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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.

Resources
Based on the number of banked rolls from the previous thread, you begin the thread with a number of boons. These boons must be used during the course of this thread, or else they are lost forever.

1x Blessing of Tychae: The first Natural 1 of the thread is automatically negated.
2x Tokens of the Shield: You may choose to use a token to automatically succeed on a saving throw, as if you had met the DC.
2x Tokens of the Quill: You may choose to use a token to automatically succeed on a Diplomacy, Intimidate, Bluff, or Sense Motive check, as if you had exceeded the DC by 5.
>>
The Story So Far

One month ago, the Duke of Somnenblume called upon you - Dame Louise le Blanc - to muster your men-at-arms and assist the mountain folk in purging an apostate cult of the Dark One from the Highlands. Aided by Sir Damien and Dame Fiona of the sorcerous (and mildly heretical) Order of the Imaginary Color, you uncovered their stronghold amidst an abandoned village fallen to ruin. With the warriors of the highlands flanking on one side, and you men-at-arms pushing from the other, you successfully purged the ruins of Orc and Goblin and Cultist alike.

However, this bloody work was not without casualty. At the heart of their stronghold, at the top of an old tower of the Gardeners, you confronted an enemy that you were not prepared to face. A lieutenant of the Witch of Depravity, third of her seven knights:

[Justinia, the Arbiter]

She nearly killed one of your men at arms in a single blow, leaving him with a cursed wound. Her presence alone brought your men-at-arms to their knees, with only your unfaltering faith in the LORD of Light allowing you to stand. You dueled with her for the life of your men, a duel you could not win by ordinary means, even with the handicap she gave herself. She toyed with you the entire time, stripping you of your armor and tearing up the armorsilks you wore below. However, her arrogance proved to be her downfall.

With each blow deflected, you chipped away at the supports of the roof. Before Justinia could strike her final blow, you managed to collapse the roof - not on her, but on the cultists she swore an oath to protect. To protect them, she had to violate the terms of your duel. Such an underhanded victory amused her, and as a former knight she took pride in honoring her word. She left with the cultists, but not before leaving you with a wound of your own, and a "gift".

Scarred with an inhuman eye and a stigmata of black vines and blood red roses upon your left arm, you consulted with Sir Damien upon the nature of the cursed mark. He determined that the curse lay upon your inner psyche, and concocted a khemical to help you confront it and reveal its nature.

That khemical brought you into the bowels of your memories, settling upon the day that you first met King Arthur rois Jonquille and were raised from humble man-at-arms to knight. Exploring the memory revealed its true nature as a labyrinth of your conscious thought, its imperfections looping upon themselves as you wandered halls you never visited until at last you found a grand door that lead to your heart of hearts.

Beyond the doors, you found a void of calm and soothing darkness, intruded upon by a vile obscenity of a woman. A harlot of harlots, a mother of demons, the image of the divine feminine twisted into a pornographic mockery of womanhood. There could only be one name for the person that stood before you:

[Anahita, Witch of Depravity]
>>
Iron chains of the Witch's creation held you back as you fought her shade in the depths of your mind, wielding a sword forged from your imagination. Faith alone gave you strength in that place, but the Witch held peerless mastery of the dreams and of the mind. Like her knight, she played with you, though unlike Justinia - who had a semblance of honor and propriety - she did not hesitate to provoke you with perversion and mockery.

Perhaps because she thought that she already won. In this realm of dreams, you would have been especially vulnerable to the devil-curse that her knight inflicted upon you. But when the Witch went to reveal your "master", what should have been a devil of chains and enslavement was instead a reflection of yourself. Thoughts and passions that you had suppressed given form, and a voice you had been mistaking for a demon all the while.

Together with her, you drew the form of the ultimate weapon. A weapon from your childhood, an imaginary thing created for games played with your friends that always cut down whatever monster stood in its way. A foolish weapon with a foolish name: The Litany of Blackrose. Yet in a space made of dreams, you could not have asked for a more reliable weapon in hand - after all, the dark cannon-scythe had cut down billions of demons in its time.

With it, you drove off the Witch. She said many strange things as she faded away, of Curse Inversion and of charcoal, of the Throne of Depravity and a place beyond heaven, and of the City of Depravity, Shar Saboten.

All of this sat heavy on your shoulders once you awoke.

In the tower's newly restored bath house, you confided your worries in your closest friend, the artifex Hilde - a woman as short and curvaceous as you are tall and muscled. Dame Fiona joined you as well, offering some of her wisdom and knowledge of magics and khemistry. Hilde brought her brandy, and the three of you may have gotten so drunk that when you were called from the baths to a meeting, you nearly made a fool of yourself.

In front of the King. Or, well, on sending with the King, which uses figments well enough that you're quite sure he realized that you were not sober. Especially after you stabbed a certain clown of a woman with word shivs for intruding upon the camp and making an overall mockery of diplomatic negotiations.

That woman happened to be the Princeps Amalia, an imperial cur who happens to hold a rank roughly equivalent to the Duke of Somnenblume. Why was she dressed like a clown? Why do imperials do anything? The Senatus Populusque Rosarius is - from everything you have been told - less a body politic and more an insane asylum being run by the inmates. You suppose it's fortunate that Amalia found you an amusement and curiosity rather than an irritation.

She might have done something unreasonable otherwise. Then swords would have gotten drawn and the camp's peace would have been broken like a fallen piece of glass.
>>
The meeting adjourned with you being given a new rank, and a new mission. The King elevated you to Baroness in order to get around some treaty or another that regulates the powers you used against the Witch of Depravity, which Sir Damien called an "Opus". On the King's orders, you returned to your home of Liliendorf to meet with one of his diplomats, the Earl of Lavendel. A journey that went without incident but for running into a cadre of half-giants, with whom you exchanged poetry for the right to cross an old bridge.

In Liliendorf, you've made plans for your trip to Rosarium with the Earl, and knit an ugly scarf with your mother and sisters. The Knitting Circle happens to be the women's equivalent of the Lodges where menfolk gather to do menfolk things, and they heard a little rumor that you need to follow up on. Supplies for the Road Beneath, being gathered by your youngest sister's urchin of a suitor, and paid for in gold coins that he certainly could not have stashed away over any amount of time.

Which has lead you to young Lothar's lair, an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the village that he's claimed as his workshop and home. The boy looks positively like a child whose hand has been caught in the cookie-jar as you confront him over the matter. Roll Diplomacy or Intimidate, 1d20
>You want to know everything the Earl has told him about his plans (Intimidate)
>He's going to tell you the exact contents of the supplies, because you're his liege. (Intimidate)
>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)
>The only thing you want to know is who asked him to make the purchases, that shouldn't be too much. (Diplomacy)
>If he's sworn to secrecy on where everything is and their contents... can he tell you where they will be? (Diplomacy)
>(Write in)
>+Use a Token of the Quill
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5915521
>>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)
>>
>>5915521
>He's going to tell you the exact contents of the supplies, because you're his liege. (Intimidate)

>>5915513
Give us our special armor you skank
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5915542
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5915521
>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)

it might also be worth explaining how it was noticed, and for him to be a little more conservative with the gold, unless that was the point. As its use was noticed and was subsequently brought to our attention.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5915521
>The only thing you want to know is who asked him to make the purchases, that shouldn't be too much. (Diplomacy)
naughty boy
>>
also why no lady knight for the OP image ?
>>
>>5915632
Zoom in.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5915521
>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5915521
>He's going to tell you the exact contents of the supplies, because you're his liege. (Intimidate)
>>
>>5915542
You'll get it when it comes to you, I haven't forgotten about it. Probably when you talk to Hilde, you'll have an option of her giving your armor some upgrades, vs. a mystery box later.
>>5915632
There is a very small lady knight in the bottom left.

Also, I am slowly attempting to draw things myself. I got a tablet and everything! Here's the results of my second hour with it, a bust (no booba, sadly) of Louise.
>>
>>5915860
>choker
Lewd.
>>
>>5915860
>Also, I am slowly attempting to draw things myself. I got a tablet and everything!
neat, OP. I also wanna try drawing a little someday.
>>
>>5915860
>Also, I am slowly attempting to draw things myself. I got a tablet and everything!
That's great! Once you get used to the features of whichever drawing program you use, you'll be able to do a lot with it. Having personally done some of both, digital art is WAY easier to pick up and make "professional-looking" work compared to conventional.

>>5915921
You reminded me of that MEMRI TV meme where the guy says chokers make women look like dogs or slaves.
>>
>>5915860
proud of u
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5915521
>>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)
>>
>>5915521
>You'll put in a good word with your mother if he tells you what he thinks is going on. (Diplomacy)
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5916460
>>
>>5915860
Nice going, QM! But those clavicles are wrong
>>
>>5915921
She's had the choker from day 1, as that's the compacted form of her folding plate. It is a goldsteel band worn about the neck with an adamantine core. At the front sits a black diamond set in gold cut to contain mana and function as the armor's primary power source. An indication light glows in the within the diamond with the color of the wearer's mana (in Louise's case, green). As a stylistic choice, and as her right as a Knight of the Order of Holy Light, the mana indication light is shaped in the official seal of the Church of Holy Light.

It folds out upon mental command or in response to an object entering a 1 meter radius around the wearer at sufficient velocity. Ideally, it folds out over skin-tight armorsilks, as while it can fold out over other clothing, it is not designed to and has a good chance of damaging them.
>>5915922
Yeah, it's fun. Please bear with me as I try to get out of mediocrity.
>>5916187
I've been using Krita, which has treated me well thus far, though I'm not sure how to map the pallette stuff to the tablet buttons yet.

On the Memri TV stuff, the choker as folding plate is - like armorsilks - light fetish bait with Lore justification. The Order of the Imaginary Color using folding plate that specifically looks like a cold iron slave collar is heavy fetish bait with in universe Lore justification. (It's symbolic of their absolute servitude to the King that justifies the heresy they commit as part of their work).
>>5916550
Yeah, I made the mistake of drawing a without a reference for that image. I did a (probably NSFW) picture with a reference where things came out a bit better proportions wise. But hey, improving my art is a good excuse to look at naked ladies.
>>
>>5916694
>She's had the choker from day 1,
I've wanted to snap it from day 1 as well.
>>
>>5916694
>Yeah, it's fun. Please bear with me as I try to get out of mediocrity.
no problem OP and have you read Cursed Carrier ? qm is also an inexperienced artist and he's making his arts for the doots.

>The Order of the Imaginary Color using folding plate that specifically looks like a cold iron slave collar is heavy fetish bait with in universe Lore justification.
makes sense for heretics to do that, kek. choker fetish is one of those things that I kinda get the intent behind but it doesn't do much for me. I wonder if you'll put a group who does sex magick in the setting (the witch gooning sheshs and cuck bait doesn't count).
>>
File: Lothar maybe.png (1.21 MB, 2028x1500)
1.21 MB
1.21 MB PNG
Winning Option: Bribe him with a good word to your mother.
Diplomacy 18+17 = 35 vs DC 35. Success!

The little scamp stares up at you with his bright blue eyes filled with hope that his talk of oaths and secrecy will get you to drop the matter. From the way he quivers beneath your gaze, you must cut an imposing figure as you stare down at him. The tremendous height and lean, muscled figure that your bloodline is heir to have done little to bring you suitors, but when the situation calls for looming you would not give an inch off your height for an inch on your bust. Nor would you give up even a touch of your strength to broaden your appeal as a woman.

No, in the flashy and colorful townclothes that your mother prefers you wear to simple comforts of your armorsilks, the wiry and coiled muscles born from twenty years of strength training strain against the fabric of your clothes. They do not bulge like those of a man. Even arms as thick across as yours have just the faintest hint of femininity to them. Wyfs and weirs have different shapes to their bones, and no amount of tomboyish strength and athleticism could take your womanhood away from you.

Though you doubt Lothar sees a woman looming over him in this moment.

No, he must see must see a stern and stone-faced giant staring down at him with a frozen frown and single, baleful eye as icy cold a blue as the sky before a blizzard. An eye whose twin is hidden behind a thong of gilded black leather inscribed with gardener runes that speak a blessing against the temptations of the dark. No wonder he shivers in his boots. Most his age would crack beneath the coldness in your eyes like a dam without maintenance in winter, letting a river of secrets spill forth from their mouth.

To his credit, Lothar has not started babbling about whatever Damien and the Earl of Lavendel had him purchase on their behalf. Yes, both of them were involved, he let that much slip - clients have him sworn to silence, not a single client. Something bubbles up behind your right eye, restrained by the curse-suppressing relic wrapped about it. A terrible and burning pressure that yearns to be released. You'd have your answers quicker if you just let it out and crushed his resistance beneath the weight of your will.

If you suspected espionage and treason, you might have done what that little voice in the back of your mind wanted. Chicanery and annoying games of politics, however, are not worth burning your relationship with the boy you suspect will one day be your brother-in-law.

So you chastise the voice for being hasty and say, "Keeping your oaths is commendable Lothar, so I won't ask about whatever it is that Damien asked you to do."
>>
>>5917298
Lothar's expression when you mention Damien's name tells you everything you need to know about who put him up to it. He pales at first glance, thinking the game is up. But with how quick he regains his color and confidence, you can say with some certainty that the Earl must be involved as well. Swallowing hard, he says, "Good. Because I wouldn't have been able to tell you about it anyhow, milady. My clients were real serious 'bout it, said something... how'd it go, uh... loose lips-"

"-sink ships," you finish the adage for him. He nods vigorously, though before he can say anything else, you move to put out a little carrot for him, asking if, "The oath you swore... your clients simply wanted to keep what they were purchasing secret, is that right?"

Lothar spends a moment thinking about it, before pulling a notebook from his pocket. Thumbing through it, his tongue pokes out from the corner of his mouth as he looks for the page that has the answer. Once he finds it, he runs his fingers along the words before nodding to himself and slipping the book back into his coat. "Yuh-huh! They were pretty specific that I couldn't tell anyone what I bought for them, 'even if the King showed up on your doorstep'. They said they'd beg forgiveness from him if it came to that and everything."

Your eyebrows raise when the King gets mentioned, but the content of his oath makes your lips crinkle into a cunning little smile. Damien and the Earl were not quite as thorough as they thought they were being... or they left it in on purpose, and wanted you to find it. Damn courtiers and their mind games. In either case, there's no harm in asking, "So there is nothing in your oath that forbids you from telling me your thoughts about what they purchased, and why?"

Lothar's face crinkles like your words made him swallow a lemon whole. Thumbing through his notebook again, he shakes his head and says, "Nope. Nothing like that, though it kind of feels a little unfair if I did..."

The honorable perspective, one that you would agree with in most circumstances, and one that makes your offer to him more sincere than you thought it would be. After all, if that's his first thought on the matter, the boy has a good sense of right and wrong. "Perhaps. Or perhaps that's not what they cared about. You'll be doing me a favor if you tell me your thoughts on the matter, so the least I could do for you is put in a good word for you to mother and father. Perhaps convince them to give you a chance as Etna's suitor..."

Lothar brightens the moment you mention Etna, but he's too clever and canny to let his feelings for her get in the way of his business and influence negotiations. He pulls back, just a little, eyeing you up and down, saying, "Milady's father wants a boy with a proper apprenticeship for his daughter-"
>>
>>5917302
"You're already something of Hilde's little helper," you tell him, though he bristles at being called helper. "I'm sure I can get her to recognize you as her disciple, or however an artifex and khemist recognizes their pupil."

Lothar thinks on that for a moment, before shaking his head, "Milady's mother hates me and thinks I'm like one of those no-good city urchins whose only trade is thievin' and pinchin'. Even milady's word wouldn't convince her otherwise... and I'm a man of my word. If you want me to stretch it, I'd need something concrete."

You give an exaggerated sigh and slump of your shoulders. Lothar has always been a shrewd negotiator, the sort of kid who looks out for his best interests. It's a merchant's sort of honor that you can't fully approve of on principle, as it's rarely straightforward, but it's still a sort of honor none-the-less. Fortunately, little Etna gushes about the boy enough that you know how to deal with him. You're just lucky you haven't had the need to seriously bribe the boy for information since your last trip to Somnenblume, so you have an offering prepared.

Reaching into your bag, you pull out something that makes young Lothar's eyes sparkle with delight. The frown on your face curls into a smile as you offer him a thick, leather-bound tome whose cover bears its title, the author's signature, and the face of a one-eyed wolf. "First printing run, signed by the author and illustrator both. This and my best efforts to convince my parents that you're a good kid, for everything you can tell me and speculate on without breaking your oath of secrecy."

Lothar quickly snatches the copy of Gottfried the Wise Wolf from your hands. One of the most beloved four-panel stories in the Kingdom, which was only recently printed off broadsheet and in a dedicated tome like this. He flips through the book, determining that it's genuine, and looks up at you with guilt in his blue eyes. "Light, milady, I feel like I'm fleecin' ya here. But I'll tell ya everything I can!"

"Without breaking your word," you remind him, and he nods vigorously. "A man's word is his bond, and certainly more important than a storybook."

"Yuh-huh! I gotcha," Lothar says. "Alright, now where do I begin..."

You learn more than you need to from Lothar. All they forbade him from telling anyone was the exact contents of his purchases, and who gave him the money to make them. So you do not confirm that it was the Earl and Damien, though that is plain as day from his reactions earlier. He happily tells you where they want the goods dropped off on the morrow and the names of the farmhands he's paying to move the stuff. He shows you one of the gold coins he paid for things with, which are of the standard weight and purity for the kingdom, but have the stamp of a lavender instead of a daffodil.
>>
>>5917305
"As for what I think they're up to..." Lothar ponders for a moment, before saying that, "They told me to pay for the supplies in gold when I asked if I should change it for silver. Gold's pretty loud, not many people pay for things with it, so I think they wanted it to be heard by someone? They said I could keep the rest, and it's a suspicious number too... after buying everything for 'em plus payin' the farmhands, what's leftover plus my savings could buy a press. Not just a coffeeshop model, neither, but the sort for bulk printing..."

"Hmm. You've given me much to think about, Lothar," you tell the boy. Then you give him a little clap on the shoulder and say, "You've earned your reward here, so go enjoy it. Of course, I will ask that you remain quiet about what we've discussed here..."

Lothar nods before running up to his loft to devour his new treasure. You take your leave of his warehouse with many thoughts running through your head... Roll 1d100
>The best decision is to do nothing and let things play out. The worst case scenario is that you need to convince them again that the Road Beneath is a fool's errand.
>Have your men-at-arms receive the supplies that the Earl and Damien have so generously purchased, and bring it to the caravan as back-up for what is already prepared for the Crown Road.
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.
>Confront whoever plans to receive the supplies shortly after its delivery. Either it's Damien and the Earl, in which case you'll convince them of their foolishness again, or it's not and you'll need your armor.
>Confront Damien and the Earl now. You have no patience for games like this.
>(Write in)

Hilde will be finished with your armor and armorsilks' repairs by the night's end. (Potential use of Enhanced Armor purchase)
>It's your folding plate and armorsilks, what more did you expect?
>...she added bells and whistles to the armor. Is this why it took her near a week to complete, when it should have taken an artifex of her caliber a day or two at most?
>...she added bells and whistles to the armorsilks. Why the armorsilks of all things?
>>
Rolled 79 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Have your men-at-arms receive the supplies that the Earl and Damien have so generously purchased, and bring it to the caravan as back-up for what is already prepared for the Crown Road.
Play courtier games, win courtier prizes. We can be sneaky, too, when needs must.

>...she added bells and whistles to the armorsilks. Why the armorsilks of all things?
Speaking of sneakiness...
>>
Rolled 71 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Have your men-at-arms receive the supplies that the Earl and Damien have so generously purchased, and bring it to the caravan as back-up for what is already prepared for the Crown Road.
>It's your folding plate and armorsilks, what more did you expect?
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.
time to get sneaky
>...she added bells and whistles to the armor. Is this why it took her near a week to complete, when it should have taken an artifex of her caliber a day or two at most?
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.
Can the Earl and Damien be planning to deceive Roslander spies?
>...she added bells and whistles to the armorsilks. Why the armorsilks of all things?
>>
>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.

>...she added bells and whistles to the armorsilks. Why the armorsilks of all things?
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>5917841
>>
Rolled 27 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.

>It's your folding plate and armorsilks, what more did you expect?
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.

>...she added bells and whistles to the armor. Is this why it took her near a week to complete, when it should have taken an artifex of her caliber a day or two at most?
>>
>>5916744
And you said that having the choker there was lewd...
>>5916931
I have not read that, unfortunately. If/when I start doing my own art for updates, it will probably be slowly, and with relevant images. I think the first I'll do is Louise in Armorsilks, because I suspect that will be the easiest to find a good model for.

As for groups doing sex Magics, the bulk of that is going to be villainous because the orgasm is a point of spiritual vulnerability in setting. It's how souls get extracted, or the hardest to remove seeds of corruption get implanted.

That being said, there can be some good uses of it. There are some tantric cults of the Light that open themselves up to divine guidance through such means. Louise herself has ad-hoc'd such a ritual prayer, and while that's not the soul reason by far for her strength in divine magics, it is a contributing factor.

But the most powerful seggs magic is more evil aligned than good Aligned.
>>5917379
That is definitely one thing that Hilde upgrading the Armorsilks will give you.
>>5917786
>Can the Earl and Damien be planning to deceive Roslander spies?
There are a number of things those shifty gentlemen could be doing. It could be Roslanders, Cultists, or even just seeing how much attention you're paying to things. Or they could be seeing who bites.
>>
>>5918388
>Louise herself has ad-hoc'd such a ritual prayer, and while that's not the soul reason by far for her strength in divine magics, it is a contributing factor.
damn, louise managed to get something in one of her moments of weakness ? my headcanon is that the Lord was gonna give her something and used it as an excuse
>But the most powerful seggs magic is more evil aligned than good Aligned.
makes sense, even if the Lord of light doesn't mind masturbation/fornication he doesn't wanna his followers to build gooncaves
>>
>>5917307
>Something suspicious is going on. Have Joana observe the delivery of the goods from the shadows, keeping an eye out for anything untowards... or any unexpected guests.

>...she added bells and whistles to the armorsilks. Why the armorsilks of all things?
>>
>>5918388
There is nothing lewd about wanting to free a sister from her bondage.
>>
Winner: Joana and Pimped Out Armorsilks.

Your business with young Lothar complete, you return to Castle Liliendorf to make your preparations. The sun is well on its way towards to the horizon for the evening, leaving you with precious little time to get ahead of whatever chicanery Damien and the Earl have hatched these past three days. May the LORD give you the patience to deal with whatever it may be.

The first thought that crosses your mind would be to go to Olanna and confiscate all of the goods.

The second thought that chases after it is the suspicion that they want you to do just that.

If those men want to act like scheming, shady courtiers pulling underhanded tricks to curry favor in the King's court, then you must needs demonstrate the appropriate means to deal with such chicanery. No, Olanna can act subtly, but sending her and the men-at-arms would be like using a sledgehammer to engrave a name on fine porcelain. The Duke taught you better than that. When a job must be loud, you give it to someone who can be loud; and when a job must be quiet, you give it to someone overlooked by all.

Which is why you approach your most trusted hand-maid. A woman getting on to her forties, who rules imperiously over the laundries of camp and castle alike, but otherwise falls beneath most people's notice. A former servant of the Duke of Somnenblume who retired to Liliendorf with a slight limp, to live out the rest of her days in peace. A maid who gets a little restless from time to time, and enjoys the opportunity to stretch her legs, even the bad one.

"Hello Joana," you greet the queen of the laundry. "How's your leg doing?"

"Well, I won't be doing cartwheels anytime soon, but it won't be giving out on me just yet," she says. There's a glimmer in her eye when she catches the serious look on your face. Her lips crinkle into a wolfish smile. "There some challenging work to be had, milady? Hilde built this lovely brace for my knee, and I've been dying to get the chance to really stretch my legs..."

"There's a warehouse down by the wharf where Damien and Earl have been squirreling away supplies that they purchased very loudly," you tell Joana. She nods for you to continue. "I'm not interested in what they bought, I've heard enough to know that it's supplies for an expedition to the Road Beneath. What I do want to know is the identity of everyone keeping an eye on those supplies, and if anyone decides to tamper with them. Can you and your students get me that information?"

Joana simply curtsies. "It will be done, milady."

===

With Joana taking one of her students out for "a walk", you can rest assured that whatever secrets Damien and the Earl have been hiding, they will be uncovered. Whether the supplies are bait for a spy, a test of your awareness of the goings-on in Liliendorf, or if it's exactly what it seems - an attempt to switch plans to the Road Beneath - you will know it by tomorrow morning.
>>
>>5918531

For the time being, you head to Hilde's workshop. She said that your harness would be finished by the evening, and you mean to collect it now.

Sitting in the lowest basement of Castle Liliendorf, so deep below the ground that it brushes against the escape tunnels built for the eventuality of a siege, Hilde has created a nest for herself where she can work in peace. The floor is strewn with all manner of machina that she has constructed for her projects, great tools that help her work with precision and grace. They are arranged almost as haphazardly as she keeps her self, but just as her unkempt manner is deliberate for its appeal to men, each workbench has been placed to minimize the wasted motion that occurs during the course of her work.

