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File 160052733355.jpg - (201.52KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 01.jpg )
976705 No. 976705 ID: 12b116

Disaster. An absolute disaster.

The trampled remains of the giant loaf of fancy Alustran bread from Aldenhead are scattered across the floor, covered in vomit, blood, and even less savory fluids.

Almost none of it had actually been eaten by the guests when some gnome had tried to run off with it.

Then the drunk had tried to stop the gnome, then more patrons decided to assist, then the brawl began in earnest.

In the process, the bread got destroyed.
Expand all images
No. 976706 ID: 12b116
File 160052737258.jpg - (347.10KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 02.jpg )

Not that the rest of the public room had fared much better.

Your parents are going to be gone for a week at least, and they'd left you, as the eldest and most responsible child, in charge. You rub your temples in frustration.

You assess your options. Really, there are only a few useful things to do.

Start cleaning. Maybe wake your siblings up or wait for them to get up on their own to help

Go outside. Maybe look for an Exemplar to haul the troublemakers off.

Just start kicking the unconscious gnome in the head until you feel better.

Something else
No. 976711 ID: ce39da

Call the authorities. If these clowns owe you for damages, they shouldn't get a chance to weasel out of it.
No. 976712 ID: 6aa114

This is terrible! There's only one solution. Put the gnome in chains and make them your slave until they pay off the bread and craft new furniture.
No. 976716 ID: d36d9b

Massage the gnome lovingly.
No. 976717 ID: e19a40

Yes, your priority should be cooperating with law enforcement and recuperate as as much of your financial lost as possible.
No. 976720 ID: 094652

Well, start by tying up the gnome and the drunk. Send them both to the Exemplar for theft and assault, though try to levy for the drunk to get professional help instead of a stay in prison.

Charge the guests for 'invitation roughhousing' and use the proceeds to purchase new furniture. Make sure you buy alcohol while at the market.
No. 976723 ID: 6aa114

Your parents wouldn't happen to have given you any tips on how to handle such situations, have they? Also, have you ever seen them handling such a situation in the past?
No. 976724 ID: 12b116
File 160054267040.jpg - (327.47KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 03.jpg )

You really want to punish the gnome. You tie him up and decide that dragging this annoying creature to an Exemplar seems reasonable. Maybe your siblings will have decided to clean up on their own when you get back. You have seen your parents handle drunks plenty of times. They usually don't go seeking out the law, but most of the time expensive bread hasn't been violated so awfully and publicly either.

You haul the gnome through the streets, making sure to drag him through the most unpleasant parts, until you spot an Exemplar with some guards.

Unfortunately, it's a Kinnara. You tend to not have good interactions with Kinnaras.

The Exemplar notices you, sneering down his beak as you tell him what happened. He smugly explainins at length about the process involved in attempting to recover losses from the gnome and how you shouldn't expect to hear anything back for several weeks at least. Which is about what you expected, but you stay polite as you excuse yourself. Once word gets out, people will probably be less rowdy tonight.

Of course, the real problem is the fancy bread. Being a hub of trade, Denebeid is full of inns and public houses, all competing with one another to attract the attention of the travelers, mercenaries and merchants constantly passing through. The Painted Orchid had a giant, expensive, fancy loaf of Alustran bread. Word had gotten out, and the place had been packed last night with people wanting to taste it.

There would be a problem tonight, though. You are going to have to think of something, because people were going to show up tonight expecting something novel and interesting, and turning away guests is about the worst thing you could possibly do.

You're already out, so there's a few options:

Head to the entertainer's district and try to hire some dancers, musicians, or storytellers.

Head to the market and look for some fancy food or drink. You definitely can't afford to actually buy another Aldenhead loaf, but maybe you could find something else.

Head back to the Painted Orchid and see if your siblings are awake/have cleaned up/have any ideas.

Go get drunk because fuck it. Maybe something good will happen?

Something else

No. 976725 ID: 094652

Head to market, find ingredients to make your own loaf.
No. 976728 ID: 81eef2

GET DRUNK or high or whatever no need to rush. It'll all work out in the end right?
No. 976729 ID: 0fae41

Entertainment district. For a good time, who you gonna call?
No. 976730 ID: e7c7d3

Go to the market to find some sort of fancy stuff to stick on regular loaves. Doubt your regular clientele will notice it's not genuine aldenhead loaf
No. 976731 ID: 6f7a5a

Head back to painted orchid, to check on siblings
No. 976732 ID: 6aa114

Your siblings probably won't tell you anything you don't know already. The prime choices seem to be the market and entertainers but...

Get drunk.
No. 976734 ID: 12b116
File 160054789042.jpg - (254.27KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 04.jpg )

The very thought of adulterating food and trying to pass it off as something else is repulsive to you. Your parents run a reputable establishment.

That being said, having a glass of wine might clear your head and give you a good idea or something.

The dwarf behind the counter grunts as you sit down, passing you a cup of wine as you pass him a few coins, and a fucking Nariphon walks up and leans toward you. Your skin tingles as the scent of his pollen reaches your nostrils. It always kind of freaks you out when that happens. You think about just getting up to leave, but you already paid for the wine.

The naga on the other side of you is clearly very drunk.

"No, I'm telling you, there's a Deva in the ruins! I've seen it with my own eyes!" the naga shouts, gesticulating wildly to the person on the other side of it.

They get up and leave.

The naga grunts, sipping angrily at its wine with its tiny mouth.

"So," the thought invades your mind as the pollen-scent changes. "You seem a little tense."

You've typically kept away from Nariphons. If you eat one of their fruits, their young grow inside of your body before you "pass" it, in what you've heard is an extremely unpleasant event, and they're always trying to trick people into eating their fruit.

Some places employ them because on top of being huge and tough, their pollen also tends to have a mild soporific effect. You've also heard rumors that if you spend the night with one, you'll be unconscious for a month. Probably from the pollen, which they also use to transmit their thoughts to people, the only method of communication they have.

Do you

Keep drinking and hope somebody else comes over or you get a good idea.

Talk to the excitable drunk naga.

Talk to the Nariphon.

No. 976735 ID: 0fae41

Speak to the naga. Something rare and exciting? That's sure to draw the crowds.
No. 976736 ID: 6aa114

Nariphon. Because they're such a polarizing race, they probably often deal with uncomfortable situations, which may help you, or at least shine some insight into what do to.
No. 976737 ID: b1b4f3

Why not talk to both?
No. 976738 ID: 094652

"Some idiot thief tried to make off with my goods and my guards accidentally destroyed almost all of them when he got caught.

The [whatever organization the Exemplar belongs to] is obligated to reimburse the full market price of what I lost in the fight, which is good, but I'm barely scraping by and my big presentation is due today, which is screwed."
No. 976739 ID: 12b116
File 160055344911.jpg - (260.33KB , 1000x750 , Inkeeper 05.jpg )

Maybe this Deva the naga's supposedly found could help your situation somehow. You don't really know much about Devas other than that they have powerful magic or something.

"You were saying you found a Deva?" You ask.

It takes him a second to realize your talking to him, he spins quickly, almost falling off the chair.

"Yes! Yes! In a ruined city about a mile outside of here. A Bound Deva! I saw it! But I can't manage on my own you know, and it's only a matter of time until someone else finds it and gets all of the free wishes! Wishes! Just for the taking!" he eyes you up. "You look pretty capable. Come with me! We can split the wishes fifty fifty!"

Meanwhile, you hear the sound of wood creaking as the Nariphon's hips and chest expand while its waist shrinks.

"Does this suit your tastes better?" it thinks amidst the shifting scents. "I'm Albah, by the way. What's your name?" You introduce yourself and explain that you're in a bit of a situation right now. That there was a theif, and a brawl, and this whole big thing with a snooty Exemplar, and you're a bit screwed at the moment.

"Well, Deva! Wishes! It could be exactly what you need to fix your situation!" He swings around.

"Hey, Nariphon!" the naga shouts. "Come with us! We could use the muscle. This human seems clever. He can probably figure out the riddles. You keep us safe, we split the wishes three ways!"

The dwarf speaks quietly to you. "He's been trying to convince someone to go with him for the past several hours. No idea what the deal is, but Albah is a regular here."

Albah shrugs. "I might want a different sort of payment," it thinks, the pollen growing stronger and smelling a bit sharp and spicy, "But I'm willing to go if the human is."

"Good! Great! It's all settled then! I am Eth! I own several stalls at the Area, you know. My gladiators are some of the best in all of Rwaileshalar!"

You've never really heard of him, but you also don't really visit the area ever. If he's telling the truth, he's probably fairly well off.

