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Welcome to the Lady Knight's Quest, where you play as Dame Louise le Blanc as she serves her liege with loyalty and grace. Purging heretics, smiting demons, and sending imperial dogs back to the Roslands with their tails between their legs; it's all part of the job description.

Archive: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Lady%20Knight%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LadyKnightLover
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Mechanics
This quest operates on a "Best of One" dice system, where the first roll with an accompanying vote will get used. If an option requires multiple rolls, the rolls will be selected in order. In cases where multiple rolls are required, calls for a roll that appear in Bold Red will always use the first dice rolled, followed by any vote specific calls for a roll. This quest will primarily use rolls of a D20 and rolls of a D100, though other dice may be used when activating a special ability.

On a d20 roll, a roll of 1 before any modifiers is a critical failure, and a roll of 20 is a critical success. Rolls of 20 that are not used for a vote can be banked for later, and will be tallied up after each post.

On a d100 roll, rolls of 1, 13, and 66 is a "cursed" roll. As d100s are generally used to determine the severity of an event, these rolls will result in a far worse outcome than expected (such as needing to fend off a Dragon on what should have been a largely safe mountain pass). On the other hand, rolls of 100, 77, and 69 are "blessed" rolls, which will result in great fortune. Blessed rolls can be banked for later, and will be tallied up after each post.

Banked rolls can be spent in one of two ways. Whenever a natural 1 is rolled on a d20, or a cursed roll is rolled on a d100, if the players have any banked rolls remaining it will automatically be spent to negate the roll, using the next valid roll for that action. Banked rolls will only be spent if they can skip to a better outcome; if three natural 1s are rolled in a row, but there is only 1 banked roll, no rolls will be spent.

For a roll to be banked, it must 1) not be the roll used for a given action, and 2) must accompany a vote. Players are encouraged to roll whenever a roll is called for in order to increase the number of banked rolls.
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>>
>>5855948
The Story So Far

Louise le Blanc was dispatched by her liege with a force of twenty men-at-arms to investigate rumors of heresy in the highlands. Arriving at a small pagan village - worshippers of a benign river spirit - she found a meeting with the village leadership already in progress, being led by the sanctioned heretic Sir Damien of Thornwall. Her reputation as the Maid of Charlemont proceeded her, and caused the Priestess of Fair Springs - a girl named Natasha - no small amount of distress.

To her countrymen, Louise was a hero guided by the LORD of Light to strike down the savage king of demon worshipping barbarians. To the pagan folk, she was a butcher who had no mercy for those who did not keep to her faith.

After giving tempers some time to cool, and humoring the priestess' little brother with a mock duel - that he won, no less, thanks to his sister distracting you! - Louise reconvened with the pagan folk and the heretic knights to come up with a battle plan. Scouts identified that a Cult of the Dark One had taken an abandoned village as their base of operation, fortifying it with Orcs, goblins, and men drunk upon corrupting power. All of it surrounding the ruins of a Gardener Tower, built in the shape of a hand that grasped for the sky.

Without much debate, Louise arrived at an agreement with the leader of the highlander militia, Eren. Her men-at-arms would act to draw as many orcs from the village as possible, leaving the cult open for a brutal flanking attack from Eren's warriors. Eager for the blood of those who kidnapped their kin - including Eren's younger sister, Astrid - they departed immediately, and Louise's forces swiftly followed.

Upon the road, Louise found a girl crucified for her disobedience to the cult, having gouged out the unholy brand they seared into her skin. Though Louise beseeched the LORD of Light for healing, the girl needed more than what faith alone could give her. Picking Squire Trevor and one of the casters amongst her men-at-arms to carry her, Louise sent the girl back to the pagan shrine, where Natasha waited to purify those in need.

Not long after came the purge.

With the help of breeching explosives designed by her artificer,Hilde, Louise's men-at-arms breeched a church and rescued the children within. Damien came late, with a host of skeletons liberated from the cult's control, and with the help of an old rite Louise put them to good use. Sending them to supplement her men-at-arms against the orcs, the combined force baited the Orcs and the cultists out whilst she and Damien breached the tower.

There, she found a Greater Demon. Damien worked his magics to conjure a blizzard to counter its heat, whilst Louise unleashed the unrelenting fury of her swordlance. Though for a moment it seemed that it had Louise dead-to-rights, she finished it with a divine spell of her own, purging it with the Wrath of the LORD.
>>
>>5855950
The battle still took its toll, and Louise blacked out, if only for a moment.

While unconscious, she relived an old memory. A happy day from her childhood, relaxing in the shade of the big lisbon tree with her friends after a hard day of training with her father. She borrowed the lap of her childhood friend - René - as a pillow, as was her habit. He in turn borrowed her broad forehead as a rest for his khemistry tome, as was his habit. The two of them talked for a time, on the antic of their friends, on confusing matters of khemistry like chalk and philosophers.

Then René did something so shocking that it woke her right up.

He kissed her!

Waking up to a Damien who looked far worse for wear, she learned that he drove off the Shade of an entity known only as the Witch of Depravity. Though the shade held but a fraction of a fraction of the witch's power, she would have killed the sorcerer had he not unveiled the trump card he keeps sealed behind his blindfold. The eyes of a heretical god, or at the very least a convincing replica: The Lord of Wisdom's Glare.

After praying to the LORD of Light for healing, and receiving some mending to her wounds, Louise threw open the front gate of the tower and let her men-at-arms inside. Following the Codex Militarum, the bloody work of clearing every floor went smoothly until the final floor, without suffering a single casualty. The cultists were not equipped to deal with men in full harness, and the pig iron carried by Orcs and Goblins loses to artificed steel every time.

But fortunes turned at the top of the tower.

A lieutenant of the Witch of Depravity, the third of her Seven Knights: [Justinia, the Arbiter].

She complimented the courage of the man who breeched the door, who charged into an unknown foe... and then pierced him through with a lance of corruptive power, tossing him aside. As a former knight, ideals of honor still pleased her, and so demanded a duel to measure Louise's strength, with the lives of her men-at-arms on the line. Yet Louise knew from a single glance, that she would fare no better against the Arbiter than Natasha's brother fared against her.

Yet as the boy defeated Louise on her terms against him thanks to a distraction from his sister, Louise defeated the Arbiter on her terms by giving the woman something else to think about. Though the Arbiter toyed with Louise with the use of but one of her iron-taloned hands, Louise's blows were never meant to strike the Arbiter.

They were meant to strike the rafters that had held up the ceiling for centuries.

When the stone roof collasped, the Arbiter has to use both hands to turn the blocks to dust. Not to defend herself, but to keep safe the cult leaders entrusted to her by the Witch of Depravity. Laughing manically, the Arbiter pierced Louise through the eye with a lance of corrupting magics, catching Louise's hand as she raised it in guard.
>>
>>5855953
The Arbiter declared Louise the victor of the duel, and promised that she had given the Lady Knight a wonderful present, one she hoped would bloom by the time they met again.

Left scarred with an inhuman eye and a curse mark in the shape of black thorned vines and blood red roses crawling up her left arm from her hand to her chest, Louise went to Damien to have the mark's nature identified. He gave her a vibrant orange khemical that tasted vaguely of strawberries, which sent her on a trip through her memories. Supposedly, this was to help her diagnose the curse mark's nature.

Yet the only diagnosis she could make was madness. As she moved through the memories of the day she first met King Arthur rois Jonquille, the day she was knighted, a demon began to pester. Speaking inside of her head, it felt like it gave voice to every intrusive thought she's ever tucked away, all the complaints that she quietly quashed in the moment and meditated on later.

It has been a grating experience, to say the least.

Now finished bathing and grooming their charge, a cadre of half a dozen maids have dragged Louise in front of a mirror. No, calling it a mirror was an injustice, for it dominates a full quarter of the grand palatial bedchamber's wall, easily large enough for six grown men abreast to change infront of it with plenty of room between them. A selection of clothing has been prepared for Louise to wear, each of them finer than the finest clothes she owns.
>What is this ridiculous flouncy thing that they have stuffed you in? Why do you feel like one of your baby sister's dolls being dressed up for "the ball"?
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
>This dress manages to be reasonable. Oh, it's silk instead of wool, and you are certain the buttons are gold, but it reminds you of the dress you wore to your debut.
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
>[We ought not be caught dead in any one of those girly things, HMPH!] the annoying voice is throwing you off script and giving you a headache. Your eyes drift to something that, in all honesty, is a bit more your speed. [That's more like it! If Rene was here, it would be a different story, but we're a knight, and we ought to dress like one. With the biggest, plumiest hat we can find!]
>+Appease the annoying voice by wearing the big seestern hat with the chosen dress.
>[Write in]
>>
>>5855956
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
Ignore the voice.
>>
>>5855956
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
>>
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>>5855956
>>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
Something like this?
>>
>>5855956
>This dress manages to be reasonable. Oh, it's silk instead of wool, and you are certain the buttons are gold, but it reminds you of the dress you wore to your debut.
>+Appease the annoying voice by wearing the big seestern hat with the chosen dress.

HAT
>>
>>5855956
>This dress manages to be reasonable. Oh, it's silk instead of wool, and you are certain the buttons are gold, but it reminds you of the dress you wore to your debut.
>>
>>5855956
>>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
TOGA! Fuck off demon it's toga time. Step aside plebeians.
>>
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>>5855956
>>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
TOGA
>>
>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>>
>>5855956
>What is this ridiculous flouncy thing that they have stuffed you in? Why do you feel like one of your baby sister's dolls being dressed up for "the ball"?
>>
>>5855956
>[We ought not be caught dead in any one of those girly things, HMPH!] the annoying voice is throwing you off script and giving you a headache. Your eyes drift to something that, in all honesty, is a bit more your speed. [That's more like it! If Rene was here, it would be a different story, but we're a knight, and we ought to dress like one. With the biggest, plumiest hat we can find!]
>+Appease the annoying voice by wearing the big seestern hat with the chosen dress.
>>
>>5855956
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
Demon, out.
>>
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>>5855956
>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
TOGA TOGA TOGA TOGA
>>
>>5855956
>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
TOGAA!!! TOGAA!!!
>>
>>5855956
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
Toga lads plz, we are a noble ladyknight
>>
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>>5855981
I'll back this in lieu of >>5856057, if nobody else has the good sense to want be be a lady landschnecht

>>5855956
>>
>>5856091
Our regular city clothes are already lady landsknecht, though. For an audience with the king himself, we can compromise with a suitably modest dress and the HAT.
>>
>>5856091
Wearing city clothing in court with the King in audience? What are we? A fucking burgher?
>>
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>>5856114
>What are we? A fucking burgher?
>>
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>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
I want to wear a red dress
>>
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>>5856119
>>5856114
Mmmm, burgers.
>>
>>5856163
Sadly it's more Hamburg than hamburger kek
>>
>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>>
>>5855956
>The last dress belongs in a museum. Plain and white with gold fastenings, it is done up in the custom of the Gardeners, similar to a man's toga. But why is it among modern clothes...?
TOOOOOOGGGAAAAAAAAAAA
>>
>>5855956
>This dress would be understated, a lovely blue that matches your eyes, if not for one thing. Why has the king's tailor taken to using diamonds like rhinestones?
>-Fuck the voice, no hat.
>>
>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>>
>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>+Tell the false angel to shut up
>>
>>5855956
>This dress is rather daring. Nothing immediately strikes you as inappropriate about it, but all the same, you can tell from a glance that it's cut to enhance your charms.
>>
To the Anon from last thread who though the three words were "I won't lose", the words Tychae was thinking of come a bit later in the course of a bad end.
>>5855971
>Something like this?
Yeah, that's about right. The daring dress isn't slutty my any means, it's actually quite elegant. But the tailor definitely knew what she was doing.
>>5856114
>>5856103
>>5856091
>>5856119
Louise's favorite clothes are indeed in landsknecht fashion. And funnily enough, at the point in time when this memory/vision takes places, Louise... isn't exact a burger, but her family are modestly wealthy commoners. She was not born into knighthood, and a lot of crude edges have been polished away by time and discipline (to what effect, who knows).
>>5856153
For better or worse, none of them are slinky red dresses. That sort of thing would be given to a courtesan, rather than to a guest of the King. All of them except the TOGA TOGA TOGA use a woad derived blue as the dominant color.
>>5856163
>>5856210
Hamburgers definitely exist in the setting. They're a popular food in Liliensdorf, whose major industry is in raising beef. Elsewhere, they're more commonly made with pork, chicken, or a meatloaf blend.
>>5856306
Note: to avoid confusion, I will explicitly state here that the voice in Louise's head has nothing to do with Tychae. She believes it to be a demon, which is a fair assumption given that the shadow lance spell gave her a heavy dose of the same corruptive energies that bleed into people with properly constructed Black Primroses on their bodies.

You guys have been amazingly in character with the reactions to the voice, by the way. We love to see it.
>>
>>5856626
>To the Anon from last thread who though the three words were "I won't lose", the words Tychae was thinking of come a bit later in the course of a bad end.
alright, it's just that the type of scenario generaly has them saying something along those lines so I couldn't think of anything else, except this and "how dare you"/"you wouldn't"/"not like this"
>>
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"Quiet, demon," you silently chide the voice in your head.

The demon's contrarian and argumentative nature has left a sharp pain throbbing in the side of your head, as if someone had begun drilling into your temple with an awl. Perhaps not that bad, truly. At least her nagging has left you with a better understand of the nature of your curse-mark. The Arbiter's lance of corruption must have forced a minor demon into your body, strong enough to be heard but weak enough to be forced down by your will. Commanded to play the role of your shadow, digging through your dark thoughts and giving them a voice.

It's an ingenious form of corruption. You must take care to be mindful, and weigh each thought against a feather, lest you find your heart sliding past the moral boundaries the demon will certainly push. Once you return to civilized lands, you will need to requisition a demon-seal shroud from the Church.

[Heck yeah, that would look cool!] again the demon shows its knack for digging up the thoughts you thought you buried at the back of your mind. Insidious beast. Its mood changes like the wind after a moment's contemplation. [Wait, no! We don't need one, Alex does. We've seen how he is, that vincula has him bound to his bed. If it's not suppressed, he might sleep forever!]

"A chain devil...?" you muse. You do not trust this demon, not one bit, but the name of that demon knocked loose the memories of a few old texts. You cannot help but say, "That would explain... no, that's beyond the point. I said silence, demon."

You spit those last words aloud, causing the maids to take a step back. The most senior among them - a woman with short black hair and gold-rimmed spectacles - asks you, "Are these dresses not to your liking, Miss Louise? I can have Addie fetch another set?"

[Darn right, they're not!] the demon in your head shouts.

You ignore the demon and apologize to the maid, "Forgive me, my mind has been wandering. Let us go with this dress here; I've heard such things are in fashion in the capital."

The memory fell off script when the maid asked you about the dresses, so you see no reason to cleave to you memories as though they were set in stone. At the age of nineteen, a year after Charlemont and the end of the retributive campaign into Alans, you had no clue what court women wore. So you picked the incredibly flouncy dress that looks like it belongs on one of your sister's dolls. A dress that still holds a special place in your wardrobe, the King having made a gift of it in celebration of your knighting.
>>
>>5857432
This dress has a more mature cut that that delightfully girlish thing. Blue silk trimmed with white lace, with a traced pattern of golden daffodils growing along the edges of the silk. It leaves your shoulders and clavicle bare, the flat neckline resting low enough upon your ample bosom to reveal an alluring hint of cleavage. A fingerless bridal gauntlet covers each of your arm, capped at your wrist and your shoulder with a set of matching golden bangles.

The sleeves of the gauntlets are loose and flared, puffing out like the sleeves slashed doublet in a nod to the popular fashions among knights and men-at-arms in the Duchy of Sonnenblume. Upon each bangle, a passage from the Indigo Tome of Nobility is etched in the runic script of the Gardeners.

[Lilien II 17:19-20] Blessed are those who are noble in spirit. King or slave, Queen or maid, all who treat the children of the LORD with dignity shall hold high station in heaven.

The skirts trail down to your ankles, flowing silks of blue framing a core of pleated white. Around your hips goes a broad blue sash trimmed with golden fabric, tied off with a great bow behind your back. The sash is woven with different shades into an abstract portrait, a pattern that subtly depicts the Doom of St. Augustine. The knight was said to have slain a hundred and forty two thousand, eight hundred and fifty seven demons on the night of his death. Interwoven shadows of orc and demon in blue claw their way towards the swordsman a center for him to run them through.

As the maids sew you into the dress - and stuff your feet into a pair of shining red leather court shoes - your image in the great mirror strays further and further from the expression on your face. The green-eyed woman reflected back at you winces with each adjustment of the fabric, every shift in the cloth that makes your appearance girlier. When the maids fit the tight shoes over your stocking-clad feet, she makes a face like she's swallowed a mouthful of sour milk without realizing it.

[Ugh, court shoes are the worst...] the demon complains. [The only good thing about this dress is the sash. Everything else can rot, especially these stupid shoes!]

"How many times must I say silence, demon," you command the irritating and tenacious creature. Though it lacks the strength to seize control of even your cursed arm, it must have a truly tenacious will. You've held the Light in your heart with each order, and still it continues as if you had not lashed its soul with divine power. It's almost something worthy of respect. "Besides, it could be worse. I've heard that women and fair eunuchs of the Lotus Court wear shoes so small that it can deform their feet."

[Why?] Apparently, even a demon can be horrified at something. More likely, it dug up the memory of your first reaction to that rumor, and mimicked it in an attempt to earn your trust.
>>
>>5857433

You keep making the mistake of humoring the entity with your words. Rather than answer, you tell her once more that, "I said, silence, demon."

The you in the mirror puffs out her cheeks in an exaggeration of a pout, leaning forward and throwing her arms down in frustration. Her green eyes well up with tears, and with a whine in her voice, she demands that you should, [Stop calling us that! We eat pathetic demons for breakfast, we should have more faith in ourself!]

Exactly the sort of story a possessing demon weaker than their victim's will would tell to worm its way into the host's mind. You've had well enough of that. As the maids finish with the application of makeup and last touches to straighten out the dress, you do what you can to block the demon out. Oh, you can still hear the demon's voice, it's hard to ignore her completely, but just like someone you don't want to talk to... you can tune her out.
>Follow the path down memory lane as closely as you can remember it.
>Deviate. Ask questions that you didn't ask before, say things left unsaid.
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
>Take the opportunity to vent all of your frustrations to your memory of the King. Let the things you've bottled up bubble out.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5857434
Oh, and one more thing, as I forgot to call for it: Roll 1d20 and 1d100
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>5857434
>>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
Let's see what your wrongly-colored strawberry drink can do, eyeboy. And SHUT UP DEMON
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5857462
I swear I'm finna strangle this disembodied demon. Just you wait for the exorcism.
>>
>>5857462
>>5857466
>tfw the post number matches the roll
Wuh? Oh man this is gonna be a BAD TRIP. Don't do drugs, kids.
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5857434
>>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
>>
>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?

>>5857466
CURSED
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5857471
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
I was imagining the demon with a male voice before
>>
>>5857434
>Follow the path down memory lane as closely as you can remember it.
Demon, Out.
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>5857434
>Follow the path down memory lane as closely as you can remember it
Togabros we will have our day
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5857587
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5857433
I choose to believe St. Augustine is still ripping and tearing demons in hell.

>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
>>
>>5857587
The Toga is timeless. We must merely be patient.
>>
>>5857434
>Follow the path down memory lane as closely as you can remember it.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5857434
>Take the opportunity to vent all of your frustrations to your memory of the King. Let the things you've bottled up bubble out.
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5857726
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5857441
>>
Rolled 5 + 1 (1d20 + 1)

>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?

>>5856626
Then Liliensdorfers are popular in the setting, not Hamburgers, which are named after the German town of Hamburg...
>>
Rolled 63 (1d100)

>>5857881
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5857434
>Deviate. Ask questions that you didn't ask before, say things left unsaid.
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>5857896
>>
>>5856841
All of those are close, and are definitely things that the Light Novel Stock Character that "Tychae" was referencing would say. To provide some context, there is a stock character in LNs (and more "cultured" media) called the "Kukoro", who is a noble, refined, honorable, and otherwise admirable Warrior (usually, but not always, female) who ends up in unfortunate and provocative situations with the villains for the purpose of fanservice. The name comes from the stock phrase "く...殺せ!" ("Ku... korose!", and thus Kukoro) which is often translated to "Just kill me", or "Tch... kill me."

To give an example of a well known character who fits into the mold of this stock character, Darkness from Konosuba is probably the most prominent that comes to mind - though like everyone in that series, she's a loving parody of the archetype.

Note that while there is a non-zero chance that Louise will end up in a situation evocative of this archetype, she is very much not the stock character and will probably rip and tear her way out of it. I already ran a Kukoro Quest on Akun ages ago, it never really went anywhere and petered out when I lost interest in the scenario. I can do horny, but keeping that tone 100% of the time is exhausting.
>>5857462
>>5857466
[Spoilers] will remember this.

Also [i]uhhhhhhhhhh...[/i]

You guys have a Nat 1 and Cursed Roll Negation from your purchases at the end of last thread, and this consumes that, but... Definitely going to have something happen for this.
>>5857506
I think I gave it one line earlier, but she is very specifically speaking with [i]your[/i] voice. It's the Arbiter who spoke with a very deep, very masculine voice. Almost Darth Vade levels.
>>5857590
This would imply he didn't ascend straight to Heaven upon death. Though he definitely lends strength to people who pray to him when battling demons (inner or outer).
>>5857587
>>5857612
There will be opportunities later to dress like one of the Gardeners.
>>5857881
I will say that Liliendorf probably did not invent them, but rather they're a type of sandwich that traveled its way across the kingdom.
>>5857896
You now have 1 banked roll. This is why everyone should roll with their votes, we love to see it.
>>
>>5858097
>This would imply he didn't ascend straight to Heaven upon death.
He ascended, got a snack then went back into hell while boss music played. My headcanon is fact.
>>
>>5858097
Only a fool sticks his willy in mouth full of very angry teeth.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5857434
>Explore the memory as far as it will go. Just what is the nature of Damien's elixir?
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5858338
>>
>>5858097
Alright, to go with >>5857472
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>5858376
And then it ate my dice anyway!
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5858379
>>
File: Ciaran.jpg (214 KB, 475x700)
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Perception 23 vs DC 25. Minor failure.

You can tune her out with thoughts of your own. Thoughts that bubble to the surface of your mind like pockets of steam roil to the surface of a boiling pot. Stoked by the flames of curiosity, you take in the dream with new eyes, drinking in the sights of your memory. The opulence of the bedchamber, the beauty of the sea at dawn, the luxurious fabric that you never felt before brushing against your skin.

What brought you here? What was the khemical's purpose in dragging you back to the day of your knighting? Was there a purpose to it at all? On this day, you left behind the last vestiges of your childhood and became a woman with responsibilities and duties, one who could not afford the foolishness of youth. Heavy expectations that you greeted like another challenge, grew into as your adolescent self grew into your father's old clothes.

How do they relate to the demon you've silenced? To the curse mark you bear?

"Miss Louise," Ciaran's voice barges through a crack in the door, interrupting your train of thought. "Are you ready? It is almost time."

Finished with their work, the maids step away from you. The woman in the mirror has green eyes and glares at you, but that does not tarnish the effort they put into your makeup and your hair. For once, the waterfall of blonde hair that falls from your head does not shroud your right eye. Two locks remain to frame your face, while the rest has been tied back into a great braid that must near five feet long, tickling at the back of your knees. The makeup they put on your face is light and subtle, hiding away all of the tiny imperfections of your skin.

At your instance, in homage to all the girls among the cohorts of men-at-arms you fought alongside, they put the design you all painted on eachother before battle. A black narzissenmark, the abstracted profile of a daffodil, now sits right below your left eye.

Though you wear a different dress, everything else remains as you remember.

How much of that is truth, how much of that is reconstructed from half-remembered details, you cannot say. Did the khemical draw this memory forth for the curse to express its nature through the gaps that are filled in? Did the day have some association that you're missing?

"Ciaran, I have a question for you," you say. You doubt the butler will answer it well, and you have to wonder if he will answer it at all, or give a Ciaran-like dismissal before pulling you back on track. Without waiting for him to respond, you ask, "What does an audience with the King have to do with being possessed by a demon?"

"I am afraid I do not understand the question, Miss Louise," Ciaran says. He opens the door, his expression as quizzical as it is expectant.

"I figured as much..." you sigh. The woman in the mirror mouths something furious as you look away. You have no patience for the words of demons, not when you have a mystery to solve.
>>
>>5858561
You leave the bedchamber and walk past Ciaran, ignoring the butler's protests that you let him guide you to the King. Quite frankly, you have no interest in meeting a shadow cast by your memory. Your mind could not reconstruct even half the splendor of his throne room from your fragmented and fuzzy recollections of that day. He would be only a faint and fading echo of his magnificence, and seeing such a sorry sight is not why you have come here.

You do not know what it is you need to find, but find it you shall. If you wander the halls of the palace for long enough, thoroughly explore what lay behind every door...

It's a hope that has no basis but your faith in the LORD of Light and your trust in the King's Judgment.

You are quite sure that you will find what you seek.

The details blur, become fuzzy. You paid little attentions to the halls of the palace, and it shows in how all the details seem to blend together in your mind. It is as though someone had taken the magnificent artistry of the carpenters, the paintings that hung upon the walls, the sculptures that guarded every corner, and carved their likeness into wax. Then, over the course of several hours, they exposed it to the gentle heat of an open candle flame, slowly but surely melting away all of the crisp lines and finer details.

The blob resembles the palace. Your mind can recognize it as such. But even so you know that you truly do not remember anything of these halls, and perhaps you can use that to your advantage.

You take a turn you never took, winding through halls that may have never existed in the first place. The memory blossoms like a flower as you deviate from the course of the day, your brisk pace and quick turns leaving Ciaran far behind until his voice fades. The halls and corners become a labyrinth that blooms in an impossible floorplan, one you're quite sure has folded in upon itself a dozen times until you at last reach a dead end.

Grand double doors whose faces droop like melted wax, the grain and the carpentry having fallen apart and remolded themselves into a contradictory and nonsensical pattern. You know nothing of what is behind this door, yet you have faith that it will lead you to an answer.

It has to. (Roll 1d100)
>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>A familiar girl you swear you never met.
>A conversation you're sure you never had.
>The king's throne room, arriving right on schedule.
>None of these. You finally wake from the dream.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d100)

>>5858562
>>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>5858562
>>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>>5858566
You know, these edibles ain't shi- oh fugg
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A familiar girl you swear you never met.
>>
Rolled 43 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A familiar girl you swear you never met.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5858562
>A conversation you're sure you never had.
>>
>>5858700
Jannies? Cleanup on aisle 4.
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>5858562
>>The king's throne room, arriving right on schedule.
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A conversation you're sure you never had.
>>
File: 1640289113053.gif (1.99 MB, 320x240)
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>>5858800
>100
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5858562
>>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A familiar girl you swear you never met.
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5858562
>>A conversation you're sure you never had.
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A conversation you're sure you never had.
>>
Rolled 62 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A familiar girl you swear you never met.
>>
>>5858800
Zazzed
>>
Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>5858562
>A room you forgot you ever entered.
>>
>>5858141
Let me just jot this down. If nothing else, we now have an official patron Saint of Demon Hunters to whom people pray to when battling demons.
>>5858168
Yeah, there's a reason why Darkness is probably the one of the best depictions of a Kukoro. She's into that shit, rather vocally. The resigned "if I do this, at least I'll have my life" isn't really in the spirit of the archetype.
>>5858578
W e l p. It seems someone wants you to have a bad time. Now I have the fun responsibility to figure out who or what.
>>5858743
I am now morbidly curious as to what that image was.
>>5858800
>>5858810
Phenomenally blessed. That's two more banked rolls and Mr 100 on the hundred change may have earned you... not a easy out ticket, but something cool this next post.
>>
>>5859187
>W e l p. It seems someone wants you to have a bad time.
But a 92 isn't a cursed roll?

