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(Character sheets)

(Combat Rules)

With a sigh of exasperation, you pull away from the rotting corner of the building. How reliable those human children are, has yet to be seen, so you mustn’t overextend your uninjured hand, and fall into the Sanctuary’s. Yet, frustration builds at the thought of another Elin condemned to wallow within that pit to fill the void of her butchered kin…

As you wait for the figures to pass, your thoughts are mired. The descending afternoon sun, shrouded in a sullied cloak of corpulent color, stretches your shadow far beyond your small frame. The approach of the bilious scintillation favorably pushes your dark twin away from the visible street. Instead, it smears the crest upon which your animal ears rest into infinite obscurity within the dark alley.

To all but the keenest of eyes, it is the shadow of a small, young girl.

One that has been underestimated time, and time, and time again. This day within the procession of the stained sunlight marks another of such instances. Would they have sent so few to stop you if weren’t of such small stature? That is their folly. You are not the sundial marking time slipping through your injured fingers, you are not the shadow of some young girl to be underestimated, you are the light, tainted as it may be. Unbeknownst to them, these humans have joined you within this mire, so you’ll make use of them to pull them and your kin free.

“Halt, you two.” You call out firmly stepping away from the shadow of the building.

You exchange gazes as you first observe the smaller young man. With the build of a scholar, and well-tailored, untattered clothing you surmise he’s a son of a wealthy human. The fact that he’s unarmed save for a dagger, and his vision requires correction pegs him as your requested machinist. The young woman is of a similar pedigree, but she’s a combatant through and through, but the obstinate glint in her eyes as she looks down upon you doesn’t belong to a belligerent enforcer.

Ah, a pair of young nobles.

“Oh wow. Are, are you alright, little girl?” The young man steps toward you with heavy concern in his voice, and arms tightly wrapped around himself for warmth.

“What child have you ever heard approach you with ‘halt,’ Mishenne?” The young woman’s gaze moves away from your own eyes, to study your form. “She’s almost the exact same stature as the other creature, perhaps a little smaller, but that’s an Elin. Which means that’s our contact, isn’t it?” She asks, derisively.

Well, that saves you some time. She’s a sharp one, and rough around the edges.

You pause to observe your surroundings before pulling the cloth away from your head. “Correct. I’m Elewyn, but for as long as were in this town you’ll call me Elly.” Your animal ears twitch in the cold before you conceal them once again. “For my safety, and for your own.”

“Smart enough to know to hide what you are, you’re different from the others…” She similarly gazes around before quietly speaking again. “I am Seo Kasalia Shulien, eldest daughter and heir to House Shulein. This scrawny runt next to me is Mishenne Ardis Halion, eldest son and heir to House Halion.” She crosses her arms. “Now you seem capable of comprehending who we are, so I need not remind you of your place relative to ours. You are not in charge of us. Our friend may have a twisted obsession with your kind, but once he realizes what damage it’s done to him, he’ll snap out of it as well and a- a- achoo!”

She sneezes quite suddenly and aggressively, much to her own chagrin. The relentless cold is bearing down on all three of you, so you'll have to get these humans away from it. But first, a little perspective for these two nobles.

“I’m grateful that your own body wanted you to stop.” You impatiently quip, putting your good hand up to stop her from speaking again. “I am different from the other Elin you’ve met. But you two aren’t special in the slightest.” You focus your cold attention on the girl first. “House Shulein… I admit that I’ve heard the name before. First it came up was in taverns quite some time ago, a humorous tale. Allow me to be the first to inform that your house founder was an incompetent grain thief put to work off his crimes as a servant to a knight’s regiment.” You aggressively push forward to stand within arm’s reach of the girl. “As I recall, your human prince at the time had spent the evening drinking heavily with his knights and knighted your forefather in an intoxicated stupor as a joke. That is your legacy.” You move on from her outraged glare to the boy meekly bearing witnessed. “I’ve never heard of how House Halion came to be, but I recall a story of a Halion lad that hawked jewelry to nobles that turned out to be counterfeit. It didn't end well for him, but perhaps one of his siblings had more luck swindling?”
Not wanting to waste any more time, nor risk being spotted any longer, you pull away from the two and turn toward the direction of the nearby tavern. “What's truly real is different here. The cold is real. Hunger is real. Suffering is real. But your titles will do you no good here. Your wealth will do you no good here… I suspect that you two are intelligent enough to have already sensed that those individuals who have your friend aren’t who they say they are. Now, if you truly wish to save him, realize that not listening to me will do you no good here. Otherwise, you can hide like good children.”

You move ahead, keeping guard for any approaching figures. It isn’t long before you hear an annoyed grunt behind you and the two young humans begin to follow you. After a few moments of silent travel, Seo speaks up again. “We’re starved after our long journey out here; I’ll have you know.”

You slowly turn toward her, as she struggles to move through the stained powder. “You two don’t know what it means to starve. Not yet.”



Grygas tensely sits across the table from you and Cyrene with his hand tightly gripping the space between his eyes. “It hasn’t even been a day, and you look like you’ve been dragged behind a goddamn horse, Elly! What the hell are you all having her do?” He angrily points toward your two confused human companions behind you.

After you take a sip of the dark liquor, and appreciate its biting edge and complex flavor profile, you patiently turn to answer his questions. “It could’ve been any one of us, really. The patients we’ve been receiving as of late are dangerously belligerent as the famine worsens and lash out at any moment. Isn’t that right, Sena?”

Seo is visibly uncomfortable with the situation but manages to nod at your prompt. “Elly has received the worst of it as she’s always trying to take charge when she should stand clear.”

“Yeah, that sounds like her, working such a dangerous job.” Grygas sighs, avoiding your displeased gaze. "Hearing about folks getting more tense makes a lot sense from what I've seen these past few days. Maybe there's something in the air that's making Elly act reckless too."

You share a look of annoyance with Cyrene before rising to your feet. “If you all have the composure to make jokes at my expense, then you can assist me with this…” You gingerly pull your coat away from your frame to reveal your sickeningly contorted arm. The harsh purple bruises have deepened in color and highlight the painfully unnatural position of your joints.

Mishenne behind you gasps after you reveal your twisted arm. Grygas curses under his breath in shock.

You turn back to him. “I apologize for hiding it from you two, but I didn’t want to believe it happened myself.” You carefully prop your injury on the table in front of Grygas. "Both the shoulder and elbow will need to be reset." You hover a finger above your displaced shoulder joint. "This will be the easier of the two, but we'll have to use the table and manipulate the upper arm directly until it pops back into place." You move your finger down to hover over your elbow. "This will be far more difficult, as the joint is inherently more complicated. But, I'll direct you where to push and pull during." You look expectantly at Grygas as you finish explaining.

His widened eyes somehow push even further open. "Me? You want me to fix your arm? Are you fu- are you out of your mind?!" He motions to your two companions again. "Aren't you two supposed to know this sort of stuff? Why are you two just standing there like a couple of idiots?"

You wave his suggestion away dismissively "They've barely started and don't know what they're doing."

Seo grunts in displeasure behind you.

Grygas stands back defensively. "What if I make it worse?! You're built like a goddamn bird, I'd be scared to break something."

"You won't break anything unless you want to, and you want a stronger arm for this sort of thing." You turn back to Seo and Mishenne. "These two won't cut it."

Their strength would likely be sufficient, but what you've seen of their temperament doesn't inspire confidence.

"I, I don't know..." He keeps his gaze averted from your own.

"Dad!" Cyrene suddenly rises to her feet. "Elly needs you to help her! So quit being a little chicken and help her!"

His gaze hardens slightly, but he pauses to calm his words. "Kiddo, please. It's not so simple, so you can't just go around yelling at me to do this. If something goes wrong, this could mess Elly up for life. That's where I'm coming from, you understand?"

You sense both Seo and Mishenne behind you reacting in shock for some reason at his response.

You breathe deeply to manage the growing pain in your arm and your impatience. The more time spent fixing your arm, the more chance the Elin will be discovered. The fastest way to get this done would be to get Grygas to help you already, but how will you convince him to overcome his hesitation?

>Get on the table and start resetting your joints yourself, and see if it motivates him to step in and help you.

>Follow Cyrene's lead and antagonize him into action by questioning his courage.

>Write in.
Man, that meat situation is really getting out of hand.
>Get on the table and start resetting your joints yourself, and see if it motivates him to step in and help you.
An Elin's gotta do what an Elin's gotta do. Let's maybe acquire a lenght of cloth and a chair to try and get the necessary angle and strenght. Tell him we know what we're doing and can't afford to wait. And that they're welcome to watch for their education.

We're well out of time. There are Elin lives in the balance. Let's at least hope they won't have the time to get rid of a pit Elin. Either because they can't get the word out other than by runner, or because they need a full 6 Elins there to keep up whatever they're doing.
>Get Sena to do it
She catches on quick, better than convincing an unwilling
>Sena (Seo), you’re up, we’ll walk you through it
You have no idea what kind of day I’ve been having, but it’s gonna be even more miserable if my damn arm isn’t reset, and we need to get your friend or he’s in for a world of hurt. Especially if he’s attached to that girl, because they WILL kill him to get her.

Btw op I’ve been enjoying this quest greatly, and the consistency of the updates is a real treat
Heyo everyone, I hope that you're all doing well this day. The winter is starting to transition away around here, but that doesn't mean there can't be some bitter spikes of cold.

Anyway, I'll be keeping the vote open for another 2 hours before tallying to let any additional votes the chance to come in. See you soon!

Thank you for enjoying the quest! I hope to keep up with the consistency of updates, but no matter what I will do my best to communicate what to expect.
Quickly getting Seo to assist with resetting our arm and acquiring helpful tools for the procedure as >>5166027 suggested.

Finally, finally back from work. I'm hoping to have the update posted in about 90 minutes

The more time you spend attempting to convince this unwilling party, is more time the Elin these humans brought here is at risk of discovery. For the sake of getting your painfully throbbing arm set, you’ll have to chance relying on these humans, which means you’ll have to handle their temperament, as they handle your arm. Of the two, Seo would be better suited to such a task, as young Mishenne doesn’t seem to have the stomach for such things.

You sigh turn to lock eyes with the haughty noblewoman. “We have our coworker that yet needs our help to consider.” You awkwardly pull yourself onto the table’s surface. “Since Grygas is adamant about his choice, and it would be faster if I didn’t have to do this on my own, pull up a chair and I'll instruct you, Sena.”

“I believe it was you that said I wouldn’t ‘cut it?’” She moodily crosses her arms and remains fixed in her position.

Her distaste for you runs deep enough that she’ll let herself be blinded to her best interest. Fine, the shoulder can be reset by yourself, but as you're doing it yourself, the resetting can't be gentle to generate enough force. With any luck, you’ll have to caught enough her by surprise to forcefully widen her perspective, if only temporarily.

Regarding your shoulder, that freakish creature in the sewer forcefully twisted the joint toward your back. So, you’ll need to abduct your arm back and upward, in order to leverage the joint forward and force it back into place.

“You’re standing there, pouting like a child...” You lie flat on your back after shifting toward edge of the wooden table with your contorted arm resting on your torso. You gaze to the ground at your left as the others in the tavern watch on, silent in suspense. You follow through the movements in your mind as your take grip of your injured forearm.

The pain is sure to be horrendous.

“So, it seems that I’m not wrong...” You boldly state as you pick up your misaligned arm and forcibly toss it back and away.

As your limb carves through its arc, so too does an arc of deep, sharp pain overtake the entirety of your focus with striking salience. It resonates through your arm like a perfectly struck tuning fork. An ephemeral three act play, where you are the sole actor, but at the very least with a captive audience.

The opening, a grinding of injured joints and muscles noxiously roused to scream caution from proceeding any further. The screams have hardly the chance to echo before the apex surges forth as hot, stabbing waves of pain burst into the surrounding areas of your body. The two acts reverberate as the play ends with a single line…

A dull and meaty pop.

Concern and outrage arise from your audience as you weather the excruciating storm, that eventually dissipates into a steady rainfall.

Hot, drops of crimson leak from the inside of your cheek as you're finally able to tenderly manipulate your upper arm, yet with the lower half acting as a shackle. “That was the easy part.” You announce breathlessly, gaze firmly fixed on the horrified young woman.

“Please!” Cyrene suddenly grabs Seo’s hand between her own. “Please, help her, Sena!”

Still baffled at the scene playing out, Seo quickly glances between Cyrene and yourself before giving an indignant sigh and moving to grab a chair. “I don’t suppose you can recklessly flail your elbow into place, so I’ll have to help you.” She warily settles at your side with gaze affixed firmly on your bulging elbow.

You turn to Mishenne whose complexion suddenly has a concerning pallid shade. “Could you help Cyrene fetch a tablecloth? We’ll need it for leverage.”

He's a quite a bit more delicate, so you figure putting him to help indirectly is better a course of action

“Uh…” Mishenne steps back, still stunned from what he witnessed.

“Come on!” Cyrene roughly pulls him by the hand to fulfill your request.

You wait for Cyrene and Mishenne to step out of the room before turning your attention toward Grygas. “I am sorry that I did that without any warning in your home, and in front of you and Cyrene, but I really must get going.”

Grygas rubs the back of his neck uncomfortably at your words. “We’ve seen worse, unfortunately… Just…shit.” Still flustered, he turns his body in your direction, but still averts his eyes. “I swear, I don’t understand why you’re going through all this harm, Elly.”

“’Everyone has work to take care of,’ right?” You gently remind him of his words. “I’ve been through worse as well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your expression of concern. So, when this is all said and done… I’ll explain everything.”

As Cyrene and Mishenne return with the requested tablecloth, you offer your arm to Seo. “Let’s make this quick.”

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You’ve made your decision. As soon as Izurin is treated, you’ll head back home immediately.

Hell, maybe before she’s finished being treated… No, she can hardly take care of herself. You'll take her with you once she's stable. Misha and Seo, especially will be upset with you, but you know deep down that they will be grateful for an excuse to leave this frigid, stinking wasteland.

Speaking of waste… What a waste this whole trip has been. All you have to show for it is being exposed to the horrid perverseness of poverty, the frustrating mundanity of non-humans, and cold.

The fucking ceaseless cold.

You impatiently look around the squalid infirmary that they shoved you and this creature within. One of numerous, filthy semi-private rooms connected by a nauseatingly continuous path of open doors. How anyone is supposed to recover in here, is beyond you, and yet you hear plenty of moaning patients crammed within here.

The stench of rotting meat seeps under your very skin, making it crawl with eagerness to depart from this place…

Where the hell is the physician already?

Izurin flops limply in your arms, and you have to pull her mouth right next to your ear to hear her pained breathing. Something needs to be done. If this really is an infirmary, then there must be a supply room where ointments or balms of some kind stored that can help her. But, it's possible that it won't be obvious which medicines you should use. Otherwise, there must be a physician among the patients that you can force to attend to her, but you’re reluctant to walk further among the wailing sick.

>Brave the sick rooms to find a physician already.

>Search for a storeroom and something that can help Izurin.

>Write in.
So either we sit our ass down, or go investigating the rotten stench and realize we have to gtfo.

Either way, we're carrying Izurin with us. Throwing knives in that state should still be possible.
>Grab Izurin, and look for the Physician. If the healer will not come to us, then we will go find them

Not sure if this is metagaming, but if they don't realize that Izurin is an Elin, do they actually have any motivation to spend time healing her rather than just one more corpse for the piles?
Wait until they get hungry and give them rations? That's what I'm expecting.
Heyo everyone, I hope you're all doing well and hanging in there during the middle of the week! Work is unfortunately spiking again here, so we'll see how long it lasts.

I'll be keeping the vote window open for another ~2 hours, as per usual, to allow for any additional votes to come in. I'll tally what what we have then!
Taking Izurin with us to search for a healer within the infirmary.

And we're back !

>>Search for a storeroom and something that can help Izurin.
Also metagamey, but if they examine her, they'll find out, and we know this mustn't happen. As for what to look for, I'm not sure where the infection started, so I'd go for liquid remedies more, but I agree some balms could help. At the very least, maybe a bit of willow bark for the pain. Moldy bread might be hard to acquire here. I'm hoping that whatever the local equivalent to latin is used both by nobility and physicians, so that we can tell what it says on the tin. I do agree that it feels like the riskier option, but I'm worried about being found out.
>Grab Izurin, and look for the storeroom.
This isn't the first time that I've tallied at impeccably unfortunate timing right before someone voted, so I'll apologize for every instance it's occurred in the past, and now. I'm really sorry!

I will do my best to incorporate into Luca's actions the thorough suggestions for remedies and food, but it will have to be secondary to searching for a healer as I already made the announcement.
Ahh, gassed, but finally back home.

I think I'll take some extra time to get the update posted, but I'll try to have it up within a few hours.
I may have fell asleep unexpectedly, but the update is soon!
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You didn’t escort this Elin through a pack of bandits, wolves, and those… No. You didn’t come this far to idly sit on your hands and let her die. An incredible handful or not, you’re going to help her.

Especially if it means getting out of here that much sooner.

“Come on, you...” You murmur to the unconscious Elin in your arms as you rise to your feet from the edge of the stained cot. “Surely this stinking backwater has a healer here somewhere…Just keep hanging on.”

The dusty floorboards conspicuously creak and flex under your boots as you hurriedly move from one refuse-cluttered space to the other. After ducking below the low door frame, you find first room to be as vacant as the room you leave behind, but the shadows of sickness yet linger on the bedclothes in shades of red, orange, yellow, brown, and most disturbingly, black. A perfect impression of disease, shaped like the thin woman that left the palette of humours given volume by the motes of dust she left in her stead.

The forgotten clothing crawling and stretch around the outside of metal legs of the cot, a long-untouched cup on the windowsill, and frantically scratched notes on a small table near the bed add to the unsettling illusion of presence.

You don’t need to stop to gather the only message scrawled dozens of times on the papers, descending into darker and more frenetic lines.


You sigh in growing agitation and move into the next room.

Thick brown curtains haphazardly diminish the afternoon sun filtering through the salt-caked window. The reduced light nearly causes you to stumble on an overturned chair carelessly left in the middle of the room. It’s only as you recover that you hear the shaky breaths emanating from the corner of the room.

“H-hh-h-h-how?…It’s under the skin… It’s innnnaaah....me!”

Caught by surprise, you tightly clutch the Elin close to your chest as you instinctively reach for your sword. Your eyes catch the naked skeletal figure, furtively hunched in the corner. His bare backside is covered in purple bedsores, and thick buboes bulge from countless points on his body, giving him the appearance of someone mid transformation.

You cautiously begin to withdraw from the room, while keeping an eye on the diseased man ranting to himself. Suddenly, your back bumps into something solid and large, when you were sure that there was nothing blocking the way.

You turn and find yourself standing eye-to-eye with a somber-looking man with long dark hair to match his dark clothing. His large, well-used club at his side puts you on edge.

Before you can react, the brooding man firmly places a single finger in front of his mouth to silence you, and then beckons you to follow him out of the dark room. The next room over is devoid of any patients yet is pincered on both sides by continuous deranged rambling.

“Who are you two, and what are you doing here?” His solemn voice is flat and firm but doesn’t have any notes of hostility. His eyes pause first on your boots, then your sword, your hands, and then upon your face.

You’re certain that he’s a guard of some sort, which means that he’s only wasting precious time.

“I was hired by a merchant company to gather information in the area, but first I’m trying to find a physician in this grisly place. Can’t you see that she needs help?!” You look past him toward the other rooms. “Where are all the doctors?”

His eyes were affixed on your teeth as you spoke, but then he switches to gaze upon the Elin. With hardly any change in his expression, he bends closer to stare at her pale, sweating face before sighing deeply. “She’s in a terrible state, the poor thing.” He straightens his body. “Unfortunately, we’re no doctor. However, you’re lucky it’s us you ran into, and not a certain sadist…” He waves the idea away languidly. “Still, our role here forces us to ask you again, despite the inconvenience. Who are you really, rich lad?”

Your jaw clenches as all your indelible features betray your cover. He’s got a sharp eye, a bizarre command of grammar, and rather large mace, so think! How will you get him out of your way already?

His vacant eyes remain upon you as he sighs through his nose. “Understand that you’ve come to this town in during an extreme time of duress. We’re simply trying to make sure that no one takes advantage of that vulnerability, and we do that by knowing who's around. We certainly would prefer to get your little friend medical attention, cooperate and we’ll even help gather the balms and liquid remedies.” He places his large hand on his chest for emphasis. “But if keep your mouth shut, lad, we’ll have to take you to meet our boss. She’ll get the answer regardless.” His calloused hand settles on the handle of his club. “Save us both the time. Who are you really?”

This one has been trained to be far more observant than those guarding the mountain pass. Yet, he did only say rich lad… He doesn’t seem well-acquainted with nobility, so he didn't pinpoint you as one. So, what sort of rich would this enforcer be aware of existing? A commonborn man, his size likely took him far, but has he ever taken that club to someone with any sort of formal training? Perhaps instead you should shed some light on the real differences in your combat skills, and get him out of your way. He'll have to get in line for the physician's attention, however...

>Focus on formulating a better cover story. (Write-in an excuse that better suits his observations of you having wealth.)

>Don't balk from his threat. If he doesn't want to get out of your way then he can have the fight he desires.

>Write in.
A rival merchant family's heir, there to steal information about a product in high demand. Whether to take the product himself or give the go ahead to further sabotage supply would be up to Luca.
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I'm tempted, so tempted.

We're a noble heir from the capitol, here on the behalf of our grandfather.
Try to guilt him into helping.
I mean, our sister (Izurin) here is goddamn dying of infection, and do you have even a scrap of sympathy? If you're so hard up for supplies we'll pass it along to our employers after we leave, and honestly we can be off whenever she's recovered.

Why would we pass out details of whatever confidential mission we're on to a random person who isn't helping us if we were even on one.
Heyo everyone! I hope you're all doing well this morning. Despite sort of messing up my sleep schedule, I feel quite energized so far.

Anyway, so far we have two votes that I believe that we can synthesize if need be, but I will leave the vote window open for 3 more hours to let anyone that'd like to vote some opportunity. See you soon!
We'll explain that we are the noble heir to a mercantile family from the capital, here on behalf of your grandfather to investigate a rival company's activities in high demand seafood.

A lie within a lie, based on a truth.

Also, if possible, we'll attempt to leverage our cover story to guilt him into being more helpful.

These two write-ins synthesized very well!

Back home from work. I'll try to have the update posted in about 2 hours!
If it weren’t for the risk of implicating Misha and Seo, you’d seriously consider giving your real identity as you’re tired of these games. Fine. The best lies have a kernel of truth within them, and you’ll put him to his word after you’re though with your fabricated story.

You shake your head bitterly as you lock onto the shallow shadows he has for eyes. “Honestly, I don’t care anymore, but you’d better help when I’m finished...” You pivot slightly to the side and sigh heavily. “I’m Klein Ingsvold, eldest son and heir to House Ingsvold. We're a prominent family brokers and merchants within the capital, and my grandfather sent me here on some bizarre rite of passage to scout this frozen shithole for rival activity from another merchant company, and naïvely my younger sister wanted to accompany me, and even more naïvely...I let her.”

Klein Ingsvold is only fourteen, an insufferable child that you don’t have any qualms in stealing his name, and you doubt anyone outside of the capital keeps track of such mundane statistics.

“Through the dreadful trip it took to get here, and the horrid short time I’ve had here, I’ve seen thoroughly why that old man didn’t want to take care of this himself, but like I said, I don’t care.” Your voice lowers. “All I want, is help for my sister. I don’t care to be here any longer than that takes, no matter what my grandfather think. I don’t care about you and your fucking stick. So, if you’re done endangering her by wasting time, do you think you could spare a scrap of sympathy and actually help us?”

Unfitting as it was for a noble like yourself to lose your temper, the harsh emotions that poured from your mouth with every word were true and there was the slightest bit of catharsis in allowing yourself to get carried away, but in the end, you still carrying the sick Elin, and you’ve gone nowhere.
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The dust and decay float between the two of you, held aloft by silent tension before the dour man reaches for the back of his neck. “Klein Ingsvold…a rich merchant's son. We”ll pass the information on, but listen, we have a job to take care of, so it’s nothing personal. But we’re also a man of our word. Follow me, Klein, and try not to stare at the patients. You wouldn’t like it if you were in their position.”

The darkly brooding man drags you through room after dizzying room of ailing patients with the same type of affliction. Dark lumps of flesh, bursting forth from the soft tissues of their bodies, misshaping necks, armpits, spine, and groins to inhuman extents. They spasm within their sickbeds, with rigid and arched torsos mounted on rigid outstretched limbs as if two separate entities controlled the same form.

You’re suddenly struck with a memory you made as a young boy during a faraway summer. Exploring the wilderness around the city, you stumbled upon a cluster of pupae adhered to the inside of a log. All the former caterpillars were properly ensconced in their green future forms, save for one. The malformed chrysalis improperly hung off the abdomen of the self-imprisoned caterpillar like a swollen tumor. The insect endlessly writhed against the erroneous chimera it was becoming, sending chills down your spine. You ran from the sight, and from the fear of what fate may have had in store for the insect. For many years you wished you had the strength to purge that suffering aberration.

You can’t gaze upon the patients any longer, you do not want to risk feeling what you felt that day for a human being.

Finally, the sullen guard brings you to a room near the end of the building. The wailing dissipates to the degree that your thoughts begin to calm in conjunction.

Your escort peers toward a suspended cloth which obscures a cot in the corner of the room. He clears his throat before calling out. "Lady Olessa, we have a very ill young girl who needs attending. She's from outside the town, as well as her brother escorting her."

A clinking of metal instruments can be heard from behind the curtain before an alluring voice responds softly. "Thank you, Byrne. Be a dear, and escort this patient to the amphitheater. Our friends will want to check-up on him after his rough night."

The source of the voice rhythmically steps from behind the curtain while rubbing her hands clean on a small, heavily stained cloth. Her light hair catches much of the afternoon sun, and contrasts heavily with her dark uniform. At first, she gives a delicate impression as she walks across the room, tall and thin, but her large, taut hands indicate significant experience at her craft. You idly follow her hand as she pulls away a thin cloth from her face.

Peculiarly, you find yourself calmed as you look upon her face uninhibited. Thankfully, it seems you've found your physician, but how could she be the only one?

"Of course, Lady Olessa." Byrne gives a firm bow before motioning toward you. "This one has expressed significant concern over his ailing sister, so if you could examine her soon, it would put our minds at ease."

Olessa smiles serenly at the guard then toward you. "As the body ails, so too does the mind. But as the body is mended, so too does the mind. Byrne has vouched for you, so your sister will have my full attention."

She gives a quick departing bow toward Byrne before playfully motioning for you to follow her into an adjacent room, away from whatever lies behind the current. She steps aside to allow you to enter first and then shuts the first working door that you've seen in this place. The space is far more orderly and well-kept, but is still lacking in much comforting touch. A large pot of steaming water rests above a small firepit.

As if reading your thoughts she explains. "There are so few doors as I insist on being able to keep a close eye on my patients. While they suffer, so to must I. But this room is a special case..." She observantly looks between you and the Elin in your arms. "She looks struck with an infection. May I look at her wounds?" She motions toward a clean cot.

Your jaw tightens as you worry about the risk, but if she's only asking to see her wounds, then it's only her arms you'd need expose.

You move toward the cot and gently rest the Elin on top before gingerly unwrapping her sweat drenched bandaged arms into the open air. Upon contact with the cooler air, you see the ultra fine hairs on her exposed skin stand on end.

For the first time you see the physician's expression harden as she deftly holds Izurin's thin arm and unwraps the bandage. As more of the cloth is pulled off, watery pus begins to leak from the yellow crusted gashes on her arms. The other arms is much the same.

Olessa sighs as she rests the Elin's arm down upon the bed and gazes upon her countenance. "Wound cleaning and new bandaging is definitely in order for this poor girl. Medicine is in short supply, but I have unguents for the swelling and for disinfecting, but she's soaked with sweat and covered with dirt from your trek here. I'll have to wash her first." She pulls a small key from her apron pocket." If you could head toward the other side of the building, you'll find a locked cabinet there. Be a dear and retrieve camphor and royal jelly ointment." She smiles with her eyes. "They're labeled."

Your grateful for her taking swift action to help, but a bath will leave nothing to conceal Izurin's real identity. You must keep that from happening.

>Implore that Izurin wounds are attended to first, afterwards you can leave with her in tow.

>Insist that Izurin is sensitive to the cold, and the room is far too cold to give her a bath.

>Write in
>Insist that you wash her yourself. She needs someone she knows when she wakes up, and it's your fault she's in this state.
Might be easier for you to get the reagents, I doubt you want me wandering around trying to open every cabinet I find that's locked searching for the proper thing.
Heyo everyone, I hope that your Fridays are all off to a good start! This is a very quick check in to let you know that the vote window will be open for another 2 hours before tallying. See you soon!
Getting the physician out of the room and getting the bath out of the way in one fell swoop.

Finally back home! I didn't have many opportunities to write today during work, so I'll need a couple hours to work on the update.

I'm definitely falling out of schedule of when I usually update, so I do apologize to anyone that's been affected. Several people have quit within these past few weeks, which is very understandable, but I don't have that option, honestly. This naturally increases what those of us who are left have to do, which means more and more overtime.

I don't really want to belabor about myself overmuch, as I know you're not here for that. I just wanted to communicate and give context to why updates have been shifting so much these past few days especially.
You've maintained one update a day despite all that, which is already plenty for us.
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Excuses of wanting to have her wounds attended before a bath or insisting that the room is too cold for such a thing will postpone the physician’s hand at best. If Izurin is exposed as an Elin, your cover will be blown and her chances of receiving any sort of medical care are reduced to nothing. Her condition has worsened to the point that she can hardly hold her head up, let alone bathe herself, so her treatment is crucial. But there’s only two of you in this room, so if it can’t be the physician bathing her…

You steel yourself for what you’re about to say.

You shake your head firmly at the physician. “I’m not going to leave her alone. I fear for her if she wakes up during the bath and finds no one there that she knows. I’ll bathe her while you retrieve the medicine. I wouldn’t want to risk wasting any time wandering in search for it.”

Olessa crosses her arms in rests one of her gangly hands on her chin in thought. “Emotional distress does indeed harm the body, and this poor girl is no condition strained in such a way.” She gives you a quick nod of accession. “Her doting brother seems a capable guardian, so I will fetch what is needed myself and prepare the medicine while you take care of cleaning her.”