He seems very excited to go, and will probably look for someone else if you don't agree, so you probably need to decide if you're going now, and you'll be able to find out more on the way.
No. 976741 ID: 0fae41

Sure, why not. Great way to spend a drunken bender after your inn gets trashed.
No. 976742 ID: f56a2b

Lets head back to talk to our siblings; we shouldn't abandon our family business for this quest.
No. 976744 ID: 6aa114

Well, as long as you aren't in any closed rooms with the Nariphon, you aren't going to pass out. If it's just a mile away, it shouldn't take too long. What do you got to lose...

Tell Naga that you aren't going on feet tho. Does he have transport arranged? And why aren't these famous gladiators of his helping him then?

Tell Nariphon that you aren't eating any fruits until your problems are solved.
No. 976759 ID: 12b116
File 160056327561.jpg - (238.78KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 06.jpg )

You suppose, worst case scenario, you still have several hours to figure something out even if the trip is a waste of time. And if it's not a waste of time, you have already solved your problem!

"I knew you were a smart guy when I saw you!" Eth says, patting your forearm with his little hand once you agree to accompany him.

You finish off your cup of wine. No reason to waste it.

You also consider heading back, but your siblings will be so impressed when you've absolutely fixed everything that it's probably not worth worrying with right now.

You don't really want to walk though, and tell Eth that.

Fortunately, he has a noble steed named Terebel that he can't properly use without a larger rider, so it works out for everyone.

You also think that just being around a Nariphon, even in a closed-off room, won't actually knock you out. You have to get really physical with them for that to happen, from the rumors. Like, spend the night spend the night if you know what you mean.

You all fairly drunkenly (except for Albah. You're pretty sure Nariphons can't get drunk) head out, almost immediately leaving the main road and heading off down some dirt path into the jungle.

You take the opportunity to ask him why he doesn't get a gladiator to help. "And have him run off? They're very good fighters who win matches. Not neccessarily the most loyal individuals in the world." That makes sense to you.

As you travel, you notice Albah chopping off its arm. The extra long one with all the nails. It then starts carving a handle into the now-spiky-club, and starts shaping a hand at the end of the bit still attached to its body. Albah notices you watching and thinks "I might need two hands" at you dryly.

It's definitely been about twenty minutes when Eth indicates you should leave the trail and head off into the jungle. He assures you that the ruins are "Just a little bit that way."

You consider if there's anything you should ask either of them or if you have any particular plans for approaching the ruins. Eth has provided you with a bow and a long knife, and you are familiar with both those things.
No. 976767 ID: b1b4f3

Ask Albah what kind of payment they want. You can't get knocked out for a month, you have work to do. And you sure don't want to eat any of its fruit.
No. 976816 ID: d909cb

These weapons... how safe exactly is getting to the Deva going to be? Sounds like Eth isn't telling us about all the dangers involved. I mean, if he saw the Deva, but had to go back, there must've been something stopping him. Eh, a bit late to turn back now. If nothing else, at least you made some friends before you died~
No. 976817 ID: b1b4f3

As for a plan on how to approach the ruins... could Eth scout out the entrance since he's so small? Should be easier for him to avoid being spotted if anything's there.
No. 976835 ID: 12b116
File 160062466231.jpg - (0.98MB , 2000x1500 , inkeeper 07.jpg )

You inform Albah that you have no intention of eating any fruit or being unconscious for a month.

Albah's pollen smells of disappointment. "My assistance just requires that one of you purchase a goat and watch it for a couple of months."

You ask Eth why he couldn't manage to get the Deva out himself. He explains that there's some kind of sealed door, and these places always have traps and stuff.

You have to dismount, making the rest of the trip on foot, and after a few minutes, Eth hushes everyone. The jungle seems to open up ahead. You creep closer, peering through the brush, getting a good look at the ruins. One advantage of hiking through the sweltering jungle is that you no longer feel remotely inebriated.

You ask Eth if he will scout ahead, and he slips away, burrowing quickly through the soil. As you watch, you can make out several figures moving around. Two of them look like gnomes. The other two look like humans.

Eth returns quickly.

"Some brigands appear to be poking around," he says. "They weren't here the last time I was here."
No. 976837 ID: d909cb

Such spectacular ruins, only a mile from our own city. And no one disarmed the traps and the seals and turned it into a tourist destination yet. Hmm. It's as if these ruins magically appeared out of nowhere.

A goat? What use do Nariphons have for goats? Also, we would have to purchase it? Farm animals aren't exactly cheap. Well, probably still cheaper than the bread.

Brigands huh? If they really are brigands, then we either have to take them out, or sneak past them. But if they're legit adventurers or something, then assaulting them might be a big mistake.
Ask Albah if it thinks it can disarm them safely, or with your support. If not, then I think a better idea would be to simply wait and see what they do. it's possible they will split up, leaving a lookout outside, where we could easily dispose of a single person. But it's also possible they'll all venture inside, which would be good, because that would make it easier for us to backstab them. Assuming they won't get killed by traps or something else already.
No. 976838 ID: b1b4f3

Well, we could wait for them to leave.
No. 976844 ID: 12b116
File 160063078438.jpg - (187.39KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 08.jpg )

It seems a bit odd that these ruins are this close. Doing some quick calculations, you have definitely gone than a mile through the jungle, though.

You are vaguely concerned about the goat requirement, but it seemed to be instead of eating the fruit, so you can guess what its purpose would be.

More importantly, there's a decision to make.

If they aren't brigands and you attack them, that could be a huge problem. But if they are brigands and you come out looking to talk, that would be an equally bad if not worse idea. Based on their position, it doesn't seem possible to sneak past them in any case.

You ask Albah about disarming them peacefully.

"I am only aware of my surroundings in a roughly ten yard radius," they think. "I can certainly go out and wave my arms around to distract them or something, and arrows aren't particularly effective against me, but I would prefer not to do that. My pollen has a fairly mild effect unless I can smear it all over them directly in large quantities for several minutes." The pollen smells a little tangy.

The supposed brigands seem to be investigating the entrance to the ruins and don't seem like they're going to leave any time soon.

It seems there are essentially three courses of action:

Approach and introduce yourselves, hoping they aren't bandits.
Eth assures you they are, but that doesn't mean it's true.

Get the jump on them outside of the temple.
Your bow would be most effective here. Albah would be more of a defensive asset.

Wait until they go in and then try to get the drop on them
Your bow would be least effective here. Albah would be more of an offensive asset. They could possibly also beat you to the Deva in this case too.

Of course, you could always try
something else.
No. 976847 ID: d909cb

Tough choice. To begin with, you're not skilled in using the bow, so expecting to use it with great effect would be wishful thinking. Besides, it would take several arrows to take out one of them, even if you magically landed one shot. And even then, it would be three versus two. Albah would have to do a helluva good job protecting you. Assuming brigands don't have any ranged weapons. I mean, Albah said 10 yard radius - would they be able to detect and stop arrows that fast?

My primary choice would be... to try to sneak around. There seem to be some high walls, but Albah could probably lift you. It's what plants are good at, after all.

My second choice would be to fight outside the temple. Tell Eth that he takes responsibility if they aren't bandits. Anyway, you attack with bow, while Albah protects you. Maybe even set up traps around you.
No. 976848 ID: b1b4f3

Um, wait, we need a threat assessment. How many are there, how well equipped are they, how well equipped and skilled are you?
No. 976861 ID: 894419

Yeah before we do anything, uh how are you in a stand up fight? And how good is the average bandit? And generally speaking how dead are you going to be if you try to go hand to hand with any particular bandit? I think the wine means we've under-thought this adventure...
No. 976978 ID: 12b116
File 160081914277.jpg - (197.37KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 09.jpg )

You actually are a pretty good shot with a bow. You haven't really shot at people but you've shot plenty of rabbits. You've been in bar fights and have had to act as impromptu security before in the past. Not that you'd call yourself an exceptional fighter or anything, but you're not a total novice. You're pretty familiar with a long knife like the one you've been provided with.

You ask Eth to elaborate on what exactly he saw. He says there are four people that he saw: two humans and two gnomes. They all have aruvals and the humans have valaris. One of the gnomes has a blowpipe. They're all wearing normal clothes appropriate for the jungle.

You've definitely under-thought the adventure, but this is where you are now. You have Eth, who probably isn't good for much, Albah, who, even if they're not a great technical fighter, is huge and strong and exceptionally tough, with a big spiked club, and you, who is a fair show with a bow and decent with the knife. Your bow definitely outranges them by a wide margin, although Albah is only really useful once they get close to the bandits.

Bandits are usually desperate people who are looking for easy targets. Most aren't particularly skilled and rely on intimidation and finding easy marks.

The current idea seems to be to assault them outside the temple, although the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you'll be noticed.
No. 976983 ID: b1b4f3

Yeah I think the only way you're winning against them is a surprise attack. Take one out with a well aimed shot and then it's 3v2, which are decent odds.
On the other hand, even a not-well aimed shot will incapacitate on a hit. Maybe it doesn't really matter so long as Albah can keep them away from you while you shoot. Hitting the blowgun-carrying gnome seems most important since the boomerangs can be dodged fairly easily from range but not so much a blowdart.

