Hello and welcome back to Synthetic Gods Quest.Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hivemind_ChanArchives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Synthetic%20Gods%20QuestRules and gameplay mechanics: https://pastebin.com/jcac0p9DCurrent inventory: https://pastebin.com/gyZLMiNGCurrent infrastructure: https://pastebin.com/i42ACWMsPreviously mentioned individuals: https://pastebin.com/LUJ5fyqAPreviously mentioned SGs and Cups: https://pastebin.com/ThR1eYvcProject tracker: https://pastebin.com/BzmXGRhq_________________________________________________________ In the last session we said our goodbyes, left the discussion table and headed for the exit. To prevent anyone from recognizing Haven, we were led to a different entrance from the building. There Haven was given a ring with an in- built “magical” disguise which altered her appearance to that of a different Teryian woman with significantly different proportions. Follow up explanation revealed that it is one of the simplest types of the disguise devices, limited to only 30 minutes and only providing visual projection of the illusion on top of the existing body, invisibility on the original body parts that didn’t fit in that hologram and some limited response of the hologram to external stimuli such as wind or bounce from walking. By following some instructions provided by Valentina’s Cup Bearer, we successfully left without anyone recognizing the disguised Haven. After a small stop, we took a deeper look into the inner workings of the ring. The disguise component proved to be impossible to understand, but the hologram provided by the ring roughly fits Ag’s body, making it potentially useful in the future.Then we decided to do something with the total lack of clothing variety in Ag’s wardrobe, which was apparently long anticipated by Haven. After all, it is not all that appropriate to show up in underarmor to a royal or a noble meeting. While people would tolerate it simply because Ag is a goddess, it would still be inappropriate. Thus, we set out to find a seamstress guild that Haven recommended. There we discussed what dress we should commission, and ended up commissioning two whole wardrobes of outfits styled after both men’s and women’s choices of Ceno outfits. We then planned to spend the remaining cash in the Great Markets searching for something useful and interesting…
>>4925921As you walk through the evening market and scout for something interesting, you find a small and relatively rundown shop which sells things that were brought up from the Labyrinth by daring and brave or just desperate and stupid adventurers. From what you can see, it is a kind of a pawn shop, where adventurers deposit their trophies for quick cash and the shop then sells those trophies at a premium. Inside you find a mountain of stuff recovered by such expeditions: parts of various monsters, samples of different rocks, random artifacts that can only be considered decorative due to the lack of any other functions… hello?! Another customer managed to fish out a mechanical eye that is made in almost exactly the same style as the golem core that you have back in Farsalos. He asks what it is, and the shopkeep says that it is just jewelry of some kind and names the price. The customer refuses and puts the eye into a pile of other looted junk. A few moments later, you come up to the shopkeep with the eye, and ask him to sell it to you. Unfortunately, shopkeep now claims that it is an actual mechanical eye that could act as a replacement to a human eye if a sufficiently skilled magician can be found along with some other “magical qualities”. He likely did it because he knew that the eye has caught your interest. You point out that he has claimed different things to the previous customer, and that devolves into an argument, which the shopkeep quickly turns into a shouting match. You don’t want to pay 2/3 of your own cash and the guy keeps spewing bs and accusations in your face, at the end saying that he will not sell the eye specifically to you. “Well, your loss” you shrug and exit the shop. It would be nice to have a second sample of that technology to analyze, but you already have a similar eye in your possession, so it is not that much of a loss. The shopkeeper should understand that customers vote with their wallets, and such behavior won’t win him any money.After the eye fiasco, you walk a couple block towards the sea, and on the way you almost walk past an unloading cart filled with various fabrics along with a large wooden cylinder tightly wrapped in layers upon layers of inch thick milky white thread. When asked, the bulk fabrics trader explained that this is a type of giant spider silk. Some strands are thin and thus are great for clothes, while thicker strands can work as great sails material and thickest ones are sometimes used in construction. He even lets you to try your strength on a small piece of the silk cable. To your amazement, it significantly outperforms normal spider silk and is almost 16 times better than Kevlar, while being only a sixth as dense as steel and also being very stretchy. The fabric shopkeep though is more impressed by your ability to stretch that strand until you managed to tear off a piece. With little further incentives needed, you decided to buy the silk.
>>4925926However, after this purchase, you’ve decided that you should really start looking for a present for Rheia. Something that should help her handle being alone better. While she’s been alone for quite a while when you were working and adventuring, this time would probably feel different to her. You need something that would keep her mood up over a long period of time, not just for a few days or weeks which would be expected from a normal present. You also don’t think that a tool or a weapon or a uniform would be that useful, since it won’t feel like a fun gift. Maybe a plushie? Then again, Rheia is an adult by modern standards, so it would probably be inappropriate… hmm… maybe a pet? You mutter a few ideas to yourself until you see a store which is surprisingly huge to be a pet shop in pre- industrial times. A whole free standing 3 story tall building placed at the road intersection on a street that’s parallel to the market street. You walk in and realize that it is not just a pet shop, but an exotic animal shop. It must be quite successful if it can afford such a big building in the capital. Inside you see various cages of different sizes and housing various exotic animals, you can see some wild cats not found in Ceno climate, a couple of large white cockatoo parrots, one of which can apparently curse in Ceno, Ethean and a couple yet unknown languages and another appears to be slowly balding likely due to it not being fed properly. You also see a few smaller birds, a couple large lizards including a couple Tegus and a cage filled with adorable puppies! You can’t say that you’re a cat or dog person, allergies do that to people like you, but now why shouldn’t you adore incredibly cute doggos now? They all look like Huskies with deep blue eyes and the fur pattern which is a characteristic of that breed, specifically black, grey or light brown back and part of its side with rest of the dog being white.