She first glides across the room to retrieve a stack of clean cloths along with filling a small basin with the steaming water. Unnerving is her lack of reaction as her hands plunge into the boiling water to fill the container.

Her hands are deep red as she marches back toward you to place the necessary items on a table nearby. “Be mindful of her wounds. Though she may not be able to express the pain, her body will still feel it. We should all strive to be more aware of the suffering that exists in this world. For our own sakes…”

After flashing a strange smile, she heads out the room, locking the door behind her.

At first you act quickly, unwrapping the blanket around the Elin without much thought. She weakly splays open in response. Her thin arms gently rest back on the cot, with lightly clenched hands facing outward. Following from her hands, sweat glazes her exposed skin, and soaks into the fabric her tunic. The thin cloth clings to her skin, as does her dark hair in long, thin strands over herr face.

The long absent pair animal ears now slowly unfold from their long compression to stretch out languidly like their owner. So much trouble caused by such small things…

Unconsciously, your hand stretches and wraps around the damp and furred ear. Would that you could simply rip them from her head, and so much grief would be saved for you, and for her as well.

The blood pulses loudly in your ears as you feel your agitation growing. It can be done, as other cruel actions have been carried out by your hand.

By your hand.

The dying words of that raving lunatic come racing into your head, invading the forefront of your thoughts.

She’s a lowly creature that wouldn’t have any means of stopping you or even any chance of successful legal recourse against you if you chose such violence. Weak, defenseless, and alone, she’s the same as you were in that harrowing nightmare… Exactly the same.

Her blood weakly pulses under your fingertips.

Pangs of deep guilt resonate in your stomach for almost losing sight of helping her. What happened with those crazed parents wasn’t her fault. Her being born the way she is, and even the way everyone receives her is not her fault. The way you treated her... It's not her fault.

Whatever compelled her to venture away from her home, wander into the cold, and even accompany you without a single complaint is beyond your understanding as a human. But...that not your fault.

You sigh wearily. “We’re both fools, aren’t we?”

Her animal ear twitches in your hand, and you softly let it free from your hand.

After unraveling the fabric cord of her skirt, you grab the waistbands of her clothing. “I’m… I’m going to wash you now. Then the physician will administer medicine and we’ll get out of here after you feel better. After that… I’ll replace that fish trap you lost.” You speak softly to Izurin as you lift her rear to pull the skirt and undergarments away her pale legs. Once off, you move quickly to carefully remove her sweat-soaked tunic from her torso.

You settle her back into a similar sprawled position as before, except now all of her is completely exposed to the cold air until you partially cover her body with the blanket.

You partly soak a cloth in the steaming hot water before bringing it to her forehead. You ought to move through washing her head first and get her ears covered again. “I don’t know what would happen after we go fishing with it. Return home I suppose... I might have to find work if my grandfather decides to run me out of the house. In fact, if Seo or Misha or anyone for that matter were to see me now, I’d have to leave Velika altogether. Thankfully, they’re not here right now… So...I'm sorry, Izurin”


You slip between the alley of the tavern and the building adjacent to free your arm from the unnecessary sling. Then ensuring that no eyes are upon you, you invoke your healing magic to finally repair the torn joints and muscles within your arm.

Resetting your elbow took several painful attempts of manipulating the bones to settle into the correct position and reform the joint. To her credit, Seo was able to keep up with your instructions, but by the end of the procedure looked poised to expel the contents of her stomach. To save her dignity, she excused herself outside ahead of you.

Once finished, you swiftly turn away from the alley and back into the light of the descending sun. “As promised, let’s recover your friend and other companion.”

“How can you rattle about saving anyone after what happened to your arm?” Seo sourly glares at you in confusion. “Even ignoring that for the moment, what do you hope to accomplish with your size and armed with only a long stick?”

Truthfully, you understand her perspective. Most everyone you encounter underestimates your ability to a significant degree. It’s something you count on, but for the sake of striking back at the Sanctuary and saving those you need to save, you can’t have her doubts impeding your strategies.

Holding your staff aloft, you vigorously outstretch your left arm. “I meant everything that I said about the perils that exist within this town, and how you’ve been bred to deal with such dangers being useless here. Now, if you can conceive of a more prudent course of action than tracking the path of those who took your friend, then I’m more than willing to listen…” With raised eyebrows you look between the two young nobles. Not receiving an answer, you continue. “Now put aside your pride at least until you have your precious friend back with you.”

Lacking any alternative, both silently assent to your plan.
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It will be much more difficult to motivate action from these two once their friend is back with them, but you’ll have to deal with that when the time comes. The pressing issue now is to find where they led the other human and the Elin, and to rescue them from Sanctuary.

Gazing at the end of the road toward the north, you spot the front of the inn where you first contacted Seo and Misha. You recall the Sanctuary escort leading the human and Elin toward the east. You’d have to return to the inn to recover their trail.

Suddenly overhearing movement, the three of you conceal yourselves in a nearby alleyway and track several different hooded figures trudging through the white powder. They aren't on alert, but they certainly patrol the streets with purpose.

It seems that your activities from these past few days is enough to warrant such security.

To prevent wasting time blindly searching for the trail, heading back to the inn or directly east of it should be your priority. Alternatively, one of these patrolling cultists could know where they escorted your companions to administer medical treatment. However, any attempts to forcefully extract information from one of them comes with added risk of your human companions protesting, but finding a way past that, and acquiring dark robes for your human companions would help with any future counterattacks you might be plotting.


HP: 11
LP: 15
Stamina: 15
MP: 33

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 28
MP: 0

(You are not currently in combat. The orange X represents the location of the tavern, while the green X represents the inn. Red arrows on the guards indicate their bearing as they patrol.)

As the afternoon progresses, you have to find your human companion and the Elin before the latter's identity is discovered and both are put at risk. Stealthily picking up the trail their escort left in the powder is currently the safest bet for locating where they were taken. Otherwise, forcing a guard to speak may yield valuable information.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Misha(optional).
It's reassuring to know that it's plenty, thank you.
The angle I've got so far is Seo and Misha asking straight up because Luca forgot to give them the communal purse.

We can split up to keep up the stealth approach, but otherwise the course is the same.
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Our best bet for now is to bide our time. Let's move up along the blue house on the west side, until that brown pile, and wait in that alleyway. It will let us keep ahead of our best target, the one moving up the street, and allow us see where the other three are going. Hopefully the one further south doesn't turn into the street with our target, but rather into the one with the tavern, leaving the target guard alone and vulnerable. It's still light out, so we cannot rely on darkness.

Now I'm aware that this might be a word salad since I haven't given them numbers, so have another of my badly drawn edits. At least I'm using paint and not my phone this time.
Heyo everyone! I hope that your Saturdays are all off to a good start, which I can say mine definitely is. I got a message this morning stating that all I need to do for work is come in to hand off some reports, so the day is basically off save for a few hours. Still have to work Sunday, but you have to pick your battles.

Anyway, as I posted the update rather late, and it would be helpful for when I have to head out, I will leave the vote window open for another ~4 hours. See you soon!

Your post definitely made sense, but seeing the plan to bide time plotted on an image is always nice!
this seems the best option
snow eats sound very effectively so hopefully no one hears the group tromping around
The group will bide time in the nearby alleyway in hopes of more advantageous positioning of the guards.


From observing the paths of the Sanctuary’s security patrols you find them to be a ponderous balance of passivity and directness. Were the Sanctuary completely intent on capturing you, then they need only leash Enais like a dog and forcefully hound you from your hiding place. It would be an obtrusive course of action, one that would surely agitate the residents of this town, but the most prudent if they perceived you as the largest concern to their plans.

Yet they don’t.

Rather, they still deem it necessary to maintain the optics of peace, at least in matters not relating to their accursed rations. Which means that this display of subtle force is more intended to intimidate you, rather than stop you entirely.

Perhaps the towering creature in the sewer reported the injury he inflicted upon you, and they think you incapable of action any longer.

Fine. A half-hearted attack is easily countered, and you need only to continue to remain out of sight to maintain the illusion and to keep those who have your human companion and the Elin from being alerted.

Once you’re assured of the paths the cultists take, you swiftly turn back to your two human companions. “Those cloaked figures are patrolling the surrounding streets. We’ll move into the next alleyway for a better position.” You quickly signal the paths the cultists are carving through the white powder as you lead your companions between the shadows of the adjacent buildings.

The powdered-covered piles of damp refuse serve as ample cover to conceal your small frame as you peer from both sides of the dingy alley. With head poking out only slightly, you spot a new cloaked individual join the one you were tracking to the south. They idly speak as they move through the street on which the tavern rests. Luckily, this leaves the guard slowly moving through the adjacent street to the east alone and prime for an ambush. Although, you now hear a pair of voices to the northwest, meaning that yet another cultist will be moving through the neighborhood.

Their various movements are kept track of in your mind, and the noises that you can pick up with your concealed animal ears help confirm your active calculations.
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The two young nobles tightly clench their own bodies as they struggle to deal with the cold. The longer it takes to track down their friend, the more the intense cold will wither their strength.

You take the precious time to to quietly speak with them both. “Seo, Mishenne, for now I ask you to trust me when I say that these individuals are capable of atrocious deeds, and neither we nor your friends are safe within this town.”

Seo glares intently at you, the contempt in her eyes clear even in the shadows but nods silently as she holds the handle of her weapon. Shivering, Mishenne at first looks between you and Seo fearfully, but then clenches his eyes to seemingly build the conviction before he nods stiffly at your words.

This young man is clearly dear to them both, but the true test of their commitment has yet to come.

You nod at them both and ready your staff. “Stay as quiet as you can, and no matter what, don’t hesitate when I give the order.”

Keeping concealed, you lead them both to the east-facing end of the alley, and carefully watch as the Sanctuary cultist trudges by, unwitting of those watching his laborious steps.


HP: 11
LP: 15
Stamina: 15
MP: 33

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 28
MP: 0

(You are not currently in combat. The orange X represents the location of the tavern, while the green X represents the inn. Red arrows on the guards indicate their bearing as they patrol.)

You've moved to better position in the adjacent alley and bided your time for the nearby guards to spread further away from one another. However, additional guards have filtered in from neighboring streets, and your companions suffer greatly from the cold with every passing minute. Your target is still to discover where their human companion and the Elin were escorted earlier.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Misha(optional).
Unless we're using gale to knock over something behind the cultist beside us, I don't have much for plans. How close do we have to be to investigate the path? If we cross the street to the next alley, we'll have line of sight of the whole intersection and whichever paths they might've taken.
So long as you can see the path, then you would be able to investigate where it might lead.
I think that all that needs to be done is to dip into the square on the other side of the street with the lone cultist. from there the path to the east is visible

knocking him out could be an option but will be loud and put them on alert when he's discovered.
Honestly I see no reason we can't try >>5171370 's suggestion and have them straight up go up to him and ask.
All the while this allows Elewyn to get in position to Gale him into the wall to knock him out and then drag him in an alley for interrogation. But I'd rather not do that if he answers honestly. Let's consider hostility a plan B here.

>Seo and Misha go ask where their friend got taken for healing.
>Elewyn sneaks into a good position to Gale him in the wall.
>If he gives an answer, have Seo and Misha walk in that direction and have Elewyn rejoin them out of sight.
>If he is unhelpful or suspicious or worse, Gale him into the wall and drag him into the closest alley.
Alright, sounds good, +1
Sundowning would probably be better, but saving our mana for more fearsome foes would be prudent
Heyo everyone! I do hope that your weekends have been restful and enjoyable. With the intense cold becoming more sporadic here, the season of gestation comes to a close. We'll see what the final throes of winter have in store for us.

Anyway, thank you for your posted planning and votes so far! I will be leaving the vote window open for another 2 hours before tallying what we have. See you soon
Having Misha and Seo attempt to ask directly where Luca was taken, and if necessary, using Gale offensively. We'll aim to move into the nearby square immediately after.


Sneaking past the cloaked figure with these two in tow would be straightforward with the use of stunning magic. However, it’s unclear how much of the accursed blessing of the flesh this individual has imbibed and thus, how his body would react to your subjugation magic is dangerously unknown. If it were to decompose as it had with the Carrion Beast and the gorehounds, then it would make for a messy scene that would definitively link you to these humans. Concealing your connection with them as long as possible would serve you well, and in this case… you’ll take advantage of their presence here to attempt what you wouldn’t be able to alone.

You turn back to move closer to your crouching companions and hastily whisper your command. “Act as if you’re lost and ask where they brought your friend. If the conversation goes awry, I’ll subdue him.”

Both Seo and Mishenne clearly express their reluctance on their faces through agitated suspicion or confused fear.

“If we’re to trust you like you said, why aren’t you the one risking yourself by approaching him?” Seo shoots back with sharp words.

There’s hardly the time for this…

You lock eyes directly with the willful young noble. “Because it’s not what is needed save your friend and the Elin, and neither is this. Go, you two.”

She fumes at your words for a moment before cursing under her breath. “Luca, you damned fool…” She then forcibly grabs hold of Mishenne by the coattails and drags him out into the open street.

“I’m telling you these are just houses.” She scolds her companion. “They wouldn’t have brought him here unless they were trying to sell him property.”

Mishenne is flustered by her sudden berating before gathering himself. “W-w-well I’m all ears if you have any s-suggestions…”

The Sanctuary guard cautiously turns, squinting toward to the commotion behind him. “Oi, aren’t you the two they were keeping in the inn? Didn’t they tell you to stay put?”

Seo waves his accusations away dismissively “We had no intention of leaving the area, so you can calm yourself. We were simply searching for where our friend was taken after we parted ways. At least, we were...until this one got us lost.” She motions toward Mishenne.

“Again, with that…” Mishenne sighs deeply with slouched shoulders.

“Alright, alright enough of your bickering…” Annoyed, the Sanctuary cultist retraces his path to approach your two companions, unwittingly placing himself in the middle of a vector between you and the hard wall across the street. “You fools are in the complete wrong place. Your friend is across the other side the square, but you two have no business there.” He looks back toward the north to search for his companions before turning back. “Come, now. Don’t make us call for help to drag you along.”

Seo and Misha remain silent, unsure of how to proceed. But you’ve heard all that you needed.

A few more steps forward would be ideal, and hopefully soon, as you can faintly hear the crunching footsteps of those in the street behind you signaling the approach of two more Sanctuary members.

“Damn merchants don’t know how to listen.” He grumbles as he steps toward the pair with his hand moving toward the small blade on his belt. “You’re violating the rules we put in place for you and-“


“Get back.” You order simply in a low voice toward your companions as you lunge around the corner of the nearby building to brace the end of your staff against the wall.

Perplexed, Seo and Mishenne manage to take a tentative step away from the stopped guard.

At the same moment, the guard begins to turn toward you with similar confusion before immediately flying violently backward.

You unleash a concentrated blast of wind at the abdomen of the cloaked figure, ripping him off his feet along with a small cloud of white powder. The instant he crashes loudly against the stone wall, you cease your magic and rush toward the crumpled figure.

The impact was centered around his back, so he’s still able to moan and writhe weakly in great pain.

With eyes locked on his vulnerable head, and animal ears perceiving an increase in movement in the surrounding streets, you wind up your leg as you approach, and roughly kick him in the soft area under his chin. The brutal rattling of his head is conveyed through the tip of your shoe before your swiftly turn back to your utterly bewildered companions.
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“Stop gawping like fools and drag him over there!” You whisper harshly as you vigorously point toward the cluttered square nearby.

Suddenly remembering the task at hand, they look toward each other in shared moment of bewilderment before roughly pulling the unconscious cultist by the legs toward the square.

With a much weaker blast of air, you muddle your footsteps and the path the dragged body leaves as you follow your companions. Rushing backward out of the alley, you cease your magic as round the building to the right, watching as your companions wearily drag the unconscious man to toward a messy pile of crates across the alley. Also within the square are a few scraps of broken furniture, a large dumping pile for human refuse, and what appears to be a rusted manhole cover.

“What was that noise?” You hear a voice demand from the north.

“We don’t know. We heard it as well, but… Did you come across, Brother Sevrin? We swear he was patrolling through this street.”

“No, he may have passed us when we were talking. Shit...Split up and search for him. Keep your eyes open but don't forget to report back before sundown. We still have our orders for tonight.”

After the orders were conveyed, you carefully peak around the corner to see the two figures that came from the west dispersing away from you. You turn to Seo who's glancing toward the north before signaling to you that one of the cultists is approaching the square. You reference what you the signals with what you can detect with your animal ears and to formulate the paths of the nearby cultists, thinking on your next move


HP: 11
LP: 15
Stamina: 13
MP: 29

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 23
MP: 0

From your plan, you were able to discover that their companion Luca and the Elin are being kept in one of the buildings across the east side of the square. (Boxed in green.) However, the nearby cultists have been put on alert and are actively searching for their lost companion. Currently, one of the cultists is approaching the square from the north, but several are nearby.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Misha.
>Have Seo and Mishenne open the Cultist's clothes to see the fleshwarping themselves
We have the potential of looking like a couple civilians who saw the cultist's secret and ran away in horror.

>While they're doing that, Elewyn gales the snow to muddy the directions.
Once they've been thoroughly convinced that the city is fucked, we can run full tilt for the east side.
gale snow to the south so that it seems someone's run through there, tuck sevrin into the scree next to elewyn or under the tree, cover him with snow blown from a gale, and then proceed to the northeast exit from the square, to dart across behind the cultist heading south. have seo and mishenne stay low, so that the pile of boxes block the view of the cultist entering the square.
alternatively, do the opposite. tuck sevrin into the alley between seo/mishenne and elewyn, as no cultist is headed there. use a gale to knock the snow off the tree to grab the attention of the relevant cultists, but then head south instead, going through the southeastern exit while cultists move towards the tree, with another weaker gale to obscure any tracks. if the wind is blowing southerly, then the second gale is unnecessary, as the settling snow from the tree will cover them for us.
Heyo everyone, thanks for your votes so far! We're currently tied with two (technically three) options that can't fully be synthesized, so I'll leave the vote window open for another ~2 hours to allow for further input before tallying.

See you soon!
+1. Muddy the direction with wind, then head straight east. We can snowblow for extra cover if needed, but that's hardly subtle. We might need to draw more attention off of our slower human comrades.
Taking the opportunity to reveal to our companions more about the enemy we're facing, while covering our escape to the east.

Update in about 60-90 minutes!

Intuition is a sense unalike that of sight and hearing that most are simply born with. It’s a sense that builds up like the precipitous, pointed, and pillared stalagmites furtively developing in the dark recesses of the unseen. Drop by drop, by painstaking drop it accumulates in those unlit places, and eventually, the sands of time are given structure, experience is given shape.

You ventured into these unfamiliar and inhospitable lands carefully wielding your intuition as a guiding lantern, and it has served you well by conveying you to some insight.

So far.

On the other hand, the assistance Nireaux Yinefall conjured for you are yet novices. You had thought he had a daughter and son-in-law that were of the experienced adventuring type… No matter. Help of any sort will increase the options you have for counterattacks. Still, the help you did receive has yet to develop any intuition for these types of sordid missions, and thus must be guided by the hand as you did recently with Ruby, Aloé, Philia and for a brief time, Yuna. As was the case with the slaver shipment in Tulufan, time is preciously short here. Therefore, dragging them by the hand will be occasionally necessary to get them up to the appropriate speed.

Gazing past the piles of refuse, you quickly examine the eastern side of the square for an appropriate exit. You track the faint noise from the crunching footfalls of the guard to the northwest. The window of opportunity to reveal a portion what the Sanctuary truly is to these two young humans will only be open for a short time.
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You dash across the sullied powder and slide at the cloaked figure that Seo and Mishenne had propped against the crates.

These conspicuous dark robes that most of the cultists don seem an antithesis to their goals of subtle integration within the town. However, the fastidious planning that has gone into all other aspects of their greater mission would certainly not allow for such a crucial detail to be so foolishly overlooked. The warped shapes of cultists you witnessed the night before provides evidence that their cabal wears these robes because they must.

With your cold-numbed hands, you begin to hastily undo the drawstrings on the front of the robe as you push the dark cloth upward. The concealed bulbous shape of unusual anatomy indicates that your search will bear unsightly fruit.

Seo approaches you from her lookout. “What are you doing now?!” She quietly demands as she restlessly scans the area. “There’s one of them approaching from over there.”

“There are places to hide around here. We should at least do that!” Mishenne worriedly motions to the piles of refuse around the square.

“Almost there…” You quietly begin to explain as you move to undo the drawstrings of a billowing shirt, oversized to accommodate what lies underneath. “We’ll make for that alley across the refuse pile. As soon as you get a small glimpse of what’s happening here...”

The instant the strings are loose enough, you snatch the shirt out of the way to reveal what lurks underneath. A glimpse is all that you have time for, but even if you had lingered for a full minute, it would still be difficult for them to comprehend what they gaze upon.

The abdomen, the hips, and the genitalia of the cultist have all fused into one amorphous band of flesh that protrudes painfully against the skin. It's unclear how much of his anatomy remains underneath lump of flesh, but prominent are small appendages that bud from the front of his body, reminiscent of the broken form the Carrion Beast displayed last night and assuredly alien to those uninitiated. Numerous other small lumps burgeon against his mostly human anatomy, indicating a metamorphosis that has only just begun.
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“What the hell is that!” Mishenne exclaims in pure shock at the sight.

You hear Seo gasp before she clasps a hand over her companions mouth, dragging him along in a sprint across the square. They are forced to cut through the retched pile of excretions piled in the middle of the square, but seemingly are too distracted to take any notice of it.

“Get over here! There’s something going on in the square!” You hear the approaching voice stop to call out to his nearby companions.

At the same instant, you rush to muddle the nearby footsteps of your group with a restrained gust of wind. Fortunate that the continuous dumping of hot waste in the square has cleared out a sizable amount of the inhibiting powder. Unfortunate is that you’re forced to stomp through the frozen but still yielding brown solids and the dark and vibrant yellow sheets to save the crucial time needed to clear the square unseen.

The nearby cultists converge on the square from the west, and it isn't long before their alarmed shouts reach you again.

"Shit, Sevrin is here, but he's been attacked!"

"Cover him up already and someone report this to the Lady Flesh-, Lady Enais!"

Pausing only for the time needed to check for any oncoming guards, you hurriedly signal for your companions to follow you across the open street and toward the eastern buildings that were your target. They sluggishly move through the high powder, experiencing heavy fatigue from exerting themselves in such severe conditions, and but you reach the alleyway undetected.

"Tell us..." Seo winces as she huffs to catch her breath. "Why you felt the need to show us that man's...disgusting deformity."

Mishenne pushes his hands against his knees as he gulps the cold air and reflects on what he witnessed.

You inspect the nearby surrounding buildings as you answer her. "There will be time to explain later. For now, ask yourself why they all feel the need to wear similar robes..."

The two buildings clearly have activity within them as the rising smoke from the chimneys indicate that wood-fire heating is ongoing, and both of them are sufficiently large to accommodate an infirmary. Luckily, there are nearby windows that one can sneakily gaze through to inspect the inside. From there you can determine which building Luca and the Elin where brought to.

It shouldn't take more than one of you to investigate the activity within the building, the others can serve as lookouts for any incoming threats from the outside. It could serve them well to occupy them from their thoughts. However, there's no telling what could be on the other side of the glass, and whether these two young humans are ready to see more of the truth.

>Inspect the buildings through the windows yourself while Seo and Mishenne serve as lookouts

>Have Seo inspect inside the buildings.

>Have Mishenne inspect inside the buildings.

>Write in.
oh, that was poop, I thought it was a tree. woops!
>>Have Mishenne inspect inside the buildings.
Seo is the most rebellious of them, but get the other onside and she'll follow easier. The real problem, I suppose, is Luca, who we broke on the way here...woops!
>Inspect the buildings through the windows yourself while Seo and Mishenne serve as lookouts
If the other two are seen, it's still alright.
Heyo everyone, I hope your days are all off to a pleasant start!

Thank you for the votes so far. I'll be leaving the vote window open for another 2 hours before tallying what we have, and hopefully not having to roll. Be back soon!

Don't worry about it! Some of the shapes on the map are rather ambiguous so I would not at all have been opposed to working a spindly tree in there if called for.
>Send Seo in, the others provide lookout
She’s the best equipped to smoothtalk her way out, or bash some skulls
We are currently at a three way tie, so I will leave the vote open for another hour, or until a tiebreaking vote is posted. I will roll to decide at the end of the hour otherwise!
>Inspect the buildings through the windows yourself while Seo and Mishenne serve as lookouts
I'll switch to this
Got it. We'll be the ones to search the building for signs of Luca and Izurin while Misha and Seo keep lookout.

Update in about 60-90 minutes!
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Both the human Luca and the Elin are kept within one of these buildings, now it’s only a matter of infiltration and extraction. Provided that the bulky young man is still capable of walking when he’s located, you’d be best suited for these tasks. If he needs any convincing, you’ll leverage his friends as you did him. These same friends will keep the avenue of escape clear and make for a target for him to be guided towards by the hand. If he still needs convincing, you’ll have to find something else important to leverage…

“If what that cloaked man blustered was to be believed, then your friend Luca is nearby.” You gaze up at the fogged glass that’s just above your head. “I’ll check through these windows to confirm which is our target, and head inside to retrieve him, alone.”

You pivot toward the two humans whose miserable appearances suggest they’re waiting to awake from a bad dream. This reality that they’re faced with is so unlike what they’ve known all their lives that it must seem something conjured from the shudders of a sleeping mind. However, it’s only going to get worse for them as the generous night brings plentiful biting hunger, gnawing cold, and consuming truth.

You sigh quietly to yourself as you can’t help but pity them. But your pity isn’t going to what helps them out of this. For now, your goals are aligned, so you must lead them by the hand to keep them focused on the task at hand.

“Seo, Mishenne.” You softly call out to them as they wince from the ceaseless cold winds. “Keep a lookout while I check inside… I’ll do my best to be quick.”

Seo shudders from the wind and clenches her hands under her armpits in a desperate attempt to warm them. She then turns to you warily. “What are you?...What is all of this?”

“Both of those questions would take too long to fully answer now, so…I’m only an Elin, but this place is far more than a nightmare.” You explain before turning back and moving toward the window overhead.

You’ve discovered numerous appalling truths in each Sanctuary controlled building you’ve infiltrated thus far. If this is the correct place, then it’s time to learn what twisted purpose it serves for their plans.

The glass is recessed into the building providing a small overhang onto which you grab. Your fingers dig into the frigid white powder and clutch the rough stone underneath. While pulling with your arms, your feet find small deformations in the wall on which the tip of your shoes gain purchase, and you awkwardly scramble onto the small ledge.

The face of the glass is heavily obscured by the condensation of steam, but on the fringes you’re able to peer into the room and then discover the two figures that are within.

…What is he doing?
back in the Luca Harem game
>Izurin approves +5
>Elewyn disapproves -30
>Seo is too busy to notice
>Mishenne wants to go home

You're thoroughly perplexed for a moment after you find your final human companion, Luca, carefully hoisting the ailing Elin up from a cot to remove both her skirt and undergarments. Immediately, he does the same to her blouse, taking the extra effort not to scrape against the visibly infected wounds on her arms. He pauses to glance upon her bare form, but there’s only tired remorse on his face before he covers her with a frayed cloth. His face then morphs into a more pained expression as the Elin hardly reacts to his manipulations.

Her aura is familiar, but it’s hard to pinpoint as it’s faint owing to her condition.

But it takes no special ability to perceive the suffering he feels as he tenderly washes her face and hair. He blames himself for the unfortunate condition she finds herself in, but as much as you’d prefer to allow him the time to work through his feelings in privacy, you don’t have that privilege.

The window opens out toward you, and you’re able to slip around the pane of glass and drop into the infirmary room.

Luca jumps in surprise and shame, and then hastily moves to conceal the Elin’s ears as you straighten your body and gaze around the small room.

A patient’s room through and through, but odd is level of cleanliness within the space. Given the condition of the town, you would expect for such fastidious tidying to fall to the wayside, but it appears that this room was thoroughly cleaned only a few hours prior...
damn, we made good time

You focus back on him and clear your throat. “Excuse my interruption... Covering her ears was a wise choice, but if you’re going to take that sort of special care of her, you’ll need to be more aware of your surroundings.” You take steady, but slow steps toward them both as you watch his hand grip tightly around the hilt of his weapon.

He's definitely as bulky as you first perceived him to be. He glowers at you much the same as his grandfather did toward the end.

“You…Elewyn” He guardedly stares over your frame and then at the cloth wrapped around your animal ears. He shakes his head firmly before speaking. “I’m not helping you. We’re not helping you. In fact, once Izurin is well enough to travel, we’ll leaving this cursed place.”

Izurin?... The one you met within the dream? This explains how she was within the area.

"If that's what you and her want, Luca, then by all means." You raise your hands and direct them inward to emphasize your size. "I wouldn't be able to force you to do anything, but..." You glance toward the door behind him. "I'm assuming that you didn't happen to find this room on your own, and that we should be expecting company soon."

"You stay back." He snarls back at you as you approach too close for his liking. He instinctively draws his blade a few inches out of the sheathe. "The physician is going to help her. It's painfully plain to see that she needs help, she's not going to help you either."

Based on the swelling and oozing of pus, the infection will have spread through much of her body by now. Cleaning and healing her wounds sealed would be an easy task, and would improve her condition. But the lingering infection would be best treated by some type of medicine, and if not that, rest.

It's unfortunate that he's so guarded now that you have hardly the time to spare.

You calmly persist. "If you should know one thing, it's that we're both aligned in wanting to help her. I can heal her wounds, and I will heal her wounds. Afterwards..." You motion toward the window. "Your friends are right there, waiting for you. We'll be able to join them."

Luca glances shamefully between Izurin and the window, at least vaguely aware of the trouble his departure has caused them two. "No. They can head back, and you're just an Elin, so you're not qualified to help her. There's a perfectly good human physician here that will be the one to heal her."


Your hand tightens into a fist.

What a damned fool. How will you get some sense into him, and quickly?

>Quickly explain the dangers that Elin especially face with the Sanctuary.

>Call his companions within the room to vouch for your words.

