>>Previous threads can be found at: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Vale%20Quest>>In case you're lazy and don't want to archive binge, The synopsis and character descriptions can be found at: http://pastebin.com/WAF7dq90You awaken to the sound of pacing. Opening an eye, you can see Kale walking back and forth, the book in one hand and the large, heavy box strapped to his back, tossing his axe from hand to hand, moving with his typical elven grace.Ariana was asleep, with Tannis and Lyra sleeping on her, while Hannah and Cass slept on the bed- which begged the question why Kale's barrow even *had* a bed."I've heard the sound of couriers." Kale said, noting you were awake with a grin. "And what might have been a battle, but I believe the courier made it away alive. It would be best to take care when we leave, though my magic prevents any foes from entering."
>>22843339"You can tell what it's like out there?"
>>22843339"Got any rough numbers on the attacking forces?"
>>22843339I think we all know why he has a bed and its not for sleeping ;)then ill wake the girls you get the cart reedy
"You can tell what it's like out there?""I'm very familiar with this place." He said. "I can sense anything out of the ordinary.""Got any rough numbers on the attacking forces?""I don't. The battle near here seemed like a very minor one." He said. "Though if we meet one of the couriers on the road, we could simply ask them.""Then I'll wake the girls. You get the cart ready.""Very well." He said.You shake everyone awake, Ariana refusing to wake up properly, before you and Cass just end up dumping her on the back of the cart."I'm not sure we have time to cook anything." Cass said, shaking Tannis awake."... I can do it on the road, Cassie." Hannah said, and she gave Cass a smile. "I'm not aligned with fire, but... it shouldn't be hard.""Grmphlgm." Tannis said, stretching and yawning, before tottering to her feet.
>>22843493"How does that work, fires wherever you want?"
>>22843493"Anything else you want to bring, Kale?"
"How does that work?" You ask. "Fires whenever you want?""The world is made up of five parts." Hannah said. "Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and the soul. My power lets me reach into the core of those first four parts. I can hardly feel the heart of fire or the bones of the earth, though.""Yeah, nobody understands what she's talking about." Cass said. "We never knew where she learned it all.""It's in my blood, Cassie." She said, and gave Cass another grin."Anything else you want to bring, Kale?""Let me check." He said, looking through the shelves, brushing aside expertly carved statues of wood, crystal goblets, and a small, wooden sword. Finally, he picked up what looked like a small bit of ancient cloth you hadn't noticed- and put it in his pocket."I am ready." He said. "There's nothing else here I care about."The cart sets out again, all of you, save Kale, in the back, as he urges the horses on. Ariana was still snoring deeply, refusing to wake up, so the rest of you simply ended up using the fluffy gryphon as a pillow- Save for Hannah, who was focusing hard on the pot of rations, which she was urging to boil.
>>22843640"So, what's the plan when we reach the Skiitaran border?"
>>22843640"Hey, Tannis, it's possible your grandmother was a Skiitaran princeps."
"So, what's the plan when we reach the Skiitaran border?""We use Tannis." Kale said. "To gain entry.""What? why me?""Tannis, it's possible your grandmother was a Skiitaran princeps.""A what?""First class citizen, or something similar." Lyra said. "I think.""They're the nobles of the empire." Kale said. "The sons of emperors are taken in by noble families, or go out to start their own family.""... And why do you think that?""Have you seen a seal, with the shape of a skiitaran symbol on it?" Kale asked. "Made of silver, iron, or steel?""... There's this." Tannis said, and raised the pouch with the symbol on it."Can anyone else open it?""Abel tried, but... he said it zapped him."Kale turned around, and gave her a grin."Can you?""... Yeah." She said, and pulled it open."Then that's that. They'll let us in." Kale said.
>>22843786"That's awfully convenient. Does it recognize bloodlines?"
>>22843786"That's good. How far away are we?"
>>22843786well we got a long ride ahead I want to ask the sword some questions like what it fully means if gabe isn't playing the game any moreand what does it mean if he is in his true bodywhat the source is?
"That's awfully convenient. Does it recognize bloodlines?""It does." He said. "If you could remember the family name, that would be much better- with a family name you may even allow us to meet with the emperor. They have protocol in place specifically for those raised outside of the empire, coming home.""That's good. How far away are we?""Another few days- though we'll cross the way nearly three times as quickly, with this wagon." Kale said."Well, we have a long ride ahead." You say. "I want to ask the sword some questions.""Alright, I'll stay quiet, then." Kale said, with a chuckle, and Hannah looked up. You looked down to your sword, and spoke."What does it fully mean if Gabe isn't playing the game anymore?"<We don't know.> Ares said. <It seems that this 'game' and it's rules was one only he knew. Perhaps he's not bound by those rules anymore. Or perhaps it means that the scoring metric is entirely different. Or maybe even his goal is different than it was.><Or it could even be that he's lying, and his goal- and the game- are still the same.> Rogue said."What does it mean if he is in his 'true body'?"<... It means "he" is truly that woman you saw, instead of an old man.> Rogue said. <Seems rather forthright, to me.>
>>22843972"So it's just become more confusing. Excellent."