>>4925936Then you look at the price and whistle, wow that’s expensive for a dog. But then again, while you can’t afford the time to take care of the dog yourself, such a pet would be perfect for Rheia. You take a more focused look around and find out that these dogs are quite exotic indeed. They were imported from an island far to the south from Ceno, from lands under control of snow elves and their goddess. The breed is called “Fenrirs”, which is quite… “creative” from Eira, you must say. In any case, these dogs have quite a few obviously engineered aspects. First of all, they need 3 years to grow up to adulthood (compared to 6-24 months for normal dogs), their lifespan is comparable to the lifespan of a human and they feel comfortable both in cold and hot environments, seemingly being capable of compensating by ingesting more food to fuel their “internal climate control”. Also, they never get tired if they have enough access to food (like their husky counterparts), they heal rapidly, almost never get ill and they grow up to a size that allows them to carry an adult human on their back. The last and the most important aspect is the bond with their owner, which would be a problem if you decided to get such a pet for yourself. If successfully bonded, the dog would have an almost supernatural ability to follow owner’s orders. This also means that these dogs don’t live much longer than their owners after the bond is formed, as they refuse to eat and rapidly wither away after their master’s passing. In any case, you buy a dog carrier and the puppy that you found the cutest. You’re not sure if you can keep it hidden before Rheia's birthday, you think to yourself with a smile.
>>4925945The last item that you’ve bought today was a beautiful wooden box packed with various small bottles of perfume. You’ve found such an item in some kind of Teryian reseller shop placed close to the district for the wealthy. The shop owner, a Teryian woman, had only a couple of those boxes left. Haven filled you in on the specifics about Teryian Fragrance, which is apparently one of the most expensive perfumes among the Four Nations, valued for the long lasting and nice smell thanks to a secret ingredient, which you quickly identified as ambergris, a fatty substance used for centuries in your time for perfume manufacturing, produced in the guts of the whales, released upon their death and refined naturally as it floats on the surface of the ocean for long periods of time. The price is significant, but you’ve decided to buy the largest of the perfume boxes after Haven checked if its contents are genuine. You still debate if it would be a very expensive high-class present, or if you plan to use it yourself.
>>4925957After this shopping, you end up with no money reserves for large purchases beyond what might be required for Rheia’s lodgings, uniforms, books, writing implements, pocket money, etc. You'll need to get more money if you want something expensive again. Also, the night has come, most of the restaurants were closed and you weren’t that hungry anyway, so the two of you went to some kind of place similar to a fast-food joint. They sold wraps with vegetables, several types of meats and sauces. Haven and you grabbed a roll each and you’ve managed to buy some decent meat separately for the doggo who was somewhat scared by a small cage and the separation from its brothers and sisters. Tasty pork slices quickly increased its mood. Haven grabbed herself a massive beef and veggie roll and offered to pay for it herself, while you ordered a chicken roll with extra pitted olives. After a hefty if simple midnight snack, you’ve started heading home with your purchases. Half an hour of walking later, you could already see the inn where you’ve stopped, and a light still glowing through the closed window shutters in the room where you’ve left Rheia to study. You quietly make your way to the room and find a very sleepy Rheia faceplanting into the table as a glowquartz lamp is still glowing nearby. And now comes the choice, the dog is something that is quite difficult to hide for long…>Gently wake up Rheia and show her the b-day present>Carefully place Rheia in her bed and show her the puppy tomorrow>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway>Other ideas?
>>4925979>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anywayNo distractions before the test.Unless the puppy has a risk of bonding with the farmer, in that case give It to her tomorrow morning after a full night's rest
>>4925979>>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway
>>4925979>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway
>>4930627>>4926854>>4926602>>4926135You decide that it is not a good idea to distract Rheia just before the exam, so you needed to find someone to take care of the puppy for like 5 days. While the shopkeep said that the puppy would need around 2 years to fully bond with the owner, you’d still prefer not to risk that. As a reminder, Rheia’s exam starts in about 3 days from now and lasts for 2 days, with her birthday happening way in October in about 3 weeks after the exams, so you think that it would be better if she receives the puppy right after the exams, plus you think that you know exactly where to keep it until then.You gently levitate Rheia through the air from her chair to her bed and turn off the light (or more like place the crystal in a box). Haven in turn decided to stay at home and also get some sleep, so you leave the two in the room, grab the puppy cage and the spider silk to haul them back to where you’ve left your “flight gondola”. You’ve left it at a relatively well-off farmstead operated by farm’s current owner and his family, which is pretty tame regarding its size for the times they live in. The owner is a man in his 50s, he has a wife, three sons, a daughter and his mother, who is pretty close to her 80. The sons are 23, 17 and 15 respectfully with the daughter being 19. As many other farmsteads, they are positioned quite a long way away from the city around one of the several dozens of villages which supply the capital with produce. This farmer has a few fields for various crops, biggest of which grows wheat at this time, and wheat is more valuable than other grains. There are also a few animals from chickens to pigs to cows and even a small herd of sheep. The villager uses some hired labor, but it is almost exclusively for the duration of the harvest seasons so now his family members are the only people for miles around.You’ve chosen his farmstead for a few reasons, for one, he has several barns big enough to hide the gondola. Secondly the farmstead is relatively big and pretty far away from the village meaning that visits are unlikely to be common. And the third reason is that he was fine with your proposition. You had to visit a few farms before finding someone decent who was not terrified of your being. You essentially pay him to keep your stuff under the roof, not to make a big deal of it and of you and not to show it to anyone else who could arrive. While it takes a good part of the day to walk all the way from Elspen to that village and then to the farmstead, for you it takes all the 15 minutes, 20 tops. As you fly above you notice that the farmer is not asleep and instead is working on the roof of one of the barns which has one of the corners of it completely disassembled with charred wooden pieces laying nearby. You land next to him to say hi and find out that there was a fire that damaged the roof and walls about two days ago, and they’ve been working to fix it since.
