Moss said all his friends were passers though. Are any of the guards from Cheese's group here? They know your face, and shouldn't have a grudge against Moss. Maybe one of them could help you carry him home. (And you could leave a note with him, maybe).
>>
No. 696313 ID: 29e310

Harder to conceal drugs in water than in alcohol (which tasted terrible). Waitress was inexperienced, misstating the menu - probably hasn't worked here long. It's also hard to imagine how anyone else would have had the opportunity. She's the prime suspect for drugging, but if so, she probably had accomplices. She might panic if interrogated, but we don't want to make a scene.

Was the waitress who knew Moss's constitution the same one as who delivered our drinks?
>>
No. 696324 ID: dd338c
File 145343550572.png - (26.14KB , 800x800 , 210.png )
696324

>Was the waitress who knew Moss's constitution the same one as who delivered our drinks?
No.

>Did Moss have a locked chest to store your stuff?
Yes.

>Wake Moss up
>Touch ears
I tug at them, and then shake them to wake him up while no one appears to be looking. He's out.

I can most likely lift him and carry him back, but that may attract some bad attention, including from whoever did this. However, even the outside area had lots of individuals walking around, I imagine spending some time before going to bed themselves.

While there is merit in getting either the town guard or Cheese's guards involved, I don't feel comfortable leaving Moss alone like this.

My options, as I see them, are to stay here with Moss and the crowd, leave to try to find help moving Moss, or move Moss now. It's difficult to decide, without knowing who would try this kind of thing.
>>
No. 696325 ID: 5ad4a7

>>696324
Ask a waitress (not the one that served you) to go get another guard to help, because Moss appears to have been drugged.
>>
No. 696328 ID: bb78f2

>>696324
Check for a pulse, first.
>>
No. 696330 ID: 211d83

Well lets go with the assumption that whoever did this wanted both of you sleeping.

1. Could be someone somehow found out about what you are carrying and is trying to get Moss's key to steal it. But they would have to have been closely listening in on your conversation in the tent somehow. Or have found out about it from someone in Lilies group.

2. Or the bandits from earlier had a friend try to drug you so they could sneak you out of town and then get revenge on you. Drugging Moss was needed or he would have taken care of you. If you both had fallen asleep then someone could just wander over and pretend they were a friend and "help" you off to bed.

3. Someone realized you are Zizi's brother and wants revenge. They knock you both out and do something horrible to you.

I think your best bet would be to stay here and see if you could get a waitress to get one of Cheese's guards or another town guard. Then you don't have to leave Moss alone or look suspicious searching through his clothes for the key to get your stuff.

Just make sure you don't mention him getting drugged to anyone yet. Just make it seem like you need help getting him back home and he had to much to drink or something. And that you want someone trustworthy to help carry him.
>>
No. 696346 ID: aebc91

Hmm. It's a bit of a long shot, but, looking around, can you see that lady who was at you about your shirt earlier? Maybe ask her for help, on the basis that you have no acquaintance with anyone else.
>>
No. 696365 ID: 73c49c

it is possible that some one was trying to drug YOU, moss did have your beer. that might have been the drugged drink.

Might as well ask a waitress what they do when some one drugs drinks here and ask for help with moss.
>>
No. 696482 ID: 0b66e1

>>Did Moss have a locked chest to store your stuff?
>Yes.
Wait, is our stuff still in there? Unless we wanna search for they key and/or guess the combination, we won't be getting it back till he wakes.

...and we can't let anyone else get the key in the meantime, either. Getting at your stuff might have been one motive for drugging the two of you.

>what do
Tipping one of the waitresses a silver or a few coppers to fetch annother guard or one of the heavies from Cheese's caravan is probably the safest bet. If you leave him alone, something bad might happen. He doesn't have many friends in this town, and his authority comes from intimidation.
>>
No. 696554 ID: dd338c
File 145352114752.png - (49.30KB , 800x800 , 211.png )
696554

>Can you see that lady who was at you about your shirt earlier?
Luck isn't with me, now. I don't recognize anyone.

I check for a pulse from Moss. He's alive, and breathing fine. He probably has the keys to the chest, and therefore the keys to my belongings.

"Excuse me, girl!" I call a waitress over.
>"Yes?"
"Are you able to fetch a guard?"
>"Oh - I mean - ack... I'm sorry. I'm not allowed to leave the inn while I'm on the clock."
"I will give you a copper piece."
>"Ah?! Wait. Give me a copper first. Then I will find someone."
"Okay."
>>
No. 696555 ID: dd338c
File 145352115331.png - (92.13KB , 800x800 , 212.png )
696555

I give her a copper. She walks back off, taking some orders and working. I start to fear that I've just been shammed, but she slips from my vision and I don't see her again.

Another minute passed by me, and someone else approaches.

>"Hey, hey. Is that Moss? Did he drink himself cold again? He won't be waking up anytime soon, friend, but I'll take him back to his place."
>>
No. 696557 ID: 0b66e1

Um. They're all dirty. The guards aren't supposed to be all dirty, they mostly stand around. It's the laborers who get dirty. That's someone else pretending to be a guard.

It's a trap, but you can't leave moss alive. Go with the 'guard' and Moss, and be ready for the ambush.
>>
No. 696558 ID: 211d83

Introduce yourself and tell them that you were planning on trying to get him to his tent yourself but figured it might be better to get another guard over here to help you.

Ask him how much booze it takes to knock Moss out. Cause he conked out after just a Ale and a beer so came as a bit of a surprise.

Also mention that he was nice enough to store your pack for you but with him sleeping you sort of cant get your stuff. And you don't want to look like a thief by rummaging around Moss's stuff while he is sleeping.


Dang it Fen you gave the waitress a silver? I thought you had at least one copper on you. If you don't start being more careful with money you deserve to get scammed. Next chance you get go and get two silvers exchanged for copper so you have some handy. At this rate you will be sucking dicks in back alleys for food money far before you reach the capitol.
>>
No. 696559 ID: f1e365

>>696557
Good idea. His dirt layer betrays him. Ask if they are one of Moss's guard buddies. If they say yes its probably a lie. If not the waitress might have just grabbed the first big labourer she knew.
>>
No. 696561 ID: 5ad4a7

Tell him okay, go out then as soon as you're outside yell for the guards.
>>
No. 696566 ID: dd338c

Edit: A copper was given, not a silver.
>>
No. 696614 ID: bb6515

Do not give him an opportunity to pickpocket the key. If carrying Moss would give him a good position to sneak the key, help him carry him, and take the side that provides best access to the key. Take charge, act like you're better friends with Moss than you are. You're not leaving Moss's side until he's alright in his house, there's no one else in the house, and the key is safe.
>>
No. 696834 ID: 5ad4a7

Hmm. A reasonable approach would be to ask for proof that he's a guard. I mean what if there's an explanation for a dirty guard, like he's spent the past couple hours practicing wrestling with one of the other guards. In the dirt.
>>
No. 696850 ID: 5ad4a7

>>696847
Well in that case we ask if he's a guard. If not, we tell him we're waiting for one, and we're not gonna let anyone else touch Moss.
>>
No. 696851 ID: 514581

>>696557
>>696834

He hasn't actually claimed to be a guard, you know.

Fen, tell him he doesn't need to bother himself, you just paid a waiter to get a guard to help. You'll say "waiter" to see, if he goes and claims to be the person she went to get, whether he corrects you.

If you get called on the mistake, you can claim you can't tell the difference between the fuzzy sexes.
>>
No. 696868 ID: 91ee5f

>>696851
That's pretty hard to do, considering the fact that the waitress he asked to get the guard had pretty noticeable breasts on her chest and she was wearing a dress! Now, that would be a much easier lie to tell if she was flat and dressed as a guy.
>>
No. 696876 ID: 514581

>>696868

He can still claim ignorance. She was wearing a dress, but lots of people have been wearing kilts and loincloths. She has breasts, but Fen can claim confusion from having seen some flat chested fuzzers referred to as female. He's an ignorant barbarian, after all.
>>
No. 696911 ID: bb6515

Maybe just act like you don't have a good grasp on the gendered terms for professions that don't exist in your home, rather than acting like you mistook her gender.
>>
No. 697318 ID: 91ee5f

>>696911
That sounds believable, I vote for doing this.
>>
No. 697506 ID: dd338c
File 145386968998.png - (40.98KB , 800x800 , 213.png )
697506

"Are you one of the guards, here?"
>"Naw, just a friend." he says, pushing past to lift Moss. "From out of town."
"I've already paid a waiter to fetch a guard." I say, trying to wedge myself between him and Moss. He still pushes up against me, and we both end up grabbing Moss. "How much booze does it take to knock Moss out?"
>"Hardly a drop. Guy looks like he's got some rocks, but he's a feather -" he starts, before starting to glare at me. "Look, guy, we don't let... I can carry him just fine, alright?"

Although he doesn't outright yank Moss away from me, he does pull on Moss, and we both end up hanging onto Moss while we leave the tavern.

"I'm not leaving Moss's side until I know he is safe in his house."
>"Yeah? Well neither am I."

It isn't clear where Moss keeps the key on himself. He's only wearing his kilt, with no external packs to hold anything. At least this way, this large field kobold can't easily pickpocket him without me seeing.

I almost call for a guard right here, but it may come down to my word against what may be a known laborer around here, despite his claim to be out of town.
>>
No. 697510 ID: 5ad4a7

>>697506
Well. Interesting, his story checks out with what Moss told you. Could be that the delay was someone coaching him on what to say, but... I find it unlikely that they could have told him everything.

Just start talking to him. Ask him how he and Moss became friends. That sort of thing. Test him, see if you can tell if he's legit. I'm sure he'll do the same to you, so answer honestly.
At some point before reaching Moss's house you're going to have to explain why you're being paranoid(you gave him your drink and he passed out suddenly afterwards, people don't like barbarians here and you're storing your stuff in Moss's chest), but obviously you shouldn't tell him what's in the chest. If he thinks you're going to steal from Moss, and won't let you retrieve your items in private, tell him that you are fine with waiting until Moss wakes up so that he can vouch for you.

Another, perhaps simpler plan is to get a guard to reassure both you and him. You, because a friend of Moss will probably be known by the other guards, and him, because the other guards will most likely have seen Moss say you were alright.
Only problem with that is that you'll have to find a guard instead of calling for one. I expect they won't like being called away from a post just for some questions.
>>
No. 697511 ID: 5ad4a7

Also, just to be sure, you still have your money, right?
>>
No. 697515 ID: 0b66e1

Don't make a scene. You can't afford to force the issue by demeaning he wait for a guard. You already know you're not popular here, and Moss isn't a whole lot better as a guard. Even if this wasn't a trap before, causing a fuss and attracting the attention of the ordinary laborers when you're at a disadvantage could turn this ugly.

Help the ruddy kobold carry Moss back, hope he's legit, but we wary and ready in case this turns out to be a trap.
>>
No. 697541 ID: 7f4175

When you inevitably talk about the chest and how you have something of yours in it, say it has sentimental value and that the significance of the items is personal. This should signal that you aren't going to give specifics without making him think that you are keeping a banks worth of gold in there.
>>
No. 697547 ID: 99bd36

There shouldn't be that much trouble getting your stuff. Everyone who saw the trouble earlier knows that you have a bag with your stuff, and you clearly don't have it now, so if you say you left it with Moss then that's believable. All you'd need to do is get someone to confirm you had a bag this morning. The only worry about that is that they'd say no just to mess with you, but in that case you just have to make it seem like you're aiming for something else with the question, and make them acknowledge you had a bag incidentally.
>>
No. 697554 ID: 211d83

You don't even have to mention that you have anything special stored with Moss. But you do need your bedroll and food and would rather not spend the night miserable because Moss got hooched up and fell asleep.

You do know some of Moss's history now. You could ask a question or two about him to test this guy. Like what happened to his brother and how he joined the army. If they do know him they have heard his stories.

If they ask why you are being so pushy just say you might not have known him long but Moss is a friend now and you want to look after him. Plus the whole your bag stored in his tent.
>>
No. 697751 ID: dd338c
File 145395717461.png - (25.29KB , 800x800 , 214.png )
697751

"How did you and Moss become friends?"
>"Met 'im while he was stationed off in Poluputus. He didn't talk much while on duty, but he had a lot to say off it. And why're you glued to his other side?"
"He passed out having my drink. It must look suspicious, and I am making sure he is alright. No one trusts barbarians here, and I am storing some of my things in Moss's chest."
>"Eh? Like what?"
"Sentimental items from home. In any case, I have not known Moss for long, but he is my friend."
>"Yeah, well, not gonna start a fight with you, so I guess we're both gonna hang out at Moss's place."

I don't come up with an immediate response, but I see briefly see someone crossing through the side paths that the tents form. Most people are either inside of tents or in main walkways. Perhaps I am just nervous, now, but this new person that I caught a glimpse of seemed to be staring back at us in a way that made me uncomfortable.

Especially since they were headed in the direction of Moss's tent.
>>
No. 697752 ID: 02422f

>>697751
Well, keep going. If the new person was gonna try something, they'd have to be pretty ballsy to try it right in front of the two of you.
>>
No. 697756 ID: 5ad4a7

>>697751
Then, maybe the plan was to ambush you at his tent, taking advantage of you being busy carrying Moss. Or maybe that was just some guy who didn't like what he saw, and is coincidentally walking that way. We still have no solid indications of foul play.