>Write in
I wonder how these points will proceed the longer they are in Impel!
Bold actions by directly questioning the guard helped greatly with that, but of course, costed in other regards.
>Just heal her. You don't exactly need to be close to do it.
>Explain that there are other Elin being imprisoned, and if Izurin falls into their hands one of them will die.
>Give an overview of the enforced starvation and suspicious rations while you work, and his friends can assure him that the purpose is more vile than he was ever prepared for.
>>Quickly explain the dangers that Elin especially face with the Sanctuary.
>"You dreamed of pain, of being something limbless. She saved you, in that dream. I have other abilities, including healing. Dress her, and come." Prove to him, using the guess that he is the thing Izurin held in the dream, that you are more than you seem. You know things.
this could be a bit meta-gamey, but I think it is reasonable that Elewyn could guess that Luca was the thing. the only real question is if he remembers, but everyone seems to remember.
obviously the exact wording can be shifted around, though.
I don't think it's wise to flare magic. if enais can sense elewyn in general, I don't think it's out of the pale for olessa to be able to sense active magic
Supporting this.
If it's too metagamey, as said, just heal her and explain like >>5176898 suggested.
Heyo everyone, I do hope that all of your days are off to a good start!

We have some thorough plans laid out already, but I'll be leaving the vote open for another ~2 hours in case anyone else would like to vote as well. Be back soon!

You're good! It wouldn't be meta-gamey since as you stated there's normal recollection of that "dream" and Elewyn could deduce that it was Luca from what Izurin stated within as well.
I'll +1 to this as well

Mishenne clearly best girl in this
We will quickly explain the dangers that Elin face with the the Sanctuary by focusing on the topics that >>5176898 brought up.
Then, we will bring up the dream/our abilities to wrap up our argument to convince him.

Update to be posted in about 90 minutes!

You breathe deeply to calm your rising frustration with this obstinate human and contemplate a different approach. First, he refuses your aid as he has come to believe that you’re not capable of helping Izurin, an Elin, entirely because you’re an Elin. Certainly, you’ve dealt with countless individuals who thought you lesser because of that fact and all the physical aspects it entails, but those sorts of shortsighted bigots wouldn’t think of assisting an injured Elin.

This one, within the frigid fields of his prejudice, has nurtured a fondness for her. But fallow are those fields for trust and respect, for you, for her, and likely for all non-humans. Those tracts were fed with the fertilizer of selfishness, which would simply not allow for congeniality to flourish.


You’ve never been one to waste your time trying to reform such feelings, but for her sake, and the perplexing affection that she showed for him when you were in that realm of flesh, you’ll try to steer him toward a more coherent mindset. You'll give him his first glimpse of the world your kin inhabit, the new world he’s a part of now, and explain how his attitude will only serve to hinder him.

You relax your fist and rest it lightly on the edge of the cot. “You waste time and energy not trusting me. If she had done the same, who knows what would have become of you, with your limbless body, twisting in impotent pain. I’m sure the thought of her or me saving you must seem as outlandish as that nightmare you had last night but allow me to inform you that wasn’t a dream.”

You watch as your words strike him within his vulnerable insides. “How… How the hell do you know of it?...” He asks with cold anger, as the leather of his glove creaks with tension around the hilt of his longsword. “Did you cause that?”

“No, I'm not the one responsible for that place. I found myself within just as you and she did. But there, she and I had strength that you did not. Because of that I was able to save you from that fetid torrent, and she was the one that led me to you.” You motion toward the window as you emphatically continue. “Just as your friends struggled to lead me here to help you again. So, allow me to help you again. Trust me when I tell you that these people will be the death of her. If they think her a human, then she will be forcefully given the choice to either starve or consume tainted humanoid flesh.”

His mouth is slightly agape at the revelation, and he wordlessly looks over your body in confusion.

“But if they, if the Sanctuary discover that she’s an Elin… Like others of our kin, she will be forced to rot within a squalid and dark pit, engorged with poison, and you will wish that you had the chance to take the sword to her first.”

His brow furrows deeply as he processes your words. “What are you saying?” He shakes his head as he looks away from you. “That sort of thing, these things that you’re saying are ridiculous… The dream? The starvation and the Sanctuary?” Crouching at the side of the cot, he fixes his gaze on Izurin. “Her? How could you possibly know all of this?”

“Luca, what would I gain from lying about this?” You pause for a moment to allow him the time to reflect. “You’ve been here long enough to have felt that there’s something deeply aberrant within this town. I’ve been here for long enough to piece together what that is, and it’s far viler than you could ever hope to be prepared for. Infiltration and information gathering are part of my strengths, but that's not all that I can do."

He silently watches Izurin’s chest slowly rise and fall with steady breaths. “…I'm going to protect her. That's what I know for certain.”

“Then believe what I tell you. Believe me when I tell you that I can heal her wounds with my magic. I have that ability.” As you finish your words, your animal ears catch the noise of approaching footsteps beyond the door.

You’re out of time.

You rush toward him and grab his face in your hands as he suddenly turns to look up at you in utter shock. “Do you know what it means to truly protect someone?” You ask in a harsh whisper.

To fail to protect someone?

“You choose that. You always choose that. Sometimes over your own desires, often over your own feelings, but it’s you that decides how that’s done.” You let go of his face and step back toward the window. “She wants to protect you, as weak as she is. She wanted to bring you fish.”

You've said what you could, but his resistance has consumed the entirety of your time.

The window is currently your only means out of this room undetected, but there is a large wooden storage cabinet at the wall that you would be able to fit within. If you've convinced him to believe you, but he can't find the means to escape on his own, then it may be necessary to step in and help him. It would run the risk of detection, but you'd be better poised to help. Otherwise you will have to regroup outside with Seo and Mishenne and determine how you can aid the escape from outside.

>Escape from the window and regroup with Seo and Mishenne.

>Remain hidden within the room.

>Write in.
>Escape from the window and regroup with Seo and Mishenne.
the choice essentially comes down to whether or not you think Luca is too shaken to maintain composure in front of Olessa. personally I think he can manage it, and he's got the pieces to pull together a reasonable reason for an older brother to be shaken (failing to protect a sister), he just has to do it.
>Escape from the window and regroup with Seo and Mishenne.
Those 2 won't survive forever in the cold. If we have to fight inside, at least it'll be warmer and have a lot of enemies that aren't specialized for combat yet.
Heyo everyone! I do hope that you're all doing well, and keeping safe wherever you are.

I will keep the vote window open for another ~2 hours before tallying, so please feel free to post if you wish. I'll be back soon!
Leaving the situation in Luca's hands and regrouping with Seo and Mishenne outside.

Hey everyone. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to stay late tonight for work. I don't know when I'll be back home, but it will certainly be late. If I'm not ready to pass out when I get back, I'll try to get this update out. I'll be sure to let you know what I decide when I get back.
Okay, I'm back and I think I'll try to get the update posted in a few hours
I thought I could truck through, but I caught myself having dozed off.

I'll finish the update in the morning, so thank you for your patience.
have a comfortably flesh-free dream
Our priority needs to be getting Izurin to safety, then getting everyone on the same page with a briefing, so that we can actually come up with and execute a plan to rescue ASAP. We just have so little time, and so few safe places to put people.
If he’s unable to put aside his bias to question the Sanctuary’s true intent, then he will be of no help to you, and of no help to Izurin. Yet, he’s made it this far on the desperate desire to protect her, so you will put faith in that feeling being sufficient to open his eyes. You’ll retreat for now. Seo and Mishenne have been forced to linger in the withering cold, and you need to ensure that they keep their health for what’s to come.

“Keep her safe, Luca.” You warn him before hastily opening the window once again, to pull yourself through the frame without looking back. After quietly shutting the glass, you drop once again into cold and unforgiving elements, but Mishenne and Seo are nowhere to be seen.

Standing alone, the tainted and warmthless sun has begun to approach the horizon, but it still offers sufficient light to read their footprints. The minutes while you were within the infirmary were passed with their impatient pacing, as to pause would be to permit the intolerable numbing to be perceived. Their overlapping footsteps kept close to the buildings, and far from the ends of the alley until…

You gaze as their prints both turned toward the eastern end of the alley, directed toward the same point. The steps then tensely converge with an unknown set of footprints that belong to an adult woman. Seo, Mishenne, and this third figure spoke for a time before the two young humans followed her willingly.

Did they get themselves caught?

Ensuring no one is patrolling the street, you stealthily creep to the edge of the alley where your eyes can track the three sets of print toward several small, unassuming hovels across the road. The dilapidated buildings stand at this boundary of town, where the less fortunate lived, before, when such a defining spectrum existed. The fetid docks lie directly beyond, with these shacks standing first in line to the cold ocean winds.

Sighing, you retrace your steps back into the alley and cross your arms in thought.

If the cold numbed their better judgement, then your vital attention will be pulled between the two sites in which your human companions unwittingly sought Sanctuary within. If that’s the case, you’ll soon find yourself trying to keep your head above the snow with the inundation of other Sanctuary plots.

Yet you're able to entertain other possibilities. Though your time with them has been brief, Seo and Mishenne have left a strong enough impression that you can believe that they wouldn't simply leave their friend unless they knew they could immediately return. Their pride would help prevent that from occurring. Noble upbringing, while privileged, brings out discernment, and you’ve shown them enough to put them on guard to use those talents.

Suddenly, your eyes catch the thick curtains behind a singular dirty window slide for someone peek at you with blatant intent. The visage of a world-weary older woman, gazes back at you from the stained glass.



She left as quickly as she came, and all she managed to do in that time is question your resolve to protect this Elin and remind you of your foolish obsession with magic once again, just as she provoked it before you set off for this journey in the first place.

Why else would you have dragged yourself and your companions away from home? Why else would you have entertained threatening your reputations by hauling a non-human with you? Why else would you have endured the threats you had to face to get her here?

If you had only had magic, none of this would have happened the way it did. You, your grandfather, your parents, so much grief would have been saved if it weren’t for the banality this world has settled into. Even if what Elewyn said about this land was true, what could be so terrible that magic couldn’t solve as it had so many times in the far distant past?

Then she must be lying about having magic, and about everything that’s supposedly happening here.

But the dream! And the fish… How the hell would she know about that? How would she know?

The sound of the door unlocking strikes fear into your hands spurring them to wrap Izurin’s hair within a towel, more effectively concealing her ears.

Fuck. If what Elewyn said about the Elin in this town was true…

As the heavy wooden door to the room slides open, the discolored light of the setting sun catches on its surface to reflect countless thin indentations, scratched in over and over and over again as if an untold number of patients desperately tried to claw their way free.

That, surely isn’t what you think it is.

Taking a deep breath to collect yourself, you pick up the towel to finish washing Izurin’s upper body while Olessa thin frame appears with numerous dark tinctures and phials in her gangly hands.

“My, you’re sure taking your time.” She comments playfully as she places her supplies on a nearby table and returns to close the door quietly. “Are you getting a proper look at her?”

What is she implying?

“Actually… it’s very difficult to see her like this. In such poor condition.” You reply quietly, as you try to glance at the contents of the medicines she brought.

They don’t appear out of the ordinary. Two sets of similar white solids in a tightly sealed container and a nearly matching pair of viscous, yellow liquid.

“No, no, no.” She waggles a long finger in the air, as she inhales deeply at the sight of Izurin. “You must look. You must, as she cannot herself while she is unconscious, so we must make sure that we bear witness to her plight and take in every detail for as long as we can.”

“Why?” Baffled you drop the damp towel down on the cot and turn impatiently to Olessa. “She’s suffered enough on her way here. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to ease her suffering as soon as we can? Didn’t you say that she’s in no condition to be strained?”

Her smile has a delay in forming. “Absolutely, she's not in the right condition.” She keeps her eyes fixed on you, while her fingers tap across the top of the containers she brought before moving her hand to rest on apron pocket near her chest. “I always carry medicine to improve such conditions in my patients. Of course, I brought the camphor and royal jelly ointment as the infection threatens to take her soon." She gazes upon Izurin affectionately. "Your sister's suffering must be appreciated because it is what transforms us into better versions of ourselves, so that we may attend to our next patient with open arms and eyes.”

A bit odd, but perhaps, in your fatigue and unease you're letting yourself become paranoid. Physicians have the good of the patient always in their mind, right?

You're about to step back from Izurin as she moves in to do her work, when Elewyn's words come back to your mind. To ensure that Izurin is safe, you can ask one more question.

>"Where exactly did you train in medicine?"

>"Why did you say this is a special room?

>Write in.
>"What medicine do you prescribe the other patients? They looked....significantly less mundane."
I will do my best to keep my venturing into fleshscapes exclusive to my writing, thank you!

Thank you all for waiting, much longer than I said it would take. The reason for this, in summary, was a series of unexpected time consuming events happening in quick succession, the overtime last night being one of them.

But, I really shouldn't make promises that I can't keep, and work and real life stuff will always come first.

For that reason I've decided that I'm going to take this weekend off from updates. It's not burnout, it's just being worn out. Even if the desire to write is there, being both busy and fatigued makes it much more difficult.

Anyway, that's enough of that!

I think it's been quite some time since I've asked you all how you feel about the quest, and this extra time would serve well to address that fact. Are there any concerns or critiques you'd like to voice? Are there any questions that you'd like answered? Any elements you'd like to see? Please feel free to express them as candidly as you would like, as I will do my best not to take it personally, and respond thoughtfully and thoroughly.
>>"Where exactly did you train in medicine?"
Out of ideas so support.

Pretty busy week-end and a just as busy next week on my hands, so I understand completely, QM.

As for how I feel about this. Well I'm still following eagerly. The only time where I haven't was with Luca's dealing back before he left. That's where I was lagging a couple of updates behind. I was just less interested.
Right now it feels like wrangling more than questing. It's funny to me that Elins are less childish than these three. I'm well aware that we have an entire upbringing of xenophobia to pass through (I noticed the clues you put in that post about closed businesses and property ownership laws a while back), but it doesn't make it any less annoying.
At this point I think Elewyn would have preferred the old man come in himself, and I don't blame her. Right now I consider Seo and Luca to be cumbersome punching bags to lug at enemies more than teammates. I mean, look at all that HP ! Misha is an unknown, but could be worked our way with a bit of sweet-talk.
I know we should strive to build an effective team, but if we can't and never see these people again, no skin off my back. It won't help Elin integration into human society, but again, the humans don't look like they want to extend a hand, so that's that.
For reference, my current character survival hierarchy, as in who do we save first and who is expendable, in order and by category:

-Captured Elins

-The kid and her father
-Our "teammates", maybe

-The human population of the village

-God Thing (because I kind of want to talk to it, and because I gave it funny names.)
Still eagerly following the quest, even if I’ve missed a couple of votes.
The other party members do seem rather abrasive, but we just properly met them, they’re still kids wrapping their heads around how damn dangerous the situation is. It’s just annoying that we’re spending all our first moves in the town together trying to get everyone on the same page, and together, because of splitting the party, which is a consequence of our own actions.

Although, a lot of my favorite parts of the story so far have been outside perspective on Elewyn and Luca, when we were playing as him, with the choices we made. Even if Seo seriously wondering about the legality of killing someone over Izurin rubbed me the wrong way.
Thank you for the votes so far! I'll keep the window open for another ~24 hours before tallying exactly what we have then to get us back on track. The break is being well utilized, and I will use the energy to properly bring this arc to a close.

When it rains, it pours. I do wish you the best of luck with your upcoming busy week!

Seeing that you're still eagerly following the quest, along with such a thorough description of priorities is always a privilege, thank you. It's very true that the situation within the story is at a rather chaotic point as our three human companions are introduced into this new world, and while it wasn't exactly how I initially imagined this meeting, it serves very well to address a painful adjustment to an unfamiliar world that was my goal.

Kicking and screaming are how we all are born into this world.

How you choose to raise/lead these newborns is entirely all of your choices! I won't understate the challenges that I've put forth for you all, and I'm always eagerly looking forward to see how we proceed through those challenges.

Thank you for eagerly following, and don't worry at all for missing any votes!

You've all worked well managing the initial turbulent arrival of our human companions. While I can't make any guarantees about how things may exactly proceed, many hands often make for lighter work.

Outside perspectives are always a fun aside, and I really enjoy utilizing them for adding volume to certain situations. There are certain aspects/choices that have already appeared in the quest that will require significant additional volume, and likely soon(ish).
Thank you all again. I was able to derive a bit of what's important to you, and will keep that close at hand when framing future updates.
Heyo everyone! Back to it in numerous ways, and resuming the usual schedule for updates and voting.

Questioning the treatment/condition of the other patients that we saw in the infirmary.

Update to be posted in about 60-90 minutes!

The grisly images of the patients you witnessed within the infirmary remain affixed in your mind like the fleshy nodules on their skin. Even more distressing was how they were left to wallow and waste in their filthy rooms without any sort of treatment, or at least none that seemed apparent to you. How could this supposed physician reconcile how these afflicted are kept in their suffering with the promises of care she offers for Izurin?

“Wait.” You warily move your arm over Izurin without moving from your position. “The other patients in the infirmary… They were certainly not in any condition that I would consider to be right.” With a sidelong glance, you cautiously keep her in view. “Their bodies looked less than mundane, rather, their bodies looked awful, and their minds seemed even worse. What sort of medicine were you prescribing them?”

Hopefully, the doubt that Elewyn sowed within you hasn’t latched on to your tension to pull you into paranoia.

Olessa uncorks one of the large phials of white pellets with a weary sigh. “Oh, you are naïve, aren’t you?” Without looking at you she moves over to the basin of hot water and scoops fleeting handful after handful of the boiling water in her grasp, carefully letting the droplets of water to gradually fall inside. “Healing isn’t what most consider a picturesque process, far from it. But in reality, blisters, scabs, pustules, buboes, abscesses, all are as natural and beautiful as the pretty skin on your little sister.”

To your surprise the white solid begins to violently foam and steam upon contact with the water, but more importantly, what the hell is she driving at?

“Speak plainly.” Agitation is clear in your voice. “What does this have to do with the condition the other patients?”

She gives the large glass container a slight stir to agitate the frothing contents within and returns to the opposite side of the cot. “Those patients’ bodies are healing. They have been gifted with the ultimate state of healing and the medicine I prescribe is to allow them to fully aware of blessing they are experiencing, so to fully appreciate it. I developed its potency myself, but its use as a stimulant was considered too extreme until I found my calling here.”

Your hand slowly finds its way to the hilt of your sword. “You’re the one responsible for their constant screaming, their constant pain, you quack?”

She stands directly across the cot from you with the foaming glass container in her gangly hand while pulling a new vial from her chest pocket. “Why do so few appreciate what I do? Why is it deemed extreme to want to closely study the way one behaves as the body transforms and heals?”

You pull out enough of your sword to demonstrate the sharpness of the steel. “Do not touch her.”

She continues speaking without acknowledging your weapon. “You don’t know how fortunate you are in this moment. Children especially are spared from so much harm that it’s rare to see them in such a state, and they often perish too quickly when they are in such a plight. Yet beyond the sight, it’s the potential…” Her chest heaves with heavy breaths. “It’s practically intoxicating. We mustn’t let the infection take her. No! Such a delicate and pure creature must be saved and cleaned… to be cut into. Then healed. Violated. Then healed. Maimed. Then healed. Finally, metamorphosized…to be fully healed and we must bear witness to it all.” She calmly stares at the longsword pointed now directed toward her chest. “I wonder about this threat of violence that you’re displaying. Would you enjoy witnessing me bleed upon the clean floor? Does it make your pulse quicken and your hands itch for brutality? I’ve witnessed both men and women turn into beasts at the sight of a bleeding-“

“Enough!” You shout with eyes darting between your sword directed at her chest and the violently foaming phial in her hand that hovers precariously over the cot. “Step back, otherwise… I’ll make you.”

What is this insanity? Are you dreaming something terrible yet again? Without a hint of remorse or guilt she blathered on about such horrid acts. It’s just as Elewyn warned you.

The saliva catches hard in your throat for a moment before you can speak again. “I will protect her…”

In your periphery you can see the door to the room swing open and the familiar dark and dour figure of Byrne slowly step inside with club at the ready.

He gives a weary sigh before speaking. “Step back for your own good, lad. You really won’t enjoy the outcome if you don’t.”

“Impeccable timing as always, Byrne.” Olessa comments without looking away from you. “I can see why Enais relies on you so heavily.”

“We only came here after a few minutes as you requested, but Lady Enais would rather you take a less… antagonistic approach to your patients in the future, Lady Olessa.” He replies tiredly as he takes a few steps forward.
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Now you have him to deal with, and he can fight at that…

Your training begs you to turn to the combatant, but you keep your eyes on the deranged woman standing across the cot. “If you don’t want me to stab her through the chest, I suggest you stop getting closer.”

“She…might enjoy that. We’re not sure.” Byrne does stop and keep his distance. “But our warning was for you and your sister’s sake. We don’t think that glass will hold that lye for much longer.”

You witness Olessa’s expression morph into disappointment. “Oh Byrne… You always had a soft spot for the little ones.” Her long fingers move away from the glass phial, leaving only her thumb and index finger grasping the rim. "Her wounds needed to be cleaned first, and trust me, concentrated lye is quite effective in that regard. She'll soon find out as well, once I rouse her awake, but if you cut me down, we'll all soon witness its efficacy as it spills all over your sister's skin."

This conniving lunatic... You need to act and fast. Somehow while dealing with these two, you need to find a way to escape. The window is an obvious choice, but you know that they have no intention of letting either you or Izurin simply go.


>HP: 28
>LP: 8
>Stamina: 26
>MP: 0

Luca stands with his sword already directed at Olessa, but she currently precariously holds a vial of concentrated lye over Izurin's body. Her focus is on Izurin and administering her stimulant in order to rouse her to consciousness in order for her to fully perceive pain. Byrne has taken advantage of the situation to carefully advance, and fully intends to prevent you from harming Olessa and subdue you.

>Write in movements/actions for Luca.
hooboy, I wonder how much more of this Izurin can take.

>Throwing knives Byrne and the wall behind Olessa
I very much doubt one knife is enough to even stagger her, but she's just looking for an excuse at this point.
>Offensive parry Byrne
we already know he's stronk, and there's not many suprises to come from a mace. Luca's not going to be prepared for exactly HOW strong, but playing it safe with reach won't buy him much for the trouble.
Firslty, we have:

>A table near us
>Two dry towels (near table)
>Two wet towels (in front of us)
>A table a bit far from us
>Another vial of lye (on far table)
>A strange vial of viscous yellow goop (on far table)
>A third vial (on far table)

To start with, our best bet is to use one of the wet towels to reach over the table bat away the vial of lye. I'd like to keep it intact, but what happens happens.
Then we should start moving to the far table with the vials. If we can keep the madwoman away from Izurin and big guy's attention on us, we can work something.
I'd like a confirmation that the towels on the bed next to Izurin are still wet.

>Equip wet towel
>Bat away vial of lye with towel strike over bed
>Move to table with vials

If anyone has a better idea.
I don't think it's a bad idea to let her administer the lye. We can swing with the flat of the blade if we want most of the lye off quickly, but the problem is finishing the job while Byrne is there. I'd rather let her keep the lye instead of coming up with something new to torture Izurin
I'm thinking Izurin's gonna get some pain, no matter what we do. So, first off, eliminate easier target, then go for the lesser target. If we can feign acceptance, and take a half step back, then go for the knives when Olessa turns her attention to Izurin, we might have a chance of taking her out in a single swift stroke. After that, attempting to dispatch Byrne and escape out the window seems like the best moves.
>Take a step back, then Fan of knives to try and headshot Olessa when she looks down
>Engage Byrne, Offensive Parry
Heyo everyone, I hope that your days are all off to a pleasant start.

Thank you for the combat strategies posted so far! I'll be leaving the vote window open for another 2 hours to allow anyone else who'd like to post the opportunity, and then I'll tally/synthesize the plan we have then.
Rolled 7, 2, 1, 7 = 17 (4d10)

The towels are indeed still wet, very sorry that I didn't realize your question sooner.

Alright, here we go. Looking over the strategies we have, we're going to open with a Fanned Blades. Keeping in mind we can hit up to three targets I will divide our targets among: one aiming for Olessa directly, one aiming for Olessa's hand in an attempt to deflect the lye away from Izurin (some will be salvageable even if the container breaks), and one directed at Byrne.

In order to do this, Luca's movement vector will go to the left and back initially, as feint of acceptance. This will give us the space to prepare an offensive parry.

I hope this is an acceptable synthesis for this round. I'll begin the rolls.

Rolling 4d10 for our targets. (The phial of lye, and Byrne. CR: 10 and 6, respectively. Our knife to Olessa directly is a guaranteed hit.)
Rolled 8, 1 = 9 (2d10)

Stamina Cost: 3
Our knives connect to Byrne and Olessa, but miss the phial of lye. Deals flat damage of 4 to both targets.

Rolling 2d10 for Byrne's strike on Luca. (CR: 4) If connected, Offensive Parry will be active which will mitigate 50% of the damage and return 70% of our physical amplification (.7(18) = 13) directed at Byrne.
Rolled 2 (1d10)

Byrne's attack on us will connect, but we will strike back with an offensive parry(Stamina Cost: 6). Olessa will act independently after the knife makes impact.

Underhander prompts automatically afterward. Rolling 1d10 for chance of bleed. (1-4 are bleed.)
Stamina Cost: 2

>Writing outcome!
Update to be posted in about 90 minutes!

You can assure yourself that fending off more than one opponent is nothing new to you, you’ve developed your knife throwing skills such a purpose, after all. Yet, the utter calmness of your enemies’ malicious intent, the tighter quarters of the indoors whose very structure seems hostile, and Izurin helplessly lying in the center of it all sets your nerves horribly on edge much like your first excursion with your grandfather.

Somehow, his ever-present scowl would be a welcome sight, much more if it was accompanied by his blade. Unfortunately, he’s not here, but your own hands were honed by his tutelage. Within their reach lie all of your weapons. Now it’s only a matter of disguising your intent to grasp those weapons…

The tightness of your jaw nearly restricts your words as you pull your sword back with a feint of frustrated resignation and move it to your left hand. “So long as you don’t hurt her…” You strategically pace backward, boots squeaking slightly on the tile. to bring both of your targets into full view.

By your hand, the thin blades. By your hand, you’ll use them to protect her.

Olessa observes your withdrawal with the same disappointment as before. The foaming within the glass phial reaches the brim. “You truly are committed to squandering opportunity after opportunity, but I will not do the same.” With her free hand she begins to uncork the small dark vial of stimulant with spider-like dexterity.

“Lady Olessa…” Byrne rebukes wearily. “Both Lady Enais and the Archon would appreciate these last crucial days to be as incident free as possible.”

Finally...you're in position. One knife straight for her, one knife for her hand carrying the lye to keep her from hurting Izurin, and one for the enforcer… Hopefully the blade can find her throat like it did with the mother you encountered on your brutal journey here…

They… That suffering family…

“If you truly wish to stop me, Byrne, you need only do what you do so well. I’m certain that I’d be on the floor writhing in the exhilarating response of nociception in a matter of seconds.” She sighs wistfully.

The starving bandits…

“Alas, while I revel in imagination, I sense that I will not witness such a thing to pass from your hand.” Her eyes lock onto your own. “But you… This is going to make her suffer very, very much, and she will be awake for it all. You won’t have to imagine that.”

The caustic foam spills onto her hand, already dissolving the exterior layer of skin.


Everything was by your hand. Were you only a fish swimming into a trap this whole time?

“NO!” Your voice breaks with irrepressible fury as you heave your body to fling the thin blades with vicious strength.

The blades glint in the air for but a fraction of a second before slamming into flesh, and unfortunately stone. The first sinks into Olessa’s stomach, sending her reeling back with the two containers still tightly held in her spindly grasp.

You unintentionally exerted too much force for the second blade to reach her hand, and instead it clangs loudly off the metal fixtures on the back wall, as the third makes impact in the leg of the enforcer who’s hardly slowed by the pain at all.

Your rapid attack has afforded you with barely enough time to raise your dirk in preparation for the strike from Byrne’s savage club. The initial impact rattles your entire body and painfully buckles your wrist back. It is only from the dogged thoroughness of your grandfather’s training that your able to find the angle to twist your dagger and send the inhuman force away from you. As you do, you follow the momentum to lash out with your longsword in your off hand.

His large frame is roughly deflected to the side, and as your blade slices into his side, a blast of wooden shrapnel explodes around you both as the remaining force of Byrne’s attack demolishes the nearby wooden table.

Before he can recover from the unexpected riposte, you lunge at his staggered figure and commit to cutting a long line across his back with your dirk, and are just able to fall back without slipping on the wooden shards, before he makes your chin the site of an air-shaking underhand swipe.

“We don’t blame you, Klein.” He groans with his long hair hiding his face before straightening his bleeding body. Dark eyes lock onto you with cold lethal intent. “But we have a job to do.”

A pleased sigh is emitted to your left as Olessa stumbles back to the cot with blood leaking from her mouth. “Allow me share in this feeling…” You’re unable to step away from the enforcer as she forcefully pours the stimulant into Izurin’s nasal passage. Immediately after, she slathers the caustic lye onto the infected wounds of her limp arms.

Oh no…
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Your stomach plummets as you witness Izurin arise with a sudden jolt. The towel falls away from the top of her head, as deliriously sits up, blinking deeply to the sudden light coming in her eyes, and her animal ears flexing each time she clenches her eyes.

A gasp comes from both Byrne and Olessa, surprised and delighted, respectively at the sight of discovering the Elin.

It isn’t long before Izurin’s fevered gaze falls upon your own deeply concerned expression. As her watery blue eyes study you, her head wobbles as the stimulant fights against her body’s desire for rest.

As you see a tired smile form on her face, you recall the time you first met her, obliviously standing in the frigid cold stream for who knows how long. She doesn't notice the fading bubbling dissolution of her infected wounds as they are harshly cleaned by the lye. But she does take note of her nudity before turning a deep red at the realization and desperately clutching for the blanket and clumsily falling to the ground without fully securing her target. She struggles to free the blanket from under her body.

"W-what is wrong with you?!" Olessa shrieks as she receives nothing of the response she desired from the Elin. "My fingers burn from the touch of this, and it's all over your arms!"

Byrne glaces to the side at the woman losing her composure before sighing deeply once again. "We ought to finish you off, lad, before this gets out of hand. Don't think the same trick will work twice." He glances down at small scrambling figure on the ground, hastily wrapping the cloth around her frame. "Stay out of the way, little one. We're not allowed to hurt you anymore, as you're much too valuable. Your supposed brother on the other hand..."