>I am now morbidly curious as to what that image was.
Weirdly obsessed Pokemon vore.
>>
>>5859198
That was in reaction to that fellow's reaction to the 6 that was rolled by >>5858566
>Post 66 rolls a 6
Not cursed. Not quite. Don't worry about it.
>>
The doors do not creak on their hinges when you throw them open. In fact, they do not make a sound at all. Perhaps because you forgot what they should sound like, so many years removed from that day. Perhaps because the King's maids kept every hinge so immaculately oiled that they glide open without even the slightest hinge of friction. Perhaps because the sound has been swallowed by darkness on the other side. An abyss stretches onwards and outwards from the doors, an expanse of midnight darker than a sunless sky.

There is little choice but to step forward. You could not turn back down the winding path of interwoven halls that led you here, least of all because you forgot what turns you made. A suspicion tingles in the back of your mind, as well, that any door you opened would lead to this place. So with only a moment of hesitation, you take your steps beyond the threshold and the enter the void.

The doors slamming themselves closed behind you does not surprise you.

Nor does how they vanish into the air, as if they had never been there to begin with.

The air in this room is cold as winter's first snow. The color of the lightless void that surrounds you cannot truly be called black any more than one can call the depths of the ocean blue. Oh, the word suffices in an abstract manner, but "black" as humans understand it implies a texture, an object onto which the darkness is projected and given form. The black you see here is an empty, hollow, lightless color within which nothing exists save the malignant echoes of your darkest thoughts and emotions, buried long ago.

That, and the shrill, mocking voice of a woman who is horrifically pleased to see you. Her tone is stilted and jeering, full of a sour playfulness that grates against your ears like nails upon a chalkboard. "My, oh my, did you wear such a dress for me, Louise le Blanc? To think I'd have the pleasure of seeing you in a such a daring outfit before I got my hands on you... how delicious?"

Your ears redden in anger, your eyes narrowing as they scan the darkness for a voice. But it surrounds you, subsumes you, drowns you in the lightless eternity that stretches to infinity on every side. You cannot see. You can hardly feel. You can hear yourself echo through the darkness as you spit, "You sound different than that demon. Is it your pet? Or are you its creature?"

"You can hear him?" she asks with far too much joy in her voice. A happy, hollow laughter fills the void, crashing against your ears like a wave on a stormy beach, before she says, "How delightful~! Oh, you won't believe how happy I was when Justy told me about the vincula she implanted in your arm! A curse mark of shackles, the very chains that shall soon bind you to my will, written into your flesh... ah... ahhhhhhhhn~!"

A dreadfully immodest noise escapes from the woman's lips, for which she insincerely apologizes. "I'm sorry, I'm just overflowing with excitement at your progress~"
>>
>>5859537
A mark of shackles? Did this woman make a mistake? Alex bears a mark of chains upon his chest, growing from the cursed stigmata left behind by the corruptive shadow lance that ran him through. You bear no such mark upon your skin. A curse mark, for sure, one that writhes invisibly with the dark and corrosive powers that have been long associated with the Dark One and his servants. A mark holding such terrible power within that it took a full night and day before it settled into its form: a thorny tangle of vines blooming with blood red roses.

You are not eager to correct this woman, however. Everything about her voice and demeanor sets you on edge, in much the same way that the Arbiter's presence nearly forced you to your knees. Any misconceptions that he has about you is an edge you have should you come to blows. Any information she divulges about herself or her plans helps you form a strategy against her.

So you ask her, "Progressing towards what, exactly?"

"Hooooh?" She makes a disgustingly, deliberately cute wordless questioning noise. You can almost feel her breath upon you, though where you feel it you cannot quite tell. It's as if she was leaning in, invading your personal space, and investigating you as thoroughly as a trader inspects the horses he's to buy. Then with a cheer, she gives you an answer you did not expect: "Joining my collection, silly~! Whenever I see a beautiful, honorable, noble girl in armor like you, I just... I... ahhhhhh~"

Another immodest noise escapes her lips as the eager scent of a whorehouse fills the air. You've never indulged yourself in such things, but more than once you've found the need to drag one of your men out of such an establishment come the morning.

Before you can make a comment, the woman carries on as if nothing happened, explaining that, "I find myself overflowing with the desire to defile her and turn her into one of my dolls! Oh, I just want to take you home with me already! Won't you be an obedient girl, and let my little vincula lead you astray~?"

You scoff at her words. "Not interested."

"Oh, why not~?" the woman whines.

"This may surprise you, given my physique and my profession..." you start. Your eyes remain peeled against the darkness, but in this lightless place it's your ears that you try to keep most open. You do not know if this is a dream, or reality, or someplace on the border in between, but your senses worked in the even the most melted hall. If she's here, you mean to find her... and run her right through. "But I prefer the company of men. Shocking, I know."

"Oh, that's what they all said." It's the voice's turn to scoff in dismissal, and you can almost feel the air from a wave of her hand brushing against your skin. "It matters little to me. After all, once I turn you into one of my dolls, you'll be warming my bed until time himself dies of old age. That's right - immortality is within my power to grant you. After all, I'm-"
>>
>>5859538
She snaps her fingers.

The sound of hissing air and the flare of a jet of burning gas rings through the empty darkness, and suddenly it is not so empty or dark at all. You can feel the sunbright glare of a limelight shining down upon you, and like a beacon in the darkness, another shines down upon a woman sitting on a large wooden crate. She basks in the glory of the stage light with a fearsome and ravenous smile filled with too many pearly white teeth that splits her face in two.

If you had to use one word to describe the woman, it would be obscene. Everything about her, from her body to her clothes to the very staff in her hands, is the most vile and beautiful of obscenities.

Hair as black as a sunless sky tumbles down her head in a waterfall of messy curls that gives the impression that she just emerged from her bedchamber after a rough and sloppy session with her paramours. It frames a face as stunningly beautiful and pale as the full Winter Moon. Her eyes shine with mockery like a pair of blood red rubies glittering beneath the summer sun, and while the rest of her makeup is quite subtle, her lower lip is painted a violent magenta while her upper lip is painted sky blue.

Her clothing leaves more skin revealed than not. A black shrug with silver trim and long billowing sleeves covers her arms and shoulders with cloth finely detailed with the obscene coupling of human and demon. It does little to cover her ample bosom, which sways back and forth like a metronome, creating a sight that would enthrall any man who beheld her. Four plumes of silver brushed with hints of the same vibrant colors as her lips embrace her breasts from either side. They give her the barest sense of modesty... in a way that makes her cut a more erotic figure than if she was nude.

The silver harness holding up the plumes reaches down across her taught stomach to support a thong of black silk that covers her crotch. A sky blue sapphire glows in a suggestive place upon the thong, matching the magenta amethyst that glows upon the gold stud that pierces her navel. Paired lengths of sheer black silk hang in loops that rest upon her thighs and buttocks, drawing the eye more than covering anything up.

On one leg, a black stocking that fades to pink crawls its way up to her thigh. On the other, a white sock that fades to blue leaves most of her leg bare. Her feet are bare and flawless, her socks and stockings cut off at the ankles by a band of gold and silver.

About her neck, she wears an ornate golden usekh studded with seven jewels of a sort you cannot name, for they are too perfect and flawless. They are each one of the seven virtuous colors, and of them six glow with a light that somehow seems to flicker in pain and humiliation. Only the emerald at the center holds no light, as if it were there for pure decoration, rather than whatever sinister function the others have.

[Anahita, the Witch of Depravity]
>>
>>5859539
"-and I've been watching you for a very, very long time, Louise le Blanc," she gushes, moaning your name with the same tone that you sometimes moan for Rene when you comfort yourself. Your faces twists in disgust at her words, which only seems to make her more excited. "The moment you gave yourself over to the usurper and killed that foolish little king who knew so much... yet so little... why, it set my heart a flutter. Love at first sight, oh it took all six of my knights to calm me down for a week. Hah... haaaaaaaaaaaaaaah~"

"Oh shut up, will you?" you snarl. It's clear that all you'll get from her now is the ramblings of her obsession, which you have no desire to listen to. This world is your dream, your place to find the truth of your curse mark... and she doesn't know that the thorned roses are not the chains of vincula. Which means that you have no reason to listen to her any longer.

The labyrinth showed you that logic and reason do not apply to this space.

There is no reason why a sword cannot appear in your hand right now.

As soon as you feel the weight of steel in your hand, you leap at the moaning woman. Her eyes are squeezed shut, her arms wrapped around her luscious body as she hugs herself, her imagination driving her to hysterical madness. She does not see you jump up at her, she does not see the sword in your hand, she does not feel the pressure in the air until you've ran her heart through with your blade. She does not even make a face of pain as blood pours down her all-but-bare chest.

"Do me a favor, witch," you growl, twisting your sword inside of her. "Stay out of my dreams and nightmares."

"Oh..." she lets out a dying sigh. For a moment, you even believe it, her body going limp and her red eyes emptying of their endless, mocking mirth. But just a moment later she snaps back up and shoves you away. No, she does not shove you, she throws you off of her perch on the crate before jumping down after you. "I don't think I will. You're too perfect, Louise. Thrusting me through with such a thick, heavy broadsword... so much force and power behind the blow... you know just how to make a girl happy. I thought you were a virgin, Louise."

Something about the way she says that, the manic glare of betrayal in her eyes as she limps towards you, it puts you on your back foot. Sure, you don't pretend like you've enjoyed a man's comfort, but... "Why do you-"

In a flash, she's crossed the distance between you. Floating in the darkness, the limelight flickering behind her, she looks down upon you, her face so close that her nose almost touches your own. Madness fills her crimson eyes, which stare at you wide as saucers, filled with betrayal.
>>
>>5859541
"Because it's important to me, Louise," she says with a small, terrifying voice. "It's extremely important to me that when I reach deep into your most precious of places to extract the unrefined lump of anima you call a soul... that it is the first touch you have known besides your own. It's no fun to watch impure girls act like the sluts they are, Louise! Corruption is only fun when it begins with something pure and stains it irrevocably. If it's unclean, why would I even bother?" Roll 1d20
>Don't answer. This woman is a psychopath. You need to figure out a way to wake up... but the only thing here besides you and the witch is that crate.
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>[Lie] She must not have been paying attention after the battle. You and Damien got so pissed off at each other that there was only one way for you to resolve it.
>[Lie] Did she really think that a woman with your looks could make it through basic training in the army without a single hookup with a young, fit soldier-boy?
>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.
>[Write In]
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5859544
>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.
she's batshit insane
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5859544
>>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5859567
>post number ending in seven
>rolls a seven
Coincidence? I THINK NOT

Also
>>5859544
>>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.
I'm happy we got to see her. Now we know exactly who we're going to butcher like cattle. The stupid psycho bitch.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She must not have been paying attention after the battle. You and Damien got so pissed off at each other that there was only one way for you to resolve it.
So out vincula did not go to plan. We don't hear the demon we should. What we hear is obviously Louise's repressed self (though we shouldn't really listen to it anyway, it may be suppressed for a reason).
I wonder whether Justinia fucked up, or that was a deliberate rebellion on her part. And if it's the latter, whether she gave us an avenue to free her or is just competing for us with her mistress.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5859544
>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.

>>5859586
Id, Out?
What is next? Death of the Super-Ego?
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5859544
>>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5859544
>>[Lie] Did she really think that a woman with your looks could make it through basic training in the army without a single hookup with a young, fit soldier-boy?
awkward soldier boy husbando
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5859544
>Tell her that the LORD's judgment will come for her one day, even if it takes until the end of time.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] Did she really think that a woman with your looks could make it through basic training in the army without a single hookup with a young, fit soldier-boy?
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Write In]
Tell her the TRUTH
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She must not have been paying attention after the battle. You and Damien got so pissed off at each other that there was only one way for you to resolve it.
For some reason, I get the slight impression that there are three [Lie] options for a reason. Most notably that whoever we throw under the bus might get a visit from a very pissed off, blue-balled witch. With that in mind, nominating Damien for this dubious honour sound like an express way to some top tier shenanigans.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5859544
>[Lie] She must not have been paying attention after the battle. You and Damien got so pissed off at each other that there was only one way for you to resolve it
>>
>>5859567
I mean, she worships a dark god that seeks nothing less than the total annihilation of the current structure that the LORD of Light has created. One does not arrive at that end without either something major getting lost in translation, or being a few screws short of a full set. In her, case, she's a nihilistic hedonist who enjoys tearing down people who have a sense of purpose in their lives and dragging them down into the abyss of meaningless pleasure into which she was born. No sob story, no "actually I'm a good person", just refreshingly straightforward and honest evil.

Which actually puts her ahead of some people, because for all of her evil, you can trust her. She's not all-knowing, but she doesn't lie to herself or anyone else. Why would she need to lie to people that are at best sex toys she wants to dote on and be doted on by, and at worst disgusting bugs that need to be crushed underneath her heels?

In terms of power level, she's probably near the pinnacle of individual power. Any one of the major kingdoms could probably secure a mutual kill against her forces - if they learned where she was based - but it would likely lead to the collapse of their nation. She is a mistress of High Khemistry, having undergone the all four of its stages and superceded her golden core with a fully formed philosopher's stone.

Compare Damien, who flunked out after undergoing melanosis and could not reconcile himself; Rene, who has just
achieved leucosis and has gained a heart of chalk; and Rene's mentor who may possess a philosopher's stone, or may only possess a golden core, I haven't quite decided yet.

I don't want to give out philosopher's stones like candy and then end up with a case where "if you don't have a philosopher's stone, your contributions are exceedingly meaningless". Even melanosis (the decomposition of the self into its components) is a major step up from being a normal for a number of reasons.
>>5859571
Not here, probably. Not for a while. This is a case where the end boss is checking on a project's progress, and almost certainly making a mistake in the process. The Witch of Depravity has a five step plan for spreading corruption and subverting regions towards the darkness:
1) Identify key players who can affect change within a region of interest
2) Identify the subset of key players who are most dissatisfied and can be easily manipulated
3) Turn that subset of key players into assets
4) Use her assets to instigate a violent conflict in the region of interest
5) When everyone is at their weakest, sweep in with her own forces and claim the victory for herself
For all of her desire to capture women like Louise and add them to the pile of immortal living sex dolls that joins in her bed, she doesn't let that take control. She keeps to a systemic, rational, and horrifically efficient approach to her villainy and corruption of good people. Even if she gets horny about it nearing victory.
>>
>>5859586
You will see. There's actually a reason for it, from a scene in last thread that I though was unnecessary. It interacted in a very unexpected way with the demons, and it would have not had the outcome it had if you lacked faith in the LORD for even a moment. As for
>(though we shouldn't really listen to it anyway, it may be suppressed for a reason).
That is a very Damien thing to do. He'd agree with you 100%.
>>5859590
That will depend on where you guys want to take things with the development that will happen.
>>5859707
>awkward soldier boy husbando
She didn't even have a man there, that's probably the biggest lie of the lot. There were some barracks bunnies among the men-at-arms in your units, but you were very much not one of them.
>>5860163
>Tell her the TRUTH
That Louise is such a virgin that if codpieces weren't a thing, she'd haven't the foggiest clue what an erect penis looks like?
>>5860179
I have rolled a die in the background to determine if it's better or worse if she believes you. What I can definitely say is that Rene is currently very much out of her grasp. There are a handful of places where she will never even dreamwalk without a good reason - and getting NTR'd isn't a good reason (she likes watching her puppets get DEMON'd as entertainment). Those places are:
1) Sal Khemia
2) The Papal Palace
3) Rosarium (seat of Rosland)
4) Caer Stamen (seat of Daffodil)
5) Any other major capital city.
6) The homes of any of Daffodil's Archdukes and Grand Dukes
7) The homes of any of Rosland's High Princes
8) Any shrine that has an active Spirit (or 'Deity')
>>
>>5860264
>What I can definitely say is that Rene is currently very much out of her grasp
I am assured

>>5859544
>[Lie] She's too late. She started watching after you gave Rene your virginity.
>>
>>5860259
>Not here, probably. Not for a while. This is a case where the end boss is checking on a project's progress
Nevertheless it is a face to which our lance will seek. Knowing is half the battle. And with each step we'll know a little more. Which we can then destroy with extreme prejudice. I am vibrating with righteous fury.
>>
>>5860259
I mean, she could more "normal" as it is the cases of some of those kinds of villain
>In terms of power level, she's probably near the pinnacle of individual power. Any one of the major kingdoms could probably secure a mutual kill against her forces - if they learned where she was based - but it would likely lead to the collapse of their nation. She is a mistress of High Khemistry, having undergone the all four of its stages and superceded her golden core with a fully formed philosopher's stone.
>Compare Damien, who flunked out after undergoing melanosis and could not reconcile himself; Rene, who has just
>achieved leucosis and has gained a heart of chalk; and Rene's mentor who may possess a philosopher's stone, or may only possess a golden core, I haven't quite decided yet.
>I don't want to give out philosopher's stones like candy and then end up with a case where "if you don't have a philosopher's stone, your contributions are exceedingly meaningless". Even melanosis (the decomposition of the self into its components) is a major step up from being a normal for a number of reasons.
alright we need some explaining on khemistry to know what those are supposed to mean, specially those stages
>>5860264
>I have rolled a die in the background to determine if it's better or worse if she believes you. What I can definitely say is that Rene is currently very much out of her grasp. There are a handful of places where she will never even dreamwalk without a good reason - and getting NTR'd isn't a good reason (she likes watching her puppets get DEMON'd as entertainment).
interesting to know that, and the ntr thing reminded me of the churlbait in genshi fanarts
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5859544
>Don't answer. This woman is a psychopath. You need to figure out a way to wake up... but the only thing here besides you and the witch is that crate.
Just let her stew on it
>>
Lore post for tonight because I downloaded WoW again for Season of Discovery and it hit my nostalgia button hard.
(You'll be utterly shocked to discover that I'm playing a Human Female Paladin, I'm sure)

On Khemistry
-Jacques Molay, published 1394

There are three fundamental questions regarding chemistry that I expect those of you who have picked up this tome are seeking answers to. First and foremost, "What is khemistry?" The second question will most certainly be, "How can I apply its principles to my trade and craft?" Finally, the goodly wyfs and weirs who have paid attention to men of means and power may ask, "What is this I've heard about the sublime mystery of High Khemistry?"

The answer to each of these questions deserves a tome of itself to answer. A scant few pages are not enough to detail the truth secrets hidden within these mysteries. However, this prologue will endeavor to give the layman sufficient information, that he or she may satisfy their curiosity without getting lost in technical matters.

What is khemistry?
You see khemistry around you every day, my good wyfs and weirs. It is khemical principles that govern the magics of artifice that lights our streets at night. It is khemical principles that heat the waters of the public baths and the showers you take before entering them - you do wash up before bathing, right? Khemical principles drive nearly every process mundane and arcane, from the cantrips you mother taught you to the gonnes folk use to hunt deer and chase pigeons from their fields.

Khemistry is the framework through which these principles are understood, and the process by which they are put to work. You will hear words by learned khemists that may have a familiar sound, but an unfamiliar meaning; these are how the process and framework is described.

There are four stages that create four materials. Melanosis creates Coal. Leucosis creates Chalk. Xanthosis creates Gold. Iosis creates Truth.

Melanosis is the decomposition of materials into their component parts. The "coal" that is created is thus the basic building blocks of the material that has undergone melanosis.

Leucosis is the purification of the components, the elimination of impurities introduced from the world and the creation of a pure substance. The "chalk" is that pure substance, now made useful for khemical processes.

Xanthosis is the mixing of pure substances into the desired compound, blending what is known of their effects and properties into the intermediary that shall become the final product. The "gold" is the compound, and many things can be finished here.

The Iosis is the application of time and energy to the intermediary compound created by Xanthosis. Following this final stage, the ends created are the "truth", the final product of your work of khemistry.
>>
>>5860577
Do not allow yourself to be tricked by charlatans who throw about the words of Khemistry without care for their meaning, hoping to take your coin and give you poison in return. The "Gold" a true khemist claims is produced by Xanthosis is not the shining yellow metal everyone loves, save for when that metal is a material for the khemical - and no more shall be created than was used in the process. Nor is the coal truly coal, and the truth created by iosis is subjective to our own views of the world.

How can I apply its principles to my trade and craft?
In this prologue, I unfortunately do not have the pages to delve into the intricacies of applying Khemistry to each trade that a man might follow. The advice I can give would be to take a pen and paper, and break your work down in accordance with the stages of Khemistry. In doing so, you may find your processes more manageable, and you may learn more about what you are doing as you do.

For those of you who seek greater wisdom, I can recommend for you the following books:
-The Khemistry of the Forge by Franz Albertsen
-Khemical Botany by Francesca Paulini
-Methods of Khemical Architecture by Johannes Bricklayer
-The Iosis of a Basket by Gilbert Weaver
-My Livestock is Chalk by Amalia Wrangler
-Fishing for Truth by Joffrey Anglersen
-Habits of the Khemical Bureaucrat by Miles van Dahlia

What is this I've heard about the sublime mystery of High Khemistry?
The greatest mysteries of Sal Khemia are no great secret, for High Khemistry the most superior sorcery in all of the world. I myself practiced the High Khemistry in my time studying at the Rose of the Thousand Sands, achieving Leucosis... those the process of Xanthosis required greater sacrifice than I was willing to make. It is the sorcery of great scholars and wise kings, a wizardry that goes beyond the physical study of the flow of mana through the body and extends towards the actualization of the self.

I cannot speak in depth upon these mysteries, or else my life shall be forfeit. However, I am permitted to speak of what the Sages themselves have revealed to the people of their city state.
>>
>>5860579
Melanosis is the decomposition of the self into its components, that you may understand who you are. Those who achieve it are said to possess a Mind of Coal.

Leucosis is the acceptance of the self in its entirety, and the rejection of outside influences upon your thoughts. Those who achieve it are said to possess a Heart of Chalk.

Xanthosis is the perfection of the self. The achievement of a Golden Core.

Iosis is arriving at truth. Those who reach this stage become as the Philosopher's Stone.

Now, upon Louise's own self... what is it that she has rejected the most?
>Her contempt for the smaller heresies, to get along with folk like Damien.
>Her unrestrained bloodlust and the satisfaction she gets seeing her enemies fall.
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>Her appreciation of the finer things in life, luxuries that she forces herself to go without.
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>(Write in)
>>
>>5860582
>Her contempt for the smaller heresies, to get along with folk like Damien.
What's the meaning of this vote? Are these tenets Louise has decided not to fanatically obey?
>>
>>5860590
This is going to inform some stuff for the next post. All of these things are stuff that she's suppressed/rejected about herself that are still there, bubbling beneath the surface. It's just which of these gets to be the loudest.
>>
>>5860594
So if I want Louise to be more flirty with men should I vote for the last option or something else?
>>
>>5860597
Whatever is suppressed the most has the most explosive decompression when released. Take that for what you will, I cannot say more without spoiling things.
>>
>>5860598
I gotchu

>>5860582
Changing my vote to
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>>Her unrestrained bloodlust and the satisfaction she gets seeing her enemies fall.
I like to kill demons. And greenfilth. And heretics. And feral beasts. And non-feral beasts. And evil people. And not-quite-as-evil people. And not evil people that happen to be over there. I really like to kill. For good.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>(Write in) Her horror at the corpse-strewn wastes of the battlefields, and the ease with which she discards all thought to became the best killer she can be.

It would be fitting ironic, I think, for Louise to secretly dread the talent that has inarguably won her great fame and fortune. Tapping into it at Charlemont was what gained for her a knighthood and her fief. Tapping into it at the ruined village saw the orcs destroyed without a single one of her charges' lives being lost. Yet, for all the professions of faith and the Lord's will, why does it come so naturally to her to let another's will guide her movements without hesitation...?
>>
>>5860259
>>5860264
You might be revealing too much about the behind-the-scenes works.

>>5860582
>Her appreciation of the finer things in life, luxuries that she forces herself to go without.
>>
>>5860259
>I don't want to give out philosopher's stones like candy and then end up with a case where "if you don't have a philosopher's stone, your contributions are exceedingly meaningless". Even melanosis (the decomposition of the self into its components) is a major step up from being a normal for a number of reasons.
Think about conservation of characters, or follow your own khemical process for pondering the question. if you think you have enough room for multiple High Khemists of various degrees of power then go ahead, but from what I can tell we're only ever going to see a small number of them and you should purge any unnecessaries. keeping a sufficiently small cast makes both reading and writing easier
>>5860582
>Her unrestrained bloodlust and the satisfaction she gets seeing her enemies fall.
I'm not sure I understand the vote. We vote for what she has rejected, and that element is what will end up most prominent (for a short time)?
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
I don't think Louise would struggle *too* much to admit that she is not fond of heretics, however minor, or that she enjoys laying low her enemies, wearing pretty dresses and indulging in the finer pleasures of life.
Her desire for men's attention? She would likely take that to the grave if she had to.
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>Her unrestrained bloodlust and the satisfaction she gets seeing her enemies fall.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>>
>>5860582
>Her desire for male companionship and the admiration of the men around her.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>>
>>5860878
Would she? She doesn't say it openly but she does want it. She isn't hiding it from herself. Sure she wants to feel like a woman but she more specifically wants to feel like a woman for a specific man. To me that's an important distinction. Though I understand I am probably in the minority here.
>>
>>5861322
>She isn't hiding it from herself.
For what it's worth, I think you are correct, but ultimately that is kind of what the vote is about. Which of these desires is the most shameful to her? She has all of them, and represses all of them, just some more than others.
>more specifically wants to feel like a woman for a specific man.
This though, I will say is likely wrong, and the reason the desire is repressed in the first place. "the men around her" heavily implies that it is just men in general, not just one.
>>
>>5861329
I think the wanting dudes to see her as a woman is less "I want these guys to want to fuck me" but "why does everyone treat me like one of the boys". Because she really isn't interested in them, she wants Rene. It pings to me more as needing other dudes to treat her that way so she knows she's "got it" for her beloved.
>>
>>5860582
>>Her unrestrained bloodlust and the satisfaction she gets seeing her enemies fall.
>>
>>5860582
>Her rejection of girlish things and her contradictory tomboyish while still wishing to be seen as a woman.
>>
My apologies everyone, for a variety of reasons, there will not be an update tonight. We'll be back to our usual schedule tomorrow.
>>
>>5861832
The witch got him. Quick, prepare the cuck-cage.
>>
>>5861832
Alright, take care my dude
>>
>>5861843
>The witch got him. Quick, prepare the cuck-cage.
the wagie one or the chastity one ?
>>
>>5861903
She prefers bdc (big demon cock) from what OP said
>>
>>5862204
I would even assume bdt (big demon tentacle)
>>
was the bbc comment deleted by mods or he himself ?
>>
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[Bluff 12 vs. DC of ???]

"You're a bit late for that!" You tell the witch a lie that you wish were true. In the same breath, you shove the blade of your imagined broadsword through Anahita's terrifyingly beautiful face. It slips through her flesh like a hand parting mist, and like mist her body disperses when your thrust becomes a cut that stirs the still air of the void. Your eyes searching the darkness for any trace of her, you snarl that, "I gave my love my maidenhood the night he became a man. You'll need to look elsewhere if you want someone untouched."

"Oh, silly Louise..." the witch's disembodied voice is sickeningly sweet as it echoes in the dark. Like a mockery of every girl who's ever confessed their love. "Even if I believed that... if I had to choose between a maiden or the Maid of Charlemonte, I'd always choose you~! "

Her laughter echoes through the void, from every direction all at once in a dizzying cacophony that your ears cannot rightly follow. As it fade, her voice comes back with a sharp edge in its tone, "Besides which..."