I say you might want to let this guy carry Moss on his own and thus have your hands free to fight off any ambush. So long as you stay near him I don't think he'll be able to steal the key and just run off. Heck, if he does, all you have to do is get to Moss's tent first.
>>
No. 697758 ID: 211d83

Keep on lugging Moss to the tent while keeping your sword arm free. If someone is going to try something you will know soon enough. Staying right where you are is probably the best way of handling things. If someone is after your stuff its better to let them take it and then go after it later than have something happen to you or Moss while panicking over things.

You can always get stuff back. Friends and your good name are harder to retrieve when lost.

Ask mystery guy what he was doing in Poluputus when he met Moss. And his name. Want to make some conversation so you can get a idea if this guy is trustworthy or not.
>>
No. 697769 ID: bb78f2

Ask other guy if he noticed the weird guy heading for Moss's tent.
>>
No. 697936 ID: dd338c
File 145403250264.png - (33.52KB , 800x800 , 215.png )
697936

"Did you notice someone else heading towards Moss's tent just now?"
>"There's like 10 tents that way. You paranoid or something?"
"Maybe... what were you doing in Poluputus when you and Moss met?"
>"Mining, same thing as anyone does in Poluputus who works."
"Everyone in Poluputus is a miner?"
>"Er, not literally everyone, damn. And quit that paranoia, I'm suspicious of you too, ya know, but you don't see me glaring sideways!"

We reach the tent. I hear someone inside. By the sounds of it, they're moving furniture around, and the tent flaps get rustled occasionally.

>"You were right. There is someone in his tent."

I notice he has his hand under his tunic, as though about to draw a weapon. His gaze swings between me and the tent.

My instincts tell me I'm walking right to my death. It doesn't help that there's no one else around other than us.
>>
No. 697940 ID: 211d83

Whisper to him to help you drop Moss back a bit so he is safe first. Then tell him that he can either run to get help from another guard or go with you to try and subdue whoever is in there.

Ask if Moss would mind if we damaged his door a bit by widening it a bit with your sword instead of blindly going in there.

Also instead of blindly going inside we might want to just yell thieves at the top of your lungs and watch them scatter.
>>
No. 697941 ID: 02422f

Hand on your own, borrowed, weapon.

Either this is going to be 2 on 1 (Moss friends versus thief) or this is going to be 2 on 1 (ambushers versus you). The Rudy kobold will show his true colors in the next moments.

Remember, if he's not a friend, he may target Moss as well.

If you need to, you might gain a momentary opening by shoving Moss into him.
>>
No. 697945 ID: ad7352

Moving furniture means Moss hides his chest somewhere and they are searching for it.

Your life is more valuable than your stuff. So hold back and get Moss somewhere safe.

Then ask mystery guy if we should start yelling for the guards. Cause running blindly into a tent sword drawn seems like a bad idea.

If he is a bad guy you will find out soon enough.
>>
No. 697949 ID: 5ad4a7

>>697936
I think Moss's friend is legit. He's reacting to suspicion in a reasonable way, and if he was with whoever's in there, he would have tried to delay you somehow, because if this is an ambush it's obviously not set up yet. Put down Moss out of the way.

However, you should also trust your instincts. Don't rush in. This might be a good time to get a guard. Whisper to the friend about doing that. If he insists on going in, then try to get a peek of what's going on in there before you go in. Like, look under the flaps. Try not to let your shadow on the tent/under it give away your presence.
>>
No. 698066 ID: 91ee5f

>>697936
".....so, you want to rush 'em or should one of us go get help?"
>>
No. 698079 ID: df2ec0

So I just realized that going in there like this seems like a horrible idea. It would be a bad idea even if we trusted each other and had been friends for years. But I am starting to think you are a friend of Moss and have nothing to do with whatever is going on.


Why don't we put Moss somewhere safe and get some help do deal with this? Or at least yell for help.
>>
No. 698102 ID: dd338c
File 145411119486.png - (17.17KB , 800x800 , 216.png )
698102

"We should get a guard."
>".... they'll get away, they're working fast, whoever they are."
"If we yell? They'll scatter, but perhaps we can catch them.
"Yeah. Alright. Let's set Moss down."
"Right."

We do so, and I take the other side of the tent in case they escape out from under it, while the ruddy kobold takes the front. Then he bellows 'guards!'.
>>
No. 698103 ID: dd338c
File 145411120087.png - (53.29KB , 800x800 , 217.png )
698103

>"What?!"

I hear Moss yell nearly as loud. I peer over to him while keeping an eye on the tent for any activity. Whoever was inside is quiet and seemingly still.

>"Oh, hey, you're up."
"Gahn? What're you doing here?"
>"Me and some barbarian took your feathery butt back to your bed, and we cornered at least one thief in your tent!"

Moss glances at me, then at Gahn.
>>
No. 698105 ID: dd338c
File 145411126764.png - (14.89KB , 800x800 , 218.png )
698105

"That's my maid, you fogheaded doofuses."
>>
No. 698106 ID: 92a560

How on earth do you own a maid
>>
No. 698107 ID: 88e46e

>>698105
How the fuck did you afford one?
>>
No. 698108 ID: 02422f

How can you know it's your maid if you haven't even seen who's inside, yet?

(Kind of weird she doesn't clean the place when he's out all day guarding)?

But okay, crisis averted.

See them off, get your stuff, and let's finish this night.
>>
No. 698109 ID: 02422f

>>698106
>>698107
Cheap dirt town means cheaper maids. And cleaning is probably less back breaking than farming, so people would be willing to do it.
>>
No. 698110 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698105
Maid? Why does he have a maid for a tent? Oh well, go look in there.
>>
No. 698111 ID: dd338c
File 145411340950.png - (35.00KB , 800x800 , 219.png )
698111

I look inside Moss's tent out of curiosity. There's a girl looking back at me, of which I assume is a maid.

"I thought maids were something only nobility had." I say, while the maid starts getting back to work.
>"Nobility and people with a slight surplus of coin and not enough time to clean my own stuff."
>"Damn." says Gahn. "You make that much?"
>"No, she cleans my place once a week, and it barely takes any time. It doesn't cost much."
"And how did you know it's your maid without looking inside?"
>"Same time, every week."
>"Heard you drank too much and fell asleep."
>"Yeah.... yeah, I did. I've been catching snoozes as little as possible, so I've been nearly narcoleptic. Guess a little booze knocked me flat. None too pleased about it. Anyway, Fen, you're probably wanting your stuff back, yeah?"
"Please."
>"Alright. Say, you staying with Cheese tonight?"
"I haven't thought about it."
>"Tavern's probably filled up with any decent place, so you should, cause I'm betting that Gahn's gonna want to take up what space I have left in my tent tonight." says Moss.
>"Yeh."
>>
No. 698113 ID: 5ad4a7

Sounds like a plan. I suppose this is farewell, then!
>>
No. 698115 ID: 02422f

You'll leave him with his friend, then.

Thank you for the help and advice, Moss. Good fortune.
>>
No. 698116 ID: 01f186

Well that was a lesson learned. Stuff is more complicated in towns. But it did not hurt things being careful like that.

Well thank Moss and go look for Cheese.
>>
No. 698117 ID: dd338c
File 145411492174.png - (51.38KB , 800x800 , 220.png )
698117

"If it's farewell, then, thank you for your help, Moss." I hand Moss's sword back to him as he hands me my backpack.
>"Thanks for listening. Now I'm going to talk Gahn's ear off." Moss says.
>"Not if I do it first, buddy."

I head over to Cheese's area, after I make sure that all of my belongings are inside of my backpack.

"Hello."
>"Oh hey Fen how's it going I was afraid you ran off or something."
"Why would you be afraid of that?"
>"Er uh I dunno cause that's not the plan and I like when a plan comes together! So yeah we're just packing up now, we'll be leaving first thing in the morning, outta here by the time we can see the sun!"
"Thank you. Do you happen to have a place to stay?"
>"Er, uh... well, maybe? I mean, I have a tent you can use, and by that I mean you can use the tent that I'm gonna use! I mean, by that, I mean, I'm gonna... we can share. We can share my tent. I mean. If that's okay. I understand if it's not."
>>
No. 698118 ID: 47160d

sure go ahead, she's too shy to try anything and it will help make sure no one goes missing
>>
No. 698120 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698117
That's fine. You have no hang-ups over that.

I think Fen might want to bring up her informant nature in the privacy of her tent.
>>
No. 698121 ID: 01f186

Sure that sounds fine.
>>
No. 698122 ID: 02422f

If you're okay sharing your tent with me, I certainly have no complaints. *small small* So long as you don't plan to keep me up talking all night.

Already established we're not worried she's creepy looking or contagious, and Fen's used to sometimes cramped conditions. (And I very much doubt Cheese is gonna try and put the moves on us, either).
>>
No. 698124 ID: bb78f2

Are you kidding, I slept in a hole in the ground with my brother and sister pretty much my whole life. That sounds way cushier than what I'm used to.
>>
No. 698125 ID: dd338c
File 145411655566.png - (18.69KB , 800x800 , 221.png )
698125

"I'm fine with that."
>"Really?!"
"... yes. I appreciate that you would give me shelter for the night, of course I'm fine with it."
>"Oh, uh right, ha.

She tells her guards that she's done with her stuff, and she takes me to her tent.

>"Oh, uh, huh! This looks a lot smaller now that I'm going to share it."
"I'm used to cramped quarters. This is fine."
>"Really?!"
".... please believe me. I used to sleep in a hole with my brother and sister. I would be okay with sleeping out in the open if not for safety concerns."
>"Oh man I love barbarians. Er, uh, we're gonna be in each other's space but I won't try anything I promise! I even have extra blankets."
"I didn't think so, but that is appreciated too, Cheese. Thank you."

I could simply fall asleep now if I wanted to, but she is likely willing to chat if I had anything to talk about.
>>
No. 698126 ID: 5ad4a7

Ask what it's like living in a real city.
>>
No. 698127 ID: 02422f

No objection to chatting.

Ask about the caravan, maybe? You're joining after all. We met her and two of the toughs, but do we need to know anything else?
>>
No. 698128 ID: 211d83

Ask her what being a merchant is like and how she got into this business.

Does she have a store in a city somewhere? Or is she on the road all the time?
>>
No. 698129 ID: dd338c
File 145411889395.png - (15.22KB , 800x800 , 222.png )
698129

Cheese starts sorting out the blankets and dumping some items of hers to the side.

"What is it like, living in a large city?"
>"Imagine if you had like 2 people every 20 feet for miles, and they were all working towards a common goal. And that common goal was to look out for themselves. That's what it's like!"
"I can't imagine that."
>"Oh...."
"Nevermind that. If I'm joining you on your caravan, is there anything I need to know about it?"
>"Oh, not really, since you're sort of just a guard for it. Just look tough, don't look at the merchandise too much, and follow our lead. Simple! Uh not that there's much merchandise to look at, we mostly just deal with exported foods, tools, and odds and ends from far off. Sort of a novelty shop, you know?"
"Hm. Sometimes we would get merchants trading with barbarians like that, although we traded in finished goods and furs more often than gold."
>"Yeah that was always iffy to deal with barbarian trade but it happens!"
"How did you become a merchant, anyway?"
>"Uh well I never really wanted to be one, but hey, sometimes they needed a helping hand, and I was always around, so eventually I was trusted to be a merchant! That's basically my strength. Always be around. Even if people don't want you. Buuut that's why I work so cheap and get so much work! It's tough but it's a living, and that's a tough thing to get for a lot of people who don't look like weird purple blobs."
"Do you have your own store someplace?"
>"Oh, not my own place, no, but I do sometimes set up shop in a big town for a week or so before moving on to dinky places like these. In big towns though, I can set up my own shop name. That's always fun. Here though it just looks silly since I'm basically the only shop."
"It didn't occur to me that shops had names. However, us barbarians have named trees before when they are remarkable, so perhaps it's not too different."
>"It.... it's a little different. Well I don't wanna keep us from a good night's sleep!" she says, finishing matting down the blankets and bedding.
>>
No. 698130 ID: dd338c
File 145411889946.png - (15.96KB , 800x800 , 223.png )
698130

I take that as the cue to let her sleep, so we get under the bed.

She gets close to me, but it is cold and she doesn't do anything inappropriate, so I don't complain.

I didn't realize it at first, but sleep well.
>>
No. 698131 ID: dd338c
File 145411890618.png - (14.30KB , 800x800 , 224.png )
698131

It's already morning.
>>
No. 698132 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698131
Wake up, stretch a bit, check your pack in private to make sure everything's there, then go see what Cheese is doing.
>>
No. 698133 ID: 02422f

>>698130
Heh. Cluddly.

>>698131
It's morning, and Cheese is already up. Your bag isn't in the same position, which might have been caused by moving in your sleep, or someone going through it while you slept. The supposed informant might know about your dragoncloth. (Might want to discretely check that you haven't been robbed in the night, either).

Assuming nothing's wrong, see about breakfast and helping get the caravan under way.
>>
No. 698136 ID: dd338c
File 145411972449.png - (16.69KB , 800x800 , 225.png )
698136

>Wake up, stretch a bit, check your pack in private to make sure everything's there
Food, my blanket that I did not use, my coin purse, and a note.