Izurin's ears twitch at his threat toward you and after she finishes concealing her bare form, she begins staring up at the much larger enforcer down without a shred of fear. "I won't let you hurt him."

Your eyes begin water surely from the lye vapor in the air. "You're a fool. I'm the one who's protecting you here."


>HP: 22
>LP: 8
>Stamina: 15
>MP: 0

Izurin has awoken after being forcibly dosed with Olessa's stimulant, and the dynamic of the encounter has shifted. While Byrne has stated that they themselves can no longer harm her, her capture is still a definite concern, and her body still desperately needs rest.

After the initial exchange of blows, Byrne came away with numerous injuries and bleeds steadily from his back, but he's still quite able to maintain his composure to fight. On the other hand, Olessa has lost her usual poise at Izurin's strange lack of response to pain, and there's no telling what she might do, despite Byrne's warning.

With Izurin's wounds cleaned, escape should be your priority. Hopefully your allies are close at hand...

>Write in movements/actions for Luca and Izurin(optional).
Is any of the lye within Izurins reach? Or does she have enough dripping from her body to splash?
That went much better than expected. Izurin is safe. Byrne can be relegated as a secondary issue due to his bleed and his obligation to only target Luca. I say it's time to shank the crazy doctor. I'm not really sure she's a doctor, though.

>Luca tells Izurin to back away and towards the west wall.
I don't want her in range of the doc, and that doctor's bag looks like it has sharp things in it. Maybe she could find something to throw ?
>Luca moves (over the table) to put the doc between Byrne and him.
>Luca strikes at the doc with his sword.

Byrne can be easily kept at bay with our 90% damage reduction for longsword parrys, while he is on a 5-6 death timer from bleed. The doc is the unknown variable, and worse, could try and hurt Izurin.
After some consideration, I will say that there is just enough to be splashed, but it needs to be scraped off and collected by hand (or otherwise) first.
But does the doctor still have more lye on her?
Olessa still has the partly filled phial of lye within her grasp. However the integrity of the container is suspect.
"I won't let you hurt him"- Izurin you are so sweet sometimes.
We really don't have THAT much stamina for fighting, but hopefully we've got enough to go for the window, where in theory, help would be.
>Tell Izurin to go for the window
>Disengage around the table, threaten Olessa again to get try and get Byrne to back off. If he doesn't, go for Focused Slash on Olessa to put her down, decisively.
Hopefully the importance of giving her medical attention beats out trying to fight us. She may enjoy pain, but perhaps her body only has so much blood to bleed.
So I assume that Izurin knows how to be lethal, but not how to deal with an uncooperative partner.

>topple the table and use it to ram Olessa into the wall, hopefully shattering the vial in the process

>Charge into Byrne and get some globs of lye on his eyes through physical contact

The sanctuary have taken great pains to avoid actually touching Elin and their magic. I'm starting to wonder why.
Heyo everyone, I do hope that all of your weeks have been going smoothly!

Thank you all for your thorough combat plans, for this update and previous ones.This is just a quick post from me that I'll be leaving the voting window open for another 2 hours before tallying/synthesizing what we have. Be back soon!
Rolled 8, 3 = 11 (2d10)


Starting with Izurin, we have two votes for falling back, so I'll have her move toward the window, checking for an object she can throw, and making sure to stay out of contact of Olessa.

Luca is more difficult to synthesize, but: Luca to hop over the cot and ram into Olessa with intent to knock the vial out of her grasp and shatter it. He'll threaten to attack Olessa if Byrne doesn't back off, otherwise strike at her with a focused slash.

A single 2d10 roll is needed for a different type of attack from Byrne to Luca. (CR 9, highly increased for difficult maneuver.)
Byrne will execute his skill successfully. Luca will still be able to attack Olessa.

>Writing outcome!
Rolled 7 (1d10)

Forgot to include the skill costs/roll!

>Focused Slash with longsword (Stamina Cost: 4)
Total Physical Amplification 12+6 = 18
Bleed...Will still roll 1d10 to see if bleed activates. (1=bleed)

>Now writing outcome
Update to be posted in about 90 minutes!

Relieved as you are to see Izurin up and about, you know better than to assume that her condition is any less grave despite her activity. Unhindered by law or desire for repeat business, Olessa’s stimulant could surely outcompete the Velika alchemists’ awakening potions, but as Seo often reminds you, everything has its cost.

Before chancing what may happen after the effects of the stimulant wear away, you must make your escape and find Elewyn. If she was right about the threat of the Sanctuary, then maybe her magic…

Fine! If it means having help navigating through this macabre insanity, you will put aside your pride. The window is your best means of escape, but first you will need to deal with these two and find an opening to make your way closer.

“Stay behind me!” You shout to Izurin as you carefully advance with deliberate steps, thrusting your longsword at Byrne to keep him at a distance. Strangely, the injured enforcer allows you to push his bleeding body back without any resistance other than deflecting, until he notices that Izurin is no longer within either of your range. At that moment, he slams against your weapon with such force that you feel the impact in your teeth.

As you both exchange probing attacks, you catch Olessa, in the briefest of glances, still visibly incensed at the ruined potential for a display of suffering. Her body quakes as she looks upon her shaking and burning hands, with the lye still bubbling over. Intermittently, she jerks forward from her core, as if something deep inside her rails against her frame.

With one arm securing the blanket around her, Izurin dutifully rushes back towards the wall, keenly observing your clash with Byrne until she bumps into the metal table. Surprised, she turns back to find upon a tool bag upon the surface, and immediately reaches with her free injured arm to secure heavy or pointed objects to hurl in Byrne’s direction at every opening she can find.

Most of the clumsily thrown projectiles miss, a few rebound from his chest without him registering their impact, but a heavy set of pliers strikes squarely upon his forehead, causing him to recoil and wearily wince with a deep sigh. With a thin trickle of blood pouring down his face, he patiently turns to Izurin as if to admonish her for simple mischievousness.

Sheathing your dirk, you take full advantage of the distraction to gain a better position for escape, and with a sudden burst of speed you vault over the cot. While your blade is held carefully half-sword, you slam your mass into Olessa’s injured stomach with your boot, and watch the crimson fluid squelch upon your leg. Her thin body crumples helplessly against your weight onto the hard floor, sending the glass containers in her hand against the wall to break in a cloud of white.

You don’t know if it’s easier to slash at her defenseless body because of her grotesque intentions for Izurin, or it you’re simply growing numb to the act of attacking another human. You don’t care. If she enjoys the pain as your sharpened steel slashes against her already bloodied abdomen, tearing open both dark cloth and pale skin to reveal her purple insides, you don’t care. Her body only has so much blood to bleed.

“Blissssssss!” She hisses through red-stained teeth, as she pushes against the floor with the tips of her toes and her long fingers to thrust her midsection high into the air as if gleefully presenting a sacrificial offering.

“You absolute fool.”

The sound of Byrne's voice causes you to hastily turn. In that moment, you see his club rising upward and pivot back to avoid having your head separated from your neck. It's too late when you catch the descending glass container and understand why it was so easy to dodge his attack. A burst of glass and unknown chemical explodes in your eyes, causing searing and immediate pain as you lose sight of the room.

Disoriented and in agony you scramble back with your sword held defensively in front of your face. The excruciating abrasiveness within your eyes, the sounds of bare feet running atop the tile near you, the smell and taste of the pungent and burning chemical, your eyes and nose watering helplessly, all of your remaining senses are overwhelmed as you desperately try to force your eyes open.

Then, wet sounds of meat heavily hitting the tile, and a low inhuman growling that sends chills down your back.

"WITNESSSSSSS" A guttural combination of Olessa's usual feminine voice with a deep horrid throaty rasp causes everything within the room to reverberate and shake.
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"We warned you." Byrne's voice shouts out above the primal noise. "Stand aside already, Elin! We can't protect you from your own foolish bravery."

"W-what's happening?" You're able to ask beyond the pain, and take a few fleeting glances at the floor immediately around you and spot the back of Izurin's legs in front of you. "Get out of the way."

"She's turning inside out, and something is coming out of her and growing." Izurin's soft voice responds firmly in front of you. "And no to both of you, I'm staying here."

Impossible. What the hell does Izurin mean by 'turning inside out,' and why is she so stubborn as to not move?!

The sound of a solid thump against the glass emanates from your left, then a deep wet chittering as hard objects begin to roughly click against the ground.

"Someone is throwing snow against the window..." Izurin calls back to you, sounding distracted at whatever is unfolding in front of you. "She's getting closer, so I'll keep you safe."

Your injured eyes can only catch the briefest and clouded outlines of towering fleshy red standing before the small Elin. "Don't be a fucking fool!" You shout as you blindly ready your sword.

Another thump from outside, but what are they trying to signal to you. Regardless, what can anyone do to help you while this terrible thing is so close? You need to find a way to protect Izurin as you promised you would.


>HP: 19
>LP: 8
>Stamina: 10
>MP: 0

Luca can hardly fight in his condition, and while escape is painfully close, this unknown creature will have to be distracted or dealt with in some way before he and Izurin are free of the infirmary.

>Write in movements/actions for Luca and Izurin(optional).
So he had his own vial?

I would REALLY like that potion of grease right about now.

Elewyn surely must've heard that, but I can't figure out why snow is being thrown at the window. There's no reason to gale up to the top of the building, right?

>Pass Izurin a potion of warming if we have it
>Throw the Alertness potion at Olessa, if we have it
Increase sensitivity and glass shards are glass shards

So uh, Luca's dead if we have Izurin go up the window first. I'm seriously thinking about staying on the defensive and trying to clear up vision. Elewyn better be coming because our boy here is screwed.
>Luca moves to smash the window, with his sword, then tries to fend off any attacks from Olessa
Get the window open, so either outside help comes in, or Izurin goes out. Don't know how large said window is, but Luca's probably screwed if it's not large enough. Although I'm loath to abandon him, because if he dies, Seo and Misha are probably going "Nope, we're out" to anything Elewyn says.
As for cleaning his eyes, warm water to flush it out is the best way, but under the present circumstances, probably not going to happen in the next 10 seconds, before Olessa goes after us. Although, maybe Izurin could find a waterskin somewhere for us? If she isn't going out the window, anyways.

We can pass out potions and nonsense when we're out of the present hellhole, although Warming for Izurin sounds like a good idea. Not sure if the Alertness potion really works that way, might be ingesting-only, not skin contact for effects. Also, blindly throwing stuff is a difficult proposition.
The point of the alertness is that even if you do have to drink it, the glass aoe will be more useful than throwing a knife.

do we need to smash the window? Won't that just scratch izurin up when she tries to get through?
Heyo everyone, I hope that you're all doing well today! Looking ahead at another set of busier than usual days. (But I'm about to start interviewing for new jobs next week, shhh)

Anyway, I'll be leaving the voting window open for another 2 hours before tallying/synthesizing what we have. Please feel free to post if you haven't done so already!

The alertness effect of the potion wouldn't activate unless ingested and it would be over the course of a few minutes. However, glass is indeed effective as you all are experiencing, but it would need to make successful impact which would be especially difficult if Luca were to throw it.

Smashing the window can be done safely so long as no one is immediately on the windowsill.
I agree.

Get the escape route open and hold with the 90% parry. Hopefully, we can still see the attack coming, tank it and get out next turn.

Also, maybe try and use the sheet on the table we can barely see. Try and throw it at whatever monstruosity Olessa is becoming.

>Throw table sheet/towel at Olessa
>Move to window
>Smash window
>Engage Defensive Parry and Riposte.
> Pray ?

Alright synthesizing what we have: Keeping mostly on the defensive, Izurin to move back and secure something to flush Luca's eyes while he uses the cot to smash the window and then tosses it in the direction of Olessa to fend off attacks. From there, Luca will do his best to defensively parry and riposte whatever attack may be coming and hold the path open for escape while hoping for additional help. Warming potion and something to clear Luca's eyes after if the opportunity presents itself.

I'm not going to pretend that being mostly blinded is not a terribly disadvantageous status. So, no roll for the attack of Olessa on Luca, as he's in no state to dodge. Also, I'm going to reduce the damage reduction to 60% for the defensive parry as the execution will not be nearly as clean as if Luca could fully see, and Underhander in this specific case will not activate.

>Defensive Parry and Riposte
Stamina Cost 6:
Damage Reduction: 60%
Physical Amplification: 0.4(12+2)(dirk attacking)=6

>Writing outcome!
Alright Luca, time to see how those blindfolded fighting lessons went.

On a slightly different tack, Seo going in through the front door and applying Mace to anything moving, while Elewyn goes through the window and tries to stall is sounding more and more appealing.

This…mutation of Olessa is making me want to leave no survivors, and torch the bodies. Hell, put this whole building up in flames, damn the patients.
Phew, finally back and will have the update posted in about 90 minutes!

Focus through the pain and assess what you need do to survive and protect this little fool… Focus!

If both of you must escape through the window, it will need to be quick and you’re unsure if the glass opens wide enough to fit your whole body. Izurin would most certainly be able to pass through, and it would be so easy to protectively wrap her in the blanket and toss into the snow and to safety. If only she would ever allow such a thing. Her stubbornness makes the chance of her cooperating with such a plan as likely as you fitting through the window without breaking it…

Alright, that’s something you can work toward. The window frame is an entirely different story with regards to accommodating your frame.

Then, what do you recall within the room that you can use to shatter the glass?

The image of the vacant cot that you leapt over fills your mind as you try to recall the distance between its structure and yourself.

About three long paces to your front-right, but first getting Izurin out of the way…

You move two steps directly forward and firmly plant your hand atop the head and animal ears of the Elin guarding you. “If you’re not going to listen to me and run, then help me get something for my eyes!” You roughly give her a reason to move behind yourself as she yelps in surprise at you touching her other ears.

Once her feet patter against the ground behind you, you blindly swing your longsword in a long, horizontal arcs in front of you to cover your desperate advance toward the cot. As quickly as your arms can muster, you sheathe your sword before kneeling in front of the wooden cot to awkwardly scoop it upward with your arms.

It's heavier than Izurin and causes your bruised arms to throb in pain from the unwieldy weight. As you stand, the intense irritation in your eyes makes balance a difficult endeavor, but you’re able to spring to your feet hoisting the cot in front of you as a barrier to the unseen threat. Then, after rapidly shuffling toward the delicate glass, you feel it burst easily against your makeshift ram bringing the frigid air into the room. The shattered glass scatters to the outside in a harsh hazardous hail, sinking within the snow outside.

“It’s close!” Izurin warns from behind you, drawing your attention back to the fleshy creature.

The sharp cold is suddenly contrasted by a towering moist heat that looms over your tall head. A deep desire for self-preservation drives you as you throw the cot with all the force your body can muster in front of you.

The creature that was once Olessa howls in incensed pain as the heavy wooden object crashes into her body. You immediately sense it lunge forward to attack you and instinctively draw your weapons in a deeply defensive stance.

“Your face!” Izurin’s sudden voice serves to guide your arms. “No!...Let go!”

“We’re keeping you from seeing a terrible sight, trust us!” Byrne’s voice shouts from the same direction as Izurin.

“Let her g-” You blindly raise your longsword in time to encounter an intense strike directed for your very face. Your watchful eyes that you would use to guide how to twist your weapon in this fleeting moment are closed off to you now. Instead, in this ephemeral slice of crucial time, there was only subtle direction of the pressure that allowed you to deflect a portion of the brutal attack away from your face and scrape against the fuming creature with your dirk.

The partially deflected force makes abrupt impact into your body, and your sword falls from your hand, as you can no longer grip it closed.

“Ah…” You gasp as you feel several sharp objects puncture the meat of your shoulder, radiating a hot pinching torment from the site. The sticky heat of your own blood falls upon your chest and arm as you frantically try to overpower your powerful assailant with little success.

Beautiful...” Olessa coos in her twisted voice as the sharp weapons twist in your arm causing you to scream beyond gritted teeth.

Izurin's panicked and muffled cry laments your condition.

Are you… Is this it? Everything hurts so much, and your mind can’t focus on any way to save yourself. But you so desperately want to be saved.


"More...suffering." Olessa's body shifts as if to strike you again.

You don’t want to die. You don’t want her to die. Someone…

As you blindly raise your dirk to in the desperate hope to block any other attack, you suddenly find yourself falling to the ground as the puncturing weapons are pulled away from your body.

Somehow, a gale of powerful wind surges forward from the window, tearing the frightful creature away from you.

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With no other choice, you descend into the infirmary room once again. "I'll commend you for protecting her so far, but now I'll take over now. Rest." You tell the heavily injured young human as you keep your attention fixed upon the new towering flesh beast looming within the room.

This flesh fiend appears to be the fusion of a skinless woman and man, with limbs and torsos blending seamlessly with one another. A seemingly unaffected pair of gangly hands appear distinctly inhuman with their length and juxtaposed onto the red meat. The exposed flesh bleeds from the belly and one of the arms as it leers at you beyond soulless eyes.

Crunching glass beneath her boots, Seo descends from the windowsill behind you with a horrified gasp at both the flesh fiend and Luca. She still chooses to rushe toward him and kneels to check on his wounds. "You really are helpless without me...but I'm here now." With growing agitation she gives his hand a firm squeeze before rising and then tightly gripping her mace for combat. "Elly, let's punish these monstrous freaks."

"You..." Byrne eyes your frame with visible contempt. "Lady Enais wishes to speak at length about your interference..."

Izurin struggles against Byrne's firm grasp. "Help him! Please!" She entreats you to see after Luca despite her own severe wounds.
Just putting it out there, Brynes the one most likely to retreat and provide information, so he's getting the Sundowning
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Amused, you let out a long sigh. "Trust me, you all have my attention." You position yourself to face both the flesh fiend and the Sanctuary enforcer with your staff at the ready. "Now, allow me to give you all my response."


HP: 11
LP: 15
Stamina: 15
MP: 28

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 28
MP: 0

HP: 6
LP: 8
Stamina: 0
MP: 0

Despite getting the upper hand in the end, both the flesh fiend and the Sanctuary enforcer appear to have sustained heavy injuries in their fight with Luca. Byrne appears to be in the worse condition of the two, as he bleeds steadily from his back, but his demeanor is calm indicating he yet has a plan. The flesh fiend handles the pain with a strange aura of enjoyment, but it's certainly not immune to attacks.

Your side has Izurin and especially Luca to worry about, but both you and Seo are in prime fighting shape.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Izurin(optional and limited until she escapes Byrne's grasp).
>Sundowning Bryne and get Luca into fighting condition

>Limb Smash the flesh fiend and general setup for a combo attack

Can she poke Bryne's eyes out or something while he's stunned?
>Seo occupies Olessa with a limb smash
>Elewyn casts Sundowning on Bryne, attempts to grab Luca's sword to finish Bryne off.- Alternatively, toss Izurin a dagger so she can do it herself
>Izurin attempts to get herself free, and disarm Bryne when he's stunned

I would rather spend our actions on trying to eliminate one of the threats, rather than getting Luca up
Bryne's probably got a smaller health pool, and as mentioned is more likely to run if things go poorly for them, so he's first target.
I agree with the reasoning. Luca doesn't look like he's Bleeding, and even if he did, we're looking at 4-5 HP a turn, so he's in the clear for now.
We should focus Byrne, but Elewyn only has 28 MP, so we'll need to be crafty. Knowing that Sundowning both stuns and damages Sanctuary beasts, I want to save our mana for that. That stool in front of him should help.

>Elewyn casts a directionnal Gale to fling the stool at Byrne. Aiming for the head would be best, but a leg will do.
>Seo uses the distraction to limb smash the arm holding Izurin
>Izurin tries to run and get herself near Luca in the corner.

Olessa has free reign, but with Seo in contact with Bryne and Izurin either near them or next to Luca, she'll go for Elewyn. Even if she hits, she'll eat a point blank Sundowning next turn, and this should put a dent in Byrne.
Though for the future, we maybe should test if Sundowing a target has any repulsive effect on nearby fleshbeasts.
Heyo everyone, good work making it to the end of the work week, and I hope that you all have restful and fun weekends planned ahead of you!

Today is going to be a rather hectic day filled with meetings, so the voting window will be open for a good bit longer today. Although, I do always enjoy checking in and seeing the thorough set of tactics that come out of combat especially. I'll be back to tally and synthesize what we have for strategies in about 3 and a half hours. See you then!

To a traditionally stunned individual (in the context of our quest), absolutely.

>we maybe should test if Sundowing a target has any repulsive effect on nearby fleshbeasts.
Testing, while risky, could develop new usages for spells. (Especially if that spell has been extensively used in a particular arc.)
Thank you for those two very important piece of information, QM. I'll need to change my vote due to them
Izurin getting a free shot at Byrne negates the need to send Seo over, meaning she can focus on Olessa. Elewyn should get some experimenting done with Sundowning, but we should try and warn our allies. Seo is in whisper range, so a simple "look away from the staff and get that thing while I distract them" should be good.
For Izurin, we don't want to accidentally warn Byrne, so I'm going to ask: just what language do Elins learn back when they're young in Pola Elinu, away from non-Elins ? Because we should be the only two to understand it,allowing us to sidestep the issue and just yell at her to close her eyes.

>Elewyn to warn her allies about the Sundowing. Seo with a whisper, Izurin using the Elin's first language.
>Elewyn to Sundown Byrne, and maybe push a couple more point of mana to mess with the more sensitive Olessa, even though she isn't the first target ?
>Seo to follow up on Olessa with Limb smash.
>Izurin to escape Byrne grasp, and either attack any weak point with nearby wood splinters or retreat to Luca.
>Luca to think happy thoughs and ignore the flesh monster nightmares.
>what language do Elins learn back when they're young in Pola Elinu, away from non-Elins ?

To be honest, I don't believe this has been extensively addressed in the game lore, so I'll give my own interpretation, by synthesizing the parts I do recall.

Every race at some point in the past of this world would have had its own language, with the most prominent language that humans use being the fill in for common for trade and such. (That is all I remember from the game.) As time progressed in our setting, the prominence of human language as the standard would have increased substantially alongside their influence. This occurs to the point that even non-humans use it as their primary and often only language, as their influence heavily waned.

Elewyn would know how to speak the original Elin(Popori) language, but younger Elin would not for the most part, other than understanding a few very common phrases. While this is the dominating trend for Elin, everyone is unique, of course. Backgrounds and occupations should be weighed as well.

I hope this helped!
Let's hope Izurin's library activities paid off, or that "close" and "eyes" are common enough words. Let's maybe no try a complete sentence, just those two words should be enough.

It's interesting that a species with an average lifespan only dragged down from virtual immortality by violent deaths would lose so much in such comparatively little time. I suppose the general decay of magical species has had a hand in this, unfortunately.
It also makes me wonder about Elin "Elders". Those that either don't feel the pull away from Pora Elinu or more interestingly, those who come back after a century or two of adventuring, once their non-Elin friends are dead or retired. I wonder what happened to them.
If anything, the fact that an almost mythical character like Elewyn has survived the waning of magic should mean that "lesser" Elins should be less affected. It sounds weird, but while no new Elins are born, probably due to insufficient mana concentration in Pora Elinu, the few young ones we saw are in good health. So an Elin who hasn't moved from Pora Elinu in a few centuries should still be fine.

Excuse the rambling, I'm just theory crafting. If anything, we may find surprisingly relevant answers here.
Rolled 10, 9, 1, 4 = 24 (4d10)

Alright, let's pull together these tactics: Starting off with the most straight forward

Seo to use Limb Smash on the flesh fiend.
Stamina Cost:6
30% chance for reduction and physical amplification.

Izurin to attempt to free herself from Byrne's grasp, gouge/attack him with nearby sword/other weapon if possible, and head to Luca afterward.

(Insight risk) Elewyn to move such that the flesh fiend and Byrne are within the same vector of her staff. Then give subtle advanced warning of the Sundowning to our allies via whispering and different language and to target Byrne primarily, but also the flesh fiend. Moving afterward to be in position to heal Luca.
MP Cost: 10

I hope that this synthesized well all the plans you all so carefully outlined.

Now for the rolling:

Rolling 4d10, (CR 15 for each pair) for the flesh fiends attacks on Elewyn to begin as she attempts to use Sundonwing in a new manner.
Rolled 1 (1d10)

One quick attack from the flesh fiend lands on Elewyn, but she'll still be able to execute her new version of Sundowning.

No rolls needed for Seo as her attack automatically connects. Still rolling 1d10 for debuff chance. (1-3 will activate debuff.)
Evasion and physical amplification debuff is active!

"Byrne" will not be executing an attack this round, so Izurin will be free to act accordingly.

>Writing outcome!
Back home and feeling a bit more worn out than usual. I'm going to nap for a couple hours before writing the rest of the update, so it'll be a bit later than usual for the update.

Thanks as always for your patience!

From the shattered portal behind you, dusk bleeds onto this otherworldly clash within the Sanctuary’s supposed infirmary. The final flaring streaks of sunlight stretch beyond the hazed horizon to shades of crimson, ochre, and vibrant watery blues falling upon form and overturned furniture. Riding alongside these waves of multi-colored illumination, the intense cold noisily rushes in to greedily drink from all founts of moist heat billowing from heaving and light-dyed flesh and skin alike. Within this confluence, the fine down on the back of your limbs to stand on edge as you observe all components and opponents within the portal.

Disparity. It’s a fundamental truth that there is great potential to be found within it. After all, it was small sources of radiant light and profound dark, combined, that so long ago led everything to change. Today, right now, there must be something of that old world within the powdery cold air rushing at your back. You sense a long-lost surge within the mana cycling through you and your staff, and it impels you to act upon it.

Young Luca will have to wait for a little while longer. One of these two ought to play the role of doting savior, as now you’re going to do your utmost to help eliminate these threats as quickly as possible and keep them from fleeing.

Your gaze settles upon the small, but crucial space between the towering monstrosity and the wall.

“Stay back until I tell you.” Your soft whisper to Seo precedes your burst of speed as you charge directly at the multi-limbed flesh fiend.

Gasping in delight, the creature is briefly caught by surprised at your sudden approach. ”YOUR PRETTY FACE, I WANT TO PEEL IT OFF!” It quickly settles to respond to your risky maneuver by slashing its lengthy claws at your encroaching form. ”THEN LOOK AT ME!”

How grotesque that it can still manage to speak. You’ll unfortunately have to endure this hit to get into the proper positioning, but you’re certainly not going to give it the chance to touch your face.

Watching its fearsome claw swing down in an attempt cleave your face from your head, you leap off the tile while twisting toward the targeted opening at your left. As you move through the air, the bony claws easily scrape through the fabric of your clothing to viciously rake against the skin on the back of left shoulder.

Ah, and you went through so much effort to mend your coat and arm today…

The sharp pulses of pain cause you to land slightly unsteadily, but you roughly push back against the wall and take aim at the enforcer holding a struggling Izurin within his grasp and invoke your mana toward your staff.

”Get down and stay away from the light.” The old world is truly coursing within you as you immediately warn Izurin in the nearly lost Popori language to keep your plan hidden from the enforcer.
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Her animal ears perk up at your command, and she promptly ducks downward to Byrne’s surprise, and it’s too late for him to avoid your magic.

The flickering motes of light already form around the enforcer’s body as the flesh fiend smoothly turns like a snake to thrust her spear-like hand at your chest.

Anticipating the strike, you easily sidestep the deadly blow, and now position the creature within the path of your debilitating spell. Pleased, you watch as the shimmering spell extends to the hostile creature and its massive, fused form locks in impotent frustration as you smirk directly at its face.

It screeches as deep grooves begin to form between its female and male torso, with foamy black degradation bubbling within the cracks.

“Now, Seo.” You move away from the decomposing fiend and allow Seo to rush in for her attack.

Using her attack as a conduit for emotions that would be unfitting for her to express otherwise, she moves in with cold and calculated steps with a target on the flesh fiend already clearly in her mind. Her heavy weapon rises behind her head, a heavily impending strike that looms with the weight of a boulder at the very edge of a cliff. But instead of simply falling downward, she skillfully levers the bulbous metal to brutally crash and snap directly into the blood-stained arm that had pierced inside of Luca. With stunning precision, the limb cracks with a heavy snap and meaty thud. Seo uses both hands to recover the mace and position herself between the creature and Luca staring it down with enraged vibrant eyes.

Suddenly able to pull herself free, Izurin clumsily stumbles backward onto the ground, seemingly losing strength her legs, as she wearily watches Byrne double over from your spell and land head first upon the ground. His long black hair sticks to the tile as his back begins to quake independently of the rest of his body. “Ahh, we can’t control it anymore. Shit.... We’re, we, we… I’m sorry…my lady.” His voice comes through clenched teeth and clearly in pain. For one final moment of serenity, Byrne manages to strain his head upward to gaze beyond the broken window with bubbling black decay leaking from his eyes. “I’m so sorry, little one. I. Can’t. Make. It. For. Your…”

A sudden burst of flesh erupts from the wound on his back. ”BIRTH! It shrieks hatefully.

Each violent explosion is born into the cold air with loathsome voices as Byrne’s body is overtaken and transformed by the twisted flesh visages of skulls and meaty arms until most of his body has been mutated into a hulking amalgamation of dark flesh.
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Izurin immediately crawls away from the creature and heads toward Luca's battered form. Along the way, she secures a small basin of water and with difficulty drags along with her. As she reaches his body she quickly pours the water into Luca's eyes to wash them and then turns to face the flesh-shamble that was once Byrne, placing herself between Luca and the creature.

In defense, her arms sluggishly lift the handle of the longsword off the ground, but they can't muster the strength to raise the tip of the sword as well.

Finally, you return back to the center of the blood-stained room with your back stinging intensely, feeling your blood soak into your shirt and coat.

You sigh deeply. Cyrene and Grygas would think you a glutton for pain if you showed up to the tavern in this condition. Well, you'll have ensure that you all make it out of here first. You turn to Luca who's beginning to rouse and groan in deep pain. "You don't know the kind of debt you're going into from all of this."

"...everything costs." He winces from the ground and blinking in his surroundings, still slightly blinded. "Let's hurry this along to keep me from owing any more, shall we?" He strains to rise to his feet and then gazes in pain upon the form that Byrne transformed into and sighs sadly. "Even you..."


HP: 3
LP: 15
Stamina: 12
MP: 18

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 22
MP: 0

HP: 6
LP: 8
Stamina: 9
MP: 0

This fierce battle has mounted to heavy injuries on both sides, but both enemies are stunned this round giving you the clear upper hand. However, Izurin is quickly losing energy and is no longer able to perform actions for combat.