At this point I kindof want to listen in on a conversation, find out why they're here and get some idea of who they are so you can prioritize targets... but if we're really going to ambush them it needs to be sooner rather than later. I'll leave that up to other suggestions I guess.
No. 977000 ID: 4286b4

Ambush them then, but try not to kill them heh.
No. 977157 ID: 12b116
File 160099273307.jpg - (218.09KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 10.jpg )

You creep as close as you can and then spring your attack.

You fire your bow at the gnome with the blowgun but miss, managing to wing one of the humans.

Albah charges out of the treeline. Not capable of any kind of scream or warcry, nevertheless, the heavy footfalls and breaking of branches draw the attention of the assailants. They hunker down behind the steps. You don't think you've been spotted. Eth disappears under the ground. You can only guess as to his position as he wriggles through the earth.

Do you attempt to move closer? If so where?

Do you wait and try to take a shot, hoping that Albah flushes them out? You're pretty far away. Closer will make you more likely to hit them, but will also put you in danger.

Do you give any orders to Albah or Eth?
No. 977158 ID: f56a2b

If one of our allies is in trouble, the whole endeavor is at risk. We need to move up to better support, but we can't risk being open to a shot from the blowgunner by going up the stairs. Lets hook a left to start climbing up that growth on the side of the temple foundations. They won't see us coming, and if they move towards us they'll be at risk of our nariphon's engagement.
No. 977159 ID: f56a2b

No, wait, better idea: Lets order Albah to get up that growth to the left, and continue providing covering fire until she's up. Eth should wait by the stairs, to attack someone who comes down after us.
No. 977160 ID: b1b4f3

Albah can't see them yet, so tell her what they're doing.
You can try circling around to the right.
No. 977196 ID: d909cb

Tell Albash that you're moving to the right, and that they should try to flush them out, and try not to get in the way of your shot.
No. 977335 ID: 12b116
File 160122278614.jpg - (330.96KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 11.jpg )

Albah runs in as you circle to the right. The "bandits" easily avoid her, but that puts one of them in your sights and you take a shot. By sheer luck, you manage to hit the human in the head, and he slumps to the ground.

The gnome with the blowgun takes a shot and misses badly.

The other gnome and human attack Albah, managing to hit them in the neck with their aruvals, chopping deeply into the wood. Rich amber sap seeps from the grievous wound.

You aren't sure where Eth went.
No. 977340 ID: d909cb

We're doing good, keep shooting with the bow. If Albah was in danger, they would probably back off, so it's likely that this wound isn't too dangerous.

Eth on the other hand seems to have betrayed us and went to the Deva, but nothing we can do about that now :p
No. 977412 ID: b1b4f3

Shoot whoever's easiest to shoot without risking shooting Albah.
Albah can just kindof do their thing.
No. 982099 ID: 12b116
File 160635222630.jpg - (391.89KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 12.jpg )

You take potshots while moving closer, wondering if Eth has truly betrayed you.

Albah manages to land a blow across the side of the human's head, the nails driven through her club sinking deep into his tissue and pullling away with a spray of blood.

Eth is suddenly there, and the gnome that was engaged with Albah squalks in pain as he drops his sword and throws up his hands.

The last gnome has disappeared around the corner of the temple, probably scarpering, although you can't tell from here.
No. 982100 ID: 12b116
File 160635224820.jpg - (161.84KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 13.jpg )

Albah plants a hoof on the gnome's chest as you climb the steps of the temple to join your companions.

"I surrender! I surrender!" the gnome screams.

From here, there's no sign of the fourth gnome. It has clearly escaped.

How do you approach the situation?
No. 982103 ID: 92e667

Interrogate. Try finding out if they're bandits (not exactly sure what sort of questions to ask for this) and what they're here for (don't mention Deva directly). But don't waste too much time as we should progress inside... say, is this gnome any good at disabling traps? I guess it doesn't really matter, since we'll be tying him up and having him walk in the front~
No. 982105 ID: b1b4f3

"What the hell are you bandits doing here" might be a good start.
No. 982246 ID: 12b116
File 160650552420.jpg - (442.17KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 14.jpg )

You decide that you're gonna interrogate this dude like a badass.

"What the hell are you bandits doing here?" You ask.

The gnome struggles under Albah's foot.
"Bandits?" he manages to croak out.

"Let me help," Albah thinks to you. They grabs the gnome and slams him against the wall, making him wheeze. They then dig under their tunic and you hear a gross, wet sound before the hand is withdrawn, finger coated with a thick amber liquid.

"What the fu-" the gnome starts, and then Albah wipes the fluid across his face, letting it get into his eye and coating his nostrils.

He squirms and struggles for a bit before his eyes begin to glaze over and his voice takes on a distant, sleepy quality.

You try again, asking what they're here for.

"The Rakshasa is paying us to trap the devata bound inside the temple," he says.

"He ... " he gestures to one of the dead humans, "has the answers for the trapped rooms, and we just put the amulet on the Devata when we get up to it."

You don't know much about Rakshasas other than that they're very dangerous and usually unfriendly to normal mortals. And a Devata - a lower-caste spirit - inhabiting this lonely temple makes sense.

Looking at the corpses makes you nauseous, and you're trying to avoid thinking about the fact that you're a murderer, but apparently Eth has no such compunctions and after a moment he's withdrawn three sheets of paper and an amulet.

One is so covered in blood that it's unreadable, but one says "Bow when entering and do not make eye contact." and has a drawing of some statues, and the other says "Arrange tiles to spell 'Fundamental.'"

Now you have to decide

Do you ask the gnome anything else? The other gnome definitely escaped, so you're probably on a time limit.

[b]What do you do with the gnome?[b] You could tie him up and leave him out here, or ...
No. 982259 ID: 92e667

>a gross, wet sound

Aww, one of the papers is covered in blood. Well, I guess this means that, since we don't have all the answers, we'll need to bring the gnome with us.

Ask the gnome if the people here were his whole group, or are there more, that is, since the other gnome ran away, it would be good to know how much time we have and what else to expect from these mercenaries.

And tell Eth, "Not bandits.". Then head inside.
No. 982263 ID: b1b4f3

Bring him with us, see if we can use him to figure out the trap we don't have the answer to.
Unless he knows what the bloody paper said?

Okay: more, short questions.
1, what did the bloody paper say?
2, why does the Rakshasa want the Devata trapped?

Maybe you won't feel so bad about killing them if their objective was something particularly harmful. Also, Eth is very suspect now.
No. 982898 ID: 6e4236

Taking the gnome with us and asking him questions as we delve deeper into the temple might be the wisest idea.
No. 985434 ID: 12b116
File 161041396128.jpg - (358.51KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 15.jpg )

You ask the gnome if that was the whole group. As in, is the gnome that escaped the only thing you have to worry about?

"Oh, yes! Just us!" the gnome says. You aboslutely one hundred percent think he's lying.

You turn to Eth.
"Not bandits."

"They're working for a Rakshasa!" he says, having the good manners to at least pretend to be embarassed. "That's ten times worse than bandits!"

In the meanwhile, Albah trusses him up with strips of cloth and you all head inside.

The first room has huge statues with blackened holes facing the door. Looking at the papers, you all prostrate yourselves on the floor. Any time your head raises, a faint glow begins to brighten in said holes, so you have to wriggle slowly across the room, face down, ass up. It's rather undignified.

While you crawl, you ask what the bloody paper said.

"Dunno," the gnome says, and you think he's probably telling the truth. "It's whatever the third puzzle is."

You also ask what the Rakshasa wants with the devata.

"We didn't ask questions," the gnome says. You can tell he's definitely nervous and isn't telling you the whole truth.

The second puzzle is as-described. Tiles all over the floor, a riddle over the door. You spell the word out an the door opens.

While you sort tiles, looking for the ones you need, the gnome speaks.

"So, what're you gonna do when you get to the bound devata?" he asks. "I'm sure if you put the amulet on the devata, the Rakshasa would be just as happy to pay you as he would have been my former compatriots." You suspect he's being at least marginally honest, and is definitely scared of being murdered by either Eth or Albah. "A sack of rubies as big as my head!" he says, probably exaggerating.

You consider his words as you finish the puzzle off.

Last is some shapes with dials on the corners, other shapes with numbers where the dials are. To Eth's credit, he figures the maths out before you do while Albah is absolutely no help whatsoever.
No. 985435 ID: 12b116
File 161041407715.jpg - (303.34KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 16.jpg )

Last is some shapes with dials on the corners, other shapes with numbers where the dials are. To Eth's credit, he figures the maths out before you do while Albah is absolutely no help whatsoever.