>The supposed informant might know about your dragoncloth.
>dragoncloth
>>
No. 698137 ID: 02422f

Well, looks like you have a mission. Get unripped off.

I bet you go outside and there's nothing left of the caravan but the tent.
>>
No. 698138 ID: 47160d

Welp, guess we got a bitch to beat
>>
No. 698139 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698136
Assuming the caravan is gone, you can go to Moss, and he will believe you. You can then talk about options in getting it back.
>>
No. 698140 ID: e062ff

We'll give her something to be sorry about.
>>
No. 698141 ID: 211d83

Well that sucks. But honestly this could be a good thing for the moment. You no longer have to worry about protecting the cloth or it getting discovered along your journey.

And instead of some mystery thief you just have to track down Cheese later. Who stands out like a sore thumb unlike most merchants. And once you do she will owe you big time.

Honestly you had two options for the cloth. Sell it for funds at some point or wear it as a keepsake. You were probably never going to sell it and would want to avoid wearing it until you got strong and rich enough to not be a target.

So go check outside the tent. Woo free tent by the way. And see if anyone is around.
>>
No. 698143 ID: 02422f

>You see a chance for glory, you dive right in
Rob goods from a caravan, and steal your stuff back from a spy or informant who, if impressed, will spread the tale to important places?

You found your first mission. The first step in your story. To recover the favor given to you by your love.
>>
No. 698144 ID: b6178d

>>698136

Well, it's not terribly unexpected that she'd take it. I wonder if she heard of it somehow, knew you had it, or discovered it while poking through your gear, then ran off with it to... hmm.

I wonder what her reasoning is; it's not like she'd be any less of a target with that cloth than you. I -highly- doubt her purpose in being here was to steal your treasured possession, hardly anyone should know about it, after all. Maybe she hopes to deliver the cloth to whoever she serves in order to garner some advantage, get ahead in life, whatever.

Stupid, but when you're desperate, you do such things. We'll have to track her down. Ask around for the caravan and where it was headed, ask around if anyone's seen Cheese. She's distinctive enough that tracking her simply by description wouldn't be impossible.
>>
No. 698146 ID: b17b81

Is your money pouch shorted at all?
>>
No. 698147 ID: 91ee5f

>>698136
Well, even if we find her, she'll just say that we're trying to steal it from her. Or by the time we do find her, she's already sold it to someone else.
>>
No. 698149 ID: dd338c
File 145412278517.png - (87.86KB , 800x800 , 226.png )
698149

>Is your money pouch shorted at all?
No, I appear to have all my coins.

I look outside. There's several people up, looking to get ready to go to work.

There is no surprise that the tent is the only evidence that the caravan was ever here.
>>
No. 698150 ID: dd338c
File 145412279354.png - (24.43KB , 800x800 , 227.png )
698150

I find myself walking to Moss's tent. I get some looks, but I don't pay them mind.

"Moss!" I yell, finding him in his tent, with Gahn farther in the back.
>"Friend, I thought you'd have left by now, but now you're here looking ready to murder me. What happened?"
"My keepsake was taken."
>"What keepsa - oh. Oh. Cheese?"
"Yes. Do you know where they were headed?"
>"Not exactly. I didn't see them at all this morning, but if you ask around, there's probably some drunkard who never slept who saw them leave."
>"Hey, savage." Gahn says from the back. "Can't you track? It was a bigass caravan, after all. Really though, what kinda merchant steals? You even sure it was stolen by them?"
"Yes."
>"It wasn't a regular caravan, Gahn." Moss backs me up.
"The road is packed in from all the traffic." I tell him. "I might be able to follow it for awhile, but it can be indistinguishable from other tracks, which will be trouble at forks in the road." There is a chance I could successfully track it even still, but I'm not a master tracker either.
>"By the way." Moss says. "I know I saw some out of towners talking to Cheese. Some drunk or earlybird can tell you which way you head, but if you want to spend some more time, I'll help you find one of those out of towners. One of 'em might now more about Cheese's destination, or more importantly, who she works for, and who may be interested in your keepsake. No promises, though.
>>
No. 698151 ID: 02422f

>There is no surprise that the tent is the only evidence that the caravan was ever here.
The tent is yours, then. Camping gear, get.

>I'll help you find one of those out of towners. One of 'em might now more about Cheese's destination, or more importantly, who she works for, and who may be interested in your keepsake.
You probably want to do that. She'll be passing it along to someone who could actually afford it at the first opportunity.
>>
No. 698152 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698150
More information. Can't take on the guards alone, nobody will believe it belongs to you so you can't get help, and information gathering once we get to wherever they're going is going to be much more difficult alone.

Without information like that, the best chance would be to find another bandit group and get them to ambush the caravan before they reach their destination. That, unfortunately, means you'll have to either leave no survivors, or have your reputation permanently ruined.
>>
No. 698154 ID: 211d83

Take him up on his offer. Its better to get more info than trying to run blindly after her caravan. Would take blind luck to pick up its trail at this point anyways.

She said they were going back to the capitol via warp. While that plan probably has changed its your best lead right now.

As for how she found your cloth it could have been several ways.

1. She has a larceny streak and rooted through your bag while getting up just because and when she found the cloth she took it and ran.

2. She knew about the cloth somehow. Most likely from hearing it in passing from someone in Shup's group when they came back from the wilds. She did wave to you when you first met and had to catch herself when she said you really were a savage. Which looking back could have meant she knew about you beforehand. Then she took the opportunity when it presented itself. If not now then maybe along the trip to the warp town.

3. Shup sent her to get the cloth back. He knew Lily gave it to you and Cheese is his informant. Could mean that she has been keeping a eye out for you.

Anyways go pack that tent up. Might as well get something out of this mess. If you get caught in the rain now you can sleep a little easier.
>>
No. 698155 ID: 5ad4a7

Wait, can Moss press formal charges? I mean, just show him the note and he has physical evidence against her.
>>
No. 698156 ID: dd338c
File 145412478251.png - (22.75KB , 800x800 , 228.png )
698156

"I would appreciate finding more information. Can't you force the law on her? I think there is enough evidence here."
>"Not reliably, not soon, and only if you want your keepsake confiscated and other questions to come up."
"Nevermind."
>"Right. So, since this is a theft that took place in my town, I'll find someone else to take my shift. I could use the change of pace anyway. You want to come too, Gahn?"
>"Depends. What was stolen?" Gahn asks.

Moss looks at me.

>"Gahn's trustworthy, but it's your choice."
>>
No. 698157 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698156
A gift from Lord Shup's wife to be. Dragoncloth.
>>
No. 698158 ID: 211d83

If Moss vouches for him I say trust him.
>>
No. 698159 ID: 02422f

>law on her
Bad idea. You have to prove it's yours, which you can't. She, or her backer, would end up holding it. Gotta do it yourself. Outside the law.

>"Gahn's trustworthy, but it's your choice."
Honestly, can't make it any worse telling him at this point. At least with Moss backing you, he'll believe.

"Dragoncloth".
>>
No. 698160 ID: 5ad4a7

...heh. If they help you and you manage to get it back, you should tell them the whole story.
>>
No. 698162 ID: bb78f2

>>698156
Dragoncloth from a noble friend. Don't believe me that's fine, Moss does because I have white eyes and I'm Zizi's brother, which combined together makes enough sense. The item has more personal value to me than monetary, since well, having the damn thing will get me in so much trouble and every dumb motherfucker like Cheese will just try to steal it.

If it was just about it's worth in money, I wouldn't try getting it back. But it could have been a standard leather and I'd love the thing none the less.
>>
No. 698169 ID: dd338c
File 145412781808.png - (19.61KB , 800x800 , 229.png )
698169

"A gift from Lord Shup's fiance, dragoncloth." I lean in to be able to say it quietly.
>"...... you don't have a good voice for - "
>"He's not joking." Moss interrupts Gahn.
>"That's not mercantile. That's not anything but a death sentence to sell or steal! How the hell would Cheese do anything with that?!"
>"Be quiet! I take it back, Cheese is definitely far down the mercantile political machine if she can do something with that. There's no taking it back legally, Fen."
>"You'd probably be better off forgetting about it." says Gahn.
"I won't. The item has personal value to me, and I would seek it even if it were leather."
>"Then perhaps she should have given you leather. I can't help you with the retrieval, friend," Moss says, getting up, "but I can point you in the right direction. Let's go."
>>
No. 698170 ID: dd338c
File 145412782406.png - (22.18KB , 800x800 , 230.png )
698170

The 3 if us go into the inn, where breakfast is being had by half as many people as had dinner last night. Moss leads us to the back counter.

>"Hello! Day off, Moss?"
>"Nah. I have questions." Moss says. "What out of towners are staying the night?"
>"Oh, uh... er, this is guard business, right?"
>"Yeah. Tell me who looked out of place."
>"Let me see... well, aside from the few new farmers who don't have tents set up yet, which isn't normal at all, there are a few. There was a mountain kobold who didn't talk, just stayed and ate a bunch. Then, a field kobold in nice clothes with a couple of partners. He said he was touring the countryside. Lastly, a draconic kobold in a hood who looked like he was being hunted. That last one is the most suspicious, I think he's using our tavern to hide out. You should probably hurry, aside from the mountain kobold, none of them looked like they were going to stay long."
>>
No. 698171 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698168
The field kobold is cityfolk and might have some useful information.

It's tempting to approach the draconic kobold in the hopes he'll have some knowledge of the criminal world, but he'd also be likely to send us astray. You don't go far in the underworld by ratting out your fellow criminals.
...unless there's something we can offer him. Someone on the run might have some use for a bodyguard with no political affiliations?
>>
No. 698179 ID: 211d83

I guess the fancy field guy and the draconic guy first. Just picking random out of towners to chat with is not the best way to get info though.

I mean we could say hey Cheese had a mountain kobold with her but that does not mean the quiet guy who ate a bunch knew them.
>>
No. 698180 ID: 02422f

...the last one would have had the most reason to make use of any extra-legal services Cheese offered.

That said, I'm really not sure how likely any of them would be to know where she's headed.
>>
No. 698281 ID: dd338c
File 145418398151.png - (16.10KB , 800x800 , 231.png )
698281

"Is looking for random out of towners the best way to go about it, Moss?"
>"If you know the one guy who knows everything, then point me to him, Fen."
"Nevermind, but I don't think that the last one sounds like who we're thinking about."
>"Sounds suspicious, but then again, we don't get many people finely dressed. Miss, take us up to see the field kobold."
>"This way." the lady says.
>>
No. 698282 ID: dd338c
File 145418398993.png - (18.48KB , 800x800 , 232.png )
698282

Once the lady points us towards which door is to which individual, Moss leads again to knock on the door, or really what is a flap to an inner tent with a hanging knocker. Someone undoes some bindings on the flap just enough to poke their head through.

>"Who is it?"
>"Town guard. I had some questions for the field kobold." Moss says.
>"The 'field kobold'?"
>"Is there not one in this room?"

The draconic pulls his head back inside for a second, then back to us.

>"He does not wish to speak, now."
>"Tell me how his wishes appear to supercede that of the guards."
>"In that so far, you three appear to be here at a whim for no good reason. What is this about?"
>"We had a far off merchant, one who looked like she was from Erja Nokol. I have questions about her."

He disappears once more, and reappears again.

>"My master will pass on this on noble grounds, and you three will not tell anyone that there is a noble inside of here, nor pursue us further."
>>
No. 698283 ID: dd338c
File 145418399544.png - (25.52KB , 800x800 , 233.png )
698283

The flap shuts again, and Moss looks unnerved.

>"I wasn't informed about a noble coming here."
>>
No. 698285 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698283
Time for recklessness. Knock again, tell the guard that this may be of interest to a noble. Dragoncloth has been stolen.
>>
No. 698287 ID: 211d83

Dang. The only way to deal with nobles would be to pull rank on them. Which we have none of. We could throw around Shup's name but that seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

Although mentioning that it involves a stolen gift recived from Lord Shup's household might light some fires under people.
>>
No. 698289 ID: bb78f2

Something tells me this is about to get a LOT more fucked than it already is Moss.
So fucked.
Really fucked.
We got nobles up the wazoo, information stealers preyin' about, sneaky potentially angry farmers waiting to get their lynch on, no this fucking place is a bomb waiting to happen.
>>
No. 698291 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh wait, here's a sneakier option. Have a conversation just loud enough for them to hear in there, mention Lord Shup and/or the dragoncloth.

Have them open the door for you without you having to disregard the order they just gave you.
>>
No. 698293 ID: 02422f

>I wasn't informed about a noble coming here.
Then either said noble has reasons for wishing to travel incognito, or someone is lying to you, betting that you won't risk calling their bluff since it potentially mans getting on a noble's bad side.

I'm... kind of leaning towards the later option. If this was a noble who didn't want to be known, you'd think they'd have come up with some other excuse to deflect suspicions instead of just pulling rank when pressed.
>>
No. 698294 ID: 211d83

Maybe if you said this out loud.

"Lord Shup is going to be pissed when he finds out the dragoncloth his fiance gifted to Zizi's family got stolen.

That might get a reaction.
>>
No. 698295 ID: 15e42e

About how often do people claim noble privilege they don't have, to get guards away from them? If it's as easy as this you'd expect every crook in the land to just go "noble here, go away" whenever the guards come knocking at their door.