>>22843972"Was Stirge right, is this going to be the last time?"
"So it's just become more confusing. Excellent." You say. "Was Stirge right?"The sword didn't respond."Is this going to be the last time?"Silence."Sword?"You sigh, and put it away."Stirge?" Hannah asked. "You mean... the atlaskan god?""That was just a woman that took up the name." Cass said. "Not *actually* the god."
>>22844144"Yeah, I hope so."
>>22844144"How are you getting on with those rations, Hannah? Any luck?"
>>22844144Let's go tinker with Gearworks for a bit.
>>22844144>>22844178i like this response
"Yeah, I hope so. How are you getting on with those rations, Hannah? Any luck?""A little." She said. "I'm just working on getting the water to heat up, now. It's less to do with the Heart of Fire than I thought. We'll be able to eat soon."Ariana's eyes opened."Why's everyone sitting on me?""Because you're *fluffy*." Tannis said, giggling, and gave Ari a hug. "How are things on your side?""Sansa is over, and I have to talk to someone from another family about Astora. They have gifts that will keep her from hurting herself." Ariana said.
>>22844293"That'll be a load off my mind."
>>22844293"Has she been hurting herself?"
>>22844293"That's good to hear. Did you try your Gift of Life on her?"
"That'll be a load off my mind.""Yeah, but it might be costly." She said. "For our family, I mean. Geas doesn't come easily.""Has she been hurting herself?""No, she hasn't. She hasn't even come close. But I worry. I've heard a lot of stories about the soultorn."Ariana sighed."She cries, at night." She said."Did you try your gift of life on her?""It doesn't seem to help, much. But we've been keeping ourselves busy with cleaning the mansion, and unburying all our secret passages."
>>22844479 secret passages. secret passages.!!?be careful
>>22844479"That's...a shame.""Tell her I miss her a lot, okay?"
>>22844479"Be careful...she might get the wrong idea if you Geas her."
>>22844479"You can use your gift of shadow as a portal between you and your familiar, right? Would it help if I came to visit?"
>>22844479Whisper "Tell her...I love her."
>>22844588That only works a small distance if I remember correctly.
"That's... a shame." You say. "Tell her I miss her a lot, okay?""I will." Ariana said."And be careful. She might get the wrong idea if you Geas her.""She suggested it." Ariana said. "But I will.""... You can use your gift of shadow as a portal between you and your familiar, right? Would it help if I came to visit?""... I'm not sure if I can do it that far..." She said. She closed her eyes, and lifted a wing- and from the shadow, a small, eyeless humanoid being, made of clay, clambered out of the shadow, before saluting, and clambering back in.She sighed, and lowered her wing, before looking up at you. "I can, but it's... tiring, even for a tiny little guy like that. If I took a whole person, I might not be able to take you back for awhile."
>>22844654save it encase of emergency
>>22844654"Well we're just travelling here for a few days until we reach Skiitara. You guys think you can manage without me for that long?"
>>22844654"Well, how long is awhile? Several hours? A day? A few days?"
>>22844654"...We're just going to be sitting in a wagon for a few days. Do you think...?"Cass can use that gun now as well if they run into any trouble.
"Well, how long is awhile? Several hours? A day? A few days?""A few days, maybe less." Ari said. "It shouldn't be long.""... We're just going to be sitting in a wagon for a few days. Do you think... You think you guys can manage without me for that long?""It might not be worth it to risk it." Lyra said. "... But I've always been curious about Sanctuary, and you have a girl there that needs you.""We will be fine." Kale said, with a grin. "We have our own antlers, and we're ahead of the Forged. They are hardly faster than a walking man, after all. Though you might want to order Gearworks to obey one of us instead."
>>22844856"Good idea. Whoever wants Gearpower, speak up now."
>>22844856"If you run into any trouble, Cass, don't be afraid to use the pistol."
>>22844856Stay safe, my friends.>>22844911Set the gearworks to follow Lyra.
>>22844856do that and give Hanna a gun her and Cass understand how to use them
>>22844964So give Hannah the Colt and Cass the Mateba?It's not like we'll need them.