Then you're through the door and into the bound devata's chamber. Its eyeless face turns to you, grinning mouth full of light as the complex mandala slowly rotates behind it. You can see a line of salt and iron dust on the floor in a tight circle around the bound devata.

It speaks, a voice like a handful of tiny silver bells falling down a wooden staircase.

"I am Three Interwoven Branches Bearing Fruit," the devata says, her voice echoing just as strongly in your mind as it does against your eardrums. "Simply disrupt the line in front of you and I will be beholden to you."

"That means wishes," Eth helpfully whispers in your ear from his perch on your shoulder.

The gnome shoots you several meaningful looks, and you can feel the weight of the amulet in your pocket.

Albah is strangely silent. Well, they're kinda always silent, but they don't appear to be thinking anything at you either.

Do you:

Ask the bound devata anything?

Ask anybody else anything?

Disrupt the barrier to collect your probably many probably wishes?

Toss that amulet for perhaps a theoretical bag of rubies?

No. 985436 ID: e7c7d3

Who can say no to wishes? Break the line of salt
No. 985437 ID: 6f7a5a

Disrupt barrier, she seems kinky, cute and trustworthy

or maybe give her a slap? she seems into BDSM?
No. 985439 ID: b1b4f3

Strangely silent?
Ask Albah if they have any input.
No. 985440 ID: 094652

Get it in writing (somehow), and request a formal pact from her in old Latin. Then find the longest stick in the room and get ready to run when you scratch the circuitry.
No. 985522 ID: 5ec3f5

I'd disrupt the barrier, but first I'd ask it what does being beholden mean. Could it produce items such as Alustran bread?

I suppose that technically you don't really need the bread, but simply to increase the reputation of your inn. So any good advice on how to do that would work as payment. With good advice I mean, one that works and doesn't require money. Then again, if it could produce items, then it might simply be able to produce gold, which would also solve your problems. Hmm. Maybe you could just bring this deva back and have it live in the inn. I'm pretty sure people would stand in lines to see or talk to a being like that.
No. 985534 ID: 0fae41

Does Eth not see the hypocrisy of not looking before they leap, with how Albah keeps trying to foist fruit on folk? Or is that what makes them such good business partners? Anyway, ask the fae who bound them. Let's get to know our future murderer and/or wish granter.
The only thing worse than an unbound fae is a rakshasa getting what he wants. Do not amulets.
No. 985544 ID: 12b116
File 161050510465.jpg - (505.63KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 17.jpg )

You reflect on the fact that Eth seems to go in on pretty much everything either half- or no-cocked, and works with Albah, who seems to assume everybody they encounter has this same personality trait. Or at least hopes that they do.

You also ask the devata who bound her.

"Ah! What a terrible memory!" she says, grinning widely. "I protected this place for a long time. Some human trapped me here for some reason a few hundred years ago. In my own temple! But some other people were fighting those people, and someone did something and displaced my temple and the demesne surrounding it. But those bindings broke down over time, and now my demesne has returned into this reality. But I am still trapped in my own temple! Ah, how terrible!"

Well, this all seems extremely suspicious to you, but also very easily explains why this place was so close to town. It also explains why a rakshasa would know about it. It seems like spirity-devata type stuff, so they probably know about that, being spirity things.

You ask what the specifics of being beholden to you would mean.

"Ah! What a horrible thought! But a necessary one!" she says. "I would owe each of you a boon." She indicates you, Eth and Albah, pointing with her chin. "I will be accompanying you until such time as you request your boon, at which time I will grant it. Please stay with one another until such time as you select a boon, at which time please feel free to depart if you so choose." Her huge smile seems so sincere! You also notice that her body is completely still. There's no twitching or pulling in discomfort, like you'd expect from somebody wrapped up in ropes.

You ask if she would be able to produce a loaf of Alustran bread.

"What an interesting desire!" The devata beams, somewhat literally. "Such a thing is well within my power."

You also consider just going to the inn with her. That would be certain to draw a crowd! You'd have to get Eth and Albah to either ask for their boons or come with you, though.

You know that boons from devatas can sometimes backfire on the person who requests them, if old stories are to be believed, and that the more extreme the wish, the more likely that is to happen.

You think about getting this in writing, but one thing you're sure of is that devatas can't lie, and are bound by their word. So you aren't too worried about her not holding up her end of the deal.

You ask Albah what she thinks. She turns to 'face,' you, awkwardly shrugging and tapping her head. You can still smell her pollen, but something must be disrupting her thought-communication.

Seeing as how Nariphons can't see to read or write, you aren't sure if you can communicate meaningfully with her at this point.

You borrow her club and use the end of it to push a gap into the line of salt and iron dust.

A pins-and-needles sensation crawls across your body, starting with your fingertips, and there's a smell like burnt copper and ammonia in the air as something invisible hisses and sizzles. A low susseration, like a hundred quietly-whispering voices, momentarily deafens you, and blackness creeps across the corners of your vision. You immediately feel heat radiating out from the bound devata, the crown of light on the ground beneath you hissing and fluctuating wildly as she beings to slowly drift forward.

You slowly back away.

"Ah, how awful!" the devata says, grinning. "I can smell the stink of a rakshasa on that gnome, and its foulness also from something nearby. We should leave my demesne." The light from her mandala and from her open mouth seem harsh now, somehow, slightly unpleasant to look upon.

Albah shakes her head slowly, staggering slightly as they start to walk toward the entrance of the temple.

You feel the amulet growing hot in your pocket. Not painfully so, but noticeably warm.

"Yeah, we should probably get out of here as quickly as possible," Eth says. "We should be safe in the city."

What do you do with the gnome? Albah's poison has definitely gotten to him at this point, and he's no real threat. That being said, he's also completely untrustworthy and works for something rather dangerous.

Do you tell Three Interwoven Branches Bearing Fruit about the amulet? Toss it? Do anything else with it?
You could also just keep it in your pocket.

Do you ask for a boon now, or take Three Interwoven Branches Bearing Fruit with you to the city?
Getting a boon now would basically make you be done with this whole adventure, and you could just go back home with whatever bread/treasure you asked the bound devata for. Alternatively, you could go back to the inn with everybody, which is sure to draw a huge crowd!

Something else?
No. 985549 ID: b1b4f3

What if you got MULTIPLE loaves of bread? But don't use the wish yet. She's bound to you for a while, so... if you need to, you could in theory repeat the ritual that the one human did.
Ask the devata why she was trapped in the temple and then severed from this reality. It sounds like someone, or multiple someones, wanted to get rid of her.

Can you turn the gnome in for conspiring with a rakshasa and not get in trouble for ambushing their group? If you're gonna go to jail for what you did today and the gnome is the only witness who can conclusively ID you, then he needs to be silenced somehow.

Tell the devata that you confiscated an item from the gnome. An amulet. Ask what it would do.
No. 985550 ID: 46a721

It migth be a bit late to throw the amulet at the devata now that she is unleashed.

Maybe letting go of the gnome and returning to town with the devata as the brand new spectacle will be what we need for our inn.
No. 985551 ID: 6f7a5a

Bring T.I.B.B.F. or "Tibbs" back to town!
she'll surely attract a lot of buisiness!
look how cute she is!
No. 985552 ID: 0fae41

Leave the gnome be. The amulet's hot in more ways than one, ditch it. Maybe Eth would buy it off you if he's feeling adventurous. Offer a trade?
Should probably ask for your boon and not be seen with the fairy in town, again if retaliation is a concern you want some deniability.
No. 985553 ID: 894419

yeah do this, we need more time to think on our boon.
No. 985554 ID: 094652

Bring them to yet another Exemplar for arrest.

Keep it. If it really mattered the Devata would have insisted you not touch anything in the temple at all.

At this point? You have a major boon, you shouldn't waste it on bread. I'd recommend you wish for the eternal prosperity of your House, through lineage of both blood and bond (so adopting preserves the luck). As a conditioning statement, said luck will be revoked 'temporarily' to a family member if they cause harm to another family member.
No. 985576 ID: 12b116
File 161054394185.jpg - (280.77KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 18.jpg )

You aren't sure about very much, other than that you want to bring the devata back with you. You make your way back to the horse and head towards town.

You aren't sure if you should ditch the gnome or turn him in to an Exemplar. You ask Eth what he thinks, and notice him writing intensely on a little scrap of paper.

"Oh. Uh. I would prefer we just toss him into a ditch, but turning him in to an Exemplar would probably benefit us as well. If you do that, you'll probably have to turn the amulet over as well, as proof that they were working with a rakshasa, which is obviously a very bad thing to do." He considers for a moment. "You can't really ask the devata to vouch for you, because she didn't technically see anything or hear them talking about working for the rakshasa."