In a shock of vibrant color that contrasts with the greys and blacks of steel and iron strewn about the room, her loft practically glows with its many pink pillows and sheets. You turn an eye away from the "innovations" strewn about the plush space, pretending not to notice the embarrassing things that she's left in plain sight. How many men have seen her loft up close and personal is a question you'd rather not ponder.

Hilde herself sits at a khemistry table, her wild mane of brown hair pulled back into a half-managed ponytail. A thick pair of spectacles protect her eyes as she raises the choker of your folding plate from a tub of some shocking green khemical.

"You arrived just in time, Louise!" your friend cheerily greets you, swiveling about on her chair. "I just put the finishing touches of everything. Go ahead, try it out!"

Without another word, she rolls her chair over to you and all but shoves two pieces of jewelry into your hands. One, you easily recognize as the choker that serves as the nexus of your folding plate. Goldsteel with a core of black adamantite, with a black diamond from the mines beneath the Holy City at its heart to give it power, fitted perfectly for your neck. The other, you do not recognize. It looks like a gold signet ring set around an emerald, emblazoned with the narzissenmark.
>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
>Ask Hilde what the ring is before trying it out.
>Ask Hilde where your armorsilks are.
>You can put off these mysteries for a later date, even if that disappoints your friend.
>(Write in)
>>
>>5918532
>but just as her unkempt manner is deliberate for its appeal to men
a woman of cometure

>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
Let's go
>>
>>5918532
>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
What's the worst that could happen no wait aaaaaahhhhhh

Also hold up, if the entire suit of armor folds up into a choker, isn't that choker ludicrously dense? Is it also large enough that the weight can rest on the shoulders to not suffocate whoever wears it? Does magic reduce its effective mass by putting most of it in a pocket dimension?
>>
>>5918532
>>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
>>
>>5918531
wait a sec, I recognize the artist of pic rel. very nice choice, OP.
>>
>>5918532
>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
>>
>>5918532
>>You trust Hilde unconditionally. Put them both on and then try them out. The worst that could happen is some strange prank.
>>
>>5918532
>Ask Hilde where your armorsilks are.
>>
>>5918503
Yes I'm sure that's what you meant, and nothing else.
>>5918574
Yes, the entire suit of armor folds up into that choker. There have been a number of times when she's notes to deploy it or retract it in the story, and notes that she wore the choker alone without deploying it.

The Folding Plate in setting is based on an item from D&D and Pathfinder that I consider a vital staple for any Heavy Armor wearing character: Folding Plate. A neck slot item that just removes the need for you to worry about donning your armor if someone ambushes you, because it reduces the action to equip/unequip the armor to a Bonus or Swift Action.

In setting, all of that depends. Louise's harness was created by the Duke's master Artifex, whose lack of raw talent compared to Hilde is made up for with the weight of 30 years of experience. Her folding plate is about as light as they come when retracted, though most modern examples are closer to hers than not. The back up she's been wearing (her father's old armor from before he retired) is a fair bit heavier and thicker. That said, only models from 150 years or so ago would require shoulder support for the sorcerous array.

The sorcerous array for Folding Plate was, notably, an invention of King Arthur rois Jonquille (or one of the men who carried that name, if you don't believe the conspiracy theories). Some of its function is a black box that Just Works, including whatever sorcery allows for it to transform between armor and a choker.
>>
>>5919176
>The Folding Plate in setting is based on an item from D&D and Pathfinder that I consider a vital staple for any Heavy Armor wearing character: Folding Plate. A neck slot item that just removes the need for you to worry about donning your armor if someone ambushes you, because it reduces the action to equip/unequip the armor to a Bonus or Swift Action.
nice to know
>>
>>5918532
>Ask Hilde where your armorsilks are.
She seems like she'd appreciate an excuse to brag about her innovations. Not THOSE innovations on the bed, but yes, probably also those. For now, let's just ask about our armorsilks.
>>
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802 KB JPG
The familiar weight of your harness about your neck relieves you of worries that crawled into the back of your mind, out of sight but not quite gone away. The armor you wore on the trip back from the Briarcrown served your family well across three generations, but you had not worn it since the Southern Campaign some seven years ago now. The glory you won butchering wendigos earned you the sleek, modern folding plate that now hugs your neck. The familiar sensation of the black diamond linking with your mana and blazing to life with the Gardener sigil for Light leaves you with a calm you have not felt since your battle against the Arbiter.

You slip the unfamiliar ring about your right index finger. Like the heavy choker that contains your armor, it sips mana from your body to charge the emerald at its heart. It draws so little that you barely feel it. If you compared your folding plate to a fire in the hearth, then the ring would be a gently flickering candle; that is the difference between them. You poke and prod at the ring, looking for some button or other mechanism to activate it, but find nothing.

A sheepish look crosses Hilde's face as you toy around with it, and she explains that you should, "Push your mana into it, like you're deploying your harness."

"Oh, I see..." you say, and do just that.

Something like viscous tar pours out from beneath the ring and crawls its way up your arm and across your body. It swallows your clothes whole, not dissolving them but pulling them into the elsewhere that the ring must open a gate unto as it runs across the fabric. It feels like sticky silk against your bare skin, and slides over your breasts, down your legs, and across those unmentionable places to give you a fit like a second skin. It stops at the choker around your neck, but every inch of your body below is covered from your fingers to your toes.

Once your body is covered, the liquid fabric shifts in color and stiffens into cloth that feels little different than your old armorsilks. The coloration retains the broad strokes of what the old set looked like, though there are enough differences to show it off as new.

It retains a pattern like a leotard about your chest and crotch, but instead of solid black it is striped vertically with gold. The rest of the fabric lets your skin peak through like a stocking, filtering the creamy color of your flesh through a filter of black silk and lace. From the thicker cloth that creates a pair of gloves about your hands, a field of flowers bloom in shocks of color from vines of black lace that crawl up your arms and about your shoulders. The stockings about your legs remain sheer all the way to your feet, dotted with golden narzissenmarks in a regular pattern.
>>
>>5919650
The Crest of the Holy Light has moved from its place beneath your navel to an eye-catching place right above the cleavage of your breasts. Your personal sigil of the black-gold narzissenmark upon a shield sits on your right shoulder, embraced by a wreath of brightly colored flowers. Below the choker, a ruff of white lace flares out about the base of your neck, patterned with lillies.

"Sorry to surprise you with this," Hilde sounds apologetic as she scratches down some notes into a book, looking over the armorsilks keenly. Her hands grab at a few places best left unsaid to get a feel of the fit. Oddly enough, in a few places it feels like a pair of hands are pushing you up and providing some extra support. "I tried salvaging what was left of your armorsilks, but the Arbiter really did a number on them. Just about the only thing I could salvage from them was the orichalcum in the circuitry."

"These are not like any armorsilks I've worn before..." you tell her. It's true. While they're no more snug a fit than any other pair you've owned, these somehow feel like they're groping you as you move. Perhaps that's a phantom sensation from how it wrapped around your body, but you're not quite sure about that. "They breath well, but not having buttons or straps is rather odd. Not to mention how they almost feel alive.""

"They're a new model," Hilde says. A bright sparkle has filled her eyes, and you can tell right away what she wants to do.

With a fond smile, you tell her, "Go ahead. Regale me with your latest achievements."

"Well, you can thank the Material Khemistry Department of Stamen University," Hilde smiles brightly as she begins pouring out the all the little details that she loves to gush over when it comes to artifice. She reminds you of René when she gets like this. "My contribution to the Silk Liquefication and Inertial Modification Experiment was figuring out production at scale for the material. What you're wearing now is the end result of nearly two decades of research... and probably its first time seeing use outside of the lab..."

You arch an eyebrow at that, which nearly makes Hilde jump to assure you that, "Don't worry though! It's been very thoroughly tested for durability against standard embersilk and exceeded it in every measure. Liquefaction of Embersilk by Worcester's Decomposition actually improves its ability to absorb blunt force trauma by a factor of four! It also renders the material flame resistant, electricity resistant, water resistant, insulates against extreme temperatures, makes it sporicidal, germicidal, spermicidal-"

You blink at the last word and ask, "Sorry, what was that last one?"
>>
>>5919651
"Oh, it's super stretchy, but doesn't deform," Hilde explains without explaining anything at all. Then she says something that you dearly wish she did not. "I kinda found that bit out accidentally while futzing around with a sample they gave me, but they were pleasantly surprised when they confirmed the results themselves. It got my name on the paper as a contributing researcher, but-"

"Hilde," you have a very important question that you need to ask her. "You didn't use that sample to make these armorsilks, did you...?"

"No, I've been wearing them as the best pair of bloomers ever," she tells you with a lurid grin. "Don't even need to take them off when you get a little randy. Especially since they're also self lubricating."

You groan. "Why?"

"Presumably a result of the liquefaction process," Hilde explains with a shrug. "It should help to extend the lifespan by a good long while, though. You know how you need to oil your leathers every now and then to keep them from cracking? The self-lubrication should reduce the amount of maintenance you need to perform on these."

That is... a good point, actually. Releasing a sigh, you ask her, "Are there any other strange features I should know about before using these?"

"They can change color, " Hilde explains. "Depress the sigil on the ring while the armorsilks are deployed, and you'll be able to change between some configurations I put together for you. It's currently set to 'Parade Silks', I've also included some camouflage for a number of environments... oh! I may have left 'Emperor's Armorsilks' on there. Don't use that one unless you run into your René and want to show him something nice..."

You nod at Hilde's words. Emperor's Armorsilks sounds particularly extravagant, so if you had to guess you'd expect that she toyed around with it to make an outfit that's as fancy as it is alluring. Something you wouldn't be caught dead in under normal circumstances, but... Hilde knows what men want better than you do. If she thinks René would think it looked nice, you can take her at her word.

Before you can ask Hilde anything more about the new armorsilks, a knock on the doorframe interrupts you. Roll 1d100
>It's the Earl of Lavendel.
>It's Sir Damien.
>It's Good Father Durandal.
>It's your father.
>It's a raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>(Write In)
>>
Rolled 82 (1d100)

>>5919654
>It's a raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5919651
>"[...]makes it sporicidal, germicidal, spermicidal-"
classic Hilde, I wonder how she tested it
>>5919654
>"Oh, it's super stretchy, but doesn't deform, [...] I kinda found that bit out accidentally while futzing around with a sample they gave me"
so that's how. Very nice and they also are self-lubed, neat.

>"[...]oh! I may have left 'Emperor's Armorsilks' on there. Don't use that one unless you run into your René and want to show him something nice..."
René is one lucky man
>It's a raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>5919651
>LEWD SLIME armorsilks
Oh Hilde.

>>5919654
>Emperor Has No Clothes mode
OOOOH HILDE

>>5919654
>It's a raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>>
>>5919654
>It's Sir Damien.
And Louise has to put her hair into twintails, give him the cow-scarf, and say something to the effect of
> Don't get carried away, I'm only giving you this because you saved my shapely ass that one time and I don't want to be in your debt! Baka!

>>5919683
>>LEWD SLIME armorsilks
>Oh Hilde.
Not as good as the Arbiter's sentient hentai-tentacle body-glove
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

Forgot to roll
>>
>>5919654
>It's a raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>>
>>5919654
Do these armorsilks have a mode where you can wear them on their own without scandalizing the onlookers?
>It's your father.
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>5919654
>>It's your father.
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>5920040
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5919654
>It's your father.

>>5920072
>>5920098
Thanks dad
>>
>>5920040
That's what it being a separate ring is for, I would presume.
>>
>>5920098
>>5920072
Nice.

>>5920249
Good point! We can wear casual clothes underneath now.
>>
>>5919471
She already has, to a level of detail that Louise never needed nor wanted. If you've read the webnovel "I don't really get it, but it looks like I've been reincarnated", Hilde has a similar mindset when it comes to invention. She usually doesn't immediate pursue lewd things in the workshop, but her mind invariably wanders towards such applications.
>>5919678
First with a toy, then with one of her gentlemen callers. She absolutely adores having such a useful set of undergarments.

Yes, the full armorsilks have the same functions and use. The armor part of it has always been a hardening in response to physical trauma.

As for that last part, showing it off is definitely going to be an option when you run into Rene in person.
>>5919683
Don't blame Hilde on this, she was not involved in those acronyms. If anyone, blame the King from about 2 centuries ago. He invented armorsilks and folding plate specifically so he had an excuse to make the uniform for female palace guards skin-tight bodysuits and collars.
>>5919770
Few people in the setting are as cultured as the Witch of Depravity, for better or worse.
>>5920040
What are you talking about? Armorsilks are not scandalous at all. It's common practice for Knights male and female to wear their armorsilks and nothing else about town, especially if they're looking to peacock their wealth and stature.

Only an uncivilized barbarian would be scandalized by such things. Especially ones made for Louise's tastes, which are quite humble compared to the more flashy ones worn by other lady knights. Yes, they conform to her figure quite well, but is that is simply flaunting her physical strength.

Louise doesn't really go for the extra flashy stuff thay some nobles do. She has extremely practical sculpted plate with a raised, feminine bubble. Some women have their armor gently conform to the shape of their bust, while others wear out and out boobplate with shaped nipples that are seen as the woman's equivalent of a flashy codpiece.
>>5920249
That's actually so that of she needs to armor up quickly, she can do so with a full set of armorsilks and without damaging her clothes. Folding plate can be deployed over clothing, but if it's not skin tight there's a good chance of it ripping the fabric. Armorsilks are not seen as scandalous in setting.
>>
>>5920381
>the King from about 2 centuries ago
Fuhrer Roy Mustang??
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5919654
>It's your father.
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5919654
>It's your father.
>>
>>5919654
>It's your father.
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5920759
>>
>>5920381
>First with a toy
kinda surprised on this one since I thought she'd prefer the real thing and dislike toys, but on a second note it makes sense, kek.

>If anyone, blame the King from about 2 centuries ago
hmm, I wonder if we'll see the subtle hornyness of our king later on
>>5920395
>Fuhrer Roy Mustang??
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJUlTg3mfTo
>>
"Hilde, have you seen Louise?" your father's voice rumbles from beyond the doorframe. He may no longer be the young sword hand he used to be, but his voice has only grown deeper and more powerful with age.

Hilde nearly jumps out of her pants when she hears him. Not in the way she leaps out of her clothes when one of her boys comes calling, but more like a feral cat who just heard the crack of thunder. The mess of hair that tumbles down her back in a current of tangled, muddy-blonde curls stands up on edge. Rushing to her loft, she scurries up the ladder and grabs at a ring to pull down a curtain that hides away her bed. She sighs in relief when she sees your hand hovering over the doorknob, your expression amused and expectant.

Only when she gives you a thumbs up do you open the door for him.

Your father fills the hall in a way that few men can. At a gargantuan seven feet tall, your forehead only comes up to his chin, making him one of the only men you've met who didn't need to use magic to meet or exceed your height. He did not grow long and lanky, either. Were he shorter, he might have been called broad and stocky, with a barrel chest and muscles as thick as the trunk of a tree. Even at fifty years old, he remains hale and hearty, with muscles enough to strain at the simple ranching garments that he's taken to wearing in his old age.

His light hair has allowed him to age gracefully, with streaks of silver blending in subtly with his once untarnished mane of gold. He keeps his face clean shaven as he has for as long as you can remember, and he ties his hair into a loose ponytail that reaches halfway down his back. His blue eyes hide behind a gift you brought back from Stamen on your last trip to the capital - a pair of circular red-lensed spectacles that allow the wearer to see in darkness unimpeded.

"Hello Papa!" you greet your father with a smile.

"Howdy, Ross," Hilde gives a little sheepish waves to your father - Rousseau - while her eyes dart around the room in search of any embarrassing things sticking out from their hiding place. The last time that he saw something like that strewn about while the two of you were having some girl talk... you'd rather not think about it.

"I hope you two haven't been getting into too much trouble," your father says. Something about the way he speaks drags you back to the days of your childhood schemes with René and the other children. He ducks through the door, careful not to bang his head on the frame. A familiar problem for you, one completely alien to Hilde. "Hilde, I see you've finished... ah, those are new armorsilks, aren't they? Which means the old..."

You and Hilde share a brief look with one another while your father shakes his head, an amused smile on his face. "Well, the last time your armorsilks got ruined beyond repair, you sent the Alans men running back to their hills. So it must have been a hell of a fight."
>>
>>5920907
You slump down into the nearest chair with a sigh and admit that, "I got my ass kicked, Papa."

He takes a seat on a chair of his own and peaks over his spectacles at you, meeting your eyes, "You give as good as you get?"

You have to think about that question for a moment, because you don't really know the answer. Your eyes drift away from your father, and you find yourself getting pulled back into your fight against the Arbiter. How helpless and desperate you felt to achieve something, anything, against the most overwhelming foe that you've ever faced before. Before you can stew in your thoughts for too long, however, Hilde's voice yanks you out of there. "She dropped the roof on them Ross. So I'd say they were good and got... even if they lived to run away."

Your father gives a hearty chuckle and claps you on the shoulder. "That's my girl!"

Hilde picks up on the morose mood that the conversation has left you with, so she quickly takes the reins of any conversation that might be coming, asking your father, "So what didja need Louise for, anyways?"

"Does a man need an excuse to check in on his daughter...?" your father says... before completely changing tune a moment later. "...is what I would like to say, anyways. But I heard on the grapevine - and by on the grapevine, I mean from your mother - that you made a scarf for a boy. A boy who is not only not one of your brothers, but is also not little René. Am I going to need to have a sit down with this... Damien fellow and discuss things like boundaries with my darling caille, like I did with René?"

Hilde's eyes open wide as if some grand revelation was just laid out before her. "So that's why he ran away to Sal Khemia! It always bothered me that René just left for a city halfway across the world with a girl like Louise pining after him. She's got brawn, beauty, and... maybe not my brains, but you're daughter's a catch, Ross!"

"Right?" your father nods in emphatic agreement. "She's naive towards the wolfish hearts of men, too, Hilde. I'm counting on you to protect her when I can't."

Hilde snaps into a salute with enough force that her breasts jiggle. "Don't worry, Ross. You watch the homefront, I'll guard her in foreign lands."

Your father's eyes twinkle and his deep voice fills with amusement and emotion as he declares, "Your the best friend my daughter could ask for, Hilde."
>Hilde, what the fuck?
>Papa, what the fuck?
>You two are the worst.
>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.
>Don't worry father, you don't need to worry about Damien giving you any grandchildren. Hilde already claimed him, and I'm not into her used goods.
>Oh, but I already had plans with him tonight. He was taking me out to dinner and then we were going to have a sleepover.
>I'm sorry father, but it's too late. I'm already pregnant with Damien's child.
>(Write in)
>>
>>5920908
>>You two are the worst.
>>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.
>>
>>5920908
>You two are the worst.
>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.
>>
>>5920908
>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.
>Don't worry father, you don't need to worry about Damien giving you any grandchildren. Hilde already claimed him, and I'm not into her used goods.
Louise likes her men pure as herself
>>
>>5920908
>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.

Very true
>>
>>5920908
>Don't worry father, you don't need to worry about Damien giving you any grandchildren. Hilde already claimed him, and I'm not into her used goods.
>>
I just want to say that introducing and talking about Damien as though he were a well-planned, fully-intended potential romantic interest, and then almost immediately and irrevocably disqualifying him via Hilde, and THEN keeping the potential for anons to vote for him for choices like the scarf and keeping him in the main cast as Louise's royal point of contact and alchemical 'expert', is one of the strangest set of choices I've seen a QM make with a character.
>>
>>5920966
I fee where you are coming from, anon. While he doing Hilde is in character, it’s something that puts him way down the scale of any future husbandu we may choose later on, specially when Louise is a virgin who did it out of religious idealism and holding out for an old flame. If she were someone else that had her share of intimate experience it’d be another case even if Damien being with our best friend makes it hard, even if said friend is a town bicycle anyway, but I think qm just wants to see how’s the general interest in him.
>>
>>5920966
Agreed, to be desu.

>>5920908
>You two are the worst.
>Yes, Hilde will protect my purity by devouring all of the men before I can talk to them. As was foretold by the sages.
>>
>>5920907
Also, your art's coming along nicely! I'd maybe consider a bit more definition to the face.
>>
>>5920908
>Oh, but I already had plans with him tonight. He was taking me out to dinner and then we were going to have a sleepover.
>>
>>5920907
Wasn't the emblem in a different place on the new armorsilks?
>>5920908
>I'm sorry father, but it's too late. I'm already pregnant with Damien's child.
>>
>>5921307
Yes, but the pic is labeled as her *old* armorsilks, so...
>>
>>5920931
She likes her men Rene. She's really hung up on him. I hope I can write him well enough that he's worth it.
>>5920966
Well, not immediately. He only got disqualified after the fight with the Arbiter, which is "Book 2" in my mental model and draft notes. Even that is dubiously canon for the novelization, as I think I'm going to take a less meandering path to Rosarium when I get there.
>>5921029
Well, the scarf bit is going to be less "It's not like I like you, DUMMY" and more a "Societal customs obligate you to wear this ugly scarf now. Mwahahahaha!" prank.
>>5921055
Thanks anon. I've got another one for tonight, though it's a little, uh, Disney-esque, which I don't love.
>>5921307
As anon said, those are her old armorsilks. I'll probably give a try for her new ones, but it turns out that stipes are a bitch and a half when you're starting out.
>>
>>5920908
>I'm sorry father, but it's too late. I'm already pregnant with Damien's child.
>>
>>5921557
>Well, the scarf bit is going to be less "It's not like I like you, DUMMY"
But what if we DO? Alas, poor Damien, we knew ye briefly, but our shortstack greasemonkey stole you away before your heretical flower could bloom.
>>
>>5921557
>Well, the scarf bit is going to be less "It's not like I like you, DUMMY" and more a "Societal customs obligate you to wear this ugly scarf now. Mwahahahaha!" prank.
I mean wasn’t it decided from the start that it was coming from a friendly place rather than le tsundere ?
>>
>>5921734
>I mean wasn’t it decided from the start that it was coming from a friendly place rather than le tsundere ?
Probably, but I have been consistently shitposting tsundere jokes because I think it would be a funny in-story misconception for characters to come to.
>>
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"Indeed she is," you nod in agreement with your father. A playful smile brightens your face as you assure him that, "You can sleep soundly while I'm off wallowing through the pit of sin that is Rosarium, Papa. Hilde will devour all those wolfish men herself before they've the chance to turn a lustful eye my way... just like she did with Sir Damien. Perhaps once she's finished, the men of the Roslands will go and sin no more."

"As was foretold by the Sages..." Hilde's voice becomes comically solemn. Her fingers curl into the signs made by the sages of the Jasmine Hall as they speak their sutras. "For having experienced the apex, nothing again will stir their hearts with desire, for nothing under heaven could compare to the kiss of the wildflower."

Your father let's out a snort of laughter. "I forgot how humble you were."

Hilde puffs up with pride, pushing up two extra-large, pillow-soft reasons for her abundant self-confidence. "According to Father Durandal, the LORD of Light hates lies more than boasts, so I'm just erring on the side of caution and doing my best to please the LORD. Now, what's this about a scarf, Lou-Lou?"

Hilde pivots to you, and your father nods at her question, expecting an answer. Before you can say anything, Hilde gives you an apologetic look and says, "If I screwed up with Damey, I can break it off. It was just a fling, and I know for a fact that I wasn't his firs-"

You shake your head emphatically, "Hilde, it's nothing like that. You know what I find attractive; I like my men a bit shorter and on the leaner side... darker hair... just a little bit of stubble because he got so caught up in something last night that he didn't have time to shave... glasses are a plus... oh, and if he doesn't have any passion for something then he might as well be a eunuch."

As you describe your ideal man, your father rubs his temples and explains that, "In other words, Hilde, my daughter is attracted to René de Pleuvoir."

"I dunno..." Hilde looks at you with a cattish grin on her face. "That sounds an awful lot like Damey to me. I mean, he's taller than most, but isn't everyone short compared to Lou-Lou?"

"It's not like her to actually knit something, either," a matching smile crawls onto your father's face as well, a clear sign of his betrayal. "I have it on good authority that my eldest daughter hates knitting and would rather do anything else than join her mother at the knitting circle."

"I don't hate it that much," you complain.

"I'm quite certain that you do..." your father says with the sort of smile that believes it knows everything about you.

Too often, he's right about that, but tonight you know for a fact that he's dead wrong. So you tell it to him and Hilde straight forward, so there's no ambiguity to be had: "I have absolutely zero interest in that irritating, cocky, perverse, scheming, irredeemably heretical louse of a man, thank you."
>>
>>5921895

A look of horror slowly spreads across Hilde's face as each disparaging word towards Damien slips out of your mouth. In a snap of sudden motion she all but leaps out of your bed and makes for the door. Turning back to your father, she says, "Ross, I've made a horrible mistake. I didn't realize it was that bad. I need to go break things off with Damien, I should have seen this sooner..."

As she scurries out the door and down the hall, you call out after her, "Enjoy your booty call, Hilde! But don't be too rough tonight, I need you both in shape to ride out tomorrow morning!"

Unlike usual, she doesn't answer. Surely she can't be serious...?

You look towards your father in... you're not certain if you're annoyed, or just confused. Letting out a sigh, you pinch your nose and tell him, "Father, it was an ugly scarf. I made it for him because he'd have to wear it or else he'd look rude, and seeing him in an ugly scarf would be funny. Knowing his interests, he probably doesn't even like cows..."