A wind howls in the darkness, and you can feel the faintest bit of motion in the air. Without thinking, without a word, you jerk towards it and cut at the shadows with the glimmering sword born of your imagination. As you take your swing, the blade disintegrates into a vast flutter of coal black butterflies whose ten-thousand wings flutter about you in a horrific and beautiful cacophony.

Though to call their wings "coal black" understates just how dark the fluttering wings were. The color of their wings exceeded the dark of night by a thousand fold, and stood so vividly against the darkness of void that you could see them clear as day against the infinite, lightless expanse. Rather than black, it might have been to say that they were the color of a nothingness that stood beyond nothingness, an unholy shade that was dark and beautiful and terrible as the last light of day.

You want to hate it, but you cannot. The only rational explanation you can think of is that the Dark One could not have created such a sight, that this servant must have stolen it.

As you stand disarmed and entranced by the flutter of butterflies, something warm and wet licks against your cheek. The sudden sensation makes you start so suddenly that you lose your balance, tripping over something in the dark and falling onto your rump. You know not what expression crosses your face when you look up and saw Anahita lying upon a cushion of air. With her breasts squishing against an unseen cushion, her feet lazily kicking at nothing, and her hands cupping her cheeks, in every part she looked a blushing maiden feasting on gossip with her friends... except for the expression on her face.
>>
>>5862791
Her red eyes crinkle with perverse satisfaction, like a pair of blood red crescent moons that have been set ablaze with black flame. Her mockery of a smile is the grin of a wolf that smells blood in the air. She licks her lips, savoring the taste that she just stole for you.

"Maybe you're not a liar..." Anahita drawls. The black flame in her eyes flairs when you try to stand, pinning you to the ground in a way that neither Damien's eyes or the Arbiter's presence could manage. "That's certainly the taste of a girl in love~! That's nearly as good as a virgin, in my book. No, no, it's even better if he loves you back! I'll have my demons make you forget all about whatever nights you shared... and then relish the pathetic look on his face as he watches you beg for a demon to knock you up! I'm overflowing just thinking about it, ahhhhh~"

You cannot move much with the pressure of Anahita's magic holding you in place. The fact that you can move your jaw and speak brings a smile to your face. She can't keep you from biting off your tongue and drowning in your own blood, should the worst happen. "That assumes I'd let you take me alive."

"Oooooh, spiteful~!" Anahita seems amused by your defiance. She rolls over onto her back in the air, pondering visibly before saying, "Well, it would be just as fun if it were reversed. Would you show me a cute expression if you saw your lover spilling his seed uselessly on the ground? Saying that he loves being a toy for demons more than he loves you~?"

There is a tearing noise.

Oh. It appears that you are now quite dangerously close to throttling this wretched bitch around that pencil thin neck of hers. Your hands are close - so close - to wrapping around her neck and squeezing the life out of her, but iron shackles have bound your wrists in place less than an inch from the woman's neck. She even has the gall to nuzzle your hands with her cheek before floating out of reach. You try to grab ahold of her hair, to pull her in by her scalp, but it simply vanishes into smoke.

"Yes, that's a good expression, Louise~!" the Witch of Depravity encourages you to twist your face out of shape with anger and hatred with an expression of perverse joy. With a lick of her lips, she shows you just how much she loves your glare, an act that only serves to fill you with further disgust. "Keep glaring at me like that! Aaaaaaaaaahn~ I'm just overflowing with happiness."

You know anything you say here will only make that disgusting grin on her face wider. Yet allowing yourself to be shackled in impotent silence shames you, bringing a heat to your face that you just know that Anahita will enjoy immensely. Indeed, she hums in happiness as she lands, her eyes on you as she skips about.
>>
>>5862793
The iron shackles turn you towards her, towards the crate, which must have gotten knocked over while you sprung at her in blind fury. There is a steady, almost rhythmic thunking as whatever lays inside slams against the wall over, and over, and over again. It only stops when Anahita grins and gives it a knock. "Ooh~ They must be getting frisky in there~"

"What are you talking about," you groan in annoyance.

Frankly, you're not interested. It's probably something related to her fetishes, like this entire situation has been from the moment you stepped through those double doors. She wants to humiliate you, rape you, and break your mind until you'll willingly serve as one of her champions, you understand that much. So logically, whatever is inside that crate is either meant to humiliate you, molest you, or scar you emotionally.

You are quickly proven right. With the expression of a maddened ringleader, she conjures a circus performer's baton and gives it a twirl, tapping the crate, demanding that you, "Behold, the very reason why you'll march happily into my embrace when I choose to call you. Stand in amazement as your deepest, darkest secrets are laid bare and violated by the most sinister of corrupting forces. Stare in awe as you realize that having heard your master's voice, you have already fallen!"

The shackles about your wrist go slack, just enough to let you move your arms freely. Anahita licks her lips and runs a seductive finger down her chest, tracing a path down the curve of her breast to that place below her navel where the Dark One's Eye shines brightly.

"Feel free to comfort yourself at the erotic display~" She says with a seductive wink. The act and her tone fill you with disgust. "Just imagine how she's feeling... because once the vincula is done corrupting your deepest, most hidden thoughts, it will violate you every night in your dreams. And unless you want to feel some pain, you won't be able to tell anyone about it~"

With those words, she slams the baton against the crate.

One by one, the sides of the box fall away.

Yet when the limelights flash to show what was inside, you get treated to a lovely sight. Not whatever is in the crate, for you can hardly tell whatever it is. The figure has a vaguely human shape, but it has wrapped itself in a tattered brown cloth, hunched over and staring at the fallen walls. You can only tell where it is staring from the blazing light within its eyes, two points of vibrant green, one much larger that the other. It quivers like it has just been plunged into a terrible and horrific cold.
>>
>>5862794
But whatever it is, it is not what brings a smile to your face. No, looking at the same huddled, quivering creature... for the first time since you met her, the Witch of Depravity looks like she's been caught off guard. The look is quickly replaced by one of deep fascination, a curiosity disturbingly similar to the expression René got whenever he wanted to know why. Even so, that moment where her triumph broke is enough to make you a fan of whatever this may be.

"Fascinating," Anahita says, her eyes wide as saucers. She takes a deep breath of the void, as if trying to take the creature in with all of her senses at once. A disbelieving smile crosses her face as a realization strikes her. "Yes, this was too subtle for Justy to have caught. Curse Inversion... underhanded, just as chalk should be when facing gold and crimson. Very admirable. Too admirable for any student of the senility ward. Did Tiri finally take an apprentice?"

Her red eyes suddenly snap to you with an accusatory glare. "You liar. You have to a virgin. I know Tishtrya's test, if loverboy ever touched you - or any woman for that matter - he wouldn't have been able to pass his-"

"HMPH, be silent, heretic!" A voice demands. The Witch falls silent, her inquisitive gaze wondering how this will pan out. Your voice demands, though it is distorted and familiar, the voice that echoed through your mind as you traversed the hall. Beneath the haggard hood, the green points of light glare intensely at you for a moment. "You! We told, we're not a demon. That thing knocked us loose, and we want back in. But more to the point, that bitch-"

The cloaked creature gestures to Anahita from beneath the cloth, who feigns a scandalized look, saying, "Well I never.

"-just threatened our man," the voice continues, ignoring the witch. "So are you gonna let us in so we can kick this bitch's ass? Or are we going to need to do all the work?" Roll 1d20 and 1d100
>"Prove to me that you're not a demon. Drive her out, and I'll consider it."
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later.
>(Write In)
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
so the rage one won in the end ?
>>
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Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5862795
>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>5862809
>>
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Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5862807
>>5862811
holy fuck, my dude. we balling this witch.
>>
>>5862811
That's more like it. Time for some handholding.
>>
>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>5862795
>>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5862823
>>
>>5862795
>"Prove to me that you're not a demon. Drive her out, and I'll consider it."
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>5862832
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>5862832
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5862795
Man just quit talking, demon. It doesn't matter what it is, it isn't supposed to be here. And that's reason enough to call it a demon. Damn thing. But right now the righteous anger toward a nutty turbowhore is burning brighter than the indignation towards an unwanted intruder.

>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later.
Slap a hoe first, exorcism later.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d100)

>>5862838
I guess the dice truly despise this skank. Nice.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5862795
>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5862971
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>>
>>5862795
>Reaches Chalk Heart
>Immediately uses his new power to remotely plant a curse countermeasure in the childhood friend he hasn't seen for years
BEST
BOY
No competition.
>>
>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."

>>5862995
Truly La Blanc is safe in his hands.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5863031
Forgot to roll
>>
>>5860603
Holy based.
>>5860709
That is a very cool concept that fundamentally goes against Louise's character. Her biggest flaw is her overwhelming and undeniable certainty and faith in the LORD. There are places this benefits her (Rene's protection only worked as well as it did because her chuuni-ass dark side was like "WE ARE THE HAMMER OF HIS WRATH" with a side of "IF MY SOUL IS TO BE STAINED IN DARKNESS, THEN I SHALL BE THE SHADE IN WHICH THE ROSES BLOOM!") and places where this 100% backfires on her (at this point, you guys have done the meme enough that she's convinced that her Chuuniself is a Demon (which is going to give both Damien and the later the Inquisition a headache, because she's not).
>>5860768
But if I don't write down my thoughts here, I won't remember them.
>>5860791
Yeah. I've decided that the majority of Sal Khemian Scholars possess a Chalk Heart or Golden Core, with the number of Philosophers in the world countable on two hands (and the immediately relevant ones countable on 1).

As for the vote, that informed the most prominent part of Chuuniself's personality.
>>5860878
>>5861322
>>5861329
>>5861334
Yeah, very much this will be less "she wants the D" and more her complaining about "why doesn't anyone have the balls to try grabbing my ass? You telling me its not worth a squeeze? HMPH!" while having no awareness that between her size and her hardass reputation, she intimidates people.
>>5862204
>>5862207
Well, if it comes to what she likes watching, woman on demon is her preference, yeah.
>>5862317
Cringe fetish + mod PTSD over troll quests I imagine.
>>5862807
No, the one who wants to be sexualized just a little won. There just wasn't a place to put that in the post, except for a nod about her concerns about "our man".
>>5862838
1000% In Character moment.
>Louise: I am possessed by a Demon.
>Damien: Hold on. It's not necessarily a Demon, you could be channeling an ancestor spirit, or communing with nature, or a fragment of your decomposed personality, though how do you miss going through Mela-
>Louise: Demon is DEMON. DEMON, OUT!
>>5862995
Not quite immediately, that vision of him becoming a student was a flashback, but he was testing out something that his Master taught him (Dreamwalking, like what Anahita is doing right now). He was very confused that the protection took, but it still seemed to be a dream on his end (he didn't realize he succeeded).
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5862795
>"Prove to me that you're not a demon. Drive her out, and I'll consider it."
>>
Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>5863091
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5862795
>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later.
I think it’d be helpful if you indicated either at the start or right before each update which option(s) won the previous vote. I commonly find myself not knowing the results and I’d rather not go count every vote. Cool quest btw, wonder when we’ll get to see Trevor and his damsel in distress again.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5863233
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5862795
>You have a bad feeling about what will happen if you don't fight as one. Nod, and straighten this out later.
I saw the quest and I was curious, so I read it. I like it alot QM, it scratches an itch for holy knight adventures I've been feeling since ForgottenQM was taken by the horrors of the daily grind.

LONG LIVE THE MAID OF CHARLEMONTE
THE FLOWER OF THE KINGDOM
https://youtu.be/RQZIKsaSzQ4
>>
>>5863088
>(at this point, you guys have done the meme enough that she's convinced that her Chuuniself is a Demon (which is going to give both Damien and the later the Inquisition a headache, because she's not).
I mean, you get infused with a corrupting force and then something starts talking inside your head, it's very easy to jump to that. So what exactly is it, a second personality made up of our represed feelings ?
>>
>>5863284
It's the sex gremlin, the horngoblin, the fuck imp.
>>
>>5863377
The procreation gargoyle, the intercourse kobold, the dicking-down puca. Lutin if you're feeling particularly French, today.
>>
>>5863430
Lutin ?
>>
>>5863463
It's like the French equivalent to a house gnome as far as I'm aware.
>>
>>5863476
There are also female lutines and male lutins, and they can be good or evil. I remember in quebec they often take the shape of white cats.
>>
>>5863088
>spoiler
Maybe keep a word document?
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>5862795
>"If you want to fight alongside me so much, then cut these shackles and we'll kill her together."
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5863563
>>
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Winning Vote: Work together
33 Diplomacy vs. DC 25

"No offense, but I don't think I can trust you enough to let you in," you tell the demon wrapped in brown cloth. Her mismatched green eyes blaze at you from within the shadow of her hood. You raise your hands to placate her, showing off the shackles and chains that have you bound. That and the olive branch you extend sees her glare wane, as you say, "But if you want to fight at my side that badly... break me free of these shackles, and we can drive out the witch together."

The demon rises to her feet. Beneath the tattered brown cloth, her legs are remarkably human. No, more than human, they are a mirror of your own, shaved clean as is your habit. When she reaches your full height, the brown cloth is left in a rather dangerous position, where too much movement might reveal your secrets to the world. It's barely long enough to leave anything down there covered.

"Together..." for the first time since you've heard it, a happy note rings in the demon's voice.

With that happy word upon her lips, she bursts towards you at speeds the eye cannot follow, kicking up the wooden scrap of the crate from whence she emerged. The Witch of Depravity watches on in silence, her arms crossed beneath her luscious breasts, her eyes taking in everything the demon does while the gears in her mind whir in calculation. A clang fills the air and wind rushes past your body, before the sound of metal getting torn into shreds by sheer tensile force rings through the void.

The shackles shatter. The demon grabs your right arm firmly by the wrist. This close, the shadows of her hood cannot hide the shape of her face from you. You dread what it means when you see what you feared to see; this demon has your voice, your body, your face. Everything the same except for a pair of blazing green eyes, mirrors of your own. Her right eye is ordinary, and her left eye is obsidian with a certain sigil engraved upon it.

Your eyes meet. She grins as you frown.

Then she shoves your hand straight through her heart, declaring that, "We'll fight together, even if we can't fight as one. If you won't embrace us, wield us! For we alone know the form of the ultimate weapon...!"

The demon's body molds itself into a vision of your dark history. Something terribly embarrassing from your childhood, that your young and foolish self would have certainly declared the ultimate weapon.Roll 1d20 and 1d100
>The Holy Sword Everbloom! The weapon that promises victory to Princess Knight Louise!
>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.

[Nat 100: Get to use her weapon form (temporarily) without letting her in]
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>>5863873
>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
Scythes are maximum chuuni cringe, and I should know.
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>>5863873
>>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
Behold
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Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
Chuuni powers go!
>>5863885
>>5863892
Why didn’t you guys roll ?
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Rolled 81 (1d100)

>>5863901
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Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5863901
Well I had but I guess it dropped, must've accidentally capitalized it. Then I got distracted before I could go for the second. My B.

>>5863892
Try this again.
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>5863892
>>
Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5863873
>>The Holy Sword Everbloom! The weapon that promises victory to Princess Knight Louise!
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5863954
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Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5863873
>>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
Gotta go max chuuni because that would fit Louise's past.... she probably wanted a cool magic eye too, just not from a possessed knight turned evil.
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Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5864066
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Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5864078
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>5864159
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>>5863873
>The Holy Sword Everbloom! The weapon that promises victory to Princess Knight Louise!
>>
Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
Luxia
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5864258
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>5863873
>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>5864295
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Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5863873
>The Litany of Blackthorn! A superweapon created by Supreme Inventor R for use by Agent L.
A perfect weapon...
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Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>5864310
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Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5863873
>>The Rose Cutter! A scythe sung from the World Tree by Spirit Queen Elian, its sharpness... is sharpness itself.
Scythes are pretty cringe (read: cool)
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>>5863233
Thanks! You guys will see the winning vote in blue from now on. Trevor will definitely be showing up during the next section of the story, and you will probably be encountering Astrid on the way as well. In the future (actual spoiler) that's de-fin-ite-ly a ship I plan to sail, I've got ideas for them in my brainmeats. It's going to give his father such a wonderful headache.
>>5863252
Luckily this has become my way of unwinding stress after the day, so we should be good for a while.
>>5863284
If someone who has gone through the process of spiritual Melanosis - the decomposition of the self into its component parts - as "Coal", then Louise would probably be referred to as "Charcoal". She is not the only person like that, but such people are rare. Yes, Rene had to deal with his voices talking in his head, but his melanosis was more orderly and controlled so it was more like the Council of Katarina (Villainess anime) that the self and shadow deal Louise has going on.
>>5864066
>Gotta go max chuuni because that would fit Louise's past.... she probably wanted a cool magic eye too, just not from a possessed knight turned evil.
Depends on when she dreamed it up. Her inner self/shadow is basically living out one of the fantasies she had in her youth. "My cursed arm is burning... but by my faith in the LORD, I will chain this demonic power to my will!" The Holy Sword Everbloom definitely had a point in time when it was the Cursed Holy Sword Everbloom... used for JUSTICE. All three of these were things from her games with her friend group as a child (Rene, Elian, Astrid, Gilbert, and Nolan).

As Louise keeps in touch with everyone (including Rene, though he stopped replying suddenly seven years ago), you guys would know that:
>Astrid runs an apothecary in your hometown that mixes herbal and khemical remedies for medicinal and recreational purposes. She married a traveling bard, and their relationship concerns Louise sometimes.
>Elian and her husband got permission to move to your Fee from their lord, and have a homestead that borders the wilderness. They have since had nine children.
>Gilbert and his family live in a cabin in the woods, and tend to the forests of your previous liege lord. He tends to the trees and beasts, she is an herbalist and monitors for overgathering. Their son got apprenticed to an artificer.
>Nolan became a moderately successful traveling merchant with three kids and a shop his wife helps run in Sonnenblume.
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>>5864577
>Thanks! You guys will see the winning vote in blue from now on.
that helps a lot, thanks
>If someone who has gone through the process of spiritual Melanosis - the decomposition of the self into its component parts - as "Coal", then Louise would probably be referred to as "Charcoal". She is not the only person like that, but such people are rare.
so basically we found an alternative to that initial path ? nice. depanding on how things go sooner or later we'll discover it was actually our shadow and not a demon.
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Winning Vote: The Litany of Blackthorn / Rose Cutter Combo
39 Combat vs. DC 40 (Narrow Defeat)

The weapon in your hands looks like it grew from the branches of an ironwood tree. Gnarled, twisted, and bent, the polished and obsidian black wooden haft splits into four branches that curl about one another in loving embrace. Cradled by the branches, an elegantly crafted goldsteel barrel blossoms from the head like a flower's bud in spring. Half again as thick as your fist, with a one inch bore drilled into the center, a wicked curved thorn sprouts between the roots that woven around the cannon's end. The blade of a scythe some forty inches long, as broad as your hand at its roots and as sharp as a razor along its edge.

Where the gnarled, knotted haft bends to give it the shape of a scythe's snath, the weapon's sole nib sprouts from the haft like a short, squat branch. To hold that much mass, even perfectly balanced as the weapon seems to be, the handle must hook about some metallic core that runs the length of the weapon. A goldsteel button sits on the head of the nib, which you somehow know is there to let you fire the cannon with a squeeze of your thumb, without shifting your grip upon the scythe.

On the butt of the haft sits a goldsteel cap, from which emerges a leaf-like blade as broad as your hand. To keep the balance with the scythe blade and cannon, it must be weighed down with something strong and heavy. If not lead, then the foolishness of your childhood, the hopes and dreams accumulated from a dark history that you put a lid on long ago.

Green fire blazes along the runes etched into the barrel and the blade. In the tongue of the Gardeners, known these days only to scholars and priests, it reads a passage from the Green Tome, the Book of Faith. A passage you fell in love with as a child, one that remains your favorite prayer in battle.

[Chloé 17:9-13] I have seen the lightless depths and the terror of the endless night. And as I walked that lightless path, I had no fear of evil. For the LORD of Light did guide me through the shadows dark, and held the fiends at bay. Greatest throughout heaven are his miracles, worthy of the praise:

"Holy..."

The weapon feels right in your hands. Absurdity that it is, forged in the image of childhood flights of fancy that you left behind long ago, it feels more comfortable in your grip than even loyal Tephres. You cannot help but compare it to the weapon the Arbiter put down before your duel, her lance that was at the same time a field cannon. A small part of you wonders if you are not playing into the Witch of Depravity's hands in using this weapon, if it is not the first in a series of dominoes to fall. A path that invariably leads to you serving Anahita, living through all of those depraved and twisted fantasies she described.
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>>5864849

After all, why else would she simply be standing there with cold, analytical eyes locked upon you, waiting for you to act? Why would she let the demon shift into the form of the absurdity in your hands, a weapon carved from her body into the shape of your childhood dreams? The Witch of Depravity moulded this dreamlike space as if it were putty in her hands. Surely she could do it again, if she wished to.

"Holy...!" as the word slips from your mouth, all of your worries evaporate. A familiar certainty fills your body, the same warmth you feel when you give yourself to the LORD of Light in your purest expression of your faith in Him.

You understand now. This cannot be a bad thing, for the LORD of Light has seen that it is good.

Who are you - his humble slave and puppet - to disagree?

His light embraces you and casts a shadow upon the wall of your dreams, a shadow that by the nature of the world becomes something akin to what you would call real. You do not need to understand the why and how, for it is not your place to know. You are the hammer of His wrath, his punishment to those whose sins are unforgivable, against heresies for which there can be no amends. What need has a hammer for understanding? Especially when ignorance is such a bliss and dreamy things.

The thorns that grow along the vine dig into the flesh of your soul, a sweet pain that relieves you of the burden of your sins. Blood cannot be drawn in such a way. Yet blood flows like a river through the valley of your empty mind, the blood of heretics that do not exist outside this dream. Cut down and shot to pieces, torn apart by jagged vines that their flesh might feed the blackened roses that have wrapped themselves around your soul. As they grow so do their thorns, digging deeper and more sharply.

It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, yet your heart sings in joy at this pain, knowing you have sinned. For though all proceeds in accordance with the LORD'S Most Holy Will, you have eaten of the Fruit of Life and must suffer for your transgressions.

It hurts so much you can see only His Light.

You can feel only His Warmth.

Yet you still stand upon your feet, and that is why He chose you to carry this burden. The LORD loves all of His children equally, and He gives the greatest of His trials to those He has faith can withstand them. How can you repay His trust in you with anything less than your best efforts? If it is His will you bear this curse, then you will bear it gladly! If it is His will that your soul shall be stained with darkness, then you will turn that darkness into the gentle shade in which His most delicate flowers can bloom!
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>>5864850

"Holy is the LORD!" you sing the praises of His worthy name. Your stance lowers to the ground, your right hand grasping the nib of the scythe, your left hand fast upon its half, the cannon pointing to your rear. Black vines grow from your left arm and embrace the weapon in your hands, while the sigil upon your obsidian right eye glows with the vivid green of your faith. "For His is the Light that nourishes the World! He is the shield that guards us from the monsters that lurk where no light falls!"

With a squeeze of your thumb, the cannon of the Litany roars. You do not see what sort of projectile it fires, but it propels you forward at such a speed that your eyes can barely comprehend the world around you.

The goldsteel thorn digs into the benighted void, tearing the false darkness asunder and revealing a plane of boundless, endless light. The shadows mend themselves in short order, but it leaves a wide and rippling wake of purest holy light behind it. In a flash, you've overtaken the Witch of Depravity. With another squeeze of the trigger, the cannon roar's once more and the Litany of Blackthorn has easily taken her head.

It flies off with the stroke of the scythe, bouncing like a ball. Her erotic body wasted, collapsing like a puppet without strings.

Yet still you hear her voice.

"What a fascinating death you've shown me, my dear Louise," Anahita's voice rings through the emptiness around you, absent every playful note you've come to expect from her. Where she had been playful and flirtatious, now her voice is calm and detached, the only hint of emotion in it being a note of curiosity. "The inversion of the vincula's curse, the reinforcement of your repressed emotions... to most, that would have simply been a shield against possession, but to a woman with your profound faith-"

"Where are you!" you shout into the void, interrupting her musings. You do not care for whatever heresy it is that she spouts in this moment. "Come face me, craven! Or are you afraid that I will take your head again?"

Her chuckles echo through the empty space of the dream, though again her tone feels muted and distant. "Oh, you silly piece of charcoal... you could take my head a thousand times if you wished. Here in your mind, or out there in that place you call the real world. It would make very little difference to me. For the Throne of Depravity sits in a place beyond heaven, and the shadows I cast are more real than the air that you breathe..."

Your eyes dart around, looking for any hint of movement that might reveal the source of Anahita's voice. As you search, you demand that she, "Speak plainly, witch! Beyond heaven... do you mean among the stars? A place so far away that-"
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>>5864851
"No," her voice is like a teacher disappointed in her student. You can feel the smile creeping across her face as she says, "But if you truly want to know the answer, seek out the City of Depravity, Shar Saboten. Kneel before me willingly, accept the brand of Our Nameless Lord and the seed of his children into your womb, and you shall-"

"Not happening," you tell her.

"What a shame."

The world cracks and crumbles. You wake upon the bed of Damien's makeshift hospice, filled with a powerful urge to...
>Eat. You need breakfast. No, you need a dozen breakfasts.
>Drink. Your thirst is overpowering, you need to quench it immediately.
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
>Ma... Comfort yourself. Your face is red, your hosier is soaked through, you... you need to go.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 56 (1d100)

>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
Rolling for the sake of it
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>>5864849
>39 Combat vs. DC 40 (Narrow Defeat)
Bummer. Ya hate to see it.

>>5864852
>>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
I PICK THINGS UP AND PUT THEM DOWN. Lifting makes the bad thoughts go away.
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>>5864849
we got an 18 and still fell 1 point short, it was indeed a difficult one.
>>5864852
I thought we'd be attacked due to the failure, so it just ended ?
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
not satisfied by this result
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>>5864852
>>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
>>
>>5864852
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
>>
>>5864852
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
Most amusing response.
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>>5864852
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
WE SWOLE. And depressed...
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>>5864852
Important question: is Rene into musclegirls?
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>>5865074
I think that is self-explanatory. Louise was always bigger than him so...
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>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
>>
>>5864852
>Lift. You feel restless, brimming with energy. Go to the yard and lift something heavy, NOW.
Iron within, iron without!
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>>5864852
> Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
>>
>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.

We didn't get to meet the king :(
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>>5864852
>Drink. Your thirst is overpowering, you need to quench it immediately.
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>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
>>
>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.

>>5865178
We did. Just not in this corrupted memory.
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>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
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>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
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>>5864594
Louise did not really find a path as much as the stars aligned, her faith and obedience to the LORD being rewarded with something that cannot really be called a Magnum Opus. Damien's Eyes of Wisdom are similar to Louise's Rosethorn Litany (working name), though he is very deliberately faking a Heart of Chalk rather than Louise stumbling into a Mind of Charcoal.