>>22844993I'd like to keep the revolver, just in case. Gabe has a habit of turning up whereever with no reason or method.
>>22845003we can keep the long gun with magic ammo also i think we also have a single shot pistol and a master crafted dragon bone bow and the best sword in the world and dragon scale Armour plenty
>>22845003True, we've still got our Sanctis rifle if we want to give that to Lyra as well.
"Good idea." you say, and peek out the back of the wagon, where Gearworks followed you unerringly."Gearworks." You say, and it whines. "SetVar. Master. String. Lyra."It churns, and then buzzes."So to give it to people I say the same thing? And just tell it to follow, chase, attack, that sort of thing?" Lyra asked, and you nod."Cass, give the colt to Hannah." You say, holding out your own revolver to her. "And don't be afraid to use these."Cass nodded, giving her own gun to Hannah and taking the revolver."I won't." She said. "But I'll only use these in an emergency.""So you're going?" Ariana asked, and you nod. "Okay, then climb in."She raised her wing, the shadow starting to smoke, and you turn to the rest of the wagon. "Stay safe, my friends.""We will!" Tannis said, and then ruffled your hair, giving you a hug. "Take care, Abel."You climb into the shadow, and next thing you knew, you were drowning, drowning constantly, and in front of you, coming closer despite the darkness, was pure, blinding light. You reach out, and finally, your hands burst out, climbing out onto a wooden floor.Looking around, you saw a large, nearly empty room, with a painting on one wall of a striking, beautiful red-haired woman, and various cushioned seats and couches surrounding the room. Ariana was weary, sitting in one seat. Nobody else was in sight."That was... difficult." Ariana said, then pulled you into a hug. "Are you okay?"
>>22845073"Ariana!" Hugs and scruffles and more hugs!"Your sister is going to be so surprised."
>>22845073I am fine how about you?point to picture who is that?
>>22845073Check ourselves."Seem fine. Thank you for doing this, Ariana."
>>22845073Pat self down."Yep, looks like all of me is here."
>>22845073"You weren't kidding about this place being big."
"Ariana!" You cry, and pull Ariana into a hug and give her a hairscruffle. "Your sister is going to be so surprised."Other than being tired, she was in a strange dress-and-furs arrangement, and only then did you realize how cold it was, as your ears popped. Somehow you knew that was a sign that your altitude had changed quite a bit, very suddenly."She will!" Ariana said. "You'll be able to meet Sansa, too. She knows only a little bit about you. Right now they're playing with her Gift."
>>22845180What is Sansa's gift?You don't happen to have a spare coat or something I can borrow while I'm here? I'm not really equiped for snow.
>>22845180"That should be fun.">>22845218No coat. Let's just power through the coldness.
"You weren't kidding about this place being big." You say, looking around."It's really empty." She said, and let go of you."... You don't happen to have a spare coat or something I can borrow while I'm here?" You ask. "I'm not really equipped for snow.""Somewhere around here is some really warm clothing." She said, and grabbed your hand, leading you through a veritable maze of hallways, doorways, and stepping over small cleaning golems made of clay and mud."In here." She said, and pulled out a pile of furs, thick quilted clothing, and boots and socks of various sizes. "Just choose whatever."You take one of the woolen tunics and tug it on. "What is Sansa's Gift?" you ask."She only has three of them." Ariana said. "Her birth gift is the Gift of Clay. Those little guys running around are ones she made and asked to obey me. They're playing some sort of game with them. Chess, I think it's called. They're having them fight eachother."
>>22845344good game bets its lodes more entertaining with them moving
>>22845344Grab a fur and if our boots are terrible then new boots. Never refuse new boots.This doesn't sound like any chess I know.So now you're back and a Nobilis, do you get treated any differently?
Rolled 91>>22845344"Clay golems, that's cool."rolling to pick the most stylish jacket.
You grab a stylish coat, and replace your old, worn boots with new, well made ones."This doesn't sound like any chess I know." You say. "I bet it's loads more entertaining with them moving.""It is!" Ariana said. "Except I'm really bad at it.""So, now that you're back, and a Nobilis, do you get treated any differently?""I'm not living at the tower anymore." Ariana said. "That's the biggest part. Then there's the fact that I have a lot of authority now, especially with Astora being... soultorn."She held up a hand, with a signet ring on it- The symbol of a flame inside of a cage, it looked. You also saw the blue ring she'd gotten from the otters, but she was obviously showing you the sealed one."I'm technically the head of the Catastra family right now." She said, and pointed at your feet, where the buckles bore the same symbol. "Those boots have the same sigil. But being here isn't very stressful. After fighting a Kraken, it doesn't seem so bad."