The flesh fiend that was once Olessa has sustained extremely heavy injuries and appears to be close to death, and the fleshamble that was once Byrne has suffered heavy injuries but remains still able to fight and is no longer bleeding. The path to slaying them is clear, but there's no telling what might happen as you sever them to pieces.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Luca.
Seo's debuffs would be welcome on Bryne, but he's too far. We should finish the Olessa so the combo attack will have less risks.

>Head Crush Olessa and finish the job

>Fanned Blades as many skulls on Bryne as he can manage
I expect that he'll split off into multiple creatures if we go for the kill now. If only we had a flammenwerfer. Every adventuring party should have a flammenwerfer.

>Back up for some heal duty. Izurin or Luca, either way a Gale is not going to help kill these things faster, and defense buff can wait for after the stun.
Goodbye, Byrne. As far as humans go, you weren't a complete asshole. Thanks for that, I guess. May you find peace and answers in the beyond.


Having Fanned Blades target heads as separate enemies is an interesting prospect. As it stands, Luca is 4 stamina points short of Pursuer. I'm not certain he can regenerate anymore, so finishing off Byrne with that may already be a moot point.
Olessa is wide open for the Head Crunch, so I'm with you there
If we're having Luca take care of Byrne, he needs HP. Izurin is not at death's door, and healing won't change the fact that the potion is wearing off. She's out of this fight, and we can take care of her later. I'll admit, keeping Elewyn on 3HP scares me a little, with her being our only healer.
Sundowning is still our most potent tool. Using a 8MP greater heal is as far as I would go, but a regular one would work and leave us with a bit more MP. As it stands, we'll need to ration every bit to get everyone stable as fast as possible.
But first, let's give Luca what he most desires.

>Elewyn to use normal healing light on Luca
>Seo to use Head Crush to finish Olessa.
>Luca to target Byrne-thing's heads with Fanned blades.

If the heads aren't a valid multi-target, then he should throw a knife at Olessa, just for revenge and good measure.
Heyo everyone, and welcome to the weekend! This check in is a decent bit later than usual as I had fallen back asleep after getting work done early this morning.

Anyway, thank you for the posts so far, and I will keep the vote window open for about another hour and half before tallying/synthesizing what we have. Be back soon!
+1, this sounds good. Now get up Luca, and fight. Before Seo is stuck carrying the party.
Rolled 1 (1d3)

Our tactics have us moving in the same direction this time! To start, this is a guaranteed action turn as both enemies are stunned so no rolls are needed for chance to hit.

>Elewyn to use normal Healing Light on Luca
MP Cost: 6
Rolling 1d3 to determine healing (3 is greatest heal)

>Seo to use Head Crush on the flesh fiend in hopes of finishing the job.
Stamina Cost: 6
Physical Amplification: 1.2(18)=22
No need to roll for stun determination
Normally evasion +3 for enemy, but that doesn't apply to enemies afflicted with stun!

>Luca to use Fanned Blades exclusively on the Fleshamble attempting to targeting the heads.
Flat damage 4*3 = 12
Ah, rolled lowest heal range.

>Writing outcome!

(Also, update to Sundowner to be posted after the conclusion of this encounter.)
Although it is the standard practice among most Velikan nobility that their children are trained to competency in combat, it seems these two have received exceptional instruction. Seo uses a tactical approach whereupon well-placed debilitating strikes set up for future aggressive attacks, and Luca was able to withstand their assault on his own, counter with his own slashes, and forcefully provide an opening for assistance.

From your own experience, you can easily perceive the greater synchronicity in which these skills are leveraged together to create an imposing duo. This would be an advantageous pair of weapons to wield within your counterattack on the Sanctuary plans, surely. If only they were less of a handful...

With a painful wince, you turn toward Luca’s battered form and aim your staff to the cluster of bleeding openings near his chest. “They can’t return your attack, so make it count, you two.”

The warm healing glow seals the circular openings leaving only a reddened patch of skin afterward.

Seemingly paying no attention to what you had just said, Luca gawks between you and the sealed wounds on his body before tightly clenching his irritated eyes shut as if not believing what the witness.

Seo had glanced back in curiosity at your magic before catching a glimpse of Luca’s expression of amazement. She lets out an annoyed sigh. “I suppose I see why it’s called being dumbstruck.” She then twists the mace to rest in the grasp of both of her hands before swiftly advancing upon the withering flesh fiend with her weapon raised high. "But we still need to get out of here!"

The instant she reaches with arm’s length of the stunned creature, she heaves her entire upper body downward, creating a deadly whip aimed directly at the head of the female half of the flesh fiend. The brutal force of the impact crashes directly upon its head with such a primal crunching and compression of meat that it tears the two halves of the flesh fiend with the crumpled female form falling forward and the male form falling back. Their bloodied and black-stained forms wetly slump to the ground, defeated.
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The grotesque noise of the impact is enough to pull Luca from his spell of bewilderment and back toward the gravity of the situation. His attention is drawn toward moaning of the fleshamble as its branched extremities strain against your oppressive magic, unable to sprout to their fullest heights.

His hand slowly reaches for the small weapons at his thigh. "You are all revolting nightmares, but my eyes have been opened!"

Three of the multitude of blooming distributaries from the bulky core are quickly stabbed into with thin blades, permanently pruning their growth. The flesh creature has been heavily battered to point of near death and what remains of it is animalistically straining in open air as if desiring to separate from the core.

Luca groans from the effort of throwing his weapons before reaching toward Izurin still on the ground. She weakly tries to offer him his sword, but instead, he reaches past it to envelop her upper arm in his large grasp and then easily pull her to stand. He then takes hold of his longsword before turning toward you with a tight lipped and downcast expression. “I, there are far too many things I need to say, so for now…take her. Please.”

He holds the heavily weakened Elin up until you support her with your right arm. She'll need healing as soon as possible.

Now, with growing conviction he turns back to the fleshamble that emerged from Byrne and stretches the shoulder where his injury once was. He gazes downward at the black robes that have since peeled away from the creature’s body and then back upward. “You’re absolutely revolting, but it’s still you.” His body settles into an offensive stance with his longsword ready to strike. “Let’s finish this.”

Seo moves away from the fragmented flesh fiend and readies her mace once again. "You've been making terrible acquaintances as of late."

Your animal ears suddenly detect substantial movement far beyond the door separating this room from the greater structure of the infirmary. They move with steady steps and in large number. It seems that you will have company soon.


HP: 3
LP: 15
Stamina: 12
MP: 12

HP: 19
LP: 6
Stamina: 16
MP: 0

HP: 10
LP: 8
Stamina: 6
MP: 0

Escape must take place soon and through the window that you entered. The flesh fiend has been brutally cleaved and downed, while the fleshamble has hardly the vitality to strain against your magic. Time is limited to attack, cast spells, or act to aid your escape. All characters will move to flee after this round.

>Write in movements/actions for Elewyn, Seo, and Luca.
That went as well as expected. 1 officer and 1 medic down, but with at least 2 leaders and a lot of mooks, we should aim for more efficient exchanges in the future.

>Heal Izurin
We could mix something with gale to bar the door, but there's no time to get some muscle for that.

>Finish Bryne off with a head smash

Luca and Izurin
>Start escaping
better to have someone to pull Seo up

.....REALLY want those Grease potions
>Elewyn heals Izurin, as prep for the outside
>Seo tries to head smash whatever’s left of Bryne
>Luca moves to barricade the door with the desk/shelf next to it

Elewyn being on 3 HP is scary, but hopefully she can tough it out for a little while longer. She’s been getting damn ripped up today, between the escape from the sewers and this. Maybe the Warming potion could be used on her to keep mana regen going?
>.....REALLY want those Grease potions
I know you'd likely want them for the purpose of immolation, but the the thought of Luca trying to buy many of these from the alchemist would make for a fun scene to write.

>but hopefully she can tough it out for a little while longer. She’s been getting damn ripped up today
For the sake of subterfuge, the day is still young!

Heyo everyone, I hope that your Sundays are all going well. I've got work to take care today, but I should be off a bit earlier than usual.

Anyway, this is a quick check in to let you all know that I will leave the vote window open for another 2 hours before tallying/synthesizing what we have. Be back soon!

The synthesis between these two plans works out very well:

>Opens with a cast of Healing Light on Izurin, to aid in her condition.
MP Cost: 6
Rolling 1d3 for healing range (3 is greatest)

>Quickly barricade the door with heavy objects then move for the exit with Izurin.

>Head smash on Byrne in an attempt to destroy what remains of him.
Stamina Cost: 6
Physical Amplification: 1.2(18)=22
Will roll 2d10 for the attack (CR: 6 + 3 = 9)
Rolled 3 (1d3)

Me forgetting the dice has to happen at least once...

>Rolling 1d3 for the heal.
Rolled 1, 6 = 7 (2d10)

Strongest heal achieved!

>Now rolling 2d10 for Seo's attack on Byrne/fleshamble.
Rolled 7, 1 = 8 (2d10)

Seo's attack misses...

Now, rolling 2d10 for the Fleshamble's attack on Elewyn..... (CR 15)
Elewyn will dodge the last strike from the fleshamble.

>Writing outcome!
Ah, it seems Bryne will live...in some form...
Hopefully they can't bring him back from the brink.
So Bryne rolled well on his stun save? Ouch, shoulda done a limb smash then

actually I was just going to throw it at the doorway and watch them slip on each other while trying to get in.
Nope, that was me that messed up by not remembering to note about his stun breaking after a round due to his transformation. I'm both very sorry for that oversight, and thankful for you noting that fact.

Which means, according to the rules, the favorable outcome for that action occurs, so Seo's Head Crush will connect!

It's a fairly straightforward rewrite, so not too much issue on that part. Sorry again, guys.

Update in hopefully an hour and a half to two hours. Also, the update to Sundowning has been added to Elewyn's character sheet.

This injured and ailing Elin has been steadily losing consciousness in the short time that she’s been within your grasp, which is in line with your earlier assessment of the extent of her infection. Whatever stimulant the supposed physician applied to her was intense, but clearly short-lived.

With your staff acting as the medium, you focus on directing your healing mana toward the two red raw wounds on her arms. As it surges forth and seeps into her own frame, you feel the faint pulse of her nascent mana resonating with your own, much like you recently found with Ruby. However, much unlike Ruby, her mana has nothing of an aggressive character and instead the aura is that of a potent stillness. Overall, a caustic and venting volcano, and the other bottomless serene lake.


As you have for so many others, you soothingly close the open portal to the delicate insides of her body as she slumps unconsciously against your own. “There’s more of these cultists within the building now. We need to leave before they find their way here…” You pivot your injured body toward the wooden entrance to the room. “One of you barricade the door. It will afford us precious time.”

The newly acquired destination of your escape is not far at all, but you’ll need to ensure that your tracks leading there are properly covered.

Seo glances back as you finish channeling your mana within Izurin’s body. “As dear Luca here created such a mess…” She quickly returns her gaze at the shambling meat beast in front of her. “Let him be the one to tidy it up.”

Before Luca has the chance to protest, Seo surges toward the fleshamble much as she did with the last beast. With mace aggressively poised, her eyes locked on the most prominent and developed of the many heads that is nested deep within twisting folds of meat.

The fleshamble responds in turn by issuing a deep reverberating battle cry, as it outwardly extends its two most bulky arms, as if it held two blades. With each hulking step, its extremities shake and bounce violently as it charges forth to meet her.

Using her superior agility to her advantage, Seo deftly pivots to the right of the flesh beast before it collides, all while twisting her body with her mace outstretched. The dark and sunken eyes within the flesh hollows instinctively find a new target with your frame, and the creature screeches its hateful intent to slaughter its new target.

A brief song to precede the climax. Seo's acrobatic spiral reaches its abrupt conclusion as steel meets with two sunken eyes and is celebrated with a single thunderous clap and confetti of bone and viscera. The explosive impact sends both the fleshamble slamming backward, as well as Seo tumbling roughly to the ground. Her mace clatters noisily as she slides along the bloodied tile, but she holds firm to its handle.

Luca shakes his head in disbelief before setting to the task of barricading the door with the remaining intact furniture. “She finished both of them…Terrifying.” He mutters under his breath.

You carry Izurin toward the window and shortly after hand back her resting form to Luca who easily scoops her into his arms. You then quickly hop onto the broken windowsill and peak out into the biting cold outside. Turning eastward to the cluster of hovels you spot a single candle illuminated through the stained window, signaling the direct approach is clear.

You lead your companions out of the building and sink into the newly fallen powder within the alley, taking care that your blood-stained clothing doesn’t brush against any starkly white surfaces. After a brief shiver at the deep chill, Seo quickly follows, and then Luca and a tightly bundled Izurin with a heavy drop.

Now with you bringing up the rear to cover any tracks with a softened stream of air from your staff, the four of you covertly sneak away under the cover of low light from the Sanctuary’s false infirmary, having drawn your first blood with the slaying of the enforcer Byrne, and the false physician.

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“You’re the one that kept watch for our escape?” Luca asks jovially as he firmly wraps his arm around Mishenne’s thin shoulders while roughly tousling his long hair. “Man, I’m glad that we got your eyeglasses fixed.”

“Ah, c’mon. Not in front of people!” Mishenne protests before wriggling his way free and quickly retreating across the humble room away from Luca.

You and your companions have retreated to dim and well-worn inside of a local’s hovel. Any entrances or windows are covered with thick cloths to serve as a barrier between the seeping cold and any Sanctuary member passing nearby. Seo and Mishenne encountered the aged local first, and sympathetic to any cause that disrupts the Sanctuary’s actions, she provided shelter to the two as they waited for you as you first spoke with Luca. After meeting with her yourself, you deigned that she was indeed a long-standing resident, and one aligned with your cause. She was able to tell you in detail about Grygas and Cyrene’s personalities and interactions, and her own acts of resistance as her sons fell into the fold of the Sanctuary despite her fervent protests. Gracious to provide you with privacy, she saw herself away from the main room after you had returned from the infirmary for the time being.

Seo lips tighten as she watches her human companions. “One would think we’re not in the middle the frozen, festering hell of this world with how you’re acting.”

Luca tempers his enthusiasm and clears his throat. “One could think that with how you’re still consistently throwing barbs in my direction. What’s not to be elated for as we made it out of that wretched torture hall?” He settles roughly into a weathered chair.

“Oh? I suppose that there’s nothing else contributing to that enthusiasm?” She turns to you in the corner of the room healing the long open wounds on your shoulder.

The three humans gawk at you silently as the red openings on your pale shoulder are seamlessly mended. “I didn’t think you’d stop being so loud without me telling you.” You respond flatly to their stares before sighing and standing up. "But now that I have your attention, I suppose there's much to be discussed about this frozen, festering hell called Impel."

"I wish I could be in a position to be spared from that..." Seo crosses her arms while brooding on what she already witnessed today. "I could use a bath and some food..."

"Survival is still my main focus, but there's much to be learned here." Luca leans forward in his seat to rest his chin in his hands and furrows his brow. "I have plenty that needs asking."

"Umm." Mishenne fidgets with his hands while searching for his words. "I promised Master Lenguid that I would come away with greater perspective... But for myself, so I can be stronger... I'm willing to listen to whatever you have to say." Mishenne locks eyes with you before shyly turning away.

With all the terrible truths you've discovered, where's the best place to begin with these young nobles? You need to consider the balance of ensuring they're equipped to handle the situation they're stuck within, but not overwhelming their senses with a glimpse of a world impossibly unlike their own. Regardless, you should frame whatever approach with how it's relevant to their own survival.

>Inform the three nobles of what you've discovered of the Sanctuary's operations, but exclude what you've learned of the being they worship and are attempting to construct.

>Inform them of everything you've discovered so far about the Sanctuary's operations.

>Allow them to lead with their own questions.

>>Allow them to lead with their own questions.
Afterwards, fill in the holes they inevitably create in their own knowledge. Prod them to realizing how deep the holes in their world really are
>Take the lead and start with what you've found out about the sabotage of fisheries, the starvation compounded with the cold, and the Sanctuary's stipend of rations and extreme disapproval of any other foods.
>Let them ask their own questions from there
>Cap it off with the dreams, it being a side effect of whatever ritual they are performing, and being unlikely to have any harmful effects given that we don't intend to sleep many more nights here.
+1 to >>5188657
We need to at least give them a rundown on what we aim to accomplish, ourselves. Having an objective to move towards would be good.
So with that in mind, mission goals are breaking out the Elin prisoners, decapitating Sanctuary's leadership, and disrupting whatever ritual they hope to accomplish. Additional information on their supporters and operations outside of Impel would be good for further jobs, but ultimately takes a sideline to accomplishing the first three priorities.
Heyo everyone, I hope that your weeks are all off to a good start!

This is a quick check in to say that I'll be leaving the vote window open for another ~2 hours to allow anyone the chance to vote that hasn't already. I'll synthesize/tally what we have then. Be back soon!
We'll be taking the lead discussing the events surrounding the famine and the Sanctuary's manipulation of it. Then we'll allow them to ask whatever questions they want, prodding them to realization of how little they understand outside their world. Moving toward explaining the "dreams" and finally offering them a set of goals to move toward with all this information.

Nice and thorough!

Finally back home from work, and hoping to have the update posted in about 2 hours!

Within the heart of every abode in this human town rest firepits, braziers, hearths, sources of vital warmth. This weathered, dirt-floored hovel is no different. Here, you, the dozing Elin, and these three overwhelmed humans stave off the all-consuming cold with the warm flickering light illuminating their countenances, but the shifting shadows reflect their troubled thoughts. Their thoughts need to be addressed with the truth, as it is a matter of survival for them. But like kindling a flame, you must feed their thoughts slowly and let them occasionally breathe and speak, lest you smother it.

You settle onto a cushion closer to the sunken firepit. “It’s good that you’ve chosen to listen to what I have to say, as I sincerely believe that it would be mutually beneficial for all of us…” After crossing your legs to warm them underneath yourself, you begin. “Everything occurring here, as senseless and unnatural as it may seem, has been carefully orchestrated by a group that refers to them as the Sanctuary.”

“In light of everything that occurred since we’ve been here, their name is in incredibly poor taste.” Seo also settles near the flame while idly massaging her battered hands.

“Had you listened to their orders, you might not be able to appreciate that irony.” You retort back and continue. “Instead, they very likely would have housed and fed the two of you…” You nod toward Mishenne and Seo. “And with the near complete lack of anything else to nourish oneself in this town, you would’ve been grateful for it. Just as so many others are in this town, but that was their intention as well.”

“Y-you’re suggesting that they are withholding food from the townspeople?” Mishenne pushes his eyeglasses upward as he speaks to you without holding eye contact. “But we saw a whole shipment of fish coming out of here only a few days ago, though… the merchant did say their load was diminished...”

Intriguing. Why would the Sanctuary bother to risk allowing any of the few unafflicted fish to be collected?

“Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening here.” You respond firmly. “Although, I was not aware they were still exporting what fish remained suitable for trade, yet maintaining the guise of normalcy is one of their key goals.”

“Suitable for trade…” Luca stares in thought at the covered entrance to the hovel before remembering something crucial. “The river, the merchant we encountered hinted there was something polluting the ocean waters from the river.”

“Very proactive of you all to gather this information...” You motion toward the north. “I only recently confirmed it myself, but they are indeed unloading potent contaminants upstream to infest the local marine life with an affliction that leads to their mass death and inedibility.” You move to point toward the east. “Those waters are these peoples’ livelihood. A rotted catch, purging of alternate food sources, being heavily isolated from trade routes by geography and blockade, and a brutally harsh winter, all these factors compounded into a situation in which the Sanctuary was poised to act as saviors to town through their rations.”

The three humans gaze at each other in shared disbelief. You allow them the time to process their thoughts.

“Why? For what purpose should we believe that such a cruel act is happening?” Seo acts as the representative of their doubts. “What does this have to do with these mutants that are trying to hold us captive?”

“Suffering is transformative.” You quote Enais as the best way to summarize an answer to her questions. “These mutants you’ve encountered are all part of a cult in which the propagation of suffering of all those in Impel is one of their fundamental goals. They believe it is a blessing. They believe that the suffering they inflict can be passed on through the flesh and then ingested as their supposed life-saving rations, that the ingestion of it will lead to amplification of the suffering, and they desire the physical accumulation of this suffering manifest, for other purposes...”

You hold back on mentioning the exact details of how this flesh becomes refined and the Sanctuary's plan to use this flesh of suffering to help construct their god.

For Seo, doubt morphs to disbelief and she’s about to voice her thoughts right before Luca interjects by raising his arm solemnly. “Before you speak, Seo, think of the family we encountered on the way here, and how they desperately wanted to escape this suffering… Even the supposed physician in the infirmary was espousing that creating and witnessing suffering was somehow a blessing. Everything Elewyn has told me has been true, whether I wanted to believe it or not. Seo, this backwater is cursed.”

She glares in his direction before groaning in annoyance. “Backwater or not, this is still sovereign land. You mean to suggest that the lord whose dominion this land falls under would besmirch the king’s name by allowing such a cult to take residence here? How could such a thing take hold here without so much as a request for help from the capital?”

She yet believes that such atrocious deeds don’t occur where some human was designated as an overseer, but her words do elicit a question of your own.

“Then, who is or was lord of this area?” You pass your gaze between the three young nobles. “I never heard mention of a lord or such from any of the townsfolk.”

They either furrow their brows or turn away from you in thought, but none can give you an immediate answer. Eventually, they turn to each other in open admittance of not knowing how to respond.

“I, I don’t recall learning of any lord that had dominion over the Velikan Wilds, and house dominions were something father demanded I learned thoroughly...” Mishenne is the first to timidly speak.

“There must be a viceroy or even an appointed administrator…” Seo rubs the space between her eyes.

“I never cared to learn about such things, but I also never came across a specific noble house or appointee when I was researching the route here.” Luca shrugs while leaning back to check on Izurin.

“Oh fine. We don’t know.” Seo relents, exasperated.

“If there wasn’t ever a specific overseer for this land, then it’s very likely the Sanctuary took advantage of that vulnerability as well.” You suggest amicably to mollify their growing tension. “The Sanctuary itself contains leadership and is headed by a ruthless man only referred to as the Archon, and another cunning young woman referred to as Lady Enais.”

It was more difficult to catch with the flickering light of the flame, but Seo’s face displayed a short moment of shock before hardening in thought.

You choose to not question her furtive display of emotions and continue. “Part of my own goals are to find a way to eliminate both these lead individuals, and soon. This would disrupt all that the Sanctuary aims to accomplish here, and by their own words, they are in the final phase of their long plan. Human, Devan, and Elin lives alike are all equally in peril as we are all fodder for their goals. Even you three they won't simply let leave now that you've witnessed what you have.” You place your hand on your chest. “I originally came here with the intention of helping my kin, as there is no one else that would, and that remains of the foremost of my goals. In this accursed place, I’ve found captured and tortured Elin that still need rescuing.”

Every second spent here is one more they have to spend in those pits...

You immediately stand and walk across the humble room to retrieve your tattered coat and pack. “There’s much to be thought about and discussed among yourselves. I'll be back in a few hours, or if not, in the morning..." You look toward the covered door and then back to the young humans. "I can’t force you to align yourselves with me. If you did, I would ask very much of all of you including helping me with my goals. But if you did help me, I would do all that I could to protect you.” You slip on the coat over your frame, fasten it, and pull your hair free from underneath the coat before turning back to the three young nobles. “Whatever choice you make, you should all get rest. But be wary that even your sleep can be affected by what the Sanctuary has done here. As Luca already knows very well, and if you do happen to find yourself within a terrible dream, remember it’s only that.”

"Hold on a minute." Luca quickly stands from his seat. "There's still so much I need to ask you."

"Do these questions relate to the Sanctuary?" You ask, knowingly.

"Partially." He admits before shaking his head. "But we need to know about you as well, if we are to make a choice to help you."

You're certain that he has his own motivations for asking further questions, but for the sake of convincing them to help you, would it be worth spending the time here to let them pry about who you are? If not, then where will you take your investigation next?


The following choice will direct how time is spent for the early night.

>Remind them that time is short and they know enough for now. (Write in next destination.)

>Allow them the opportunity to ask their questions to assuage any doubts they have about you directly.

>Write in.
>Allow them the opportunity to ask their questions to assuage any doubts they have about you directly.
We can talk while doing more thorough healing and probably making use of those warming potions.
Heyo everyone, I hope you're all doing well today! Somehow I didn't realize that we recently passed the six month mark for the quest.

In that time, there has been nearly 200,000 words written for the story. So, thank you all for to all of you for your continued participation in making this quest! I've been really enjoying the freedom that writing provides in terms breadth of ideas and details.

Anyway, I'll be leaving the vote window open for about another 3 hours to see if we can't get another one or two votes in that time. Be back soon
>Allow them the opportunity to ask their questions to assuage any doubts they have about you directly.
Getting more scouting information out on the town while our foes are in disarray would be a good thing, but at the same time running around solo sounds like a rough proposition, considering how we've gotten literally a dislocated arm and some vicious gashes the last couple of attempts.
Briefing our crew on a breakout plan for the Elin and getting ideas sounds like a good call. As long as we aren't sidetracked with Luca asking about ancient history and magic, anyways.

So, brainstorming for that. We've been able to get in/out of various places using the sewers, but I expect them to be more heavily guarded since we were intercepted the last time we escaped. We could just try to go in hard and fast, now that we have muscle on our side, and don't need to run, but the less fights we have, the better, because our mana is limited, and without it we're down our most powerful moves. Misha's a bit of a liability, as he needs to be escorted and can't really fight or stealth effectively.
Other ideas I've got are trying to get some help from the Devan and punch our way through the front gate while posing as a regular delivery of something. Might work with some cultist robes and a single recognizable Devan face, Hraska, maybe?
Alternatively, we focus on trying to eliminate the Archon or Enais first, then use whatever chaos that causes to pull off the breakout.
>>Allow them the opportunity to ask their questions to assuage any doubts they have about you directly.
Agreed. Let's not get into trouble while diminished, and instead take the time for some R&R. Let's use it for team building. We'll need to act as a coherent unit if we want to get out of this mess alive. Do Elins sleep ? Does Elewyn need to ? I mean, how long has she been awake ? I'm sure regenerating has got to tire her body somewhat.

Even with Elewyn admitting that stopping the cult has now superseded our rescue operation as a priority, I still believe that retrieving the captive Elins while set back Sanctuary. It will however not stop them. If I recall correctly from the correspondence we got from the slaver, Elins are vastly more effective tools for whatever they're doing, but humans will do too. We will need a more permanent solution.

On that note, thank you QM for telling us that the grease potions are flammable. It hadn't occurred to me.

For the breakout, I'm not sure. I think we still don't know how much intel the flesh beasts can communicate to Sanctuary. They weren't able to get us discovered when we infiltrated the Elin pits, but "higher forms" like the forest beast and the sewer guardian may be able to raise an alarm.
I'm up for breaking into the sewers so we can clear our exit path at the same time, but if the beasts alert Sanctuary, or if there are human guards in the sewer, we'll have a fight on our hands on the way out. With six vulnerable Elins in tow. There's also the other direction, to the south was it ? Towards where the water flows. We don't know what's there. The sea, or just where they dump the bodies. It sounds risky.

The Devans are on their own. If their little revolution distracts Sanctuary, we'll use the opportunity. After the rescue, I don't think we'll be in a position to help other than decapitating the Sanctuary leadership, which would give them a chance. I'm hesitant to do that before the rescue, as the cult might go "fuck it" and kill the Elins, which is unacceptable.
>Do Elins sleep ? Does Elewyn need to ? I mean, how long has she been awake ? I'm sure regenerating has got to tire her body somewhat.
Most Elins need sleep about as much as humans, Elewyn is different. She can go for much longer without sleeping, but can sleep at regular intervals, if she desires.

>Even with Elewyn admitting that stopping the cult has now superseded our rescue operation as a priority
Sorry if I didn't write that clearly, but Elewyn's priority is still rescuing the Elin. Of course, this goes hand in hand with stopping the Sanctuary as you explained.

>On that note, thank you QM for telling us that the grease potions are flammable. It hadn't occurred to me.
I can't take all the credit, as I believe another anon brought up the desire to use flammables some time ago!

>There's also the other direction, to the south was it?
Indeed, the sewer tunnels lead further south from the point you entered in the maturation pit.

(If there are any other questions that I can answer to help you all formulate the plan to come, feel free to post them!)

We will take the time to recover and allow for us to form a breakout plan and a more coherent team for what's to come.

Finally back, and hoping to have the update posted in about 2 hours

The young noble entreats you to linger within the hovel with a weary and rueful expression that he carefully keeps hidden from his companions. Beyond what he outwardly chooses to express, you sense tormenting disquiet that he represses with an act of light-hearted composure. The arduous journey here has worn on him far more than the others, but he still attempts to put on a brave face despite it all for his companions.

The burden of leadership is heavy…

Both Seo and Mishenne have left the comforts of their manors because of Luca, they’ve trekked through the grueling path to Impel because of Luca, they’ve fought and risked their lives because of Luca, and if they decide to assist in your counterattack, it will be because of Luca. You’ll remain to help quiet his mind and make use of the time for the sake of the team you hope to assemble to free the other Elin from those horrid pits.

You slide your pack off your shoulder and begin removing your coat. “I would’ve thought you had your fill of me explaining things to you for now, but I suppose you ought to fill your bodies with something in the absence of food.”

Luca breathes a slight sigh of relief. “Appreciated.” He opens his mouth to speak but a movement from the low bed on which Izurin rests grabs his attention. He quickly moves toward it and kneels to examine her. “She’s moved.” He turns toward you and lets out a strained laugh. “She moved on her own.”

You smile gently at his enthusiasm. “I’m confident that she’ll recover so long as she’s permitted to rest and is kept warm.”

Luca turns his head to search around the room. “There are warming potions in my pack…”

While heavily diminished, alchemy is the last of the remaining magical crafts. If he procured the brew from a reputable source, it certainly would provide her with warmth and comfort. However, at this moment she can be wrapped thoroughly in thick blankets to be kept warm. There’s no telling what the future may bring…

You move toward Izurin and Luca. “A worthwhile idea but you should save them. It may not be the warmest in here, but it’s plenty survivable.”

The peacefully sleeping Elin freed her arms from the constrictive swaddling Luca left her within and dozes with steady and stronger breaths. The healing you provided her earlier has been quite effective in allowing her body to fight against the remaining infection. Upon witnessing this, there’s some relief to the tension within his battered body, but only partially. You also notice there are raw patches of skin on which the lye from her wounds dripped.