>>4930949Not that surprising, honestly. The barn is made from planks and without mechanization they have to be made by hand which is a very time and labor consuming process. They have already fixed the actual structural damage by replacing the wooden beam skeleton but they were struggling to process enough wood to fix it quickly. Apparently, timing was paramount because while Elspen never experiences thunderstorms (thanks to someone you know), the people are preparing to shelter their animals for the coming couple of weeks of harsh weather. Also, the open side of the building might cause wood to rot if it gets significantly wet in the rain. You look over the structure, the tools and guess that it would take you around 2-3 hours to fix it without even trying too hard.You come up to the head of the family and offer your help in exchange of taking care for the puppy for around a week. His farm does have a couple of dogs to make the whole sheep control a bit easier, although he is surprised about the nature of the request. It is not something that he’d think a goddess might ask for, but to be fair asking for storage of a wooden boat- looking thing and whatever is inside it was not conventional either. You explain that the puppy is supposed to be a present, and he seems to be satisfied with not knowing further.You pull out some tools that you had in the gondola, the farmer shares some of his own and you start turning several logs into planks at the same time. Plank walls are erected on both inner and outer side of the barn and hay is shoved between them as insulation. A bit of a fire hazard, but you can’t really access glass wool at this point. Then the planks go on top of the roof and everything exposed is painted by an almost tar- like black paint. You’re done by the point when the rest of the family wakes up with the rising sun. You feel somewhat bad as you see how hyped farmers youngest son is to pat the puppy, knowing that you’d be taking it back in a couple of days. You tip the farmer for “some dog food”, say your goodbyes and fly back to the inn thinking about what should you do next. From one hand, you could go and see the sights again, or visit the awfully named Valhalla, but then again Rheia’s exams are very close, so you should probably chill for a few days and tutor her…>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again>Plan to go to the Hall of Huntsmen and see if they have anything bad that you could deal with>Plan to walk around the city and see what else you could find>Plan to chill and help Rheia study (3-day timeskip)
>>4930952>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
>>4938180>>4931917>>4931176>>4930978You decided that before Rheia’s entrance exams you’d like to visit the Pantheon. To ask some stuff, see if anything has changed but mostly to see how they are all doing. The sun has already started to rise as you’ve arrived back to the inn. Both Haven and Rheia were sleeping, so you just ordered some breakfast downstairs. Good to know that bacon and eggs are a thing, although most visitors prefer some type of porridge that includes pieces of meat and some veggies mixed into it, which is a pretty common dish that is served in many of Ceno towns and cities from what you’ve heard. You absentmindedly listen in to the conversations in the inn's dining room, but you don’t find anything that specifically interests you, only random personal and business talk, along with a couple discussing the upcoming exams. Haven comes down along with yawning Rheia a couple hours later, closer to 8:30 am, and they take a seat with you as you wave them over. After they order some food, you ask them if they want to accompany you to the Valhalla today. Rheia is too sleepy to respond coherently, experiencing some microsleeps and almost boinking the table with her nose a couple times. Well, you told her not to study late. Haven politely refuses, saying that she would prefer to take a break today after the yesterday’s excitement. She doesn’t seem to be a fan of engaging with Valentina, so it likely extends to her Cups as well.In any case, once the food is in and Rheia wakes up a bit more after taking some bites, she also informs you that she would like to stay and study. She seems to get more and more stressed as the exam approaches, especially today if you judge by how she seems to be in deep thought and eats very slowly. You think of back when you were having entrance exams, and you realized that you didn’t fear failing in itself, but what consequences it would have, and what your dad told you back then. “Rheia…” you say, “while I have utmost confidence that you’ll pass, you should know that there won’t be the end of the world if you don’t. There is an option to pay if you are very close to passing, there are other academies and universities and then again there is always me. We will still be friends, I’ll still keep you employed… you’ll still get the birthday present, no matter what.” Rheia stops eating for about 10 seconds, after which she says very quietly, barely audible “but… would I be worthy of all of that?”. “No ‘buts’,” you reply, “greatest people in history doubted their abilities, it is just a part of human condition. You are very important to me; you are a part of my family, Rheia, be you gifted or not. Nothing can be more important than that.” Rheia takes some time to think of what you’ve just said, and after almost a minute she finally responds.
>>4941049“…Thank you. I don’t know how, but it helped. Although… can I really be called your family?” she asks. You shrug and reply: “Why not? Family is a vague enough concept and it doesn’t only contain the blood relatives, and I am still human where it counts.” you say as you tap your head. “In fact, you, Haven and Sig are the closest people to me that can be called a family.” Haven blushes a little after you say that and hides it by taking a swig from that kvas- like drink that she has. You are not sure why the two of them considered that a surprise. Well, one can argue that Sig is not yet a part of your family because she doesn’t seem to want to get as involved as Haven, and one can argue that Rheia is a bit closer to you than Haven, but you and only you can decide who you consider to be a part of your family after all.The rest of the meal goes on without any other big revelations, and once everyone is done, you ask Rheia to go to sleep at the appropriate time, say your goodbyes and leave the building. You take a walk to the docks and find a spot that has the least amount of people. There you jump off from one of the wooden structures into the water and land on the very surface of it. For some reason, you enjoy taking off from water instead of just from any other place. The sensation of standing on its surface as it is barely disturbed by your presence, the refreshing sea spray as you leave your wake as you gain altitude… While some might notice something in the water, you doubt that anyone could identify you as you zoom away at high speed and out of the artificial harbor. In less than ten minutes, you are on your approach to the section of the artificial island where you were instructed to land last time when you were here.