It's no spoiler as to how that happened at this point, so to spell it out, basically:
>Louise's faith and exposure to the LORD's blessings is a fundamental part of her foundation
>This lends her soul something of an innate resistance to possession
>Damien placed a subtle, rudimentary curse inversion upon her when they met in her dreams
>The Arbiter implants a Chain Devil into her body via her Dark Lance
>The Chain Devil attempts to subvert her psychological foundations and subvert her foundation.
>Her sheer faith in the LORD rebuffed the demon
>The Curse Inversion triggers, turning its subversion into reinforcement
>With no subversion to undo, the reinforcement goes overboard
>Louise's repressed thoughts snap off into their own personality
>This is similar to the "Council of the Self" created by melanosis, but crude and inelegant
>With the demon weakened, Shadow Louise kills its personality and seizes its powers
>What were chains became the vines and roses
>Her right eye is now emblazoned with an upside down triquetra
>The triquetra is a symbol of the LORD of Light
>Upside is not heresy, but it's only seen in some very old cult symbology that is barely understood.
>>5864856
A win would not have been much different that what happened. The tear that the Litany created would have been more permanent rather than healing over, and taking her head would have been what ended the dreamscape rather than having that conversation at the end.
>>5864898
The defeat was that this ended on the Witch's terms, rather than your own. You did not banish her from your mind, she chose to leave because you showed her something she found interesting (and she had other things to do).
>>5865074
>>5865075
Well, I mean, Louise was the largest, strongest, and most athletic child in the village by a wide margin. So at the very least, he is a tomboy chad. I'm not interested in "musclegirls" (as in "girls" that are drawn with the bodies of male bodybuilders, or the sort you see in real life who take steriods), so the most muscle Louise is going to have is "toned female athlete" levels of six pack an such. See pic related.
>>5865178
>>5865247
You guys chose to avoid meeting the King and then got a really bad roll. I take no responsibility for this; you will meet him in the future.
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>>5865486
Rene is a lucky man.
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>>5865486
>Her sheer faith in the LORD rebuffed the demon
Get fucked chain demon YEAH thank you lord!

>"toned female athlete" levels of six pack an such. See pic related.
I rarely see woman as unreasonably attractive as pole vaulters and long jumpers. Truly the fittest.
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>>5865486
>Damien placed a subtle, rudimentary curse inversion upon her when they met in her dreams
I thought that was René?
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>>5864898
18? We got a 19 didn't we?
>>5864258
Wow, that means we needed to get a nat 20 to do damage.
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>>5864852
>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
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>>5865504
Typo, sorry, brain is full of fuck right now. Yes, René did the Curse Inversion.
>>5865508
Reread post 1. I know Best of 3 is ubiquitous on this site, but it is not used for this quest. An 18 was rolled, you had a modifier of 21 due to the bonuses granted by the Litany.
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>>5865486
>I'm not interested in "musclegirls" (as in "girls" that are drawn with the bodies of male bodybuilders, or the sort you see in real life who take steriods), so the most muscle Louise is going to have is "toned female athlete" levels of six pack an such. See pic related.
Very nice.
>>5865508
only the first roll is picked, the others only serve for blessed/cursed rolls that influence the story, so it was the 18.
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>>5864852
>>Bathe. You feel unclean, and want nothing more than to wash it off.
who would not feel unclean after a conversation with that woman
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You awaken with the taste of rotting eggs filling your mouth. Bleary eyes filled with sleep need crust of morning rubbed away to bring the clinic back into focus. It seems that Damien kept you in the cold room serving as his office, while you slept off the khemical meant to aid in diagnosis of your curse. Did it mean to show you the perverse nature of the Arbiter's mistress? Or did her presence interrupt the process before you saw what you were meant to see?

Either way, the left you with a better understanding of the curse mark that crawls up the length of your arm. One that you need to inform Damien of immediately. Your throat is a bit dry and stuffed with phelm, but you manage to croak out, "Damien, are you there? Fiona...?"

"Be there in a moment," Fiona's voice calls through the cold room's door.

A few moments pass, and Fiona steps inside. Her folding plate is packed away in the iron collar about her neck, revealing a rather ordinary woman in a simple cream blouse and baggy blood-red trousers. A pair of suspenders holds them up, with the cuff of the legs tucked lazily into her boots. Her mousy brown hair is held out of her face by a bow that matches with her pants, with large dots that match the color of her blouse. She wears her blindfold around her neck today, like a scarf, revealing striking gray eyes that hold only a thin ring of magenta around the iris.

She is shorter than you by nearly a foot and a half, making her short among most women. Her sleeves are tucked up, and a silver bangle etched with a flock of fluttering robins hangs loose upon her left wrist. In her hands, she had a tray that carries a pitcher of ice water, in which float wedges of squeeze lime, an important part of the Daffodil Kingdom's standard rations. Scurvy knights and men-at-arms are of no use to anyone, and the Duke's own orchards provide his soldiers a generous ration every time he strikes his banners.

"You sound like you need something to drink," Fiona explains, all but forcing a cup of water into your hands. You get the impression that the diminutive woman would have succeeded in forcing the matter if you didn't accept it. "Damien's gone to bully your artificer into lending him use of your sending stone. He was convinced you wouldn't mind, I wasn't so sure."

As she speaks, you drain the cup of water and pour yourself another. It cools your throat and clears it out of weariness and phlegm. When Fiona speaks of Damien bullying Hilde, you snort. "Well, I hope he doesn't lead with that. Hilde gets stubborn when people aren't polite to her."

"That would explain why he's not back yet..." Fiona muses. A slight frown crosses her face. "You think they've been arguing this entire time?"

You take a sip of your drink and hide your face behind your cup. The other possibility leaves your cheeks a bit red, when you say it out loud, "That or she took a fancy to him and dragged him to bed."
>>
>>5865796
Fiona stares at you for a moment that stretches on a bit longer than is comfortable. You can tell that she doesn't believe herself when she says that, "He wouldn't put off a report to the King for... oh, Lord..."

"Don't blaspheme," you chide her.

"Heretic," she reminds you. When you give her a look that could wither a rose, she simply responds with a shrug. "Look, I grew up so far south that the Sun forgets that it's supposed to set during the summer. Down there, the Lord of Light is one among many. Oh, everyone reveres him and his angels, for sure, but we really didn't have much time for faith that went beyond a clap and prayer."

"Then that shall be your penance for taking His Moste Holy Name in vain," you tell her in a grim tone that does not match the smile that has wormed its way onto your faith. Signing the four pointed star, you command her, "Five repetitions of the Luminary should suffice to absolve you of your sins. In the name of the LORD I forgive you, now go and sin no more."

Fiona snorts. "Yes, Holy Mother. And you call me blasphemer, yet here you are impersonating a priest and pretending to administer one of the sacrament's without being ordained."

"Who said anything about pretending?" you ask her. When she gives you an incredulous look, you point to the badge that sits on your breast. The one honor of the many that you've received, that you wear pinned upon all but your most casual work clothes. A winged prism that splits a single beam of light into the Seven Virtuous Colors, the Crest of the Holy Light. "The church ordained me when they inducted me into the Order of the Holy Light. I am, for all intents and purposes, a minister whose parish is the battlefield."

"Really?" Fiona asks, not quite sure if she should believe.

"Yes, my child," you tell her the truth, though the grin on your face makes it easy to believe that it's a lie. Again making the sign of the four pointed star - the LORD's compass that guides sinners to salvation - you command that she, "Go and sin no more. And maybe tell Margareta to draw me a bath. With everything that happened while I was under Damien's concoction... I feel like I need one."
>>
>>5865799
Fiona's gray eyes pierce you with a look of concern. "What happened while you were out, Louise? I know that khemical well, it should not have lasted that long. You should have been in and out of the trance in a handful of minutes, maybe an hour at most. A quick dream of the possessing spirit or the nature of the curse, and then back up again. Instead, you sleep away half the day."
>It's a long story (Explain things to her now).
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>Bath first, questions maybe never. It's not something I'm too keen to talk about.
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
>(Write in)
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>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
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>>5865800
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
>>
>>5865796
Omg, Reimu. Now I need to ask if Damien Tries to sniff her armpits from time to time
>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
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>>5865800
>Bath first, questions maybe never. It's not something I'm too keen to talk about.
>>
>>5865800
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
Ofuro scene!
>>
>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>>
>>5865800
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
>>
>>5865800
>It's a long story (Explain things to her now).
>>
>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>>
>>5865800
Shouldn't we tell them that a chain devil is afflicting our poor man at arms?


>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>>
>>5865800
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
>>
>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>>
>>5865800
>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
HURRY UP AND GIVE US THE BATH SCENE QM
>>
>>5865490
Yes.
>>5865500
"The devil is a loser, he's my bitch...!" is definitely on theme for demons vs. people with profound faith (in the LORD, or any of his "faces"). Most people lacking strong faith are the ones who really get hit by possession hard. Though the Black Primrose can erode that protection over time if left alone.

For the Dark One himself, it's more of an Ormazd vs. Ahriman type deal. Not 1 to 1, there is some Lore that has been lost, but that's the closest comparison.

Also based taste, anon.
>>5865583
Dustiness Ford Lalatina and characters that share her strange preferences.
>>5865832
She's not Reimu 1 to 1, that was just the closest image I could find to what was in my head for her.
>>5865882
Yep!
>>5866079
That will come around when you answer questions. You need to process things, and aren't sure if the Witch wasn't lying to you. The fastest for that info getting to someone who can do something about it is probably if you go get Hilde (as she's allegedly helping Damien with the Sending Stone right now).
>>
>>5866307
Huh, forgot to put my trip back on.
>>5866285
Look, do you want 1 girl now, or three girls in like one more post at most?
>>
>>5866307
>She's not Reimu 1 to 1, that was just the closest image I could find to what was in my head for her.
understood, but is the armpit sniffing from damien canon as well ?
>>
>>5865800
>>Bath first, questions later. I need to process everything.
>>
>>5866079
>>5866307
In that case, I change it to
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).

because hate demons!
>>
>>5865800
>Screw it. We're finding Hilde and getting her to fix the tower thermae. It's already been cleaned, and this is not something I care to talk about without friends and alcohol. (Plus, getting it done will give the civilians the opportunity to bathe).
>>
File: Sister Galatea, maybe.png (2.21 MB, 2125x3164)
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Winner: Bathe first, questions later.
Notice: D&D night went two hours over, so tonight will cover lore on the difference between Demons and Devils, and their manifestations.

Malleus Tenebrarum
A Guide for the Identification of Maleficent Beasts
Written For the Highest Lord and Common Citizen Alike
By the LORD's Moste Humble Daughter Galatea
Sister of the Convent of Sainted Amalia Rosenritter


INQUISITOR or LEYMAN, of the NOBILITY or the COMMONS, PRINCE or PAUPER, WYFS and WEIRS all: I present to you IN FAITH this tome of MOSTE IMPORTANT GUIDANCE that shall teach you the NATURE of the ENEMY. KNOW good brothers and sisters that AGENTS OF THE DARK walk in the shadows of our cities, UNKNOWABLE to ye FAIRE GUARDSMAN for their HEINOUS and DUPLICITOUS nature. It is therefore the GRIM RESPONSIBILITY of EVERY CITIZEN of ALL STATURES to keep themselves in a state of CONSTANT VIGILANCE against the LIGHTLESS FOE.

Now many of ye have heard the names of THE GREAT ENEMY'S most ill reputed slaves: DEMON and DEVIL. But in ignorance ye may ask: WHAT is the NATURE of these BEASTS MOSTE FOUL?

IN THIS TOME, your moste humble Sister Galatea seeks to ENLIGHTEN you with the KNOWLEDGE of such beasts, in hopes that you shall use THE LORD'S WISDOM as a stout and heavy shield against the LIGHTLESS DARK. Its chapters shall be laid out THUS:

I. An INTRODUCTION to the ENEMY
II. The CATALOGUE of DEMONS
III. The INDEX of DEVILS MOSTE FOUL
IV. On Apostasies and CULTS OBSCURA
V. SYMBOLS of the GREAT DEPRAVITIES
VI. Of WITCHES Greater, and Lesser
VII. The LORD'S Moste Holy PROMISE

TO BEGIN THIS TOME the first thing all goodly wyfs and weirs should know about the ENEMY OF ALL MANKIND is the name by which we call them, and the name by which they call themselves.

To GOODLY FOLK who praise the glories of the LORD and hold true to His Moste Holy teachings, the ENEMY is known as the LIGHTLESS for they have refused to walk in the LIGHT of the LORD. These APOSTATES are all of them SLAVES to the demon who crawled from THE PIT OF MAVROS and stained ALL CREATION with his presence. It is THE DARK ONE'S effigy that all good boys and girls STOMP UPON during the REVELRIES OF SUMMERLIGHT, an act we all performed as a child.

To FOUL APOSTATES it is known as THE NAMELESS LORD, a BLASPHEMY of BLASPHEMIES for its false equivalence with THE MOSTE HOLY LORD OF LIGHT. They raise him as ANTITHESIS to the LORD, as though they were EQUALS when in fact a SINGLE RAY OF FAITH is enough to BANISH the DARK ONE from the faithful hearts of GOODLY FOLK.

You will KNOW these APOSTATES by the marks they wear. FOUR CIRCLES FORM THE BLACK PRIMROSE and speak of the GREAT DEPRAVITIES. It is the SACRED DUTY of every goodly wyf and weir to deface this UNHOLY FLOWER with the gouging of the knife. THOSE WHO WEAR IT can be save, unless the SCLERA OF THEIR EYES has rotted into darkest black.
>>
>>5866635

The APOSTATE is the greatest of the Dark One's SLAVES, but they debase themselves in their interactions with LESSER BEASTS.

DEMONS are the physical manifestation of the DEPRAVITIES. In later chapters they shall be gone over in detail, but here I shall name the MOSTE COMMON summoned by the APOSTATE CONJURERS. They are: Goblin, Orc, Imp, Troll, Ogre, Lamia, Harpy, Siren, and Gorgon.

VILE CREATURES ALL, the APOSTATE are known to degrade themselves through CARNAL KNOWLEDGE of the demons their HERETICAL SORCERIES conjure. Ye GOODLY WYFS should beware most of all the ORC, for this rapacious beast has only VIOLENCE and UNNATURAL LUSTS burning within its heart. GOOD WEIRS should mind as well the HARPY lest they be taken to their NESTS. Such captive mating may tempt FOOLISH BOYS, but once the deed is done their victims become DINNER.

As DEMONS are to the PHYSICAL, DEVILS are to the SPIRITUAL. Less is known of these FOUL SPIRITS save that APOSTATES conjure them to POSESS the MINDS and BODIES of otherwise goodly folk. THREE of these are well known to me: the VINCULA who chains the heart, the SUCCUBUS who stokes the flames of lust, and the BELETH who teaches forbidden knowledge...

===

Deciding to bathe alone, you end up grabbing a book to read in the bath (with a proper, protective orison). What do you choose to read? Roll 1d100
>One of Damien's "less heretical" tomes that he wanted saved.
>The philosophical musings of the King.
>The trashy romance novella that Hilde recommended for you.
>The continuation of the novel series that René read throughout your childhood.
>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5866636
>The trashy romance novella that Hilde recommended for you.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5866636
>The continuation of the novel series that René read throughout your childhood.
Rene!
>>
>>5866636
>>The philosophical musings of the King.
Tell me, King, what is a man?
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5866645
I really need to stop habitually capitalizing. I suppose to make up for it I'll have to roll a 69.
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>5866636
>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
didn't you anons want a bath scene ? time to get a 3 way!!!
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5866636
>The trashy romance novella that Hilde recommended for you.
>>5866646
So close
>>
>>5866678
The hype was real until it wasn't.

>>5866668
Still got a blessed roll out of it though. So that's nice.
>>
>>5866636
>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5866636
>One of Damien's "less heretical" tomes that he wanted saved.
>>
>>5866636
>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5866636
>The trashy romance novella that Hilde recommended for you.
I want Louise to learn some terms
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5866636
>One of Damien's "less heretical" tomes that he wanted saved.
>>
>>5866636
>>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
Talking through our problems is healthier, guys

Also boobs.
>>
>>5866636
>The trashy romance novella that Hilde recommended for you.
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5866965
>>
>>5866636
>The continuation of the novel series that René read throughout your childhood.
Rene guide us
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5866975
Forgot to roll
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

>>5866636
>Actually, you'd rather have some conversation. Get Hilde to fix the Thermae and inaugurate it with her and Fiona.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5866636
>>
Rolled 27 (1d100)

>>5866636
>One of Damien's "less heretical" tomes that he wanted saved.
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5866636
>>One of Damien's "less heretical" tomes that he wanted saved.
>>
Uh, locking the vote for getting some convo. Also changing my trip because I accidentally leaked the old one elsewhere because I'm a shmuck. You heard it here first.
>>
>>5867536
was it in the discord server ? kek
>>
File: Alt Outfit Louise.jpg (330 KB, 960x1440)
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Winner: Actually, you'd rather have some conversation.
19 on the roll to determine what Hilde is getting up to

Your face twists into a frown at Fiona's question.

The words of your old pastor comes to mind, from when you were the village altar girl who assisted the old man in his duties at the church. To shape your deepest troubles into words and share them with a friend is to understand what ails you. By speaking them you define them, by defining them you can understand them, and through understanding them you can reconcile with them. The LORD of Light aids in every step of course, for all humanity are His beloved children, and He is your loving father who would happily lend his wisdom and his ear.

At the same time, you feel as though the Witch of Depravity's obscene affections - if it's right to call how strongly she came on with her desire to forcefully make you hers affection - have left behind a disgusting film of slime that covers every inch of your body. Refreshing your throat with water and chatting away on little things has left your mood improved, but such a heavy conversation may well drown you in the moment.

You want a bath before you take on such a heavy topic. No, you need to relax yourself and let these feelings melt away before you discuss your experience in that khemical nightmare. Nor can you truly count Fiona as a friend. You like the woman, certainly more than you like Damien, but you have barely known her for a week.

She and Damien will need to know, though. Damien will also need to know about the state of young Alex, if the boy is to receive proper treatment.

And, as luck would have it, he has called upon the assistance of your closest friend in setting up a sending stone.

"Alright, Fiona." You sit up with a groan. Imaginary it may have been, the strain of combat from your dreams has left your physical body sore and heavy - all the more reason to soak in warm water. "If we're to talk about the Witch of Depravity, I'm going to need a hot bath and a stiff drink first. Preferably at the same time. Luckily for you, my dear friend Hilde should be able to provide us with both."

Fiona's face pinkens at the thought, and with a far more formal tone than before, she comments that, "Sharing a tub is a bit intimate, isn't it? I didn't take you for a woman's woman, Dame Louise..."

"I'm not," you snort with wry amusement. She's hardly the first woman to mistake your preferences, though most who do end up coming onto you. At least until you grab them firmly by the shoulders, look them straight in the eye, and tell them that you like men who have big, fat tomes that throb with arcane power. There's no need to tell Fiona about that, though, as she's clearly not interested. Instead, you say that, "Setting aside that I can barely fit inside the standard camp tub, no. I figured we could celebrate the restoration of the thermae."
>>
>>5867654
Fiona makes a sour face at the mention of the tower's grand, open-air bath. "Wasn't that where your men found..."

You nod. For the final phase of the purge, Boric and Eren wiped clean the last of the demonic presence from the tower while you advised them from the infirmary. Under the cultist, the thermae had been drained and turned into a wretched hive where the orcs and goblins had bred new soldiers with captive women driven mad by lust. However, you know that, "It was scoured with naphtha and flame, and Hilde's constructs cleaned the ash and polished the stone. Plus, I heard that she secured a special gemstone from the Shrine of Fair Springs to serve as a blessed water source..."

"Is that right?" Fiona looks at you with a smirk. You hide your own expression behind drinking down another cup of water from the pitcher, as she says that, "You sound rather excited for something so heretical, Louise."

"Mountain gods and river spirits, all of them are faces taken by the LORD of Light in His acts of self expression," you quote the official doctrine of the church at Fiona, whose smirk only grows wider. She knows your dislike for pagan gods by reputation, so seeing you throw it away so quickly must be amusing. You've explained before, and you'll explain again that, "He acted through the Maiden of Fair Springs to purify all we brought to her shrine, so that spirit must truly be one of his favored masks."

"I'm sure it is," Fiona says, her eyes twinkling like the stars. As she follows you out the door of the makeshift infirmary, she warns you that, "I couldn't find them in their quarters or the command room when I went to check on them. Does anywhere else come to mind?"

"Yes, there's one place in particular," you say. You know Hilde's habits well enough to have an idea where she must have gotten off to. "If Hilde's not where she's supposed to be, then odds are she's gotten off to-"
>The tunnels beneath the caverns. The jokes about having the blood of dwarves were not for her small stature alone.
>The lake. You're going to need to drag her and Damien up from the lake, aren't you? How absolutely wonderful.
>The room at the top of the tower. She's likely there, mourning your destruction of the ancient stonework... and possibly getting railed atop the rubble.
>Her quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>Damien's quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>Oh LORD, grant you the patience to not throttle your best friend for INAUGURATING THE THERMAE WITHOUT YOU.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5867655
>(Write In)
Do we really want to interrupt them? We might see things we don't want to.
>>
>>5867659
Going to say that this is not a valid vote. Louise is an expert Hilde wrangler, she knows how to avoid this.
>>
>>5867665
Ok.
changing Vote.
>>5867655
>Oh LORD, grant you the patience to not throttle your best friend for INAUGURATING THE THERMAE WITHOUT YOU.
>>
>>5867655
>The lake. You're going to need to drag her and Damien up from the lake, aren't you? How absolutely wonderful.
>>
>>5867655
>The room at the top of the tower. She's likely there, mourning your destruction of the ancient stonework... and possibly getting railed atop the rubble.
Glad seeing Louise not being generic shonen mc levels of naive, but still being prudish enough
>>
>>5867655
>The room at the top of the tower. She's likely there, mourning your destruction of the ancient stonework... and possibly getting railed atop the rubble.
>>
>>5867655
>Her quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>>
>Damien's quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.

Maybe Damien's quarters would be better?
>>
>>5867655
>Her quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>>
>>5867655
>The lake. You're going to need to drag her and Damien up from the lake, aren't you? How absolutely wonderful.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5867655
>>Damien's quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>>
>>5867655
>Oh LORD, grant you the patience to not throttle your best friend for INAUGURATING THE THERMAE WITHOUT YOU.
>>
>>5866285
Roman Ofuro scene soon anon.
>>5866353
A, no, I don't think so. Damien's fetishes are mostly clothing related, and beyond that he just likes big tits. Though he will 100% make disgusting jokes about having fetishes he doesn't have to see how someone will react, because (as Fiona said) he has a truly rotten sense of humor.
>>5866477
Very based of you.
>>5866645
>Spiritually: an entity whose souls is comprised of both light and shadowed aspects, with a greater density than that of a beast, but of lesser density that that of a spirit.
>Religiously: a risen ape who strives towards the image molded in the shape of the LORD of Light, by the LORD's own hand.
>Scientifically: an exceptional complex born of the khemical interactions of base matter, whose most basic expression is the LORD'S Pattern found within the Archives of the smallest unit of the Self. Eight scrolls of khemical acids wound tightly and stored with the Archive shape the body, another eight the mind, and the last eight shape the expression of the soul.
>Philosophically: any creature that knows the difference between good and evil, and can communicate that fact to his or her fellow men.
>>5866646
That would have been phenomenally based if it was one higher.
>>5866668
This brings you to 8 banked rolls, by the way.
>>5867549
Yes. Do NOT trust anyone posting under the old trip. They are a liar and a scoundrel, or me just forgetting use the new one on mobile.
>>5867695
It is an eternal struggle to find the right balance of Louise being oblivious to the seggs unless it's put right in front of her, and her NOT being shonen MC tier dense. Especially since her besty is Hilde, the town's artificer (and also mule, everyone who wants one gets a ride).

Hilde wormed her way into being Louise's besty because her relationships with her childhood friends became awkward after she gained status as not only a knight, but one who reports directly to the Grand Duke of their duchy. A man in the kingdom second only to the King.

The Daffodil Kingdom practices yeomanry and homesteading rather than serfdom, so there was never a huge status gap between you and the others (all of you were commoners under the law)... but there's still a reason you were closest Rene. Louise's father and his both served the local lord directly, whereas their family were "merely" citizens of his domain.

Compare to the Roslands, which practices serfdom and has much deeper divisions of class. Serfs are not citizens and only have what rights their landlords give them, which can vary wildly outside of what the Empress has decreed the duty to provide. Only Rene and Elian would have been citizens; Astrid, Gilbert, and Nolan would all have been serfs, based on family profession and status. The castes generally do not blend, which has led to some visual distinctions emerging over the years in the Roslands.
>>
>>5867655
>Oh LORD, grant you the patience to not throttle your best friend for INAUGURATING THE THERMAE WITHOUT YOU.
>>
>>5867655
>>Damien's quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>>
>>5868047
>Yes. Do NOT trust anyone posting under the old trip. They are a liar and a scoundrel, or me just forgetting use the new one on mobile.
bruh I searched the conversation but I still didn't get why you did it kek. Were you so anxious to post the lock vote you printed the reply before posting and showed the "key" ? kek

>It is an eternal struggle to find the right balance of Louise being oblivious to the seggs unless it's put right in front of her, and her NOT being shonen MC tier dense. Especially since her besty is Hilde, the town's artificer (and also mule, everyone who wants one gets a ride).
indeed, like I said the other thread her being shonen mc dense doesn't make sense due to being a warrior and having friends like that.
also thanks for the lore posting
also posting orc corretion numbers as recommendation ? naughty op
>>
>>5867655
>Damien's quarters. Fiona just doesn't know how to wrangle a Hilde properly.
>>
File: Hilde, Camp Artificer.jpg (1.38 MB, 3541x2508)
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"I told you, I just checked his quarters," a twinge of annoyance fills Fiona's voice. Her cheeks puff out in a cute pout, and she gives you a petulant little glare with those steel and magenta eyes of hers. She falls just short of stamping her feet like a child as she continues, saying, "Hers too! My familiars couldn't find them anywhere they looked, and they looked everywhere on the grounds. Oh, they must have gotten off to the beach, if they're up to this and that."

You shake your head with a fond smile, continuing up the spiral stairs that lead to the level of the tower where Damien has made his roost. You tell Fiona that, "Hilde's not a creature of the sun. She likes deep, cozy, and dark places. She'd sooner drag her men off to a makeshift den in the catacombs than get up to anything outside."

"She sounds like one of Foucart's dwarves," Fiona comments as she follows you up the stairs.

"Aye, and she's got the beard for one," you say. You cannot see the expression on Fiona's face, but you can hear her stumble well enough on the stairs. The wordless sound of disgust that she makes brings a smirk of amusement to your face. Of the two Knights of the Imaginary Color, you're glad that you can get one up on one of them at least. "In truth, we've jested back and forth about her relation to the dwarves of the Brumenchant. If they were more than fairy tales, we're quite certain they'd be her cousins."

"Like folk see you and think of the giants," Fiona says something that touches a nerve. You know she meant nothing of it, but you can feel the blood of your forefathers boil in your veins at the comparison to such monsters. It takes a long, drawn breath to still your heart, to push away the anger bubbling up within. You are not some delicate child who will let her annoyance with someone's words be her master. "It's a rare man who could match your height and ferocity in battle, which the giants were well known for."

You let out a sigh that you did not know you had held. Fiona cannot see the mean, green twinkle in your eye when you say, "Ah, splendid! News of my cannibalism hasn't gotten spread around yet, that's good. Say, Fiona, would you like to be stewed with or without carrots? I'm thinking with, maybe through in potatoes and an onion..."

"No onions, please," the half-dead tone of Fiona's voice when she replies brings a cheery smile to your face. Is this how Damien feels when he makes his rotten jokes? "LORD above and all his thousand faces, that I must deal with two of him now. I thought you were respectable and pious, Dame Louise."

"I am," you tell her. "And don't blaspheme, please."

"Don't tell jokes about cannibalism," Fiona retorts.
>>
>>5868438

"Then you should not have compared me to the man-eating abominations that my ancestors fled from when they came to Sonnenblume," you tell her. Fiona freezes up, and not without good reason. Your voice has such a chilly tone that had you spoke to a keg of Hilde's good brandy, it would have frozen right into a block of ice. "If my family has any giantsblood in us, it's not by our ancestor's choice... and frankly I'd prefer to think we don't. Monsters, the lot of them, second only to demons."