Your father stands up, and gives you two pats on the shoulder before looking you in the eye. "I'm sure you'll figure it out for yourself, my little caille. Your mother was the same way when we were young. You should ask her about the first gift she ever gave me when you get the chance, I think that will help you understand."

With his misunderstanding cemented in his mind, your father departs, leaving you alone in Hilde's workshop. It takes ever shred of willpower you possess to avoid denting your head with the palm of your hand.

The hour grows late, and only Hilde and Damien will be up and about for much longer, having eachother's company to share. You head to bed for the night... Interlude Time
>The Red [Inverted Courage]
>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
>The Yellow [Inverted Generosity]
>The Blue [Inverted Justice]
>The Indigo [Inverted Nobility]
>The Violet [Inverted Hope]
>The Magenta [Inverted Fortune]
>>
>>5921897

>The Indigo [Inverted Nobility]
>>
>>5921897
>The Magenta [Inverted Fortune]
>>
>>5921897
>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
Curious for this one.
>>5921841
Congrats, anon, your efforts are paying off
>>
>>5921895
I see what you mean about the Disney, but it's not bad. Maybe shrink the eyes a bit if you want it to look less Rapunzel-esque?

>>5921897
Hmm...
>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
>>
>>5921897
>The Indigo [Inverted Nobility]
>>
>>5921897
>The Red [Inverted Courage]
>>
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Drew your lady knight :)
>>
>>5922036
thank you fishman
>>
>>5921897
>>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
>>
>>5921897
>The Indigo [Inverted Nobility]

>>5922036
Finally some proper bust size
>>
Here
>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
>>
>>5921897
>The Orange [Inverted Mercy]
>>
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Loreposting tonight because I'm exhausted and can't think for some reason. Also, have a picture of The Orange that I drew today.

Knight's Harness in the Daffodil Kingdom
An Article from Artifice & Khemistry Monthly

Though it now occupies much of the southwestern reaches of the continent of Bosquet, the Daffodil Kingdom is at its heart a maritime nation. The seat of its power sits upon Stamen Isle at the center of the Gulf of Petals, and its heartlands are the volcanic archipelagos that serve as stepping stones towards the mainland. As a country whose stoutest walls are its copper-bottomed fleet of cannon bearing galleons, armor has been historically a balancing act. How heavily can the Kingdom armor its knights, soldiers, and sailors without impacting their performance at sea?

That question received its final answer two hundred years ago, now: "as heavily as it please you".

The invention of modern folding plate provided a solution to the two principal issues that arose when wearing heavy armor at sea: weight and rust. Even a simple breastplate would weigh a sailor down enough in the water to drown him, let alone brigandine or a full plate harness. Not to mention how they would all rust without extensive maintenance. Older models of folding plate provided some protection against the humid air and salty sea-breeze, but still sat heavy upon the shoulders. This left the seamen with few good options outside of khemically treated leathers and a prayer to the LORD.

Like its predecessors, the modern folding plate provides substantial protection from humidity and other factors that would cause the armor to rust without significant maintenance. The retraction mechanism shunts the bulk of the armor into what khemists call "imaginary number space."

This "imaginary number space" is a bubble in reality that sits outside of normal human perception, but can be accessed through sorcery and khemistry. If one were to imagine our world as a panel from your favorite four-box story, "imaginary number space" would be on the reverse of the page. Sir Wayland Russ invented the spellwork that allows modern folding plate to retract into this bubble of reality, and that method spread across the continent after Pope Dorothy VI signed the document approving the magic as free of heresy and apostacy.

Most nations saw the invention as a gimmick or a toy. Something a rich lord might show off at a party, or a paranoid man might wear everywhere he went just to be safe. Other maritime nations never even considered it, for common knowledge held that heavy armor was a death sentence at sea. The Daffodil Kingdom alone had the marriage of naval tradition in the heartlands and knightly tradition on the continent necessary to embrace the new technology.

And embrace it they did. In the modern day, if an adventurer searched the markets for a set of armor, they would hardly find anything that did not retract into "imaginary number space".
>>
>>5923033
Of course, the adoption of folding plate did not go without its share of bumps in the road. Anyone familiar with it in the modern day would warn you against wearing it with loose fitting clothes, as the sliding plates have a tendency to pinch and tear at the garments and leave them shredded. One particularly infamous incident was later captured in the painting Hydrangeas in Bloom, when the Archduchess Grainne de la Hortensia retracted her folding plate whilst grandstanding at court, only to find that it took her entire dress with it.

The answer to that problem was found hiding in plain sight with the personal guard of King Jonquille.

The embersilk woven ceremonial garb they wore in the palace proved to be the perfect gambeson to wear beneath a harness of folding plate. The material was stretchy and easily dyed from its usual bone-white color, allowing for it to not only be worn as close to the skin as possible, but it could be emblazoned with a knight's heraldry. Its top notch magical conductivity gave it a very handy property when worn so close to the skin - and thus, the wearer's mana - as well. In an environment of abundant mana, it hardens in response to physical trauma, turning the silk into one last layer of steel.

The only prohibiting factor was the cost of embersilk. Only a single species of spider produces that particular silk in large quantities, and only when fed a very particular diet. The exact species of spider and the methods for rearing it are Crown Secrets of the Royal House of Jonquille. However, in the two centuries since the adoption of armorsilks as the Kingdom's standard gambeson, the material has become so abundant that even humble yeomen can afford clothes made from it...

Choose one of the following and roll 1d100:
>Mercy to the innocent
>Mercy to the foolish sinners
>Mercy to the one who saw too much
>Mercy to the right person at the right time
>Mercy to the woman whose courage knew no bounds.
>Mercy to the man who has mastered every number.
>>
Rolled 45 (1d100)

>>5923036
>Mercy to the right person at the right time
Mr. Freeman...
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5923036
>Mercy to the man who has mastered every number.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5923036
>>Mercy to the man who has mastered every number.
>>
>>5923036
>Mercy to the foolish sinners
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>5923036
>>Mercy to the woman whose courage knew no bounds
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>5923036
>>Mercy to the woman whose courage knew no bounds.
NO
BOUNDS
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5923036
>>Mercy to the man who has mastered every number.
>>
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Winner: ... it was tied when I started writing and I chose the brave lady. orz

A carriage hurtled through the woods at top speed. The horses pulling it ran as if the Dark One himself was snapping at their heels. From a certain perspective, he really was.

The carriage bounced violently as its wheels crashed against another root. Not for the first time this night, its driver - the Dame Thalia of Begonia - prayed for the good health of the craftsmen who built the vehicle. It must have been half-a-hundred times now that a root or stone or other divot in the road should have broken the carriage's axels, but it held strong so far. All she needed from it now was another six miles. Then she and the carriage's precious cargo would be clear of the Mavrodasos and in sight of Tefrapol.

"Will Sir Basil and the others be alright?" asked the carriage's only passenger. He kept his voice as calm as he could, but Thalia heard the notes of panic slipping through the filter of his will. Still, it was a praiseworthy effort for one so young.

A precious young boy of twelve years old, the hundred colors of the Mavrodasos in Autumn crowned his head with a mop of hair that never wanted to sit straight. His eyes shone like the aurora in deepest winter with vibrant tones of violet and crimson. His cute and boyish face, alongside his gentle demeanor, quite thoroughly charmed the young lady of House Baccara the other night. Of course, just as he inherited the good looks of his brother - the Princeps Pleniflora - he also inherited his brother's oblivious nature towards feminine attention.

Thalia could not spare even a moment to look back at him, and see him clinging to the armrests of his chair like a drowning sailor might cling to driftwood. Nor did she think it wise to tell him what she saw not ten minutes ago, before Sir Basil told her to take Aris and run. However, she could not bring herself to lie to the brother of her liege, so she simply omitted the truth by saying, "Sir Basil said that he and the men would meet us back at Tefrapol. It's best to take him at his word."

Of course, Dame Thalia knew Sir Basil would not be joining them. The creatures - demons - that attacked the carriage dragged him from his horse not long after he cut a path through for Thalia and Aris to escape. May the LORD guard his soul from the dark.

Aris made a noise of dissatisfaction. It seemed that somewhere along the line, he became more canny than his elder brother... or at least more prone to show when he saw through evasion. Rather than call Thalia on what she left out, he asked, "What attacked us? Highwaymen? Briarfolk? That Daffodil giantess whose portrait my brother keeps painting?"

In spite of everything, that last one made Thalia snort with laughter. "No, the Maid of Charlemont isn't quite so ugly. T'was orcs, Aris."
>>
>>5923753
"Orcs...?" Aris asked. It was not that he had never heard of such creatures, but rather that the answer went against the common knowledge and what he had been taught. Confusion filled his voice when he asked, "Scribe Ludwig says that there hasn't been orcs in the Mavrodasos for a thousand years. Was he wrong?"

"'What was true yesterday could be false tomorrow,'" Thalia said, quoting from the Violet Tome of Hope. "What Scribe Ludwig said may have been true before today, but now we know it is not. Which is why it's important that we reach Tefrapol and inform the garrison there of these pests."

She said this as much to herself as to Aris. She left something important out about the demons that attacked the carriage. They looked like orcs, moved like orcs, and LORD damn her if they did not smell like orcs, but they did not fight like orcs. A squealing sounder of orcs should fight like a tide of meat, overwhelming their foes with bodies and the weight of attrition. Bodies that they quickly replenish with the aid of any woman unfortunate or foolish enough to have allowed herself to be taken alive by the monstrosities.

These orcs fought like men.

Or rather, they fought like orcs under the control of men. They struck from ambush and tried for the most valuable target, rather than attempting to roll over Aris' honorguard with attrition tactics that would have bought the carriage more time to escape. They only reverted to the familiar and instinctual after the men-at-arms just barely rebuffed them. Had the orcs regrouped for another rush for the carriage, they would have gotten through. Who knew what would have become of Aris and Thalia then...

The trees flashed by in a blur as Thalia drove the carriage forwards. Slowly but surely, the great thickets of elder oaks and maple woods thinned out to younger trees spread further apart, a sign of the road nearing the edge of the Mavrodasos. The dancing lights of autumn's aurora began to peak through the canopy.

Before the carriage made it out, a woman stepped out from the treeline and into the middle of the road. Thalia could not tell if they were a bandit foolish enough to expect her to stop the carriage or a peasant gathering mushrooms and wild herbs from the forest. Either way, she had no intention of stopping for anyone save the Empress herself. With a quiet prayer that this fool would jump out of the road, she shouted a warning of, "Make way! Make way for House Pleniflora! And take heed, there are orcs about!"

The cloaked figure merely tilted her head, but she made no motion to get out of the way. Indeed, rather than move, she sunk into a deep stance stance that faced the team of horses and the carriage barreling down the road and raised her arms up as if she intended to grab the creatures. Her face was veiled in shadow, but for a brief moment Thalia could see a shock of orange ginger hair fluttering next to her cheek.
>>
>>5923754

Then the horses crashed into her.

No, that wasn't quite right. She grabbed the horses by the throat and lifted them up off the ground with all the ease of a guardsman picking up an urchin thief by the scruff of their neck. As she lifted them up, chains of black iron engraved with Gardener runes burst from the ground and wrapped around the carriage, bringing it to a screaming and sudden halt. The shock of the impact threw Aris into the plush cushions of the seats opposite his own, and flung Thalia from the driver's chair like a catapult.

Thalia's armor was already deployed, and her helmet quickly folded out as she flew through the air. With the help of her armorsilks, it cushioned her from the skidding collision with the ground, which tore up the road and left behind steel-carved gouges where she landed. She struggled back to her feet, but despair filled her heart when she heard the sickening snap of bone, and the dying whinnies of the carriage horse team.

"Orcs...? You should have looked more closely." A deep and thunderous masculine voice rumbled from the woman. She stalked towards Thalia slowly and deliberately. Her cloak blew in the wind, but it did not reveal what she wore beneath it. Something about her voice struck Thalia's heart with a frozen dagger that sent a chill up her spine. "Those were zombies that I sent after you, not orcs."

The woman's casual admittance of killing Sir Basil, Octavia, and the other men-at-arms set something off inside of Thalia. She couldn't content herself with running this bitch down and trampling her beneath the hooves of the horse team drawing the carriage, no. She reached for the gonne at her side, lit the match with a silent cantrip, and leveled the barrel at the woman's head.

With a thundering crack, the weapon fired.

A ball of iron an inch across shot past the horses as speeds the human eye could not perceive, crashing through the air with enough force to pierce through all but the heartiest of armorsilks and even dent a steel plate harness. The khemically treated powder lent such great speeds to the ball that it ripped through sound itself, tearing through the noise it made on its hundredth of a second journey towards the woman's forehead. With force enough to shatter even the heavy bones of an ogre and pierce the thick skull of a troll, it should have turned the woman's head into paste.

Emphasis on the words should have. The woman made a great show of being knocked back by the shot, but just as quickly recovered with a smirk on her face and the iron bullet in her teeth. With a chomp, the bullet shattered into a dozen shards of iron, as if crushed beneath incomprehensible pressure.
>>
>>5923755
"Oh, there's a fire in your belly! I didn't expect that from some no-named babysitter..." the woman mocked as she marched down the road towards Thalia. Her lips curled into a pensive frown before she nodded to herself and declared, "Rejoice, Thalia of Begonia! I shall show you mercy, for I see a greater purpose for you than the breeding pits. Not that I mean to deny you the joys of motherhood, but-"

"Leave Thalia alone!" The small figure of Aris interposed itself between Thalia and the interloper. He spread his arms out protectively. For just a brief moment, Thalia saw his brother's shadow, heard his brother's voice from him. "I'm the one you're after, right? I'll go with you peacefully, so let her leave."

Thalia tried to pull herself to her feet, but chains pulled her back to the ground. She hissed out a curse, "Dammit, Aris... if you could have run, you should have run away."

Aris swallowed nervously, before emphatically shaking his head. "No. It's a noble's duty to sacrifice himself for the sake of his subordinates. A knight sacrifices for his smallfolk, a lord sacrifices for his knights, a princeps sacrifices for his lords. That how things ought to be."

The woman reaches out to Aris with a looming hand wrapped in chains. The same hand that so effortlessly snapped the neck of one of the draft horses that had pulled the carriage. The image of this woman doing the very same to her charge flitted through Thalia's mind. The looming hand came down on Aris' head, and before Thalia could think, she shouted, "No, don't!"

Right as the interloper ruffled the young boy's hair, what parts of her face not covered in shadow splitting into a large and toothy grins. "Well spoken, young one! I shall be merciful to you as well - indeed, very merciful! Though your request is one I cannot give. I need both of you to accompany me - leave no trace and all of that..."

Once more chains burst from the ground. They wrapped Thalia, Aris, and even the corpses of the horses and carriage in a cocoon of rune-stamped iron. With inhuman force that Thalia could not even begin to struggle against, the chains dragged her down, into the earth...

===
The next morning, you are awoken by... Roll 1d100
>Hilde. Or, really, one of her constructs that carries coffee to her where ever she's sleeping. Which tonight was... your bed?
>Olanna. The men have just finished up their drill and are ready to move out.
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.
>Sir Damien. He seems cross. What is he complaining about now? Maybe it's a good time to throw the scarf at him.
>A raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal.
>(Write In)
>>
Rolled 10 (1d100)

>>5923756
>A raven with a letter that bears a sunflower seal
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5923756
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.
all of the corrupted lady knights have masculine voices ?
>>5923763
sheesh
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

>>5923756
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.
>>
Rolled 82 (1d100)

>>5923756
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.

>>5923788
>all of the corrupted lady knights have masculine voices ?
The witch's favorite music genre is metal so she needed them to be able to nail the vocals. I do hope she has one or two with feminine voices though.
>>
>>5923756
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.
>>
>>5923828
We need to get the Witch into Halestorm or Nightwish.
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>5923756
>>Sir Damien. He seems cross. What is he complaining about now? Maybe it's a good time to throw the scarf at him.
>>
>>5921914
Yeah, right now it feels like faces are my weakest point, so faces are what I need to practice most. Though I can't just leave out body and other stuff, either. Drawing is tough.
>>5923788
It has to do with what they are. Remember, the Witch of Depravity pulled out the souls of each of her knights/dolls for other, more X rated purposes. When she's not playing with them, she's wearing them on her necklace.

Anahita really, REALLY wanted to add Louise to her collection by making her soul the green gemstone. Fortunately, the curse inversion Rene snuck onto her with a kiss in the Dreamlands caused Louise's Id to devour the chain devil, rather than the other way around. Resulting in the forced awakening of her inner voice and the artificial melanosis that allowed her to form THE ULTIMATE WEAPON in her dreamspace.
>>5923828
No, she'd prefer EDM, techno, or club music. Better to do X-Rated things that cannot be posted on blue boards (her favorite activities, which will always be offscreened). Her favorite of the Sins is debauchery, after all.
>>5923835
It is sad that the thing most people remember about Nightwish is the Epic Maneuver music that was lifted from Ghost Love Score...
>>
>>5924238
>It has to do with what they are. Remember, the Witch of Depravity pulled out the souls of each of her knights/dolls for other, more X rated purposes. When she's not playing with them, she's wearing them on her necklace.
Sure, but one would think she'd prefer feminine voices more, although changing their voices to masculine fits the corruption archetype.

>No, she'd prefer EDM, techno, or club music. Better to do X-Rated things that cannot be posted on blue boards
you could add brazilian funk to that, also suited for red board stuff, kek
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5923756
>One of the maids. It appears that the cat couldn't resist the canary, and Joana has someone for you to speak with.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

Do not worry about this roll. You want it to be nice and low.
>>
>>5924468
it is indeed nice and low
>>
>>5924238
Messed up the trip, but thanks for the insight!
>>
>>5924468
you said it, and now I'm curious as to what this wascfor.
>>
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Winner: The cat could not resist the canary.

A knock on your door comes at some Lightless hour in the morning. Three swift knocks and then two with a pause between means that one of Joana's apprentices waits for you beyond the door. As much as you may want, you cannot roll over and ignore her with a grumble of "go away". You sent Joana to investigate the time-sensitive manner of the supplies Damien and the Earl had young Lothar purchase on their behalf. If Joana sent back one of the maids to bring you a report, it meant that someone took the bait.

"One moment," you groan. Groggily, you reach for the lamp upon your nightstand and push a bit of mana into the bone to light up your room. Standing from your bed and straightening out your nightgown, you call for the maid to, "Come in. What have you got for me?"

A mousy looking maid enters your quarters. You recognize her as Rebecca, the scullery maid who works in the castle kitchens, and you immediately understand why Joana took her on as an apprentice. Nothing about the girl stands out. She has the sort of face that would easily get lost in a crowd, her bust size is neither particularly impressive nor unusually smooth and flat, her complexion could place her from any major town or city from across the Daffodil Kingdom.

The flashiest things about her was the maid outfit she wore as part of the castle staff and the perfume she's wearing. Lilacs and roses, applied quite heavily, but not so heavily that the scent becomes unpleasant. It's the sort of perfume that a woman might wear on a night she plans to do this and that with her darling. A part of you hopes her duties did not interrupt her night too much, while the rest of you despairs that your maid staff has better luck that you when it comes to finding a good man.

In any case, in another dress, on a less romantic night, you would have overlooked her as "another village girl".

No wonder Joana snapped her up. In the business of cloaks and daggers, standing out is deadly and blending in is vital, and you're quite certain this girl could blend in anywhere. Her demeanor is appropriately demure before her liege as well. When she enters, she drops to one knee and bows her head, saying, "Milady, Teacher has a message for you: the cat got caught clawing at the canary. She is under the impression that you would like to come pet it personally. Shall I escort you there?"

It takes you a second to parse what Rebecca meant. In the King's Daffish, what she really said was that Joana caught someone messing around with the supplies, and wanted to know if you wished to question him personally. After weighing the idea in your head for a moment, you nod.

"Some things are best learned first hand," you tell Rebecca. She still kneels before you, her head still bowed, so you give her the order that she's waiting for. "Help me dress, then we'll go see who Joana managed to catch."
>>
>>5924571
Rebecca helps you into your town clothes. Nothing particularly fanciful today, just a blue doublet patterned with a white narzissenmark worn with a set of grey working britches. Her help is appreciated all the same, especially with how groggy you feel right now. At this Lightless hour of the morning, you suspect you would have put the doublet on backwards, or left a few buttons in the middle undone for an "interesting" display of fashion that would have been the talk of the town for weeks if anyone saw it. Things you'd never hear the end of from Hilde.

The last thing you slip on is the choker that contains your folding plate. You should have no need for it tonight, not when your armorsilks are stored away in the ring upon your finger. Rebecca all but shoved it into your hands, though, and you won't say no to more protection.

"So, what sort of cat are we dealing with, here?" you ask Rebecca as she guides you from the castle grounds and down to the dockyard where Joana's trap has been set. You suspect Rosarian spies, perhaps one of the traders that comes into town every now and again. It would be good to know what you're dealing with before you get there. "They didn't happen to be wearing a collar made of roses, did they?"

"No, milady, just a flashy golden one," Rebecca says something that makes you quirk your brow. When you make a questioning sound, she quickly apologizes, "Forgive me, milady, that was unprofessional of me. 'Tis not a cat from the Roslands we caught this morn, 'tis a servant of that repulsive false god. An arrogant little creature, it thought its blasphemous faith would shield it from any trap we might have placed."

You nod grimly. "Heretics always believe themselves fighting for a righteous cause. That very belief is why they can commit such atrocities against the goodly folk of this world. If you can remember that, bringing down the hammer of righteousness upon them becomes easier."

A dark and zealous look that's all too familiar of the words you always bite back fills Rebecca's eyes as she declares, "May all the rotten blasphemers in this world be dragged into the abyss and face eternal damnation!"

You sigh. That one of Joana's students reflects the zeal you had at your age... it fills you with an emotion that you cannot quite describe. In one hand you hold the joy of knowing that this servant of your household despises the Dark One just as you do. In the other hand you carry the weight of knowing that such a lust for retribution against evil must be tempered with the Light of the LORD'S mercy.

You do not deny her words, however, because you truly believe them yourself. But there is something you have to add to them. The same thing Good Father Durandal added to your own words: "And may all those who can find redemption, find it."
>>
>>5924573
The look that passes across Rebecca's face at those words tells you all you need to know about where her heart lay. Beneath the light of the autumn aurora, the dancing gold and crimson as the stars glimmer behind the Light of the LORD's protection, her face moves between fury and confusion before at last it lands on a warm and bright smile. The first true crack in the stony face wore by the mousy girl this evening. "Yes. You're right, of course, milady. I shall pray that this cat is one who can become a good child with the right affections."

You can't help but laugh at the young woman's words. Now she's almost gone the other way entirely... an experience you remember going through, in the weeks after the Good Father Durandal taught you how to temper your zeal. Your remind her to, "Don't forgive your enemies just yet, Rebecca. A prayer for redemption is appropriate, but redemption can only come after punishment for their misdeeds."

Rebecca pouts at those words, but mumbles an affirmation, "As you say, milady."

At this lightless hour, Liliendorf's streets are empty and quiet. Though the village has grown to where it can almost be called a proper town, there is not enough traffic in trade for folk to man the docks at every hour of the night. The dawn will come soon enough, and before it some folk will head off to work their trades, but right now the streets belong to you and Rebecca alone. Well, and the Night Patrol, but they are fewer in number than you'd like for how large the town has become.

"Remind me to increase the village's budget for the night watch..." you absently tell Rebecca. The corners of your face curl into a frown; with the thought of heretics in Liliendorf, even if only one or two, it brings to mind the need to improve security. You'll write up the order before you leave. "I've scarcely seen a lantern from their patrols all night. Liliendorf's grown too large too quickly."

"Of course, milady." Rebecca says. Then she tells you, "We're here. Joana should be waiting for you inside."

The dockside warehouse looks little different in the dark than it does in the day. Damien and the Earl of Lavendel know how to pick a discrete place to store their peculiarly procured goods. Just as Rebecca is perhaps the most nondescript woman you've ever met, this might just be the most generic warehouse in the village. The sign even names it Smith & Sons Storage, a name you're quite sure could be found in every town and city in the Kingdom if you looked hard enough for it.

Ready for whatever the cat may be, you throw open the doors and walk inside.

What you find within is no cat caught in a crate.
>>
>>5924574
The crates of supplies have been shifted to make a wall surrounding the the center of the warehouse. A circle has been painted with black tar upon the ground, at the center of which a goat has been sacrificed to the lidless, baleful eye of the Dark One. Incense burns on the ground, filling the air with a smoke that tries its best to fog the mind. The blessings of the LORD protect you, but the same can not be said of Joana and her other apprentices, who have been bound to the support beams holding up the roof.

Black tentacles spill forth from the blasphemous seal upon the ground, crawling towards Joana and the others with ill intent. Already their clothes have been torn in unmentionable places, though the tentacles have not yet begun the vile work of turning your loyal maids into their seedbeds.

It takes you a moment to take it all in, but when you do, something clicks in your mind. A realization you should have made a while ago. Turning to Rebecca with fury on your face and betrayal in your voice, you demand to know "Girl, what have you done!?"

A stabbing pain answers your question, as Rebecca drives a knife into your side with eyes filled with tears. Had you been more awake, had you been prepared, the force of such a light and delicate young woman crashing into you would not have knocked you from your feed. As you fall to the ground, she apologizes with a hiccup in her voice.