They must carry some form of identification that a guard could ask to see.
>>
No. 698306 ID: dd338c
File 145418930732.png - (14.88KB , 800x800 , 234.png )
698306

"How often do people claim they're nobles when they are not?"
>"Morons, and the desperate. The punishment for faking nobility is bad, but so is the punishment for harassing one. Damn, though, I should've checked their insignia, I thrown off my game too bad to remember. I can do that."

Moss knocks again.

>"What?" the answerer says.
>"Please confirm your insignia to me, and you won't see me again." says Moss.

He flashes a golden seal. Moss backs away without a word.
>>
No. 698307 ID: dd338c
File 145418933686.png - (28.87KB , 800x800 , 235.png )
698307

"Wait. This may concern the noble as well. A dragoncloth that was gifted by the house of Lord Shup was stolen here."

The kobold stares at me for a long time before slinking back. There's a long wait before he comes out again.

>"Come inside. We have questions for you. If the other two have something to do with this as well, then them as well, otherwise, you alone."

Gahn starts shaking his head violently.
>>
No. 698314 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698307
Just wait. If Moss wants to go inside, he'll speak up. If he says nothing, go in alone.
...considering Moss is really the only one that has any way of confirming your story, he should prooooobably come?

Anyway, remember your manners. No looking directly at the noble, speak only when spoken to, etc. Don't expect Shup's lenience.
>>
No. 698331 ID: 02422f

Yes, remember politeness training, and that there might be ninja waiting around to kill you if you cross a line.

It's not their business. They were simply doing their duty as guards.

I'd almost think you should toss your sword to Moss before you head in, but that's extending too much trust to the noble on a gesture.
>>
No. 698346 ID: dd338c
File 145419452915.png - (26.58KB , 800x800 , 236.png )
698346

I wait a moment for Moss to say something. He doesn't.

"Just myself. They were only acting as guards."

I say. Once again, the head slips in, but the flap comes open for me, and I walk inside. I keep my head down, even as I see who must be the noble in a chair.

"A dragoncloth given by one directly under the venerable Lord Shup, you say. Was it Cheese who stole it, and who was it that was given such an item? You?"
>>
No. 698350 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698346
Yes, and yes. Give details if he requests it.
>>
No. 698351 ID: 02422f

Don't be 100% forthcoming. You don't want to flat out tell one of Shup's peers what his fiance gave you and why.

Cheese took the dragoncloth from you, yes. You do not believe she was aware of it's... significance though. Merely it's wort.

You were entrusted with carrying the gift.

(Presenting this kind of like it has the potential to cause the diplomatic incident between Shup and whoever Cheese works for).
>>
No. 698352 ID: 211d83

Keep things short and simple when you can. A simple Yes sir should suffice here.

Do not lie to him but avoid going into any details that you don't have to.

I like the idea of you trying to retrieve the gift due to a honor obligation. Would let you avoid going into any embarrassing details.

(Although depending on what this guy thinks of Shup he might love the idea of a barbarian trying to steal away his fiance. Would be a huge embarrassment and rival nobles could taunt Shup about it for years.)
>>
No. 698353 ID: 91cfcf

Yes and yes. Say that you were entrusted with carrying the cloth if and only if it's asked.
>>
No. 698354 ID: 15e42e

Full honesty is likely not best policy, here. Yes, you believe Cheese was the one who stole it. The cloth was given to you, but as a token of a promise, to be returned as part of the fulfilment of said promise. Emphasize your duty to see to that return. This noble, though, is probably going to want some dirt on Shup to repay any help they give you in reclaiming the cloth.

If pressed... perhaps you should have a story ready to explain why Shup's fiancee would give you such a valuable item.

Perhaps you could describe her as having been enamored of the stories about Zizi, excited to meet him, and disappointed that he would go on no more amazing adventures. She discovered you were his brother and gave you the cloth as encouragement to go out and become a replacement for him. You ended up promising you would try, though not too enthusiastically, and that you would have at least one adventure by returning it to her one day.
>>
No. 698355 ID: 91cfcf

Also, Shup was noteworthy for becoming a powerful mage at a young age, wasn't he? Why "venerable Lord Shup", then?
>>
No. 698356 ID: dd338c
File 145419766588.png - (12.73KB , 800x800 , 237.png )
698356

>Why venerable?
I don't know. It almost sounded sarcastic.

It almost looks like he has dragon cloth himself, but it's not. The color is similar, but even though it's as clean as it can be, it still looks like it's capable of becoming dirty.

"Yes and yes, sir."
>"And you were given this Dragoncloth... why?"
"I am a barbarian from Zizi's tribe. A girl of high status looked well on Zizi, and was disappointed he was done fighting for the empire." I start lying, and I'm finding it is easy to lie to nobles when I can look uneasy and avoid eye contact regardless. "Instead, I was given this, under the promise that I would make a name for myself comparable to Zizi's, under the condition that once I do, I would give back the dragoncloth."
>"I see. And you came to me... why?"
>>
No. 698357 ID: 211d83

We were trying to find out more information about Cheese's caravan and where it might have gone.

None of the locals knew much so we figured it might be a good idea to ask some of the people from out of town.
>>
No. 698359 ID: 02422f

>"I see. And you came to me... why?"
Information, sir. Cheese works for someone, and there are relatively fewer places an item of such value could be sold. The circles of power aren't so large.

Would you be willing to tell me where she might be headed?
>>
No. 698360 ID: 5ad4a7

Don't ask him to stoop so low as to serve as a simple source of information.

Tell him you were originally looking for someone to tell you how you might recover it, but now... you thought a noble would take a personal interest in recovering it.
>>
No. 698361 ID: dd338c
File 145419859628.png - (20.40KB , 800x800 , 238.png )
698361

"I was attempting to find more information about Cheese's caravan, and where it might have gone. If Cheese can sell such an item, she must work for someone, and I was hoping you may be one to know who she works for, or act on this information."

He turns just enough to face me. I almost make eye contact out of reflex.

>"And you think I have anything to do with a travelling merchant more than purchasing odds and ends I may need?"
"Not necessarily, but I thought a noble would take personal interest in recovering it."
>"You thought wrong. That was quite an entertaining tale, but otherwise a waste of my time. I am not interested in helping you. You may leave."
>>
No. 698362 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698361
Better go. You don't push a noble.
>>
No. 698363 ID: 02422f

>>698361
Hmm. Great, we started rumors, maybe gave him information he can use against Shup or Lily, and we got nothing to show for it.

Nothing to do but back off. Take your leave.
>>
No. 698366 ID: 211d83

Thank you for your time then.
>>
No. 698368 ID: 4d6091

Oh.

Well, fuck you, then.
>>
No. 698377 ID: dd338c
File 145420155612.png - (23.87KB , 800x800 , 239.png )
698377

I make a slight bow as I leave. The only words I speak are in my head, and that is where they should remain for multiple reasons.

Moss nearly yanks me out and pulls me out to the commonroom, where we sit at the table we were at last night, with Gahn.

>"What are you thinking?!"
"I was thinking that I didn't want to drop my lead."
>"You were a dumbass too, Moss." Gahn says. "Eavesdropping with your head to the flap like that."
>"Well Fen's still alive, so that's better than it could've gone." says Moss.
>"Eh, I dunno about that. Might just wanna kill Fen in quiet. That noble wanted to be on the hush hush, right? Probably hard to kill someone."
>"We're told he's leaving soon, so there's no reason why they can't leave a dead body behind. Did you get a look at him, Fen?"
>"Yes, in my peripherals, anyway. He was light furred, and had a lighter pattern across his muzzle, not too dissimilar to yours, Moss. He wore a cap with a large tuft of fur sprouting from the back."
>.... a Pocktown merchant cap?" asks Gahn.
>"Sounds like it. That accent matches up. That fur description, Pocktown merchant, noble... Fen, you barbarian brained meathead, you stumbled on the merchant wizard of Pocktown."
"Those names mean absolutely nothing to me."

Moss groans.
>"Of all the two people out in this neck of the countryside, both people who were capable of fencing dragoncloth managed to find out about the dragoncloth. And that noble, well, I'd be amazed if he believed a shred of your story. I'd also be surprised if Cheese survives this sunset. Same to you, if you keep up the chase."
"Is that really the only lead? There could be others. How could I tell where Cheese is going?"
>"Well." Gahn says, grinning. "You either hit the jackpot and find someone else here who knows about Cheese, or you can at least track Cheese's fresh caravan tracks out to the main road until the next fork, right? It's a safe bet that Pocky's gonna follow, so you just have to set up an ambush!"
>"Gahn, your voice is too bad to make jokes like that."
>"Haha, I know. Seriously though, only two guards for that guy?"
>>
No. 698379 ID: 15e42e

If this guy's about to go after Cheese, all you need to do is follow him to her. Then... do whatever needs doing to get the cloth back.

It's not much of a plan, but if you're going to perform nobility-earning deeds, this is the least of what you'll need to be able to pull off.
>>
No. 698380 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698377
...another possibility arises. If Pocky's gonna follow the caravan to try to get at the dragoncloth, and knows where it's going, then all we have to do is wait at the fork and see where he goes. All we'd have to do is track or follow him, and he'll lead us to where Cheese is headed.

Plus, if we keep an eye on his movements while he's trying to get at the dragoncloth once we arrive at the city, we can deduce what he knows. Or maybe we can just rush ahead and find Cheese's shop, tell her that Pocky is coming for her, she'll panic and probably ask for help so she doesn't fucking die. If we succeed in helping her, by possibly ambushing and killing Pocky and his guards, then we'll have her in our pocket, and we'll have some good progress on the mission.
>>
No. 698381 ID: 02422f

>Pockettown noble is probably going to kill Cheese
Then this just became a rescue mission, as well as an item retrieval one. She'll be doubly in your debt afterwards, for the theft, and her life. An informant you have a leash on is useful.

>what do
Well, if you reasonably expect that noble will send someone to track down Cheese and take the dragoncloth for themselves, the fastest way to find her, and prevent her being killed, would be to follow whoever the noble sends.

Not how I planned to start out, but thwarting a noble in something would certainly be one way to start grabbing glory in a hurry.
>>
No. 698383 ID: 211d83

Well then I just have to follow him and wait until he blows up the caravan. Then I kill him and take back my stuff. And maybe rescue Cheese.
>>
No. 698386 ID: dd338c
File 145420381180.png - (17.73KB , 800x800 , 240.png )
698386

"I don't have to ambush him. I can just follow him, and have him lead me to Cheese."
>"What if Cheese isn't following her original path?" asks Moss.
"Then I don't know, but I don't have a better idea."
>"... either way, if you're going to do this, then I think it's farewell, for us."
"I suppose so. Thank you."
>"You know, I just thought." says Moss. "Do you have a bow?"
"No, but I know how to use one."
>"Good. I have a bow. I don't use it much anymore, but if you want to purchase one, it may be useful so you don't have to keep your enemies at sword length. Ten silver for that and the arrows."
>"Bullshit." says Gahn. "That nice fucking bow wasn't made in some barbarians riverbench. It's worth at least 50."
>"Shut up, Gahn. Fen can pay me 40 more, someday, if he actually pulls it off."
>>
No. 698387 ID: 02422f

Buy the bow, and tell him you will pay him back what you owe him later. He's been a real friend for the short time you've know him, and you won't forget that.
>>
No. 698388 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698386
Deal. That's... most of our money at this point but I think we're gonna need to use it fairly soon.
>>
No. 698389 ID: 211d83

That is quite a bit of our funds but we might be able to make some more doing this so go for it.
>>
No. 698391 ID: 91cfcf

Yeah, buy the bow and set aside 40 silver for him when you get the chance.
>>
No. 698397 ID: dd338c
File 145420813891.png - (72.38KB , 800x800 , 241.png )
698397

>"This is personal to you, ain't it?" Gahn asks to Moss.
>"If I could choose one person to die, I don't even think I'd think of Pocktown wizard, but the thought of him getting a dragoncloth disgusts me. Fen, let's run back to my tent. Gahn, keep an eye on the exits to see if anyone is leaving in a hurry."
>>
No. 698398 ID: dd338c
File 145420814519.png - (63.67KB , 800x800 , 242.png )
698398

We retrieve Moss's bow, and it looks to have 20 arrows in the quiver. We make the exchange, and rush back out.

"I will repay you what I owe. You've been a real friend in the short time I've known you, and I won't forget that."
>"Well then start by surviving. I don't have any advice for you if you're going this far." Moss says just before we reach Gahn.
>"They already left." Gahn says. "Just a minute ago, so you can catch up."
"Thank you as well, Gahn."
>>
No. 698400 ID: dd338c
File 145420815166.png - (23.48KB , 800x800 , 243.png )
698400

I run after them. The road is still winding, but I'm able to keep up without being seen despite that they are going at a far faster pace than I would have expected. The tracks are clearer than I expected, both for the caravan and Pocky.

So when I reach the first fork in the road about half an hour later, I'm surprised. I saw Pocky go right, but Cheese's caravan clearly went left.
>>
No. 698401 ID: 02422f

>>698400
Go right. Maybe they know something you don't. A shortcut, or Cheese separating from the group.
>>
No. 698403 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698400
...we don't know for certain he's going after the dragoncloth. The only way they could be going the right direction is if Cheese decided to separate from the caravan and go on foot, or something. I imagine she would leave very distinct footprints. Check! See if you can tell if some kind of large animal went that way, too. Maybe Cheese was mounted up.