>>22845422>we be stylin'
>>22845533"Yeah...it's been a wild couple of months hasn't it?"
>>22845533"No, I imagine it wouldn't be as stressful as fighting a kraken. So what exactly is a geas?"
>>22845533"That's good.""Are you pretending to be betrothed to the otters to avoid suitors?" said in jest
"Yeah... it's been a wild couple of months, hasn't it?" You ask, and she nodded. "It has.""So what exactly is a geas?" you ask."It's a Gift that a certain family has." She said. "They have marks on their faces, and the Gift lets them... bind you to whatever you say. So if you said you'd do something, they can force you to do it. Or prevent you from doing what you say you won't. They're one of the powerful families, because they're perfect to pay to make deals. If you make a deal with a Nirnat in attendance, then the deal will be kept. You have to watch what you say if you see one, though.""So, are you pretending to be betrothed to the otters to avoid suitors?" you ask, with a grin, and she shot you a glare."No, I'm just keeping it because it was a gift." She said. "I'm meeting a potential suitor sometime next week. He sent me a letter!"
>>22845672Ohh, that sounds great! You can check out the size of his gifts and if he leers at you too much, POOF, he's gone.Witch dating must be fun.Just don't make a choice until you're older, yeah?
>>22845754Let's not make a joke about Void.
>>22845672"Heh, good luck."
"Oh, that sounds great!" You say. "Witch dating must be fun. Just don't make a choice until you're older, yeah?""I'm technically an adult, you know." Ariana said, and raised her finger."Heh, good luck." You say."Anyway, let's go say hi to Astora and Sansa." Ariana said, and grabbed your hand again, leading you out of the room, and several hallways away."Come on, raise your shield!" You hear a young woman squealing, frustrated. "No, it's just a pawn, you can do this!""Leap back when the rook shieldbashes you." Astora said, her voice low. "Then stab it in the shoulder."A moment later, you hear a quiet burble, and the young woman sighing."Astora *always* wins." Ari said, and giggled. "Well, not *all* the time..."
>>22845961Should we sneak up on her or just waltz in?Hmm...
Rolled 62>>22845961Rollan for sneak, give Astora a surprise hug from behind. "TORI!"Make frantic Shh faces at Sansa if she sees us.
>>22845961Peek into the room, see if it's possible to sneak up on Astora
Rolled 100>>22845961Go for the sneak assaultOr burst through the wall firing all our guns.
>>22846048We're really sneaky today.>mfw I rolled the singing 100 as well
>>22845961.... So we sneak like no one has snuck before?
>>22846048>>22846088>>22846115remember that elven grace?
You peek into the room, creaking open the door, and you see a shorthaired girl sitting on yet another couch, rather dour, frowning at the board below her, while Astora did the same, her back to you. The girl's eyes pass over you- but you crouch down, fading into nothingness, creeping into the room.Behind you, back in the hallway, you hear Ariana suddenly gasp, and whisper. "Abel? Where did you go?"You carefully creep in, sneaking past the clay men strewn about the room, under one of the smaller tables, and over a displaced cushion... before you grab Tori, pulling her into a surprise hug."Tori!" You cry, pulling you into a hug. She immediately responded with a grin, hugging you back and giving you a kiss.The girl on the other side of the chessboard screamed, leaping back over the couch with a grace somehow superior to Kale's, hand on the back of the couch. The clay men suddenly coalesced into a larger, more superior golem."Sansa, it's fine, he's a friend!" Ariana said, and the girl took a deep breath, eyes wide- she'd almost been given a heart attack.
>>22846127and by that I mean the elven grace given to us by the nice lady in the dessert;hey, they un-banned the campus SWEET
Rolled 59>>22846152Kiss dat girl.
>>22846157You better keep the rolls off Platypus.
>>22846152continue to hug tori and extend a hand to the woman."hullo miss, I'm Abel Tolstoy thought I'd come up for a visit to see how Tori's been; "
>>22846187Whoops, forgot to take my dice off."I had to make sure you were alright myself."
>>22846201We're Abel Byrne, not Tolstoy
>>22846191oh come now the occasional random 100 can be funny...and besides I regularly use it and forget to turn it off
>>22846152"I had to come and make sure my favorite Witch was okay."
>>22846227We're Irish? Weird.
>>22846227What the shit, first thread said our last name was Barnes?
>>22846227oh, well shit...change >>22846201 to reflect this then, but leave in the bad accent...it'll go with the stylish coat...