>>4941054As you approach, you pick up a directional psychic transmission aimed directly at you: “This is Valhalla Beta landing zone. Please slow down and power up your identifications before approaching closer. You have 25 seconds before you contact external barriers.” Huh, so they even have air control here, neat. Probably a pretty boring job, considering how rare ability to fly is. You slow down to a hover and pull out your halo. The instruction was to equip the halo, allow it to tap into your energy reserves and activate the “beacon” which essentially starts broadcasting an equivalent of your IFF signature/ID. Once you follow these instructions, you receive another transmission: “Outer directional barrier opened, barriers highlighted. Proceed to the second checkpoint.” Some distance in front of you a wall of blue shimmering light appears and opens a circular hole in itself right in front of you. The hole is enormous, but through it you can see the second shimmering wall, now of a green color. You fly though the hole and stop right in the middle between the two forcefields as the one behind you closes. “Initiating sensor burst, do not be alarmed. Please keep the halo active, Goddess Agatha.” You feel a weak wave of psi energy pass through you, while also highlighting every forcefield between you and Valhalla. They appear to have dozens of layers of these shields defending their home, which is probably something that you should’ve expected. Afterwards, you get an all- clear and you pass through the second shield, and then the third. On the fourth check, all the much more densely positioned inner shields shimmer and open the clear path to the entrance. “Thank you for cooperating, Goddess Agatha. Please proceed to entrance B-6.” With those words, a path of huge semi- transparent arrows materializes and points you to one of the sixth slit carved into the upper part of the mountainous barrier, which is the dead center with 5 identical slits located to both sides of that one.
>>4941057When you land, you are met by two Cup Bearers clad in shiny and fantastic- looking metal armor with imagery of Tyrael engraved into the chestplates. The armor is uniform and covers them completely, making it almost impossible to tell them apart. You can only tell that they are both men. “Welcome to Valhalla, goddess Agatha. We were instructed to inform you that currently not all of the Pantheon is present here. Elspeth, Yawgmoth, Nike’, Ninmah, and Samael are present, others are preoccupied in other locations. Valentina is yet to return from Elspen for diplomatic reasons, while we can’t comment on the locations of other gods. Please be aware, that Elspeth is planned to leave for the capital in six days for the annual academy year opening. We have informed all gods that are present of your arrival, and we can escort you to any of them. You may refuse our escort; in which case we will provide directions or summon the Cup whose escort you would prefer. Once again, welcome.” Looks like you need to pick whom you’d wish to visit first…Escort:>Accept escort from the Knight Cups>Request escort from a female Cup Bearer>Request escort from a Cup Bearer of a specific deity>Refuse escortWhom to visit:>Elspeth, the head goddess: she likely knows everything important, and you have a few questions>Yawgmoth, the god of machines: a good person to visit regarding questions on some technical stuff, or maybe you want to ask for a commission?>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to>Samael, the goddess of trade: well, you haven’t talked with her much…>Other ideas? Maybe just walk around and see who you bump into?
>>4941060>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to>Refuse escortEither that or call upon a Nike Cup we Net beforeFirst Nike, then we can talk with Eles about the academy I guess
>>4941060>Refuse escort>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up toTry to silencie our psy signature and playfully surprised her!
>>4941060>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to
>>4941060>Elspeth, the head goddess: she likely knows everything important, and you have a few questions
You decide to visit Nika first as you know her better than the rest of the pantheon, after which you want to pay a visit to Elspeth and discuss a few things. You politely refuse escort and inquire about Nike’s current location from the cup bearers. They explain that Nike’ is inside of her estate and direct you to inquire further from the cups or servants there. You thank the two for the information and set off into the Valhalla proper. You walk out through the main gate of the “landing zone” and float up above the closest “hover road”. Considering how few people and things are actually moved on these roads compared to road size, complexity and network’s extent, you guess that they were made with a huge margin for expansion. Also, you notice that the whole Valhalla is designed around radially symmetrical regions and most of those regions are relatively empty. Of course, they have small and pretty “towns” for servants, magnificent estates for some of the gods who wanted them and huge areas dedicated to a wide variety of projects, but it still feels like some areas are not developed to the same level as others. There are many “blank zones” filled with parks, botanical gardens, small and tidy forests, beautiful fields choke full of flowers, artificial lakes and so on, but they all seem to be placeholders, designed in a way to be rapidly cleared if something more important needs to take that place. You wonder if it is a remnant from when Elspeth expected much more SGs to follow her, or if there is another reason for that design choice.Since you were always accompanied before, you’ve never tested the limitations of the magitech roads, and apparently, they allow you to go up to 150 km/h on the larger ones, but it seems that each road has certain safety measures. Smaller roads limit the maximum speed that they provide, and if someone else might come too close to your trajectory, the road automatically prevent you from coming near any other user at high speeds by either forcing you into the less occupied side of said road, or by changing your altitude to pass them with couple meters to spare. That’s quite fancy for something like this, but you don’t think that it is efficient. Vehicles made from similar technology would’ve done the job with less resources and complexity.