It's also possible that their caravan is enchanted or something so as not to leave a trail. Have no other caravans left yet?

...oh. Cheese knows you'd try to follow the caravan. Parting ways with it would be a surefire way of losing you, assuming you had no other information. So yeah, follow the noble.
>>
No. 698410 ID: 91cfcf

Go right and try to stay a decent distance behind.
>>
No. 698411 ID: 211d83

If I was Cheese I would have left the caravan at the first opportunity. It moves to slow and is to easy to track. She probably left to go deal with the cloth and will meet back up with them later.

And the mage probably has a way to track her. Just be aware that if he can do that he might be able to track you. Be extra stealthy.

Oh and check those tracks for anything funny.
>>
No. 698443 ID: dd338c
File 145422201318.png - (43.97KB , 800x800 , 244.png )
698443

>Have no other caravans left yet?
There were not even any other caravans. In fact, aside from the tavern and Cheese, that town seemed to have no merchants.

I run to the right, after the noble. The tracks don't appear anything out of the ordinary. I doubt that Cheese got off the caravan, though, as she had a tendency to drag her tail as she walked. Then again, she may have simply lifted it so that it was not obvious, to mix her footprints in with the others.

I want to follow as far back as possible, but if I follow too far, then the noble may cross a fork at a point where it's difficult to read tracks.

It doesn't look like that's the problem for me, though. I turn around a bend, and there's a kobold aiming a bow at me.
>>
No. 698446 ID: 91cfcf

>>698443
"Fuck off before I get the farm dogs on both of us, bandit."
>>
No. 698449 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698443
Are they on a hill?

Duck back around the bend, get your bow out, look around the corner again to see if they're still there. Pop an arrow at them, see if you can do it at a high enough angle that you can be behind cover at the same time.
After the single shot, assuming you miss and they return fire without being able to clearly see you, cry out in mock pain and put the bow away, then start sneaking through the crops towards them. They should come to finish you off, but you'll just ambush them.
>>
No. 698451 ID: 211d83

If she is a informant she could very well be practiced at this sort of thing. Changing her tracks would be second nature to someone with a distinctive trail like that. Sort of depends on if she wanted to stay with the caravan for protection or if she went off on her own to do this.

If she stayed with the caravan she would have some explaining to do if you showed up. They might be in on the theft but this could be something she came up with alone. And she did not seem to be the one in charge there. She got a lot of lip from the others so who knows what was going on with that group.

As for this guy do you recognize them? The Mage had two guards so should be one of them. Is probably staying behind to make sure no one or you in particular follows closely.

Diplomacy seems like a horrible idea. You would be right in deadly range of there bow and if they are after Cheese they do not want witnesses. And with them holding a bow like that in the middle of a public path you are justified in protecting yourself even if it means striking first.

You could try to sneak past but he has seen you and crawling through the crops would take awhile. Plus you would go back to being filthy. But might be a way to sneak up on him.

Or you could retreat a bit and try to snipe him as you snuck back around the corner. What is the range you are looking at and how confident are you in hitting him.

Oh and this will involve you killing people by the way. Possibly several in rather banditlike fashion.
>>
No. 698452 ID: 02422f

>I doubt that Cheese got off the caravan, though, as she had a tendency to drag her tail as she walked. Then again, she may have simply lifted it so that it was not obvious, to mix her footprints in with the others.
If she really is a spy / informant, having habits / traits she could display for people to count on that she could ditch at will would make sense. Let everyone think you always drag your tail.

>arrow bold
Your options are to freeze, duck back (a corner of crops won't actually stop an arrow, even if they block line of sight), or to threaten damage / touch to the crops to prevent him from firing.

If he's the wizard's agent, they probably have a means to deal with the dogs. You don't want to surrender. That means stepping back and dropping so he misses you.
>>
No. 698453 ID: 02422f

Also, hard to tell at this distance, but I think that's the noble's servant from before. The one who showed the badge.
>>
No. 698456 ID: 7f4175

Get into cover ASAP, preferably around the bend, but you may need to hop into the crops. Hold your bag between you and him. It's not much but it's what you've got. If this person is protecting the noble then they are probably better than you are with a bow. You are going to have to outsmart them.

If he just wants to scare you off, best to let him think he did. If he wants to kill you he won't waste any time.

Sneaking through the crops without anyone else around is going to be difficult. People who were practiced at sneaking through the crops needed a diversion to keep you from hearing them, and it still didn't work. You don't have a diversion, so it would be nigh impossible.

Threatening him with the dogs is an option, but as >>698452 said if they are the wizard's agent there is a good chance they could deal with them. At the very least you could figure out more about them based on how they react to the threat. If they fuck off or express disbelief they are probably farmers or bandits. If they say "go right on ahead" they can probably deal with the dogs and they aren't the kind of person you want to mess with. Either that or they are bluffing and hoping you wouldn't be so stupid as to actually do it.

But for now you really need more information before you do anything drastic.
>>
No. 698484 ID: dd338c
File 145423794590.png - (53.43KB , 800x800 , 245.png )
698484

At a glance, it seems as though he could be the bodyguard who showed us the emblem. It is difficult to tell this far away, though.

He is on a hill. I leap back to cover and get low to get my bow ready.

While I do this, I yell out to him.

"If you don't let me through, I'll get the dogs on us!"

There's no response, so I push out, on the ground, and fire a shot.
>>
No. 698486 ID: dd338c
File 145423800967.png - (23.25KB , 800x800 , 246.png )
698486

He's already prone, and fires one back, but I don't wait for that before hooking my foot on a post and yanking myself quickly back to cover. Unfortunately, I don't see where my shot goes, but most likely it went over his head and behind him.

I can see that his shot goes over my head. Way over it. It would not have hit me even if I attempted to jump up and catch it, and there's no way I could scream to convincingly pretend like I got hit by such a stray shot. It tumbles through the crops behind me.

I hear distant barks.
>>
No. 698487 ID: 02422f

Called your bluff. They summoned the dogs on you.

The wizard's people are probably protected in some way. You're not.

Get up and run. Onwards.
>>
No. 698499 ID: 211d83

Man those poor dogs must get run ragged whenever a bird lands or it rains or well anything. Although they might only show up in that case if the crops get damaged.

He did that because he has protection from the dogs. Otherwise it would be rather suicidal. Which means you need to rush him and take his magic amulet or whatever it is that makes him willing to summon the dogs.

Poke your head out and see if he moved back or is still there. You can either start crawling his way with your pack out in front or run his way with it on one arm like a shield.

Or you can crawl through the crops along the side of the road. At least to make up for his height advantage. But I think rushing him is the best bet. If you go quick he should only have time for a single shot.
>>
No. 698512 ID: dd338c
File 145426188246.png - (57.64KB , 800x800 , 247.png )
698512

I look around the corner, and I don't see him. I run after him in the hopes that he's going to wait too long before looking again and I can catch him.

When I get over the hill, I catch a glimpse of his tail. He must have started running as soon as he shot, instead of trying to shoot me while I went over the hill. I don't break stride and will try to catch up to him.
>>
No. 698513 ID: dd338c
File 145426188723.png - (35.69KB , 800x800 , 248.png )
698513

>>
No. 698514 ID: 211d83

Oh god run faster. You have to catch and tackle that guy before you get ate.
>>
No. 698520 ID: 02422f

>>698513
Right. Big dog.

Your only options are to keep running, or to stop and shoot it now, hoping that buys you time to get ahead. Something that big probably won't be put of by your arrows unless you hit it damn well, in the face or something.
>>
No. 698539 ID: 739723

You know, a lot of predatory animals, like dogs, will get confused and back down if you don't behave like prey should. Staying calm, facing them down (without direct eye contact) and commanding them to go away in a clear, confident voice can work.

These dogs miiiight be under some extra magical compulsion or something, though, if there are magic wards that summon them when something interferes with the crops. Though that seems pretty complicated. Maybe it just calls them to wherever the disturbance is, and they go after whoever's there on their own instinct?

I'm not sure about there being some sort of protective item. I noticed the sign specifically said "barbarians who step off the path will be eaten by war dogs". It might be that they're just trained to not attack the fuzzy field kobolds and anyone who's with them, or to specifically attack scalebolds.
>>
No. 698545 ID: 5ad4a7

KEEP RUNNING
>>
No. 698549 ID: 739723

>>698539

Actually, now I think on it, this guy running away so hurridly from you now kind of corroborates the idea that there isn't a protective item. If there was, the legit servants of a respectable person would have them while out here.

I think the only options are to either catch up to him and toss him behind you for the dog, or to kill the dog now. It's a big target, but it would need to be a quick lethality. Think you can hit the eye, Fen?
>>
No. 698554 ID: dd338c
File 145426981232.png - (22.54KB , 800x800 , 249.png )
698554

>Think you can hit the eye, Fen?
No. I'm sure I can hit the body and relatively confident I could hit the head if it doesn't make sudden movements, but I don't have much confidence in landing a killing shot without slowing down too much.

I focus on running after the guard. He looks behind and sees me, before starting to try and run faster. The noble and the other guard must be running as well, as they can't be far ahead.
>>
No. 698556 ID: 211d83

You know if he had protection from the dogs I don't think he would be bothering to run like this.

I think he just alerted them so they would come and devour you.

So run faster and trip him when you catch up. Then keep running.

Its not like we have the time to test any protection he may or may not have.
>>
No. 698560 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698554
You just have to outpace them. See if you can trip this guy up as you run past. Maybe with your sword, even.
>>
No. 698562 ID: e062ff

Incapacitate him so you only need to outrun him, not the dog.
>>
No. 698564 ID: b88e47

Catch up to him and give him a good sword slash.
>>
No. 698567 ID: 02422f

>>698554
Do you have anything to throw at him? It wouldn't take much, an unexpected hit from behind would likely make him stumble and fall, allowing you to pass him.

Not sure what you have in inventory you can aford to lose. A ration? Part of one, if they're too large? (Or a rock, if you can stop to grab one. No time to fire a bow, and you can't do that in a dead run).
>>
No. 698569 ID: 5ad4a7

...hey, I have a theory on why the noble didn't follow Cheese.

First, you have to consider the fact that Cheese and the merchant noble were in the same town at the same time.
What if they were having a secret meeting? She is an informant, after all.

Secondly, Cheese did not try to split from the caravan as far as we can tell, and the tracks were really obvious.
What if that's because she's no longer carrying the dragoncloth?

I think the noble bought the dragoncloth from Cheese already. That would also explain why he immediately asked Fen about her, then the phrasing of that last question. "And you came to me... why?" I think that question was him trying to find out if Fen suspected he had it. I mean what's the point of that question otherwise? Shouldn't it be clear Fen was there to ask for help? Plus, there's this: "And you think I have anything to do with a travelling merchant more than purchasing odds and ends I may need?" That FURTHER implies he was involved with Cheese and also bought it. Heck, that last question really heavily implies it, I don't know why I didn't notice that sooner.
>>
No. 698572 ID: 741634

>>698569
Well, yeah, just not a great idea to realize/say that in his tent.
>>
No. 698577 ID: b17b81

Outrun him and dodge anything he tosses at you, but dont trip him. I want everything that comes to him to be his own fault.
>>
No. 698578 ID: 7f4175

>>698554
If you jump in the crops will the dog just run past you? Do the crops know that it was that other guys arrow and that you are innocent, and do they communicate that to the dog?

I guess we don't really have time to find out. Best to just run for now.
>>
No. 698765 ID: dd338c
File 145453998629.png - (170.36KB , 2000x2000 , 250.png )
698765

Instead of trying to turn and shoot me, he tries to run as fast as he can, without looking behind him. It turns out to be a mistake, as he doesn't see me catch up to him and grab his ankle, bracing myself to absorb and stop his momentum.
>>
No. 698766 ID: dd338c
File 145453999546.png - (24.80KB , 800x800 , 251.png )
698766

I then yank him backwards, both to throw him behind me and to throw myself forward to keep running. I hear the dog attacking the screaming kobold behind me.
>>
No. 698767 ID: dd338c
File 145454000285.png - (57.29KB , 800x800 , 252.png )
698767

>>
No. 698776 ID: 02422f

>>698766
Ouch. Sucks for him, but he did try to summon the dog on you, so I can't feel too bad.

Still, that gives us a time limit- one body will only keep the dog busy so long before it keeps coming, I assume.

>>698767
Two to one, and the Noble already tried to have one of his servants kill you. Only real choice is to win this fight.

The servant is still drawing an arrow, and the wizard has a sword, but sheathed. I'm not sure he can cast anything useful on a combat timescale.

First priority: neutralize the servant. Your options are basically to try and get your own shot off faster, or to charge and close distance where a bow isn't effective and you have your sword.

Be real nice if you could get the noble at weapon point before he has the chance to draw. We don't know how good he is with a weapon, but with his background, he could have afforded training / instruction.
>>
No. 698780 ID: bb78f2

>>698767
Dogs are already out and about, go into the crop for cover. If the dog kills and chews the noble apart, the dog will be blamed for it.
>>
No. 698783 ID: 3eeda0

Charge at them for a double tackle before the servant can get a shot off. Be sure to scream out loud: "YOU FUCKED WITH THE WRONG 'BOLD!!"
>>
No. 698786 ID: 88e46e

>>698780
>go where the dogs come from for cover
??????
>>
No. 698788 ID: 02422f

>>698786
Going into the crops only trips the enchantment that alerts the dog(s) to come running. If it's already tripped, we don't lose anything by using the plants for cover.