"I had to make sure you were alright, myself." You say."Took you long enough." Astora said back to you, giving you a grin and a hug- large bags sat under her eyes, but she looked happy enough to see you."Hello, miss." you say, and extend a hand to Sansa. "I'm Abel Byrne, and thought I'd come up for a visit to see how Tori's been.""Sansa Velena." She said, hand on her chest as she tried to calm herself. "You must have... the gift of Shroud or something.""He's not actually a witch." Ariana said, coming into the room, patting the tall, humanoid golem on the head, as it melted into the small ones again."Pleased to meet you." She said, with a curtsy and a polite smile. "Though... I'm fairly sure the crones prefer if you spoke to them before bringing a human here, Ari.""I already did." Ariana said. "They said it was fine."She bit her lip, as if she was trying not to say something."How's the game going?" She asked, sidling into the seat next to Sansa, as you did the same for Astora.The game, for the most part, looked... bad. The pale golems were being completely crushed by the dark ones, pale clay strewn across the remains of a battle area off to the side of the board proper."I'm winning." Astora said, hunched over."It's not a game." Sansa frowned. "It's a slaughter."
>>22846326"Oh? Perhaps some tactical assistance is in order for Miss Velena?"
Rolled 34>>22846326Tacticle genius time.
Rolled 60>>22846326"does it work like regular chess?"observe the rest of the game; then challenge the winner.the roll is for if one is needed...unless exabyte wants to play us chess...
>>22846326Well now I'm here to distract Tori you might find your luck improves.Kiss or tickle Astora whenever her turn is up.
"Does it work like regular chess?""Most of the time." Astora said. "Except when it comes time to take a piece- then they go off board, and they fight. The agressor gets a head start in the battle, so you still want to take pieces- but then you also get to order your piece how to fight, or, if you're lucky, kill the agressor instead.""Oh? Perhaps some tactical assistance is in order for Miss Velena?""The only assistance you could give me is by... I don't even know. We might be out of time.""You are out of time." Astora said. "Queen, please behead that king."The clay golem- with a coronet, and claw for an arm, both carved out of stone- stepped over to the crown-wearing golem, and touched him. The two stepped aside to the side of the board, and they both drew miniature stone swords from a pile of similar weapons, and the king turned his back. You immediately start nudging Astora's ribs, and kissing her neck, and she elbowed you back, trying to focus.Astora murmured something under her breath, to the golem- She whispered 'feint'. The golem hardly nodded, but instead took a step forward, as if to pierce the king with it's blade.The king whirled about, sword in hand, and the queen ducked- before plunging the claw on it's hand into his chest.The king melted away, and Tori clapped to herself."Even though Abel was here to distract me, I *still* won." She said, proudly.Sansa sighed. "... Guess someone else can play for now, then."
Rolled 1>>22846486"Battlechess eh? Care for a match, Tori?"
>>22846486I would, but I have a much more entertaining game right here."Care to show me around, Tori?"
Rolled 80>>22846518Fuck, we are terrible at Battlechess.
Rolled 50>>22846486Now it is tactical genius time yes?
"Battlechess, eh?" You ask. "Care for a match, Tori?""I'm going to crush you, you know." She grinned, as Sansa and Ariana made their way to the other end of the room to talk. "The rooks have shields, the pawns have these tiny spears, knights get halberds and horses, Bishops get staves, the king gets a sword, and the queen gets whatever you want them to have- Queens are special, that way. But no guns."Some time later, the board was almost empty, as you killed more pieces than she had, vastly outnumbering her, as you slowly wove a perfect trap for her queen, and as your queen charged in, you sent your own rook, bishop, and knight to remove it. Three fights she fought, and three fights you lost- her Queen, for whatever reason, was the most dangerous piece on the board, being able to match your tactical genius for her own combat skills. If this were normal chess, you would've won many times over by now. Finally, without any other choice, you send your own queen out to battle, and then Astora grins."Do whatever you want." She told the queen, and then turned to you. "Now.. it's my turn to distract you."She was suddenly pulling you close, half sitting on your lap, hand and claw on either side of your cheeks, kissing you deeply and making it impossible to breathe.An eternity later, she pulled away, grinning."I win." She said, as her queen pulled parts of yours off of her. "Checkmate. Queen, decapitate the King."Your king didn't even *try* to fight, simply kneeling.
>>22846685"You fight dirty."
>>22846685"Somehow I'm not really that upset about it."
Rolled 59>>22846685"Decided to play dirty?"Engage her in another kiss.Get the King to swipe the Queens footing whilst she's distracted.
>>22846685"I... I am defeated.""But I still captured the Queen."
>>22846734>>22846741Combine these two.