“Hold her hand.” You order him while readying your staff.

“Wha-What are you saying?” Luca stammers while glancing between you and his companions.

“It will only be for a moment. I need to heal these minor wounds of hers... and yours.” You explain while motioning toward the Elin’s limp hand.

His eyes widened at your mention of healing, and he seemingly forgets about his companions watching his actions. His hand easily encompasses her own.

You spread your soothing mana among the two of them, allowing it and the light to cycle between their bodies as Luca’s chest begins to heave with excited breaths.

Curiosity moves Mishenne closer to examine your healing light.

“Is this… Is this magic?” He asks keeping his widened eyes upon the sealing cuts and scrapes.

You relax your staff after you finish. “It is.”

“How did you learn to use it?” Luca asks emphatically with a voice of higher volume than any of you were speaking with earlier.

“Like anything else, practice.” You reply simply.

He shakes his head and continues excitedly. “No, I meant… Were you born with it, or was it something you acquired?”

“I was born with it, but many Elin manifest magic at some point in their lives.” You move to return to your cushion and feel him following you only a few steps behind.

“Really?” He turns back as if expecting Izurin to display anything other than her sleeping form. His gaze snaps back to you. "Can all Elin utilize healing magic, and if so, can you utilize other kinds of magic?“

Your hand tightens around your staff. "I no longer know of anyone else that can manifest similar magic to my own. Other types of magic..."

A farce...one that has costed you and countless others something invaluable. Something that should only be brought forth under the most desperate circumstances.

You shake your head to forget the thought and then turn toward him with a sigh. "If you want to know what other types of spells I can utilize then you'd need to stick around."

His brow furrows while processing your words. "Then what of humans? Do you know if it’s true that they manifested magic of their own once? It has been written about in several credible ancient records, and yet there were no records about why that ended or how?”

“How could you ever expect her to know?” Seo interjects with an edge to her words. "Give it a rest, Luca."

He settles near you after you lower yourself onto the cushion. “You know, don’t you?”

He’s truly a curious child when it comes to magic. You sense that this could go on all night if you allow it.

You nod in confirmation. “It's true. Those records reflect a time when the gift of magic was far stronger than now. Elins, humans, and others all manifested far more potent magic then, but the gift suddenly diminished and continues to wane."

"I knew it!" Luca's eyes lighten as he smacks his closed fist against his hand. "If we can find what caused it to wane in the first place, then we can all work toward reversing it. How can we reverse it, Elewyn?"

Irritated at her companion, Seo tightly holds her forehead in her hand. "Luca...Please."

Even Mishenne appears as if he wishes to reign in his friend's desperate questioning.

What caused magic to wane in the first place was the death or disappearance of the gods. As far as you know, to even have a chance of reversing that fact, you'd need to find or create a god... Ah. You should be careful with your words.

The curiosity of humanity is unparalleled. As many times as it has uplifted them, it has led to their downfall. How should you respond to Luca?

>Explain that the past can't be altered, and he should take solace that there is still magic yet remaining in this world.

>Explain that the past can't be altered, and he should do better to appreciate the gifts that he has currently.

>Write in.
The topics of the previous vote >>5189859 that have yet to be addressed will be written about in the next update!

The reason for this is that dialogue updates tend to get away from me in terms of length, and I believe that the question that was brought up naturally through the writing warranted a choice.
>Explain that in the last couple hundred years, you have not witnessed any progress along those lines.
>You have, however, seen a couple attempts that ended in monsters. Monsters who sell their soul and conscience for a pittance, and also the more literal kind of monsters.
>You have little to share, save for stories of the past, but you're rather concerned about the laws and treatment of Elin. More of this, and there won't BE Elin, let alone magic.
>Luca, you're enthusiastic, but have a little perspective, please. I asked for help to free Elin, and destroy this cult of misery.
>Know that without magic in the world, my race is dying. We can't repopulate without sufficient amounts of ambient magic in the world. This IS the death knell of my species.
So, ask yourself, why am I out here in this frozen human town, getting dislocated arms and starvation rations, risking death or worse if I'm ever caught and captured, instead of trying to solve the single most pressing issue for my species?
>And, for a little bit of context, I've seen over five centuries come and go. I KNOW what caused this. Maybe I'll tell you, after you help me finish what I came here for.
If I was Elewyn I'd be either tired or angry. He's indirectly calling us out on failing our race, if we were in a position to stop whatever Shattering or cataclysm struck down the gods. (Or if we caused it)
Is it manipulative to bait him with knowledge? Absolutely. But, it's kind of all we have for payment, if we want to keep them(Or at least Luca) invested in finishing our job.

Also, we're the only Holy magic user we know of left? Depressing.
Heyo everyone! I hope that you've all been having a good day so far.

I'm running from place to place, as I'm heading off for an interview before work today, so this is just a quick check in to say that I'll be keeping the vote window open for another 2 hours or so before tallying what we have then. Be back soon!
Too much info. Let's not tell him about our lack of new Elins, and certainly not about the whole dead gods thing. He won't take it well.

I'd go for a rational approach.
>Humans have won.
>They came out on top from the death of magic.
>Their language and culture have absorbed the rest.
>You have moved past the need for magic, and few people like you even dream about it.
>But others still do.
>Other races with a deeper connection to magic still remember a time when they were grander.
>A time when they weren't see as "subhuman" and treated as second-rate citizens.
>Non-humans have faltered where humanity has flourished.
>They remember magic as part of the better days of old.
>If you give them magic, how many of them do you think will us it to make things right again ?
>How many of those you disregard would sell their soul for power ?
>Think of every time you have seen a non-human sapient getting treated like an animal.
>Imagine everyone gets magic back like they had before.
>Now imagine those same non-humans, who of course would have greater magical potential, rising armies of their dead and gaining the power to put entire cities to the torch with a flick of the wrist.
>Then tell me.
>Do you really want magic to come back to the world your kind has created for its benefit ?

Definitely angry touches on the problem, and tries to appeal to reason.
We're leaving him a way out: roll back the laws against sapient non-human species, quell their dissent and resentment, and only then reintroduce magic. Because otherwise it won't be pretty. It's probably headed that way, especially considering the Devan. Maybe tell him the full story of the Devan leader unlike we did with the Devan at the barracks. Give him a real example and let him realize that there's now thousands of non-humans who would become just like that guy to exact revenge on humans for being treated like shit for generations.
Maybe leaving out the whole "Our kind is dying" might be a good call. At the same time, he's clearly romanticized magic as a whole, and pointing out some of the larger issues with it as a whole, especially considering who we're facing right now.
This also doesn't address the actual question he's asking, which is do we know how to bring magic back to the world.
I'll support this.

Fundamentally, we want to make sure that Luca has perspective of the grave challenges that Elin face in the present time. (Which should also transition well into proposing a plan for the rescue of the Elin within Impel.) We'll do so with a tone of anger to ensure he and his companions know of our serious personal desire to see them free.

So, we'll explain that the only attempts to forcibly reverse the path of magical withering has only led to the creation of monsters literally and figuratively. That the Elin race is dying (keeping the specifics vague) because of these kinds of attempts and that he needs to remember that's why you're here in the first place. And, simply having magic back wouldn't necessarily lead to a desirable outcome for him because of the reasons listed within >>5190851

After that we'll assert that many things need to change before there's even a chance to reverse the disappearance of magic. As far as you know, the best bet towards that path is with you, but that means finishing this job first.

There was a lot here to synthesize, so if I missed something you wanted addressed in your post, please let me know!

Also, this update may have to wait an extra day. I really won't know until later tonight if that's the case, but I'll be sure to post what the plan is, once I do know. Thanks!
Not going to be able to start writing until quite late, so I'll take the day off from updating. Will resume tomorrow!
Everyone still fighting the good fight?

Back home for the day and I finally have the opportunity to sit down and write. Update in about 2 hours!
Unaware of the tension growing within his friends, unaware of the selfishness of what he asks, and unaware of your personal feelings toward the past, Luca is carelessly allowing his curiosity to run free rein and drag himself and the rest of you along a precarious path. While it’s certainly not a fault to be emboldened when you’ve discovered at long last the way to something you’ve desired, he must realize that his enthusiasm is difficult to share given the grave circumstances. An instrument string wound too tightly may be soundless on its own, but even grazed against it will create discordance. Tensioning even further risks a dramatic snap.

To give him perspective, you will give voice to his companion’s stress and admittedly a good bit of your own. The effects of his actions aren’t intentional, so you won’t give him as harsh of a tug on his reins as you're capable.

You take a deep breath while flattening the fabric of your long skirt before speaking with a cool voice. “How to reverse it, you ask. Would you reverse everything that came out of the last five hundred years if it meant that magic would return as it once was, Luca?”

Behind him, Mishenne appears slightly perplexed by your sudden question, but Seo smirks to herself while settling into a comfortable seat to watch.

“If I, I mean, we could all still remain living, then of course.” He quickly answers confidently, hardly thinking the question through.

“Fine. We’ll keep all of you alive to live through the changes.” You lightly clear your throat. “House Yinefall, older than your two friends’ prestigious houses, but arose out of the years following the downfall of magic.” You make sure to lock eyes with him. “All three houses, gone. Those nobles with grand houses built with magic wouldn’t have made room for you out of the kindness of their hearts.”

He crosses his arms defensively. “Titles never meant much to me, anyway.”

“That’s because you hardly have a title.” Seo quips sharply. “Think of more than yourself.”

You roughly point toward him. “You think titles are simply words to be said after your name. No. This town is what not having a title affords you. The deadly cold, the ceaseless stench of the long docks, and the isolation. That’s not even mentioning the Sanctuary.” You state solemnly. “But even being stripped of all your given titles is better than having the title that you all gave us.” You turn your finger to point yourself. “Subhuman.”

With their eyes following you in stunned silence, you stand and move across the dusty room to sit at the edge of Izurin’s bed. “In the past five hundred years, humans have thrived. The slow death of magic has stripped away that which made everyone else strong while it bolstered your cities, gave you prosperity, magnified your culture… You didn’t need magic as we all did, so you were clear successors of magic waned world.” You look over Izurin’s small sleeping form. “All the while you denigrated the rest of us as we declined. Our voices, our beliefs, our lives all lost value. We are treated as kindling for your burning desires.”

You silently rise from the low bed and move toward the three seated young humans, firmly motioning for Mishenne to sit with his companions. “Now imagine what would take place if every one of the thousands of subhumans you disenfranchised, disparaged, and enslaved suddenly had the full flow of mana return to their veins.” In cold anger, you loom over Luca speaking with quick and pointed words. “I assure you the rise would be as fierce as the downfall. I’ve witnessed a Castanic glimmer whole towns under his control. I’ve witnessed a High Elf capable of drawing catastrophic meteors from the sky and shattering mountains with her magic. I’ve witnessed a Devan who constructed uncountable armies from the desecrated dead.” You grip your staff just as Noire wielded her unearthly scythe and deftly raise it to the side of your body. “And I’ve witnessed an Elin that killed them all.” You slice through the air and stop a few inches from Luca’s neck. “I helped her.”

The three young humans tensely gaze at before you sigh and lower your staff. “I don’t want that to pass, nor do I want you to be consumed by the same reckless desire that has made monsters of those who would sell their soul and conscience to reverse the past.” You point your staff to the covered door of the hovel. “You’ve witnessed them out there. But they’re not just here in Impel, they lurk in so many places around the world."

You return to your cushion and settle near the three young humans with Luca brooding heatedly after your words. "It's in these places with these monsters that Elin are butchered, and it's here in Impel that everyone is being butchered. I came to this accursed land alone because I knew it would hold the answers of who intends to bring harm to my kin. I accept the brutal weather, the bodily injuries, the risk of death because I know that it must be done for the sake of the Elin that are captured here." You lean forward "But that doesn't mean that I won't try to help the humans or Devan slaves in this town, and that doesn't mean that you can't study the magic that I use to accomplish these goals." You pass your gaze over Seo, Mishenne, and then Luca. "If you want the just outcome, if you want greater perspective, and if you want to be as close to the old world as you can get, then help me."

For a long while, there is only the sound of the crackling wood within the sunken flame before Luca finally stands without looking toward anyone beside Izurin. "I need some fresh air before I say anything... I'll be careful not to be seen."

Seo stands and dusts off her legs while looking toward you. "There is much at risk her as you said. Which we should all consider, but... I give my word I will consider it seriously, and without preconceived judgement before I give my answer." After grabbing her coat, she moves for the door before Luca, taking extra precaution to peek outside before exiting with Luca moodily following.

You quietly sit by the flame in thought warming your hands and Mishenne moves his hands closer awkwardly to join you.

"My father..." He finally says with tension in his voice. "H-he always said terrible things about non-humans and used them as scapegoats if things weren't going well with his work..."

He doesn't complete the thought, but his tone is apologetic beyond the strain.

You turn your head to him and he quickly whips his head to look as if he wasn't staring at you. "Was he the one who showed you how to work with traps and machinations?"

Mishenne laughs suddenly before covering his mouth and then sighs. "Ah, haha. No... He doesn't really approve of much of what I do with that stuff. Putting it lightly, he gets angry whenever he sees me messing around with it. Which means he's certainly beyond furious that I've run away from home. I mean, when I was a kid, he'd get angry when I would spend the afternoon with Luca without permission, still kind of does, but this time is completely different."

You nod in understanding and then nod toward his scabbed lip. "It must be difficult then. Having to choose to stay here, or go back to him."

He moves his hand instinctively to cover his sealed wound. "Yeah..." He looks over you again while your gaze is turned away from him. "D-Do you...feel pain, like, differently from us?"

You let out a soft laugh at his question. "From my extensive experience in that matter, I would say no."

"And are you not afraid, being so much smaller than everyone and getting hurt easily?" He quickly follows.

"No." You answer simply and honestly. "It's far more often that my size is of help to me than not." You motion to the scars and callouses on his hands. "Are you afraid to dabble with sharp and dangerous tools in your work when your hands are so important?"

"Ahh..." He considers your question while adjusting his eyeglasses. "No. Well, I was to start, but now I know how to be careful."

"It was the exact same for me." You stretch your sore arms and legs.

"Then, may I ask...How do you need my help?" His gaze turns toward the door. "I understand Luca and Seo because they can fight and all. But, I'm not really..."

Beyond the strange trap built to house the Elin, there were numerous machinations within the maturation pit, and the Sanctuary tower that controlled access. You've yet to venture within the refinery in the northern mines as well.

"These sorts of clandestine operations always have some amounts of traps or mechanisms that they use to conceal or assist their goals." You make a circle around your neck with your fingers. "There was a complex linked system of collars on the imprisoned Elin that ensured that one could not escape without strangling another. Outwardly, it seemed entirely designed to terrorize and punish brute force escape attempts." You move your hands away from your neck while shaking your head. "You can't slash or bash your way through every problem."

His eyes tightened shut as he imagined the design in his head. He opens them again before speaking. "I see... That's, that's terrible. But...complex means able to be deconstructed, in my, in my experience. I-it sounds like something I could take apart."

You slide a lock of hair away from your face. "That's reassuring, Mishenne. It won't be easy getting there or back. A thorough strategy will need to be created for that..." Your words trail off in thought.

"Ah..." Mishenne soberly looks down toward his hands as he considers your weighty words. "If...If, If I helped you here. D-d-do you think I would g-get hurt like Luca or you did?"

Unfortunately, almost assuredly. This is especially the case with the Sanctuary becoming increasingly aggressive as their plans reach a conclusion, not to mention what could happen while he is disarming a trap or machine. He's aware of your healing, so his fear likely lies more so with the act of getting hurt and the pain that follows.

>Be honest. This is a dangerous situation he's deciding upon and he deserves to know that he will very likely receive some type of injury, but reassure him he will be protected as much as possible from being in harm's way.

>State for now that nothing is certain, but he will still be protected as much as possible from being in harm's way.

>Write in.
my boy, you're about to lose more blood than you thought you had in your body.

>Not if miss Seo remains consistent with her handiwork. Large as our foes may be, they fall to steel the same as any other.
>I must recommend a shield, though. Or perhaps a good throwing arm. The more feral specimens are easily distracted.
>Be honest. This is dangerous.
>However, you have several advantages. We're all highly motivated to keep you in one piece, as I can't free them on my own. You've seen Luca and Seo, ask yourself if you trust them to protect you? And, with me being here, as long as you feel pain, I can put you back on your feet.

Wouldn't recommend a shield for him, really. Misha probably doesn't have the endurance to lug such thing for extended time in combat. I'd recommend him taking some knife throwing lessons from Luca if he decides to continue going out adventuring. A crossbow might be easier to learn, or flipping the table by using throwables like flashpowder, caltrops, and other tricks that don't involve fighting larger opponents in hand to hand.
Heyo everyone, I hope that your Fridays have been going well!

This is a quick check in to let you all know that I will keep the vote window open for another ~3 hours before synthesizing and tallying what we have. Be back soon!
>Be honest.
>Add that since this is a rescue operation, your plans already have to account for protecting several non combatants through dangerous encounters. If he keeps a cool head and stays with the rest, he should be fine. Beyond that, healing.
>Throwing things is always useful. Everyone can lob a stick, and that distraction may prove more useful than he thinks.

Speaking of rescue, I'm still tinkering. We don't have enough horses to leave the way we came. And we're missing a member for me to be comfortable in a defensive fight forward.
Working from our usual battle blob, with Misha, Izurin and the six+ Elins at the center, Luca and Seo are best kept together at the front to maintain forward momentum. Elewyn should be behind them. But we have no one at the rear. And that may fuck us over, unless we break up the combo and send either fighter back. And that's if none of our combatants have to carry a rescued Elin.
Again, we don't have the horses to carry everyone. So I think our best bet is to pull the same escape as we did the slavers. Impel is a fishing town. Small fishing ships should accommodate a dozen people in a pinch. We've sailed before, and so long as we don't stray from the coast, we can get out of the Sanctuary zone of control and into a place where we can forage. Maybe even bypass the mountain.
Of course, that requires going through the harbor. The Devans are the biggest unknown factor for this part of the plan. But then again, we're mostly winging it at this point.

Again, I'm not sure when the best time would be to deal with Sanctuary leadership, let alone the not quite go thing. We need a name for that hing, by the way. I nominate "The Great Mighty Poo" and "The Giant Enemy Sphincter",because we need levity right now. This is not going to be fun.
We'll be openly honest to Misha and make sure he's aware of the dangers. With that said, we'll remind him that he's not going to be expected to be on the front lines and that you'll all be protecting each other, so it would be prudent if he learned a way to lend a hand during combat.

I really do enjoy the thought of Misha coming into a new skill to be helpful in such situations. The logistics are definitely within the realm of possibilities for the types of things I've seen suggested here. The future planning of a strategy is always great to see discussed as well, so I wish you all the best of luck!
I think leaving with all the people is impractical. There's a fair number of villagers who are still alright, and it's just too many for the party to keep track of.

Sailing in freezing waters is incredibly dangerous. Manual dexterity drops like a rock in the cold, and taking a dip is a death sentence. I think I'd rather raid what fish remains and do some work studying those fungal blooms to weather the cold.
Sailing is definitely difficult without trained people, this time of year. If we were to just grab a wagon and reclaim our horses, we might better off that way. Pursuit would be inevitable and rapid, considering how fast the carrion beasts can be, but it would be easier than sailing.

This is kind of why we need to decapitate Sanctuary's leadership before trying to make a proper escape. To cause chaos, and make it so hopefully they can't control their non-sapient assets.

We could also just go for a short term plan of getting the Elin out of the cells, then stashing them somewhere as we go out to try and make escape plans. It might result in some serious doorkicking by enforcers, but some idea of what to do is better than totally winging it.
Finally back home! I've got a few things to take care of before I get to writing, but I'm hoping to have the update posted in 2-3 hours

You give him a single nod of confirmation. “Given the unscrupulous foes we would encounter, it’s almost a certainty that you would come away with similar wounds that Luca and I endured…”

Mishenne emits a strained laugh. “Ah, I, I thought so. I just… Maybe if you had s-said something comforting, even if it wasn’t true, maybe I’d b-be able to believe it.”

While Luca’s unrelenting questions surfaced memories of the world that was lost to you so many years ago, speaking with Mishenne is gazing into a mirror that reflects you from that world. Hesitant to act, anxious of the results if you were not to act, and hopelessly trapped in between all while being overwhelmed by the events taking place around you.

Slyly, you extend your hand with finger at the ready and clear your throat to call his attention.

“Hmm? Ow! What the heck was that?” The long-haired young human recoils back in pain from the solid flick you planted on his forehead.

You shake your hand to alleviate the sting in your finger. “You were only imagining failure in that head of yours, weren’t you? How our mission could go wrong, what terrible harm that could be inflicted upon you, and…” You instead point the finger you used to strike him earlier. “How you would be the one responsible for that outcome.”

His eyes widen in response to your words. “Wait! Y-you can’t hear what I’m thinking right?!” Amusingly, he places his hands on his head.

“If I had that power, all of the dangers we face would’ve been resolved before you and your companions arrived here, Mishenne.” You lower your hand and take a deep breath. “No, it’s simply that scenery one has seen many times before is easily recognizable, so I’m able to recognize that you’re lost in those paths.” Adjusting yourself on the cushion, you turn your whole body to face him. “With everything I’m capable of drawing upon, I will act toward the outcome I desire, to rescue those Elin, to help who I can in this town, and to put a stop to the Sanctuary's evils. I’ve made and continue to make plans toward this end, and that includes protecting those who can’t fight on their own. Besides that, you would have several other advantages…” You motion toward the doorway to the outside. “Your companions out there, you trust in their ability to protect you?”

He nods while nervously scooting away from your approach and avoiding your gaze.

“Because you understand those fiends out there still fall to steel the same as any human, and with that steel Luca and Seo will do their utmost protect you regardless of the path you all choose. I won’t ask for something you’re not capable of doing, but I will ask for your utmost even if it hurts.” You swiftly rise to your feet and boldly hold your staff out to your side. “I will give you the exact same. Should it come to it, I'll put myself right between you and anything that intends to harm you. Should you be harmed, I will see to your wounds as no one else in this world is capable. And should you or your companions fail and fall in the process, I’ll be there to put you back on your feet. ”

His body stiffened the entire time while listening to your words. Eventually, he slowly raises his head to gaze upon you through the long hair in his face. “I-I finally understand why my master warned me of you. You made me want to help…even if I’m scared, even if I know it will be dangerous.”

You've come a long way on this path...

“But, I'll have to see what Luca and Seo decide...But, even then, w-we won't leave right this second. I want... I would want to do more than wait." With his hair sliding across his face, he turns toward his pack across the room. "I brought some of my tools and chemicals with me, and there's p-plenty of scrap around these buildings to work with, so even if Luca and Seo decide..." He shakes his head before speaking again, but much more vigorously. "There's plenty I've read about that I could put together. Caltrops and the like would be very straightforward. A highly-tensioned spring dart mechanism would take a bit more time, but it's something I've always wanted to try. Maybe with a few extra components, mainly a fuel to amplify the black powder I brought, I could rig a small explosive trap..." He rubs his chin in devious thought before turning to you with brightened eyes. "What do you think?"

If Mishenne were to have the means to lend you additional support in combat or otherwise, it would expand the options for any of your future tactics. The only question is who to best utilize his talents for what's to come?

>Have him create multiple caltrops.

>Let him try his hand at the spring dart mechanism he mentioned.

>Though it will be incomplete without an additional fuel source, have him rig the majority of an explosive trap.

>Write in.
>Mention that you saw some quicksilver in the jail. You sabotaged the last batch, but perhaps related materials could be found.
>Explain the nature of the beasts they control. Wild, pretty resistant to pain, but easily distracted by the scent and taste of flesh.
>Flammenwerfer. Even a lighter would be helpful for staving off the cold.
Support mentioning the quicksilver, but given the absence of fuel, the flamethrower likely won't be an option.
That's also my mindset for the bomb. Anything big and scary we can take care of with Elewyn. I'm still wondering whether those things take more damage from "Light" or "Holy".

I'm honestly more interested in the explosives as a battlefield alteration/create new exit card.

In the same vein, and to stay consistent with what I was complaining about last post, having Misha cover our rear with caltrops would be really nice, especially when fleeing down sewers. Having them protecting our flanks when fighting outside is also a good prospect. It isn't the fanciest, but should be very effective against smaller target our composition might not be well suited towards. Besides, he should get his fill of rogue exp in the pits, anyway.

>Have him create multiple caltrops.
Heyo everyone, welcome to the weekend! I hope that it's been off to a pleasant start for you all.

As the early night passes with our quest, please feel free to vote on how Misha can contribute to your plans. I'll be keeping the vote window open for another 3 hours or so, and I'll examine what we have then!
>Let him try his hand at the spring dart mechanism he mentioned.

I think letting him push himself would be best, caltrops are nice but only slow the enemy, not block. better to kill
A flamethrower would be spectacular but I don't think he could fuel it for long. A better
It's been some time since this occurred, but after going over the votes that we have so far it seems that we're at a three way tie since the options can't be synthesized.

I'll leave the vote window open another hour before deciding our choice via a roll.
Rolled 2 (1d3)

Regardless of rolled outcome, we'll give more details about the quicksilver we know the Sanctuary uses.
Suggestion/request of a flamethrower type device = 1
Requesting that Mishenne crafts caltrops for later use = 2
Allowing him to try his hand at making the spring dart mechanism he suggested = 3

Rolling 1d3 to decide our request.

>Writing outcome!
Back from work at last.

I'm feeling really gassed, so I estimate about three hours before the update starts being posted.
As it is likely apparent, I fell asleep not too long after I posted last night.

Update very soon, and the morning after this part of daylight saving is truly the worst.

With the colorfully enthusiastic way Mishenne describes these designs, you can easily envision several items machined to further your machinations against the Sanctuary. Yet, with time being in short supply and these humans having yet supplied a decision, you settle upon the most straightforward tool he offered.

“To account for the scenario in which my less technologically inclined hands wield your creation…” You begin tactfully. “I will play to my strengths and ask for you to make a set of simple caltrops for me. This should also help ensure that you get some rest tonight.” You lean forward with your hands on your hips. “It's rather apparent with the discoloration underneath your eyes. You’re the type that gets carried away tinkering through the whole night, aren’t you?"

“Ahh…stop reading me.” He timidly blocks his eyes from sight with his arm. “But, I guess I can see your reasoning… Maybe I can try those other designs if-“

The wooden door to the dusty hovel creaks noisily as Luca and Seo return with heated expressions and chilling air. They’re quick to slide within and block the crevices from the hostile outside.

Even to a stranger, it's clear that the two intensely argued as long as they could tolerate the frigid air, and they now move toward the recessed fire pit to warm themselves in brooding silence.

After allowing the blood to achingly pulse back to her to reddened extremities, Seo sniffles in agitation before shifting her gaze toward you. “I’d like to share a word with you…” Her eyes sharpen as glances at Mishenne toward your side. “In private.”

Mishenne opens his mouth as if to protest Seo’s sudden demand but then casts his eyes downward while rising to his feet. “I-I’ll get started on what you requested. It shouldn't take too long.” He murmurs meekly toward you before moving toward his pack.

Annoyed, Luca sighs and rubs his hands on his thighs before heading off to check on Izurin.

With her two companions having reluctantly acquiesced the space around the flame, Seo roughly drops a cushion at your side, and then more roughly falls back upon it. Before speaking she unlaces her damp boots and tosses them aside to warm her chilled feet. “I’m trying to weigh your words in the absence of the mind-numbing cold and hunger and yet…”

“How do you put aside what’s inside and all around you?” You muse while watching the flame hungrily consume the thick cuts of wood, emitting vibrant embers into the air.

She emits a half laugh and half sigh as she rubs her face wearily. “You don’t. Even with those…terribly repugnant monsters I killed; my thoughts all return toward those base needs I never had to expend worry toward before... Those creatures are only real to me in waves of horror, and then, not." Her eyes track the flickering cinders floating through the air. "Even in the moment, I was simply allowing my body to do what needed to be done. If I took the time to think on what was happening then…” She stops speaking as she attends to unbuckling her leather armor. Once finished, she stretches the tender muscles that laid underneath the whole day.

Given her physique, she’s one of the robust types that uses the large intake of food to fuel an active body. It’s not surprising she’s having difficulty adjusting to the circumstances of famine, but that famine is but one arm of the Sanctuary’s repugnant plan.

“Those abominations, the biting hunger you feel, even the cold we must all endure, they are all of one entity, one terrible and inseparable intent.” You enumerated each factor on an individual finger before closing your fist. “It’s all around you, and inside you, and the same for every person suffering within this town.”

She shakes her head in thought. “It’s more apt to say we’re inside of it, this dreadful nightmare. Regardless, given how you handled yourself, I can surmise those abominations are an understandable part of your world. Given how you speak of it, I can also surmise that hunger isn’t as a large concern for you. Even the cold you’ve adapted toward." Her eyes track her two companions across the room as if observing if their ears are attempting to overhear your conversation. "Given all that I’ve seen, I know that you’re capable of handling yourself in such a nightmare.” She moves closer to ensure that she is not overheard. “But once their foolish bravado is gnawed away by the cold, the hunger, and the fear, how will you handle it then? Would you leave us behind?” She continues even quieter. “Fools as they may be, I have no intention of letting them die a violent death and then have their bodies consumed as you say. Even if it’s kicking and screaming, I will drag them to whatever ensures their survival. So tell me plainly and clearly, how could that be with you?”

The fact that she chose to speak with you indicates that she has yet to decide what would be the safest path forward for her and her companions. Now that they've fallen within the lands of Impel, you firmly believe that aligning themselves with you is their best option of navigating this frigid nightmare safely, as you don't have the time nor desire to escort them to safety until after everything is settled. But how should you best convey that to Seo, considering her perspective?

>Take a fact-based approach. The Sanctuary will not simply let them leave after what occurred in the infirmary and they have the main passage through the mountains firmly blockaded. This means their best option of escape is through a direct disruption of the Sanctuary's plans.

>Leverage her companions' potential desires. If either of them wish to stay, then any dissonance would leave them all vulnerable if they wish to move as a unit.

>Probe her motivations. Ask why she reacted to the mention of Enais' name.