...unless tripping it again makes the dog re-prioritize and come after us again, leaving the guy who's already down. Although even then, we could use that, if we put the other two between us and it again.
>>
No. 698789 ID: c3e932

Target the noble not the servant, the noble is probably a bigger threat, just not showing it
>>
No. 698790 ID: 211d83

Shoot arrow guy before he shoots you.
>>
No. 698791 ID: 90f3c0

A noble would surely have a safeguard against the security system. Yell at him to call off the dog before you all get killed.
>>
No. 698795 ID: ab3fce

That guy is going to shoot you in a few seconds. Either shoot him back or run up and stab him if you are close enough.

Then deal with the mage. No holding back.
>>
No. 698802 ID: cee89f

>>698767
"He called out a dog, run if you want to live!"
>>
No. 698803 ID: 9a900b

Well, in for a penny in for a pound.

Take out the archer. The mage I think is more likely to be an indirect mercantile enchanter-type than someone who can throw fireballs at you.
>>
No. 698811 ID: 5ad4a7

You've got your bow out already. If you're like, actually really good at drawing and firing, you might be able to get a shot off before the archer, but... Personally, I think that you should just keep running straight at him, and get to him before he can fire.
>>
No. 698855 ID: dd338c
File 145456332320.png - (39.81KB , 800x800 , 253.png )
698855

"He called out a dog, run or call it off!" I yell, while notching an arrow. The other kobold hastens his draw. I don't think I can make it in time, either if I ran to the guard or drew.

Therefore, I don't pull back on the arrow before I start running at him in a zigzag manner.

I feel odd while I approach. Not bad, but like the air around me is somewhat alive. I feignt to the left, and he fires where he thinks I'll be. While the arrow sails past me, I notice that the dogs have stopped barking all around us.
>>
No. 698856 ID: dd338c
File 145456334457.png - (35.48KB , 800x800 , 254.png )
698856

During that, the guard simply drops his bow and begins running for me, knowing that I'll have an arrow shot before he can get another. He had a dagger behind his back.

However, much of my bow training was not spent on perfect, long range aim as I've heard many archers focus on, but immediately firing shots on zig zagging, unpredictable targets while in a dynamic position. My shot isn't great, in fact, this one fell far lower than intended, but it did strike his leg. He starts toppling backwards.

I notice that the Noble's arms are braced as though ready to block a shot. He doesn't move, but he does say something under his breath. I'm not sure, but I think I heard the word 'incompetent.'
>>
No. 698857 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698856
Take out your sword and end him. Then it's time to threaten the noble. Tell him to hand over the dragoncloth.

Or maybe don't end him. Showing some mercy might get you somewhere in this world. Plus you could have a captive as a bargaining chip. Not that a failure of a guard is worth much.
>>
No. 698858 ID: 02422f

There's a chance he could block your shot.

Draw sword, advance on them. Keep the wounded kobold in your vision, and listen for the approach of the dog. Time to threaten a noble.

"I asked politely, before. Now I find myself attacked simply for following the same road, and in a better bargaining position, merchant.

The dragoncloth."
>>
No. 698859 ID: 02422f

>>698858
Actually, wait, you should take a quick look behind you, in case the spell was to make the dog's approach silent or something.
>>
No. 698861 ID: b88e47

Quick glance behind you.
>>
No. 698914 ID: 747360

Offer to be a new guard for the nobal. He's going to need one and you just showed you are more effective than his old ones.
>>
No. 698918 ID: 9a900b

>>698914

That's crazy. The noble has no reason to want Fen alive and several reasons to want him dead.

Really, Fen's assaulting a noble's entourage here, and soon probably the noble himself. You might make a case for letting the guards live, since the future prospects for guards who fail to protect their noble in a two on one fight probably aren't great, so they'd prefer to keep this quiet as well... but it's too risky. Fen can't leave any evidence of having done this that might come back to haunt him. They all need to die.

That "odd feeling" and the dogs not barking makes me think you've stepped into some sort of magic field that stops the dogs from sensing your presence, centered on the noble himself or some possession of his. So, you're safe from the hounds. Watch that guard's dagger while you grab him and throw him at the noble, so he can catch any concealed or magical surprises coming your way. Don't do it slow, you don't want to give either of them time to think.

Then it's subduing and threatening time.
>>
No. 698919 ID: 211d83

As horrible as it sounds you can't leave either of them alive now. If you do they will put out the word that you are a bandit and attacked a noble. Which is pretty much a death sentence.

So shoot this guy again or run up and stab him and then work on dealing with the noble.

Have you ever felt that odd feeling with the air before? If not the mage probably tried to cast something at you. He might be holding up his arms just to defend but maybe he has like a magic air shield up?

As for the dogs maybe they stopped coming because they killed that one guy? That or the mage did something so you can't hear them anymore. So might want to keep rushing forward.
>>
No. 698922 ID: df2ec0

I like the idea of throwing the guard at him in case of magical traps.

But yeah they both have to die and then you need to make sure the dogs eat there corpses. They know who you are and with a word back in town would have a poster of you on every guardhouse in the country.

Plus Moss basically said the mage is a horrible guy and you should probably go kill him to get your stuff back.

And no trying to chat up the mage. Will just give him more time to hex you. Just kill him as fast as possible. If the guard is still alive you can ask him a few questions before finishing him off.

If you can't take out a couple of guys who are actively trying to kill you then you might want to rethink your plans of joining the army.
>>
No. 698926 ID: 15720c

>>698857
Didn't Fen determine that this guy's dragoncloth wasn't his own? Stealing dragoncloth is a terrible crime, better to leave it be.
>>
No. 698927 ID: 3d2d5f

>>698926
Fen determined the noble was not wearing dragoncloth.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have it and/or can't give us Intel that will help in locating it.
>>
No. 698965 ID: b88e47

Kill them. There is no way at all letting them live can help you.
>>
No. 699042 ID: dd338c
File 145463528676.png - (76.95KB , 800x800 , 255.png )
699042

I hook my bow back onto my backpack then start drawing my sword. People are heavy, and I doubt that I can throw a guard at the noble without wasting my energy. I am pretty sure that if the wizard is casting something, he can do so while dodging a slow moving thrown person.

I do make a quick look behind me though to make sure there are no dogs in sight.

Without confidence I can throw him well, I decide to neutralize him. I hesitate at a simple execution. I know I should, but I don't want a ghost haunting my conscience while I fight this noble. I stomp on his head to knock him out, although there is always a chance he has a weak skull and I killed him with that. Either way, I kick his dagger back behind me on the path and confirm he's knocked out.

I brandish my sword at the noble. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. This feeling in the air fits what I've been told being around active magic is like, and I have no idea what is going to happen.

>Noble's dragoncloth
Although I am not experienced in it, I'm relatively confident that this noble is not wearing any dragoncloth. I won't talk to him for long, but I do have enough distance on him to close in which to speak.

"I asked politely before, but I am now in a better position to ask. Where is my Dragoncloth?"
>"I was beginning to think you were an assassin and that Cheese was overplaying her hand, but you're still asking about the dragoncloth? In that case, you're in the same position as you always were, dirtroll. You must think that nobles grow fat and lazy. But you must at least know two things about the empire. Strength is respect, and nobles are respected."
>>
No. 699043 ID: dd338c
File 145463534972.png - (23.54KB , 800x800 , 256.png )
699043

>"So understand that nobles are expected to have strength to match their position."

He starts pacing towards me.
>>
No. 699044 ID: 211d83

Looks like a sword and dagger style. Or Sword and smaller sword I guess. Less power but he can try to stab you with the offhand while he attacks with the main.

Put your bag down and get ready. Remember your training and such and go kick his ass.
>>
No. 699045 ID: 02422f

>Cheese was overplaying her hand
That confirms he knows something about Cheese's operations and/or who she works for. He has information we want if we can beat him.

>Strength is respect, and nobles are respected
Looks like you'll have to show him to respect you, then.

>>699043
His swords are a different color than yours. They may be made of a stronger alloy, or enchanted. I doubt they're good enough to cut right through your sword, but if you contact edge-to-edge, your weapon is more likely to get chipped. (And aside from damaging your weapon being bad, since he has a two hand style, that means if your blade catches a notch on one of he his has an opening to get you with the other).

I might recommend getting on the other side of him, so if the dog does show up, it's behind him and not you.

Aggression might be a better option, so you can try to get an advantage before the spell effect does... whatever it does.
>>
No. 699047 ID: 5ad4a7

>>699043
Welp. Those look like magic swords. No edges. I doubt you'll even be able to land a hit on him. Try fighting defensively at first since you have some knowledge of how to do so. You need to find out how outmatched you are BEFORE you let him have any opening to kill you.

Well, that would be the case in a fair fight, anyway. If you gotta fight him, play dirty. Throw dirt in his eyes. Then, if you can't immediately disable him, run for it.

As for what to do right now,
>I was beginning to think you were an assassin and that Cheese was overplaying her hand
Looks like we went after the wrong target after all. How about you suggest instead he sends you after Cheese? You have good reason to kill her, and you have demonstrated you have some strength. If he can tell you how to get at her, you will retake what is yours. Possibly killing her in the process, but at least causing her serious harm.

He'll probably decide to at least test your skill in combat, but if he decides you are valuable he might not kill you.
>>
No. 699057 ID: 4710e1

Insert the pointed end of you metal stick into his body several times while avoiding his metal sticks.
>>
No. 699074 ID: b17b81

>Sword and dagger/case
Dang, that is the single most dangerous combo for you to fight against. General rules are keep your distance (don't get close enough that his dagger can just outright get you while he occupies your blade with his sword) and stay towards his left.(if he wants to get at you with the dagger, he would have to go over his own arm which reduces his reach with the dagger a fair bit) Fight defensively for now, get a feel for how he attacks. Back off if he tries to move in, and never put your back to the fence. One very useful thing is that if he has the dagger and the sword on the same plane relative to his body (which he is close to in the pic) it is easy to push his sword into his dagger in one motion. If he's any good at fighting in that style though, he knows to avoid it. Your overall goal is to disable him from attacking long enough that when you get near that your other hand can grab something, you won't get pincushioned.
We have to get you a shield at some point. Alternate idea is grabbing the dagger off the dude you knocked out; but I doubt you (as a novice) can beat someone in their style of choice.

(this is going off a year and a half of combat fencing experience. You will lose pretty quick against a sword and dagger if you only have a sword unless you are either damn good, or they are bad)
>>
No. 699075 ID: b17b81

>Sword and dagger/case
Dang, that is the single most dangerous combo for you to fight against. General rules are keep your distance (don't get close enough that his dagger can just outright get you while he occupies your blade with his sword) and stay towards his left.(if he wants to get at you with the dagger, he would have to go over his own arm which reduces his reach with the dagger a fair bit) Fight defensively for now, get a feel for how he attacks. Back off if he tries to move in, and never put your back to the fence. One very useful thing is that if he has the dagger and the sword on the same plane relative to his body (which he is close to in the pic) it is easy to push his sword arm into his dagger/the path of his dagger in one motion. (thereby blocking any ability to attack on his part) If he's any good at fighting in that style though, he knows to avoid it. Your overall goal is to disable him from attacking long enough that when you get near that your other hand can grab something, you won't get pincushioned.
We have to get you a shield at some point. Alternate idea is grabbing the dagger off the dude you knocked out; but I doubt you (as a novice) can beat someone in their style of choice.

(this is going off a year and a half of combat fencing experience. You will lose pretty quick against a sword and dagger if you only have a sword unless you are either damn good, or they are bad)
>>
No. 699095 ID: bb78f2

>>699043
I don't give a shit.
I just want my dragoncloth back, you have no right to it. It was a gift from a dear friend. I don't give a shit if you don't believe me, out of my way, I want nothing to do with you. I'm after Cheese, not you. Stop impeding my progress for something that isn't yours or has anything to do with you, you even said it had nothing to do with you earlier. It's just some dragoncloth to you, you're a noble, you can go and buy one wherever you want, or do some trickery. Get a different one. Cheese doing this bullshit, I can understand.
>>
No. 699111 ID: 91ee5f

>>699042
>>699043
Well then you obviously are not very strong or very respected if all you have with you are two incompetent bodyguards. Which also means that you don't have a very high position either. If what you say about power, position, and respect is true, then shouldn't your guards be almost as strong as you? Without even needing to trade blows with you, you have told me that this with be an easy victory for me. However, that doesn't mean that I will underestimate your power. If I did that, then I would surely end up like your guards, defeated because they foolishly thought I would be weak just because I'm a barbarian.
>>
No. 699112 ID: 88e46e

>>699111
>wordswordswordswords
Nah. We don't have limitless time to blab.
>>
No. 699127 ID: cee89f

>>699043
"You aren't the first I've fought to think themselves above me, and I doubt you'll be the last. Let's go."
>>
No. 699128 ID: 5ad4a7

>>699075
Well, fighting with the dagger is off the table, but we may be able to throw it.
>>
No. 699186 ID: 1b7025

"You do, huh? You must fight all the time, then. You must wrestle with wild animals, twice or three times your size and fighting you for their lives, so that your family can eat. You must get into fights with other kobolds, every week or so, aiming to tear you up and break you bones and maybe kill you if you've really made them mad. You must spend hours every day either using or polishing skills that keep you alive, and any time not doing that running and hiking and hauling all kinds of heavy stuff in and out of a village surrounded by traps. Can you imagine if you had to spend most of your day sitting at a desk, tending to an estate, or studying, or working on finicky magical items? If you had servants to carry your stuff for you? If you had to learn from instructors and sparring partners that, they know, and you know, in the back of your mind, aren't really going to try hurt you? Good thing that you're so respectable."