Rolled 50>>22846759then tackle Tori, and put her in an arm lock."besides, I know I can beat you in the arena...you can lead my armies if you want"
"You fight dirty." You say, as, with a swipe, the queen beheaded the king. The piles of clay pulled themselves back into shape and went back to their starting positions, on the board."I do." She said."Somehow, I'm not really that upset about it.""I thought you wouldn't be." She said."But I still captured the Queen." you say. She glanced at the board."No you..." She said, meeting your eyes, before trailing off and grinning."... No you didn't." she said, with another grin. "The queen was the one that captured *you*."
>>22846850"Aha, but you see, that was my true plan all along! And you fell for it!"Raspberry her.
>>22846850"Looks like it depends on your point of view."
>>22846850Ha, and now I am trapped in her castle, with no escape for her to to as she wishes to me.But in naught but a few days the Bishop shall set me free.
>>22846850"Or, perhaps, I let myself get captured..."
"Or, perhaps, I let myself get captured.""I could see why." She said, and gave you another hug, closing her eyes, her claw tightening on your arm. She sat there, head on your chest, for some time, eyes closed, relaxing.Quietly, in a serious voice, she continued."... It's less cold like this." She said.
>>22846999"I know it's not much...but I'm glad I can help."
>>22846999Hug her more tightly and say, "I'm glad you're starting to feel warmer then. I've really been worried about you."
>>22846999Are you always cold?I'll warm you up.Would you like to show me around?
>>22846999"Even though it's only been a few weeks, I've been missing you a lot."
You hug her more tightly."I'm glad you're starting to feel warmer, then. I've been missing you a lot.""Who wouldn't miss me?" She asked, eyes still closed."Are you always cold?""And empty." She said, with a nod."I'll warm you up." You say. "Would you like to show me around?""Around the mansion, or around sanctuary?" She asked. "I'm fine with either, but we'll have to eat first. I've been trying to learn to cook more than turnip soup, lately."
>>22847146"That sounds wonderful."
Rolled 36>>22847146"Show me either one, I don't mind. It'd make sense to start here though, wouldn't it? We can start with the kitchen."Rolling for cook.
>>22847146How big is the mansion that we can't see it all before dinner?I'd like to see sanctuary, but if we stay here it'll be just us.Nothing wrong with turnips.
>>22847146Keep an arm around her waist at all times, regardsless of what we do.
>>22847168Is rolling for cooking really needed?
"Show me either one, I don't mind." You say. "It'd make sense to start here, though, wouldn't it? We can start with the kitchen.""It'll take a lot longer than just a single day to show you around here." Astora said, getting to her feet. You get up as well, an arm slung around her waist. "My first few weeks here I ended up lost.""There's nothing wrong with turnips." You say, as she leads you out of the room."Yes there is. It's that I'm sick of turnips." She said. "It was literally the only thing I ate after I got back from my coming of age. Ari's much more well rounded than I am, at things like that."She led you down some stairs, into a large room, with metal knives, pans, pots, and some sort of internal water system, as well as a stone oven and various supplies."Let's try, um... eggs." She said. "You stand right here."Tori ran her claw through her hair, and then grabbed a few eggs, cracking them, and with a snap of her talons and a small plume of flame, lit the oven.A few minutes later, black, charred smoke billowed out of the oven, along with it the pungent smell of burning eggs. She grabbed your wrist, and pulled you out of the kitchen, giggling."I'm so terrible at that!" She said, giggling. "Steady heat is impossible!"
>>22847276"Heh, you could try cooking something that doesn't need a lot of direct heat.""We still need something to eat...another attempt maybe?"
>>22847276Laugh with her.Wouldn't it be much much easier to use your gift to light a woodfire, and then just keep that going?If you're as fancy and rich as I think you are, you could always hire someone to help out.
You laugh with her."Heh, you could try cooking something that doesn't need a lot of direct heat. Or light a woodfire and then just keep that going." You say."Well, Ari did make some bread the other day, so we could just have sandwiches." She said, and sighed. "But that'd be cheating.""If you're as fancy and rich as I think you are, you could always get a housekeeper."She went silent, then frowned."... We can't afford it." She said. "Well, we have the money, but... The family has been proud of keeping only Giftless housekeepers since the Gift of Flame first came to life. And we're so small right now that none of the Giftless want to work for us. If I took a changeling housekeeper, that'd be spitting on our pride."
>>22847435Well... You can have pride, or you can have delicious meals cooked for you every day.What is a giftless?
>>22847465Why would you sacrifice pride for food?
>>22847435"Huh, didn't know there was that sort of a convention. So all you'd need to get one is a bigger family?Maybe...I could move in one day. That'd increase your total population by 33%."