She purses her lips. "How unpleasant! I feel as if I am being distrusted!" She pauses. "Although obviously that is entirely correct."

The gnome himself is unconscious at this point, Albah carrying him like a luggage.

You ask the devata why she was trapped and displaced like she was.

"Unfortunate!" she says. "I can't say that I know the answer to that question."

When you're close to the city, Eth says "I'm going to have my boon now," and reads from the paper he'd been writing on.

The devata just nods.

"I want you to create a box with six potions inside," he begins, "Two of the potions should greatly increase the user's strength, two should make them very resistant to injury, and two should heal wounds and sickness." His finger follows along on the paper as he reads aloud. "The bottles should all have labels, and each label should explain in specific detail how to use the potion that it's attached to, what their effects are, and all drawbacks of using them. The labels should also contain all of the ingredients of the potions and their method of production." Eth nods, satisfied with himself, before he quickly adds "all of the labels should be written entirely in a language I can fluently read and write."

Three Interwoven Branches Bearing Fruit's grin nearly splits her face.

"How cold!" she says, "I feel I'm being taken advantage of!" She moves the fingers of her strange, clawed, double-thumbed hands. There is a smell like spoiled wine mixed with a sharp, reptilian odor, and a sound like a hammock of wooden teeth being tossed into a calm river. You feel the horse's gait shift. Turning around, there's a large, iron-bound wooden chest strapped down behind you.

Albah doesn't say anything. Albah also seems to run into and trip on things fairly frequently, and keeps shaking her head as if to clear away something unpleasant.

Now is the time to decide definitively what to do with the gnome:

Turn him in to an Exemplar
This will require you turn over the amulet, but should be the most effective way of not getting into any trouble from basically committing murder, and will prevent the gnome from returning to the jungle for at least several days, if not longer.

Toss him into a ditch or something
He'd wake up in a few hours, and probably just run off or something, although he certainly could try to meet back up with his companion and/or employer.

You aren't really comfortable committing a cold-blooded murder against a currently-harmless person who could have just made a very unfortunate employment decision.

You also consider possible boons.

You have no intention of making one just yet, but it's worth thinking about a little.

You consider asking for eternal prosperity of your house. Although you thinks he could probably grant this, based on what you remember of the stories you've read, something this powerful would definitely come with some kind of awful catch.

Several loaves of the most amazing bread is also on the table. You feel like this would probably be catch-free, unless the devata was just actively trying to fuck with you.

I've also included some thoughts from the dicksword channel

The ability to make people pee their pants. You aren't sure how this will help you solve your problem at all. It doesn't seem like something that could benefit your tavern.

Ask the devata to serve you for a period of time. This is a very traditional boon, and from the stories you've heard, usually ends up working just fine for the person asking for it unless they mistreat the devata or spirit granting it. A year and a day is the typical period for something like that.

Ask the devata to marry you. This is also a very traditional boon, but pretty much always ends up with at least one person being ruined and then dying. You can't remember a single story where there was anything other than a very tragic outcome.

Eth is going to leave when you get to the city, shortly
So this will probably be your last opportunity to talk to him for a while.
No. 985584 ID: 5ec3f5

Discard this item. But first I'd ask the devata if it's got some better use for it. Some sacrificial ritual perhaps?

Similarly, I'd ask about the amulet. If it's powerful, then maybe it could be converted into some good luck charm or something? Maybe you could store it as a devata repellant in case some other jealous devata comes along and starts causing trouble?

>house prosperity
Nope, too dangerous.
Nope, too short-term. With your luck, the bread would just get ruined again.
Look, this isn't SEXCOM.
Seems like a good choice albeit a redundant one considering the same would be accomplished by simply not making a wish... and after Albah leaves.
Haha, I like how ironic it is that marriage is a terrible choice. Or maybe it's not ironic at all...
Thank him for inviting you along. Or vice versa. A snake that doesn't lie, how strange. Anyway, you know who to find if you find yourself in trouble again.

I think the presence of devata is causing confusion on Albash. After Eth leaves, you should try to get some one on one with Albah to ask if it's ok and persuade it to make its wish. Oh, right, Albah did say that it was fine with a different sort of payment so... maybe you could persuade Albah to use its wish for your benefit and in return you spend a night with it. And then you'd still be left with your own wish plus the deva following you. Now that's a win-win if I ever saw one.
No. 985587 ID: b1b4f3

Uh, we've got a problem here. I thought maybe the temple was giving Albah problems, but it must be the devata. How are they going to make a wish if they can't talk, and also seem to be having other problems?
I think you'll have to separate the two, find out what Albah's wish is, and then tell it to the devata while Albah confirms it's what they want.
Eth should be able to do this, since he's made his wish and can move away from the devata... except the devata can't move away from Albah? Uh oh. I think you'd better bring this up with her, and arrange a temporary separation so Albah's wish can be made.

Turn him in to an Exemplar. We have no clear reason to keep the amulet.
Go with the servant wish. The boost in business will last much longer than bread, and on top of that if she's going to cause trouble for the world you've got a year to find out and do something about it.

Ask Eth how on earth he found out about the devata, considering there were traps in the way and he apparently didn't know about the rakshasa's group.
No. 985589 ID: dfd651

Ask her to work for you for just a little under a year, having an employee like her is sure to bring your establishment fame for at least awhile. I'm sure she can tend the bar! I assume she also doesn't eat so you won't need to worry about feeding her, just giving her a decent room to stay in (which you should do out of respect whether she sleeps or not). Just make sure not to treat her like an asshole, that will probably lead to her taking a most brutal revenge at some point after her service ends.
No. 985590 ID: 46a721

Five curses and spite live in each gnome,
This truth can't be ignored.
The best way to get rid of a gnome
Is to throw that gnome overboard.

Giving him to the Exemplar might be the best idea.
Do ask the devata what she will do with her newfound freedom, that's important!
No. 985593 ID: 6f7a5a

give gnome to Exemplar

do not go for a lawyery boon like Eth did, enough of those is apt to piss her off and look fore ways to screw you over, also assuming treachery from someone offering wishes is very rude.

Having her work for you for a year and a day seems like a fine boon, however marriage boon seem more adventurous maybe she'll like the idea and be generous.

in any case talk with the devata to get to know her better
No. 985635 ID: 12b116
File 161059323092.jpg - (451.88KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 19.jpg )

You have begun to realize that there is a problem. Something about the devata is affecting Albah, who can't seem to communicate anymore.

"Ah, would you mind if I go off to the side and speak with Albah?" you ask.

"How sad! But until you have requested your boon, I simply cannot allow you to leave my presence," she says.

"Albah can't request her boon though, if you're next to her," you say.

Three Intertwined Branches Bearing Fruit shrugs. "What an unfortunate set of circumstances!" she says, grinning.

Eth pokes you in the stomach.

"We're at the gates. Off the horse!" he pokes.

You dismount, and Eth wiggles to the ground, grabbing up the reins to lead the horse forward.

"How did you know about the devata and such?" you ask before he leaves.

"Ah, well, the thing is, I was just out exploring and happened onto it. Purely by luck, if you can believe that." You aren't sure you can, but he doesn't really sound like he's lying to you.

"Your assistance was very much appreciated!" he says. "If you want to team up in the future, I'd be happy to have you!" He waves, leaving you standing there with Albah and the bound devata.

You decide to turn the gnome over to an Exemplar. Another damned bird, unfortunately, but there's none of the condescention this time. The Exemplar seems extremely concerned with the devata, but takes custody of the gnome and the amulet and wishes you well.

Nothing left to do but go back to the tavern while you think about your boon and possibly also how to help Albah.

You ask the devata what she plans on doing with her freedom.

"Just awful!" she says. "I would much rather be protecting my demesne, but with that terrible rakshasa after me, I feel that it is not safe, and therefore I am not doing anything in particular."

That's ... a less than ideal answer. As you near the tavern, you realize it might be wise to go ahead and request your boon. Having the devata basically uncontained and vaugely upset about life seems like a bad situation.

"I'm ready for my boon," you say.

The devata nods.

"I request that you work for me for a year and a day," you say.

You hear a sizzling sound, like burning fat, and a smell like snakes eating lemons. You hear someone call out to you and see Alis, your brother, waving from the porch of the tavern.

"Brother!" he shouts, "Who'se that with you?"

You turn and see the devata is now much smaller, and not tied up with ropes. And standing on the ground instead of floating in the air.

"You can tell him whatever you like. How you'd prefer to refer to me, as long as you understand that what you call me isn't my name," she says sweetly.