Get a little intimidation in. I doubt this guy is as cool as he pretends to be.

You might be able to just plain out-muscle him. He can only use one hand for each weapon, and he's probably weaker than you to begin with. A two-handed strike might knock him on his ass. Those swords look magic, though, so they might shear right through yours if you go for the locked swords. I think the best option would be if you hadn't thrown your bow away, actually, but too late for that. You seem like you're a bit taller than him, too, so you should have some reach advantage. And you probably have much better endurance, even considering that you just sprinted up here, so you might be able to tire him out His best trait is probably speed, so if you have time, shrug your backpack off so that it doesn't weigh you.

He's probably had a lot of formal training but not so much in terms of real fight experience as you. You might be able to get him with something unpredictable. His training has probably focused on waiting for someone to attack him and then responding, so try to avoid letting him do that. How's the dirt here, could you kick it at him?
>>
No. 699216 ID: b6178d

Well, hoo... I'm not sure we can win this. But consider it training. Active, dangerous, life-or-death training. Remember the days with Tevliss, and how you learned to learn. You must analyze your opponent's moves and discover how to best counter them, or you will swiftly die. Note that he seems to be a fast opponent, who can swing at you from many angles; your own sword might give you a slight advantage in reach, but if he's skilled and fast enough he will duck, dodge and weave and get in rapider stings that will harm or kill you while you're still recovering your posture.

Opening up in a defensive stance and making blows that cannot easily be parried aside and followed up by lunges seems like a prudent start, so that he'll have to make the first move. Try not to fall for feints, of which there will likely be a few..

Also remember that your arsenal does not only include a blade and the training you have so far, but also words that can distract, delude or outright convince your opponent to give up. Or at the very least make them pause, in answering.

"I suspect Cheese sold you the cloth. Even if she did not, you at least know something more about her, and who she serves. I want answers. I want MY cloth. Understand that when I get them, this ends."

In particular, remember the fight with Werssi. You don't necessarily -have- to survive to 'win' a fight, and pointing that out means you might be able to threaten your enemy with your conviction. Do something a noble would consider distasteful or unsettling, like, meet his gaze and don't falter. Show him your lack of fear.

"Understand that I will happily die fighting for this cloth. Understand that I know I need only land one good blow, to any number of yours, to 'win' this fight, whether I live or die. Understand that if I do, you will die, for a piece of cloth, or answers you were too good for a barbarian to give. Is your life worth that little to you?"
>>
No. 699218 ID: 88e46e

>>699216
>>699186
Hahaha jesus christ do you guys think he and the dog are just going to let us talk forever hahahaha we're in a fucking fight keep it short before we get stabbed
>>
No. 699219 ID: b6178d

>>699216

Oh, and if he gives you any non-feint opportunities, any whatsoever, for a free strike, even if it's just a slight hesitation at your words, go for it. It might be all the advantage you're gonna get, and he might be all the happier to back down and give up if he's cut up.
>>
No. 699232 ID: b88e47

No talking. Only cutting.
>>
No. 699234 ID: b6178d

>>699218

I don't know. The noble might not engage immediately if we don't or his fighting style might be to try and wait for us to strike first and then take advantage. His style does seem pretty suited for parry-thrust moves.

Or he might go straight for the jugular if we don't. In that case, by all means, talk is wasted and should be foregone for fighting for one's life.
>>
No. 699339 ID: a107fd

"You talk about respect? For a barbarian, strength is survival." Fake like you're going to stab from a high angle on the left, jump, bounce off a fencepost and kick him in the shins. If he's watching your sword he won't be thinking so much about your feet. If that goes well, he's off-balance and you're underneath him, so just maneuver your blade into the general vicinity of his abdomen or groin and let gravity do the work.
>>
No. 699466 ID: bf53e4

Say, if he was thinking you were an assassin... maybe he's the sort of guy who worries about assassins a lot? I mean, he does go around with his swords and two guards.

That kind of guy, I suspect he'd either enchant his clothes for protection, or wear some sort of chain shirt underneath, something that could stop a surprise dagger or arrow. In fact, that might be it peeking up under the black... shirt? It almost looks like he's wearing some sort of one-piece thing. Which makes me suspect enchantment even more.

He probably has at least some sort of protection around his torso. Try his face, throat or hands.
>>
No. 701303 ID: dd338c
File 145531988234.png - (44.49KB , 1200x800 , 257.png )
701303

I shrug off my backpack before anything else happens.

"I do not care about that." I say while I close the distance I want to, but I also want to be defensive.

I know that I've become better than any other barbarian I've encountered back home, and my tribe tells me I've made long leaps in progress. I still can't beat Zizi, but I'm learning that I can sooner beat this noble than my brother.

Nonetheless, I wish I had trained with a shield after all. The noble does not waste time before striking at me. He does not overextend himself or even seem to try much other than test how quickly I react, and how my form is while I block it.

What I do not like his how our blades connecting forms a quiet but distinct squealing noise like a wailing, winded rat.

He steps forward, I start a feint to attack him but fall back a step instead. He prepares the block without devoting entirely to it and leaving him open elsewhere.

>How is the dirt?
The road is mostly travelled in the middle, and I doubt I can kick up anything while standing in the middle. However, the farther I go to the edges, the softer it gets, and I'm sure I can kick up a great deal there. The problem is that then it would then be easy for him to force my back to the fence.

Trying to stay on his left side invariably leads me to the edge as well, but it also comes with the same issue.
>>
No. 701304 ID: dd338c
File 145531989001.png - (13.92KB , 800x800 , 258.png )
701304

He picks up his pace of strikes. He swings his sword around like he's cracking a whip, and he never strikes with his dagger, only waves it around to prepare a strike if I ever give him an opening. By this point, I'm walking steadily backwards.

I've learned that his strikes, although meant to test me, don't seem to have a solid amount of strength behind it. If the opportunity allows for it, I may be able to swing hard to bat his sword away, although that may leave me more open than him. Furthermore, the longer our blades stay in contact, the louder that squealing gets, and my sword begins vibrating uncomfortably, lasting even after I pull away. Nonetheless, he does not appear to know how to get past what defense I have, as he does not make any overly aggressive maneuvers. I might think he was patient instead, but he seems to be getting agitated.

My foot is about to step by the dagger. To this point, I've been blocking his vision and walking backwards, while still staying on his left side, attempting to block his vision of the dagger as best as I can. Kicking it up into him may be my only chance to get an opening, but it will also leave me somewhat off balance as I kick.
>>
No. 701308 ID: 5ad4a7

>>701304
Go for it. You have training involving keeping your balance, you should be able to regain it faster than he can take advantage of it.
>>
No. 701316 ID: 211d83

Seems like his sword has some sort of magic that might vibrate yours apart if you force it two long.

I would say go for the kick. Your balance is better than his I bet and hopefully will give you the opening you need to finish him off.
>>
No. 701322 ID: 020b5e

Your tail should be longer and heavier than his fluffy one, so you should have pretty fine control over your balance. Maybe more than he'll expect if he habitually trains with his own kind, but the race of his two guards would indicate against that.

Try to avoid touching your sword to his. I suspect it has some sort of enchantment that weakens the metal. If he's an enchanter by trade, he'd theoretically be as familiar with what makes an object weaker as well as what makes it stronger, and it fits with his apparent current tactic of patiently testing you, luring you into parries that damage your weapon. If he's wearing enchanted underclothes as well, then your sword might just snap when you try hit him with it. Fortunately, if that is the enchantment on his sword, then it's less likely to have other enchantments as well, so it's probably not super sharp or anything. However, his knife might or might not have something different on it.

My guess is that a long, drawn-out fight isn't in your favour. You need something to get a quick advantage, and then capitalize on it with a sudden, all-in attack. Either use the dagger kick to divert him, or else maybe you can lure him to the side and then hit his sword at the right moment that you can make it hit and lodge itself in the fence. Whatever you do, you then rush in, grab his knife hand with your free hand to keep it away (grab his knife in your hand if that's the only way you can do it - it'll be some major damage, but better than it lodging itself in your heart), and go for his throat either with your sword or your jaws.
>>
No. 701333 ID: 02422f

>I may be able to swing hard to bat his sword away, although that may leave me more open than him
Right, you bat one blade away, and leave yourself open to attack from the other. Not ideal.

>the longer our blades stay in contact, the louder that squealing gets, and my sword begins vibrating uncomfortably, lasting even after I pull away
An enchantment that works more the longer it's held against a target? Not sure that's really the best match for his fighting style, since he seems to operate with multiple quick strikes. Although I suppose it forces any opponent to adopt the style he's comfortable with in order to limit contact?

The purpose is obvious though. It's meant to be a solution for his relatively lower strength. No need to smash through something when you can get it to smash itself.

>Kicking it up into him may be my only chance to get an opening, but it will also leave me somewhat off balance
Does it have to be a kick? I'm not sure if a tail smack would get the same effect, or if you have enough control over it / practice using it that way versus kicking.

The other alternative to a kick would be to step on it, so the handle is between your toes, and then flick it up at him. Requires more dexterity / precision and puts less force behind it, but it might leave you less off balanced / exposed since you don't have to commit the same degree of motion.

Hopefully the downed servant isn't lucid / conscious enough to try grabbing your leg or something. Don't want to get too close to that hand.
>>
No. 701366 ID: 5ad4a7

You can also use the guard as part of the fight, if you wind up on the floor for some reason. You could grab a limb to block a blow, for instance. Or simply use its presence as unstable ground to lure/back up your opponent into.
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No. 701536 ID: dd338c
File 145538841564.png - (42.54KB , 800x800 , 259.png )
701536

>No need to smash through something when you can get it to smash itself.
Come to think of it, it may not be the amount of time that I contact his sword that's doing that, but the amount of pressure I exert on his sword.

>Tail smack
My tail is kind of flexible, but I don't have nearly enough practice to be able to swat the knife in a way that won't just knock it into the crops or otherwise out of the way.

I go for it. His reaction is quick and he deflects the knife with his smaller sword. The bright side is that my balance is fine, and his offhand weapon is farther behind him than he's let it be up to this point.
>>
No. 701543 ID: 02422f

>his offhand weapon is farther behind him than he's let it be up to this point.
Which means if you smack his sword away, it'll take longer for him to try and bring his dagger up. You may have an opening when you can bring your greater strength to bear without getting stabbed for your trouble.
>>
No. 701556 ID: 5ad4a7

>>701536
Time to BE. AGGRESSIVE. Get in there and either bat his sword away to go for a killing blow, or hit his hand/arm to outright disarm him.
>>
No. 701563 ID: 90f3c0

It's still too dangerous to attack his body. Go for a crippling blow on his sword arm, then fall back.
>>
No. 701579 ID: 211d83

While he is distracted quickly attack his sword hand. Neither of you are wearing gauntlets or have swords with large cross guards.

If you can disable his sword arm you can take him out much easier.
>>
No. 701584 ID: 8e9d4b

Step inside his sword's reach, grab his knife arm to push it away, and stab him in the throat!
>>
No. 706308 ID: dd338c
File 145678825173.png - (31.26KB , 800x800 , 260.png )
706308

I get somewhat aggressive, and step far into his range to swing my sword at his hand.

His reaction is still fast and he didn't get caught completely off guard, but while I missed his hand directly, I sink my sword well into his wrist. Yet now my arm feels oddly weak and I'm hardly able to grip my sword, but I have to remain focused on his body.

Even though he pulls his hand back after dropping his blade, he still steps forward back at me, preparing to thrust with his offhand blade. I must block or parry it somehow, but my arm's sudden lack of feeling may make this difficult.
>>
No. 706312 ID: 88e46e

>>706308
Kick him in the dick.
>>
No. 706314 ID: 5ad4a7

>>706308
Twohand your blade to parry. You still got one good arm, after all.

It sounds like he enchanted himself to debilitate whoever strikes him. Or maybe it's his clothing that's enchanted, as you had to cut through his sleeve to injure him. Better make your next strike count, and aim for the face or neck with it.

Feel free to taunt him about his strength being inferior to a barbarian. He doesn't deserve to be a noble.
>>
No. 706315 ID: 02422f

>>706308
You're both down your dominant arm, for the moment.

Use your off hand to grab his arm before he can strike while your other arm recovers, or just punch him in the face.

...or dick kicking works too, sure.
>>
No. 706317 ID: bb78f2

>>706308
Jump back, jump forward, trip, thrust his own blade into himself.
>>
No. 706324 ID: b412df

I dunno much about sword fighting, but couldn't you dodge / circle around the right?

He's attacking with his off hand, so he'd have to reach further to hit you then.