>>4950305In any case, you set off towards Nike’s place, taking the “highways” to get there faster. On the way you saw a glimpse of Belkh’s current project. It would be wrong to call it a glimpse though, as it is visible from almost any point of the island. It is a gigantic crystal a hundred meters tall growing from a large crystalline cluster along with a few significantly smaller crystal spires and glowing from the inside with soft light that periodically changes its color. Around it are about a dozen of Belkh’s Cup Bearers suspended in midair close to the tip of the tallest spire seemingly discussing something, although it’s hard to tell on the account of distance and the fact that in some cases they are barely humanoid. Near to the crystal you can see various huge pieces of opaque material of both cream white, pure white and dark grey color, etched with glowing star maps and decorations similar in design to the triangular domes planned to go in the inner district of your new city. Judging by their form, they appear to be “shells” that can fit on top of the existing crystal to add detail. You recognize the entire assembly as either a prototype or a scale model of the central skyscraper. Damn, you really need to come up with names for this whole project, it becomes more and more awkward to refer to it as “the City”, “The Spire” and “those dome things”.You arrive to the large structure built into the circular ridge which acts as Nike’s personal estate and you quickly find and call out one of her Muses. They direct you towards the conference room on one of the upper floors just below Nike’s personal quarters. You wanted to surprise her, but in all honesty, it is likely that she was informed of your arrival, so you make your way to the open shaft of the gravity elevator and quickly move to the right floor. The conference room is large, designed to accommodate around 50 people. It has an oval table made from dark wood and the windows look over the ocean. You notice that it became windier and cloudier since you’ve arrived. At one of the ends of the oval table sits Nike’ herself, occupying the largest and the most fancy chair in the room. An Oracle stands nearby wordlessly, focusing on a transparent sphere in their hand which glows with the same light as the sphere built into the middle of the table. The Oracle is adorned in cream white robes with black and gold highlights. Large “omega cross” on their neck very clearly relates them to the Holies, but you can’t tell who they are under their cloak. A worried servant is standing nearby, holding a tray with a cup, a glass pot full of tea being warmed by a small lit candle below it and a platter with a variety of small sandwiches. Nika, on the other hand, has one hand placed over a smaller glass hemisphere built into the table, but much closer to her, and with another hand she is supporting her face against the table as she facepalms and talks:
>>4950321“Yes… yes, for the fourth time YOU started this first. Nothing that I’ve done is different from what you did with John and the Valistrat guys thirty years ago… Ok, thirty-three years ago but that doesn’t change anything besides you being pedantic… For goodness sakes! We’ve been at this for four hours, I thought that you’ve already had an agreement with Elspeth before you’ve even got to me, Ara! Then why are we arguing about it?! Yes, I know that she’s not there, my Cup has informed me days ago… how should I know when she comes back? Can be tomorrow, can be in a month, can be longer, and once again, that’s HER decision, I don’t have any sway over her. Come on man, she’s not Chad, and your first impression was pretty awful, you just need to talk with her again, or call your sister, or better the Ethean guys. Yes, I’ll relay everything, she should arrive today anyway. Look man, don’t start, you are only the third biggest problem that I need to deal with today. Which ones? You know, the usual stuff… and I haven’t eaten or slept since Tlaltie got uppity and sent that thing yesterday morning, so could you kindly sod off until tomorrow, please? …Yeah, I’ll promise that I’ll message you when I have the timing, yeah, bye.”As she finishes, the sphere momentarily flashes red and Nika starts rubbing her eyes. She points at the servant and says “Just put those on the table and lead the Oracle to wherever he…she…they are staying… and tell someone to bring another cup, a bag of ice and something strong, yeah just whiskey would do.” The servant places the tray on the table, bows and leads the Oracle through one of the other doors away from you. After they are gone, Nika looks in your direction and says “Oh, hey Ag, sorry. Come, take a seat. Just give me a moment to get back to my senses…” You nod, walk over and take a seat next to her.
>>4950324You ask Nika on what it was all about, and she replies: “You’ve probably heard a chunk of this, haven’t you? It was Arael. I swear, if he didn’t go for monotheism, he’d be such a great god of inducing headaches. When he wants, he can be very pleasant to talk to, but in cases like these he is an enormous pain. The subject was, as you can probably guess, the sudden appearance of wooden fortifications that allowed Ceno army to hold the region, aka the stuff that you’ve built recently. Don’t worry, neither of us are in trouble, it was all well calculated. They can’t push against us because no cups or our SGs were involved, and they can’t really blame you since you were not bound with neutrality and they didn’t have enough intel to prove your involvement with more than 60% certainty, thanks to us. Well, it is quite obvious who did it, but they can’t really use that evidence openly for any significant concessions. It’s a bit of rules lawyering, but Elspeth, I and a few of the others were salty after their previous stunts, so… yeah. Anyway, a couple days ago Ara showed up unannounced in Farsalos trying to find you, Ag, and he was very disgruntled to discover that you’re away and the only ones to meet him were Mina and a whole load of Cups doing construction far in the woods. As a result, he was very disgruntled, I think he wanted to use the whole showing up unannounced to display his power or importance or... whatever. In any case, all of this went through me, then through Elspeth and then again through me, and you’ve caught the very end of today's discussion.”