>>22847435Since Ariana has a new gift, do you think you could attract one now?Surely two Nobilis is plenty impressive.
"Well, you can have pride, or you can have delicious meals cooked for you every day.""If it was up to just my pride, it'd be entirely different." She said. "But it's not just mine, it's the entire family's. I don't think you'll understand.""Huh, didn't know there was that sort of a convention." You say. "What is a giftless?""Exactly what it sounds like." Tori said. "When a witch is born, and their familiar arrives the same day. They don't have any gifts, but they're honored- almost more than nobilis. The crones take them to be their assistants, or send them to the tower to be teachers and librarians.""Since Ariana has a new gift, do you think you could attract one now? Surely two nobilis is plenty impressive.""Ari's been busy since she got here." Astora said. "I'm trying not to burden her for now, so we can deal with that later."She poked her head in, and found that most of the smoke was gone."Time to make turnip soup." She said, deadpan. "Yay."Some time later, you had a large bowl and a spoon, full of steaming beans, turnip, bacon, and various other bits of food mixed in.Astora took her own spoon to your bowl."When I just got off of my coming of age, I ended up in this big mansion by myself. Made a big pot of this every week, kept it heating, and just... ate this. Just this."
>>22847598"Ouch. That sounds so...melancholy."
>>22847598"Sounds 'fun'. I'll have to teach you some of the recipes I taught Ari some time."
>>22847598"Wow. That's just... I don't think I could eat nothing but turnip soup for weeks on end."
>>22847598"That sounds depressing and monotonous. I mean it's good, but still.I can teach you some cooking if you want, I'm not a professional chef, but I'm not bad at it."
>>22847598"Are you sure you don't want to have another attempt at cooking? We could try something easy, like french toast."
>>22847598Ok, brace yourself, i'm about to blow your mind. You make turnip soup, but instead of putting turnips in it, put pumpkin in. and BAM: pumpkin soup.Can I help out with getting things in order?
>>22847680What's a "French"?
"Wow. That's just... I don't think I could eat nothing but turnip soup for weeks on end.""... The first few days I was lost." She said, and giggled again. "The kitchen was the only place I ended up finding, so I used it as my base before doing daily explorations.""That sounds depressing and... melancholy. I mean, it's good, but still.""It was." She said. "But it was interesting. Taught me how to survive on my own. Not... exactly survive, since I wasn't in the woods starving, but... How to be my own person."She laughed again, more bitterly this time."And that means nothing, now, since I wouldn't last a day alone. I'd just fall into that same nothingness that hides where my familiar was."
>>22847725"That's no way to think. There's nothing wrong with people supporting you when you need it."
>>22847725"Nonsense, you're stronger then that." Kiss her.So what other secrets does this mansion hold?
>>22847725Grab her hand and look her in the eyes. "You'll get through this, Tori. I promise. You're easily one of the strongest women I've ever known."
>>22847779This.Add "Why don't you show me your favourite part of the manor?"
"Nonsense. You're stronger than that. You're easily one of the strongest women I've ever known.""Then you never knew me very well." She said, and gave you a kiss. "But I don't mind, as long as you're here."She took your hand, and then stole the last of your soup. "At least I've mastered this by so much practice.""So, what other secrets does this mansion hold?""A lot." She said. "We're one of the oldest families. It's said that some of the first crones- before they gave away their names- were part of our family. It's entirely possible we'll find some room that hasn't been touched in a thousand years."".. Why don't you show me your favorite part of the manor?"She went silent... and then grinned, and grabbed your hand. You hardly have the time to set down your bowl before she drags you out of the room, and down nearly three steep sets of stairs, the torches getting dimmer and dimmer as you passed, until you were completely underground, almost blind, save for the glowing cracks in Astora's hand."This way." She said, and touched her hand against a great, stone door. "Help me push this open?">Roll magic. 1d6.
>>22847898Best of three rolls or first only?
>>22847708Conceited and rude.
>>22847898Maybe somewhere there's a family cookbook.
You put your own hand against it, and with a heavy push, the two of you screech the stone door open, sending a buffet of warm air out at you."There's some hot springs somewhere down here." She said. "So it gets warmer the lower you get. but that's not what's special."You walk into the room, and you have a feeling that you were in a very, very large room, with enormous amounts of space between you and the walls. Astora, fearlessly, walked forward, visible only by the light in her hand, and around what you feel is the center, placed her hand on something.Something that blazed into red light, into flame- a perfect sphere, blazing into light, as you felt a powerful burst of magic in it, lighting up the entire room- it was a stone dome, with small bits of mirror in the ceiling, reflecting the light back down at you. Only then did you recognize the shape the mirrors were in- constellations, stars, shining back down at you, and you felt a strange pulse of power coming from the sphere."Isn't this beautiful?" Astora asked, spreading her arms and looking to the ceiling- the the stars of the planetarium.