(I haven't caught up yet, so I might be missing something that prevents the above)
>>
No. 706327 ID: 0fc52c

He had his left foot forward and right back, right? So, for better maneuvering, he's probably stepping forward with his right foot. Kick him in his right knee and it'll knock his aim off and maybe unbalance him.
>>
No. 706456 ID: 92a560

He has a reflect damage spell on him, aim for non vitals
>>
No. 706647 ID: dd338c
File 145688033720.png - (33.29KB , 800x800 , 261.png )
706647

>He has a reflect damage spell on him
>It sounds like he enchanted himself to debilitate whoever strikes him.
It would make me nervous about striking him back, but I don't have much choice.

He's stepping forward with his knee, so I grab my sword with both of my hands to block his offhand while kicking out that moving knee. Just as I lift my foot, I feel something drip on it.
>>
No. 706651 ID: dd338c
File 145688044482.png - (22.10KB , 800x800 , 262.png )
706651

It knocks him off balance as well, so I attempt to land a cut on or above his neck, but he regains it quicker than I would have thought and leaps back. Although I scrape his muzzle, he swings his head quick enough to avoid serious damage.

"I thought nobles were supposed to be stronger than barbarians."
>"We are. To land a single blow, let alone two, would be shameful for me. Take that as the greatest accomplishment of your life, and die knowing that no one will ever know it."

Instead of pressing the offense, he starts walking backwards in a careful retreat.
>>
No. 706655 ID: 211d83

Is that all your blood? Quickly check your face for any damage so you can verify if he does have a reflex damage spell on him.

Also take a look at your arm cause that is a lot of blood all over the place and if you have been bleeding like that since you hit him you need to either finish him off non lethally or bind your wounds quickly.
>>
No. 706657 ID: 02422f

>>706647
That's... a fair amount of blood you're losing there, Fen. Not good.

>damage reflect
Without a way around the enchantment, the best you can do is disarm him, and then tie him up / restrain him. You might be able to knock him out, but we don't know if the spell bounces blunt force trauma the same as cuts.

...interestingly, it reflected damage from his left arm to your right. Does the spell actually act like a mirror (so it'll always switch left and right) or did the spell recognize which arms were dominant, and jump from his dominant arm to yours? Too bad we really don't want to experiment.

>he starts walking backwards in a careful retreat.
He's letting you lose blood and tire. Time's on his side, now.

>what do
Either you need to disarm and restrain him before you're overcome, or we need a way around his enchantment.

...his weapons are enchanted. I wonder if you grabbed the sword he dropped, would it bypass the effect?
>>
No. 706658 ID: 5ad4a7

>>706647
WHOOPS you got hit by his sword when you were disarming him. Rookie mistake, Fen. You are bleeding a LOT.

Either rush him and kill him right here right now, or just let him go, retreat and mend your wound, and hope he thinks you died.
...actually, maybe you can strike a deal. Tell him if he doesn't come after you after this, you won't tell anyone how you shamed him in battle.
>>
No. 706660 ID: bb78f2

If we survive this encounter, I always advise having some POCKET SAND somewhere at all times.

Oh, and that cut on your arm must have been that weak feeling you were feeling. You're chock full of adrenaline, so you didn't feel it.
If he's retreating a bit, it means he's either preparing a full thrust attack, or a magic ranged attack, these take time, so if you read his motions right, you should be able to dodge it and go for a killing blow.
>>
No. 706663 ID: 4546ab

You need to overwhelm him quickly before you bleed out.

His sword was sharp enough for you to not notice getting hit in that exchange. You both got a bad cut but it looks like you are bleeding more heavily than him. You don't have the time to fix it so you have to push fast and hard.

Beat down his knife defense with your superior reach and then use some of his tattered clothes to bind your wounds when he is dead.
>>
No. 706665 ID: b17b81

Pick up his sword. If nothing else, you've got a better weapon out of this.

>die knowing that no one will ever know it
I have a feeling that he's got some sort of trick up his sleeve. Let him fall back.
Do you think you could use the guard's bow with your arm the way it is? I'd feel better with you trying to get a shot off at range with him.

By the way, is the dog coming yet?
>>
No. 706667 ID: 84256d

Alright, you need to finish this quickly and you need to not strike any part of him covered by his clothes.

I would say leap at him, push his knife away with your left hand/arm/sword, grab his snout with your right, and get in to tear his throat out with your teeth.
>>
No. 706678 ID: 5ad4a7

Guys, evidence points to Fen being hit by the sword, not a damage reflection enchantment on him or his clothing.

Fen can probably gut him just fine.
>>
No. 706682 ID: 84256d

>>706678

Well, on close viewing, yeah, he definitely managed to bleed the arm so it's not armored, and the forearm cut doesn't match Fen's upper arm cut, so it's not damage reflection. Fen's report of his arm suddenly feeling weak does also match with getting a cut, but I wouldn't have expected him to feel it so weak instantly, unless it severed or partly severed a tendon, and a hit on his upper arm wouldn't have affected his grip that way? If anything a hit there should be giving him trouble lifting or pulling back his arm, or straightening/bending his elbow, if I remember anatomy correctly. The stuff that controls your grip attaches around the elbow. And if the nerves had been cut the feeling would have been numbness and loss of control more than weakness. So it's a bit weird that Fen's first reaction was "I'm hardly able to grip my sword".

In any case, if this guy is wearing secret armor anywhere, it'll be on his torso. There's nothing stopping him from just having your classic hobbit mail on under there or something.
>>
No. 706731 ID: 5ad4a7

>>706682
The partial paralysis is most likely due to the enchantment on the sword.

...which we could grab now, come to think of it. Use it against him, and thus even the odds despite having a really fucked up arm?

...oh, it's also possible that the noble's bodyguard woke up and that's why he's so sure Fen is about to die. Not from blood loss, but from an attack from the rear.
>>
No. 706842 ID: a107fd

He's wounded, and partly disarmed. You're bleeding heavily. He thinks he can still win this by stalling for time, giving ground and trash-talking. He thinks you're a barbarian idiot who got lucky.

So, play into that. Roar like you're super angry, run at him with the sword high like you're going for a big two-handed overhead chop. He's smart, and wants to survive, so he'll bring the knife up to block, or maybe go for your eye or neck, instead of trying for some lower target and ending this with a double knockout like that training bout you had. At that point, instead of the chop, you use the momentum of the charge to kick. Maybe the crotch, maybe stomp his toes, doesn't matter so much as long as it limits mobility.

Once he's down, cut a swath off his shirt and use it to bandage your arm.
>>
No. 706882 ID: b6178d

Judging by the blood spray, that looks like a bad wound. You'll urgently want to finish this so you can apply bandages and pressure to it.

Say, didn't he put down his bag before drawing his blades? If he's got the cloth, or anything important, that's likely where he's keeping it. If he's backing away, he'll be heading past it. If he attempts to pick it up, you might be able to take advantage of him stooping down. Keep doing the zweihander thing; your wounded arm is probably not going to be able to apply enough strength on its own.

That said, this guy has proven fast reflexes, and might be able to keep blocking with his lone dagger if he stays on the defensive. If you try striking hard enough or with a flurry of blows to knock his dagger away, whatever magical effect that causes the metal squealing might progress far enough to trigger. In lieu of a better suggestion, you may need to do something unexpected, something that his reflexes and defensive stance won't be able to account for. There's a spare blade behind you, so you could go for the reckless option of throwing your arms at him. Pretend you're making a wild, furious swing that's clearly gonna miss if he just steps back, then LET GO of your blade just as it would arc harmlessly past, so it instead is thrown straight into him. Swivel, snatch up his blade, then press whatever advantage your sword bouncing/slicing into him gave you.

Caveat: if you hear/see a giant dog stampeding up from behind, you may want to throw yourself aside.
>>
No. 707118 ID: dd338c
File 145705568595.png - (25.81KB , 800x800 , 263.png )
707118

>Blood
Oh. Gods.

Was it a one time thing? I kicked him in the knee rather hard, and sliced his muzzle, but I haven't felt any worse anywhere. And the cut on my arm seems to be my upper arm, and it doesn't seem to be anywhere close to the spot near Pocky's wrist wound, never minding the different arm. I don't appear to be leaking blood anywhere else, but it's only when I notice my arm wound that it seems cold. It does not sting, though, it just feels unpleasant.

I look back a second, since the noble is keeping some distance. His sword looked like it sliced through me, and I wasn't able to see exactly where it was while slicing his wrist, but it was close to my arm for certain. I don't think it's some kind of damage reflection, but that sword must be magic if it's so sharp that it cut me without me feeling it.

>By the way, is the dog coming yet?
No, and I think that if it was coming, it would have already arrived. I don't think the mage can control it by magic, just pacify them back into the crops.

I need to finish this now. The blood isn't slowing by itself, as though my blood lost the ability to clot. I go for a heavy overhand swing.
>>
No. 707120 ID: dd338c
File 145705570712.png - (26.96KB , 800x800 , 264.png )
707120

He steps back, but instead of missing, I throw my sword.
>>
No. 707121 ID: dd338c
File 145705572048.png - (33.75KB , 800x800 , 265.png )
707121

His sword was kept at a defensive spot, and caught my blade's hilt.

However, I threw myself forward right after my sword as well. I grab his left hand, keeping his blade away. He isn't that physically strong.
>>
No. 707122 ID: dd338c
File 145705572701.png - (23.19KB , 800x800 , 266.png )
707122

>>
No. 707123 ID: dd338c
File 145705581632.png - (84.85KB , 1000x600 , 267.png )
707123

Keeping his blade away from me, I kick him off.
>>
No. 707124 ID: 5ad4a7

>>707123
Spit his flesh back in his face, make sure he can't throw the dagger at you or something in spite, then go through his pack to see if he has any medical supplies. Gotta stop the bleeding. It'd be great if he really does have the dragoncloth, but it's probably with Cheese.

Don't forget the bodyguard you spared. We gotta decide what to do with him. I'm leaning towards killing him since he's a witness to the killing of a noble, now. Maybe you could interrogate him for information first though. He might be able to tell you more about Cheese?
>>
No. 707125 ID: bb78f2

Listen mage, you either perform healing magics on us both, or I will keep injuring you until I finally die, which will take a while, and I will make it as AGONIZING as POSSIBLE. And when I feel at my weakest, I WILL TEAR YOUR HEAD OFF. YOUR CHOICE, NOBLE.
>>
No. 707127 ID: 02422f

>Ripped his throat out
...you know, that's probably the worst way to kill someone you wanted information out of. Now he can't even tell you anything with his dying breath.

Step back, stay on guard, and keep pressure on your wound to minimize blood loss as you watch him die, so he doesn't get a chance to try anything.

Then start binding that wound ASAP.

Then we need to get the hell out of here right quick. I'm torn between taking useful enchanted weapon, or leaving them where they lie since carrying the weapons of a murdered noble could get you in more trouble pretty fast.

...I'd say I sure hope they don't have the magic to track someone from their blood, but they don't need magic for that. They got dogs.
>>
No. 707129 ID: b3c50d

If he doesn't heal himself he'll bleed out in less than a minute. Get ready to disarm and pin him once he's distracted doing so.
>>
No. 707135 ID: c3abbf

He wasn't going to tell you anything anyway.

Stay away from him so his death spasms don't get you, and check yourself visually for more injuries, just in case. Start fixing yourself up as soon as possible, especially that arm, then clean yourself up a bit and start searching his goods.

We're gonna have to start thinking about how to get rid of these bodies. He did say he was starting to think you were an assassin, so that'd be something to try play up.
>>
No. 707204 ID: c47b0c

So, what's the worst thing that can happen for killing a noble?
>>
No. 707212 ID: 211d83

Put some pressure on your wound and make sure he bleeds out without any further attempts to stab you. Or managing to magically heal himself or something. Then cut a clean section of cloth from the bodyguards clothes and use it as a bandage. Also finish off the bodyguard or keep him for questioning. Either way he has to die in the end though.

Also loot the other bodyguard if the dog has left and if there is anything to loot after it mauled him. We do not want to leave any evidence of there identities around if possible.

Then loot everything and toss there naked bodies into the crops and run for it. If anyone finds this it needs to look like a dog attack.

Take the magic swords but bundle them and there sheaths up and keep on using your normal weapon. Do not need someone recognizing them who lives nearby. Can use them later once you are out of the area this noble lives in.
>>
No. 707237 ID: 91ee5f

>>707123
And now to say something like, "Looks like you were wrong. You're the one who's going to die and not me."
Or "That's what you get for underestimating me!"
Or "Your death could've been avoided, had you not stood in my way."
>>
No. 707309 ID: dd338c
File 145713793781.png - (27.50KB , 800x800 , 269.png )
707309

As much as I want to take care of my bleeding right away, I have to be careful about that noble. I don't know what magic he can do. He doesn't seem to be casting anything right now, but as I approach, he starts making his way to the crops, with his hand stretching towards one. I think he was trying to damage the crops, but I don't let him.

"You were wrong." I say, and I knock him out like I did his guard. He looks surprised the whole time, like he did not realize what was going on. I barely know myself, but I apply pressure to my wound. It seems to help somewhat, but I'm starting to feel the blood loss.

>So, what's the worst thing that can happen for killing a noble?
... either being put to death, or wishing for death.

I need to get away from here. This road doesn't seem well travelled, and unless I get good or bad luck, it will be a decent amount of time before anyone finds this, plus more time for them to get to the nearest town and report this.

I'm left wondering if anyone could tell he was a noble lik