"I'm sorry, milady. You're the cat."

Louise has taken 20 damage from Rebecca's Sneak Attack!
Roll 1d20 for a Fortitude Save Against Poison
Roll 1d20 for a Will Save to avoid going berserk
Regardless of your choice below, roll an additional 1d20
>Demons. The demons are the priority, they must be purged from your village. Kill them first, deal with Rebecca later.
>Rebecca. That traitor. That apostate. There's an old rule, something the King once wrote into a book that you feel applies right now: always kill a traitor before an enemy.
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>You cannot do this alone. You need to call the Watch here as soon as possible. Between Rebecca and the demon's casting it might be tricky, but you think you know just the spell.
>By the LORD of Light, when you finish purging this demon, you are going to spank Rebecca so hard that her ass will be as red as roses for the next century. Deliberately fail your will save against Berserking
>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
>+Your arm aches with accursed power.
>+Expend your martial focus to roll twice and take the better on your Fortitude Save.
>+Expend your martial focus to roll twice and take the better on your Will Save.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
That bitch! (Good play, Rebecca, and now that reaction to our mercy makes a lot of sense)
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>+Your arm aches with accursed power.
fuck, unless someone got a hold of her family I'm going to spank that bitch later.
>>
Rolled 10, 1, 8 = 19 (3d20)

>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
We delegate one job, and it results in our subordinates being put in bondage and at the mercy of a tentacle-monster impeccable taste, QM. If Damien finds out about this he'll have inspiration for his next artistic work.
>>
>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
>>
>>5924468
btw what was this roll for ? if this was for the dmg and Rebecca did 20 from a 3, I assume we'd be down with a high roll. also what's our max health again ?
>>5924661
roll as well my dude
>>
>>5924667
>HP
91 total HP, I believe.
>>
>>5924667
I don't know how this is the first quest i play in on this site.
>>
>>5924713
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5924661
>>
>>5924576
>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
>+Expend your martial focus to roll twice and take the better on your Fortitude Save.
It's VERY weird that Rebecca insisted we take the armor along. It makes me think she might be coerced, except that talk about blasphemers was too laden with double meaning.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d20)

>>5924789
>>
>>5924789
>It's VERY weird that Rebecca insisted we take the armor along. It makes me think she might be coerced, except that talk about blasphemers was too laden with double meaning.
yup, I'm kinda confused between her being forced to do it and she doing it outta being bought, but considering she gave us the folding plate choker even if we weren't gonna use it makes me go with the former for now.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5924576
>>Joana. She and the others are your priority. The LORD protects you from whatever is in that incense, but they have no such providence. You need to get them out of here, before the Demons have a chance to begin their vile work.
>>+Call upon the Litany of Blackrose. You need more than mere fists to crush this heresy.
>>
>>5924374
The masculine voices cannot be helped. Devils that specialize in combat have a strong tendency to be male, and these are her champions. Though when she's doing this and that with them, she partially returns their souls to their bodies and gives them their original voices.

There may be one or two who have feminine voices. If they do, they're probably her infiltration specialists.
>>5924504
>>5924667
This was to determine if she succeeded on a critical strike or not. That would have hit Louise with some debuffs and an additional 12 damage, as she's a fairly strong rogue-type (Rpgue is not her class, but shes roughly on par with Joana, and without the leg problems).

For those interested, the damage calls were: 2 from weapon, 4 from her Dexterity, and 14 from Expose Vulnerability.
>>5924579
>>5924789
>>5924796
A lot of this will be elaborated on next post. I did not plan on Becky existing, but her existence is a good thing for the quest I think. I feel like stakes fell off after the tower got taken, so she and... I still don't know her title, but Miss Orange, are here to drag them back.
>>5924648
To be fair, your squire is doing just fine offscreen. Excelling, even. Of course, he has your second, a barbarian princess, and her gigachad brother mentoring and motivating him, so...
>>5924591
As with the other things, this will be elaborated on later.
>>5924713
Welcome, anon!
>>
>>5924796
>>5924789
It may be she respects or likes Louise, but is also a cultist of the Dark One. She may see it as a regrettable duty of the faith.
>>
>>5925045
That doesn't explain the armor
>>
>>5925050
A vague sense of honor? Irrational behavior bred by that internal conflict and a crisis of conscience?
>>
>>5925064
Or she figured that the armour would make Louise trust her more, and was confident between the backstab, drugged incense and poison she'd be able to take us down.
>>
>>5925109
>Or she figured that the armour would make Louise trust her more
this would make sense if it was before we decided going to the place but that wasn't the case.

>drugged incense
what drugged incense ?
>>
>>5925109
>>5925173
nvm, for some reason I only read the fog and skipped the incense, kek
>>5925041
>The masculine voices cannot be helped. Devils that specialize in combat have a strong tendency to be male, and these are her champions.
fair

>This was to determine if she succeeded on a critical strike or not. That would have hit Louise with some debuffs and an additional 12 damage, as she's a fairly strong rogue-type
alright, girl was doing well under the tutoring then
>For those interested, the damage calls were: 2 from weapon, 4 from her Dexterity, and 14 from Expose Vulnerability.
makes sense that over half of the dmg was from the attack of opportunity kek

>A lot of this will be elaborated on next post. I did not plan on Becky existing, but her existence is a good thing for the quest I think. I feel like stakes fell off after the tower got taken, so she and... I still don't know her title, but Miss Orange, are here to drag them back.
okie dokie
>>
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Postponing tonight's update to tomorrow because I got next to no sleep last night due to work stress and I am already crashing. Might be super early tomorrow or it might be usual time. Will do a bit of lore.

Hot Lore
>There is an ever-present aurora in the night sky whose colors change between the four seasons.
>Autumn is Red, Yellow, and Orange.
>Winter is Red, Indigo, and Violet.
>Spring is Indigo, Blue, and Green.
>Summer is Blue, Yellow, and Orange.
>It is generally believed to be a sign of the LORD of Light's protection against the horrors of the Long Night.
>We don't talk about the Long Night. That was a bad time. Human civilization is still traumatized by it, to a point where most history from that period is just... gone.

>Beneath the LORD there are 14 hosts of Angels
>4 Thrones, 8 Aspects, 16 Principals, 32 Theorems, 64 Forms, 128 Crowns, 256 Eyes, 512 Voices, 1024 Hearts, 2048 Shields, 4096 Swords, 8192 Seraphs, 16384 Cherubs, 32768 Archangels, and 65536 Angels.
>Each Angel follows the lineage of a Throne and an Aspect, and occasionally a Principal.
>These are real beings, capable of being called into the world by the Priests of the Holy Light.
>It is said that the Pope once called a Throne to advise her, though it is unknown if this is true or false.
>For most priests, it is a great exertion to call even the lowest rank of Angel to aid them.
>Do not believe the people who say some angels have betrayed the LORD and turned to the Dark One.
>Such talk is heretical.
>The Church mimics this hierarchy in its traditional structure, with one Pope, 4 Cardinals for the 4 Directions, et cetera.
>Some nations (cough Daffodil Kingdom and his Dukes of the 4 Directions) also mimic this hierarchy as it suits them.

Things to consider: Remember your boons from Post 1 of this thread.
>>
alright OP, sleep tight
>>5925360
>We don't talk about the Long Night. That was a bad time. Human civilization is still traumatized by it, to a point where most history from that period is just... gone.
is it something akin to their dark age or more like that time the sun didn't appear for a whole year in europe ?

>Do not believe the people who say some angels have betrayed the LORD and turned to the Dark One.
>Such talk is heretical.
hmm
>>
>>5925372
I'm picturing something like (actual Netflix anime spoilers) what Erzsébet Báthory pulled off in Castlevania: Nocturne
>>
>>5925360
Besides the Daffodils and Roslands, what other post-Gardener successor states are around if any?
>>
>>5925360
>>4 Thrones, 8 Aspects, 16 Principals, 32 Theorems, 64 Forms, 128 Crowns, 256 Eyes, 512 Voices, 1024 Hearts, 2048 Shields, 4096 Swords, 8192 Seraphs, 16384 Cherubs, 32768 Archangels, and 65536 Angels.
So how close is Louise to being to name each one of them in order of importance? Alternately how far down the list can she go.

This seems like something particularly pious people would do, like memorizing the value of pi to some ridiculously large number of places
>>
It seems like there should be a category that has 2 angels in it, but said category is curiously absent. Is that just a coincidence or is there a reason for that?
>>
>>5925041
Why would the combat devils give a damn about the beliefs that the former occupants of “their” bodies once had?
>>
>>5925109
Rebecca does have a number of things going for her in this fight based upon her preparations.
>The poison on her dagger is a special one
>The incense means that Joana and her students are going to be useless in a fight even if you free them.
>The partial summons of a Greater Demon (name change pending for these guys).
>She got the first blow in for basically free.
>Her class gives her access to some retroactive "Just as Planned" stuff to fill in gaps I didn't account for. This is very limited on her part, and she's a glass cannon compared to your walking tank, so its probably gonna be saved for her being very good at getting away alive unless you guys royally fuck up this encounter.
>>5925179
Note that Expose Vulnerability is less circumstance based than sneak attack, but it does eat at her actions and only applies once per round. Though sense she mostly attacks once per round, she basically deals an extra 4d6/14 damage as long as I can justify an excuse for her to find a weakpoint.
>>5925372
Okay so take that time Iceland exploded and the sun was blocked out for a year in Europe/North Africa/West Asia, multiply the duration by "haha, fuck your civilization, Gardeners!", make it global, and then throw in a fuckton of Demons pillaging and raping their way across the ruins. There are still some areas where the Human population is enslaved to demons (and occasionally, crusades to try and break those areas). Big places are the Southern Tundra (south of Camellia and Sonnenblume), the great deserts, some of the Archipelagos (especially the Shattered Bridge, which has a lot of Gardener ruins).

As for betrayer angels and >>5925566
There are things that should not be worried about regarding the cosmology. This is one of those things.

That being said, the one thing I can assure you is that the LORD of Light is in fact Lawful Good, and the Dark One is in fact Chaotic Evil. There is not going to be some grand reveal where "AKCHEWALLY, the 'LORD' of Light and his Angels are Fake and the Demons were the good guys all alooooooooooooong!". That cliche is tired and reeks of writers who hate their parents for making them go to church on Sunday.
>>5925480
Louise has a tome naming all of the Angels in her collection, but she does not have all of them memorized. She's not a monk. She does have the lineage of her Patron Angel memorized though, back to the Throne from which it descends.
>>5925403
I sketched out a rough map that's on the QTG discord for now that shows the immediate region. It has your immediate neighbors and the regions of influence for the 4 Cardinal Dukes with the Daffodil Kingdom.

Every nation in the world descends from the Gardeners, who were a global civilization before they suffered a systems collapse that got exacerbated by the Long Night.
>>5925903
Blame the Witch of Depravity for that. She wanted evil versions of the Knights she captured... so she made evil versions of the Knights she captured.
>>
>>5926024
>That cliche is tired and reeks of writers who hate their parents for making them go to church on Sunday.
I love you platonically.
>>
>>5926024
>That cliche is tired and reeks of writers who hate their parents for making them go to church on Sunday.
Based.

>"the rape demon was actually just repressed and trying to make other people wake up from being robots, you just don't get it because it hasn't happened to you yet"
Kill all demons.
>>
>>5926024
>Okay so take that time Iceland exploded and the sun was blocked out for a year in Europe/North Africa/West Asia, multiply the duration by "haha, fuck your civilization, Gardeners!", make it global, and then throw in a fuckton of Demons pillaging and raping their way across the ruins. There are still some areas where the Human population is enslaved to demons (and occasionally, crusades to try and break those areas).
Zam, apocalipse scenario.

>That being said, the one thing I can assure you is that the LORD of Light is in fact Lawful Good, and the Dark One is in fact Chaotic Evil. There is not going to be some grand reveal where "AKCHEWALLY, the 'LORD' of Light and his Angels are Fake and the Demons were the good guys all alooooooooooooong!". That cliche is tired and reeks of writers who hate their parents for making them go to church on Sunday.
Lul. Tbf I was expecting it to be just a nod to the Bible where satan managed to get 1/3 of angels to revolt with him. Ain’t no way that a being whose high priestess is the “sleep, eat, grape, repeat” witch is gonna pull a gnostic reversal.

>Every nation in the world descends from the Gardeners, who were a global civilization before they suffered a systems collapse that got exacerbated by the Long Night.
So the gardeners were like rome+atlantis on steroids, neat
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

I forgot to roll this during this afternoon's post. Do not worry about it.
>>
>>5926336
Pls let this be something for us this time
>>
>>5926206
>Ain’t no way that a being whose high priestess is the “sleep, eat, grape, repeat” witch is gonna pull a gnostic reversal.
I suppose it always could have been a grey-and-gray situation. I mean, the LORD does like to possess beautiful young women and make them do exotic dancing poses atop the corpses of their foes. I guess instead he's just Lawful ECCENTRIC Good.
>>
>>5926341
Kinda different when it’s only a pose after the battle ends instead of using them as living onaholes for their goon sheshs
>>
>>5926344
Well yeah, one's obviously WORSE, and there's no way the Dark One isn't a monster, but I suppose without this QM note we might have had OOC reason to doubt the intentions of the LORD.
>>
>>5926348
I always side with the ones who want to demolish devils. Simple.
>>
>>5926358
Aren't we actively in a spiteful war against fellow followers of The LORD?
>>
>>5926367
I don't care who ELSE we are beefing, so long as we're also kicking the shit out of hellspawn.
>>
>>5926206
>gnostic reversal
That reminds me, if I were going to make up a doctrine for a fringe sect it might have the 2-person rank above the "Thrones" held by two "Orders". One is Logos, embodiment of the order of the unchanging world of Ideas, and the other is Demiurgos, embodiment of the order of the changing world of Matter.
I also totally forgot how other divine beings like the fortune goddess fit into this. Something about it was color-themed and fortune was Magenta.
The Dark One is presumably an embodiment of order-defying chaos, the subhuman and subnatural diabolical urge to defile and destroy simply for its own sake. If he was on the same rank as the other two "Orders" then it might fit the biblical math of 1/3 of the angelic host defecting to the side of evil. This of course all being entirely hypothetical no need to send the inquisition QM.
>>
>>5926024
>Patron Angel
Are we going to meet / ?Manifest? them at some point?

Also since Louise has been ordained where does that put her in the Church's organizational Hierarchy? Further, how does that interact with her responsibilities to the Crown since notionally any sort of mutually exclusive request that ends in the Crown vs Pope seems like a very difficult question for someone in Louse's position let alone someone as pious as she is to have an answer, if it were to ever be posed.
>>
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Winner: Prioritize on rescuing the maids. Call upon the Litany.
Louise's HP: 83/103
Fortitude Save 9 + 12 = 21 vs DC 25 Poison. Minor Failure.
Will Save 14 + 10 - 2 = 22 vs DC 20 Berserking. Success!
General Combat Check 14 + 16 - 2 = 28


As you force yourself back onto your feet, you feel the pain in your side fade. Not in the gently itching way of the LORD's blessing upon your healthy body as it stitches your wounds back together. Something mutes that feeling in your side, a prickling and numbing sensation.

Poison.

Rebecca must have coated her blade in poison. Not just any poison, either. The LORD's blessing upon your body heals all wounds, rebukes disease, and rejects all poisons that would leave you less than hale and hearty and of sound mind. You have not known sickness nor lasting injury since the day you slew the Apostate King. For you to get tipsy from alcohol takes enough to ruin a woman's liver three times over, or so Hilde has said. Only maladies born of curses or woven from malignant magics can pierce that protection.

This poison must be laden with some manner of curse, then, or otherwise crafted with heretical magics. You can feel it numb the wound that Rebecca left in your side. Heat spreads across your body like a wildfire consumes a forest after a three-year drought, dizzying and feverish and lighting up your entire body with a bright red flush as hot blood rushes through your veins. Your gut flips over upon itself as if you've eaten something rotten. Sweat pours out from every pore on your body, soaking through your clothes in vein attempt to cool you down. But for one more symptom, it would be a perfect match for the worst bout of influenza you suffered during your youth.

Your loins itch and leak. Not with the sweetness that racks your body when you comfort yourself at nights with thoughts of your ever-distant beloved. Not with the prayerful ecstasy you experience in deepest meditation on scripture and the LORD of Light's love for all His creation. It is a pain that your body is desperately trying to soothe, an itch like a mosquito bite that cries out to be scratched.

Glaring at the treacherous servant, your mind races through a list of those few toxins that can actually harm you. None of them have these symptoms. Perhaps if you drank enough harlot's joy, you might experience something similar, but that tonic supposedly empties the mind of every thought and feeling but pleasure. Here and now, you feel such exquisite pain that your knees shake as you force yourself to your feet. You've been through worse, but you can count the number of times on one hand.

Once you're on your feet, you scarcely have time to take a breath before Rebecca rushes you again.
>>
>>5926530
Honestly, you don't know why she gave you the opportunity to stand again in the first place. In her place, you would have rushed in and given your opponent the mercy stroke before they could rise back to their feet. If she had doubts or some strange sense of honor, she should not have stabbed you in the back to begin with. If she was being coerced, she should have told you. If she wished to fight you head on... well, even with a body burning with a painful parody of lust, you can show her what foolish idea that is.

Rebecca is certainly cunning if she managed to turn a trap set by Joana on you and her both. She clearly has skill with a knife from the precision with which she stabbed you. She is no doubt incredibly meticulous, preparing a toxin that can bypass your blessings, staging this scene, and bringing every variable she could to her favor. But she lacks two incredibly important things in a fight that you have in spades.

First, you stand head and shoulders above her.

Second, your arms are each as thick with muscle as her thighs.

The idea that a smaller and lighter person can dance around a musclebound oaf is a myth born from stage plays and four box stories written by men and women who wish the lie was true. The parable of the slinger and the giant does not laude the slinger for being the victorious underdog, but rather celebrates his superior weaponry as the fruit of human wisdom. A naked giant with a spear dies easily. A giant with a sling in hand would have crushed the slinger beneath a boulder.

Just so, a maid with a poisoned dagger can stab a knight in the back and remove them from the battlefield. A maid charging a knight head on gets what is expected. Even unarmed, against a girl Joana trained, you have reach, strength, technique, and most of all: experience.

You grab the wrist that carries her knife and twist it, forcing Rebecca to drop the weapon before anything else. Of course, you do not waist her momentum, as you sidestep her lunge and trip her up, sending her tumbling to the ground. Every explosive movement of your muscles sends lances of pain through your body, makes the pox-like itching in your loins worse and worse. You hiss in agony, but force yourself to ignore it.

Unlike her, you do not waste your opponent falling to the ground. Before she can bring herself to her feet, you hoist her up with one hand about her throat. She grabs at it, trying to break your grip, but your hand is too burly, too powerful for her to even move one of your finger.

"That was foolish, Rebecca," you growl at her, glaring into her brown eyes. The baleful light of the summoning circle flickers in her irises, but that can wait for later. She's the biggest problem right now, and figuring her out is your highest priority. "What did you possibly hope to accomplish? You should have finished me while I was down, not tried for a fair fight."
>>
>>5926531

"I don't want to kill you, milady," Rebecca grunts past the hand around her throat. Her feet kick out weakly, but she cannot do much at arm's length to escape your grasp. "Your words, earlier... I want to save you. They said the Butcher of Alans would be just that, a monster in the shape of maiden, but you've a noble heart I've seen it! You deserve a chance to escape this cage of blinding light, just like the rest of us. I'm sure once you experienced the love of our Nameless Lord and the joys his angels can bring us wyfs, you wi-!"

You cut her blasphemy off by tightening your grip around her throat.

"You know, I almost hoped those vile cultists were threatening you, Rebecca," you tell her. She seems aghast, but you continue. "Joana picked you herself for the castle staff. You spend your days off helping the elderly with their chores and reading stories to children at the library. How can a good kid like you be a true believer in this blasphemy?"

"How can a noble soul follow in the footsteps of hypocrites?" Rebecca grunts out a question of her own in answer. Your eyes narrow, but you let her speak. "The church preaches nobility and sacrifice yet gild their cathedrals in gold and precious gems. They preach purity to the masses, yet the streets of Leripol are filled with child prostitutes soliciting men of the cloth into dens of sinc. The angels of the Nameless Lord are forceful in there their love, but they give it only to those ready to receive it, and if it was not true, there would be no joy in i-"

Once more you squeeze her throat with your hand, choking off her words.

"Enough of this," you growl. Your body shivers. Perhaps the painful mockery of lust coursing through your veins is responsible for it. Or it could be the sheer and unyielding rage filling you with every word of this blasphemy. "Give me one good reason why I should not crush your throat right now, apostate."

A dark look comes over Rebecca's eyes as you address her not by her name, but by the word for those who have betrayed the faith. After a moment of thought, she grumbles that, "I can give you three, milady."

Perhaps it is some latent fondness that you have for the girl, but you relax your grip and tell her that, "I'm listening."

"First, the toxin," she says. You narrow your eyes. While you are interested in what it could have been, that won't be enough to make you spare one of the Dark One's true believers. "It's a blend of my own, concocted from the tears and passion freely given from an Angel of Love. Just half the dose I gave you was enough to open my dear, misguided teacher to the boundless love of the Lord. Once it takes you into His embrace, the joy will last for a week. I've hidden away an antidote for it that will find its way to your desk if you allow me to leave in peace, milady."
>>
>>5926532
Your eyes narrow. While you have every confidence that you will shake the poison off, Joana and her students are another matter. You will need Joana to help you navigate the den of vipers that is Rosarium. So in the end, you nod, and tell her to, "Go on..."

With a sigh of disappointment, she says, "Second is a number. I cannot betray the true faith anymore than you can betray your false light, milady. But I suppose telling you just how many of our countrymen have been enlightened to the true path would do no harm. You will find that our numbers are more than you would think."

A number and an antidote. One to undo what she's done, the other information that you can give the Inquisition to help them upon their hunts for these foul apostates. Still, you may as well ask, "And the third?"

"Well, since you're being greedy..." Rebecca makes a voice that's far too cutesy, so you have to remind her of her place with a gentle squeeze around her throat. She looks suitably admonished, but that admonishment fades into a warm, almost apologetic smile. "Third is my promise to you, milady. My promise, and my sincerest apologies. You told me earlier that redemption has to wait until the villain has been appropriately punished, and I think I understand that now."

Her eyes become steely and determined. Has she decided to repent? Or... "I swear on my immortal soul that I am going to see you saved from the false god's clutches, milady. And I apologize for spilling the [brocollini]."

Whatever anger you felt at her first words fades into confusion when you hear her apology. "What? Broco-"

Around your neck, the goldsteel choker of your folding plate constricts with a sudden and unrelenting force, cutting off your airways and the blood flow to your head. On reflex you let Rebecca drop from your grasp and start tugging at it. She lands like a cat, watching you tug at the accursed item around your neck with a sad, apologetic look. Of course, if she was actually sorry about it, she'd deactivate the wretched artifice rather than watch you barely win a slight bit of relief from the pressure about your neck.

"Milady, you should have known better..." Rebecca chides you. Her eyes reflect the baleful light of the summoning circle, pulsing through the tentacles that have bound Joana and her pupils and wrapped their faces with an embrace that covers their mouths and nose. Oh LORD of Light, how did you forget about them? You were so preoccupied with Rebecca, that... "Why would a scullery maid know the combination of your arming safe? Teacher was the only one of your maids who knew how to fetch your harness."
>>
>>5926534
You fall to your knees in despair. From the moment that you woke up this morning, Rebecca has played you like a fiddle and made you dance to her tune. The sweet, caring tone of voice that she has drives the knife even further into your gut when she says, "Don't worry. I really do want to save you, milady. I avoided piercing your organs when I stabbed you... this choker will stop squeezing once you've lost consciousness. So even if you think it's wrong... I'm going to redeem you, the Butcher of Alans, and show you the boundless love of the one true god!"

This is such BULLSHIT! a part of you roars. The thought strikes you like a fist to the gut, tears welling up in your eyes as the futility of your situation sinks in. No, not that you stupid cow! Why are we on our knees before a heretic, huh? Yeah, sure, she's a good kid, and that cult has her brainwashed from here to the Cherrywood Court, whatever! She's talking about redeeming us for the sake of that perverted shitheel of a false god? Screw that, we're the ones who do the redeeming!

So come on! Grit those teeth, get on your feet, and punch her in the face until she repents her sinful ways! And cut Joana and the others free before those tentacles make like a drunken, randy weir and start fucking them while you're at it! That part of you has a point, but you also need to consider the fact that the moment you let go of this choker, you will be on a very real, very short time limit. You're barely able to keep the blood flowing to your head, barely able to breathe as it is...

Oh our LORD- the ring, idiot! Put our damn armorsilks on before you give up, it'll be tight but they'll buy more time at least. Seriously, will we fight? Or will we perish like a dog?
>Perish like a dog.
>Fight.
>Release Restraint (Level 1)

Louise is currently poisoned and takes a -2 penalty on all D20 rolls.
Louise took 22 damage from the poison and is at 61 HP.
Rebecca's Natural 20: Rebecca used [Bamboozle] to make herself appear to be the greatest threat in the room, distracting you from the Greater Demon molesting Joana and her allies. This also gave her the opportunity to activate the bogus folding plate.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight.