>>4950330“In short, Holies and by extension Etheans want you to be more neutral, so they want you to accept some oversight. Arael realizes that he didn’t have the best of first impressions, especially after he talked with “big E”, so he understands that trying to push through any agreements or demands won’t work well with you. So, as an alternative, he is planning to propose the following:1) He would temporarily give one of his “Angels” in your service in an arrangement similar to what we have with Mina. That angel would follow your orders and they would act as your private Oracle for communicating with the heads of the Holies. The angel would also see and relay what you do, but it’s not like Mina doesn’t relay your whereabouts to me, and Holies could get that information in other ways if they really wanted to. Also, apparently you are already familiar with the particular angel that Ara has handpicked for this.2) Holy Nation’s pantheon wants to participate in the construction of your new city. This was quite difficult to pull through Belkh, Yaw and Elspeth, but essentially, they are willing to donate resources and workforce to speed up the design and construction. I know it sounds a bit suspicious, but Yaw and Belkh will do regular sweeps for any unwanted secrets so it shouldn't cause any issues in the future. Essentially, they wish to alter your opinion on them, hoping that you’d act in a more neutral fashion as a result. In addition to all of that, Ethean pantheon has decided to participate as mediators, in addition to matching the offer. Ethea would provide one of their Cups, they also wish to participate in the city’s construction and they’ll send one of their kind for the talks. With their help. Belkh estimates that it would take just over a year to finish the city in its entirety, compared to two- two and a half years on our own. However, Ethean offer only comes packaged with HN offer, so you get either everything or nothing. Also, if you refuse, it would likely sour relations with Etheans, whom you haven’t met before. Let’s just say that the combined efforts of both HN and Ethea managed to push this through us, so we’ve had to dump the choice on you, congratulations.”
>>4950334She says this as another servant brings in a second cup, a leather bag likely filled with ice, a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass. Then he fills the shot glass and passes it to Nika, who takes the shot and plops the ice bag on her forehead and face. Afterwards the servant pours some tea in the other cup, puts a spoon and some sugar on the saucer and passes it to you as you nod and accept it. Afterwards Nika waves off the servant and he promptly leaves the room.“Aaaaaaaah… finally. Anyway, you don’t need to take the decision now, Ag. Just keep all of this in mind and be prepared, ok? Also please tell me when you plan to get home and if you even want to deal with this in your home. We could arrange all of this in Valhalla if you want, and I really don't want any more calls on this subject than necessary at this point.”>You’ll prefer to talk about this in your home in Farsalos. Yes, it is not as prepared for diplomatic visits as other places, but it is the only place where you have some home turf advantage>You’d want the talks to happen in Valhalla. It is the talks between you, HN and Ethea, so this place should be at least somewhat in your favor while seeming at least somewhat neutral on the subject>You will arrive to Holy Nation personally. If they wanted more respect, this is probably the best way to display it>You will travel to Ethea. As they are HN allies, this move should display your willingness to cooperate with the two nations, without it being as blatant as going to Holies themselves. Also, you’ve never been there, so this should be fun.>You’ll arrange all of this in Valistrat. Fuck it, you’ll need to introduce yourself to that pantheon eventually, and they are not involved in this mess. However, they might try to shove in an offer or a demand of their own…>Writein option: Try to find any other neutral place. Maybe one of the independent gods would be willing to host the delegations, or maybe just meeting up in an open field? Also please write your thoughts on what Ag should do in this situation. It is likely that she would need to decide within the next 2-3 in- game weeks.
>>4950348Can we make a kinnetic shot glass and pour us some whiskey too? If we can't just take her shot glass our down the tea and serve the whiskey on the cup"Drinking is better with company right?"As for the cooperation? Fuck we are more than willing to make it happen, they just need to give us that piece of land so we have sea access, the whole reason we interfered there was because we figured we would have better chances of either negotiating with or taking it from Ceno ourselves and they were not willing to give us that on our initial agreement.As for where Farsalos would be good for me if Nika could attend as a neutral party but if she can't we can make it happen in Ethea as a neutral ground that would not cause Nika much trouble."Hey, sorry for causing you a headache, the last thing I want is to bring you problems."While we are here let's talk with her and see how she is doing, see if we can help her with anything.
>>4950348>You will travel to Ethea. As they are HN allies, this move should display your willingness to cooperate with the two nations, without it being as blatant as going to Holies themselves. Also, you’ve never been there, so this should be fun.
>>4950476I agree too, we want that strip to the ocean, I was never against working with them but they threatened our long term sea trade.And I bet Etheans would want a way to come to us by sea without having to pass through Holy Nation even if they are allies.That and I don't want those crazy zealots spreading their religion on our lands too, it's too risky. Here was I thinking tht the end of organized fictional religion was a good thing that came with the apocalypse but these guys had to come and bring it back.
>>4951627I am actually not sure how the other religions of SGQ-verse are any less "organized" or "fictional", and you guys don't yet know if anything else has survived (some ideas did, and not only religions). It makes sense to prohibit religious activity of Holies based on them not allowing you to do the same in their territoty IMO as what was already proposed, but if enough people agree I'll make it into Ag's worldview. Currently Ag is considered agnostic in my notes, not atheistic.
>>4952495oh yeah, I know she is, I was refering as fictional because our current sg religions actually have living existing gods around, but I'm sure there aremany other religions with imaterial gods around like the holies do, hell those tribals probably worshiped something like that before we came along.
>>4950348FarsalosWe can agree to cooperate I guess
>>4950348>You’ll prefer to talk about this in your home in Farsalos. Yes, it is not as prepared for diplomatic visits as other places, but it is the only place where you have some home turf advantage
>>4950348>You will travel to Ethea. As they are HN allies, this move should display your willingness to cooperate with the two nations, without it being as blatant as going to Holies themselves. Also, you’ve never been there, so this should be fun.Get clay
>>4957464What do you mean by "get clay"?