>>22848037"They should've sent a poet. It's absolutely beautiful."Give that girl a hug and a kiss.
>>22848037I don't even know what to say.Do we recognise the constellations?
>>22848037Wow, is this a real plane-arium? Man I didn't think I could see anything like this in my life!
"They should've sent a poet." You say. "It's absolutely beautiful."You look to the sky, trying to examine the constellations. They weren't yours- they weren't ones you remembered, or were raised with, or the ones that were outside right now, beyond the sun.But you knew them. You recognized Cassiopa, you recognized Hercules, Gemini, Pices, Draco...But there were two you didn't recognize. A great cross, drifting in the sky, and another, a vigilant protector. Their names were at the tip of your tongue, so close... so close...<That man is not Catastra.> You hear the sphere say, and Astora squeaked, taking a step back from it.The sphere burst into flame, and stood- the sphere itself serving as the head, to a great, bright red figure of flame, casting light across the entire sphere."He may as well be." Astora said, stepping between you and it. "And when could you talk?"<... Soultorn.> The sphere said to her. <Interesting. So this future is the one to pass.>
>>22848219"No, I'm not part of the family, I was invited. What futures are still possible? What can be done to avoid the nasty ones?"
>>22848219"Oh good, now my sword isn't the only inanimate object that talks."
>>22848219Good evening, kind... flaming sphere thing.
"No, I'm not part of the family." You say. "I was invited."<By a soultorn. Hmph.>"What futures are still possible? What can be done to avoid the nasty ones?" You ask.<... The nerve!> The figure roared, and blazed into brighter light. <You delve into my resting place, and demand the future?! You demand your story told beyond your time!? Preposterous.>"No, *you're* preposterous." Astora snarled, reaching in with her claw to grip the floating sphere. "Tell us what's going on."<... Hmph.> It said, and the body vanished. <Very well. My purpose has long since died, so I've no reason to hide it. Within these chambers, deep below the earth, lies a weapon. A tool, with powers that nobody can use. Take it, and then leave me be.>You hear the sound of stone grinding on the far side of the room, and Astora gave you a Look- asking what you should do, most likely.
>>22848380Apologize for waking the spere thing up and go retrieve the weapon, this is just surreal
>>22848380"Power that nobody can use? What good is it to anyone then? Sounds like a trap to me."
>>22848380"Well, if nobody can use it, it can't hurt to take it out."
>>22848380Shrug, "Let's check it out I guess."
>>22848406We go retrieve it anyways, who knows it might look cool
>>22848380Hey look, we didn't mean to ruin all your fun. But you can't go announcing that you can see the futures without expecting us to ask about them.What was your purpose?
"... What are you?" Astora asked. "What was your purpose?"<I was a shard of the heart of flame. It is I, who's blood courses through your veins. Another shard lies within your arm, and within your womb. There it will progress to your daughter, and her daughter, and hers, until the end of days.>It flickered.<You may call me... Onyx.>You shrug- the name was utterly unfamiliar to you. Entirely, completely unfamiliar."Well, if nobody can use it, it can't hurt to take it out." You say, making your way to the other end of the room. there, lit by the reflecting stars above your head, with the strange sphere and Astora to your back, you take up the weapon- a short handled weapon, with a thick, dull end on one side, and a long, curved spike- like a dragon's tooth- on the other.The warhammer. From the mural.<And now, Soultorn, set me to sleep.>The sphere flickered out, and you were in the darkness. Onyx's hammer sat in front of you.>End of thread!
>>22848498Thanks for running, Exa!
>>22848498Hey Exabyte. Has anyone ever mentioned that you are just about the raddest dude around.
>>22848588I didn't say that specifically, but I did effectively mention it to him this morning, yes.
>>22848498So now the real debate begins: Who gets to wave the hammer about?I vote gabe.
>>22848730Nope, he's a jerk.
>>22848773Oh shit its a she now.
>>22848730The real question is whether the voices can talk through the hammer or not.
>>22848841if we also use the hammer... do we become double real? Will shit get real?
>>22848773She just wants the D, but is too tsundere to admit it.
>>22848836I think we should still call her Gabriel, to annoy her more. Names seem to be a Thing for her, after all.
Rolled 5>>22848730well, we have a lancer already in cass what about sister lyra or perhaps Kale