Nice fight its very tense. 10/10 so far qm keep it up.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight.

>>5926545
I have to agree, I applaud QM on making the dialogue and flow of the encounter match dice results as they come in
>>
>>5926535
>Fight
>>
>>5926534
>"Milady, you should have known better..." Rebecca chides you. [...] "Why would a scullery maid know the combination of your arming safe? Teacher was the only one of your maids who knew how to fetch your harness."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE93ChQ4raE ffs man, girl is a natural rogue
>>5926535
>Fight.
https://youtu.be/XQ6zfBnADNE?t=105 fuck it. WE. BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!
>>
>>5926535
>>Fight.

>mfw this bitch
I want to kill her.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight.

Since we're otherwise unarmed, having a rough idea of what the manifest looked like may help us locate something of use, since Blackthorn is really our only properly offensive option unless we start casting, and that's not really effective against non demonic targets, and, I'm starting to doubt that a Vincula is involved here.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight.
Like there's really any other choice?
>>
>fight
We can keep our hands on the choker while we cave her skull in with our legs
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>>5926606
A bodyslam is always an option. With the raw strength at Louise's disposal she could probably shatter Rebecca's rib cage or even spine if she made a decent enough connection. Rock and a hard place and all that. I for one dread this upcoming DOUBLE PUNISHED Louise arc from losing Joana. My anger only grows.
>>
>>5926535
>Fight!
Break her legs with low kicks, then STOMP
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>>5926611
>spoiler
Chill man, that ain’t happening unless the bitch gets another nat 20.
>>
>>5926029
>>5926119
There are cultural contexts where a "God is fake" narrative is not just whinging about having to go to church and a desire for mindless hedonism. A society that has had a stable religion and largely beneficial religious institution for over 2000 years is not one of them.

Thank a Catholic priest today, their desire to explore God's creation is the reason why modern science exists in the first place.
>>5926206
Yeah, the Long Night was really bad for everyone involved. I do not have full details on what happened, but basically: Gardener society divided against itself over petty bullshit and sociopaths exploiting good natured people who had become enamored with their society's brilliance at reaching the Apex. The institutions fell apart from incompetence and squabbling, and then someone who really wanted to be stepped on conjured up the rape monsters and things got out of hand. The only surviving institutions of the Gardeners are the Church of Holy Light, and the Scholars of Khemia, and even they declined drastically.
>>5926341
>>5926344
>>5926348
Note that the exotic dancing becomes her fighting style when the LORD takes the wheel, not just the end pose.
>>5926367
I wouldn't really say spiteful, and it's not really a war as much as continuous border skirmishes. They Call your king a tyrant, you call their ruling council a corrupt den of vipers, land switches hand every year after the planting is done, hostages get taken and exchanged, and while both sides are more than willing to kill eachother, it's understood to be for glory and valor more than victory.

This is one of the reasons why so many Roslanders want to take Louise as their bride. She's never been captured and ransomed before, and they admire that.
>>5926413
Ahahahahahahahaha.

This is simultaneously very close and very far away from what's going on, lmao.
>>5926524
Eventually, probably.

Her Order exists outside of the direct Church hierarchy and exists to acknowledge especially pious Knights. She has the ability to administer sacraments, but does not have voting rights in her diocese to determine the bishop (unlike a true priest). Her sole obligation to the Pope is that she is required to answer the call for a Crusade. Crusades in turn must be ratified by the Council of Archbishops, and can only be declared when the Inquisition requests it of the Pope. They only do so if their own forces are insufficient to purge the heretics.
>>5926545
>>5926547
Thanks!
>>5926566
I think I've said it OOC before and implied it in game, but... Louise's Id ate the Vincula, stole its power, and purified it thanks to Rene's curse inversion helping her along.
>>5926585
I mean, you can always choose to Release Restraint (Level 1). Even "Perish Like a Dog" is really just handing the reins to your Id.
>>5926606
>>5926625
I'll leave how Louise ends up fighting to the next post.
>>5926611
Joana and her students are not dead. Their bodies are just being prepared to birth demons is all.
>>
>>5926747
>QM is literally just an incredibly horny TradCath
Checks out. Still a good quest.

>exotic dancing becomes her fighting style when the LORD takes the wheel, not just the end pose
God's top two angels are Panty and Stocking, confirmed.
>>
>>5926747
>Thank a Catholic priest today, their desire to explore God's creation is the reason why modern science exists in the first place.
Yup, that’s right. Got me by surprise there OP, kek.
>I mean, you can always choose to Release Restraint (Level 1). Even "Perish Like a Dog" is really just handing the reins to your Id.
I thought the perish option was gonna be a game over screen for the fun of it. Like there’s gonna be a brief summary of corrupted Louise and then we returned to a checkpoint.
>>
>>5926747
>I think I've said it OOC before and implied it in game, but... Louise's Id ate the Vincula, stole its power, and purified it thanks to Rene's curse inversion helping her along.
It was meant to imply that Rebecca's actions aren't due to At least anymore duress. Or at least otherwise currently being compelled via demonic means.

It just changes the tac of what encounter strategy could be presented, and that bonus damage isn't on the table at this point.
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>>5926535
>Fight
>>
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>>5926535
>[×] RIP
>[×] TEAR
>>
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Right. How could you be so foolish? You almost let the poisoned words of a scheming apostate drive you past the brink of despair. The toxin coursing through you burns, but by the grace of the LORD that pain alone will not be enough to kill you. The trinket about your neck grips tighter than a vice, but if your hands can pull it apart then you have other means to hold it back upon your person. The words she spoke about sin and hypocrisy in the Holy City are true enough. Men and women have weak and fickle hearts, and those who seek out power and status stray from the righteous path as easily as they breathe.

You must have Faith.

Faith in yourself and your ability to overcome the trials that the LORD has laid out before you. Faith in your dearest friend Hilde and her talent as an artifex, that her works will see you through every battle alive, if not necessarily unscathed. Faith in the LORD that every graven sinner who spoke with His authority shall answer for the balance of their misdeeds when their soul comes to rest in the palm of His hand. Yes, you must have faith, for it alone shall shield you from the most deadly weapon that the heretic and apostate can raise against you: doubt.

All her words and actions have served to mix the poison of doubt into your thoughts. Doubt in yourself for missing the schemes playing out right under your nose. Doubt in your equipment for how she turned what should have been your full harness against you. Doubt in your convictions by conflating mortal men and women who succumb to temptations brought about through power and influence with the pure, divine souls of the LORD of Light and his Heavenly Host. All of this doubt to make you forget one very important thing.

You must have Faith. In yourself, in your friends, in the LORD above, you must have faith if you wish to accomplish anything of worth. To doubt yourself is self-defeating. To doubt your friends means to abandon bonds of fellowship and trust. To doubt the LORD of Light... is heretical.

For twenty years, you have honed your body, your mind, and your very soul into a weapon against the heretic, the apostate, and the invader. For just as long, you dear friend Hilde has nurtured her boundless curiosity into a dizzying intellectual mastery of artifice and physical principle. Since the dawn of time, the LORD has shepherded mankind through the darkness of fear and ignorance, and into the comfort of His Light. If these truths are not worthy of your faith, then you may as well brand your womb with the Black Primrose and accept that your true purpose is as a mother of demons.

That is something you will never do, for you have faith in yourself, in your friends, in the LORD above.

With that faith burning in your heart more powerfully than any toxin coursing through your veins, you let go your grip about the collar and let it squeeze down upon your neck.
>>
>>5927145

Then with all of your might, you shove every drop of mana that will fit into the ring about your finger, releasing the seal upon your liquid armorsilks. The black, tarlike substance rushes up the length of your right arm in rivulets of ooze that quickly slip beneath the crushing choker and expand into an iron gorget that strains to protect your throat from its chokehold. Your clothes melt away at the armor's touch, leaving your skin bare to the late summer morning's chill for a brief moment. The armorsilks swiftly expand to cover what they stripped, but Rebecca gets an eyeful of everything you have unless she blinked at the right moment.

"That material can only be... embersilk liquefaction?" Rebecca stares at your newly armored form in awe, a trickle of blood running down from her nose that she quickly wipes away. Her voice is filled with disbelief and wonder as she says, "You have one of the prototypes? No, that looks like a produ-"

"I forgive you, Rebecca," you cut her off with the words that she needs to hear. Serenity fills your voice, for you have faith that this is the right thing to do.

"What?" she asks.

Your forgiveness catches her so far on the back foot that she staggers away from you as if she had taken a blow to the gut. It is understandable. Cults do not have forgiveness written into their law as the Faith does, be they apostate slaves of the Dark One or heretics who draw the downtrodden and dispossessed around them. They scorn the sinner rather than the sin, they submerge them in shame and ridicule. The only repentance is humiliation, and even then they neither forgive nor forget what the have done. They leave it as an enduring and eternal black mark upon the soul, leverage against the sinner to shame them into obedience.

Rebecca has served you for five years, and never once have you caught her reeking with the stench of evil, as you have so many others. She's a good kid who helps the elderly and reads stories to young children at the library, so you shall not let the Dark One have her. You will bring her into the Light of the LORD, dragging her kicking and screaming if you have to.

"I said I forgive you, Rebecca," you tell her, but that does not wipe the confusion from her face. It does not matter, she will one day, even if you have to grind her nose in it. Making the sign of the Prism with your right hand, you declare, "In the name of the LORD, I forgive you of your sins. Once I've purged this demon of yours, I am going to spank you so hard that your grandchildren will still have red bottoms a hundred years from now. This shall be your only penance. May your soul be cleansed of evil..."
>>
>>5927146
Your hair flutters like a banner as you snap away from her, your business done. Though you cannot see the expression that crosses her face, her breath hitches in a way that makes your heart flutter with excitement and your lips curl into a childish grin. You cannot help but put on a cool voice, with which you add one more thing: "Now go and sin no more."

Is it wise to turn your back to a known traitor? Perhaps not. But you have faith that Hilde's creation will protect you from any knives that Rebecca might want to stick in your back.

What's important now lies in front of you.

The greater demon Rebecca summoned continues to emerge into the world from the circle that serves as its way out from the Abyss. From its current size, you would guess three hours have passed since its summoning at most; it takes a day for a creature of its size and spiritual weight to emerge into reality. Its full mass would fill the entire warehouse with a tangle of heavy tentacles whose sole purpose is to turn women into seedbeds that birth an unending tide of demonic abominations into the world. Providence favors you, for its breeding tentacles have yet to slip out from the void. Everything it does now is to prepare its victims for their role as wombs that bring demons into the world.

Each of the maids have their wrists bound above their heads by thin, rope-like tentacles. Their blouses have been torn, their breasts spilling out and nursing each a pair of suckling tendrils whose heads have opened like the blossom of a flower to embrace each bosom. Their eyes are empty, dulled first by the drugged incense, and then by the tentacles that have wrapped around their noses and mouths. Those fit snuggly, like a mask, and you can only imagine what manner of euphoric vapor the beast has been pumping into their lungs.

You need more than your bare hands to purge this heresy.

Without a second thought, your hands move on instinct to form a circle about your heart. Energy gathers between them, swirling into the shape of an orb of darkness whose color matched the night sky. This shadow was not the terror of the night nor the bleak and unending abyss where sleep horrors that dream of devouring all mankind. No, the darkness that gathers between your hands is a calm and soothing thing, the backdrop of the starry night and the shade of the great lisbon tree in summer. Green lightning crackles about the surface, leaping between your fingers and the orb as the gathering power grows denser and denser until it feels solid.
>>
>>5927147
The orb of darkness swirls and roils with such incredible power that the wind begins to whip and crack about you, tossing your hair into a mess of tangles and ropes. It lowers down to your skin, pushing back the liquid of your armorsilks where they rest above your heart and exposing the well cleaved crest of your bosom. When it touches your heart, you feel the haft of a spear rising up. It is accompanied by a bolt of darkness and green lightning that tears through the roof of the warehouse and crashes into the sky above.

Slowly, steadily, for the first time, you draw forth the ultimate weapon from the depths of your soul. The thunder roars and the soothing darkness cracks into the sky in thick bolts, accompanied by flashes of electric green. And then you have it raised over your head. A cannon-scythe of midnight black, inscribed with prayers of emerald along the haft and blade.

The Litany of Blackthorn. The weapon of your childhood games, every bit as powerful as you remember it to be.

Someone surely saw that. Someone surely felt that. Who is it that comes rushing to investigate?
>Olanna comes to investigate what the hell is going on.
>Damien rushes down to complain about the noise.
>Hilde arrives with her instruments to take some measurements of this phenomenon.
>The Earl of Lavendel rambles in to see what his head bodyguard can do.
>>
>>5927149
>The Earl of Lavendel rambles in to see what his head bodyguard can do.
>>
>>5927146
>>5927147
I thought you said we'd be voting on how to fight or deal with Rebecca?

>>5927149
>Damien rushes down to complain about the noise.
>>
>>5927149
>Hilde arrives with her instruments to take some measurements of this phenomenon.
>>5927183
>I thought you said we'd be voting on how to fight or deal with Rebecca?
that was the vote before, where she got the nat 20 and bamboozled us. now comes how we'll fight to save the maids, like we originally chose.
>>
>>5927149
>Olanna comes to investigate what the hell is going on.
>>
>>5927149
>Olanna comes to investigate what the hell is going on.
Probably won't be too pleased with what she finds
>>
>>5927149
>Hilde arrives with her instruments to take some measurements of this phenomenon.

Very nicely done by Louise, love it.
>>
>>5927149
>Damien rushes down to complain about the noise.
Louise even has a boob-sheathe, what a chuuni.
>>5927145
Where dud you find this pic? Because I know what it depicts, and it shouldn't be like that.
>>
>>5927407
>Where dud you find this pic? Because I know what it depicts, and it shouldn't be like that.
what do you mean, anon ?
>>
>>5927149
>>Damien rushes down to complain about the noise.
>>
>>5927419
It's a weird combination of several characters. I'm curious what motivated it.
>>
>>5927149
>Damien rushes down to complain about the noise.
>>
>>5926800
I wouldn't say *TradCath*, but I did grow up in a household where we'd joking refer to Protestants as heretics and Anglicans and East Orthodox as schismatics.

As for the identity of that missing part of the pyramid, I will not confirm or deny any speculation regarding their identity.
>>5926876
No, if I were to give an option that resulted in a game over, it will be flagged as such. Now for bad ends, there *was* a route where Rebecca's Nat 20 saw her pin you down and do Sapphic things with you, but that is not appropriate for a blue board.
>>5926883
OH, that's what you meant. No, Rebecca is more or less there to represent the "average" cultist of the Dark One. A largely decent person who does some bad things for what she sees as the Greater Good, and is selectively blind towards or excuses the evil committed by some members of her faction.

Like most cults, the Church of Our Nameless Lord preys upon the downtrodden who have been abandoned by society (or have abandoned society in turn). Rebecca was one of those people.
>>5927183
Well, yes and no. The real "fight" was against despair and self-defeating thoughts.

Abandoning hope and faith (perish) would have also abandoned reason, and your ID would have seized control and beaten Rebecca until she realized that the Demon was raping Joana and the others. At which point, Rebecca may have escaped.

Releasing the Restraint would have skipped the "I forgive you" scene for just merc-ing the Demon then and there. You would have been more in sync with your ID, and would have focused on the task at hand while dealing with the overwhelming power you pulled. Damien would have been first to arrive on scene 100% there, because he'd be appalled at how crude your technique is.
>>5927407
Yes. Booba scythe.

Real talk though, that's just something women do. Every girlfriend I've had has always used her booba as a bonus pocket. My most recent ex even called them her bonus pocket. (Admittedly, I've only dated women as dorky as me, but still)

The picture was found on Gelboooru. I just searched for blonde chicks with scythes. I have no context for the characters it's based on, though with her hair and outfit she vaguely reminds me of adult Fate Testarossa.
>>
>>5927720
>No, if I were to give an option that resulted in a game over, it will be flagged as such.
alright, thanks for clarifying
>Now for bad ends, there *was* a route where Rebecca's Nat 20 saw her pin you down and do Sapphic things with you, but that is not appropriate for a blue board.
this got me thinking, does the nameless make his followers more degenerate with time ? like a regular guy becoming like vaush after years serving him (demon possession not included) ? or a guy who had no prior interest in other guys will only do sex things with women regardless of how long he's been in the cult ?
>>
>>5927720
>Church of Our Nameless Lord preys upon the downtrodden who have been abandoned by society (or have abandoned society in turn). Rebecca was one of those people.
Damn. Either she's been a cultist all these years, or she became downtrodden and abandoned while in our employ. Either way, that's a huge failure on our part.
>>
>>5927818
I think it's the first option, since according to the story if she had days of poverty it'd be before we got her.
>>
>>5927803
The LORD does not seem to regard same-sex interactions, or consensual promiscuity as 'degenerate', given we have a bunch of women's women in our employ and also Hilde.
>>
>>5927828
>The LORD does not seem to regard same-sex interactions, or consensual promiscuity as 'degenerate', given we have a bunch of women's women in our employ and also Hilde.
sure, but from what I remember promiscuity has to be kept to a minimum and that people eventually do it with a SO so I assume same-sex is treated in a similar regard. to be more exactly I wanna know if the dark lord will make people enjoy sexual things they wouldn't normally and take it to the extreme everytime.
>>
>>5927845
>I wanna know if the dark lord will make people enjoy sexual things they wouldn't normally and take it to the extreme everytime.
The greater demons emit hentai-aphrodisiacs through their tentacles so I would think that trend is the norm. Seems to be a matter of dulling people's sense of reason with drugs, basically.
>>
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D&D Night went late again tonight, so that means Lore Time. Also, a WIP that I worked on in the background during D&D time (though after getting some feedback, gonna have to redraw a lot).

Cuisine in the Daffodil Kingdom
Azalea
Mushrooms of every shape, size, and flavor can be found in the swamplands of Azalea. The region also holds the widest variety of sweet bell pepper species, with the red-gold swirled Dawn Pepper being considered a local delicacy for its delicate balance of sweetness with spicy afterburn. Gumbos featuring mushrooms, peppers, sweet onions, longstrider pheasant, and herd lizard sausage are a staple among the people of the marshes. The wet climate of the region is not suitable for wheat, so while much flour is imported from the neighboring regions, their staple grain is a long grained yellow rice.

Camellia
A cold region in the southern reaches of the kingdom, known for its stews. Hearty root vegetables, especially turnips, carrots, and parsnips make up the bulk of the foodstuffs that are not bread and meat. Most of their dishes are stewed over the course of the day, worked on from dawn until dusk. Inns in the Camellia region are famous (or infamous) for having "eternal pots" of stew that never empty, simply adding fresh ingredients when the pot gets low.

Heartlands
Fish.

Dear lord the amount of fish the people of the heartlands eat. Breakfast? Fish. Lunch? Fish. Dinner? Even more fish. There are entire islands dedicated to creating fermented fish-sauce to put on top of fish so they can enjoy fish with their fish. They'll fry their fish in eggs and breadcrumbs. They'll stew their fish with mushrooms and vegetables. They'll eat smoked fish on rounds of bread with cream cheese and capers. They'll put their fish upon a pizza. They'll make a meatloaf out of their fish with horseradish and onions that no one else but they can enjoy.

Primrose
The breadbasket of the Daffodil Kingdom. Most of the wheat, barley, and other staple grains in the nation are grown in the Primrose region of the Daffodil Kingdom, and this reflects in their dishes. The best bread in the kingdom can be found here, along some of the finest pastries in the world. Pies of meats, fruits, and vegetables line the windows of every home graced with an over, and the most common street food consists of fried dough wrapped around a medley of lamb and cabbage with a cucumber sauce.

Sonnenblume
Aurochs in the valleys, grapes and olives on the hills and mountains, and rolling fields of wheat. The carrot, the onion, and celery serve as the foundation of most every bit of Sonnenblume's sauces and broths. They have a fondness for pickling that borders on the Heartland's fondness for fish. You can find every vegetable pickled in Sonnenblume... and, if your brave, you can try the pickled beef as well. Though really, it's better when its dried...
>>
>>5928294
>Fish.
Bri'ish?
>>
>>5928294
arc louise is real
>>
>>5928294
Nice pic of a happy louise after smiting the unbelievers.
>>
It feels right in your hands. No, right does not quite describe - cannot hope to capture - the feeling that thrums inside of your chest, your gut, your mind, your heart, your everything, as you hold the Litany of Blackthorn in your hands. You felt it too in the realm of dreams, when you used this very weapon to drive the Witch of Depravity from your mind. It is a greater understanding than something that feels right, yet at the same time the sensation every bit as simple, every bit as primal as a mere gut-feeling.

Your right eye opens.

It sees the echoes of the young St. Augustine, whose ashes infuse the devil-binding seals that bind your left arm and your right eye. The martyred boy's prayers become a shackle upon the accursed darkness, and that your eye can see beyond the Saint's suppression of all curses shows that its vision is not evil.

The blue of your left eye melts into the same shining green that colors your mana. Your right eye blooms with an inverted Flower of Life, an emerald blossom whose three petals shine past the seal with searing holy light. The golden sign of the sacred prism glows along with it, and superimposed upon one another they almost seem to make two fragments of a greater whole. You see it not, but the lights begin to spin and swirl around one another until they meld together in a flickers tongue of fire.

Your right eye burns. The flames within your vision burn away the lies of perception and show you the naked truth, the world as it is rather than how you perceive it to be. The demon rising from the circle moves like smoke caught in a wind that has granted a horrific form, a mound of groping tendrils with no other purpose than impregnating the women in its clutches with lies, that they might bear unspeakable and wretch truths into the world. Like inkstains on a page torn from your journal, the tendrils swirl and spread through the warehouse, pumping deceit into the bodies and minds of your dear servants.

The veil of flames bare their truths to you as well.

The half-hearted struggles of Joana, who wants to resist the depravations of the beast but harbors traitorous thoughts that coil around her heart. Lonely and set apart, reclusive by habit and carrying many secrets, slower to trust and always doubting affection, her expression hidden in the smoke and the subtle motions of her body betray that tiny, niggling doubt. If one cannot find a partner to embrace them, then why not accept the embrace of an inhuman monster and make pretend that it's love?

In contrast, the youngest of her students resists as violently as her drug addled mind will let her. Even with the rising heat of her body and loins, even under the attentions of monster designed by the Dark One himself to break the minds of men and women with incomprehensible pleasure, she squirms at her binds, biting and gnashing, refusing everything the demon sends at her. You feel in her a kindred spirit, a fellow young woman in love...
>>
>>5929178

Every other student - a good third of Castle Liliendorf's staff, in fact - shows you something different, something new, something that you did not know about them before. Some struggle against the bindings of smoke and black ink with which the greater demon has bound them. Others resign themselves to suffering its embrace, reconciling it with the fact that they will at least get to keep their lives.

One of them, a girl you recognize as Millie the cook, eagerly embraces the demon's affections. Not out of a heretical desire to degrade herself with the seed of an inhuman abomination, but rather out of raw carnal lust. She grinds against the creature, whimpering and needy with the desire that it breed with her.

You'll have to punish her later for that.

All of these truths flood into your right eye all at one, the moment that it well and truly opens. That understanding shows you the path to take, the best way to eliminate the writhing abomination before with the weapon in your hand. You do not need to think about how to do it. You only need do it.

That is the "rightness" that you feel when your hands first grasped the Litany's ironwood haft. A hundred different words for the feeling flow through your mind in the instant before you act, trying to give it a name. Understanding. Insight. Comprehension. Intuition. Cognizance. All of them right in their own ways, but all of them deeply flawed in how they describe what you can see what you can feel between the Litanty's resonance with the universe and the vision of your burning eye.

Your mind lands on a word in the Gardener tongue. One René once showed you in one of his khemistry texts, their term for the end goal of all knowledge and the true purpose of wisdom. Something every khemist must learn to achieve if they wish to walk its true path. A state every true Philosopher can enter as easily as breathing.

Oneness with the universe.

Communion with the LORD above.

A soul's ability to tread the path of heaven: Gnosis.

"Ah..." you sigh when a realization hits you. In this state that you can only call gnosis, the stars are brighter, the aurora more vibrant, the very world dragged into clearer definition. You could always see the hidden colors that only a scant few girls can see, but they are brighter now than ever before. Falling into a deep stance, the blade of the scythe dragging beyond you, a smile curls upon you lips. "This is what René chased after."

You heart thrums with joy when you realize that you're one step closer to him than you were the day before. Then you pull the trigger, and the kick of the Litany's cannon sends you tearing through the space that separates you from the greater demon.
>>
>>5929179
Your battle against the greater demon was already won when you drew the Litany of Blackthorn from your heart. When your right eye opened, you saw a path to victory through the thicket of bladed tentacles and magma blood its wounds would spray upon you, upon your dear servants. Though its shape is more of a farmer's tool than a weapon of war, you have every confidence that you can swing the Litany down that bloody road.

Weaving through the bladed tentacle-vines, you cut them off at the root. The smoke withers and scatters, spurting with blood like lava that scores the warehouse's stone floor. Ever nimble, you dance out of the way, the Litany's blade whirling like the crescent moon to cleave more of those wretched, inky vines.