>Write in.
>Mention that there are possible compromises with regards to the hunger and cold. The rations they give out require many days of consumption to exhibit effects, and the places we will be going will be so uncomfortably warm you'll be glad to be in the cold again.
>At the very least, they'll have to raid the docks for what passable fish remains to survive the trip back.

>But if she's asking about intentions, is she alright with abandoning the people here? People within the kingdom's territory, if not direct supervision?
>Or is she considering an alliance with the Sanctuary? Enais is quite friendly, the only catch being that her goals and methods are the same as everyone else in the cult.
>>Take a fact-based approach. The Sanctuary will not simply let them leave after what occurred in the infirmary and they have the main passage through the mountains firmly blockaded. This means their best option of escape is through a direct disruption of the Sanctuary's plans.
Probably best not to prick her pride by calling her a coward or turncoat. Even if she does have a very high opinion of herself. Instead I think the best way to motivate her to stick around past the bare minimum is to, indeed, assuage her concerns. She's already met at least one human who has worked with Elewyn, and he certainly didn't die at a young age. There are plenty of others, who Elewyn did not abandon. Elewyn is not just old, she is one of the few relics of a past age, one who fought and brought her companions through terrible things. Age is what isolates Elewyn, not demeanor.
We the readers don't know what brought Noire to an end but it probably wasn't Elewyn skipping out on her.
>If nothing else, self-interest means keeping all of you alive is the best option, not abandoning you.
Elewyn Needs Misha to break the Elin out, and our odds of getting them all out are significantly higher with two extra fighters. And Misha’s only going to help if you two are on board.
Heyo everyone, I hope that all of your Sundays are restful and relaxing!

Thank you all for accommodating the odd timing on my last update. I'll be leaving the vote window open for another 3 hours or so until I tally/synthesize what we will answer Seo with.
We'll be taking a mostly fact-based approach highlighting the blockade, the fact that you have a vested interest in keeping all of them alive as a best option, and that there are possible ways to mitigate the cold and hunger.

The more emotional probing will involve reminding her of what's at stake for the townspeople while taking care not to imply that she is a coward.
It's always very fun to see the differences in approach you take with write-ins involving companions. Let's see how all of this will influence their actions in the future.

Finally back home, and not as dead tired as yesterday, so update in about 2-3 hours!

If she desires a plain and clear answer, then you needn’t mince words and shield them any longer from the full scope of how impossible and lethal escape would be for them.

You meet the vigorous eyes of the young human. “Alright, let us first assess the factors working against you and then I will give you my perspective on your best chance of survival.” You lift a single finger for each point. “First, you’re all fugitives of murder to an organization who freely acts above the law and whose core goal is the propagation of suffering in its most potent form. Second, the Sanctuary is comprised of dozens, if not more, depraved individuals and aberrations whose sole purpose is to violently achieve their goals by any means necessary. Third, these enforcers are headed by ruthless leadership that can orchestrate a covert infection of a whole town and the surrounding region all within the shadow of the capital. Fourth, and what I’ll make final for now, is that you have no means of caring for yourselves as you have essentially no food and no means of transportation.”

While her expression remains resolute during the entirety of your explanation, slight twitches of disquiet begin to soften her steely determination. “If we were to depart, we would obviate the need to deal with the most pressing of those factors.”

“If you’re chancing upon sneaking across the blockade you encountered upon entering this land, then know that they would have bolstered their number and vigilance for that exact situation.” You pull a loose thread from your long dark blue skirt with ease and then allow it to float away subject to the room’s air currents. “If by some chance you were to sneak by, then you would find yourselves several days walk from the nearest town with no food and no shelter.”

It's at these last words that impress the true weight of the situation upon her, and she averts her gaze in strained thought.

Now to offer her a light of hope and assuage her concerns.

“But as you so keenly stated, this is all part of the world that I inhabit.” You idly watch the thread hover precariously over the sunken flame before speaking again. “On my own I’ve infiltrated these lands to gather all the information that I will utilize for my counterattack, which I will see to the end with or without your help. Yet, it’s with your help that any plans that I formulate will have the greatest chance of success."

You pass your gaze over Mishenne who's furtively crafts the first of the caltrops you requested and then Luca whose large back is turned toward you.

"Join me, and I would have no reason to leave you behind, it would be quite the opposite. It would serve me well to see that you’re not starved, that you don’t succumb to the cold, and that you all live to the very end of this mission and beyond. It was together that those flesh fiends fell to your mace, Seo. Think on how the outcome would have differed for you if we chose not to work together. Think on how what outcome is left for the townspeople if we choose not to work together. If we strike hard at the body of their work, the bowels of their plans, and the heads of their cult, we not only act against the terrible fates they intend for the humans, Devan, and Elin, but we ensure our best chance of survival.”

With a deep sigh, she speaks again. “Alright, you’ve made your point. These are conclusions that I’ve already considered, but…” She turns to you wearily. “It’s still reassuring to hear you say that you wouldn’t abandon us if we did help you. Even if your request was responsible for us falling into this mess.”

You raise your eyebrows. “Oh? If blaming me helps you cope with this, then go ahead. It won’t change the truth of the matter.

Her eyebrows raise in challenge. “Oh, if you’re offering then I will take full advantage of your offer. You better not regret it later.” She covers a slight yawn to save face.

You turn to face your body toward her. “Does that mean you agree to help me?”

After suppressing the yawn, she crosses her arms moodily. “Tentatively and on the condition you continue to fulfill your promises, yes. From what I’ve witnessed of his interactions with my maid, I can tell you’ve already beguiled Mishenne, but my final response depends on the larger fool. He’s been insufferably temperamental since you quelled his lifelong delusion. Which, horrid circumstances aside, has been long needed and therefore appreciated.”

You sigh and look toward Luca’s brooding figure seated at the foot of Izurin’s small bed. “I didn’t realize his obsession ran so deeply.”

You wonder how this might affect his cooperation in the future.

“It’s a long story, but not mine to tell.” Seo yawns deeply as she leans back on her hands. “Don’t bother trying to talk with him until he’s cooled off. He’s pouting on your words and balancing his whole motivation for coming and staying here.” She lazily waves a hand to dismiss the idea. “Regardless, I’ll speak to him in the morning and let him know that I agree with your plan.”

“Long story…” You muse allowed while recalling her reaction to your mention of the Fleshepherd’s name. “Before you turn in for the night, I have one final question… Do you know who this Lady Enais is?”

Her mouth tightens at the mention of her name. “The name is nothing more than a coincidence, I’m sure…”

It’s easy enough to determine whether it is a coincidence or not.

“Pale, thin, and with blue eyes that look beyond your exterior appearance.” You list calmly.

As she blinks her eyes linger closed for far longer than they should. She stands without looking toward you. “Still too implausible to be anything other than a coincidence. I’m going to rest now.”

Seo departs from you without another word and heads for a low bed across from Izurin and Luca.

She's acquainted with Enais in some way, but from what you've examined of her reactions, Seo was completely surprised to hear mention of her regarding what is happening here. More information about Enais' past could be leveraged against her in the days to come...


The night has gained additional purchase, and now most of the townspeople will sleep now or soon. The long and arduous journey has left the young humans on the verge of collapsing. Seo has already secluded herself underneath a thick blanket, Luca dozes near the sleeping Elin, and Mishenne tinkers away at the caltrops with heavy eyes and drooping head.

You've grown more acquainted to all three of them, and shared your thoughts at length about their best chance at survival. Now it's time for them to rest and then decide upon what's to come.

You consider your options for your next move.

If you wanted to avoid venturing into areas strongly protected by the Sanctuary, the old human woman whose hovel you inhabit could provide new information about the town and Sanctuary's operations. It would keep you close to the young humans, but would likely offer limited information as she's kept out of the way for the most part. Otherwise, you could move around the outskirts of town toward the barracks to check on the Devan. Speaking with Hraska and convincing him to tell you how he was able to sneak around Sanctuary buildings would prove useful for maneuverability. This would require you to venture through the woods to reach the Devan barracks, but you would have the cover of darkness. Finally, a similar path around the outside of town can be taken toward the tavern. It remains a place of respite for you, and there's factors with Cyrene and her dreams that you still want to monitor, especially in light of what you learned about the being's true desires.

Every action or inaction carries its risks. Where will you head next?

The following choice will direct how time is spent for the late night.

>Remain within the hovel to speak with the old human woman, and afterwards rest for a short time.

>Head toward the barracks to speak with Hraska and Nento, and rest there if possible.

>Head toward the tavern as you had the night before to check on Grygas and Cyrene, and rest there for a short while

>Write in.
>>Head toward the tavern as you had the night before to check on Grygas and Cyrene, and rest there for a short while
They could be attacking that place right now. Even if we don't directly enter we should check in on them.

I'm pretty set on securing the Elin first. After that is the tower or the river mouth. We probably won't make it in time to stop the ritual proper, but we're too outnumbered to go directly for the mines.
>>Head toward the barracks to speak with Hraska and Nento, and rest there if possible.
having more people to sneak around, who are not as good at it as Elewyn is, means that we can't rely on the methods she used when she was alone
Heyo everyone, somehow I've only been at work a short while and I've already been told that I will have to do some traveling next week to assist in "ad hoc department training." It almost certainly will have an effect on the update schedule at the time, but I will let you all know when I do.

Anyway, I hope that the start of your weeks have all been going well! I'll be leaving the vote open for another 2 hours or so before tallying what we have. Be back soon!
>Head toward the barracks to speak with Hraska and Nento, and rest there if possible.
Any more support and potential planning would be good. I'd expect the tavern to be watched right now, more closely than the barracks.
Moving toward the Devan barracks under the cover of darkness to see what sort of support we can draw up there.

Update to be posted in about two hours!
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Upon watching the three young humans rest as comfortably as can be expected, your thoughts naturally drift toward the tavern and how the two inhabitants are hopefully resting within. With the Sanctuary’s increased fervency, concerns bubble to the surface of your mind about Grygas and Cyrene’s safety both within this world and the fleshscape.

Yet, as far as you can hear with your animal ears, the town of Impel is silent this dark and freezing night, and if anything changes, you’ll trust in Grygas’ promise to protect his daughter. But, you, the one who made the same promise to those Elin trapped and tortured within those hopeless pits are the one that needs to find a way to reach them and to deliver them to safety. While these young nobles sleep, you’ll act as only you can and find a path to that goal in the cold darkness.

After escorting Mishenne to a proper sleeping spot, your steps are soft and unnoticed as you pull on your tattered coat and pack to head into the blood-numbing outside. But as if sensing your departure, the old woman, who offered this hovel for your companions to rest within, opens the passage to her private room to gaze upon you and the humans.

Her world-weary eyes eventually fall upon yours as the two of you stand in the quiet of light, resting breaths. “You’re headed off again?”

You return a single firm nod while tightening the straps of your pack to your body. “I must.”

“Must…” She sighs slowly while closing her eyes in thought. “So many think on what they must do without thinking on what or who they leave behind.”

“I was the one left behind.” You correct her flatly. “Those considerations have long ago slipped through my fingers.”

“Hmm…” She murmurs in melancholy thought. “I see. There is strength in the simplicity of that low place, but I will hold onto the hope that I will see my sons again. I will continue to remain here…”

There is a great deal of pain to each sentence she conveys to you, and for every word left unsaid, double. The serene stillness of this night has offered fleeting reflections to be found in the most unlikely of places, and you sense that she feels the same.

“I will hope for you as well, but…” You gaze around the dusty hovel that is only an incomplete husk of the shelter it once was for a complete family before turning back to her. “Don’t linger for too long. Otherwise, all you will know is to linger.”

Weakly, she turns her face from you while shaking her head. “Staring in your eyes make me the feel the suffering all over again. Go with warm fortune and do as you must.”

You pull the large hood of your over your ears and to conceal your eyes. “Keep them warm as well. They’re not used to the cold.”

Not that you’ve ever been yourself.

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”Die! Die! Die! Die!

The blade has already painfully perforated your abdomen into dozens of screaming red mouths of burning hot agony, as the Vampyr captain hatefully avenges so many of his fallen kin. Your body is turned to flayed, reddish pulp with each blow, you’ve lost the strength to resist any further long ago, and now have only the desire that this all ends.


Noire…isn’t coming this time. Your throat burns from how many times you begged her to come save you. Or did you call for her? All that you can recall with confidence now is the sensation of the previous stab, and the fear of the next. If you scream out now, will she come? What if she doesn’t?


Is dying supposed to be this horrible and long. Does one lost track…of the time as they die? You shouldn’t have trusted that your companions would come back for you. You should’ve left the pack behind and run as hard as you could. You shouldn’t have thought that you could be an adventurer and stand alongside her.


Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret. Pain, dread, regret.

Ahh, it’s still happening. You’re almost in two pieces! Why won’t it end?!

You’re so sorry, Noire.

”Oh, Elewyn. Weakest and most pitiful of all my children.

A perfectly serene and affectionate voice calls out to you clearly beyond the frantic pulsing of your heart. Though you've only ever heard it within your deepest dreams, her voice is instantly recognizable.


How?... It doesn’t matter! There’s no way that this can be healed, so grant mercy and let this cycle end!

You can be healed, you must be healed, so we deigned to use our powers to heal you. You’re far too important to our divine weapon to die now. But this is the only way we can interfere without the dark gods taking notice. The Vampyr will grow tired, your wounds will heal, and you will be able to strike back. So, please. Endure it, as you have no other choice but to endure it.

No please...Please... Anyone...

The cycle continued for another two days in several monstrous forms before the Vampyr’s supernatural energy wore away, and only then were you able to escape. Once you returned to safety, you found the companions that had abandoned you were all slain in their attempt to escape. You immediately volunteered for the Federation vanguard that would quash the dark cabal that led the Vampyr at the time. You never spoke of what happened those nights.

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As the frigid night took hold, every flake of white powder in the dense woods has hardened into an amorphous jagged sphere which crunch noisily underfoot if you’re not vigilant with each sinking step. This paired with the sporadic fierce gusts of warmth-sapping wind blowing into the front of your body impedes your progress greatly.

The gradual movement allowed for introspection. The inward thoughts were led by the extensive discussions of the past insecurities and suffering which have found the beginning of the path toward particularly unpleasant memories.

Your lungs sting and tighten as you sigh deeply of the night air. It won’t do you any good dwelling in the past when there’s still much to be done. If it serves no purpose toward saving your kin or ending the Sanctuary’s plans, then let it remain in the recesses of your mind where you left them so long ago.

As you fully regain focus, your animal ears pick up the crunching noise of a set of unhurried footsteps moving toward you from the direction of the Devan barracks. With ease, you’re able to discern a pair of boot-wearing humans and a third crude creature heavily and indelicately tramping on the powdered ground on all fours, unlike any other you've heard before. It's doubtful that anyone other than Sanctuary members would be moving so casually this late at night.

You'll need to find a way to remain undetected as you finish your journey to the barracks. The heavy wind may conceal your footsteps, but not your frame. The high snow mounds would provide better cover, but would quickly draw away vital warm, and if you were detected, it would likely position the enemy within very close reach. Some of the nearby trees provide enough branches to climb a high distance above the ground, but leave you exposed if whoever is passing by happens to look upwards.

>Use the nearby snow mounds for cover.

>Climb into the treeline to avoid being seen.

>Write in.
>Fly high, over the trees
It's dark, if the beast is a sniffer then they'll catch on any terrestrial trail, and even if they suspect something from the sound they're not going to achieve much searching in a massive radius of a forest.
Heyo everyone, I hope that all of your days have been off to a pleasant start! I'll be hearing about next week's plans for work travel in a meeting soon, so I'll be able to convey how it will affect the quest updates shortly thereafter.

Anyway, this is just a quick check in to let you all know that I will be leaving the voting window open for another ~2 hours to see if we can't get another one or two more votes in that time.
>Climb into the treeline to avoid being seen.
People don't usually look up.

Also, being novice Elewyn was suffering, jeez. When your god pokes her finger on the scales of fate, and says 'suck it up'
Heading upwards and over the approaching figures. We'll still save the use gale to move over the trees in case of an emergency, as to keep alert to our movements in the general area minimized if possible.

Officially traveling between Sunday and Wednesday for work, unofficially rumors of downsizing afterward making their way around. Hopefully just rumors, but I have to be proactive about it.

I'm taking the night off from writing, and I think I'm going reconsider the update schedule. Any changes I decide upon will be communicated, but like hell am I going to abandon this story.

Please have a good night/day wherever you are in the world.
Ouch, the QM curse strikes again. Glad to see you're still motivated, though. Hang in there, Hien !
You've done a good job of communicating about the schedule so far, I believe most of us will stick around until this gets sorted out. I know I want to see this continue.

I'm not familiar with the TERA lore, but this quest is pretty near Berserk levels of dark.
I want to see how this will end as well!
It's strange to have "the curse" happen to you after seeing it manifest to a bunch of other QMs, but that's just life I suppose. I'm going to do my best to mitigate the effects on regularity that these events have on the quest, while still of course prioritizing real life. Thank you very much for your continued support!

There are a good amount of heavier content within the lore, but almost all of it is alluded to, written in in-game documents, or happens off-screen. Admittedly, my writing style pushes those topics a bit further than would be found in the game, but for the purpose of examining and building on those darker ideas (hopefully in some manner analogous to other media such as Berserk.)

Update will be posted around the usual time today. For the foreseeable future (while not traveling), I believe I'll switch to the one update every other day schedule and see how the exact time the update is posted settles out from the switch. Thank you all for your understanding!
Back home, so update in about 2-3 hours!
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Two humans and an unknown creature… To what end do they travel through these dark and freezing woods so late at night in such small number? A messenger would move the fastest as a solitary figure, unless the weight of message bears other souls to share its burden. Enforcers would be an unlikely move given what your side has revealed of your combat prowess. For all they know that prowess prowls within the impartiality of this low light as it grants advantages to all clandestine motives. Then what exactly is their intention… Closing your eyes, you more clearly perceive the footsteps gradually approaching as the erratic pulse of a single disquieted entity. They haven’t a target to pursue, they haven’t a message to carry, they move unhurried, yet unsettled.

Unknowing of their intent, but you’d rather avoid having their uneasy steps stumble upon you within the high piles of powder.

There’s enough assistance from the extended and branching arms of the nearby dark trees for you to climb high above the eventual path of the approaching figures. Although, the trees themselves would extend their arms just as easily for those who would do you harm. The balance of impartiality must be maintained. So hopefully, the balance of those who might pursue is ill-suited to the precarious powder-coated tree limbs, so they don't even bother.

With small misting breaths of effort, you deftly scamper up the tree, stinging your hands with every stretched grasp to meet the tree’s limbs. Once you’ve ascended a few feet, you ensure that the remains of the trail you carved is fully erased with your own concentrated gust of wind adding to the unrelenting squalls surging from the fetid sea. Then you climb, further and further.

You were never the best tree climber when you still resided in Pora Elinu, but the experienced gained from repeatedly taking advantage of this elevated escape in perilous missions gives you the confidence that you could outpace most of your remaining kin and any normal human being. Still, while escape is well within the realm of possibilities, remaining undetected would be the ideal scenario.

Once the voices of those nervously crunching their way forward reaches your ears, you cease your ascent. The cover of the branches conceals you from most views except for directly underneath. From your vantage point, you crouch and silently watch two darkly hooded figures clamber through the high powder both wielding a leash that connects to a sturdy harness around a rotund and pale fleshed beast. The flesh creature stands at their waist height and pulls its bloated bulk forward on thick chitinous, pointed appendages. It lumbers about with a similar curiosity to an unruly dog, effortlessly hauling its owners at irregular intervals.

“…after scouting it out, there’s more than enough of them and the corpusculant is fine moving around through the snow, but does it really need to come to this?”

“What, you got a soft spot for them or something?”

“Don’t be an idiot. We’re just asking why there's such a big change in the plan suddenly. We weren't ever told that this was going to happen.”

“You remember Byrne? Tall, droopy, and sad looking bastard? Yeah, he got done in by those supposed merchants that came through the pass. Completely done in.”

“You mean?...”

“Completely. So, yeah, he was one of the Lady Fleshepherd’s favorite enforcers. He was apparently around near since all of this was just getting started and helped out a bunch our little lady. But then they went and killed him and the one in charge of the sick pens so the Lady Fleshepherd is not happy and now we’re all out tonight on her orders.”

Enais is mounting a countermove against your actions within the clinic, by the sound of it, an extensive one at that as well. But what role do these cultists play in that plan?

“Damn, we heard about that. Those kids that got loose after people got lazy and didn’t keep a close watch on all of them. We don't get how it relates to those merchants, but guess we should do as were told so that we don't end up in the maturation pit. ”

“Smart. We all got our jobs to do tonight so we just need to keep- wait, hold on. Something’s got the corpusculant excited.”

The engorged beast huffs nosily at ground where you stood listening for their approach before whipping its head in from side to side. Agitated, it drools heavily as it raises its front limbs high into the air before stamping down on the ground, jerking the two handlers along with it.

“Get him settled! We don’t want him to go off now. It might ruin the plan!”

"We're trying! He's too damn fat to wrangle."

It's able to detect your scent for fleeting moments, and is desperately searching for the source. But its porcine frame prevents it from raising its head directly toward you above it, and the strong cold wind resets the trail which confuses and angers it further.

The feedback loop causes the corpusculant to rapidly screeches a high pitched frantic note that is especially noxious to your animal ears. Foam builds up at the corners of its mouth as steaming hot excrement sprays rapidly out of its body as it violently strains.

The two enforcers attention are firmly affixed on the distraught burly flesh beast and pulling it away from the area as it resists. You're intrigued at the possibility of this creature 'going off' and disrupting their plan, but there's no telling what that might entail. Perhaps it'd be better to leave for the Devan Barracks without risking any incident.

>Head away from the cultists and further into the treeline as far as it will take you.

>Linger around the beast and agitate it further, all while ready to make a quick escape with a gale if necessary.

>Write in.
Alright, well these low-level grunts apparently know about a plan. They're also on their own and isolated. If we had anyone else with us able to finish off stunned targets, I'd advocate jumping them and trying to interrogate them for details of whatever this "Plan" might be.
That being said, I'm assuming this is some sort of tracking patrol, bringing in sniffer dogs, potentially to follow up on our attack and find where we went. We also don't have anyone with us right now, attacking is out.
>Head away from the cultists and further into the treeline as far as it will take you.
Make a note of the direction they're headed
Sundowning is invisible, right? Could we just stun the beast and leave? They aren't going to get much of anything done if the beast is dead, and if it splits off into a bunch of uncontrollable pests they might be too busy just wrangling them.
Considering Sundowning is described as “imposes a blinding beam of light”
I think it’s the opposite of subtle
damn. So if we sabotage now, we'd also be bringing the fight to the Devan. Very not cool move, but would get a lot of stuff done.
Heyo everyone, I hope that you're all doing well as the week progresses! As the rumors of layoff become more substantiated, I'm seeing this as a nice opportunity to move on from this place in the coming months.

Anyway, Since we're now on the update every other day schedule, I'll be leaving the vote open for another 6 hours before tallying what we have!

The light of sundowining is actually centered around the target(s) it's cast upon, but it's certainly not a subtle sight.
>>Linger around the beast and agitate it further, all while ready to make a quick escape with a gale if necessary.
We're here to gather intel, so I'm not opposed to fucking with these two a bit. Push comes to shove, we Gale away from the barracks and take a bit more time to get there.
And yeah, figured Byrne's death would cause some ripples.
I'm not going into this with the goal of starting a fight, that's for sure.
Let's just stay here for a while, see what happens.
We're currently at a tie, so I'll settle it with a roll!

Heading away after making a note of which direction they are headed.
Agitating the corpusculant further, and making a quick escape if things take a turn.

Rolling 1d2 and writing outcome! (Update to be posted some time tomorrow.)
Rolled 2 (1d2)

......rolling this time.
I feel like this thing is going to explode, like a baneling from SC or something. It's pissing and shitting itself at the sniff of a target
Update to be posted in about 2-3 hours!

An expert blacksmith could spend tireless years pouring skill and experience into creating a masterwork weapon, peerless in balance, potential lethality, and elegance, but it would make little difference in the hands of a novice. In the same vein, any strategy, no matter how thorough, ruthless, and clever is only as effective as those carrying it to fruition. The sharper the crafted element, the more easily it cuts, so you will tap into the vein of commonalities and allow these cultists to tap into themselves with keen edge.

You settle as comfortably as you can on the thick tree branch to both watch and act in the scene taking place beneath you to investigate what you can from these two. Perhaps if it wouldn’t result in biting pain from the cold, you would bear further skin by removing your shoes or the like and antagonize the corpusculent more intensely. However, it imbibes your essence well enough without.

“Fucking disgusting! It’s not calming down!”

“Should we leave it behind?!”

The steaming flesh creature frantically stumbles and stamps through the white powder at the base of your tree perch, releasing more pressurized filth from both ends of its body. A messy and moist clearing emerges from its heated strain as the two cultists similarly wallow in its bodily mud, trying to rein in the agitated blob.

“No! We were given a job, and everything’s come too far. Think! If we were the ones out of all the groups to fuck up now?... Grab it by the nostrils, we’ll push from the back while you do.”

“…You’re right. We’ll clear out those rats before the birth!”

So, these two aren’t the only pair leading these engorged flesh beasts around… Given that you haven’t encountered any others, they must be spread at distances to cover a great amount of terrain. But, if tracking your movements was the Sanctuary’s plan, a less corpulent creature. There must be something more to this creature than its ability to sniff you out. Furthermore, that’s the second instance of the ‘birth’ you heard today…
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You warily rise to your feet, with staff at the ready as you watch one of the hooded figures hurriedly stagger to move around the great beast, and then dig both his hands into the mucous-filled slits in its face. He tugs the creature by the nose with some success, but with nostrils pried wide open to take in more scent, the outcome was all but assured.

The horrid squealing of the corpusculent reaches a feverish pitch, causing your animal ears to recoil and flatten against your head. Its body distends gruesomely from the inside, ballooning unevenly to an even greater and terrifying volume.

Then, suddenly, the creature is no more, and in its stead a blood mist shockwave and fetid sulfurous gas surges forth, gorily tearing through the two cultists standing at the epicenter of the blast.

Your removed positioned provides you with enough window of time to hastily evoke a concentrated blast of wind from your staff, launching you back without the time to take heed of bearing.

As you soar backward, the weakening shockwave reaches you first, dispersing painfully within your torso. Immediately, you cough a thick mist of blood, then without any moment to recover, you crash backward into a new tree, abruptly stopping your momentum, and causing you to plummet straight to the powder covered ground. You focus through the compounding echoes of pain in your body to unleash a blast of wind to help ease your fall.

The impact is still potent, jarring your frame once again, but the high powder helped dissipate the force.

Surrounded by warm-sapping white, you lie on your side coughing and sniffing cold air through the red blood leaking from your mouth and nose. Your stomach feels as if it’s been sadistically stomped upon and your tense lungs ache with every breath. A wave of healing magic ceases the bleeding, but the throbbing pain remains.

With shaky effort and heavy breaths, you eventually rise to your feet and regain your bearings to resume your path to the barracks.

wow it REALLY doesn't like the smell of Elin
"Madam... you in terrible condition..." Nento looks up at you with weary concern as he rests on one of the rotting cots. The other sick and injured Devan sleep uneasily with numbers having dwindled to the point that the number of cots accommodate all of them.

His face and body are deeply bruised, and his hands are swollen to an aggressive degree. He didn't seem to be injured when you spotted him earlier in the day.

"I could say the same thing to you, Nento, so don't strain yourself." You turn to Hraska who stands opposite the small cot. "How did he come to be in this condition?"

Hraska sighs as he looks over Nento's injured form. "He go to speak with other Devan near docks, because I no can go. He try to ask foreman over there if there space to move sick Devan." A pained expression forms on his face. "They say no. He ask if they have any food they could spare. They say no and tell him to go. He explain how bad things are here, and now..."

"I not know if I make it back, but it fine now..." Nento groans as he adjusts himself on the cot. "We have other problem need deal with...." His gaze turns toward the opposite side of the barracks where a Devan lies upon a particular cot, covered with a thick tarp.

The same cot where the foreman Okymto rested from his injuries, which shouldn't have been lethal given your intervention...

You lean in close to Nento and speak with hushed voice. "You killed him?..."

He shakes his head and looks toward Hraska. "Not me. We make plan to move to new barrack like you say. We need to get rid of foreman first before anything happen."

"It easy when he asleep. Even with this..." Hraska meekly raises his amputated and bandaged arm. "But now, we need get rid of foreman body. We not sure how we can with us injured."

They were correct in needing to deal with the obedient foreman before they stood a chance of saving the rest of the Devan, but between the two of them, they didn't have the strength to deal with his body as they normally would, not that you're any stronger, especially aching as you are. Absence can be excused to any of the Sanctuary's agents, but not a corpse.

You do have potential resources to help dispose of the body in the young humans, but you'd have to risk bringing them here. Although it could serve as a clear example of the suffering the Sanctuary inflicts. Otherwise, you have the tools, although rusted, to process the body into something that you can carry. Afterward, you'd need to find an effective way to dispose of the remains lest the parts arouse suspicion. How should you deal with the foreman's corpse so that you're free to speak with Hraska?

>Cut the foreman's corpse into chunks that are more easily carried away. (Write in how to dispose of remains.)

>Indicate that you'll return later with trusted assistance to remove the body.

>Write in.
They already carted away the other bodies, right?

If Hraska isn't going to use the hiding spot in the back anymore, we can put the less identifiable chunks there. If they sniff the frozen meat out, they can say they used the parts that fell off to plug the hole.

We can also leave some bits where the beast exploded. It would be clear that Okymto was killed, but it would explain away the strange behavior.

And there's always bringing some directly back with us. The cold will keep the smell to a manageable amount, and it's not like it changes things if it looks like we killed him. Gonna be one helluva thing to explain to the humans though.

I guess the fish will eat this stuff just fine, or we can use Okymto's head to threaten the dockworkers.
>Cut the foreman's corpse into chunks that are more easily carried away. (Write in how to dispose of remains.)
the mushrooms could always use fresh substrate, probably. the bits could go there, we know the sanctuary definitely doesn't know about them or they'd be destroyed and Cyrene couldn't get them.
Heyo everyone, I do hope that all of your weekends are off to a great start! I'll be heading out tomorrow on my work trip, but I think I will be able to write at least a moderate length update on the plane trip there, so there's a very likely chance of an update tomorrow. With that, I'll be leaving the vote window open another 6 hours and tally what we have then!