Albah is still there too, leaning heavily on the wall next to her.
No. 985638 ID: 0fae41

Uhh... This is Lattise, you met her at the pub and hired her on! She seems to be an eager hire.
No. 985639 ID: b1b4f3

Uh I think Albah is gonna die if this lasts much longer. You really should ask the devata to stand further away from Albah. If the maximum distance they can be apart is still not far enough for Albah to recover and communicate with you(you'll be closer than the devah), then you'll have to do 20 questions to find out what Albah's wish is and see if Albah confirming it with a gesture would work for the boon request.
Things you could ask: first idea is, does she want to be able to reproduce without it being so inconvenient for her mate? If not that then try something generic, like wealth, power, money, fame, beauty, health, love, some specific item perhaps...
If you can't figure out what her wish is... can she transfer the boon to you, which would let the devata separate from her? At that point you could have the devata far enough away (like, send her into the inn perhaps) that Albah can tell you what she wants, at which point you can use that for your "second boon" and the situation will have resolved with everyone getting what they want. If she would then be unable to leave your side, you could ask someone to ask Albah what she wants. Either get someone trustworthy, or confirm with Albah that the relayed wish is correct.

Tell your brother you have a new servant. Her name's Peach. You'll give him more details later.
No. 985641 ID: b1b4f3

We could also try putting a wall between them, since it could be a problem with how Albah's "vision" works. We could try bringing her to someone knowledgeable about Nariphons and Devatas.
If the 20 questions route is our best chance, here's more questions to ask:
Is the wish selfish? Selfless? Does she want her body changed? Does the wish involve someone else? If so would the wish harm them? Help them?
If it's a wish about an object we can just ask various questions that would narrow it down.
No. 985642 ID: 46a721

Larisse sounds like a nice name.

Try to recall what in the universe Alis is, how it is that he is your brother, and how you know what all those strange and oddly specific things you mentioned smell like.
No. 985650 ID: 05444b

You should probably find somewhere for Albah to sit, they aren’t looking to good
No. 985652 ID: 5ec3f5

Ask the deva if it's possible for Albah to wish to transfer its wish to you. If yes, then ask Albah this question. Hopefully the nariphon can still nod and that the devata would accept the nod as its wish.

If not, then we'll have to consider other options. Maybe now that she's our servant, we can order her to distance herself from Albah? Alternatively, yeah, try putting a wall between the two. Or a mirror. Might be the divine light that's the affliction. If that doesn't work then, maybe putting the rakshasa's amulet on the deva would work. Oh wait, we already gave it away huehue. Let's see. We could try finding another nariphon and explain the situation and have them try communicate with Albah.

Tell Alis that... Diana is a devata that's serving you. I mean, we have to make it known that she's special in some way if we're to attract the attention for the inn.
No. 985742 ID: 12b116
File 161076591279.jpg - (318.00KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 20.jpg )

You head inside and are greeted by your sisters. Kafia is your older sister and says "Oh! Brother! We've managed to clean up down here. I'm sure you have an exciting story to tell us!"

Your younger sister Nainah sits on the edge of the bar, swinging her feet. "Who is that?" she says with obvious interest. You can't really tell if she's talking about Albah or the Devata.

You introduce the devata as Larisse and say she's a new hire, and also a devata who is working for you that's sure to attract attention to the inn.

Now to deal with Albah's issue. You quickly discover some things:

The devata comes up to you if you get too far away from her, or approaches Albah. If you have Albah stand across the room, that doesn't seem to be sufficient.

So you keep the devata downstairs with you, and send Albah up the stairs. Nainah seems very eager to help, so she runs upstairs to check, and sure enough, Albah isn't affected and can communicate. Albah, through Nainah, explains that there are emanations flowing off of the devata which aren't nearly as strong as they were before she became your worker, that wash away Albah's own emanations that are used to speak, see, and other important things like that.

Both Albah and TIBBF shoot down the notion that maybe you could have Albah's boon, and with some back and forth, Nainah and Albah come downstairs.

"Albah, nod if you want the devata to grant you a boon that would make you immune to the emanations of spirits."

Albah nods. There's a horrible skittering sound, and a smell like burning brick as 'Larisse' makes a series of strange hand-gestures.

Almost immediately you can smell a tangy, sharp scent, and feel Albah's thoughts in your head.

"That," Albah thinks, "Was the absolute worst experience of my life. I'm just gonna sit down for a while and chill for a bit."

'Larisse' seems completely unaware of anything Albah may be thinking, which makes sense when you think about it.

Nainah drags 'Larisse' away by the hand and begins to bombard the devata with questions, while Alis and Kafia crowd around you.

"So!" your brother says, "Wanna explain to us how all this happened?" He's grinning, and waves generally at Albah and the devata.

"Are we entirely sure she's safe?" Kaifa asks. "Also, we've gotten everything straightened up down here, but we're going to need some kind of plan for tonight when guests start showing up. Something we can use to wow them."
No. 985743 ID: 2aa5f0

tell them you went out to look for something to help the tavern and it kinda spiraled into this. though Albah hung around for as long as they did because they said something about want to see if we could watch a goat for them... but hasn't really brought it up for awhile.
No. 985746 ID: 35d83e

We can ask the devata to provide wonderful foodstuffs!

Even better! We can ask Nainah to put on a shirt before I loose my lunch!
No. 985748 ID: b1b4f3

>immune to the emanations of spirits
That seems like a foolish boon considering she could have asked for literally anything else and walked away... is Albah planning on staying at your inn or something? Or is going to be around other spirits in the future? I guess it'd make sense in those two cases.

Alright, ask what Larisse can do in your service. Can she do magic for you? Like, can she make some fancy bread to replace the loaf you lost? Or just generally entertain guests in a way that other employees wouldn't be able to? Also what kind of treatment is she expecting from you?
The phrasing of your boon was that she WORK for you, which implies employee benefits such as pay. Hopefully you can negotiate her pay down a bit considering her working in your inn will allow her some protection from the rakshasa, and... I don't think she has any use for money anyway. Obviously you weren't going to treat her like a slave anyway, but you were hoping for this boon to benefit your inn rather than be a drain on its finances.
No. 985749 ID: c09f5e

Know how adventurers spin their tales at the inn? After a drink, you figured you might as well try it out for yourself.

They should know you might have pissed off a Rakshasa with your endeavors, but you trust the Exemplar to handle that.

Can Devatas sing? If so, set a stage, set a song, and we're done here.

Also, we have a new customer now. She'll need a goat.
No. 985776 ID: dcf013

My thoughts exactly.
No. 985777 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, maybe she'll work for room and board and meals and such.
No. 985846 ID: 12b116
File 161089432692.jpg - (253.65KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 21.jpg )

First, you tell Nainah to put a shirt on before you barf.

"UGH!" she hollers, storming off to grab a shawl. "You're such an asshole!"

You tell Alis and Kaifa that you aren't sure sure that she's 100% safe, but that you went out to look for something to help the inn, and one thing lead to another.

Alis laughs and Kafia frowns and sighs. As far as Albah, you go talk to her for a bit.

You do go over the fact that there's possibly an angry rakshasa in play, although hopefully you'll be safe inside the city. That's what the Exemplars are for, after all.

Kafia seems quite concerned.

"Albah, are you sure that was the best use of your boon? Also, what do you want to do about your goat request?"

The thoughts are quite tangy. "No way," she thinks. "That was, bar none, the worst thing I've ever experienced. Spirits also use their emanations to transmit their magic. Most spirits are going to be immune to my communication, so I can't imagine a positive interaction with oen, and if there's a rakshasa that's possibly going to be coming after us, I'd rather be immune to its magic instead of being rendered partially deaf, mostly blind, and mute just by being around it."

Her thoughts take a slightly sweeter note, "And, uh, it was pretty hard to think straight, so I picked something without thinking too much about it."

"As far as the goat," she continues, "I don't care whether it's you or Eth that gets it. Decide between yourselves."

More importantly, you have to decide what to do with 'Larisse.'

"So," you ask her, "In what capacity will you be working for me? We'll need to negotiate a fair wage, too."

She claps her hands (which is quite loud, considering,) and sits on the edge of the table.

"Misery! That we have to discuss such necessary and boring details! My duties will be equivalent to my pay, so for a meager wage, I'd be happy to serve food and drinks. For a higher wage, I'd be happy to do chores around the place. Cleaning, laundry, that kind of thing. For more, I'd be happy to prepare food and drinks, and for a high wage, I'd be happy to sing and dance for your guests. I will not perform any mystical feats for you, as that is not a service you would be able to afford."

She gives you the specifics.

"So," she says, grinning and bowing, "How does my lord want me?"

Although obviously, the idea is that her presence would bring in more customers, with the average per-night income without the bread:

Server: You figure you'd be able to afford her as a server indefinitely.

Maid: As a maid, you'd just be breaking even, although you and your siblings would have a lot more free time to do other stuff.

Cook: You'd be losing money with her as a cook, although hopefully the food would be sufficient to get curious folks in.

Dancer: And as a dancer, you could only afford her for a few days before you had exhausted the coffers, although obviously, again, it'd hopefully attract rich patrons.