They attack you from every unexpected angle, shooting out from the corner of your vision hoping to entangle you and see you join its other victims. Where that fails it tries to impale you, to pierce through your armorsilks and end a threat that it could not make into a demon-mother. You answer it in kind, your body moving in a jilted dance, darting through the room at strange and unpredictable vectors. The roar of the Litany's cannon accompanies every jolt of sudden motion, sending your soaring whilst a ball of iron crashes through another bulky root of the beast.

Your victory does not come without wounds. New scars shall decorate your torso and your arms, where the burning, bladed whips cut through the liquid armorsilks. Hilde's work did its best to soften the blows, a better job than your old set would have. A greater demon's strength, however, cannot be understated.

And yet, it feels so easy when you finally cut through the thicket and slice apart the core.

To an audience, it seems. A pair of magenta eyes stare at you through the darkness of the night, glowing with unearthly and heretical power. Damien steps into the light of the aurora, looking between you, the greater demon's carcass, and the abundance of topless maids. "Have you seen the bombard that's been going off? Olanna's been worried that the town's under siege."
>Have the grace to look a bit sheepish. "You heard all of that?"
>Slam the Litany down on one of the squishy bits of demon. "We were."
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>Stare right back at him with a frown on your face. "This is your fault, Damien. You and that scheming Earl."
>Pretend none of this happened. "Good morning, Damien. Ready to hit the road?"
>(Write in)
>>
>>5929181
>>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>>
>>5929181
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>>
>>5929181
>Slam the Litany down on one of the squishy bits of demon. "We were."
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
perhaps we can still get her despite the nat 20 she got before
>>
>>5929181
>Slam the Litany down on one of the squishy bits of demon. "We were."
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>>
You know, if someone had inhuman strength with a suitably sharp and durable scythe as well as extraordinary speed, they could roleplay as a scythed chariot and just drag the weapon behind them point outwards and rake through stuff. Which is kind of a funny image.
>>
>>5929181
>>Have the grace to look a bit sheepish. "You heard all of that?"
>>
>>5929178
This body is _remarkably_ well drawn for someone who is just starting out, so I'll be merciless.
[spolier]You need to pay really close attention to how the human neck is built. It's not a cylinder and it doesn't stick straight up. Regarding the face, the features don't abide the centerline, and though we should see the head from below, it looks just tilted to the side. The clavicles should look different from below as well. Chocker is curved the wrong way. Your biceps lack definition, near arm's elbow looks wrong, armpit is wrong too. Far arm's wrist is too long and the forearm muscles too short, far hand could really use being drawn from a reference. The edge of the leotard bends the wrong way around the near leg. Far foot's heel is weirdly shaped. Finally, the sword ends in the wrong place relative to where it should touch the ground if you imagine it in 3d.
I heartily recommend the youtube channel excaliblader, it has a great collection of shorts for those small anatomy things people often forget[/spoiler]
Also I think the cat smile doesn't really suit Louise's character.
>>5929181
>Slam the Litany down on one of the squishy bits of demon. "We were."
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>Stare right back at him with a frown on your face. "This is your fault, Damien. You and that scheming Earl."
>>
>>5929181
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."

Lol her descendants will feel it for ages to come.
>>
>>5929181
>Slam the Litany down on one of the squishy bits of demon. "We were."
>"Have you seen Rebecca around? I promised her the spanking of a lifetime for what she did."
>(Write in) "As an apology for your lacking awareness to have missed the summoning ritual for a greater demon, you can go figure out who needs to be compensated for the loss of their goat. Unless you find it was donated for this purpose, obviously."
>>
>>5929181
>>Pretend none of this happened. "Good morning, Damien. Ready to hit the road?"
>>
>>5929286
>spolier

>Also I think the cat smile doesn't really suit Louise's character.
it reflects her joker nature
>>
>>5929636
Maybe that split-off 'id'. Main Louise is usually quite solemn and serious, it seems. When she jokes around, it seems to usually be more dry than goofy.
>>
>>5926413
Oh, one thing for this: Tychae is not a Goddess. She is an "Aspect", an angel two levels down from where the LORD of Light sits in Heaven. While the religion is very Christian inspired, I do incorporate a bit of east asian "Heavenly Bureaucracy" type stuff going on there.
>>5927803
Depends on the follower. The vast majority of them, not really, not if they did not already have those inclinations. Those would be the people arrested, broken up, and sent to religious convents or communes for reformation (and breaking up the power structure that formed around the cult).

The people deeper into worship almost certainly take the Black Primrose, which warps their morality to an inhuman degree. It's not just sex things, it's a lot of generally evil things that suddenly become "Okay". Rebecca does not have a mark of the Black Primrose on her.
>>5927818
>>5927820
The long and short of it is yes. Her recommendation came from Father Durandal, who did mention some "unfortunate" incidences with a Roslander bishop whose head he gave a cracking. Durandal did not realize that the reason she got trafficked into that sicko's harem is because she was a street urchin who got picked up by a corrupt inquisitor (who burnt her Cultist father-figure at the stake). That ring kept their records extremely clean, and had enough reach that Durandal felt it best to retire to Lilliendorf for a few years after taking the bishop down.
>>5927828
>>5927845
The LORD turns a blind eye to practicing before marriage, but if you get a girl pregnant you better marry her. He also frowns upon contraceptives, and generally "Does not approve" of men and women like Hilde. "Does not approve" is not punish, the sin is going at it with someone else's spouse (or a man/woman who is not your wife).

People of the same sex do not count. Though usually it's a faux-pas to have more than one "dear friend" who sleeps over at your place from time to time and shares your bed if you're a man's man or woman's woman. It's still expected of those sorts that they get married for the sake of having children, as the LORD demands.
>>5927980
Yep! A properly engraved Black Primrose also corrupts people towards evil.
>>5928305
A bit of a Celtic/Germanic/Nordic complex, for the Daffodil Kingdom writ large. I suppose given that Stamen is one of the largest islands near the continent, could be a bit British in the Heartlands.
>>5928871
Thanks!
>>5929239
That is actually exactly how I pictured her cutting through the softer tentacles. Holding scythe behind her, the blade flared outwards, and then using the cannon shot and her own muscles to propel her forward and reap a harvest of demon flesh.
>>5929286
Yo, thanks. I uh actually drew the entire body from a pose maniacs reference including the hands aaaaaaa. Which is one of the reasons for the cat-smile, my sketch from the reference looked like a frown, so I put little up curls at the end to make her look happier.

Also that channel rules, TY
>>
>>5929669
>Rebecca does not have a mark of the Black Primrose on her.
alright, so we can still fix her
>>
>>5929669
>Oh, one thing for this: Tychae is not a Goddess. She is an "Aspect"
Ah, maybe I would have noticed that if I checked a previous thread

Though I have been a little curious. We have demons, angels, giants, orcs, and quite a few other fantasy staples. But what about DRRRAGONS
>>
>>5929817
They're all bad.
>>
>>5929817
>Ah, maybe I would have noticed that if I checked a previous thread
I mean, she didn't call herself a goddess in any of the times she appeared
>>
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Feeling exhausted tonight and just getting a later start on this than really expected, so tonight will be a Lorepost with a vote attached.

Other Nations of the Southgarden

Golnari Sultanate
A grand alliance of city-states bound by pacts of mutual protection and their respect for the Ever Youthful Sultan, Sakras al-Khalud. Every sultan in the Sultanate is counted as an equal, and the council cannot move without the approval of a grand majority of sultans. Even the vote of Sakras is just that: one vote. Though when the boy sultan speaks, the wisest of his fellows listen, and each of seven times the Sultanate voted as one, it was a measure he brought forth.

Slavery is practiced widely in the Sultanate, though the law proscribed slaves many rights and protections. Many slaves enjoy greater status and freedoms than the free folk as extensions of their masters, and trusted slaves have been named the heir of more than one childless Sultan throughout history. Most, however, are run-of-the-mill laborers who are given unpleasant tasks in exchange for food, water, and a roof over their head.

Of course, there are many who abuse the system. Hundreds of young men and women get tricked into fraudulent slave contracts each year. This is especially prevalent among those sold as pleasure slaves in less reputable markets.

The treatment of criminal slaves is especially poor. They are exclusively used for hard labor and infrastructure projects for their sultan, or the Sultanate as a whole. Naturally, as criminals, they do not have the same protections from overwork that ordinary slaves do. While the sultans do not deliberately work them to death, they do not mind so much if these slaves die. The most lethal project must be the Desert Run, an ongoing project to connect the city-states of the Sultanate by rail.

The Hollylands
The Papal Estate writ large. Throughout the years, the Church of the Holy Light had been gifted lands by various Princeps of the Roslands, which the Pope shuffled around over the centuries, bartering with Princeps that came and went to expand the land around the Holy City, Leripol. It may be somewhat blasphemous to say it, but the politics of the Hollylands puts Rosland to shame, making the vipers of Rosarium look like cuddly teddy bears in comparison. A state that ebbs and flows depending on the pope.

Nominally, the Hollylands remain a Principality of the Empire of Roses. However, Imperial Law dictates that the Empress has no authority over lands run by the Church within the Imperium. Mutual agreement is that the Empress does not collect taxes from the Hollyland as her own form of Tithe, and the Church allows the Empire to recruit soldiers and bureaucrats from their Hollyland's populace.

The political divide in the clergy is as follows: Vipers in Leripol, Well-Meaning Vipers in Leripol trying to restore the faith, and the provincial clergy who criticize the den of vice and run their churches as priests should.
>>
>>5929999
The Linnae Principality
A rebellious Principality that the Empire of Roses has not formally acknowledged as a nation of its own, even though it does not pay taxes to the Empire and actively drives out any soldiers sent by the Empire to "Restore Order". While the Principality keeps the Twinflower Princess as the nation's executive, legislative power lies with a Council of Lords and a House of Commons who hold sole authority to bring law to pen. This has had an unfortunate side effect of moneyed interests - sometimes private, sometimes foreign, and sometimes heretical - purchases votes for laws they wish to see passed.

Due to its geographic location, the Linnae Principality relies on trade to feed its populace, especially with the Daffodil Kingdom. The water currents of the Sea of Sunlight bring water from the southern icecaps north, cooling them down during summer and keeping them chilled during winter. While there is not snow all year round, six months out of ten can expect frost upon the peninsula. They trade good ores with the Wildflower League and the House of Sonnenblume in exchange for grain and heads of beef.

The Linnae Principality has advanced their use of artifice by necessity. The mountainous geography and the long winters pushed them to innovate technologies that can extend their growth periods and make traversing the mountains easier. Their hot air balloons were the first to take to the skies, though the technology has spread across the Southgarden. Their glass gardens are the envy of the world, able to house entire orchards beneath cages of glass that push away the chill of winter.

The Wildflower League
A league of city-states to the south of the Briarcrown and to the north of Sal Khemia. These city states thrive off trade across the Sea of Stars, especially with the Master of Sal Khemia purchasing reagents for their khemistry at a premium from Wildflower Merchants. The city-states share bonds of mutual protection, but otherwise compete with one another on the open market.

They are very much tied at the hip with the Briarcrown. Indeed, many of the great hosts that protect the cities from pirates and raiders recruit from the Briarcrown tribes, and the mountain folk's culture has come to influence their own. One will often see small pagan shrines erected in harmless, out of the way places, advertising them as "Unseen Faces of the LORD of Light".

===

There is one thing to be concerned about as well. Rebecca knew of your plans to cross the Ivystem, which means that you should assume that the Cult of the Dark One knows you mean to take the ambassador that way as well. (Roll 1d100)
>Continue with your plans, as planned.
>The Road Beneath might actually be the better choice, now...
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>(Write In)
>>
Rolled 38 (1d100)

>>5930000
>The Road Beneath might actually be the better choice, now...
>>
>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5930000
>>5930011
Oh, and a roll.
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Continue with your plans, as planned.
All this does is increase the likelihood that any preemptive patrols are more likely to find something prepared, so ups the risk factor. Though conversely that should make them easier to find since preparing takes time and resources.
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
Man, the earl might have won what he wanted through a monkey paw
>>
Rolled 6 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 56 (1d100)

>>5930000
>>Continue with your plans, as planned.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5930000
>Confer with the Earl and see what he thinks.
Nice quads
>>
You slam the butt-end of the Litany's blade down upon a writhing mass of demon flesh, crushing it like an overripe fruit. Damien winces, not pity for the demon whose gore now fills the warehouse, but at the stony anger carved onto your face. Letting out a long breath, you try to soften it a little. There are many people you have reason to be angry with, yourself included, but for once Damien is not one of them. Still, your voice comes out coarser than you wished it when you tell him that, "We were."

"What happened here?" Damien's magenta eyes wander the interior of the warehouse, the light within them swirling like the lens of a farseer mechanism. They linger on the maids and their tattered clothes, and the flush of estrus that color their faces and busts. Long enough to make your eyes narrow before he looks again, this time to the crates of supplies that have been piled high and splattered in demon's blood. "You were swinging your d- your opus around with less subtlety than a rich John in a... you know what, I'm just gonna abandon that metaphor and tell you that I could feel that, in the castle."

You have no idea what this business about a John fellow and his wealth have anything to do with that. Your face reflects your lack of patience for Damien's joking around. You tell him that, "A foolish girl did something regrettable, and summoned a greater demon for me to slay. I very much want to understand how a good kid like her can fall in with such a bad crowd... have you seen Rebecca around? Brown hair, a bit mousy, wearing one of Joana's uniforms..."

Damien thinks for a moment before shaking his head. "Can't say that I have."

Closing your eyes and forcing a neutral expression onto your face, you try one more descriptor that might just work, "Medium breasts?"

"Oh, I remember her," Damien says, his magenta eyes looking far away while his lips curl into a lecherous smile. "Joana lent me to her the other day as a model. The outfits worn by maids in Sonnenblume are really second to none in terms of their charm. Even in the capital, the lords and ladies have their servants follow the fashions found in Sunflower Bay. Your liege is certainly a man of culture..."

Your flat gaze dares him to say anything lecherous about her. Oh, yes, she is an apostate who must be dragged kicking and screaming into the Light of the LORD, but she is still a member of your staff. She hasn't tendered her resignation yet, so if Damien did as wolfish men like him do and ate, you need to smack him on the nose for thinking it appropriate to do such things with any of your staff. Especially when you know Hilde was more than happy to relieve any pent up "tension" with one of her "full body massages".

Before you can think it through, your voice escapes your throat in a growl. "Damien..."
>>
>>5930641
"Peace, Louise, peace..." Damien raises his hands in supplication, a smile flickering in his eyes. "I painted her, is all. Sure, in various states of undress, but that was all for the sake of an anatomical study. Hilde's anatomy is a bit extreme for that, and I might have asked you, but I have it on very good authority that you don't care for being the subject of more deviant works of art. Though your musculature would really... anyways, what's this about the girl summoning demons?"

"She stabbed me, Damien," you tell him through gritted teeth. There are several conflicting emotions running through you right now. Joana may have added herself to the list of people you're annoyed with for volunteering a member of your staff for Damien's artistic escapades without telling you. And with the battle rush gone, you blood yet boils... with that damnable poison filling your mind with all manner of distracting thoughts. You slam your scythe down on the ground, cracking the floor tiles, for emphasis.

"She stabbed me while my back was turned, with a poison that is making you look like an infuriatingly tasty morsel right about now," the words slip out of your mouth before you have time to process them or hold back the poison's effect on your mind. Well, you're already red in the face, so a little more embarrassment won't kill you. "The demon was already here when we arrived, and she all but admitted to summoning it to 'show her Teacher the Dark One's love' or some other crock of nonsense like that. Now before I say - or do - something else I regret... did you see her on your way down? I believe I owe her a spanking..."

"Nice..." Damien's eyes twinkle, his mind no doubt drifting to some perversion or another.

"Damien!" you growl at the lecher knight. "Focus. Rebecca."

"I think I passed her in the hall..." Damien says after a moment of thought. "It was dark, so I'm not sure if it was her or another one of the maids, she had a letter in hand and was making for your quarters. If we're quick, we might be able to catch her before she leaves."

You look down at Joana and the other maids, contemplating their disheveled state and all of the toxins that they must have ingested under the tender care of the greater demon. Which is the greater obligation that you have? To ensure the safety of those who have sworn service to your household, or to pursue the foolish apostate girl who played you like a fiddle until you find her? No, there is no question here. You already know the correct answer.
>>
>>5930643
"It's too late," you tell him, shaking your head. "If Rebecca made the castle whilst I fought the greater demon, then she is likely long gone into the night. There is a saying, that if you wish to move quickly, move alone; by the time we gather a search party, she will have crossed Lake Lilien or disappeared into the Briarcrown. Our time is better spent tending to Joana and her students. I believe there is a spell called Floating Disk?"

Damien nods, commenting that, "You know, you seem to know an awful lot about sorcery for someone ordained by the church. Most holy knight types I've met have no interest in the mystic arts."

You do not ignore the question, but you've no real interest to delve into thoughts of René, nor your dear friend in boot camp who had a talent for such things. Julienne died at Charlemont, and René is far afield in Sal Khemia. In your current state, that damnable poison filling your blood with hard-restrained estrus, you don't know how you'd speak about such matter. So you just smile and say, "I'll tell you later. Cast the spell, and help me put them on the disk."

Damien wraps up his eyes with the sealing cloth and casts the spell. It conjures a disk of stone that floats above the ground about three fee up, large enough to fit all of the maids. You allow the Litany to discorporate into swirls of green and black that return to your bosom, leaving your hands free to pick up Joana and her semi-conscious students and place them on the disk. A blanket gets fetched to cover them all, preserving some of their dignity. Then, with your face as red as a lantern and Damien backing off lest he "give into temptation", you return to Castle Lilliendorf.

You are in no state to speak with the Earl. How do you intend to calm yourself? (Roll 1d100)
>This and that until you've calmed down.
>Sleep it off. Hopefully your dreams will be wholesome. Maybe you'll see René again!
>Go run around the village until your loins stop itching.
>Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
>Hilde. Hilde probably has some device that can help.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
PRAISE THE LORD!
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5930644
>This and that until you've calmed down.
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
I was gonna say hilde, but she'll probably gift us one of her toys
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
>>
>>5930644
>Go run around the village until your loins stop itching.

I find the idea of Louise thinking the idea of "working it out of your system" literally meant working out lol.
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>5930731
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>5930644
> Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
Lmao that this is one of the default options, have to go with it. The hornyposting shall continue.
>>
>>5930777
The horny truly is immense these last few updates.
>>
>>5930777
tbf flagellum isn't exactly horny material, despite people sometimes trying to mix it with regular bdsm. also nice rulle and trips, anon
>>
>>5930777
I don't know if whipping your back so hard that your flesh peels away in bloody strips is erotic, but the dank one is probably into it anyway.

Anywho, trips of luck and crit, what a show.
>>
>>5930798
I somehow doubt Louise is ritualistically scarring her back whenever she does it, if this is listed among her default solutions to getting too hot and bothered.
>>
>>5930802
When's the last time you saw Louise's back and a lack of scars in the same room? Checkmate, atheists. More seriously, normal flagellating will leave welts, and maybe some nicks. This however is not a normal situation for Louise. She's drugged like a motherfucker and two seconds away from jumping Damien. This ain't gonna be a "default" situation no matter how you cut it. I'm sure if the running option is picked it'll have her running for most of the day, which if you're doing it at full speed and not a conservative pace can cause muscle, throat, lung, heart and joint fatigue/damage. Perhaps I am just overestimating the effect of the poison, though. I admit I err overmuch on the side of caution and despair both.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Spend a token to pass the save
>If there's no save, work out until we too tired to think kewd thoughts.
>>
>>5930643
Why the hell would Rebecca go leave a letter in our quarters instead of fleeing immediately?
Also reminder we still have the chocking chocker on. Should've cut it off with the scythe.
>>
>>5930908
>Why the hell would Rebecca go leave a letter in our quarters instead of fleeing immediately?
because she's a little conflicted and was on the path of "redeeming" us
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Hilde. Hilde probably has some device that can help.
>>
Rolled 27 (1d100)

>>5930644
>Retire to your personal chapel and break out the flagellum.
>>
>>5930784
>tbf flagellum isn't exactly horny material
It is for me. Especially if Louise can bring a friend/servant who evaded being tentacled.com'd and can help her hit the hard-to-reach places.

>>5930908
>Also reminder we still have the chocking chocker on.
Huh... that's actually a really good point. Shouldn't it technically still be trying to choke Louise out since she isn't unconscious, or did some kind of Mana Burst when she went gnosis-mode short-circuit the constriction mechanism and Rebecca couldn't reapply it since she fled?
Alternatively, it fell into a plot-hole
>>
>>5930908
>>5931157
Speaking of the choker, I think it stopped working after the girl ran off. Yup that’s it.
>>
>>5929712
Yes. Rebecca is built for CORRECTION by way of spankings, prayer sessions, and life at a strict convent.
>>5929817
Don't worry about it.
>>5929821
This... is true.
>>5930021
There's a lot of factors to take in. The Earl is a wise man, so he might have other contingencies as well.
>>5930720
I mean... yeah, that's pretty much where that will go.
>>5930731
If she's too exhausted to be horny, then she won't be horny any longer. Check mate atheists.
>>5930777
100 on the d100, on a 777 post. The LORD has truly blessed this post. +2 to your banked rolls.
>>5930852
>>5930802
Jokes on the flagellum, Louise already HAS a bunch of scars back there. She and the best Batgirl have a similar amount of scarring on their bodies.
>>5930908
Pretty much what >>5930911 said. As for the choker...
>>5931157
>>5931173
...
...
...
It seems that your new armorsilks are doing a fantabulous job of keeping your throat from getting crushed! So much so that you've barely noticed it since.
>>
>>5931197
>It seems that your new armorsilks are doing a fantabulous job of keeping your throat from getting crushed! So much so that you've barely noticed it since.
Gonna be real with you, if the other anon didn’t say it I think most would’ve forget it. Anyway, there’s a lot of plausible ways to deal with it, kek.
>>
>>5931227
No plot holes will be tolerated on my watch!
>>
>>5931323
thanks, anon
>>
You and Damien deliver Joana and her pupils to the infirmary, which Damien quickly takes command of when he sees the weary state of the castle doctor. Oswald is an older man getting on in years. While you trust him with your health, he's not as young as he used to be. An early morning leaves him with a dearth of energy... and, fortunately, not much pride for Damien to trample. He seems rather pleased to have the younger man running about and taking initiative, and soon enough it looks like between the two of them, they will be able to take care of your delirious staff.

Speaking of delirium, you head upstairs, to the chapel attached to your quarters.

Content Too Spicy for Blue Board: https://pastebin.com/jiJTiE15

You feel refreshed and ready to go!

Well, not quite. You need to down a pitched of water to replenish what you lost during what had to have been one of the most intense prayer sessions that you've had in quite some time. There's also the matter of breakfast, as your empty stomach is keen to remind you of...
>Get breakfast now. You sorely need it. Maybe wipe yourself down first, but you're hungry.
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
>Bath first. You should bathe. Yes you feel refreshed, but expelling so much hysteria from your body... you should bathe.
>You just left Joana and company in the infirmary. Wipe yourself down, maybe put on some perfume, and then go see them.
>+Retract your armorsilks and change your damn clothes.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5931577
>>Bath first. You should bathe. Yes you feel refreshed, but expelling so much hysteria from your body... you should bathe
>>
>>5931577
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
Retracting the armorsilks seems unwise when we have the collar on.
>>
>>5931577
>Get breakfast now. You sorely need it. Maybe wipe yourself down first, but you're hungry.
>>
>>5931577
>pastebin
zam, nice use of the cursed collar OP. a good mix of the poison's temptation, breathplay from the collar and the calmness of her deovtion.
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
gotta get rid of this thing first of all.
>>
>>5931577
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, proba
>>
>>5931577
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
>>
>>5931577
>Bath first. You should bathe. Yes you feel refreshed, but expelling so much hysteria from your body... you should bathe.
>+Retract your armorsilks and change your damn clothes.

Someone should keep a backup of the pastebin somewhere else because they have a record of randomly deleting stuff.
>>
>>5931577
Oh boy, how many kinks do you even have?
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
How would we even bathe in armorsilks?
>>
>>5931840
Just copy paste it into notepad if you're desperate to make sure it keeps. Formatting may go kaput but it'll be there.
>>
>>5931577
>>Bath first. You should bathe. Yes you feel refreshed, but expelling so much hysteria from your body... you should bathe.
>>+Retract your armorsilks and change your damn clothes.
>>
>>5931935
Seriously? With the chocker still on?
>>
>>5931323
Well, it turned into an opportunity, so I'm not mad about it.
>>5931591
Probably.
>>5931615
Thanks, anon!
>>5931840
I tried using Rentry, but it flagged the post as spam when I used it for some reason.
>>5931841
Enough. This one I have some personal experience with (on the giving end, not receiving).

As for bathing, they do function as a wetsuit, so you should be fine.
>>
>>5932086
>Pastebin alternative
Just upload it as a spoilered image file right before it drops off the board. Not PDF, though; suptg doesn't preserve PDFs well.
>>
>>5932086
>they do function as a wetsuit
How the hell do you clean yourself in a wetsuit?
>>
I'll copy the entire thing here, as a spoiler. I don't care if I get banned, since I'm a mobile poster anyway.