>They already carted away the other bodies, right?
The Sanctuary has recently carted away a major load of bodies, but a few new bodies have been added to the pile since then.
I believe that we have two votes for disposing of the foreman's body by severing him into chunks, and subsequently putting those pieces to good use potentially within the forest and dock.

Heyo everyone, I hope that all of your weekends were relaxing!

I don't think I have it in me to do an update today after travel and working. I do apologize for making it seem like I would, but I'm terrible at extensive writing/reading on planes it seems.

My trip doesn't end until Thursday, but I'll keep you all posted and will try to find the time to write, for myself more than anything. Have a good one!
No problem, it would be good if we got more discussion about what to do with the corpse anyway
Well, it's not related to corpse disposal, but I was thinking about how an immortal race would function. Note that I am NOT the QM, this is just me wildly speculating.

I've been doing some theorizing about what state Pora Elinu has to be in, and on the general state of Elin society with a dead goddess, lack of new Elin, and inability to die of old age.

This led me down the path of looking up mortality rates and death statistics.

The baseline population of Pora Elinu would probably stay fairly consistent between Elin setting out and new ones getting pulled from the lake. The city/town itself could only sustain a certain amount of people living at said location, due to food availability, and the lack of a population control through dying of old age would lead to Elin setting out to settle elsewhere or adventure instead of dying.

This leaving number probably stays similar from year to year, based on how many Elin were pulled from the lake (Assuming that in the best of years that was a small number) in order to stay at a sustainable population in Pora Elinu itself. This exodus number declines as the number of Elin pulled from the lake goes down, and potentially just halts when no new ones are pulled.

However, there's one other minor issue- the built-in instinct to wander. This leads to SOME amount of Elin potentially leaving the city every year, no matter what number of new births there are, and, of course, dying to disease, illness, injury, and blood loss, all the usual perfectly natural causes that just happen to keep populations down. But without new births, again, this is a one-way road, leading to a steady decline in the amount of Elin living in the city.

This whole situation is probably one good reason why Pora Elinu is more and more isolated these days. It's probably more of a ghost town of larger buildings built in a better time, that now stand abandoned because there's not enough Elin to live and use the space.

It's no surprise that Elewyn doesn't really like to go back to Pora Elinu, being older and remembering when all those buildings were being built or filled with people. You are left with hollow reminders of a time when your race was powerful and influential.
The food requirements are dodgy since we don't know how common it is to survive on magic alone.
At the airport on my way home from nearly a damned week of training and assisting what I learned will soon by my and numerous others' replacements.

Assuredly, I've been actively moving onto better things as well.

Anyway, there's a good bit time before my flight, so I'll be reviewing my story notes and working on the update. I hope to get it out when I get back home or some time after!

This is a great bit of hypothesizing the current state of the Elin race, the effect that it would have on their capital city, and Elewyn's perspective on the whole thing. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! As a little aside, the location of Pora Elinu is relatively proximal to Velika, the Velikan Wilds, and especially the Sinestral Manor.
Every thread within this ever-growing grotesque gossamer needs to be navigated with the utmost of care. Even lying at the periphery of the Sanctuary’s web, the lightest of movements within the Devan barracks could reverberate the entirety of the structure. Large corpses of servile Devan more so. Violent implosions of flesh beasts even more so.

However, deftly paired reverberations will cause dissonance, instrumental for further subterfuge. Otherwise, if paired carelessly then it detrimentally amplifies the origin and intent of the manipulator.

After a simple nod of conviction, you remove both your pack and coat and set them aside along with your staff near Nento’s cot. “Do you trust the other Devan to keep quiet about our plans?”

Nento groans nosily as he raises his upper body to glance upon the rest of the squalid barracks. “Now he dead, all Devan here know to keep quiet.”

“Yes, but it is what comes next that requires their silence in particular, as they do become lively when it comes to what I have planned...” You roll up the sleeves of your tattered and blood-stained blouse, and carefully tighten your cloth hood to hold back your hair. “Hraska, you are correct that we lack the strength to dispose of his heavy corpse. So, I propose we divide the task into more manageable…chunks.”

Hraska’s eyes widen with realization. “You mean…?”

Once you finish securing your hair and clothing, your gaze turns toward Hraska. “I’ll need all the cutting tools I used for the surgeries the other night, and your largest fluid containers. Buckets, basins, and whatever else you can spare.”

“You mean… we have to cut into body?.” Hraska avoids your gaze as he asks.

“Devan don’t like to cut into dead body, madam.” Nento explains in Hraska’s stead.

You place your hand on your chest. “You two need not worry. I’ll be doing the cutting and everything else involving breaking up his body.”

“Then, if quiet help you need, madam…” Nento gets Hraska’s attention before motioning toward a pair of nearby sleeping Devan males. “Those Devan help us last night. They not able to walk well or far, but arms still strong.”

While it may not be the same level of task as hauling a fully grown male Devan, manipulating and processing the foreman’s body will still require a strong pair of hands for assistance. You’ll put trust in Nento’s suggestion.
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You firmly nod to signal your agreement and then turn to face the foreman’s body covered in the soiled sheet. “Rouse them first and then gather what I requested. We must be quick about this. There’s no telling when or in what form the Sanctuary may reappear, and for such an act, their hands will no longer be stayed by your subservience.”

Groaning and clenching his jaw, Nento pushes his sweaty form off the soiled sheets and unsteadily stands using the cot for support. “Then we no let them catch us. We spill foreman blood to take control away. Now we take foreman body away from them, to take power away from them. Right, madam?”

Despite his heavy injuries, his gaze is filled with more conviction than you’ve ever seen from him before. You ignore your instinct to tell him to lie and rest. “That’s exactly right, Nento.” You smirk at him before moving toward the work still needing to be done this late night. "I'm here to help you with that goal."


The dull knife finally plunges through the toughened skin of the Devan’s neck, tapping the rich crimson river to steadily administer still warm fluid into the cold metal container below. The flow is partially stymied by the blade still lodged within the opening. Okymto’s face is appropriately twisted in an agonized death mask. A horrified snarl colored a deep purple with burst blood vessels in widened eyes and cheeks. Death by garroting, all while being denied the privilege of knowing the executioner. An unexpected death from below by those he thought himself above.

The two Devan that were sleeping just a few minutes ago, are soon to be tasked with holding the foreman’s legs high in the air. They watch with morbid curiosity as the taskmaster that callously barked orders at them for much of their lives is now processed like a common animal.

Now that the circulation of his body has been breached, you nimbly hop onto the cot and straddle his large torso with your hands placed flat on his chest. “Keep the containers close to his neck, otherwise we will have more of a mess to clean.” You warn Hraska who tensely stands by with Nento.

Nento pushes the extra containers closer to the cot. “We are ready, madam.”

Your arms yet ache from the force of the exploding corpusculant and the painful impacts that followed, but you must persist. Every discordant note played on the Sanctuary’s web must be by your hands…

You signal for the foreman’s legs to be raised into the air and then you press your weight down upon his corpse’s chest. The combined fluid motion forcefully ejects the knife from his throat with a torrent of red, sloshing into the rusted container. Rhythmically you bring your weight down upon his chest to evacuate the messy contents of his veins.

“It-it come out so easily.” Hraska gasps as the large metal container fills quickly with red fluid.

“Blood, like all things, prefers the path of least resistance.” You respond beyond strained breaths and with the fringes of your hair bouncing in front of your face. “It will find even the subtlest of openings.” Your affix your gaze upon Hraska as he switches the container to catch the blood. “You know much to that end, don’t you, Hraska?”

“Yes, madam…” He watches the foreman’s blood squirt into the container he holds. “I learn much about paths when I was sewer cleaning Devan before Sanctuary told me to work in docks instead.”

They were limiting those who had access to the sewers as they could not monitor both its passages and the town.

You focus beyond the growing fatigue and continue your questions. “Tell me, Hraska. The main sewer tunnel that runs north to south underneath their tower. Are there any paths that lead to it?”

The flow of the crimson fluid draws deep thought from Hraska. “Yes, madam.” He nods solemnly. “I took path that start in town to collect meat they leave underneath tower. They try to block off main path, but their walls weak in some places and easy to crumble. Last time...”

That potentially explains the offshoots that the gorehounds were able to utilize to sneak away from your spells. Advantageous knowledge to have if one plans on a mission within those very sewer tunnels. Regardless, the memories are difficult for him to put to words, so you do your best to keep quiet and allow him the space to speak.

“Last time, I too greedy. I stay too long trying get more food…” He doesn’t turn away from the weakening streams of red fluid that still pour from the foreman’s corpse. “Then, I get surrounded by humans and strange ugly, tall man, and then I get caught…” He shudders as his eyes clench shut.. "They put rag in my mouth and cover over head and then take me to a different building. Somewhere dark, near sea...somewhere where other prisoners were. Human men, women, even see a small girl like you. Then...they bring me on small ship to the water there and then they... my arm..."

The large basin Hraska holds nearly drops to the ground just before Nento catches it awkwardly around Hraska's legs. "Keep focused, fool!" He scolds.

"No. No. No more. I no want to go back there." Hraska shakes his head furiously to drive away the traumatic memories.

Some sort of prison near the sea... with all manner of prisoners. Other than extracting suffering from torture, the purpose of such a place eludes you, but it contains at least one vessel that can be taken out on the water, if not more. While Hraska was more willing to divulge some details of his capture, this final portion involving his torture is especially difficult for him to recant. If you deem it worthwhile, you could forcibly order him to share the information, as he now sees you as a figure of authority. Or you could allow him to calm himself, and simply focus on learning more about the paths leading to and from the main sewer tunnel. How hard do you want to coerce him?

>Allow him to regain his composure and instead gather information about the sewer passages leading to and from the main tunnel.

>Use your authority to extract all information on where he was tortured and the sewer passages as well.

>Write in.
I thank you all for your patience during the extensive break from updates and my added delay. I hope you've all been well during this past week, and I'm looking forward to resuming writing the quest with all of you.
Ah, good to see you back.
>Allow him to regain his composure and instead gather information about the sewer passages leading to and from the main tunnel.
Location location location. Easier to plan an infiltration if we get a general map or directions, and pushing him too hard might make him clam up, which we really don’t want to do.

Interesting that there’s another prisoner location near the sea, somewhere at the docks, maybe?
Urge to forcefully interrogate some higher ups intensifies
>Allow him to regain his composure and instead gather information about the sewer passages leading to and from the main tunnel.
He's already killed Okymto, gotta cut him some slack.

We're too undermanned to rescue everyone anyway. If we can stealthily treat them sure, but we don't have a treatment beyond some very painful and inefficient magic amputation. Bleeding out their troops sounds far more feasible.
Heyo everyone, I hope that your weekends are all off to a good start! I'm personally very glad to get the ball rolling again.

This is a quick check in to say that I'll be keeping the vote window open for another ~5 hours before tallying/synthesizing what we have then.
>>Allow him to regain his composure and instead gather information about the sewer passages leading to and from the main tunnel.
Slow and steady. This is great intel already. Even just knowing about a boat makes our plans clearer.
The passages would make infiltrating and exfiltrating through the sewers a far less daunting prospect, as Sanctuary may not be able to simply surround all exits with overwhelming force, leading to either us slipping from their grasp or them having to go into the tunnels and passages after us, which is just about the best combat scenario we can hope for in this mess, since it'll negate their numbers advantage and prevent them from flanking us. A rearguard action in the sewers is actually a good prospect, and makes me really glad we got caltrops.

It also reminds me of plans I had made in case of a rematch against the Carrion Beast, notably about scouting out the terrain and preparing traps. Depending on what Hraska tells us, it may be very worthwhile to take Misha into the tunnels to see if they can be trapped, or even safely collapsed between us, given the main tunnel's state of disrepair.
Unanimous decision to allow him the time to regain his composure and to divert questioning toward gaining information about the sewer passages adjacent to the main sewer tunnel for use in our future strategies

>Writing! (Updates will still be on an every other day basis.)

Much like the crimson fluid you steadily extract from the foreman’s corpse, there’s no need to rush the information regarding this new torture outpost from Hraska’s traumatized memory. He’s already assisted your plans by choosing to instill insurrection among the Devan, and to that end he’s eliminated the first obstacle toward that goal, which you now sit upon. So, steering his thoughts back toward the town’s subterranean bowels would still serve your future strategies and allow him to put his mind toward something less lurid. For now, you'll allow him the time to regain his composure.

“Hraska, that container is nearly full, so it’d be best if you replace it soon.” Once you catch his attention, you give him an encouraging grin. “I wouldn’t want you to make a mess on yourself when we’re nearly finished with the messy portion.”

His eyes widen at first at your words before he turns to receive the new metal container from Nento. “S-shit…” As he switches the containers, he curses under his breath as if he were barely pulled away from falling over a cliff. “Yes, madam!”

The final presses on the foreman’s chest elicit only a thin dribble of fluid that clings to the ashen grey skin of the pallid corpse. Resting your own tired arms, you absorb the transformation of his form from the once deep clay color to what is now.

All the while, you suck in the chilled air at a rapid pace, then you wearily turn back to the two assisting Devan. “You can release his legs.” After the foreman’s bulky limbs slam back onto the cot you motion toward the rusted basins filled with his blood. “Rest your arms, and then dump those in the altar room. The blood will freeze quickly there, and it will become indiscernible from the pool that’s already there.”

The pair bow at your command before moving back to their cot to fulfill the first part of your command.

After they’ve departed, you carefully slide off the foreman’s large corpse and unsteadily hop back to the ground.

“Should you rest too, madam?” Nento hobbles closer with concern in his voice. “You use little body like it a tool.”

You pull a strand of hair away from your face. “There are times in life in which we must use all our bodies have to give us, Nento. My stature doesn’t exclude me from that fact.”

“What you say sound true, madam.” Nento stiffly nods due to his injured neck. “But I do that for very long time, all my life. One time, I had very strong body, stronger than many Devan, but now my body broken. I don’t want same to happen to madam.”

Things would've come to an end a long, long time ago if it were that easy.

“That’s very kind of you to hold such concern, Nento. But at this moment, it won't be either of our bodies that will be broken.” You step closer to the foreman’s arm, pressed stiffly at his side from rigor mortis. “Compared to the surgeries we performed the other night; this will be a far more straightforward task.” You pivot yourself to keep both Hraska and Nento in your view. “You two will dislocate all the limbs at the shoulder and the hip in preparations for my cuts. If you need instruction on how to best separate the joints, I have recently brushed up on the subject.”

Perhaps there will be time to return the favor to your recent instructor…

You firmly stick out your open hand. “Bread knife.”


The gory process of dissevering the foreman’s limbs connects the fading of one day and the beginning of the next. Hraska and Nento twist all the meaty limbs until the thick wet sounds of rounded joints popping and tearing from their lifelong abodes, preparing the site in which you will roughly slice into the dull pink connective tissue.

You make contact with his left arm first and slim, shredded slices slide messily from the serrated blade slapping unceremoniously onto the filthy floor.

With your healing magic you've thoughtfully mended such gruesome wounds with hardly any effort, but to thoughtlessly rend the same wounds you must expend no less than considerable effort. While you certainly aren’t an especially skilled practitioner of any weapon, the task is best suited for your hands, and your hands alone. In execution, there’s only a fine line between harming a body in self-defense and what you do now, but that line is abundantly dark to keep even prolific warriors from crossing over.

The heavy arm finally severs from the torso, which comes as a surprise to the two Devan who allow the limb to slam into the floor with a wet thud.

“Only one arm gone and he already look much smaller.” Hraska eases the rest of the limb onto the ground and slides a dirty rag to collect the trickle of leftover blood.

You proceed to the inverted and dislocated leg that lost its lateral partner. “Just like the foliage from the tree, winter takes much of us. But for those of that remain…” You rest your blood-caked bread blade on the soft inguinal region adjacent to the leg. “There’s always a path forward.” You begin to cut through the meat. “Which returns us to my earlier question, Hraska. Where are the paths that run along the main sewer tunnel?”

Hraska looks away shamefully. “I sorry, madam. I forgot to answer when-“

“Pay it no mind and answer my question now.” You’re quick to interject beyond clenched teeth.

Hraska refocuses at your order and closes his eyes in thought. “There three tunnels big enough to go through that connect to that big tunnel. One run into big sewer chamber under tower. They seal both west and east side good, but if you have something stronger than weapon to break it open, then maybe go through. Its opening near northwest of town, next to wall.” He dutifully pulls the leg to assist with the amputation. “Other they don’t seal good, so it already crumble open. It start more south in courtyard near town inn and run into bigger tunnel then travel all the way to the water.”

A path that would require something stronger than a regular weapon to break through, and another, based on the positioning, is likely the path that the gorehounds used to ambush you in their pursuit. Both of their entrances are accessible so long as you don’t attract any attention in your approach.

“The last…” His brow furrows in recollection. “It much far south. Under quarry, but I no go there for very, very long time, but I know it very close to sea...." He nods his head. "That all paths that connect to that big tunnel.”
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A path beneath the maturation pit. Perhaps near where you started you escape…

“Your knowledge will be well utilized, Hraska. Thank you.” You emphasize the last word to punctuate the final cut. Enough flesh has been rend such that the torsion force on the leg is sufficient to pull it free from the foreman’s corpse.

“One side is free. Now for the other and…” You roughly tap the corpses forehead as you pass to the other side. “Let’s not forget the final piece.”


In cold silence, you sit against the wall of the barracks, staring across the room at the wrapped and concealed segments of the foreman's corpse. The process of butchering a creature the size of a large human male has left a profound fatigue in your limbs which you rest lightly on your lap. All the other Devan within the barracks endure the chilled air, sleeping on their rickety cots.

Despite all the sleep occurring around you, you're entirely restless. Thoughts drift back to dark and squalid pits with chains extending outward from their gaping imprisonment. Potential escape routes have been secured for your planned rescue of your kin, but infiltration and extraction is dependent on what the three young humans decide upon.

You quietly rise and head toward the exit of the barracks, even though you've yet to commit to specific destination. The corroded handles sting your skin at the touch as you pull open the portal to reveal the brutal outside. A feverish flurry of white obscures everything but the closest of trees that have already been thoroughly blanketed. On the ground, the snow piles to your waist like an ever extending opaque and milky sea. Something is contained within the malformed crystals falling upon your form. After your body's warmth dissolves the outer shell, you realize the flakes for the clatherates of emotion that they are.

Grief. It coats you, it piles in front of you, it falls from the very sky.

You pensively turn toward the east. "Did they tell you of Byrne's fate, or were you able to figure it out on your own?..." You sigh deeply.

This otherworldly phenomenon could be quite devastating to walk through before the emotion has dissipated, but you could almost be certain that you'd be the only one. Otherwise a visit within that flesh realm might be in order for such a poor girl, to console, and to investigate.

>Take advantage of the snowfall of grief to head to any location unimpeded by Sanctuary operatives. (Write in destination.)

>Rest and attempt to find the otherworldly being within the fleshscape.

>Write in.
What time is it? Close to midnight, or early morning? What's the possibility of waking the humans up and starting the op?
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Alright, I'd like to propose ambushing and executing some isolated cult members, taking their cloaks for disguises. It wouldn't hold up when they get close, but hopefully it would keep our less-stealthy members from being instantly recognized and reported at a distance.

Leaving some bodies behind diverts manpower and attention away from our break-in attempt tomorrow, while we can try and also gather information and potentially disrupt whatever operation with the exploders they have planned.

In the words of another special operative, "You'll be a ghost in this blizzard, so the guards won't see you until you're very close."
Get very close, and nail them with Sundowning, then knife them while they're stunned.

We'll have some time to recover mana before tomorrow, probably.
Heyo everyone, I hope that all of your weeks are off to a good start!

I'll be leaving the vote window open for another ~7 hours before tallying/synthesizing what we have then.

The time is approximately 1am. The possibility of having the humans help you with an operation at this time dependent on how persuasive you can be to move past Luca's current mood, and how well you'd be able to manage their deep fatigue and other physical issues involving cold and the like.

This is definitely an option, but you'd need to select a location where you believe you can carry out the covert kills.

I'll be around now to answer any other questions you may have pretty quickly, so feel to post any.
If we got the information Hraska, I would've investigated the torture chamber and/or check out the devan dockworkers where the quicksilver came in.

But if it's like this, I'll go with the fleshscape to try to see what the "girl" is thinking. Either we convince it of the harm its causing, or we enrage it and disrupt Sanctuary operations.
>Rest and attempt to find the otherworldly being within the fleshscape.
We should do it near Izurin and Luca, though. And make sure to keep an eye out for Cyrene, too.
>>Rest and attempt to find the otherworldly being within the fleshscape.
I'm curious and elewyn does need to rest sometimes, no matter her thoughts to nento's admonishment
Heading back toward the safehouse through the snowfall, and delving into the fleshscape to learn more about the being's thoughts.


If the area around Impel is subject to this symptom of her grief, the fleshscape, her mind made manifest, would reflect even greater turmoil. In such emotion, many truths that would normally remain repressed uncontrollably bubble to the surface of one’s thoughts. You sense an opportunity to extract this being’s understanding of the horrific acts that have taken place this town. However, you also sense added danger in doing so. If the fleshscape and the threats found within was the placid surface of her mind, then what may you find in the turbulent waves, and who may be caught within?...

You ought to return to the safehouse where Luca, Izurin, Seo, and Mishenne are sleeping, and ensure they aren't absorbed as well.

Before you depart, you quietly shut the heavy metal doors to the barracks and make your way to the pile of the corpse segments and extract two wrapped pieces of the foreman that fit within your pack. You find an arm that conveniently folds into a compact package of flesh, and a foot that you carved from the greater limb for the purpose of transport.

Just as the Sanctuary has, you’ve found undeniable use in flesh, and in the end, even the unscrupulous foreman will give flesh and blood to your cause.

Once you’ve secured his parts within your pack and prepare your belongings for the trek back to town, you silently depart the barracks to allow the Devan their rest.


The newly fallen powder is distinct from what coated the ground earlier in the day. The density is lessened to the point where trudging through it is noticeably less taxing physically. But, as if to make up for that shortcoming, each crystal has a density of emotion that makes the journey uniquely grueling.

Overall, the result of this both layers is frigid cold meltwater slowly seeping into your shoes and the ankles of your stockings, all the while you absorb a potent, freezing sorrow throughout the rest of your legs with every step.
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Suddenly, a blurred memory not of your own fills your mind. It isn’t at all the vision of a normal memory, but a rudimentary impression of space as if seen through clouded, unformed eyes. A dark and desolate chamber, alight with only distant flames, devoid of any comforting warmth. The silhouettes of looming cloaked figures bow and pray as a massive pile of flesh is presented only inches away from you.

You don’t want to eat what’s in front of you. You know what it is. You know that it shouldn’t be eaten.... But you’re so, so hungry. You can’t stop yourself. You want to stop yourself, but you must eat.

You’re disgusting.

Your massive frame squirms toward the gift of flesh and you accept it greedily in your maw, tasting every individual mashed morsel of humanoids that were ground into your meal.

The overwhelming raw taste and texture snatch you from the memory via violent and empty retching that drives you onto your hands and knees.

The sheer volume of flesh sliding down what felt like your throat was repugnant, but knowing the taste of raw mashed Devan and humans…

You hate it. Your body completely rejects the experience both physically and emotionally. The repeated painful contractions of the muscles in your stomach and throat pushing the memory out of your mouth brings tears to your eyes before they slowly dissipate.

It’s only after several minutes that you have the presence of mind to feel the gnawing ache in your hands, as they clenched down on the frozen powder for stability and were robbed of all their heat in the process.

You push yourself to standing with the support of your staff, and after taking the time to steady your ragged breaths, you proceed onward through the trees.

Ahh, the nascent powers of the being that the Sanctuary worships as their god, and the torment she feels as she is refined through imbibing the flesh… She is aware.

Your own thoughts don't last long before your mind is set upon by another foreign memory.
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The memory is far sharper in image as if properly seen with a pair of eyes, unlike the previous. A comparatively smaller offering of distinctive organs have been sitting in front of you in shallow pool of filthy water. The weak light comes from far overhead as three blood stained halations. In that red light, you clench your mass to resist the urge to partake in the tantalizing bloodied and wrinkled lumps of flesh. You know from whom they came from, you heard their voices, their screams. You felt their sorrow so keenly as they came closer and closer to their fate. Everyday, they marinated in that emotion, drawing a powerful primal hunger from deep within you. Even separated from their bodies, you still feel the suffering emanating from their meat that it makes the meal in front of you IRRESISTABLE.

No. Please. Don’t.

Pink froth dribbles from your mouth as voraciously chomp down upon the Elins’ brains with hot tears streaming from your eyes.

One after another, after another.

Ahh. They’re all gone.

The tears are shared within from your own body as the memory fades, but they stick frozen to your cheeks before they had the chance to sink into the fallen powder.

You sit, sunken within the white crystals unable to move as you watch more and more of the powder fall from the sky and scatter upon the earth like infinite stardust.

You’re empathizing to such a severe degree with this being, but that could only mean that she’s an…

No, that can’t be.

Another memory. A voice familiar to you from the depths of the maturation pit, and the roaring sea nearby and countless stars overhead.

“Sorry to tell you, little one, but Byrne isn't coming to visit you anymore.”

Why?! Why?! What’s wrong?! You so desperately wish you had a mouth to scream you questions at her.

“He was killed trying to protect you, little one. He knew that you aren’t ready to protect yourself, so he did what he must to ensure that you become what you’re meant to become.”

But, but he promised. He said that he wouldn’t ever leave me alone.

“He loved you and wanted nothing else besides that, so you must grow strong for all of us and especially him. You shouldn't disappoint his dying wish, little one.” The figure already walks away from your form.

Don’t go… Don’t leave me alone…

“Don't despair! With a little luck we’ll be able to bring you Elewyn, or… at least the part of her that you would like most. We’re sure that it would be a most splendid meal for you! It would be so tasty for you, that we're sure that you would forget about old Byrne.” Laughing heartily, the voice fades as you’re left alone in the darkness once again.


Painfully, your crystalline tears bursts from your body and soar high into the night sky carried by the air currents rising from the tunnel behind you.

Your real form drops from the potent suffering, and you sink into the powder, drifting from consciousness.

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A memory of your own?...

Your cheek rests against the soft moss of a warm forest floor. The unique earthen aroma permeating from the ground alone all but confirms your location, but the serene waters and mighty trees tell you beyond doubt that you are within the deep fey forest surrounding Pora Elinu.

You begin to vaguely recall losing consciousness as you neared Impel through the woods, and now...you're here.

Who is manifesting this place, and why?

Rising off the ground, you find that you are once again devoid of any clothing or equipment. Sighing deeply. you contemplate your next course of action.

There isn't a single sign of anyone other than yourself in the area, but you have an innate sense of which direction would lead deeper into the forest and which would likely lead away. Just as what mana remains converges upon the real forest's core in Pora Elinu, it's a reasonable assumption that whatever power is manifesting this place would be found there. However, anyone that happened to find themself absorbed in this place would be more toward the fringes of the forest, much like yourself. It's quite easy to be ever lost in these trees, as the old Elin saying goes, especially if there are more threats lurking than simply losing your way...

So, which way should you head, if any?

>Stay within the exterior portion of the forest, and search for any others within this realm.

>Head deeper within to find whom is manifesting this forest.

>Attempt to awaken and continue to town as you had planned.

>Write in.
>Attempt to awaken and continue to town as you had planned.
Being frostbitten sounds like a bad time.

I guess the main question is if those memories all came from the same Elin, and if not, whether those Elin are mashed together into the "little one". Not sure if any of them recognize Elewyn.

My bet is that the final 6 Elin will compose the actual body to be used for regular movement of this "god".
Heyo everyone, I hope that all your days have been going well!

In this past update it was fun to mess with perspective a bit, but if anything needs clarification then please let me know.

I'll be leaving the vote window open for the time being, to hopefully get one or two more votes in before we tally. I'm not in any rush to close it, so I'll probably aim for some time in the night, around 6pm PST, but that can be extended if needed.
Frostbite is bad, but this is real tempting. Especially after that last round of charming Sanctuary methods we've seen.
This is why everyone hates cultists.

This may hurt us. In fact, this will almost certainly hurt us, and lead to us not being in good shape for tomorrow. But any time spent in sewers is time spent regenerating so we could maybe make it up.
This is the opportunity to do what Sanctuary has tried to do for so long, and accomplish one of our secondary objectives.

Let's go try and meet God.

>Head deeper within to find whom is manifesting this forest.

Also, this solidifies that this thing isn't exactly evil. I'd suspected it, but having it all but confirmed is good. This dreamscape may b the only place where we can communicate with it, and where its flesh will not affect its reasoning.

That's assuming the godling is what's doing this, but I am quite certain of it. Who knows, this familiar shape may be a sign of consciousness or an invitation to dialogue.

Curiosity killed the Elin, but we can't pass up this golden opportunity. Elewyn almost certainly has enough regrets as it is, let's not add this to the pile/pit.
>Head deeper within to find whom is manifesting this forest.
Risky as all hell, especially with our body outside, but we're running out of time, intel, and the odds just keep getting higher.

It tried reaching out before, hopefully it's inviting us specifically. I remember the vampire talked about how she failed to find the source when she was dreamwalking, and we're on a stricter time limit.

Based on how they're specifically staying at that number, a good theory. If they only needed like one for the actual process and the rest were spare, they'd just be getting and preparing as many as possible.

Evil or not, the cultists surrounding it are using it to exploit people for some sort of purpose. If we have a chance, even if it turns out to be benign, I believe we must end it, to stop it from being used again for something.

Man, I wish we had more firepower. One of these days we'll run around to try and get a proper A-team together, who can blow through a couple of elite without needing to resort to the healer chain-spamming stuns, and STILL get damaged enough in return to need to bail from reinforcements. Maybe if we fail here, and the situation gets even more dire. Or when we track down the backers of this cult. I'm pretty sure that damn elf is still out there, and we've got a few people at least who have some well deserved revenge to achieve.

Taking the risk and heading deeper into the forest to meet whatever is manifesting this realm.

Reading all of your well-thought theories is always very fun and gets me excited to continue the story.

Heyo everyone, I hope you've all been having a pleasant week!

This is a quick announcement to say that the next update will be posted in a new thread as we're quick approaching the bump limit. I'll archive this thread and link the new one here.
New thread and number growing increasingly close to three!

see you in thread 2.999.5.72

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