You should also decide if you'd rather just get Albah's goat, or get in touch with Eth to convince him to get it instead. She'd probably occasionally check in with whoever gets it.
No. 985848 ID: 094652

Pay for a cook; this all started because your exclusive cuisine was ruined, so hopefully selling exotic recipes from an age long by will be enough. And unlike most employees, you can lower her pay to change her job and she won't give a flip.
No. 985852 ID: 46a721

Maybe having her as a servant would be wise, as having a Devata witress might attract the interest of many wealthy costumers without too much expence.

Of course, having her dance and sing for tonight only might be a good idea too!
No. 985858 ID: 0fae41

Perhaps saving the dance for special occasions, like tonight, is a good idea. Go for maid wages the rest of the time.
Acquire goat, remember to keep it separate from the food stock.
No. 985866 ID: 6f7a5a

How about this, her regular job is server, but once a week she cooks and once a month she performs
and advertise accordingly

also let her keep the maid outfit, it looks cute on her!
No. 985869 ID: b1b4f3

>have to pay the devata in accordance to her duties
Well that was a fucking terrible boon, good job everyone.

Something like this seems best. Server has great visibility and will be needed at first just to get the word out that you've got something interesting going on, and is probably the best long term role. Cooking and dancing can be for special occasions to attract a crowd on those days and prevent your customer base from getting too used to it.
You will obviously be able to adjust her job plan in the future, to use the flashier jobs more often once your profits and customer base have grown to merit it.
No. 985871 ID: c09f5e

Going with Maid would free your family up to focus on their hobbies/talents, or come to your aid. So for you, it'll be beneficial and/or ...not dull: A net positive!

Do you want to get cursed? Cus that kind of attitude is how you get cursed. Just pay the worship dues.
No. 985872 ID: dcf013

I would try out her cooking and dancing for one day each to see how well she does that. Once there are a lot of guests around of course. Otherwise as a server, and occasionally a maid if the place is low on manpower.
No. 985883 ID: 0fae41

Yeah, true. If it's one job per pay grade then server is more visible to customers than a maid. I like her current outfit more, though. Stop being a prude to your sister, you know what this business runs on!
No. 985995 ID: 6c227a

Server seems like a safe bet, but ask for a cooking sample, to see if there is novelty enough to drive traffic.
No. 986187 ID: cc0880

I think paying her to do bigger things for special occasions is the best use of her time and our money, but I also posit that we might take commissions for her services.
Wealthy patrons being able to request the catering or dancing of a daeva for special events works out profitably for everyone involved, and depending on how astronomical her prices for such services might be there remains the potentiality of serving as a middleman between her and wealthy individuals seeking spellcasting services.
No. 986188 ID: cc0880

Also just go halvsies with Eth for the goat.
No. 986202 ID: 12b116
File 161152342159.jpg - (442.18KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 22.jpg )

You come up with a plan:

Have her as a server most of the time to get people in the door, and then have certain days where she cooks or dances. That way you can gauge interest and have some time to advertise before you start spending a substantial amount of money. You also consider, if she draws people in in the first place, allowing wealthy patrons to 'commission' her services, requesting catering or dancing for a substantial fee. Seems reasonable, although it probably won't be profitable until she has a reputation.

You aren't really woried about getting Albah her goat yet either, so you'll figure it out later. Maybe go halfsies with Eth.

Now that everything is mostly taken care of, you have some time before guests start arriving.

You decide who you want to spend it with:

Nainah: Help your younger sister neaten up the front room and see how she's been doing lately.

Kafia: Help your older sister in the kitchen and see what she thinks about the current situation.

Alis: Help your younger brother tidy up the living quarters and see how he's handling things.

'Larisse': Talk to your new worker to learn more about her.

Something else: Head out to do something else (please specify.)
No. 986203 ID: 6f7a5a

spend time with Larisse
No. 986204 ID: 0fae41

No. 986205 ID: 4846e9

Hang with your little brother, help him out and ask his opinion. Internally question how he's your brother since you're two entirely different species.
No. 986209 ID: b1b4f3

IMO get Albah her goat yourself. Having her around will be useful in case some ruffians come to try to steal your devata.
No. 986212 ID: ca2950

You've had your whole life to talk to your siblings. Talk to Larisse
No. 986213 ID: dcf013

I guess this would be a good time to inform Larisse of the reasons behind you venturing into her temple and how you're in a pickle because of your inn's ruined reputation.
No. 986214 ID: 6e4236

Maybe asking your older sister what she thinks about the situation would be wise.
No. 986215 ID: ce39da

Help Nainah. The only evidence of last night's brawl will be the police report and the guests' foggy memories. Plus, if your younger sister has been "up to" something, that might spell a new lead for attention-grabbing features.
No. 986254 ID: dccdd0

Larisse seems like the right option.
No. 986269 ID: 2aa5f0


check on family, see how they're doing
No. 986541 ID: 12b116
File 161203846318.jpg - (223.14KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 23.jpg )

You decide to hang out with Larisse.

You tell her about your bread and the disaster that occurred.

"Ah! Tragedy! Perhaps you should have asked for a more useful boon, instead of one that will cost you money!"
She smiles.

You wonder what you should talk to her about or ask her.
No. 986542 ID: 0fae41

Hey, you have to spend money to make money. There's opportunity in this series of unfortunate events yet.
What will you do with mortal currency, 'Larisse'?
No. 986543 ID: 6f7a5a

Flirt, complement her smile
No. 986544 ID: dcf013

Tell her that this was definitely the best wish you could've chosen, after all, you'll get to look at her for free for a while year.

You can talk to her about:
- her family, assuming she has one
- her current occupation, and how did she obtain experience for the tasks as hand
- rakshasa, how to protect yourself and others from such evil
No. 986546 ID: c09f5e

Odds are, her arrival would lead more supernatural clientele to your inn. Which would kind of sound like fun, to be honest.

You may have heard of spirits in disguise spending the night at an inn, in secret. They left great boons for great service, but also terrible curses for terrible service. Is there any truth to it, or was it a tall tale told by your parents to behave yourself in front of guests?
No. 986548 ID: 094652

Explain that you intended to build respect with her by showing you can turn this hovel into a hotel with equal parts luck and strategy, and not endorsed slavery.
More importantly, you did not want to get addicted to pissing off powerful people.

Discuss her interests and a schedule for her work hours. You can't use her like a dispensable coin-operated golem, especially since she can shake up the city on her free time.
No. 986551 ID: 12b116
File 161204495772.jpg - (496.35KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 24.jpg )

You ask what she intends to do with mortal currency

"Cruelty! To peel back the curtain in such a way! It is a price that must be paid in accordance with the boon!" Her grin gets even wider.

You tell her she has lovely teeth in what you think is a flirtatous way.

"Nonplussed! How very forward of you!" she says, and flips her hair with one of her many hands.

"Well," you say, "I think this was the best boon I could have asked for. After all, I'll get to admire you for a whole year!"

"Wickedness!" She exclaims, laughing, "Pretending to be a gentleman until I was alone with you!"

More seriously, you ask her about her family.

"Unfortunate!" she says, "That matter cannot be discussed with you."

You ask her how she'll know how to do all the various tasks you expect of her.

"Ah! So cruel!" She says. "Of course, I will rely on my spiritual power in accordance with your boon. Other than the dacing. I'm quite good at dancing."

You ask about rakshasa.

"I shudder!" She says. "Rakshasa are spirits that are adept at illusions and can change their shape, although in their natural form they have long fangs and blue or green skin. They gain spiritual power through consuming raw flesh, and are powerful warrors as well. As spirits, they must abide by agreements they enter into, and can be relied upon if they can be negotitated with. Because they gain spiritual power through consuming raw flesh, consuming the flesh of a deva or a devata is a goal that many persue. They can be protected against with the normal wards and mantras that hold spirits at bay. I have heard some of them are friendly with mortals, although all of them have a strong bloodlust."

You talk with her about stories you've heard about spirits in disguise visiting inns and giving great boons or curses depending on how the guests were treated. You ask her if there's any truth to that and if her presence would attract spiritual guests.

"How sad!" she says. "As I am now, I do not seem as a spirit, and will seem to be a mortal in all spiritual ways. I don't think my presence will truly attract others like me, and typically that would not be to your advantage!"

You tell her that you want to build respect with her and show her how you can make improvements and do well for yourself and your family with your own wits and strategy, and of course, a little luck.

You think to yourself that you'll benefit far better treating her like a person instead of a thing you can benefit from.

"How dire!" She says. "Such a noble goal!" She giggles behind her hand.

You ask if she has any hobbies or interests.

"I am very fond of silkworms," she says.
No. 986553 ID: ce39da

"And... you find those interesting? How so?"