Louise locks the door behind her, and a silencing spell encircles her small chapel. That bit of artifice is something Hilde had upon her entire chamber, an array that blocks all sound from entry or exit save for a knock upon the door. With that magic in place, it makes the chapel one of the few places Louise can go when she sorely needs some privacy. With a lit stick of incense set into a specially crafted bowl, she can even obscure a scrying eye.

A small shrine stands watch over the chapel, which occupies a space roughly the size of a walk-in closet. The prism set atop the stout dresser that now serves as a makeshift altar split the pure white light of an everburning candle into the seven virtuous colors and cast them upon the wall. Louise received the flawless pyramid of polished glass as a gift from the Convent of Saint Aeliana shortly after being knighted. The Duke had called upon her to drive out bandits from the foothills surrounding the Convent. The glass blowing nuns of the convent gifted her the prism in thanks.

The flagellum inside one of the smaller drawers of the altar was another such gift from the sisters. Though they admired Louise for her dedication to her far flung love, the Mother Superior warned her of the spiritual dangers faced by lonely men and women. Loneliness is a breeding ground for hysteria, and hysteria left unchecked could drive even the most faithful soul to sin - or worse, apostasy.

The short thong of leather was a tool to banish hysterics through meditation and pain.

Louise has used the sisters' methods to banish her own hysteria on more than one occasion. None of those episodes comes even close to what she now experiences, with Rebecca's toxin still coursing through her veins. Her breasts have become soft and tender and so exquisitely sensitive to even the silky smooth liquid fabric that now covers and compresses them beneath its stretchy, skin tight membrane. Her loins have become puffy and swollen as well, itching with need and leaking so much fluid that any other fabric would have soaked through all the way to her knees. Her new armorsilks do a splendid job at absorbing such fluids, but they leave her with another problem.

She is painfully aware of just how tight her armorsilks cling to her. It is not an embarassing thing, not at all - for the skin tight bodysuits are how knights best display their stature in times of peace such as these. No, it is how the fabric touches her that has set the fires of hysteria alight inside of her mind. The fabric ground against her loins with every step she took, brushed against her tender and delicate nipples. It reminds her of all the delicious torments a wicked weir inflicts upon his wyf in the bodice rippers hidden in her dresser, beneath her drawers.
>>
>>5932086
>Enough. This one I have some personal experience with (on the giving end, not receiving).
so, you whipped the back of one of your gfs before ? Did you do breathplay on them as well ?
>>
>>5932167
But why, anon ? Everyone can read the pastebin
>>
>>5932167
Marching back to the castle was another sort of torment. Alone would have been trial enough, but the LORD saw fit to accompany Louise with that lustful wretch, whose eyes could not help but travel to the hidden bosoms of Joana and her students. Her senses still keen from the rush of combat, her mind still open from the state of gnosis, she could smell his arousal in the air. Even if he did his best to be polite and hide it... men are wolves.

When a wolf sees a buffet of choice meat infront of him, even if he's a well trained dog, he'll still salivate. Driven near to madness with hysteria by that damnable toxin, parts Louise certainly salivated with a desire to eat until she was full.

But Louise was stronger than that wretched aphrodisiac. Stronger than the hysterics that Rebecca had hoped would drive her to foul acts of apostasy.

Now, in the confines of the one room where Louise could be assured of her privacy, she intends to lean upon the strength of the LORD and drive the hysteria from her mind and body. Which is why she takes the flagellum from its place inside the altar, drops to her knees upon the soft prayer mat before it, and clasps her hands together, plraying, "Oh LORD, I beseech Thee: Lend Thy aid to your weak and sinful daughter. Bless this scourge and fill it with Your Light, that it may drive out the poison of hysteria from Your daughter's mind as Aurellian drove the money lenders from Your blessed temple."

Holding the flagellum up to the prism, she dips it in the light that has been broken apart by the glassworks, making sure to catch each of the seven virtuous colors upon the length of the leather thong. The she took the small whip in hand, mumbled the beginnings of a penitent prayer, and cracked it against her back. The pain she expected did not come, not truly, for the armorsilks she wore caught the blow and distributed the force. What should have been a painful lash becoms a sharp and spanking hand upon her backside. But with it comes something greater.

For catching the blow on her back diverts just a trickle of the armorsilks' mass away from guarding her throat. They had done such a good job at protecting her, that she forgot about the accursed artifice attempting to choke her into submission. With some of the mass diverted, the choking force returns, but it is muted.

Indeed, to Louise, it feels as if the LORD Himself took her by the scruff of her neck ever so gently, to personally guide her away from sin and hysteria, like a dog trainer taking a misbehaving bitch in hand and setting her straight. Her body shudders with joy as she feels that her prayers have been answered, light taking her vision as a tide of passionate faith flushes her body of hysterics and temptations, all confusion gushing out of her on a wave of prayerful ecstasy.
>>
>>5932170
Still, her blood remains on fire. Her loins remain swollen, her breast remains tender, and hysteria and sin still swirl within her heart. The Mother Superior warned her long ago that one lash may not be enough to drive such dark feelings out. That the LORD will guide her in each swing, and she will know when it is time for her to stop.

So with a hymn upon her lips, she takes the flagellum in hand and lashes herself again.

And again.

And again.

And again. Each time shuddering in religious ecstasy, her vision overflowing with the Light of the LORD as His Hands about her frail neck guide her in driving out the sins of lust and degradation. Her body expels her hysteria in waves of passion, the Hymn of Saint Brunhilde the Penitent upon her lips, her voice growing louder and more powerful with each lash. Until at last her faith has subsumed her mind that words alone cannot capture her joy at experiencing the love of the LORD, and her song becomes a wordless prayer that fills the chapel for what feels like hours on end.

She knows that she is finished when she finally collapse with a grand smile on her face, falling back onto the prayer mat with the flagellum clasped against her bosom. Her eyes sparkle with joy, her bosom rises and falls with each heavy breath she takes, and most importantly: her mind is clear and calm. Her blood no longer burns with painful passions. Her body no longer feels so sensitive.

The incense stick she lit when she entered the room has nearly burnt out. Which means that it must be getting on to mid-morning by now. Before she does anything else, however, she clasps her hands once more and prays. "We give thanks to you, oh LORD, and praise Your Holy Name."
>>
>>5932120
To be fair in this case the wetsuit needs a wash more than the body within
>>5931577
I really hope René knows some khemical trick to overpower Louise and make feel like putty under his loving attentions not unlike the almighty Lord's embrace
>>
>>5931577
>No, first things first. Hysterics and silly thoughts of "the LORD's Hands" aside, you need to get this cursed collar off of you. Hilde can help with that, probably.
>>
File: Hilde, Camp Artificer.jpg (1.38 MB, 3541x2508)
1.38 MB
1.38 MB JPG
Hilde in her cavernous workshop has all the tools to remove the cursed choker from around your neck. You must have been deep in your hysterics to mistake that wretched item for the grasp of the Moste Holy LORD of Light. Such a blasphemous thought requires a penance on your part; fifteen recitations of the full Luminary should suffice for the sin committed. Of course, that needs to wait until your friend can get the item off of you. Even with the proper tools, the removal of cursed artifice is a tricky business. You never know what other curses might have been lain upon it.

You do not like the grin that spreads across Hilde's face when you come down to see her. She looks far too pleased with the state you are in.

"Rough prayer session?" she asks, with a grin like a fox in the henhouse.

"A poisoned blade left me on the verge of hysterics," you explain with a flat tone that immediately causes Hilde to deflate. She looks over you with concern, checking for any sign of the wound, but the LORD's blessing has already seen it healed. "The wound healed clean and swift, but the poison festered in my blood and dug its way into my heart. I had to drive it out with the lash, before it caused me to do something regrettable."

The tone you take with the word regrettable brings a smile back to Hilde's lips. "Like dragging poor Damien to your bedchambers and grinding his pelvis to dust?"

You make a sour face at that. "Only if there were no other men in reach. If I gave that lecherous pervert another reason to act smug, I'd never forgive myself. Besides which, I'd rather not throw away my first time whilst under the influence of a demonic khemical, thank you. I'd like it to be... romantic."

Hilde snorts. "Says the woman who whips herself into submission every time she feels a bit-"

"Hysterical, yes," you finish the sentence for her. She gives you a flat look, but you know well the difference between arousal and hysterics. Arousal is what you feel when your heart yearns for your darling René in the deep of a lonely night, and your hands wander to comfort yourself as you imagine his touch. Hysterics are lust without any emotion behind it, just your body yearning out in need. A dangerous and powerful feeling that must be struck away with the aid of the LORD.

"Yeah, it's hysterical that you haven't figured out a better treatment than a whip," she tells you with a roll of her eyes. It's your turn to give her a flat look as she explains what she's told you a thousand times before. "If you want a real treatment for 'hysteria', I've know a few guys who would just love to help. The best way to make it go away is between six and ten inches long and pulsing with a sweet reminder that the joy you're feeling is shared by the man wielding the cure."

You snort. "How vulgar. Now, will you get this accursed thing off me?"
>>
>>5932590
Hilde waves your question off. "Just finished analyzing it. Looks like whoever made it, made it quickly. No layers to the trap, just a command word to make it squeeze down until the wearer loses consciousness. Makes sense for a cultist, really, they'd probably want something easy to remove after the Black Primrose's gone and tainted the victim's mind. Convenient too... probably more expensive than weights and shackles, but if you needed to keep control of a dangerous felon for some reason..."

"Hilde..." you give your friend a concerned look. "We're not going to use an apostate's artifice on any criminals in the village."

"Yeah, I know, wasn't what I meant," she dismisses your concern with a wave, twirling the now-removed choker about her finger. "I don't think Lilliendorf has seen a proper felon in the last century. I've seen the paperwork the town watch sends you each month, the worst crimes we see are some petty theft that aren't big enough to bother you with. Hasn't even been a case where a guy's gotten too handsy with a girl who didn't want it, I've made sure of that personally."

You let out a sigh at your friend's pride at her vulgar behavior. Well, the Watch hasn't reported any cases like that to you since Hilde arrived, so she may be on to something with that. "So working your way through the town's bachelor's is your civic duty, then? Protecting the rest of us delicate maidens from the predations of wolfish men by sacrificing yourself. How noble."

"I'm happy to be the shield that guards the chastity of Lilliendorf's women," Hilde declares, puffing up with pride. She claps you on the shoulder after pocketing the choker, assuring you that, "You need not worry, my dear friend. Your virginity is safe, as long as I'm around."

"Splendid," you deadpan.

With the cursed choker removed, you're free to wash up and go about the rest of your day. Which promises to be a long one, with how it started out...
>Go visit Joana and check to see if she's fit for travel.
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>Go to the Earl. You need to change plans, and head for the Road Beneath.
>Go to the Earl. You need to convince him to drop the foolish chicanery, now that it nearly made your maids victims of a Greater Demon.
>Go to the Earl. You would hear what he thinks is best now that the trap has been sprung.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5932593
>>Go visit Joana and check to see if she's fit for travel.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932590
>"[...]The best way to make it go away is between six and ten inches long and pulsing with a sweet reminder that the joy you're feeling is shared by the man wielding the cure."
Hilde is so nice to remind us she always up to the challenge, no matter how hard it is and how thick the obstacles may be.
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>Go visit Joana and check to see if she's fit for travel.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to the Earl. You need to convince him to drop the foolish chicanery, now that it nearly made your maids victims of a Greater Demon.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
>>5932593
>Go to your quarters and read the letter that Rebecca left for you.
>>
File: Maid Level 100.jpg (1.11 MB, 2384x4096)
1.11 MB
1.11 MB JPG
Bathing takes up the rest of your morning.

You take a plate of finger foods with you. Though she might not have her assistant and scullery girl working with her any long, the castle chef - Katya - got along without her for years, and is not so old yet that she needs the help. She prepared breakfast for Damien, the Earl, the castle staff, and all the attendant men-at-arms who guard this border village. For you, she fried up little sausages and rolled them up within a thin, savory pancake of battered cabbage and green onions. Stuck into a wooden goblet for their presentation, you snack on them as you wash all the troubles of this early morning away.

Again, you have to wonder how a good kid like Rebecca falls in with a crowd of apostates. Her view on the church as a whole is understandable, from what the Good Father Durandal told you about her past. He rescued her - and several other girls and boys - from the house of a Hollylander Bishop whose actions disgraced his title. Good inquisitorial work... that got him an early retirement from the Inquisition for kicking over a political hornet's nest. Too much power at play, too many scions of disgraced houses among the victims, too many people displaced. Rebecca was one of those urchins that fell through the cracks and landed there, LORD only knows how or when.

Could it have begun there? The Dark One's Depravity slipping into the sinful house of a bishop who did not deserve his flock would not surprise you, may the LORD forgive your doubt in His institutions upon this base Earth. But mortals are mortals, and power births sin like rotting meat births maggots.

Yet if it came from there, what reason would she have to hate the LORD and love the Dark One? She would have experienced the depravity of Nameless get and understood why such apostasy must be opposed at every corner.

Good Father Durandal has the same nose you have, one blessed by the LORD to know the difference between good and evil. Indeed, he taught you its use, and the use of scent to divine the presence of sorcery and powerful khemistry. Any priest of the Dark One would not have been able to come close to a girl under his care, let alone groom her into a true believer in the false truths of the Nameless. So it must have happened before the purge of the Aconian Diocese, when he took her and all the other unclaimed victims of that bishop as his wards.

From Rebecca's own experience, it must have happened before the Bishop's men stole her from the streets.

A doubt tickles at the back of your mind: does it really matter how she fell? You already forgave her when the LORD's grace seized you, when you reached into your heart and drew the form of your very self to cut apart the Demon. She has her penance, and you intend to see it delivered by your own hand, no matter how repentant she may become once she realized how the cult pulled the wool over her eyes. Yet leaving it unknown leaves a pit of dissatisfaction in your stomach.
>>
>>5933350
With those thoughts in mind, you finish up you bath and breakfast and make for your study in your robe. A fresh pot of coffee awaits you there, as well as the letter Damien spoke of. Less a letter and more a scroll, now that you see it for yourself: bound and tied with a waxen seal that carries a sigil that makes you frown. The same sigil that burns vibrant and green upon your right eye. Not the Black Primrose you would expect from an Apostate, but an inversion of the three-petaled Flower of Life.

When you unfurl it, what lay within seems incomprehensible at first glance, a string of almost random letters and numbers. Then you recognize it for what it is, a common Gardener Cypher that René once loved to use. You remember 20 being the sign for a space between words, but the rest you have honestly forgotten:

4d 69 6c 61 64 79 20 4c
6f 75 69 73 65 2c 0a 0a
49 66 20 79 6f 75 20 61
72 65 20 72 65 61 64 69
6e 67 20 74 68 69 73 2c
20 74 68 65 6e 20 49 20
68 61 76 65 20 62 65 65
6e 20 63 61 6c 6c 65 64
20 74 6f 20 64 6f 20 6d
79 20 64 75 74 79 2e 20
49 20 62 65 67 20 79 6f
75 72 20 66 6f 72 67 69
76 65 6e 65 73 73 20 66
6f 72 20 6d 79 20 64 65
63 65 70 74 69 6f 6e 2e
20 59 6f 75 72 20 6e 6f
62 69 6c 69 74 79 20 61
6e 64 20 67 72 61 63 65
20 68 61 73 20 62 65 65
6e 20 61 6e 20 69 6e 73
70 69 72 61 74 69 6f 6e
20 74 68 65 73 65 20 70
61 73 74 20 66 69 76 65
20 79 65 61 72 73 2e 20
49 20 73 68 61 6c 6c 20
70 72 61 79 20 66 6f 72
20 79 6f 75 20 65 61 63
68 20 64 61 79 20 77 68
69 6c 73 74 20 49 20 61
6d 20 61 66 61 72 2c 20
74 68 61 74 20 79 6f 75
20 6d 61 79 20 6f 6e 65
20 64 61 79 20 66 69 6e
64 20 63 6f 6d 66 6f 72
74 20 69 6e 20 74 68 65
20 65 6d 62 72 61 63 65
20 6f 66 20 73 6f 6f 74
68 69 6e 67 20 64 61 72
6b 6e 65 73 73 2e 0a 0a
22 4d 61 79 20 77 65 20
6d 65 65 74 20 61 67 61
69 6e 20 61 73 20 73 69
73 74 65 72 73 20 69 6e
20 74 68 65 20 62 6f 73
6f 6d 20 6f 66 20 74 68
65 20 4e 69 67 68 74 20
4d 6f 74 68 65 72 2e 22
0a 0a 45 76 65 72 20 79
6f 75 72 20 73 65 72 76
61 6e 74 2c 0a 0a 52 65
62 65 63 63 61

Each pair written with such precision you almost mistake it for illuminated presswork. Below the cypher, you see something written in a more hasty scrawl: 48, 0, 2320 In the Knot of the Red Oak.

All of this is rather headache inducing. LORD knows you may find the lengths of your patience trying to redeem this girl.
>Try to puzzle this out yourself. Roll Appraise at +12, taking disadvantage on the roll of 1d20 for the unusual use of the skill.
>Bring this to Hilde and see what she'll make of this.
>Bring this to Damien and see what he'll make of this.
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>There is no time. You should go speak to the Earl now about your travel plans.
>(Write In)
>>
>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
any anon know if this is a real cypher ?
>>
>>5933362
It's an ASCII code that uses two hexadecimal digits as the inputs.
>>
>>5933362
AI can translate it, but that's OOC knowledge, alas. Also, unsure about the little addendum she scribbled at the bottom.

>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
>>5933350
That is indeed a very high level maid.
>>
>>5933362
https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/number/hex-to-ascii.html
obviously, this is cheating. if you didn't know what hex was, then this would be a basic substitution cipher, which is very easy to crack if you know what you're doing.
>>
>>5933366
>>5933368
>>5933402
thanks anons
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5933351
>>Try to puzzle this out yourself. Roll Appraise at +12, taking disadvantage on the roll of 1d20 for the unusual use of the skill.
>>
>>5933351
>>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...

Hopefully it will help her get her mind of some of the things that happened.
>>
>>5933351
>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
>>5933351
>>Joana enjoys puzzles like this. Perhaps such a task will get her mind off her failure last night. LORD knows she likes to beat herself up about things...
>>
What's that, a Friday Night where D&D went longer than expected? Say it isn't so! It's Lore Time.

The Purge of Aconia

Case File Number: 1095702132-P
Classification: High Crime (Saecular)
Threat Level: Brutus
Summary: During a routine inspection of the diocese, inquisitors discovered evidence of human and child trafficking by multiple church officials working for or adjacent to the Cardinal of Aconia. Upon investigation, the Bishop was found guilty of saecular High Crimes against the dignity of humanity. He and all proven participants in these crimes were summarily executed in accordance with the Codex Justiatem, Book 7, Chapter 2, Folio 9, Paragraph 3, Line 5.
Date Filed: 11th of November, 6193 LR
Date of Incident: 13th of September, 6193 LR
Lead Inquisitor: Francis Durandal

On the 4th of August, 6191 LR, during a routine inquisitorial inspection of the Aconia Diocese, inquisitors discovered the presence of a Abraxas Pattern Mark of Servitude (MoS) upon serving staff at the Cardinal Palace. In accordance with the Codex Justiatem, Inquisitorial Form 834 was filed by the Inquisitor to provide notice that one or more of his palace staff were slaves-in-bondage (SIB), and request that the Cardinal follow Church Law and remove the slave from her bondage. Upon receiving the form, the Cardinal sent assurances that the finding was a result of improper removal of the MoS from the SIB after purchasing her freedom.

Inquisitors followed up with the Cardinal after six weeks, as dictated within the Codex Justiatem, and confirmed the removal of the MoS from the SIB. In breach of standard protocol, justified post-facto by the doctrine of Inquisitorial Discretion outlined in the Codex Interrogo, inquisitors planted 64 Marble Flies in and around key points of the Cardinal Palace during the follow up meeting. A summary of the locations and fields of view can be found in Attachment 1, Surveillance Map of the Aconian Cardinal Palace.

During a two year observation period, the Marble Flies recorded evidence of the Cardinal and 27 other bishops or high ranking priests participating in the following saecular High Crimes against the Dignity of Human:
>126 counts of Human Trafficking
>74 counts of Child Trafficking
>454 counts of Illegal Enslavement
>981 counts of Corruption of a Church Official
>223 counts of Pederasty
>492 counts of Rape
>1294 counts of Sexual Assault
>377 counts of Manufacture of Pornography
>47 counts of Theft of Virginity
>3 counts of Bestiality

After retrieving the Marble Flies and reviewing the evidence, the decision was made by the Inquisitorial Council to declare the Cardinal of Aconia Frater Horrificus, authorizing a purge of the diocese. In total, 137 souls were condemned to the Black Pit for these crimes, and may the LORD have mercy upon their souls.

Signed: Francis Durandal
Witnessed: Mother Gertrude fon Stechpalme.
>>
>>5934418
>47 counts of Theft of Virginity
what is that exactly ? rape of a virgin ?

>3 counts of Bestiality
off course there were vaushites there
>>
>>5934435
It's stealing, duh.
>>
>>5934418
I have a hunch the people who helped the Cardinal obtain his post might have been motivated by exotic island trips. The Inquisition should've followed up on that.
>>
>>5934418
>47 counts of Theft of Virginity
>>
>47 counts of Theft of Virginity

Funny
>>
>>5934435
>>5934596
>>5934863
Anons, it probably relates to the Cardinal having enslaved approximately 47 children...
>>
>>5934868
It was obviously just a really good pickpocket.
>>
>>5934868
I don't doubt there's also kids in that total, but I'm curious as to the definition
>>
>>5934435
Exactly what you say. Raping a virgin gets an extra penalty slapped on top of normal rape, as virginity is in several circles a very valuable thing. Some places see less value in it (usually common folk in cities), but wealthier people see it as something valuable for cementing alliances through marriage or bringing their successor into the family. For boys and girls, it's seen as assurance that they won't... wander.
>>5934479
137 individuals were executed by fire for taking part, participating, or enabling these crimes. Every who could be nailed, was nailed. The political fallout of this (as it wasn't EVERYONE involved in that conspiracy) is why Durandal retired to Lilliendorf.
>>
>>5934911
FYI, I had the honor of falling sick this weekend. Next post will be monday, gotta sleep this off before work.
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>>5936154
alright OP, take care
>>
>>5936154
Get well soon!
>>
>>5936154
Rest up
>>
>>5936154
No problem. Get a good rest QM.
>>
The infirmary sits next to the chapel in one of the unwritten rules of warfare and castle design. The tragic truth is that the Faithful will inevitably have cause to fight the Faithful, because humans are foolish creatures who value riches and honor above their own lives. As much as the pursuit of such material and worldly things can drive men to better themselves and their craft, it can just as easily push them towards evil. To answer sleights with the sword and the gonne, to seek fame, glory, and riches on the field of battle, to cross blades with a worthy opponent and emerge triumphant... there are a hundred thousand foolish reasons why men might make war against one another.

Chivalry cannot contain the wild passions and ambitions of men, be they wyf or weir. Indeed, wyfs aside, you have said before - and will say again if asked - that a weir with no ambitions may as well be a eunuch. Chivalry then must serve to temper those passions, its traditions built to minimize the harm they can do, and maximize the benefit they bring to King and Country.

Thus, the infirmary always sits beside the chapel. One does not draw their sword in the LORD's house, nor in the house of a healer, for to do so would be to abandon all semblance of honor and invoke the wrath of the LORD. Even in self defense, it is an ill thing that carries with it a deep penance to scourge away the shame of spilling blood in a holy place. To be the assailant, to attack those who claim shelter with the Church, is an accursed thing for which the sacraments shall be denied by all men of the cloth until the sinner has made such a penance that Kings would be beggars and the High Dukes, slaves.

Few would risk the mark of anathema to fulfill their ambitions.

Those who would deserve to be cast out, for they are next to the apostate in how low they have sunken.

Keeping the chapel and infirmary together keeps those areas that must go untouched by war lest you suffer the wrath of the LORD and His Angels in one place. A place where siege engines know not to sling their boulders, a place soldiers know not to attack and can trust they will not be attacked from. It is strange to imagine fairness and rules in war - and indeed, too many defenders violate those rules in times of crisis - but even if it's imperfect, that is why you can find the castle infirmary off in its own wing, next to the chapel where Father Durandal comes to hold mass each Sunday for your staff.

Large glass windows line the walls, letting in light aplenty from the outside. Darkness does the mind little good, especially when one suffers from sickness or injury. In the tradition of the healers of Stamen Isle, bleached white curtains separate the beds of each patient, sectioning each bed off into its own little room and giving patients who wish for it privacy. Most days you would approve of this practice, having benefitted from it yourself during many campaigns. Today, however...
>>
>>5937097
That extra bit of privacy may be part of the reason why the infirmary smells like a brothel.

The other three parts have already been dealt with, or will be dealt with in the future. You promised Rebecca the spanking of a lifetime when you catch up with her, and that will certainly involve confiscating that poisoned dagger of hers and ever toxin she has upon her person. The Greater Demon that flooded the bodies of your maids with its aphrodisiac in preparation of breeding them has been not only return to the pit, but its core shattered by your scythe and its sin unmade. The cheap, brothel-grade incense that prepared them all, lulling them into a state of groggy and suggestible estrus, has also been disposed of.