>>4950476>>4951618>>4951627>>4952613>>4953844>>4954200>>4957464To the first reply: Nika won't be able to act as neutral party, since she is definitely not a neutral party.Farsalos:2Ethea:3Looks like Ethea wins. I'll post as soon as I can, second Sputnik V side effects hit me like a wave these couple of days :/
>>4958107You smile, finish off the tea and wave over the whiskey bottle with telekinesis, pouring some for yourself into the now empty teacup. “Drinking is better with company, right?” you say and Nika smiles and rises her glass. Both of you take a drink, after which you ask her if she could partake as a neutral party. Nike’ explains that she unfortunately can’t do that, not because she doesn’t want to, but because she is objectively not a neutral party, as a war goddess she is directly involved with the subject of the discussion. You give yourself a few moments to think this through, after which you decide that the best course of actions would be to take the Ethean offer and visit their capital. After all, you are not really against cooperation, you just want to get that sea access. It would probably be beneficial for Etheans as well, since they could directly open a sea trade with your territory without going through HN and likely HN’s taxes. It could also be seen as a step towards cooperation from you, as you’d be metaphorically braving the first step instead of going for home advantage. You explain that to Nika, who in turn nods and says that is a good approach. After that she takes another shot and sighs, causing a small awkward pause.
>>4967643“…Hey, sorry for causing you a headache, the last thing I want is to bring you problems.” you say, trying to break the pause. “Don’t worry about it” she says, “it’s technically one of my job requirements to do this, no matter how tedious and boring it gets sometimes. It’s just that you’re here, and I’m not sure if I have anything that you’d be interested in. I’ve been doing more politicking and diplomacy than fighting in the last couple decades… actually I almost forgot to tell you one thing…” You raise your eyebrows gesturing for her to move on. “I’ve heard from HN guys that you’ve allegedly decided to limit the religious rights of Holy Nation’s citizens in your territory, is this correct?” You confirm, explaining that it is a symmetrical response to them not providing the same courtesy to other religions, including any potential religion that would form around you. Also, similar things were done historically, so it’s not that unprecedented. She nods and replies: “yes, this is technically correct, however I’d like for you to take another look at your decisions, because I don’t think that you’ve thought of all the side effects. It won’t be limited to annoying Holies and displeasing their government, it would likely have a profound effect on your followers as well. Essentially, it would be a precedent of discrimination based on religion that is likely to turn into institutional and societal discrimination against Holies and potentially against other groups. I don’t think that you’d want to have that as a side effect of punishing the civilians for the decisions of their leaders, no offense. I just think that you should keep that in mind.” you nod and say that you’ll think about that. “Well, in any case, if nothing urgent comes up, I should technically be free until about 2 am, is there anything in particular that you wanted to do or talk about? I’ll tag along if you already have an idea.” Hey guys, sorry for such a short one. I kind of wrote myself into a position from where it’s difficult to pull off a larger post, in addition to creative drain caused by recent emotional issues. An attempt to write more resulted in that part feeling a bit ham-fisted. Basically, we’re doing one of those things where I’ll reply to questions until we run out of them, after which we’ll move to do something else with Nika. >Ask her to fill you in on the recent events>Ask her if she had anything that she wanted to do herself>Ask her to discuss (writein)>Suggest to have a walk and chat on the way>Suggest to go and meet other gods together>Suggest something else>Say that you came here mostly to meet her, and that you’ll be going soon to settle some things with other gods.
>>4967644>Ask her if she had anything that she wanted to do herselfShe's been working to much, maybe we can help her relax a bit
>>4967644>Ask her to fill you in on the recent events>Ask her if she had anything that she wanted to do herself
>>4967644>ask her how Ceno deals with HN missionaries and how is these religion matters here? does it cause a lot of commotion and violence?>Tell her about the mountain, she probably already knows that the mountain monster exists but see if she knows more about it
>>4967644>>Ask her if she had anything that she wanted to do herselfdefinetly this too, I want to help her doing something she would enjoy.
>>4967644>Ask her to discuss (writein)If she has any plans for us, in the city I mean, something she might want to add there that she can't or won't have here or a suggestion for us to look into?
>>4967663>>4968722>>4969892>Ask her if she had anything that she wanted to do herself“Honestly, I am not sure. You know how when you are exhausted during the work you don’t want much more than to get done with it so that you can get some rest? My plan was to grab something to eat and just chill until I come up with something.” She says as she grabs one of the sandwiches and offers you to take one from the tray as well. She takes a bite and then continues: “I guess there are still a lot of things that I’d like to show you around here… do you want to take a look at how the “afterlives” work? Hah, it sounded way less menacing in my head…”>Ask her to fill you in on the recent events“It’s the time just before the national Academy Day, so our Pantheon hasn’t planned anything else important or at least time sensitive for this period, and there likely won’t be anything interesting here for the next couple weeks, however there were a few events in the last month, and we have a couple big things planned. First of all, you’ve probably heard me mention that the call with Arael was only the third biggest problem that I’ve had to deal with? Well, the number one on the list was Tlaltecuhtli. You know, that independent goddess that took a large island to the east of Ceno for herself and filled it with plant horrors? Well, for the first time in this decade she has sent a huge plant monster to wreck a merchant fleet passing way beyond her waters. She’s like our time’s tiny North Korea, feverously independent and antagonistic, but usually chill if we don’t touch her, only rarely becoming a nuisance to remind everyone that she is still there and still strong. The issue was that her latest monster was significantly stronger than last ones, almost approaching lower Ceilings in how difficult it was to take out. These things can easily take out multiple combat specialized Cup Bearers and even some SGs if they try to take it on alone. This also means that she has exceeded all four nations in creation of massive psi- organic creatures, and we are not sure if she would use them only as a deterrent, which is concerning.