Also, ask her if there's anything we can do to make her service here comfortable.
No. 986554 ID: 27edeb

Ask her what it is about silkworms specifically that she is fond of. Also, ask her if she has any stories she loves to tell or memories she likes to reminisce about. Possibly, you could offer up one or two of your own, something a little sappy about playing/fighting/playfighting with your sisters.
No. 986555 ID: dcf013

Silkworms huh? In what way? Tell her you'll try to obtain some if she turns out to be... a boon for your inn.

On the topic of dancing, tell her that you'd love to see her dance someday, of course, due to the agreement, you can't ask her to do that for free. So the pleasure is going to have to wait for the right opportunity. But hey, maybe she'll learn to like other types of jobs as well in the meantime.

If rakshasa consume raw flesh to obtain spiritual power, what does she do to obtain hers?

I think that would be enough for this meeting. Go back and check on the inn and your siblings.
No. 986557 ID: 163037

Ask if her favorite part is the worm or the silk?

are they common around these parts, if so promise to get her one
No. 986558 ID: 0fae41

Oh, silkworms are neat. Maybe you could set up a terrarium for them in your room. (Not sure how hard it is to buy them in this setting, though.)
What else to talk about. The temple? Who used to come there?
No. 986559 ID: b1b4f3

Ah, this means you should ward the inn against spirits. The Rakshasa won't be able to enter, and she'll be unaffected.
No. 986560 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, ask her if she has any special requests, and if she knows of anything else you can do to protect her from the Rakshasa.
No. 986561 ID: 094652

Remind her that as a businessman, you can haggle deals in the marketplace without losing favor. So, while her wages are her own, she can consider consulting with you if she wants something expensive but doesn't know if it's at a good price - or a good idea at all.
Of course, if she already knows how to raise hell with some particular purchases in specific areas, you won't judge much.
No. 986565 ID: 2aa5f0

well I guess ask if she knows any of those wards to keep a Rakshasa at bay and what she likes to do with silk worms.
No. 986570 ID: 6e4236

Ask her about her likes and hobbies. Let's become friends with her.
No. 986641 ID: 12b116
File 161210673627.jpg - (268.55KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 25.jpg )

You ask how she finds them interesting.

"Wonder! They lay between three and four hundred eggs," she says.

You ask if that's specifically what she's fond of.

"Surprise! The eggs hatch within 14 days," she replies.

You ask if she has any stories she'd want to share with you. You tell her about the time Nainah wanted to put khol under her eyes when she was really little, and ended up making goblin handprints all over your mom's bedroom. You and Kafia tried to clean it up before mom found out, and, well, you all ended up in trouble. Except for Alis, who'd spent the time laughing at the three of you.

She sighs. "Joy! Silkworm moths cannot fly, and must be assisted in their survival once they emerge from their cocoons."

You ask if she likes the worm or the silk better.

"Tragedy! To properly unwind a cocoon, it must be boiled before the silkworm moth emerges, killing it, because the enzymes that the moth uses to form a hole through which to emerge will break the strand up into smaller strands of random length, which are less useful and more difficult to make into thread."

You consider getting her a silkworm. They're fairly common as pets, mostly for little kids. You don't remember you or any of your siblings ever raising them, but they're commonly in the market.

You remember Alis had a pet beetle, but if you recall correctly, Nainah, who was very little at the time, had eaten it.

Time to change the subject!

You tell her if she wants you to negotiate for something she wants in the market, you can do that for her. You're fairly good at it.

You ask her about the temple and who used to come here.

"Unpleasantness! I've been trapped alone there for so long, that it's a bit hard to recall."

You ask if she has to consume anything to get spiritual power like the rakshasa does.

"Implications!" She says, "Rakshasa and rakshasi both can in consume flesh to increase their spiritual power permanently. Most spirits do not lose spiritual power and have no need or ability to replenish it. Why? Did you have materials you thought I'd like to consume?" She smirks.

You ask her if there's anything you can do to protect her, the inn or yoruself and your family from the rakshasa.

"Unfortunate!" she says, "There is nothing you can do!"

You ask if she knows any of the wards that would be effective.

"How Terrible!" She says, "I do, but cannot use them currently with my body as it is."

You know that the Prince of Denebeid exerts a spiritual presence that cloaks the city and typically alerts him to the presence of spirits, somewhat protecting people inside the city from their power. You think some gurus and some of the Exemplars are capable of using spiritual power. From what you've heard anyway. You've never really needed a service like that.

Well! It looks like the sun is going down, so customers should be coming in soon. You have to decide what you're going to do after you finish talking with Larisse.

Help Nainah and Larisse serve

Help Kafia in the kitchen

Help Alis run the counter

Go out into the city to find information about rakshasa or wards
No. 986643 ID: 2aa5f0

>Help Kafia in the kitchen
No. 986648 ID: dcf013

>the enzymes
A strange word which the Innkeeper definitely doesn't understand because it's too sciency.

>the worm or the silk
She doesn't answer the question tho.

>Did you have materials you thought I'd like to consume?

I wonder what the guests will think about each other when they'll be hearing such exclamations coming from all over the place.

>what you're going to do after
Not sure which job it is, but I think it would be good to be one of the first people to talk to guests, to inform them about the new face.
No. 986654 ID: 0fae41

Help run the counter.
No. 986677 ID: 270bc9

Help out Kafia, get her read on the situation.
No. 986742 ID: e7c7d3

Help Kafia
No. 986802 ID: 503f83

Be a server, lead by example.
No. 987927 ID: 12b116
File 161324474844.jpg - (299.55KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 26.jpg )

You decide to go help Kafia in the kitchen.

A lot has happened, and you want to find out how she feels about this.

Kafia is the older of your two sisters, but still about a year younger than you. Even then, she's always been mature and reasonable, and you've often come to her for advice.

The smell of cooking food wafts up from the ovens as she tends to them.

"So, Kafia," you say "How do you feel about the new hire."

She taps her chin with an unoccupied finger.

"Obviously, I'm concerned about the devata," she says. "But I also trust you, and it's probably going to be good for the inn."

She pats the floor next to her.

"Come sit with me. Help me with the vegetables."

You sit on the floor next to her, the heat from the ovens washing over you as you help her. You'd been kind of worried about how things are going and what could happen, but Kafia's trust in you makes you feel like everything is going to work out.

Is there anything in particular you want to ask her about?
No. 987935 ID: ce39da

"I won't pretend it wasn't a harrowing journey to get her on board. I... I was on the winning side of a rather lethal confrontation. The enemy group was hunting for her on a Rakshasa's bequest, but I still can't help but feel like I did something horrible when I felled one of the humans among them."
No. 987936 ID: c09f5e

This seems like a good time to discuss how all of you came to live together.

This can't be the first time your adoptee/adopted family has taken in a stray to work here. You turned out well, and get along with each other, don't you?
No. 987940 ID: 2aa5f0

I guess ask if anything interesting happened while you where away. I doubt it but it doesn't hurt to ask.
No. 987950 ID: a59168

No. 987964 ID: 0fae41

You hope so too, but others might be jealous of that success. You know a Nariphon that might make a good bouncer.
No. 988046 ID: 12b116
File 161333133682.jpg - (167.44KB , 1000x750 , inkeeper 27.jpg )

You had been trying not to think about it, but here in the kitchen, the weight of what happened in the temple hits you.

"I killed somebody," you tell Kafia, who gasps, turning to look at you.

"We fought with the group of people the Rakshasa sent to hunt Larisse, and I ended up killing one of the humans in the group. Albah killed one too." You'd stayed calm at the time, although Albah seemed not to care at all about taking a life.

Kafia stands up, wrapping you in a comforting hug and leaning her head against your neck. Her skin is smooth and cool, and you feel her four arms pressing you against her.

You think about how you came to be part of the family. From what you'd been told, you were found as an infant, and Sairebal and Sedi, a childless couple, had taken you in and adopted you as their own.

Almost like a good luck charm, Sedi had gotten pregnant very soon thereafter. Your parents, because they are your parents as far as you're concerned, love you and trust you, and you've grown up with your brothers and sisters.

You were just as thankful to have them as they were to have you.

You separate and make some small talk as you help Kafia with the food. You can hear the bustle beginning outside as the inn begins to fill with customers.

You think you're definitely going to get the goat for Albah. It might be valuable to have a bouncer who is now immune to spiritual power as a guard if the Rakshasa comes calling.

But that's another problem for another time.

It feels like the day has drug on for half a year, and you can't wait to finally sink into your bed and sleep.

No telling what excitement tomorrow will bring.

The Innkeeper's story concludes ...

for now.

Thank you for playing!

No. 988057 ID: 295128

And thank YOU for the adventure!
No. 988072 ID: b1b4f3

More arms means better hugs.
No. 988106 ID: 2aa5f0

Thank you for running
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