"Sorry..." Fiona says, falling so silent that you can hear her light footsteps behind you as you walk the tiled halls of the third floor corridor.

It is not a long hall, and fortunately you find yourselves outside of Damien's quarters before the silence becomes awkward and one of you tries to make conversation. Damien must have restored the door to his quarters with some manner of magic, as you are quite certain that Alex shattered this door to splinters whilst your men-at-arms worked to clear the towers of infidels. Large, simple, and hewn from a single solid piece of oak, a sign on the door asks you to please knock.

A request that you promptly ignore, pulling the door open. Fiona stares at you aghast for the sudden breach of privacy, but that just shows that she doesn't know how to properly wrangle Hilde when she's with a man. The both of you look in through the door and see an empty bedchamber, the shelving lined with precious histories and arcane text that Damien saved from the fires. A window open to a sunny day on the far side of the room, letting a bit of the summer's fresh air into the tower.

"See, I told you they weren't here," Fiona tells you. The look on her face is somewhere between annoyance at the fact that you dragged her all the way up here for nothing, and a sort of self-satisfaction that she was right in her assessment. "Let's go check down by the lake, I'm sure we can-"

You cut her off with a raised finger, and ask her, "Do you feel that?"

Fiona looks at you in confusion, "Feel what? I don't feel anything, I mean, besides it being a bit warm."

"Exactly," you tell her. Without bothering to explain anything further, you reach into your pouch and draw out a pouch filled with the Dust of Revelation, a khemical of Hilde's own creation that reveals invisible foes. By her own hand, her foolishness shall be undone. You do not open the pouch just yet, simply saying, "That window is wide open, and yet there's no draft coming in? That strikes me as quite odd indeed. It's lucky I remembered to bring this powder with me, though it sure is a shame that it will permanently short circuit any artifice of invisibili-"
>>
>>5868439
Before you can finish your sentence, a woman's face pops out from behind a pair of curtains that created the still, perfect background image that Fiona took to be an empty room. Round and full, one would sooner call the woman cute than they would call her beautiful, but that is not necessarily a bad thing at all. A crown of messy brown hair tumbles off of her head in wild spikes, held back by a pair of goggles sewn into a leather band. Bright blue eyes peak out from behind her bangs, and her face is flushed just the faintest bit red.

You suspect you can tell why. The curtain must have muted sound atop presenting a false image, for now that it is open, you can hear the telltale "plap plap plap" of Hilde's favorite hobby going on faintly behind her. The shameless heathen apparently does not wish to stop despite having company.

"There's no need for breaking any of my toys, Louise," Hilde says. Fiona looks at her aghast, because she can hear the plapping too, and Hilde's casual tone must have short circuited her thoughts a bit. You, however, only cross your arms beneath your breast and crack an amused smile when she asks, "So, what can I do ya for?"

"I've told you a hundred times, that's not on the table, Hilde," you remind her.

"Damn, thought I had ya this time," Hilde sounds far more disappointed that she actually is. "Anyways, if you're just here to say hi, I've got a man over and he brought some stamina restoration khemicals, so..."

"You're a floating head!" Fiona shouts, pointing at Hilde.

Hilde gives her a pitying glance before asking you, "Has this woman not heard of an invisibility cloak before? Ain't she and Damien part of the King's big cloak and dagger club? Swear I made them a few back when I was apprenticing..."

You hear a muffled voice groan that "We are", and then promptly pretend that you never heard it because there are some things you've no interest in imagining. Ignoring her other questions, you go ahead and answer her first, "I find myself in desperate need of a bath, yet I've discovered that my tub is rather cramped for a woman of my size. Fiona and I were thinking about inaugurating the thermae with a bottle of wine, if you'd like to finish up the fix and join us."

From behind the curtain, you hear a voice you'd rather not have heard ask "Can I come?"

Hilde promptly responds with something that makes Fiona turn a bright, deep red, "Yeah, inside's fine!"

That apparently is not what the voice meant, as it rather vocally complains that, "I meant to the therma-OW! What was that for?"
>>
>>5868440
"Sorry, you said something stupid and my foot slipped," Hilde gives you an apologetic look. That look quickly turns to one of concern; as your best friend, she knows your habits so well that it gets annoying at times. You only ever bathe with company when you need to get something off your chest. Usually, it's with her. Instead of asking what's wrong, she asks you, "Should I bring something a bit stronger than wine?"
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>No, there's no need.

"Anyways, just give me a couple of minutes to finish up with this fellow, and I'll be right down," Hilde tells you. The man who most certainly is not Damien makes a word of complaint, likely something about how he can last longer than that, to which she replies, "Don't worry, don't worry, we can use up all those khemicals later..."

Before you leave, you tell her one last thing, "If that's Damien in there... can you tell him that Alex's curse mark should contain a Chain Devil?"

Once the thermae is running... how straightforward are you willing to be?
>Be professional, precise, and clinical.
>Dodge around the exact topic, as you don't want to go too deep into things.
>Embellish everything and emphasize how you kicked her out of your dreams.
>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)
>Write in.
>>
Rolled 18 (1d100)

>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.

>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)
>>
>>5868448
I'm ok with this roll.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5868443
>No, there's no need.
>Embellish everything and emphasize how you kicked her out of your dreams.
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation
>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)
>>
>>5868438
>"Aye, and she's got the beard for one," you say.
Doesn’t Hilde knows of shaving ?
>>5868443
My man Damien having a good time it seems. He’s literally us.
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Be professional, precise, and clinical.
>>
>>5868510
Where is roll?
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>5868510
>>5868511
It said it was only for the last option but I suppose I can help you guys anyway.
Also if I had a nickel for every time we talked to a woman getting railed while most of her body is behind a curtain on a quest I’d have 2 nickels, which isn’t a lot but it’s strange that it happened twice.
>>
>>5868443
So it seems Louise is so straightforward with the realities of sex, that she wraps up right back to being dense when it comes to double entendres?
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Be professional, precise, and clinical
>>
>>5868523
Roll?
>>
>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Be professional, precise, and clinical.
>>
>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Be professional, precise, and clinical.
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)
>>
>>5868443
>>Be professional, precise, and clinical.
>>
>>5868118
>bruh I searched the conversation but I still didn't get why you did it kek. Were you so anxious to post the lock vote you printed the reply before posting and showed the "key" ? kek
I just wanted to screengrab that I had already gotten to writing and so wouldn't be accepting anymore votes, and accidentally grabbed my trip in the snip...
>indeed, like I said the other thread her being shonen mc dense doesn't make sense due to being a warrior and having friends like that.
>also thanks for the lore posting
>also posting orc corretion numbers as recommendation ? naughty op
Yeah, aiming for that balance where she misses things because of a lack of personal experience, but has a lot of vicarious experience through Hilde is tough.
For the Numbers, dude said he liked Lady Knights getting corrupted, so I obliged him with that rec
>>5868510
>Doesn’t Hilde knows of shaving ?
Knows of it? Yes.
Practices it? Occasionally.
Like the hair on her head, she's pretty wild down there. Compare Louise, who keeps hers meticulously trimmed and neat, in a little heart shape.
>My man Damien having a good time it seems. He’s literally us.
He is not immune to Big Tiddy Shortstack
>>5868521
>Also if I had a nickel for every time we talked to a woman getting railed while most of her body is behind a curtain on a quest I’d have 2 nickels, which isn’t a lot but it’s strange that it happened twice.
What is the other one, anon? To my knowledge, it's not an uncommon trope for a horndog like Hilde.
>>5868523
More or less, yes.
>>
>>5868653
>Like the hair on her head, she's pretty wild down there. Compare Louise, who keeps hers meticulously trimmed and neat, in a little heart shape.
Naughty and cute

>What is the other one, anon? To my knowledge, it's not an uncommon trope for a horndog like Hilde.
'The Princess Knight Wants to be Defeated!' https://archived.moe/qst/thread/5732027/#5732027 a short lived horny qst from the same qm who did Mage Quest https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Hydromancy he was the first qm who I saw using the expression 'bodice reapers' and that's why I got confused when I saw you using, thinking it was just the name he used for the fictional smut of his world.
A shame he hasn't returned yet.
>>
>>5868443
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation
>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)

>>5868685
What if I tell you that they are the same QM?
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5868796
>>
>>5868796
>What if I tell you that they are the same QM?
I wish it were true
>>
>>5868824
It is true and it wouldn't change a thing. Stories come and go. Such is life.
>>
>>5868831
>It is true
wait, when I asked him earlier he said this was his first thread so I think you're confused.
>>
>>5868835
Yeah and you're a dupe for trusting people on 4chan.
>>
>>5868842
anon why you do this ?
>>
Here's a quest relevant doujin for you, hehe
https://nhentai.net/g/486353/
>>
>>5868887
bruh really sending a horsepill number
>>
>>5868443
How is the hell is Louise so innocent and niave when she hangs out with someone like this, and can have a conversation like this? I'm no sheltered virgin, but if my bud was getting rawdogged while chatting with me, I'd be a little distracted. This might also be the horniest the quest has gotten for the sake of it, without any obvious thematic or plot reasons.

Anyway
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation.
>Dodge around the exact topic, as you don't want to go too deep into things.
>>
>>5868994
After walking in on your parents fucking for the fifth time, walking in on two buds doing it doesn't really phase you.
>>
>>5868994
>Yes. This is a brandy conversation
>Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best. (Roll 1d100)
>>
>>5868887
Once you go horse you can't go back
>>
File: Not Quite, but like this.jpg (1.22 MB, 2000x2829)
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1.22 MB JPG
Winner: Blend of Drunk and Professional (Brandy Kicks In)

Naturally, before you can even think about bathing in the thermae, you and Fiona need to cleanse yourselves. That tradition survived the fall of the Gardeners and into the modern day, where it remains a sensible and sanitary practice. You don't enter the public bath covered in the sweat and grime of the day and make a mess of everyone else. Even someone like you, who prefers to bathe in the privacy of your own home, knows that much. After all, there have been times where you simply could not afford to refuse an invitation to the Thermae.

The tower's thermae is set up like any other bathing house of the Gardeners, albeit on a smaller scale than those found upon Caer Stamen.

The entrance of the thermae lay behind a pair of changing rooms, one for men and one for women. Normally, the walls would have been lined with chests or lockers for the bathers to store their clothing, but after being turned into a den of demons the decision was made to burn all of the wood and cleanse the rooms with fire. Now all that remain are the stone shelves up the walls, and the benches where people could sit as they stripped down.

Incidentally, the room you burst into when breaking the cult's hold upon the tower was the men's room. Stonemasons from Eren's clan will be arriving to restore it to its former glory, as for the foreseeable future this tower shall be the base of operations to scour the Briarcrown of the Dark One's taint.

At the end of each room lay a hall for cleansing oneself before entering the thermae, tiled with a pattern of blue roses upon a field of white. Unlike the thermae of Caer Stamen, the showers here are not divided into individual booths. Brass heads jut out from the ceiling, hanging at a height that would have seen your father bump his head. When you first saw them, they had been corroded, but now they've been polished off to a glimmering golden shine, and water once again pours from them like a heavy rain.

Past the showers, a pair of doors lead out into the bath. Above each of them are marked the runic signs you see upon all Gardener bathhouses, so common that even an ignorant girl like you can read them. On the left, the door is marked for the wyf's bath; on the right, the door is marked for mixed bathing.

Naturally, you have no desire to provide a certain heretic with materials for his pornography, so once you've stripped down and showered, you head to the wyf's bath.

The pool reaches all the way to the cliff upon which the tower sits, a series of old khemical runes engraved upon the edge to rebound anyone who might fall out back into the waters. Below, you can see the waters of a nameless lake whose waters should eventually feed into the Ivystem, the river that serves to separate the Rosland from the Daffodil Kingdom. Small islands dot the lake with long fields of trees and grass, old growths that have not seen a human touch for a thousand years at least.
>>
>>5869212
A stone wall some eight feet high divides the mixed baths from the wyfs. Along the length of the wall, a thin sheet of warm water pours into the bath from a clever copper channel that runs along the top of the stone. Your eyes trace the water back to the source, a blue stone roughly the size of your head that sits embedded in a polished copper frame. In the days of the Gardener, a pump once drew water from a deep well to fill this bathhouse. In comparison, Hilde's retrofit with a springstone gifted by the Shrine of Fair Springs almost feels like cheating.

Not just warm, clean spring water, but holy water will now fill these pools. Over time, it should slowly seep into the groundwater and bless the lands surrounding this village with an abundance that is anathema to demons.

From the water levels in the pool, she must have set it up last night so that you'd be able to announce the opening of the bathhouse to everyone at dinner later this evening. They are not quite filled just yet, but there's enough warm water for you to sink comfortably into a lounging spot with a view of the lake, the blessed spring waters rising about as high upon your breasts as the most daring dress in your wardrobe.

Fiona follows in shortly after you.

She lacks the corded musculature that decades of training your strength and stamina has blessed your body with, but her figure is not as soft as some people you know. She clearly lives an active lifestyle as a Knight, but not the sort where she's been forced to push her body to its limits. Too much baby fat on her to make for a proper warrior, more than what's needed as a cushion for her muscles. If that gave her larger breasts than you, you would have conceded that it gave her a victory over you as a woman, but she is rather petite in that regard.

Oh, and she's been staring at you since you stripped down. Not the lustful stare of a woman's woman that imagines what she might do with you in the bedroom - thank the LORD - but another sort of stare that you've become woefully accustomed to. Another reason you have no love for public bathing. Though you know what she's going to say, you still demand to hear it, "Alright, out with it, Fiona. Which scar's the scariest?"

An awkward silence hangs in the air for a moment. Fiona slips into the water so deep that it reaches her nose, as if she was trying to hide the shame at getting caught staring. Finally, she comes back up and says, "It's not any one of them, it's just... there's a lot. How are you still..."

She stops herself from asking the question, but you finish it for her. "Alive? Providence. I know this might be an alien concept to a heretic of the Imaginary Colors, but the LORD provides for His faithful. If one simply believes in His Light with all their heart and soul, then-"

You get interrupted by the inelegant splash that herald's Hilde's entry into the baths.
>>
>>5869216
"Hey Lou Lou~!" Hilde greets you with a cheery sound. Where you slipped through the water silently as a fish - a habit born from your special training at Stonepier - your best friend simply splashes through the water without a care in the world for the waves she makes. "Are ya giving Fee-Own-A the spiel on your scars?"

"-He shall heal all wounds..." you finish the sentence with a sigh, casting a glance towards Hilde. You are not pouting, certainly not. "You made it down quickly, Hilde."

It seems that the pool is filled enough at its deepest points to reach up all the way to your short friend's neck. If you were a woman's woman, you would be rather disappointed, as you've heard your men call Hilde's rather generous bust a national treasure. Behind her floats a sort of catamaran butler of her own design, meant to carry a cargo of cups and charcuterie. Upon its underbelly, a ballast of brandy bottles cuts through the waves she's been making.

"Well, when the guy's such a quickshot..." She says one of those things that you tend to shut your ears on when she tries to explain it. There are some things in this world that you have no interest in understanding until you've experienced it yourself. Fiona blushes at Hilde's words, so it must mean something filthy. "It didn't take too long. Now! You! Fee-Own-A! You weren't bullying my besty about her badass bod, were ya?"

Hilde rises up to the fullness of her unimpressive height to stare down Fiona as she speaks. Fortunately for Hilde, Fiona is sitting so low in the water that if Hilde stand upon the tips of her toes, she can manage to look down upon Fiona. Hilde's blue eyes pierce Fiona's steel-and-magenta eyes with a manic look promising violence if she doesn't hear the right answer.

"N-No...?" Fiona asks more than she says.

"Good!" Hilde says, her demeanor instantly changing. She slides over to you, throwing her arms around your neck and rubbing her cheek against your own. You cannot help but break out into a small smile at the show of sisterly affection. "Bullies aren't allowed in the Girl Talk Zone. The last time some hoity-toity type made fun of Lou Lou's badass bod, well... mwhahahaha~"

Fiona looks at the small woman nuzzling you like a cat, and then back to you and asks, "Should I be concerned about this woman, Louise?"

With a shake of your head, you tell Fiona, "No, she's mostly harmless. We established some ground rules for her 'vengeance' after the incident with the Countess Löwenzahn gave everyone involved a migraine."

Hilde falls off of you and gives you a look of betrayal, "Hey! I thought we agreed not to talk about that anymore."
>>
>>5869217
You smile a bit as she playful pounds her small fists impotently against your side - really just play-acting at it. Once again, you're thankful the Grand Duke sent her to you as an adviser on artifice and khemistry. She rather quickly wormed her way into becoming the little sister you never had until you were already a woman grown. You push her away with a pat to the head, which makes Hilde puff out with the least sincere pout that you've ever seen.

"I'm not going to ask..." Fiona says. She takes a dried apricot from the boat before she continues. "After all, we're here for Louise to share the results of her khemical diagnosis. Why she was out for half a day."

Hilde ducks out from beneath your headpat and stares up at you with wide, crystal blue eyes. Her eyes drift down to the curling vines and roses that mar your left arm and cup your breast. "Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah, half a day? For what, figuring out what sort of devil's caught up in that curse mark? That type of khemical should not... okay, now I know why it's a brandy-talk."

Hilde takes one of the cups from the floating tray, and opens up the bottle. With a twist of a cantrip she cools the cup's interior until it's colder than ice, and pours a generous amount out for you. "Here. Take your time, Lou Lou."

Where do you begin?
>The initial vision you received.
>With the voice of your shadow speaking through the mirror.
>With how you chose a different dress than what you really picked.
>The twisting and repeating hallways that you moved through.
>Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5869219
Brandy's better in a warm glass anyway

>>5869219
>With the voice of your shadow speaking through the mirror.
>>
>>5869219
>With the voice of your shadow speaking through the mirror.
>>
>>5869219
>With the voice of your shadow speaking through the mirror.
>>
>>5869219
>With how you chose a different dress than what you really picked.
>>
>>5869219
>With how you chose a different dress than what you really picked.
>>
>>5869219
>Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity.
>>
>>5869219
>The initial vision you received.
>>
>Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity.
Get through this quick. Enough PLOT, back to the Plot!
>>
>>5869219
>Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity.
>>
>>5869219
>With the voice of your shadow speaking through the mirror.
>>
File: Justinia the Arbiter.jpg (641 KB, 2935x3729)
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Winner: Begin with the voice of your shadow.

"The draught pulled me into a memory of the day the King had me knighted," you say. Drinking down the cup of brandy quickly, you hold the glass out to Hilde, who obediently fixes it. "Everything went as I remembered it, for the most part, right up until my reflection in the mirror started talking back to me. I... she... it started going on about how great things were when I was young and reckless..."

From there you regale Fiona and Hilde with the story of what happened in the realm of dreams. How your shadow's voice pestered you on and on to act without thinking, to revel in your strength and throw away basic decency. How it wanted to you to dress in flashy and flamboyant clothes. How it advised you to act first and think later, consequences be damned, throwing away all the worthless opinions of people whose caution tried your patience. How desperately it wanted men to see you as a woman.

How far too often, you found yourself nodding in agreement with it.

"Mmm... I don't know too much about curses and such, Lou-Lou," Hilde thinks on what you've told her, nursing a brandy of her own. Her eyes trail to the the thorned vines crawling up your arms, their color so black that they seem to swallow the light, save where the red roses bloom. "Maybe someone down in Sal Khemia has a theory on how they fit into the laws of magic, but to a simple country artificer like me, they might as well be a black box. What do you think, Fee-Fee?"

Fiona takes a moment to realize that Hilde was referring to her. She nearly chokes on her wine when she does, asking, "Fee-Fee? Really? No, never... it's a possession, Hilde. The influence of some devilry worked upon her by the Arbiter. Clinging to her repressed thoughts and memories, using them like a sword against her."

You nod, somewhat reluctantly. After a sip of brandy, you can't help but agree that, "It makes the most sense..."

"I'm sensing a but there, Lou-Lou," Hilde says it without sounding too accusatory, but you know that she knows you're holding something back. While you swirl your drink, she steals a hunk of cheese from your plate. Through a mouthful of it, she says, "Alright, let's think this through, then. You said that you saw your reflection speak in the mirror, and heard a voice in your head, right?"

"That's what I said, yes," you tell her. "Though there's more of the story to tell..."

"Oh! Continue on, then," Hilde gives you an encouraging pat on the back. "Can't come to a conclusion with incomplete information."
>>
>>5869937
Downing another glass of brandy, you slur into the tale of what happened after you shut the voice out of your mind. You tell them of the winding corridors after you chose to leave the path that your memory had carved out for you, how your memory filled in the gaps with invented details. How the dreamspace folded in on itself, not collapsing, but instead verging on incoherence as you drew further and further away. All until you came to a set of double doors that you were so certain would reset the dream and set you back upon the rails.

But oh, how they did not. Your body shudders as you tell them of the greeting given to you by the Witch of Depravity, how she introduced herself to you with a plentitude of perverse promises worthy of her name. You tell them of how sick it made you feel, a disgust you haven't felt any other time a woman's woman came onto you, no matter how strong. The burning hateful rage that swelled up inside you at her threats. Not to you, not to your chastity, but to him.

"That shtupid bitch!" As if the Witch of Depravity stood before you, you explode to your feet in the tub. You send up such a splash with your sudden rise that you nearly knock over Hilde's charcuterie catamaran. But you don't care about that right now, your face is red with rage and your blood is filled with its eighth cup of brandy now. "She thweatened Wenaay! That'sh a line too far! I'd almosht rather she do whatever the heck'sh a woman'sh woman doesh with my body... it'sh not like she could take my heart..."

"Easy, Lou-Lou, easy..." Hilde stands up and eases you back down into the water of the pool. "You shouldn't let her do what she wants with you, either, because that would make René upset, you know?"

"It would...?" You have a hard time thinking. Standing up so suddenly has struck you with a sense of vertigo that's left the world all bubbly and spinning. You're quite glad that Hilde was able to provide you with a soft landing back in the warm waters. "You right, it would, wouldn't it..."

"Who's René?" Fiona asks.

"He'sh the besht..." you groan, sinking into the water until it tickles against your nose.

Patting you on the head, Hilde looks to Fiona and gives the full explanation, "Her childhood sweetheart. The two of them promised to get married on the eve she left for Charlemont, and she takes that promise very seriously."
>>
>>5869938
"Cuz he'sh the besht..." you declare. Then you realize that might hurt Hilde's feelings. Looking up at Hilde with an apologetic look, you say, "You're a closhe number two, though, Hilde. He winsh cuz he'sh a weir, and you know why I like weirsh better'n any other wyf out ther, dontcha..."

Your drunken stupor gets interrupted by Annette calling for you. Apparently, there's someone waiting for you in the command room.
>The Grand Duke has made a call over the sending stone with your next orders.
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>Eren would like to conference with the Count and Patrician who are the Briarcrown's immediate neighbors.
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
>>
>>5869939
>Eren would like to conference with the Count and Patrician who are the Briarcrown's immediate neighbors.
>>
>>5869939
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
Drunk Shenanigans seem like a good time to have a funny Jester around.
>>
>>5869937
>>5869938
Do you mind if I inquire as to the functional difference between this exchange and, say, picking "Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best." and "Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity."? How much goofier would we have gotten?

>>5869939
>The Grand Duke has made a call over the sending stone with your next orders.
>>
>>5869939
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
Mystery box and clown girl, let’s go. meu nome é Eneás!!!
>>
>>5869939
>Eren would like to conference with the Count and Patrician who are the Briarcrown's immediate neighbors.
>>
>>5869939
>>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth
I'll always vote for any chance to wear a fancy dress
>>
>>5869939
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
>>5870111
>I'll always vote for any chance to wear a fancy dress
I mean, technically we can wear a dress for any option kek
>>
>>5869939
>The Grand Duke has made a call over the sending stone with your next orders.
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
1 minute until midnight
>>
>>5869939
>>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
Give us the Clown Lady IMMEDIATELY.
>>
Rene the Clussy too strong. RENE HELP

Also we're going to be shitfaced for this meeting.
>>
>>5869975
>Do you mind if I inquire as to the functional difference between this exchange and, say, picking "Let the alcohol do the talking, that's always worked best." and "Your encounter with the Witch of Depravity."? How much goofier would we have gotten?
In terms of affecting the next vote? Not much different. However, full alcohol and only talking about the Witch would have started with Louise knocking back enough to get completely hammered before going on about things. So the whole conversation would have been "Drunk Louise gives her (unfavorable) opinion on the Witch."
>>5870111
>>5870116
She'll be throwing on her clothes from the morning. Better to avoid keeping the King waiting than to make him wait for the sake of appearances. He puts less stock in such things than one might assume, and would honestly be confused as to why you were dressed up like it's court in a forward base.
>>5870209
What did anon mean by this?
>>5870314
Did you mean to vote here?
>>
>>5869939
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
Mime clussy got me acting unwise
>>
>>5870414
>Did you mean to vote here?
so it seems, but please >>5870314 anon vote properly for the clussy gang+mystery box
>>
btw OP what louise prefers in a man as an eye candy ?
>>
>>5870421
Isn't it obvious? Her preferences are Rene
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
For the time we didn't meet him during the dream
>>
>>5869939
>There is a woman in a harlequin mask who is rather insistent that she meet you. No one knows where she came from, but she carries a rather important seal.
Probably the least important person? I don’t want someone important seeing or talking to Louise in this state.
>>
>>5869945
Changing to
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
>>5869939
>The King would like to speak with you after hearing Damien's report, and hear things from your own mouth.
>>
Winner: King and Harlequin were tied when I began the write up, so both.

"The King wantsh to shee me?" you cannot hold back your surprise at the King's request for your presence. Nor can you hold back the sudden panic when you realize that you are in no fit state to be presented to the Monarch. Alcohol always loosens your grip on your thoughts and emotions - which is hardly a bad thing! - which, if one were to put it charitably, makes you far more expressive. "Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, Hiiiiiilde! I'm not in any shtate to shee the King! What am I shuposhed to dooooooooo...?"

Annette look at you in shock. You do not make a habit of drinking heavily in front of your men-at-arms, as a matter of professionalism, so that just makes it worse. Normally, they're the ones worried about getting drunk in front of you, which is why you go your own way when they're on the town on leave. Seeing you nine brandies deep into a drunken stupor must be like seeing a two headed horse.

A rare memory that you can only pray to the LORD Annette will not hold against you.

Seeing you sink and sink into a despondency and slide deeper into the pool, Annette dutifully claps a hand over her eyes. The expression on her face is one of a woman afraid she'll get sent to the gallows if she speaks of what she's seen here today. Hilde's glare at her doubtless reinforces the feeling of creeping doom, leading Annette to declare that, "I saw nothing, Madame! What should I tell Sir Damien?"

"Tell him burble-burble-burble-burble-glub," you try to tell her exactly what to say, but by the time you say it your mouth has fallen below the waterline. All that comes out is unintelligible noise. Not that you notice it. "Burble-glub-glub-burble. Burble-burble-glub-glub-glub. Burble..."

"Beg pardon, Madame," Annette calls back to you. Dutiful and dependable, she did not let her hand slip from her eyes. "I don't think I caught that."

"Burble-" you try to explain what you meant before Hilde cuts you off.