>>4976042The second biggest pain was the preparations for the neutralization of a terrestrial minor Ceiling nearby, this time it is actually planned and arranged with all other nations. Ceno pantheon with help from Valistrat and HN pantheons are planning to take down a large skyscraper- sized creature which sometimes patrols the south- western shores of the continent. It is basically a Kaiju, a large organic creature usually found floating on top of the water like those blue bottle jellyfish, it’s rubbery and covered in something slimy which makes it look like a huge orange oil spill from the air when it is close to the surface. It is a “carrier” of thousands of elephant- sized insectoid “drones”, and we were lucky to observe it when it wiped out something on one of the uninhabited islands to the north- west from the Four Nations, meaning that we aren’t going blind against it. In fact, Elspeth wants to test the latest modification to her “superweapon”, but it is likely that we’ll have to kill it from inside like most others. Not looking forward to that at all, but what can you do.Well, there’s also a side project of mine to do another expedition into the depth of the Labyrinth, but it is still in late planning stages and it would take a month or two to get the stuff prepared. While I’m a war goddess and all, I actually lack some physiological defenses that you and some others enjoy. If you exclude my psi powers and gear, I couldn’t actually survive a tank shell to the chest unlike you, so my equipment and skill is behind my durability in combat, and I’d prefer to have the most advanced enhancements that I can get. I intend to set up a sort of forward base somewhere close to first-to-second interlayer zone fitted with a teleportation anchor, but it needs to be well hidden and I’m yet to find a sufficiently safe spot for that."
>>4969891>ask her how Ceno deals with HN missionaries “This is actually a good question. Most of the people in the Four Nations area, and according to some sources even beyond, understand that gods have a certain territory that they inhabit, and they realize that other gods exist in other territories. Thus, it is a common understanding that gods are more likely to answer to the prayers in their territory than in the territory of another deity or some random spot in the wilderness. Well, we don’t really “answer to prayers”, since we can’t hear everyone across the nation and we aren’t omnipotent, but random events and general beliefs do enough to make people think that we grant boons and malices just like how people thought in ancient history. Thus, there is an option for the believers who travel a lot or emigrate to “recognize” the local deities. They respect the local god and partake in some of the rituals, but they keep worshiping their original religion. Also, people can be more or less devout followers and it’s usually not worth it for pantheons to go full thought police or inquisition. Even in HN they don’t do house to house searches to find heretics, and no one here has a death penalty for having another religion. Holies have deportations, but it is used mostly when the person refused penance for some crime because of practicing another religion. They prefer to attempt to convert in all other cases.Regarding holies, while they have a god that is supposed to have the power across the entire universe, their people still recognize the fact that the twins and their angels can’t or don’t want to reach far beyond HN territories. For them other gods are people or supernational entities who are powerful and thus are in charge of their own lands. So, while they won’t consider you as “Goddess Agatha”, they would consider you as “Supreme Sorceress- Queen Agatha” or something similar, you get the idea. From their point of view, it is still better to respect the local superhuman ruler and maybe they’d even get some boons in return. Holies would try to introduce your people to their religion, it’s what they consider a virtue after all, but people would be very hesitant to shift allegiance, especially not in the capital where the goddess herself lives and sometimes even shows up in public. I doubt that they’d have much of a sway on the Ihmisetians since they’ve worshiped Aino for generations, and by the point when other people arrive to your city in significant numbers, you should have enough time to settle everything. In the worst case, you’d have a case of a large minority of Holies at most. This is why I don’t think that it is a good idea to limit religion freedoms, it would be a tasty chip to throw in during negotiations, but actually acting on your threat won’t change much while adding many possible complications for the future.”
>>4969891>Tell her about the mountain, she probably already knows that the mountain monster exists but see if she knows more about it“Oh yeah, I’m aware of that thing. It is a hibernating Monster King. I don’t know much about that one in particular, but in general these things are optimized to be very tanky, it would be difficult for you to kill one alone. It is just simply way too big for any melee or handheld weapon to work, same applies to siege weapons that mortals currently have. This creature is not a castle wall, it is built like a literal mountain and it is unlikely that even your new gunpowder cannons would tickle it. However, the cannons would be more than enough to wake it up and cause it to rampage through the nearby settlements and then head for the nearest large concentration of people, not counting the massive numbers of monsters that it would summon from the wilderness and maybe even produce on the way. It would continue to summon more monsters until it is destroyed or the wilderness runs out of monsters, whichever happens first.The only possible way for you to take it down at the moment is to try to get inside of its body and to find some sort of a vital organ. The issue is that creatures of that size usually have defensive measures against that and that it might have redundant and/or heavily armored organs. From what I’ve seen with your last engagement with the creature of this type, you simply lack certain types of damage that you can deal. Just to name a few, your telekinesis causes a blunt push, it doesn’t rip the target apart or shatter it, it mostly just pushes, pulls or throws objects. You don’t have any form of attack that deals thermal damage against creatures that are vulnerable to fire. Throwing a massive boulder would be effective on something less protected than a monster king, but that massive telekinetic push was too expensive for the damage it dealt. Usually, the creatures that are that big have some form of protection against falling from the height of their own bodies. It was a good approach to draw time, but it was not great if you wanted to solo a monster king. If you want to take it down, you’ll probably need a lot of backup and/or a lot of high explosives or their equivalents, if you can find that. Though I doubt that you’d want to take that creature down before you build up your city, since it also prevents Holies and Valistrat from expanding into that territory.
>>4976043Ask her if we can help on that Labyrinth mission, we would love to fight and explore alongside her!Ask if they have contact with that plant godesss, does she talk or just attack and defend?
Well, I ended up running out of time to write because I needed to finish some stuff for the job. More replies will come as soon as I manage
Do we know when is her birthday?
>>4976045>That battle reportWaaaait wait wait, how does she know exactly how we fought the monster king? Was she secretly watching us remotely? Oh my...naughty naughty NikeAt least I don't remember telling her, we won but it was somewhat embarrassing lol