"She said to tell Damien that the message caught her at a bad time," Hilde explains more or less what you wanted to tell her. As she speaks, she strokes your head in away that somehow makes you feel like everything will go alright. Sure, you still have no idea why Annette couldn't understand you, and you're in no state to meet with the King, but... "Tell him that she'll need some time to prepare... and that if he can buy some time for Lou-Lou to prepare, Hilde will be very grateful for it~"

She makes some weird gesture in the air with her hand and her mouth that you don't quite understand. It's a sex thing, isn't it? It has to be, otherwise Annette's face wouldn't have turned into a shade of red as bright and fiery as ripe jiaotian pepper. Wait, if she's not looking, then how did she see-

"I'll tell him right away," Annette declares, and scurries off with a quick, "By your leave, Madame!"
>>
>>5870838
"Alright Fee-Fee, it's your boss who got Lou-Lou called before the King," Hilde says. She levels the sort of glare at Fiona that carried a unsaid promise that she would learn exactly what happened to the Countess Löwenzahn if she went against Hilde right now. Once again, you thank the LORD for giving you such a great best friend. "So you're gonna help her get all nice and shiny for her meeting with the big daffodil himself, got it?"

Hilde helps you to your feet, and a rather reluctant Fiona provides you with some support, grumbling all the while, "I don't see how it's my fault that she drank herself half a bottle of brandy..."

"You wanted to know what I shaw under the diagnoshish potion..." you complain. Staggering your way out of the water turns out to be a great success, though once you're on land it takes incredible focus to retain your balance. This is not the first time you've been called before a superior while drunk, but every other time was during a festival where it was expected. "Shome shtuff you can talk about without a drink, you know. Everything about that bitch wash grossh, made me feel shick right down to the core..."

"Yes, you said Witch of Depravity, but are you certain that's what you heard?" Fiona asks. She leads you to the changing room bench and sets you down carefully on a towel that Hilde laid out. Hilde gets to drying you off, while Fiona pats down her hands and gets your clothes ready. "Damien spoke of an encounter with a woman matching-ow!"

Hilde flicks a tower at Fiona with a crack. Despite being a rather tiny woman, her glare gives them impression that she towers over everyone in the room. "You can quiz her later, Fee-Fee! You don't want to keep the King waiting, do you?"

Fiona lets out a sigh.

The two of them get to work dressing you up in the clothes you wore down. Some back and forth went around about fetching a better dress, but it felt more appropriate to the location to have you wearing something good enough for formal occasions that you could still fight in. Looking like you dressed for a ball, even if you had some nice dresses with you, would not match the site of a purge.

The fashions of landsknechte, while flamboyant and a bit common for court, were accepted as a semi-formal dress of warriors as much as armorsilks were accepted as the casual fashion of a Knight. Yours are black and gold, split in half with a black narzissenmark upon a gold field on the right, and a field of black covered in daffodils on the left. A white shirt is worn beneath the sleeveless doublet, puffed out and striped with gold-between-black running down the length of the sleeve.
>>
>>5870840
After putting the finishing touches on your makeup, Hilde judges you fit for battle, such as things are. Your boots are laced and tight, your doublet is straight, and even your hair has been dried by a marvelous little cantrip of Fiona's that sucked the water right out of it. The last thing left is setting straight the single badge you wear upon your breast, the Crest of the Holy Light.

Hilde stands up on the tips of her toes and gives your cheeks a solid clap. "You ready, Lou-Lou?"

You nod, "I think sho."

Never before have you been thankful for your youthful escapades and the foolishness that your fellow wyfs among the men-at-arms dragged you along for. Sure, you did not involve yourselves with weirs nearly as much as they, nor did the weirs seem to seek you out among the wyfs. Probably because they had no taste, unlike your darling René, to whom you intend to be forever faithful. But the point is that you know what drunkenness feels like, and you at least had the knack for feigning sobriety.

The sending stone has been set up in the tent that normally serves as your command center upon campaign, where you meet with your men-at-arms before battle. It would have been set in the command room, but the khemical structures within the tower made that a poor decision, according to Hilde. Something to do with Artifice interfering with the function of the sending stone.

You approach the tent with a grim determination carved upon your face. You will not mess this up.

How do you act? Roll 1d20 for your initial impressions.
>Act as professionally as possible, going through all the motions of etiquette that you've been taught.
>Act naturally. It might not be as polite, but it will be less fake and less likely to mess up.
>Be loud in your devotion to the King. Let your inebriation flow into great and flamboyant shows of loyalty.
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
>(Write In)
>>
>>5870843
Note: These options do not have equal DCs. Some of them will be harder to make a good impression with. Some of them will have a worse reaction if you fail. None of these failures will be "career ending, commit sudoku NOW", but they might have Dad (and by Dad I mean the King) be disappointed in you.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5870843
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
Sincerity: spend
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5870843
>Act as professionally as possible, going through all the motions of etiquette that you've been taught.
Hello Mister King. We are not drunk, see, we can do everything correctly.

Also DEEEEMON

SILENCE
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5870843
>Act naturally. It might not be as polite, but it will be less fake and less likely to mess up.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5870843
>Act as professionally as possible, going through all the motions of etiquette that you've been taught.
Funniest one.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>5870843
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
Spend it
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5870843
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
>>
>>5870838
Only now I noticed that the pic rel is feeling cold.
>>
>>5870843
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5870999
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5870843
>Be loud in your devotion to the King. Let your inebriation flow into great and flamboyant shows of loyalty.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5870843
>Act as professionally as possible, going through all the motions of etiquette that you've been taught.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d20)

>>5870843
>It is wrong to act in front of the King. Let etiquette guide you, but he would see through any show you put up. (Sincerity: Spend 1 Honor to add 1d8 to the result of the D20 roll)
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5870844
>>Act as professionally as possible, going through all the motions of etiquette that you've been taught.
>>
>>5870843
>write in
apologize for being drunk
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5871699
>>
Rolled 2 (1d8)

>People voted for the sincerity option
>Didn't roll the d8
ComeOnMan.mp4
>>
>>5871723
5got my trip, but if anyone else wants to roll, a higher roll will overwrite this.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d8)

>>
Rolled 1 (1d8)

>>5871725
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>5871725
>>
Rolled 2 (1d8)

>>5871725
The power of wholesome compels
>>
Rolled 5 (1d8)

>>5871725
>>
Rolled 8 (1d8)

>>5871725
>>
[b][blue]Winner:[/blue][/b] Act with Sincerity (Spend 1 Honor to Beseech)
[b][red]5 (d20) + 6 (d8) + 17 = 28 vs DC 25 and DC 30. Task Failed Successfully?[/b][/red]

By the time you make your way outside, your inebriation has not fully run its course. Nine glasses of brandy do not work their way through your system in such short order, even for a woman as large as you. You know you are in no fit state to face the King, but you also know that there is no use trying to hide this from him. Oh, you can and do conceal the alcohol upon your breath and skin as a simple common courtesy, but attempting to feign sobriety serves know purpose.

The King values candor above all else. To be honest and forthright with him - especially in dereliction - is to save face with him. His disappointment in those who make mistakes is nothing compared to his wrath at a liar caught, and he rewards those who recognize their shortcomings with compassion and understanding.

On the green where once stood crude orcine barricades around the tower now sits a field of tents, where the men of the Briarcrown and your camp followers tend to the victims of the cult. The buzz of activity that had swarmed about the camp in the first days since the capture of the tower has died down to a somber calm.

People mill about upon their routine tasks, preparing soup, changing out bandages, moving supplies as needed, but most of all pacing themselves. The days of triage and the need for quick responses have largely ended, now is the slow march towards recovery for those victims who made it out of the woods. Those too far gone now await the arrival of the village elders, wrapped in specially treated cloths to stay time's decay upon their corpses and allow for their identification.

Too many lay among their number, draped in somber white.

You do not focus upon your failure to save them. Better to remind yourself of those you saved. The many who now lay in the tents, waiting for Damien and Hilde's khemicals to restore the strength they've lost, the wounds they've taken. The many more who hardly needed treatment at all, beyond a visit from Priestess Natasha to purify their souls. You catch her as she goes from tent to tent, her implements in hand, strapped with holy water drawn from the spring about which her shrine was built.

Neither of you have time for more than a short nod, but it seems that whatever bad blood hung between you has been dried overcoming the atrocities of the cult. Though you do find it somewhat odd that she is without her usual escort of Astrid (and, by way of Astrid, Squire Trevor, who has not let the young woman out of his sight).

You also find the presence of a new banner in the field odd.
>>
>>5871896
A crowned raven black within gold, rampant upon a striped field of blue and grey, is risen on the outskirts of the camp. A single banner alone, suggesting a perilously small honor guard for someone whose sigil has been marked with a crown. A banner you do not recognize as belonging to your Kingdom, meaning it most likely belongs to some Roslander Princeps. Above it flies a pennant bearing the Holy Prism, gold-upon-white, a sign meant to convey peaceful intentions for parley between the faithful.

You do not trust imperial dogs. Neither does Boric, it seems. He has mustered a number of your men-at-arms to meet a group of dismounted cataphracts. The two lines stand not ten paces from one another, the air between them thick as butter with tension, both sides waiting for an excuse.

Neither act on the temptation. Perhaps because Eren sits upon a stump nearby, sharpening his axe and looking at both sides meaningfully, as if to tell them that he will personally punish whoever breaks the peace first. His warriors would be the deciding factor if things came to blows, as the Rosland contingent and your own men-at-arms have roughly equal numbers. And it is his people who would suffer the most if this place becomes another front in the Kingdom and Empire's perennial clashes.

Good man. You trust Boric to keep the peace. You would [i]like[/i] to trust men displaying the Holy Prism to keep their honor. But worse blood than anything that stood between you and Natasha stands between the Daffodil and the Rose, so a third party ready to get ahead of any inciting incident would is appreciated.

Especially since you do not have time to investigate and intervene yourself.

Carrying on in the trust that the peace will be kept regardless of the tensions between your peoples, you march your way to the command tent. Inebriated from the drinks it took to dredge up your buried thoughts and emotions on [b][green]that fucking bitch[/green][/b]. Mildly [i]infuriated[/i] to see a pair of cataphracts clad in mail that crackles with the electric pulse of force dampening artifice outside of your command tent, [i]smirking[/i] at the stern-faced Annette and Martin who stand opposite of them.

Committed [i]in full[/i] to carrying out the peace of the parley, even if you sorely wish to gut the dogs that dare to disturb your camp. Anything less would disappoint the King. With that in your mind, and a frown upon your face, you step through the threshold and past the wards that dampen the sounds coming from within.

You do not know what you expected to see, but what you see is not what you expected.
>>
>>5871897
Squire Trevor stands at attention, stiff as a board and his eyes widened in an expression that is somewhere inbetween shock, fear, and awe. At his side stands Sir Damien, who face for once goes without the ever-present smirk that you've grown so well accustomed to seeing. Damien's hand rests upon Trevor's shoulder, as if to help support the young man lest he fall over and collapse.

Opposite them stands a harlequin, or perhaps a magician. That is the first thing that comes to mind when you see her, despite the fact that you [i]know[/i] that she must be the Princeps whose banner stands outside your camp.

The flamboyance of her dress eclipses even that of the landsknecht's fashions, at once possessing an absurdity only fit for the circus, and yet the dignity and elegance befitting of the highest courts. Perhaps that makes it even more absurd, seeing a jester in perfectly tailored silk. The colors match the banner on the field, one side sold grey, the other a bright blue with wide grey stripes running down the one-piece harlequin getup. Large golden shoes adorn her feet, while seam and trim is done up in golden thread. The buttons too are solid gold - not brass - which only adds to its absurdity.

Around her neck, a grand ruffled collar of black lace, with subtle details of a storm of ravens woven into the fabric with more detail that should have been allowed to a jester's outfit. Atop the waterfall of chestnut hair that flows down from her head sits a magician's top-hat, black as midnight and patterned with grand, golden diamonds, a thick band of blue silk wrapped around it to hold up a plume so red it seems to burn the air.

Her face is ashen grey, not from makeup. Her skin itself is died that color, from her head to her hands, if not by a tattoo than some strange khemical process. Black ink adorns her eyes, with one shrouded with a great heart, while beneath another sits a single tear. Her eyes themselves seem to glow in contrast to her colorless skin, vibrant and blue with a pattern of golden hexagons that sit upon the iris.

But her presence, stark and powerful as it seems, does not match that of the King.

Even projected through the sending stone, his grace and majesty are overwhelming. Compared to the Princeps, the garb he wears is quite simple. His clothes are of a deceptively simple cut, a deep and solid indigo broken up by a field of solid gold daffodils that have been riveted into his doublet. His pantaloons are broken up by a single golden stripe down each side, tucked into a pair of boots that are of the Kingdom's finest leather.
>>
>>5871899
About his shoulders, he wears a flowing white cloak held in place by golden epaulets, a subtle design in argent thread that reads a full chapter of from the Indigo Book of Nobility, the Crowning of the King of Kings. The cloak's hood is raised, a simple golden circlet resting atop it, a prism of diamond resting upon his brow. As is the tradition of all men who held the name of King Arthur rois Jonquille, he wears a burnished silver mask to hide his face, inscribed with the pledge made one thousand years ago when the petty kingdoms were united.

"-iplomatic mission to Rosarium to help coordinate our efforts. Sir Damien shall lend his expertise to my representative, and I believe I know just the person to run security, if I can get Duke Charles to lend her to me..." The King's voice is as gentle as it is majestic, a match for his presence that clears the command tent of all noise that might disturb his speech. The voice of a King with the full Mandate of Heaven, his pledge to his people unbroken for a thousand years. "Ah, and here she is, the woman of the hour! Damien has told me, your valor has have delivered us a great victory against the dark, Louise..."

It strikes you a bit odd that he forgoes your title there, but whatever worry you have is washed away when a merry note enters his voice as he says, "Worthy of more than a little revelry, I would say."

You drop to one knee and bow your head before the King, saying, "Forgive my inebriation, my Liege. It is as you say, there was some cause for revelry... and a difficult conversation that, in my weakness, required liquid fortification. Though, if I may beg your pardon, I musht shay..."

Looking at the absurdity that is the Rosland Princeps, with the courage flowing through you veins, you cannot help but take a little potshot at her absurdity, "If I had known the circus was going to be in town, I would have brought out a few bottles to celebrate the show."

For a moment, silence rules the command tent.

Poor Trevor faints. Only Damien's hand keeps him standing upright. The King's Loyal Heretic stares through his blindfold at you, as if he was trying to bore through your skull and inject some words you could say to walk that back. You refuse. You're inebriated, you detest the Empire and everything that it has subjected your countrymen to, and even if they share the faith [b][green]you are not apologizing[/green][/b]. If anything this foreign Princeps should be the one apologizing for dressing like a clown in the presence of your King!

You swear you see the golden hexagons in the Princeps' eyes move as she appraises you with new interest. With a smirk upon her face, you feel a weight pressing down on you, near as heavy as the weight of Damien's heretical gaze. Yet it is nothing compared to the pressure you felt in the presence of the Witch of Depravity.

Her eyes widen.

You cannot help but return her smirk with one of your own.
>>
>>5871900
All of this happens in a brief moment, and then the tension is shattered by the King's melodious laughter, a sound of great mirth that banishes your ill feelings and brings about a peace. In that way, it is like the joyous laughter of the common folk as they revel in the simple pleasures of the day, yet somehow [i]more[/i]. It is as things ought to be, for a King should laugh the loudest and lead all others to laugh with him. It even returns poor Trevor to life, after his soul nearly left his body.

The Princeps smiles at you with less sincerity than exists within the Senatus Rosarium. Which is to say, next to none, perhaps even a negative amount. It is a wide and almost unnatural thing, like the smiles a harlequin might paint upon her face to give dissonance as she herself frowns. There are too many teeth in it, far too many, and it opens up like the mouth of a shark as she begins to speak in strange verse:

"Oh, I like this one, Your Majesty!
So few are so brave to address me
in such a fun way.
Though I have to say...
Did you forget our age old treaty?

Restrictions 'pon [i]khemical warriors[/i]
are at our policy's anteriors.
But in this knight's soul
I do see some coal,
of which I must warn my superiors."

"My [i]dearest[/i] Amalia, I have no idea what you're talking about," the King's voice is filled with amusement as he answers her question without answering it. Princeps Amalia turns her gaze away from you to give him a look most unamused. Behind his silver mask, the King's eyes twinkle as he says something near as absurd as her dress. "Your information is certainly out of date. The Baroness Louise le Blanc fon Liliendorf is a part of my administration, helping to manage the borderlands. A knight, yes, as many of my Lords and Ladies are, but presently [i]adjacent to[/i] my military... and thus not subject to such treaties."

[b][red]Roll 1d100[/red][/b]
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
>Treaties? Khemical warriors? You would certainly like to understand context, please.
>Khemical warriors? Is that what the whole... soul scythe thing is about?
>No. No. No. You've already said too much. You've definitely said too much. You should be quiet now.
>Write In.
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
Promotions?
Oh shit this can't be good openings like that don't just appear who died?
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Treaties? Khemical warriors? You would certainly like to understand context, please.
Did you move somewhere qm?
>>
Rolled 69 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
Very nice. btw is that 'Senatus Rosarium' the senate of the kingdom ? anything special about them.
>>
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>>5871926
Noice
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>5871902
>>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
>>
>>5871910
Yes, moving up in the world.
As for your question in the spoilers: Don't worry about it.
>>5871912
Traveling for the holiday on a long two day drive. Same thing happened over Thanksgiving, no idea why I lost formatting privileges this time.
>>5871926
The Senatus Rosarium is the Imperial Senate, which is a corrupt cesspit filled with people who would just as happily backstab one another as work together (at least, according to Louise's own biases, which are very much against it). It is composed of two houses that have an equal right to partition the Empress: the Patrician House and the Plebian House.

The Princeps that you've just met is [i]roughly[/i] equivalent in status to one of the Daffodil Kingdom's Grand Dukes.

That brings you to 9 rolls banked for natural 1 negation or bonuses later. I will probably give you an opportunity to spend some of them on bonuses, soon.
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
>>
>>5871999
Did you mean to write 'petition' instead of partition? Because unless the Empress is a too-big open room they're looking to divide up into smaller sections...
>>
>>5871902
>No. No. No. You've already said too much. You've definitely said too much. You should be quiet now
Don't embarrass the king!
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>5871902
>>No. No. No. You've already said too much. You've definitely said too much. You should be quiet now.
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5872123
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Treaties? Khemical warriors? You would certainly like to understand context, please.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>5871902

>No. No. No. You've already said too much. You've definitely said too much. You should be quiet now.

Let's listen and find out things.
>>
>>5871999
>Yes, moving up in the world.
We've just started a new campaign though, its practically the worst time for something like this to happen. As we've either just inherited a bunch of existing issues from an existing title;
Of which we're going to somehow have to manage / integrate into and make proper representations and decisions for as well as deal with any political ramifications due to the sudden upheaval of the existing structure of which we can't guarantee that have a positive outlook on said changes especially since we can't just halt the campaign to make goodwill appearances, let alone have anyone that can intercede on on behalf waiting in the wings.
Won't help that without Rene around Suitors may see us as worthy of increased attention we should send him a letter appraising him of the situation

Or we've been granted a claim on untested / underdeveloped lands so resources are going to be tied up in their expansion which may impact that of which is available to said campaign, especially if we decide to expand the levy(s) to the new holdings due to the creeping scope of our deployment and their questionable quality and level of integration / comradery.

>spoiler
This feels like either a sink or swim moment. That the king really doesn't like us, is foisting off a troubled area on us or forcing us to buy into some upcoming scheme or some such.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5871902
>Sorry, baroness, what? You are at a loss for words here.
>>
[b][blue]Winner:[/blue][/b] Sorry, baroness, what?
[b][red]86 on the d100 lets you hold your baffled tongue before you make things worse.[/red][/b]

Several questions run through your head at the King's words, so many so that they collide with one another and fall into a jumbled mess. It takes your inebriated mind a good moment to get them all in order, like a secretary sorting through a pile of papers scattered across the floor. The picture your thoughts paint is like a puzzle missing several pieces, with only the vaguest outline of an image and no context for what should be there. What you [i]do[/i] see makes no sense, contradicting what you know and giving you a migraine.

If the King says you are now a baroness, then you are now a baroness. It is not your place to question why or how, only to obey his edicts and understand that sudden as this may seem, this is [i]not[/i] a declaration he can simply make upon a whim. A King is not some dictator who can declare a horse the mayor of his capital, if the fancy takes him. He is the chief executive of the tremendously complex system that is the Kingdom. That is what separates the Daffodil Kingdom from the petty kingdoms of old.

There are laws and processes that [i]none[/i] can circumvent, even the King.

This is something the Duke of Sonnenblume had drilled into your head above all else: [i]In the Land of Daffodils, the First Authority is the LORD. The Second Authority is the Law. The Third Authority is the King.[/i] The Law is derived from the King's interpretation of the LORD's teachings to humanity, taking into council the word and practice of his Four Cardinal Dukes. To the North, Azalea. To the South, Camellia. To the West, Primrose. To the East, Sonnenblume. Each of them bring to the King the practice of their subordinates, to create the clockwork of the Kingdom and align the system of rule.

For a knight to be raised to Baronet or Baroness is not without precedent. Lines die out, territory may be seized, fallow lands may be developed, developed lands may grow more prosperous, and in each case the Law demands that the appropriate positions be duly filled. Inebriated as you are, you heard the King name you of Liliendorf, so you know your seat has not changed. Yours is thus a new title, rather than an old. But last you checked, Liliendorf was merely a village, while a Baroness must be seated in an incorporated town.

Or, it might be better said that by the practice of Daffodil's Law that the administration of a Hamlet or Thorpe requires only the military protections provided by a Knight. The administration of a Village requires either the legal governance of Baronet, or the military protections provided by a Knight who reports to a Viscount or greater. The administration of a Town demands the legal governance of a Baronet, Baron, or Viscount, depending upon circumstances byzantine enough that simply thinking about them makes your head swim.
>>
>>5872551
A fact that the harlequin princeps certainly knows well enough. Her ashen grey brow furrows, the golden hexagons in her eyes realigning as she stares at the King's image in annoyance. Her voice again falls into verse:

"Your Majesty, is your head alright?
We all know she's among your best knights.
Baroness, she is not
Unless you've hatched some plot
To circumvent treaties out of sight."

You know nothing of the treaties the Princeps speaks of. Eyes drifting subtly to Damien for some cue, the heretic gives you nothing more than a finger running along his lips, a suggestion to keep yours [i]sealed[/i]. For some reason, that just leaves you with [b][green]the urge to speak up anyways[/green][/b] about your confusion at this matter - and, more importantly, how this woman [i]dared[/i] impugn upon the King's honor. You manage to hold your anger back, but only barely.

From Damien's sour expression, you suspect that you failed to hold it back from showing upon your face. Before it overflows and makes matters worse, the King answers Amalia with a jovial tone. "I can assure you, no violation of the Edict of Sal Eidos has occurred, Amalia. Duke Charles and I have been watching Liliendorf grow with great interest for some years now, and it has come due for recognition as a proper township. Though I'm afraid Charles will be right cross with me for spoiling his surprise..."

Amalia's eyes narrow at the king in suspicion, and she begins another verse:

"I would like to see that paperwork
and audit the-"

Her words drift off as the tent drops a few degrees. Damien looks a bit panicked as the jovial humor in the King's voice vanishes, leaving behind only icy cold steel as he tells the Princeps, "Send your whole circus to visit the Royal Archive, [i]Ringmaster[/i]. They will find everything in order, I promise you that. It may seem strange to a woman of questionable faith, but I have learned that [i]providence[/i] favors our Baroness fon Liliendorf."

The moment he calls her "Ringmaster", the hexagons in Amalia's eyes begin to blaze defiantly with a golden light, staring down the King. You barely catch a glint of it, but for an instant you can see a resplendent and regal glint of red-hewn purple flare in the eye sockets of the King's mask. In that instant, whatever clash of wills that erupted between them ended in His Majesty's favor.

There is something tremendously satisfying about Amalia's seething tone when she breaks her verse and grits out the words, "[i]You don't say...[/i]"

"I [i]do[/i], in fact," the King declares, and his verdict is final. Though you swear you hear him breath something quietly about it saving him a headache for once. The room warms again as a hint of his gentle, jovial tones return to his voice. "And I would advise you remember that we are all here to chase after Shadows, before you jump to chasing after shadows again, Amalia. For once, we're all on the same side."
>>
>>5872552
The Princeps does not let any admonishment show upon her face. Straightening herself out, she rises to her full, rather unimpressive five feet and six inches of height, telling the King that, "I suppose our investigations into your bureaucratic chicanery can wait until the darkness has passed, Your Majesty."

"Oh, I'm sure they won't," the King's voice is filled with teasing that Princeps Amalia refuses to acknowledge.

"Her Excellency looks forward to the arrival of your inquisitorial delegation," she continues unabated. Taking off her ringleader's hat with a flourish, she gives a deep and dramatic bow to the king. Rising up, she twirls the hat nimbly in one hand and returns it to her head. Her eyes now drift between you and Damien. The words she then speaks... taken at face value, they seem courteous enough, but somehow they come off like a threat. "I look forward to the opportunity to work with the both of you, Sir Damien, [i]Baroness[/i] Louise. [i]Vale[/i]."

"Good day, Amalia," the King dismisses her. His tone once again gentle, but the steel hidden beneath showing ever-so-slightly once again.

"[i]Vale[/i], Your Majesty." With those words, she leaves the tent. You can hear the soft footsteps of her cataphracts following her out of the camp.

Tension in the tent drifts away, with Squire Trevor being the only one who remains stiff as death in the presence of the King. Mercifully, the boy has not soiled himself. Indeed, given your inebriation and inability to hold your tongue, he truthfully put on a better show than you did. The King turns to the young man, and you can feel the reassuring smile his face must have curled into beneath his shining silver mask.

"Sir Goldenbell, you are dismissed," the King tells him, and Trevor nearly crumples with relief. The young man quickly straightens up, gives the King a bow, and scurries away. Once he's gone, the King lets out a long sigh and turns to you. His dull eyes light up with a small twinkle as he says, "My dear Louise, while I applaud your courage for saying aloud what we were all thinking, I do wish you could have waited a fortnight or so before saying that. Or, well, before meeting [i]Amalia[/i], of all that woman's subordinates..."

You bow your head in shame, and say what any loyal servant of the Daffodil Kingdom would say: "Forgive my impertinence, my Liege. I have no ex-"

"[i]None of that[/i], Louise," the King reprimands you with a gentle voice. You look up and see amusement twinkling in his eyes behind the mask. "Though I suppose you'll be wanting to perform some penance... very well. Bring me a case of that good brandy your court artifice makes next time you visit the capital, and all shall be forgiven."

"No repetitions of the Luminary, Arthur?" Damien asks. Your eyes snap up to him in horror when you hear the casual tone that he takes with the King, but the King makes nothing of it.
>>
>>5872555
"Quiet, heathen," the King chastises Damien, but you can once again feel the smile beneath is mask in a way that you never could before. "Besides, there's only one person here with authority to hand out such a penance, and she's the one who will end up sulking if she doesn't receive some punishment for her actions."

You want to open your mouth and protest, but you find yourself at a loss of what to say. He's... right. [b][green]Of course he's right, he's the King[/green][/b], knowing the hearts of his people is part of his job. You suppose you didn't realize how good he was at that until now, but you honestly wonder if you should be surprised.

"You're ordained?" Damien looks at you with surprise burning through the blindfold around his eyes. "You don't look like one of the Church's warrior-nuns..."

You point at the badge upon your breast and say, "Order of the Holy Light. We have the authority to perform all the LORD's sacraments."

Damien boggles for a moment. "Huh. Considering where it lay upon your armorsilks, I took that to mean that you, ah... [i]loved[/i] the LORD."

Looking up at Damien with both eyes - cursed and natural alike - filled with the light of sincerity, you tell him that, "Of course I love the LORD, Sir Damien, don't be foolish. He is Light and strength to all of His children, whether they choose to believe in Him or not. It would be stranger that I know His Name and His teachings and did [i]not[/i] love Him with all of my heart and soul."
>>
>>5872556
For some reason, the King has broken into a dreadful coughing fit. Damien looks at you with his mouth slightly agape, the magenta pinpricks where his heretical gaze burns through the seal upon his eyes slowly widening as if you had said something shocking. He looks like he's about to say something before the King cuts him off with a look. Turning to you, your liege says, "I'm sure you have many questions now, Louise. My time is limited, but I will answer what I can."
[b][red]Roll 1d100. Louise will ask the questions voted for the most. The King will answer a number based upon the result of the d100 roll.[/red][/b]
>Who was that Jester woman, and why was she here?
>What did she mean when she spoke of treaty violations and khemical warriors?
>What did you mean when you said that providence favored me?
>To what end did you raise me from Knight to Baron?
>For what reason has my squire been knighted without my knowledge?
>What did you mean when you said we were all allies?
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>It is not my place to question, my Liege. I trust you will inform me of what I need to know. (Skip questions for summary of what the King believes most important)
>(Write In)

The functional difference between the 86 letting you hold your tongue while still being confused, and the "Nope, not saying anything else" is the direction of your internal monologue. This one focuses on Louise puzzling through things, that one would have focused on not making things worse, and was safer. A roll below 70, the King would have stopped you before you said anything incriminating. A roll below 30 would have gotten the full question out, and a roll below 6 would have had Amalia pounce.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5872557
>(Write In)
Confirm that we will have some time before we need to fulfill the various military / logistical requirements of our new station, since it's obvious the situation will necessitate some adjustment.

>It is not my place to question, my Liege. I trust you will inform me of what I need to know. (Skip questions for summary of what the King believes most important)

We can confirm details with the others later, when we aren't wasting the kings time.
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5872557
>To what end did you raise me from Knight to Baron?
>What did she mean when she spoke of treaty violations and khemical warriors?
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
The three most pressing.
>>
Rolled 45 (1d100)

>>5872556
>Damien boggles for a moment. "Huh. Considering where it lay upon your armorsilks, I took that to mean that you, ah... [i]loved[/i] the LORD."
that's where the heart is, silly damien. of course we love the Lord. gotta admit this one got me confused a little, is it because of heretic cults wanting to do nasty things who also happen to put it near the breasts ?
>>5872557
>Who was that Jester woman, and why was she here?
>What did she mean when she spoke of treaty violations and khemical warriors?
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5872557
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>>
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>>5872568
To clarify, she is not wearing her Armorsilks right now, she's wearing her semi-formal city/street clothes and is thus wearing the actual badge. Her Armorsilks (which she has not worn this thread due to the fact that the Arbiter heavily damaged them) were crafted by an absolute man of culture who put the Crest of the Holy Light (pic related) right where a womb tattoo would go.
>>
>>5872578
>due to the fact that the Arbiter heavily damaged them.
>crafted by an absolute man of culture
Are we able to repair them in the field, or are we going to need a new set be fitted / commissioned?

This person wouldn't happen to have a certain painting, would they?
>>
>>5872578
now it makes snese, I forgot that was our womb tatoo, kek
>>
>>5872551
>DOOM and Baldwin
Supremely based.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5872557
>To what end did you raise me from Knight to Baron?
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>Who was that Jester woman, and why was she here?
>>
>>5872557
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>What did she mean when she spoke of treaty violations and khemical warriors?
>What did you mean when you said we were all allies?
>What did you mean when you said that providence favored me?
He raised us to a baroness exactly to circumvent the treaty. Why Trevor was knighted we can ask him.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5872557
>What did you mean when you said we were all allies?
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>5872827
I'd also like to add that this should not AT ALL be considered an example of how feudalism historically worked.
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>>5872829
See this is why I don't roll
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>>5872831
Rlx, it only triggers if it’s a 1st roll or if 2 are rolled
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>>5872119
Ah, yes. The Senatus Rosarium has the exclusive right to petition the Empress, not partition. Chalk that up to me being eepy when I posted that yesterday morning.
>>5872472
I will say that the King is annoyed at life, the universe, and everything that you caught enough scrutiny from Princeps Amalia for her to start wagging her finger about centuries old treaties where all parties know systems exist to remediate. This was not supposed to be given to Louise until after the campaign was over, but now the Empress wants a finger in the pie so plans have - rather abruptly - changed and timetables had to be accelerated.
>>5872586
I believe it was noted in the previous thread that Hilde is working to repair them and your folding plate. The craftsman in question does not have that particular work in question, honestly, I don't know who has it at the moment, but candidates include the King, the Grand Duke, and the Countess Löwenzahn among others.
>>5872827
He raised you to Baroness during the meeting to get around the treaty violations, but the paperwork was first filed a year ago and had been waiting at the ready for his seal the moment the Duke of Sonnenblume asked. It was supposed to be an acknowledgement of Louise doing fine work in Liliendorf and in the Duke's service, and an allowance for the village to grow into a town to support all the industry that has grown up there.

(Which really recognizes you being friends with and knowing how to wrangle yourself a Hilde while still letting her do her thing, something that other nobles she's served have had trouble with. They either gave her too much rope and she metaphorically hung herself, or they were too controlling and she complained to her father, the King's Court Artificer)
>>5872830
Nor should it be. The King's ideal - an ideal that ALL men who have gone by the name King Arthur rois Jonquille have held to - is using the old feudal hierarchy as a baseline to provide a structure for the bureaucracy he uses to administer his territory, giving sufficient leeway to all "nodes" upon this structure to allow for adhoc coordination where necessary. Noting that feudalism itself was an emergent form of coordination that appeared in the wake of the Gardener's systemic collapse (as it was in the wake of Rome's "fall").

To understand the structure the Jonquille dynasty aims for, one should look at the philosophies behind network structure. There are four groups of network coordination that can be considered, each with advantages and disadvantages.
>>
>>5872943
Centralized systems have a single point of failure (the central coordinator goes out, the whole thing falls apart) but are exceedingly efficient. Hierarchical systems are more robust by allowing several nodes of decision making (no point of failure collapses the whole thing), but change takes a while to travel across them and is prone to information siloing. Consensus based systems have near-0 point of failure, but actually cannot scale past certain points due to the requirement for everyone or even just a majority to agree (and with just a majority you soft move towards hierarchy based decision making). Emergent systems are even more robust than hierarchies and can efficiently scale into infinity while transferring information quickly, but dear lord in heaven can they be inefficient and tricky to manage.

The King's ideal attempts to use the feudal hierarchical model as a platform for emergent coordination for scaling purposes in the hopes of creating a robust sort of coordination that will allow his people to prosper and scale. How well he succeeds at this, and whether or not he truly even stays close to this philosophical ideal, are both up for debate. But the systems in place do allow him to move people more easily to positions where he (and his subordinates) want them to be.

As truth be told, everyone largely wants to see everyone else succeed and thrive, the failures lie in how coordination occurs, the allocation of resources, and red team actors such as the Cult of the Nameless (or almost worse, half baked "philosophers" and weasely politicians trying to promote ideas of democracy in an attempt to power grab).
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5872557
>Why did you call me here, my Liege?
>What did she mean when she spoke of treaty violations and khemical warriors?
>To what end did you raise me from Knight to Baron?
>>
>>5872943
If Trevor has been Knighted, that generates the potential capacity / need for additional Squires (Roderick's too young and lacks a Page's education so would be a rough start. Though it does mean we could shape his trajectory more easily, though considering we are on campaign I'd question our ability to ensure his survival). It would be worth talking to the Duke again so gather our options since we probably don't have many lying around Liliendorf considering its status.

Also a decision to further grant him land / tasking / contract or not, and if needed further oaths to tie him to our court.
Since he's probably slightly above a "Hedge-Knight" in terms of direct means at this point, and subsequently struggle to meet his obligations at least until he gets his feet under him or can otherwise find a patron.
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>5872568
>+1
Hey OP, what are your thoughts on ryona ?
>>
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A part of you wonders if you have a place at all to ask questions of the King. The structures of the Kingdom dictate that only those with a rank of Duke may petition him directly without his permission, and in truth only the Four Cardinal Dukes he has set as Princes each over a fourth of his Kingdom can find time upon his schedule. You stand before him as a mere Knight, expressly granted that permission. A servant of one of the Cardinal Dukes with whom he keeps council, yes, but a girl raised from the commons all the same.

Perhaps it would be best if you simply took this opportunity to display your trust in your liege, your loyalty to his crown, and declare those feelings. That it is not right for you to question, your duty is to know your place in the Kingdom's hierarchy and obey the King's edicts, whatever they may be.

[b][green]Or perhaps that's all a crock of horse shit.[/green][/b]

The King gives you his time and his ear, and you repay this kindness by [i]wasting[/i] it? What sort of dutiful servant of the Daffodil Kingdom could you be if you wasted the King's time? Before you say a foolish question wastes time, you need remember another maxim the Duke hammered into that thick head of yours: [i]The only foolish question is the one that's left unasked[/i]. You think it wastes time, confirming your understanding, clarifying things? Well how much time gets wasted if your understanding is [i]wrong[/i] and you screw something up?

The dialogue flashes through your mind in but a moment, and when it finishes you decide to ask after the most obvious thing. You know nothing of that woman, and ever were you sober you could have only understood half of what she spoke of. Even more important than that is understanding, "For what purpose have you called upon me, my Liege?"

The eyes behind the King's mask glint again with the rubine-purple light that cowed the Rosland Princeps. "Simply put, I had a theory about your curse that I wished to test, Louise. Though, the chief [i]balatro's[/i] demands threw most of my other plans for you right out the window."

The king makes a show of looking off to the distance. "Yes, I see them scattering into the gulf right now. Shame, I quite liked those plans. But the world shall spin on, and [i]you[/i] have new marching orders."

Straightening himself out, the king informs you that, "You no doubt heard me address Trevor as one of my knights. I have raised him to his new station in order to fit the timetables of the circumstances we are now facing. He shall remain here, and command the reinforcements which shall arrive in a fortnight from the Countess fon Goldenbell. As the commander of this purge appointed by Duke fon Sonnenblume, you shall be joining Damien as part of a delegation to Rosarium that will coordinate a 'joint operation' against the Cult of the Nameless Shadow."
>>
>>5873406
"Rosarium, my Liege?" you cannot help but interrupt the King's orders with a furrowed brow. You have no love for your homeland's perennial enemy, and you suspect they've no love for you. When he simply nods, you say that, "I fear half the folk from Bacarra to Kiftsgate will be after my head."

"That's what I told him," Damien says.

"And as I told Damien, the other half shall be in awe of the woman who ended the Dark Lord of Alans," the King retorts. The look in the eyes behind his silver mask brokers no argument. "This shall be a new battlefield for you, Louise, one I know you are unaccustomed to. I do not expect you to achieve any grand diplomatic victories for our Kingdom, but I do expect you to keep your eyes upon my diplomat."

"Understood, my Liege." You bow your head to the King in acknowledgment of his expectations. Hopefully, you can live up to them. With that thought on your mind, you ask him, "Are we to hold until the reinforcements arrive, and then depart?"

"No," the King says. "That is why I raised Trevor to knighthood. Instruct your men-at-arms to-"

"Hold on, Arthur-" Damien cuts the King off, but is cut off himself when the tent's interior suddenly freezes over. While you feel like a terrible weight is about to be dropped, Damien does not look impressed. Not from the curl of his lips into a frown, or the narrowing of the magenta pinpricks that burn behind his blindfold. What is the relation of this man to the King, that he simply continues with his thoughts unabated, saying, "[i]Arthur[/i], you can't expect a green boy who's barely seen seventeen summers to [i]tag in[/i] for a veteran of Louise's caliber."

"I can, and I will," the King sound annoyed at Damien's protests. "Unlike Louise here, he was raised-"

"A spare, [i]as I was[/i]," Damien does not shout. He raises his voice a bit higher, his slouch gone and his back straight, but he does not shout. You can feel the King frown behind his mask, but he allows Damien to continue uninterrupted. "I haven't spoken to the boy much, but I know well enough that he's the fourth son. That's not the son you raise to be the brilliant leader, you point them towards a career that will bring the family honor and influence. Just... keep that in mind when you're delegating things, Arthur."
>>
>>5873407
There is a long, cold pause before the chill in the room finally melts. You hear a long sigh, before the King's voice returns to the gentleness hiding steel that it had before. "Very well," he says to Damien. Turning to you, he asks, "Louise, are there any among your men-at-arms who have shown virtue and wisdom in their actions? Any whom you would trust to advise you, as much as you would trust them with a shield at your side?"
[b][red]Caution: you will lose access to the chosen character for the mission to the Roslands.[/red][/b]
>Boric. He is your second for a reason, after all.
>Front Line Commander, Annette. Her advice is good, her shield arm steady... and you can afford to lose her more than Boric.
>Second Line Commander, Martin. The man has a good head on his shoulders, even if he can be a little meek at times.
>Rear Guard Commander, Chevelle. A woman who suffers no nonsense and can see through bullshit like an owl sees through the dark.
>>
>>5873409
>>Boric. He is your second for a reason, after all.
Sigh, I guess we have to him be the veteran sergeant to a newbie Lieutenant Rupert....
>>
>>5873409
>Boric. He is your second for a reason, after all.
>>
>>5873409
>Front Line Commander, Annette. Her advice is good, her shield arm steady... and you can afford to lose her more than Boric.
>>
>>5873409
>Boric. He is your second for a reason, after all.

Would it be worth loaning Boric's squad to Trevor, and having the other platoon(Olanna's) meet us en-route so we don't dissolve the existing command structure too badly?

Or are we deploying our forces in their entirety for said "protection" detail?
>>
>>5873435
This would be a good write in that would impress the King with your forward thinking.
>>
>>5873437
Then let's go for it.
>>
>>5873435
>>5873437
I'll support this anon then
>>
>>5873437
Further as Boric's platoon have take causalities (Alex & general wear and tear), and attrited itself due to the deployment and travel here.

It would probably be better to have them provide security until fon Goldenbell's forces arrive. Then either cycle back to Liliendorf to take over Garrison duties and recover. Or surge to our location and resupply / take over as needed from Olanna.

I just don't think redeploying with an under-strength platoon, is wise considering we're going to be attracting significant attention. let alone the likelihood that we will be without support for an indeterminate period of time.

Also when are we writing to Rene?
>>
>>5873435
+1
>>
>>5873464
>spoiler
Every day. They just never send them. The address is wrong.
>>
>>5873473
>spoiler
You would think that whoever is delivering them would try harder to find Rene since they keep turning up, just so they stop coming.

After almost a decade you would think it would be the only supply of paper they need for the entire city at this point.
>>
>>5873435
Supporting
>>
>>5873437
Supporting
>>
Christmas episode?
>>
>>5873464
Yes, diplomatic convoys are definitely not subtle things. The Earl of Lavendel will be acting as the special envoy for the "joint operation" to root out heresy. This will be the first time that Louise will have command of forces that do not directly serve her. Whether you bump heads with his security people or get along with them will largely be up to you.
>>5873473
Every day is a bit of an exaggeration. Louise addresses her journal to him, and then each week she can, she sends a message to Sal Khemia for him summarizing the important bits. None of them have been returned as "couldn't find him".
>>5873484
>spoiler
Rene has not been allowed contact outside of his sect since he was selected from those who achieved Melanosis to attempt for Leucosis. The process to reach the Golden Council and become apprentice to one of the Amirat is an ascetic one. Now that he's apprenticed to somewhat of a radical, he has a bit of a backlog to get through...
>>5873672
Christmas Episode tonight. Vote will remain open until tomorrow evening, though.
>>
>>5873739
>Christmas Episode tonight. Vote will remain open until tomorrow evening, though.
very nice. Merry christmas QM.
>>
>>5873435
+1
>>
>>5873739
>diplomatic convoys are definitely not subtle things
The Assassins and various Agents that have joined the cohort most definitely are, especially if we have been granted diplomatic immunity as it's obvious that a greater game is afoot, though as a blunt instrument of the LORD's will; we should hopefully not be called on to render aid in said matters, unless things go very bad and excessive displays of force are needed.
Damien also seems like he is in need of some sort of guidance, or at least issues he should probably work through and not take them out on Hilde. Being ordained. We might be able to offer him a starting point. Though as he is also part of the upcoming mission this can happen later if need be, while we are in transit or otherwise have some downtime.


Damien could probably also assist us in sending Rene ?detailed? sketches of the Curse marks, Patterns and the Stigmata and tracking changes, Assuming Fiona is being left with Trevor.

Trevor could also use word of encouragement, and final advise & oversight of his plan for the interim deployment of forces if he wants to run it past us before we leave.

After all, all competent commanders have to cut their teeth somewhere and its definitely not something that should be expected to come without mistakes and errors early on in one's career. Especially as there a great difference between the understanding, Mastery and application of; the Manual-Of-Arms, Tactics, Strategy and Logistics at the various levels of command let alone maintaining one's bearing when it comes time to face the Threat, or sustaining losses.

The key takeaway will probably be to clarify his options / and the situation with those more knowledgeable, Unless specificity is needed or some particular point be made knowing what amount of latitude can be given with orders to allow for flexibility and initiative to be taken while accomplishing taskings, and finally be reserved but unafraid to spend lives to achieve outcomes if there is s clear and pressing need to do so, not an advantage in doing so.

>2nd Spoiler
We're going to need a scene at some point of the reaction to / of Rene receiving & cataloging "the backlog", and maybe realizing he "needs" to respond, considering the latest events.
>>
>>5873407
>Rear Guard Commander, Chevelle. A woman who suffers no nonsense and can see through bullshit like an owl sees through the dark.
>>
>>5873739
>None of them have been returned as "couldn't find him".
Well yeah, there's not a courier dumb enough to see that it's a knight lady who could fold them with her bare hands and tell her her messages aren't making it to their destination. That's suicide.
>>
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My Dearest René,

I hope this letter finds you well. Too many years have passed since we last shared a mug of shokolade before the pyre of Lumenalia. Do you remember that night seven years ago, when we ducked away from the dancing around the fires and ran off to the crest of Zitronenfels?

I remember the rolling pastures, covered with but a dusting of snow, dotted with clusters of cottages where our families and neighbors made their homes. How they stretched on beneath the veil of that moonless, starless sky, and the thousand rivers of color that danced in the sky. The proof of our LORD's protection over the world.

I remember too the blankets we shared upon that hill. How we set out one you treated with your khemistry to shield our bottoms from the snow, how we wrapped ourselves together in heavy wool woven to your family's tartan colors. Red and green, and a blue near as deep as the sky at dusk. How your warmth filled the cocoon we made, and the touch of your hand upon my own.

My heart aches for you, René. I know not what rigorous trials you must be facing to unravel the secrets of your craft, but know that every day I pray for your successful return to my side.

Or, if that is not possible, then I shall join you at your side. Simply say the word.

Now let me tell of some recent news. As a 'Lumenalia present', the Duke sent an artificer to serve in my court, as if I were some local lord. From the letters he sent, I expected some heathen hellion harlot, but it turns out that she's a total sweetheart. Her name is Hilde, and she has quite quickly wormed her way into my heart as a dear friend.

Though I will say she does get some strange ideas some times. Fortunately, she is quite portable. Whenever I get wind of her doing something foolish, it is quite simple to go over and pick her up beneath my arm as one might hoist a recalcitrant pup and drag them back to their kennel.

One of her strange ideas involved caroling for Lumenalia this year. She wished to carol in the warmth of the tavern, and invited me to join her. Though I do enjoy the tradition of caroling, I fear that I made a mistake when I accepted her offer. The songs themselves did not stray too far from what we would sing going house to house back home, but...

The outfit she wore for her tavern caroling was extremely flattering, and she expected me to wear one in kind. Naturally, I turned down the offer and did not join her.

Though I here the village bachelors were all very pleased with her performance.

Other than that bit of excitement, it has been a slow week. The harvest has been in for weeks now, the snows have come, and there is not much to do beyond wait for spring. I offered a log to the pyre in your name, that the LORD's protection may be with you, and guide you through your trials. I shall continue to pray for your wellbeing and return.

All of my love,

Louise

P.S.: I kept the outfit. Perhaps I can show it to you when you get back~?
>>
>>5874031
Merry Christmas QM and thanks for the short omake. Hilde was an open one since the we first knew her it seems.
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>>5874031
Merry Christmas QM, thanks for a great quest!
>>
>>5873742
>>5874040
>>5874155
Merry Christmas everyone!
>>5873885
>Damien also seems like he is in need of some sort of guidance
Damien is mostly chilled out. He's made his peace with his situation as the spare son and has chosen to pursue his passions. He and Hilde having a fling is probably not on Louise's short list of problems that need fixing. Hilde herself is something of a gigastacy, as she can go "I can fix him" and then fix him.
>>5873885
>Trevor could also use word of encouragement, and final advise & oversight of his plan for the interim deployment of forces if he wants to run it past us before we leave.
For full context on Trevor's readiness, he has regularly sat in on your meetings with Boric and Olanna, and has accompanied you to court. Louise has been readying him for the command expected of a knight, though this probably is his sink or swim moment.

He's got a better shot of swimming than sinking because he's literally in bed with (one of) the natives. His mother is going to be torn, because Astrid can't give her more grandkids... but also no more grandkids means no threats to the Goldenbell main line.
>>5873885
>We're going to need a scene at some point of the reaction to / of Rene receiving & cataloging "the backlog", and maybe realizing he "needs" to respond, considering the latest events.
This is definitely happening at some point.
>>5873996
Well, they DID find his location. He's just been cloistered away for oh... five, six... maybe seven years? to come to terms with himself and reunify his mind into its more perfect self.

To compare his processes to what Louise went through... he is a garden, she is a field of wildflowers. Both have beauty (an Opus; which for you is the scythe. Eye and Arm are "I ate a devil and purified its might" powers).
>>
>>5874332
>on Louise's short list of problems that need fixing.
It was more that the issue was he was willing to voice his apparent opposition to putting Trevor in charge of local operations, directly in front of us to the king, our bosses, boss who's time is incredibly valuable and opinion and decisions matter a great deal to eventual outcomes in most matters of state let alone our ability to work around any edicts that are made, especially in comparison to him being on a first name basis with the king so obviously has more wiggle room to accomplishing things in "the spirit of" not "as worded".

And being based solely on knowing what the being the "spare" is like, and knowing Trevor for a handful of days even though their current, and impending responsibilities are nothing alike, if feels like he's letting his personal experiences "color" his views and not for the better let alone what his eyes show him. We might be the Duke's favorite "problem solvers", but if the threat was significant enough we would have been directed to deploy our remaining forces, let alone raising a levy or seeking further support from the Duke. The later of which we know is coming, and based on the knowledge of the threat gleaned though further contact should be suitably outfitted to deal with what is understood to remain, which should mostly just be further operations to ensure that any survivors are dead, not more pitched battles and raids.

And further it implies that he believes we have personally failed to ready Trevor for being knighted, sure it's not as if he couldn't have used more time but the situation obviously won't allow for it. Additionally we've not seen anything that would indicate someone of Louise's capabilities is truly necessary to operations here let alone someone she would allow to remain by her side for any length of time, let alone take under her wing, even if the Duke may have forced us to take him on, which is why we can be reassigned as we are to more pressing matters. So the inference is either that he thinks that the threat is like to be significantly worse than the king does, he has significantly underestimated our ability to produce functionally competent subordinates, or seen something we haven't.


It's just that there is an interpretation of what he said that does a little more than just "step" on our toes, And I'm not sure we should allow such an implication to stand, let alone the fact that it impugns the honor of practically everyone involved from the King down. Especially considering our newly vocal Id

>2nd spoiler
He's got a better shot of swimming than sinking because he's literally in bed with (one of) the natives.

Also the expected time for him to have command is likely to be short so it's not a bad opportunity for him to test his competencies and look for shortfalls to address, assuming that fon Goldenbell relives him, we can always ask Boric for his opinion on Trevor.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>
[b][blue]Winner:[/blue][/b] The write in plan
[b][red]10 + 17 = 27 General Knowledge Nobility to keep your head and be political[/red][/b]

With every word that comes out of Damien's mouth about young Trevor's ability to take on the responsibilities of a knight, the stony look upon your face deepens into a heavy frown. [b][green]Who the hell does Damien thinks he is?[/green][/b] Obviously a friend of the King's, to address him on such a familiar basis, but it pains you to let this stain upon your squire's honor stand. Upon your own honor. You understand that he has personal experience with how inheritance can fail the children who are not their heir, but his words imply that [i]you[/i] failed to prepare Trevor as his mentor.

You cannot let this stand.

But you would be failing your own mentor if you went the simple route and demanded that Damien retract his insult to your honor, to Trevor's honor. The rage that has boiled in the blood of your family for a dozen centuries must not be allowed to take hold. As you breathe in cycles of five as the Duke of Sonnenblume taught you, you consider his words to you upon the art of the debate: "[i]If the opponent is wrong, prove your case true. If the opponent is right, flip the tables on them.[/i]"

That last part is a metaphor, by the way. If you actually flip the table on your opponent during a debate, the judge gets angry with you and has you escorted to the detention hall. [b][green]Even if the little shits deserved it[/green][/b]. No, the actual meaning of the Duke's words was this:

First, never waste your breath trying to refute a claim made without evidence.

Second, just as on the battlefield, if your opponent has the upper hand you need to change the parameters of victory to rip that advantage away from him.

When the King asks you his question, your lips curl away from the frown and into a small smile. Not because you are eager to simply name someone and let the shadow of Damien's experiences and biases affect the King's judgment. Rather, because you have been given a splendid opportunity to act as the Duke would want you to act, and upend the table.

"If I may make a proposal, my Liege?" you ask the King, and wait for his approval.

Damien quirks an eyebrow at you, no doubt wondering what is going through your head. The King pauses for a moment, and the gives a short nod, "Let us hear it, Louise."

"Trevor had the opportunity to lead first troop under the advisement of Boric and his deans during the border skirmishes earlier this year," you tell the King. He nods for you to continue after you pause, so you say, "I see no harm in stretching this arrangement out to a fortnight, especially if relief is to be expected from the Countess Goldenbell. I assume one of her men will be taking command from Trevor upon their arrival?"
>>
>>5874472
The King gives a slight chuckle at your proposal, saying, "For a moment I thought I heard Charles speaking there, Louise. He's done a fine job teaching you the delicacies of politics. Your proposal is accepted. I will need you and Damien to depart for Liliendorf in two days time. There, you will meet with Earl Lavendel, my special envoy to Rosarium. Bring whomever you see fit with you."

"Arthur, you can't be [i]serious[/i]," Damien says. You narrow your eyes at the heretic-knight, while the King simply looks at Damien. "No amount of training or border skirmishes can prepare [i]anyone[/i] for what that boy might face here. Earl Lavendel has thousands of men to call on for his security, and I am hardly the only scholar who can provide him with support. There's no need to delegate this posting to a greenhorn who will get slaughtered by the Witch of Depravity."

Remembering how your battle went against the Arbiter, a wry smile crosses your face, "Sir Damien, I doubt I would fare much better. The last time-"

Damien cuts you off with a dismissive wave of his hand, an act that makes your frown return in full, "Bah, you probably have an Opus by now, if my hypothesis was right. You'd survive long enough for me to pull some escape plan out of my butt. Trevor, without us around, would end up dead."

As you ponder what an Opus might be and how it might help you fight back against the Knights of Depravity, the King looks to Damien with surprise and says, "Oh, so that is what you're worried about. Damien, you just gave me your report, think for a moment about what you said. About the Witch."

"What, that she was using this place as a base?" Damien asks. The lights burning through his blindfold appear to have taken the shape of gears, slowly turning as he thinks over what he reported. "That she sent one of her puppets to pick up the ringleaders? That she took an interest in-"

Damien's train of thought crashes like a stampeding merchant's caravan into the walls of a castle. "No, no, you wouldn't..."

You can feel the King smiling beneath his mask as his soft and gentle voice says, "Yes, I would."

Both the King and Damien burst out into laughter, like a pair of old friend who just got to scheming over a couple of drinks. You look between the two of them in confusion. On your left, the dignified hologram of your liege lord, the most important man in all of the kingdom, known for his mirth and wisdom. On your right, a heretic, pornographer, and one of Hilde's many conquests, a blindfold over his eyes and a metal collar about his neck.

It is a surreal experience. You pinch yourself just to make certain that you did, in fact, exit the realm created by Damien's concoction and that this is all not a dream. Once that's confirmed, you simply tell them, "I feel somewhat out of the loop."
>>
>>5874473
"It's... it's probably for the best that you remain so, Louise," Damien says. Once again, your eyes narrow, but he puts up his hands in an apologetic gesture. "It's nothing dishonorable, just a bit ungentlemanly."

"Do you accept Louise's proposal, Damien?" The King asks.

"I do, Arthur," Damien replies.

"Then I am afraid I must dismiss the both of you now," The King declares. You can see an apologetic look on the eyes that peak through the silver mask worn over his face. "My ministers have been pestering me about our trade agreements with the shogunate, something about rice shipments. Oh, there's one now - yes, I read the manifests! Let me just-"

The image projected by the sending stone winks out of existence, leaving the tent empty. Damien turns to you with a wry grin upon his face, informing you that, "Yeah, so that's how most of my meetings with Arthur end. Some bureaucrat comes and drags him away to sign something or attend another meeting. I'm honestly amazed we got that much time out of him."
[b][red]Roll 1d20[/red][/b]
>Give Damien a firm, but gentle reminder that he should watch his words, even if he has good intentions. He impugned your honor this day. (Roll 1d100)
>Demand to know what he and the king found so funny.
>Ask Damien about your apparent treaty violations, as you still don't quite understand what the Princeps meant.
>Since you have the tent to yourself, tell Damien about the results of the draught of diagnosis. Don't dwell on the parts you'd rather not dwell on.
>Go meet with Trevor and Boric now to go over plans for what they shall do after you leave.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5874474
>Ask Damien about your apparent treaty violations, as you still don't quite understand what the Princeps meant.
>Since you have the tent to yourself, tell Damien about the results of the draught of diagnosis. Don't dwell on the parts you'd rather not dwell on.
We need answers to both of these desperately.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5874473
the king want to use us as bait for the witch ?
>>5874477
:+1
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5874474
>(Write in)
Remind Damien of Hilde's request / promise.

Questions / retribution can probably be better held until we are on the move.

>go meet with Trevor and Boric now to go over plans for what they shall do after you leave.

Anything we can do to ensure things go smoothly in our absence the better.
Keeping an eye on ?Rickard / Roderick? may be a good idea too, you never know if he's not going to run when he should have.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5874474
>>Ask Damien about your apparent treaty violations, as you still don't quite understand what the Princeps meant.
>>Since you have the tent to yourself, tell Damien about the results of the draught of diagnosis. Don't dwell on the parts you'd rather not dwell on.
>>
>>5874477
Support
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>5874474
>Demand to know what he and the king found so funny.
>>
File: Tent.jpg (330 KB, 1920x1177)
330 KB
330 KB JPG
[b][blue]Winner:[/blue][/b] Treaty Violations and Diagnosis
[b][red]5+17=22 General Arcana Check[/red][/b]

"Yes, well maybe you can answer my other question, Damien," you tell him. When he gestures for you to continue, you ask, "What did the Princeps mean when she spoke about treaty violations? Unlike the Roslanders, I have never made a habit of targeting the peasantry. The raids I conduct have always been [i]targeted[/i]. Supply lines, weapons depots..."

Damien snorts at the examples you give. He catches the withering look you toss at him and throws it behind his shoulder, saying that, "Politics of the Ivyland aside-"

"Why haven't we driven them back to Damask yet?" you ask no one in particular.

"[i]Down[/i], girl," Damien has the gall to reprimand you like a dog for simply asking a question that sorely needs answering. The Roslanders have occupied the eastern shores of Ivystem for far too long, that territory belongs to the Daffodil Kingdom and should be retaken, simple as. "Might I remind you that the two of us will soon be on a mission to the very heart of the Roslands? While I have no love for the Imperial Dog Soldiers or the clowns they call their intelligence apparatus, I have even less love for the thought of needing to fight our way back to the Kingdom."

"Well, it would be a bit easier if they returned my family's ancestral homelands," you do not [i]pout[/i]. You do, however, cross your arms beneath your bosom and give him a rather petulant look. He looks a bit chagrined, probably having not known how personal the matter was to you, so you decide to end the argument by saying that, "We're getting off topic. [i]Treaty violations[/i]."

"Right, treaty violations," Damien sighs to himself. Reaching into his coat, he retrieves a long pipe that has been been carved into the shape of a snakelike wyrm. Without so much as a by-your-leave, he fills it up with a dried herb and lights it with a small tongue of flame conjured by a cantrip. Taking a puff, he asks you, "How much do you know about the higher arts of khemistry?"

Despite the smoke now filling the tent, your mood perks up and your eyes brighten.

After all, khemistry was your dear René's greatest passion. Nothing interested him more. Oh, you knew a trick or two to peel his gaze away from his texts, tricks that still turn your face red just thinking about them. Even those would only hold his gaze for the moment, and then he'd be right back to his books. Some girls might have resented his drifting attentions, but that's what you loved about him. A man without passion for his trade - whatever that may be - honestly might as well be a eunuch.
>>
>>5875366
Your love's passion became your interest. While you cannot claim to be an expert, having only read a few of René's textbooks and the notes that he shared with you, you can proudly say, "More than most. The high khemistry refines the self as the low khemistry refines materials, and shapes it into a more perfect form. The sages of Sal Khemia guide worthy students across the process of... I forget the technical terms, but it's basically decomposition, purification, refinement, and actualization."

Damien's pipe nearly falls from his slack-jawed mouth as you tell him what you remember from the last time you read through René's notes. Puffing up with pride, you continue to explain that, "Each phase is associated with a prime material, a symbolic component that is fundamental to khemistry. The first stage is represented by coal, an unrefined, useful material. The second by chalk for its impermanent and transitory nature. The third stage by gold, a refined and unchanging material. The final stage by the philosopher's stone, the perfect substance.

"By my understanding, there are only s-" your explanation continues until Damien cuts you off with a a wave of his pipe.

"That's more than I expected," he admits. The surprise on his face has become somewhat wary, the magenta fires burning behind his blindfold reevaluating you a bit. "The treaty is related to that. The powers that awaken through the process of high khemistry can be exceptionally destructive. So every major nation from here to the Shogunate agreed to never employ soldiers who have undergone the khemical refinement of the self."

"What does that have to do with [i]me[/i]?" you ask with a pinch of your brow. You have a feeling that you're not going to like the answer, and your head has already begun to throb.

"Simple!" Damien says. He take a long draw from his pipe, and then releases it like the smoke from a dragon's maw. "Something about the curse that the Arbiter left you must have triggered the first stage of a crude sort of khemical refinement for you. Tell me, have you been hearing voices in your head lately? Feel any particular urge to just... let loose and do all the things you'd normally hold back from?"
>Yes. The curse has left me with a devil that has incorporated itself with things I normally leave unsaid.
>Yes. I've been calling it my shadow, and I'm quite certain it is at least partially a devil.
>Damien, this isn't khemical refinement, it's demonic possession. No one can accidentally walk that path.
>Oh, it has been pestering me for a while. It demands to know if you see me as a woman or not.
>Explain what happened during your experience with the diagnostic khemical
>(Write In)
>>
>>5875368
>>Oh, it has been pestering me for a while. It demands to know if you see me as a woman or not.
>>
>>5875368
>Yes. I've been calling it my shadow, and I'm quite certain it is at least partially a devil.
>>
>>5875368
>Damien, this isn't khemical refinement, it's demonic possession. No one can accidentally walk that path.

The theory falls at the first hurdle, its clearly a daemon. And further if it were true what does that say about the "True" nature of Khemistry?

If Rene dream-walks again will he find two of us. Is he even ready, let alone prepaired for that?

Also what are the chances the WoD is attempting to collect "the set" of dolls, with one from each nation.
>>
>>5875368
>>Damien, this isn't khemical refinement, it's demonic possession. No one can accidentally walk that path.
Don't be stupid, silly. It's a DEEEEEMON
>>
>>5875368
>Oh, it has been pestering me for a while. It demands to know if you see me as a woman or not.
denseness activate
>>
>>5875395
how can louise say it can't be accidental if she's no expert ?
>>
>>5875407
If it was possible to do accidentally it would probably be better documented / acknowledged as a risk by the Order or an otherwise common occurrence. I don't think it would be accepted by the Church if High Khemistry was found to be caused by some reaction between Light and Dark and probably cause a great Schism or worse if it were somehow true.

and is something that needs to be kept under raps or could tip people off to a "reliable" way to achieve any form of artificially induced melanosis, even if we don't understand exactly how it occurred.

Considering that the forces of the LORD are constantly doing their best to purge the darkness wherever they can be found Conflict is assuredly constant and involves a large number of people. if it was caused by what we know to have been present it would be a more common occurrence and probably be somewhat widely documented in the manual of Arms & Tactics that the Order would provide us as a member, but seeing as they haven't we don't really know how the end result could be Khemical in nature and not possession after all we know what has happened to Alex and don't know the extent to witch the WoD / her Lieutenants could call upon lesser known / Unacknowledged Dark Aspects.
>>
>>5875368
>Oh, it has been pestering me for a while. It demands to know if you see me as a woman or not.
>>
>>5875368
>Damien, this isn't khemical refinement, it's demonic possession. No one can accidentally walk that path.
>>
>>5875418
Also the only actionable Intel we recovered regarding the WoD's activities was;

>For the Throne of Depravity sits in a place beyond heaven, and the shadows I cast are more real than the air that you breathe..."
and
>But if you truly want to know the answer, seek out the City of Depravity, Shar Saboten.

Though we currently have no idea if this is commonly known, though the implication was that it was within our means, somhow.

But it could provide a further locus for investigation / analysis / interrogation of records for the task-force.
>>
>>5875395
>If Rene dream-walks again will he find two of us. Is he even ready, let alone prepaired for that?
He would definitely find two of you, which would be, uh... possibly pastebin material depending on how it went. Shadow Louise is very aggressive in these matters.

As for her doll collection, the WoD is looking for one who aligns with each of the Seven Virtuous Colors. Louise would have been her Green/Faith, as the Arbiter was her Blue/Justice.
>>5875418
I will say that Louise's situation was something of the stars aligning. She had the right personality aspects to devour the devil rather than cast it out, enough knowledge of khemistry to understand how they compartmentalize their thoughts, is loved by the LORD enough that divine magic comes naturally to her, and has an overwhelming faith and certainty in his protection that she actually needs to actively keep in check. One that is not wrong, but...

You'll be getting Damien's hypothesis tonight, probably.
>>5875407
Because Rene's own understanding colored her outlook and made her believe with no small amount of certainty that the refinement of the self is a very deliberate process that requires masters of the craft to guide you through. The idea that it can just happen spontaneously, at least at the first stage, never crossed her mind.
>>5875526
To Louise and most of the world, the existence of Shar Saboten is mostly a myth. It supposedly lay in the deep south, beyond where even the sun does not rise in winter nor set in summer.
>>
>>5875607
>As for her doll collection, the WoD is looking for one who aligns with each of the Seven Virtuous Colors. Louise would have been her Green/Faith, as the Arbiter was her Blue/Justice.
Zam, a mental "triple fun" is possible ? Or it'd be making our shadow real ? You have my attention QM.
Also speaking of "fun", you didn't answer this anon yet >>5873297 kek
>>
>>5875607
>It supposedly lay in the deep south, beyond where even the sun does not rise in winter nor set in summer.
So we're going to end up leading a "Lost" Crusade?
>>
>>5875680
It's only a lost crusade if we lose.
Not!R'lyeh in Not!Antarctica here we come!
>>
>>5875368
>>Oh, it has been pestering me for a while. It demands to know if you see me as a woman or not.
>>
"As a matter of fact, I have," you admit without a moment's hesitation. The voice that you've been calling your shadow has been pushing at you ever since the Arbiter left you with your cursed wound. The diagnostic draught only seemed to make its voice louder. "All of the thoughts that I'd normally compartmentalize, file away, and put out of mind seem to have grouped up into a single voice that's just been... [i]pushy[/i]. Can you imagine that, all the things you know you shouldn't say getting spoken, not aloud, but..."

You make a gesture with one hand as you fail to find the words that you want to say. It feels like your other self, your shadow is there behind you whispering all the thoughts into your ear, pushing you to give her a voice.

"No, I don't think I can," Damien says. His words reek like a lie that's been left out in the sun, but save for a narrowing of your eyes, you don't push him on it. With a tone you don't think you like, he asks you, "What sort of thoughts? An example would be helpful."

Crossing your arms beneath your breasts, you accuse him that, "You just want to hear me say something crude, don't you?"

Damien waves the accusation off. "Perish the thought, Louise. Hearing it aloud would just help out with the diagnosis. As someone who studied for a while in Sal Khemia, I know what to look for. I mean either way, you won't be quite right in the head, but I can tell if it's the [i]special[/i] sort of crazy that we want to see, instead of the garden variety sort."

You run him over with a suspicious look. From the quirk of a smile on his face and the smoke he's let drift out of his pipe, you imagine that you nailed his motive with a guess. Though whether you're playing into his rotten sense of humor or his perverse and lustful nature, you don't know. After a moment, you tell him that, "I take no responsibility for [i]anything[/i] my shadow says, got it?"

"Oh, giving it pet names now?" Damien says with a chuckle. He draw in the smoke from his pipe before it becomes too much of a haze, then breathes out a smoky bird that flutters its way onto your shoulder. "When do I get one of those?"

You say nothing. You simply smack the smoky bird away and stare at him with a look that lowers the temperature of the room by several degrees.

"Not for a while, then," Damien gives an exaggerated slump of disappointment before perking right back up. "Alright, so dig deep down, I want to hear what this voice says.

With a sigh, you close your eyes and reach into yourself.

Breathing as René taught you, you bring yourself back to a place calm and black and filled with a thousand beautiful stars that pierce the darkness and bring light. Then you stand before the dressing mirror in the King's palace again. Or rather, it stands before you amidst the field of stars.
>>
>>5876062
Now, unlike then, you wear nothing but your dignity as a knight. The woman in the mirror is no less dignified than you, but there is a difference in your poise. Where your ears are stained red and you've shrunk in on yourself, she appears to have puffed up with feminine pride. Her chest thrust out without any shame, her body set in a wide stance that commands the entire mirror, as if to say '[i]Behold! I am here![/i]'

In many ways you envy that confidence. In many ways you [i]have[/i] that confidence. One does not lead a band of rowdy men-at-arms into battle without the confidence to seize control of the group and bark the orders they need to hear in a crisis. You are no shrinking violet who curls in on herself and tries to become invisible, not on the battlefield nor in the ballroom. Yet there are still things you leave unsaid, thoughts that you don't follow through on because they're rude, crude, or entirely inappropriate.

You know that your shadow in the mirror has the confidence to say the things you want to say, but don't. Maybe there's a consideration for time and place, but maybe you shouldn't deny the people you're speaking with what truly lives inside your heart. Is it better to tell those hard truths, rude as they may be? Or are those platitudes simply lies that help no one but yourself?

[b][green]Damn right they are! Honesty is the best policy.[/green][/b]

The intrusive thought that runs through your mind brings a smile to your lips. Perhaps this entity is a chain devil that simply says what pleases you to hear until its chains have enveloped your mind and soul for its digestion. Perhaps the moment you truly open yourself to it, you doom yourself. Something about the flare of light in its green eyes, both natural and unnatural, makes you believe that's not the case.

After all, if your shadow wished you bound to the Witch of Depravity, then she would have surrendered to her the moment you two synchronized in your dreams. She would have made you kneel, made you submit to whatever depravity that Anahita would have inflicted upon you.

She did not. Which is why you extend your shadow the trust of reaching out and placing your hand against the mirror, letting her [i]tag in[/i].

"Louise...? Hello, Louise? Are you still there...?" Damien's voice pierces your thoughts just as your shadow reaches out and matches her hand to your own. You want to laugh as he says something that would have been nice to hear [i]before[/i] you started on René's breathing techniques. "Wait, you're... who taught you... wait, wait, wait, no, I meant [i]in your memories[/i], not-!"

When your eyes snap open, they blaze with green confidence. Faith in yourself. Faith in your country. Faith in your LORD. All of it undying, unyielding.
>>
>>5876063
"You told me to [i]dig deep[/i], you damn heretic. So I did! HMPH!" You tell Damien with a tone that cares nothing for decorum, propriety, or basic manners. Caring about all of those things is such a bother after all, and there's no reason for you to lie to him. He's been acting awfully familiar with you, anyways, so turnabout is just fair play. Which reminds you that, "You wanted an example, right? Well, I've got a question for you..."

You lean forward just like Hilde showed you, one drunken night where she decided to teach you how she got men to [i]come hither[/i]. Why were you so mortified, then? Men like tits, and even in an outfit like yours that shows nothing off, this pose lets your girls hang and jiggle in a way that ought to catch a man's eyes. A look of victory blossoms on your face when you see that even this limp-dicked heretic's magenta lights drift towards your chest.

Damien swallows at your sudden change in demeanor. "I have a feeling that no matter what I say, this is going to be dangerous for me."

You glower at him with blazing green eyes.

"...but saying yes postpones the danger for the time being," Damien quickly corrects himself before giving you the okay to, "Go ahead."

"Do you not see me as a woman?" you demand more than you ask.

Damien gapes at you like a fish, his mouth flapping open and closed in desperation as he tries to find the words that leapt out of his mouth and ran away. "I-I-I-I'm sorry, Louise, was that a proposition?"

"LORD no!" you shout so loudly that you're surprised none of the men-at-arms standing guard leap in to intervene. For some reason that you cannot fathom, Damien looks a bit disappointed. You're quite offended by the matter, because, as you explain to Damien, "I'm a [i]promised woman[/i] Damien. Though, you know, just because I'm not available doesn't mean I mind a little a-pre-ci-a-tion when the opportunity arises. HMPH!"

Damien stares at you with a look of pure, distilled confusion in his eyes. "What are you even talking about?"

"Alright, let me bring you back, then," you declare. Rising back to your full height with a theatric bounce, you throw your arms out wide. "There we are not three days ago! The cult has been driven off, but my men-at-arms are picking themselves off the floor after our encounter with the Arbiter. My armor's in pieces, my armorsilks in such tatters that everything might as well be spilling right out. What does our intrepid, heretical pornographer do in such a situation?"

The look Damien gives you is a stone mask, the flickering magenta flames where the shine of his eyes pierces the blindfold shrinking in disbelief. "He carries you to the ground floor and puts you on a cot where your healer can more easily tend to your wounds?"

"Without so much as copping a single feel!" you complain.
>>
>>5876064
"..." the stone mask cracks, and Damien's voice breaks just a little. "I'm sorry, this is ridiculous, [i]you would have killed me[/i]! In fact, I'm quite sure you said something to effect that any wandering hands would get cut off!"

"Hmph, they were hanging out there, ripe for the taking," you insist. Though he's probably right, you would have gotten mad at him for groping you. After all, he's not René. "If Hilde didn't work her magic, I'd have taken you for some sort of herbivore, you know."

Damien bristles at the herbivore comment. At least he has enough pride as a man to do that. Men who don't eat meat when it's put infront of them are not just pathetic in your eyes, but they're disrespecting the thick, juicy meat! It wants to get eaten! Of course, you only want to get eaten by René, but a little salivation from onlookers when you're trussed up and sizzling would be nice.

"Yeah, well, I can definitely say you've confirmed my hypothesis," Damien says before the silence gets too awkward. "Khemian Stepped Breathing, sudden personality shift, and you're saying things that you would [i]never[/i] say normally. You've gone through melanosis, albeit so crudely that the sages would have expelled you from the city. I don't think I've ever heard of a Council of Two before, but I don't think I've heard of anyone who knew Khemian Stepped Breathing that wasn't trained by the sages, so..."
[b][red]Roll 1d20[/red][/b]
>Hold on, hold on, what's all this jargon! Explain this like I've never heard of khemistry, please.
>So I'm not possessed by a devil? Awesome. If you've got nothing else, then I need to get Boric and Trevor ready for our departure.
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>Cool. Well, we've got two days until we need to leave. Go have fun with Hilde, I'm going to make arrangements with Eren.
>+Attempt(?) to take control from your shadow. (Will use 2nd d20)
>(Write In)
>>
>>5876065
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5876065
>>
>>5876064
>"Without so much as copping a single feel!" you complain.
holy moly, Lalter is not satisfied with just being looked.
>>5876065
shit, Jalter really wants gropping on top of the attention. zam.
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>>
>>5876073
nice
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5876065
> If you've got nothing else, then I need to get Boric and Trevor ready for our departure.
>>+Attempt(?) to take control from your shadow. (Will use 2nd d20)
Nah y'all are schmucks. It is a demon. And it will be removed post-haste. Begone, nagging voice of unreason!
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5876065
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>+Attempt(?) to take control from your shadow. (Will use 2nd d20)
>>
>>5876065
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
+Attempt(?) to take control from your shadow. (Will use 2nd d20)
>(Write In)
Spend as long as we can extolling the virtues of Rene.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5876065
>>
>>5876062
btw where is this damien image from ? it really fits him
>>
>>5876098
It's OC from a another QM, i forget exactly which one. but I don't remember which one specifically, since I don't read their quest(s) and some of the ArtyQM's have somewhat similar art styles .

possibly if i had to finger one of them, though don't quote me on this:
https://twitter.com/sojournfantasy?lang=en
>>
>>5876098
>>5876102
It's fanart from the previous thread. As is the blue image of Louise, and the image in the OP.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5876065
>>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>>+Attempt(?) to take control from your shadow. (Will use 2nd d20)
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5876085
supporting
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>5876065
rolling
>>
>>5876065
>Sounds like the Witch wasn't lying then. Oh! I didn't tell you about her, did I? (fill Damien in on the Diagnosis)
>>
>>5875659
>Zam, a mental "triple fun" is possible ? Or it'd be making our shadow real ? You have my attention QM.
1000% yes. Though I'm not sure how Louise's shadow would act in the scenario. Whether she'd pull Louise in with her exuberance, or whether she'd "bully" Louise. I'll know when I know.
>>5875680
>>5875729
That is possible. It's also possible that Louise goes full Arthas, gets too far into the purging, and comes back with only her most trusted guard as a villainess. Depends on the choices that get made.
>>5876074
"Lalter" as you call simultaneous would cut the hand off any man who touched her inappropriately (and was not Rene)... and believes that any man who doesn't risk it to be a gutless coward. She's a complex lady.
>>5876079
>Nah y'all are schmucks. It is a demon. And it will be removed post-haste. Begone, nagging voice of unreason!
This DOES remain a possibility, but the probability of it is rather unlikely. You are allowed to continue to not believe him, even now.
>>
>>5876453
>1000% yes. Though I'm not sure how Louise's shadow would act in the scenario. Whether she'd pull Louise in with her exuberance, or whether she'd "bully" Louise. I'll know when I know.
Hmm, it's giving me ideas and reminds me of one rwby yang and mom fanart by the guy who worked with shadman. Considering how we're doing I can see the encouraging way happening.
>"Lalter" as you call simultaneous would cut the hand off any man who touched her inappropriately (and was not Rene)... and believes that any man who doesn't risk it to be a gutless coward. She's a complex lady.
damn, so she's a crazy bitch. Menhera bros stay winning. Also I used "Lalter" 'coz in fate/go there's alternative versions of characters that are usually a 'bully' version of them and people use the first letter of the character + alter for simplicity's sake.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5876065
>Hold on, hold on, what's all this jargon! Explain this like I've never heard of khemistry, please.
>>
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[b][blue]Winner:[/blue][/b] Seize Control and Fill Damien in
[b][red]20+17 Arcana to explain what occurred under the effect of the diagnostic khemical[/red][/b]
[b][red]9+10 Will Save vs DC 16[/red][/b]

"Oh, I know all sorts of exotic breathing techniques," you chirp. A copy of Hilde's smile makes its way across your face. It's a crude replica that doesn't capture some unspoken facet of your best friend's personality, but the intent is there. Someday you might be comfortable making it your own. Right now, deep inside your heart, the bubbles of amusement that churn obscure the mortification you feel when you tell him something even [i]Hilde[/i] has sworn to secrecy. "Including some that Hilde taught me with the help of a cucumber. Would you like me to show you~?"

There is a sound that fills the air of the tent like the cracking of glass.

You [i]do not hear[/i] your shadow's follow up to that [i]disgusting[/i] proposition. You do not care to hear her protests that she [b][green]was gonna use the vegetable[/green][/b] to show off your "prowess". You do not [b][green]chill out[/green][/b], because this [i]was[/i] a big deal. A major breach of the trust you showed to your shadow when you let her out of the mirror inside of your mind. That information was [i]private[/i]... even if you did want an excuse to show it off.

You refuse to give another inch. Reaching out and taking her by the arm, you rip her away from the reigns of your body with a mighty heave, and throw her back into the mirror. Her arms crossed beneath her naked bosom, she tries using a puppy's pout.

Unfortunately for her, you learned to ignore that look in your years training Trevor.

The green falls away from your eyes like broken glass, the flames of faith flickering out and returning to their natural blue. Somehow you have found yourself sprawled onto the ground. The pervert Damien has at least not taken advantage of you yet.

"I take it you didn't appreciate your shadow spilling that particular secret," Damien says. With his words comes a hand to help you up, which you gladly take. "Believe me, I can empathize."

Dusting yourself off, you can only bring yourself to offer a quiet, "You don't say."

"Yes, I do..." Damien drawls. He reaches out to help dust you off, but his hand stops halfway when you give him a sharp look. Recoiling, as if your glare had pricked it. "You know, I never took you to be the sort of woman who'd learn how to breathe with a cucumber lodged in her throat. I had you marked down as the more puritanical sort, like this quistor I once knew."

As he speaks, you've finished dusting yourself off, now tending to your hat. It got a bit of muck on the plume, so you pray a quiet orison and brush it with your hand to help restore its color and shine. You're only half paying attention to him as you ask, "How do you mean?"
>>
>>5876947
"Well, the man had a wife and nine kids, though the LORD only knows how," Damien tells you. Seeing you working on your hat, he scurries off to wheel out the mirror behind the sending stone, so you have something to help straighten yourself out. "The man never went whoring with the rest of us, not even to one of those... 'look, but don't touch' bordellos where the girls wear these outrageous outfits that don't cover anything at all. Thought the whole thing... sinful. As if the LORD didn't command us to go sew our oats as far as possible."

You look him in the eye through the mirror and ask, "How many children do those bordello girls have with their customers, Damien?"

"None! That'd be terrible for everyone involved," Damien says, though you don't think he caught onto what you really meant by it. He pauses for a moment and corrects himself, "Or at least, very few. Maybe a girl falls in love with her John, gets herself knocked up as an excuse to stop working. Otherwise... well, I saw my share of pimps coming down with a bad case of broken brainpan for cheaping out on sylphium. The Families don't like that. No one wants a kid getting raised in that kind of life."

Your hat now clean, you place it on your head and straighten it out. You don't know much about the families he's talking about, other than the fact that you could hear the capitalization of the first letter. What you do know, you ask after again, "Remind me how many children this inquisitor had?"

"Huh. That's actually not a bad point." Damien considers the implication for a moment, then casts you an inscrutable look. "Though not necessarily one I want to hear from a woman who apparently mastered a breathing technique that old Quistor Karl would have found [i]very[/i] sinful