Given a bit of privacy, however, you can hear them all relieving themselves of the pain those toxins have left them with, scratching at that terrible itch with their fingers and whatever other tools they might have on themselves. Moans of feminine joy softly escape the spaces between the curtains, accompanied by harsh and sweet and shallow breaths and a the soft wet noises that accompany the dance of their fingers. In retrospect, perhaps leaving them in Damien's care might have been a mistake.

Though to the man's credit, while he is quite visibly straining at the temptation, he hasn't acted upon it; perhaps because Oswald's tomes on medicine have kept him busy. The smirk on his face as you enter the room makes your eyes narrow at him, wondering just where those eyes behind his blindfold might be looking.

"Hello Damien," you greet him by taking the other free seat at the table he's been using as a desk. "How are they doing?"

"As well as you can be, hopped on three different aphrodisiacs," Damien says. He frowns at the books before him, before shaking his head. "The succubus fluids alone would drive a man mad with lust the better part of a day. Exposure to the breeding miasma of a Greater Demon... it was only for a few minutes at most, but the effects are multiplicative in intensity. Silphium Incense is positively mild in comparison."

He turns away from the books and says, "In any case, they should have everything out of their systems within the next twenty four to 48 hours. Fun little use of some of those gems the shaman girl gifted us, they're excellent catalysts for hydration seals. Which they need, because-"

"I know why they need it, Damien," you tell him. He deflates a bit at your tone, but it's not enough to take that infuriating grin of his away from his face. Well, most of him deflates, there's one part that doesn't, that makes you wish he didn't wear such uncomfortably tight looking pants. "Is Joana cognizant?"
>>
>>5937098
"Cognizant? Yes," he tells you. "Cognizant of anything except her hands right now? Probably not. Honestly, I'm amazed you're not down here joining them, Louise. Succubus fluids are the worst of the lot, and while Rebecca didn't puncture any of your organs, she did choose a spot where they could quickly spread through your body. You honestly should be just as bad off as any of them, if not worse. I [saw] how much you had before sealing my eyes back up, you took more than any of them..."

You puff up with pride, letting a very smug grin cross your face. "The Convent of Saint Aeliana taught me many techniques to drive away the hysteria born of lust. Through the LORD's grace, I purified myself of the foul toxins and restored my sanity before hysteria overtook me."

"Saint Aeliana, Saint Aeliana..." Damien rolls the name of the convent around on his tongue. You don't like the look that crosses his face as memory seems to dawn on him. Why is he smirking like that? "The glass blowers? No..."

"The very same," you tell him, not really understanding his disbelieving tone.

"I would never have taken you for the sort that... no, actually, that makes far too much sense..." Damien says a couple of things that only make sense to him. What does he mean, "the sort"? What makes far too much sense to him now? The mysteries of this man's mind are one of the things that irritate you the most about him. "Then again, I really shouldn't be all that surprised that you're fond of the flagellum. You act the prude in one hand, and then make best friends with a woman of Hilde's loose morals with the other."

You tilt your head in confusion, your eyes narrowed in irritation. "I don't quite get what you're trying to say, but I have this suspicion that it's entirely inappropriate."

Damien's only response is his smirk. With a sigh, you...
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
>Drop the puzzle on Joana's nightstand and head up to the Earl's office.
>(Write in)
>>
>>5937098
>Well, most of him deflates
i wouldn't be surprised if he was gooning while reading and listening to them
>>5937099
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
let her use her hands for something else.
>>
>>5937099
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.

A quick check to see how she is and if she can't talk now then we at least know that and can come back later.
>>
>>5937099
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
>>
>>5937099
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
Don't open the curtain without permission though.
>>
>>5937099
>>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
>>
>>5937099
>Go visit with Joana to give her the puzzle.
>>
>>5937126
The man is a pervert, but he's not that much of a pervert.
>>5936332
>>5936647
>>5936158
>>5936160
Also, thanks everyone for the well wishes. They helped me recover faster, I think.
>>
>>5937654
>The man is a pervert, but he's not that much of a pervert.
Is he enough of a pervert to volunteer lending a helping hand in more "Aelianian purification rituals", or is that not his kink?
>>
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You would see Joana for yourself rather than take Damien's word alone for it. It is not that you do not trust the man's word; at least in medical matters, he has been nothing but the consummate professional. Seeing for yourself the depravations of demonkind, forced upon those you care about by a misguided girl and the monsters pulling at her strings... it will steel your resolve. Remind you why every demon, every black hearted irredeemable cultist who has taken the Dark One's mark, must be purged.

So that is why with some trepidation, you approach the curtain behind which your handmaid lay. The feverish moans, the wet sounds of fingers desperately scratching at an itch that will not leave her until the poison runs its course, you put those sounds behind you and ask, "Joana, may I come in?"

The moans fall silent, the squishing sounds stop. There's a sweetness to her voice, terrible passions underneath the words she tries and fails to keep steady as she says, "O-Of course, milady."

Without the curtain between you, the brothel-scent of feminine pleasure becomes much stronger. Joana's uniform hangs upon a curtain, and the backless nursing gown she should have been wearing is discarded in a pile on the floor. Sheets soaked with sweat and other more sensitive fluids have been gathered up by her chest to hide a swollen and heaving bosom whose peaks nearly poke through the linen sheets. Her face is bright red, her hair is tossled and messy, and a hand paws for her glasses until she finds them on the nightstand and puts them on her face, ever so slightly askew.

"How are you feeling, Joana?" you ask her. As her liege, you let a bit of worry peak out onto your face, and into your voice, but not too much. The Duke taught you how to balance the stone mask of a liege lord with the compassion of a friend, and you'd like to think you learned the lessons well.

"Envious of Eloise," she blurts out, before hiding her face. When you let a soft smile tell her that it's okay for her to speak her mind, her shaky voice explains that, "Her husband came to visit, and Damien had him bring her home. Gave him some tonic of one root or another to help him provide her with medicinal affection until the venom wore off. I've never concerned myself with menfolk as a woman before, but now... a lover would certainly be convenient."

She tries to chuckle and laugh it off, but the way her hands quiver, the redness in her face, the way her thighs subtly rub up against one another as her breathing becomes jagged all show you how hard she's trying to keep from scratching the itch. So you pretend not to notice any of that and say, "Well, if it's just a man you need, you could ask Damien. I'm sure he'd be willing to help you out."

Joana guffaws. Beyond the curtain, you hear Damien say, "No thanks. Pretty as they are, I prefer driving my women mad with lust with my hands instead of some toxin. Takes all the artistry out of it, I swear."
>>
>>5938291
Joana guffaws even harder, the traitor. Your face turns a bright shade of luminescent pink, as whatever you expected from him, you didn't expect that, even if you really should have expected something like it. What would he even do with his hands that you couldn't do better yourself? You thought all matters of breeding and the pleasures a man and woman share involved a man's rod and a woman's flower... and perhaps her breasts, given how many times you've seen Hilde preen as her latest partner groped her. It's all very mysterious, why can't human relations be as simple as breeding cows?

"I appreciate that you are concerned for me, milady," Joana says once her traitorous laughter subsides. Her face is flushed deep crimson and there's a scent in the air that reminds you of Hilde's cave whenever she locks herself down there with her toys. Her voice is distant as she tells you that, "Damien has assured us that the toxins will subside... and that our own efforts can help it along. Milady, if I may be honest, my self-control is fraying at its ends, and I may do something regrettable if I can't..."

She stares out with hunger in her eyes, her hands reaching towards you and the curtain. You nod in understanding, "Like propositioning Damien."

Her hands stops, and a mysterious smile spreads across her face. Something in her eyes twinkles as she nods in agreement, saying, "Yes. Like propositioning Damien."

Before you leave her be, you pull the scroll Rebecca left you from a special space within your bosom. [Bonus Pocket], an old wyf's cantrip you learned from one of the men-at-arms who guided the young recruits of the wyf's barracks away from girlish foolishness and messing around with boys in ways that will get you taken from the front. Still alive, you recall, though retired to a cushy post in the Ducal Guard where she can watch after her grandkids. For some reason, Joana casts an envious look at the scroll your draw from the pocket space in your cleavage.

"If you find yourself up to using your hands for something else, Rebecca left this behind," you tell her. "It's a coded message. I'd like to know what it says."

Her eyes narrowing at the fool girl's name, Joana nods. "I'll get on it once I'm able, milady."

As you leave her to her business, you hear a familiar old voice speaking to Damien. It seems the Earl of Lavendel has come down to the infirmary, his staff in hand and his robes set for traveling. His back is turned to you, and his scratchy voice tells Damien that, "A little bird told me that someone went and stabbed the Baroness and half her staff with a dagger coated in Ube Succubare, Damien. It's a shame that she will be indisposed for the next two days, but we should not let this time go to waste. If we can have the caravans prepared at the eastern gate-"
>>
>>5938292

Your eyes narrow at the scheming old man's schemes, but he cannot help his nature, you suppose. The LORD gave him such a mind, and at least he uses it for the good of King and Country. Still, you cannot help but share a smirk with Damien as you interject that, "We can have everything ready for a trip through the Road Beneath."

"Yes, exactly!" The Earl says, turning to you with a bright smile on his face. When he realizes that you are the one who just said that, his eyes nearly pop out of his skull in such a ridiculous expression that you have to bite back laughter. Damien does not. The Earl recovers with a suspicious expression, staring you down as if you were figment or illusion, examining every detail as the wheels in his mind churn. Finally, he breaks his silence, saying, "You... are actually a virgin at your age. Good heavens."

All lingering amusement falls from your face into a look that's not quite a glare. "Beg your pardon, my lord?"

Damien's eyes widen, and he leans back in his chair, the gears turning in his head. Looking to you, in what could only be a mix of shock or horror, he says, "That must have been one hell of a prayer session. You reduced twelve hours to-"

"Hold on, no," you hold up a hand at Damien. He shares a look with the Earl, about to say something before you put your foot down and tell them both, "I'm not going to let the two of you silver-tongued tricksters give me the run around with non-sequitur after non-sequitur. Yes, I am a virgin. Yes, I am proud of it. No, it does not have anything to do with our present conversation."

The Earl interrupts, saying, "Well, it explains why you're not in bed, recovering from the-"

"Off. Topic." You put your foot down again. For some reason, the Earl seems quite fascinated by what you just said, but keeps his mouth shut long enough for you to say, "With what has happened, with how much Rebecca might have known about our planned route, you don't need to go behind my back to get me to agree to take the Road Beneath. What I would like to know is why the two of you went to such lengths to try and gather supplies in secret so that you could try to pressure me into going along with it."

"Quite simple, my lady," the Earl says. "It's the faster route. Speed is important in this matter."

"Also the Earl is a fan of Gardener architecture," Damien adds. "He wanted to see the old tunnels."

This reeks of truths spoken in a way that could only conceal the deeper truth beneath it. Roll 1d20
>Establish facts and form a hypothesis to their behavior. (Sense Motive +17)
>Try to coax the reason out of them both. (Diplomacy +17)
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
>Fine then. They can keep their secrets. (Perception +19)
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
Target the weak link.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)

Establish the pecking order.
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Establish facts and form a hypothesis to their behavior. (Sense Motive +17)
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5938293
>>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5938293
>>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
Damien, buddy, we are ANGRY. Please take this into consideration.
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
We were backstabbed, poisoned and almost lost our maids so we’re not having any of this shit.
>>
>>5938293
>Try to coax the reason out of them both. (Diplomacy +17)
Use a token to autosucceed
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
>>
>>5938293
The way i see it they either really want to take the tunnels and tried to force the issue or they believe we are being spied on and they want to make it seem we are taking the tunnels by gathering the supplies while hiring a young man with a mixed reputation who the spies will believe slipped up.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5938293
>>Establish facts and form a hypothesis to their behavior. (Sense Motive +17)
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5938293
>Drag Damien to one side and make use of your domineering presence to get it out of him. (Intimidate +21)
GETTING REAL TIRED OF THIS SHIT
>>
File: The Symbol in Question.jpg (158 KB, 2000x2000)
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Winner: Bully Damien
13 + 21 = 34 Intimidate vs DC 30. Success!

You will have none of this.

Yes, you will have none of their perfidious schemes, their verbal sleight of hand, their making like showmen from a Wildflower caravan, putting on a grand flourish while the urchins cut your purse! Not from the Earl of Lavendel and certainly not from Sir Damien. Your patience has worn thin as the last scraps from the butter dish spread across your morning toast. Their schemes nearly saw Joana, Eloise, Alexa, Hertha - over half your maid staff, all dear friends - raped and made into seedbeds for a greater demon. To say nothing of what might have happened to young Lothar had he gotten caught up in Rebecca's web whilst carrying out their plans.

Unfortunately, you cannot give the two of them the same sort of spanking you have planned for Rebecca. She is your responsibility as subject and servant, and by the badge upon your breast you have both authority and discretion to drag her kicking and screaming into whatever penance you see fit. But that is a matter of the Faith and the Church. Whatever grievances you have with the Earl and Sir Damien are a secular matter. In matters of King and Country you are Damien's peer and several steps below the Earl.

Besides which, Damien strikes you as the sort of man who would enjoy a woman of your size paddling his bottom. Makes the whole deal less than the punishment you would intend.

The one good thing about schemers is that they tend to think more straightforward wyfs and weirs cannot scheme themselves, an overconfidence that will bring their downfall. From his expression, the Earl at least sees that resigned smile on your face has to be hiding something, but that matters not. It's Damien you need to trick. "All that for a scenic route? My lord, you could have just told me, and we would have planned for that from the beginning. No need to have young Lothar go around flashing gold coin on your behalf to buy up enough supplies for the road."

Damien looks quite smug when the Earl looks at you aghast, asking if, "You noticed that?"

"I told you she would, Theo," Damien says. The grin on his face resembles a cat with a fish in its mouth.

"It was the talk of the town, my lord," your words only make the Earl turn a whiter shade of pale. You can't see your own reflection, but your expression must match Damien's cattish grin. "This isn't Stamen, you know. When the local urchin suddenly starts buying up a caravan's worth of goods, flashing gold coins, it's only a matter of time before everyone hears about it. There's only a handful of people who even see gold coins regularly, and certainly no one wealthy enough to toss them into a urchin's begging bowl or what have you."
>>
>>5939049
The Earl pinches at his nose, as if the thought has just occurred to him. Then he laughs, though the sound is just a little bit hollow. "LORD above, that's a bad habit. Too used to worrying about the mint rather than the denomination. Well, something for a provincial girl like yourself to keep in mind as well, if you've need to be discrete in Rosarium: it's often less suspicious to send the dogs barking up the wrong tree, than it is to try and hide your scent entirely, as it were."

You nod, keeping the fake smile that catches the Earl's suspicious eye. "I will keep that in mind, my lord. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to borrow Damien for a time."

"Oh?" Damien asks.

With a slight flourish, you draw a leatherbound notebook from your [Bonus Pocket], an act that makes both Damien and the Earl sputter and cough. Damien even rubs his eyes through his blindfold, as if he's not believing what he just saw. Waving the tome at him, you say, "Because we're changing our route, I need to change some of my well-laid plans. And because you were not honest with me as to why you wished to take the Road Beneath, I'm enlisting you to help me with that."

Damien looks between you and the Earl, who is about halfway to the door of the infirmary. He points at the hastily retreating old man and demands to know, "What about the Earl? He-"

"-is a diplomat, Damien," you remind him, which earns you a quizzical look. You need to hold back a stare of disbelief. The Duke of Sonnenblume so enjoys his lectures on the clockwork of the kingdom, and every time he gathers his knights to go on about it, you take notes. It should be common knowledge to something friendly with the King that, "A diplomat's job is scheming, for the sake of King and Country. He gets a pass."

The Earl flashes you a thumbs up, before he leaves the room. Damien's lips thin, and they only get thinner when you all but drag him by the ear out of the infirmary and into the nearest conference room.

The Duke of Sonnenblume designed Castle Liliendorf himself, as something of a hobby project over the course of several slow and peaceful winters. Indeed, it is the twin of his summer castle on the northwest shore of Lake Lilien, albeit a much less opulent proof of concept that he threw at you when the King told him to give the village a garrison. Built with his preferences in mind, even after converting many of them into living space for your men-at-arms and staff, there remain an abundance of rooms for meetings on each floor.

The one you chose is a smaller, more intimate space where four can sit around a simple table of fine polished oak, with room enough to place a sending stone upon the wall in the fullness of time. Right now, however, the walls are simply covered with plaster and hewn oak paneling. A single window overlooks the village below, though you slowly and deliberately draw the curtains closed.
>>
>>5939050
Damien closes the door behind himself, and stares at the closed curtains for a moment. From the pinkness in his ears, you have to wonder what sort of conclusions he's drawn for himself, though not for long. He cannot help but let the filth in his mind spill out, can he? It's almost charming, in a way. "Louise, I'm flattered, but I don't think-"

Before another irritating word can slip out, you slam your arm into the wall next to his head, dominating his personal space with your broad, muscular figure. You eyes glow with a bright green light, and stare into the flickering magenta flames that shine through his blindfold. "You're right, you don't."

"I, uh..." Damien stammers out, his usual swagger evaporated, his eyes unsure where he's supposed to look. His face colors with his nerves, turning a bright red. "What's this all-"

"Why are we really going down the Road Beneath?" You cut him off with a question that sounds more like a demand. "And don't even think about giving me that line about him wanting to see 'the architecture'. My patience is wearing thin, Damien. You saw what happened this morning, you were there when I slew the greater demon summoned in my village. So don't bullshit me with another misleading half truth."

"Louise, we didn't lie-" Damien starts, but you cut him off with a knock on the wall with your fist. A reminder of how short your patience is right now, how easily you arms could snap his in two. Perhaps that thought is a little violent, the faithful should not fight the faithful, but the rage of your forefathers simmers very close to the surface now. "Be reasonable, Louise!"

"I will be reasonable as soon as you stop trying to give me the run around, Damien," you say through gritted teeth.

"I don't think you want to know the full context Louise," Damien mutters. Your fist clenches and begins to quiver, but before you do anything, Damien releases a sigh and says, "But I can at least tell you part of it. It's your eye. The symbol upon your right eye matches with markings on some of the deep ruins. Arthur thought it would be good if we took a detour to see if your sight could reveal any of their mysteries, and the Earl agreed. It wasn't the order, Arthur doesn't like giving orders, not outside of ceremony. But..."

But if the King thinks something is a good idea... then it is his subjects' duty to carry it out. Roll 1d20
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>What does the King think you'll find down there?
>Why didn't he just say that in the first place?
>What could your sight reveal that his eyes cannot see?
>Very well. You will need to plan around this detour.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5939053
>Before another irritating word can slip out, you slam your arm into the wall next to his head, dominating his personal space with your broad, muscular figure. You eyes glow with a bright green light, and stare into the flickering magenta flames that shine through his blindfold. "You're right, you don't."
zam, louise kabedon. what a lucky guy.

>Why didn't he just say that in the first place?
something as simple as this wouldn't need to be hidden, what is going on ?
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5939053
>>Why didn't he just say that in the first place?
>>What could your sight reveal that his eyes cannot see?
First off, literally so simple, just fucking ask. Second off, these guys have literal magic eyes. Huh? Men are so stupid, aren't they?
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>5939053
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>What does the King think you'll find down there?
>>
>>5939053
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>Why didn't he just say that in the first place?
>What could your sight reveal that his eyes cannot see?
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5939264
>>
>>5939053
>>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>>What does the King think you'll find down there?
Get closer and squish his face between our breasts
>>
>>5939053
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>Why didn't he just say that in the first place?
SQUISH SQUISH SQUISH
>>
>>5939281
>>5939370
Roll, anons
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5939053
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>What does the King think you'll find down there?
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5939053
>>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>>What does the King think you'll find down there?
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5939281
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5939053
>What is this context that he thinks you don't want to know?
>What does the King think you'll find down there?
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5939053
>>
No update tonight, not feeling too hot and played way too much Helldivers to get anything done.

I uh.

I can't think of any Lore to give you guys right now that wouldn't be major spoilers. If you have any lore questions surrounding anything, let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them tomorrow.
>>
>>5939929
You should drink some tea. It might help. There's one blend in particular you may enjoy.
>>
>>5939929
Hydrate and then sleep well qm.
>>
>>5939929
Goodnight, and thanks for the heads up.
>>
>>5939929
>If you have any lore questions surrounding anything, let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them tomorrow.
perhaps how the maids work. sleep tight qm
>>
>>5939929
>I can't think of any Lore to give you guys right now that wouldn't be major spoilers
An account of the battle of Charlemont and the discovery of Louise's bloody and nude body.
>>
>>5939929
Similar to the other anon’s question, who was “The Apostate King” anyway? What was his deal?
>>
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Aight, just gonna give you Lore ahead of D&D tonight under the assumption that the same thing which happens most weeks happens again and I'm too sleepy to post after session.

A Reconstruction of the Events of the Siege of Charlemont
By Sir Octavius Mallory, Dean of History for the Royal University at Camellia

Abstract

The siege of Castle Charlemont represents the decisive turning point in the Ninth Alans War. Most people know it for the deeds of then Mlle. Louise Rosendottir, whose bravery rallied the scattered defensive forces for the counter-attack that decapitated the leadership of the Alansmen. By repelling the Apostate King's army and holding Charlies' Pass, the invading forces were contained east of the Ironthorn Mountains and denied the ability to pillage the Grand Duchy of Primrose. This put the surviving commanders on a short time before their men would return to the vales of Briarthorn for the yearly harvest.

While the picture of the Maid of Charlemont driving her swordlance into the corpse of Apostate King Bartholomew Vile has become a cultural touchstone and example of strength, virtue, and piety for all Daffodil Folk to live up to, it fails to capture the full detail of the siege. This paper attempts to reconstruct the events of the three week siege, using archaeological evidence and interviews of survivors to piece together as much of the story as we can.

Section 1 - Before the Battle

To understand the siege of Charlemont, one must first understand why the King of Alans needed to take that mining town. The town of Charlemont is named for Mount St. Charles, a volcanically active mountain known for its incredibly rich iron, nickel, and copper ores. While robbing the Grand Duchy of Sonnenblume of this vital strategic asset must have been a tempting target, the Apostate King's true goals lay beyond it. The town also guarded one of the few reliable passes through the Ironthorn Mountains, which would have allowed the Alansmen access to the bountiful fields of the Grand Duchy.

Reaching Primrose was vital to the Alansmen, because their raiding forces operated off of the principle of foraging for supplies rather than maintaining a complex supply chain. This allowed them to move at lightning fast speeds compared to the more cumbersome militaries of Daffodil and Rose, but in turn left them dependent on their ability to seize fruitful territory. Like a swarm of locusts, they could be stopped by the burning of fields and destruction of crops, but getting turned back would affect them just the same. A loss of vital territory creates a death spiral as their soldiers desert or weaken from hunger.

To achieve this vital strategic goal, the King of Alans relied on three major forces:
1. The core of the Alans Raiders, a force of 50,000 men.
2. A supplemental mercenary company paid in pillage, approximate 10,000 men.
3. The Cult of the Everloving Void.
>>
>>5940777
It was the Cult that provided the bulk of the forces used at the Siege of Charlemont. While it is estimated that there were only one to two hundred core members scattered throughout the surrounding region, they managed to subvert many of the local governments. This allowed them to cover up the increase in unexplained disappearances within the region from higher authorities, and brand the local constabulary with the corruptive mark of [Redacted]. By the time the Apostate King arrived, the outlying region welcomed him with open arms, and a force of 100-200 thousand orcs and goblins to supplement his army.

At this point, of the region, only Charlemont itself remained untaken. The Earl fon Charlemont had his orders from the Duke of Sonnenblume to maintain a garrison at the castle guarding Charlies' Pass. This garrison consisted of the 19th Sunflower Heavy Infantry, the 5th Sunflow Scout Cavalry, and the 75th Camellian Armored Cannoneers. Additionally, Inquisitor Robert Hexenhammer arrived five days before the siege began, intending to use the castle as a base of operations to purge cultists that might align with the Apostate King's worship of [Redacted] before they could render him aid.

This left the defending forces with approximately three thousand soldiers between knights and men-at-arms.

Though the invading force was estimated to have between fifty and one hundred times the men as the defenders at Charlemont, logistics and terrain strongly favored the defenders. The castle guarded Charlies' Pass, surrounded by near-impenetrable terrain outside of a thirty foot wide path carved between the cliff, walled off by the castle gate. While other pathways more narrow and treacherous did exist, these were not well known to the Alansmen, and had been viciously trapped by the Scout Cavalry.

The path also provided a highway for caravans to come through the mountains with supplies at regular intervals. While the Apostate King timed his assault to avoid a caravan returning to Primrose with a request for reinforcements, this put a timer on how long he had. The castle would need to fall in no less than 18 days, or else an army would be waiting for him at the other side of the mountain.

The last thing favoring the defenders was equipment. While the harness of their men-at-arms did not benefit from many advancements that would arrive in the coming years, they still benefited from the tradition of artifice that the Briarfolk did not have. Weapons that would be considered reliquary among the Briarfolk were common issue, and while the advent of the gonne did not immediately render the longbow obsolete, the heavier munitions made slaying orcs and goblins much simpler than previous weaponry.

While these advantages stacked the deck in the defenders favor, it by no means completely evened the scales...

Next Lore Drop will be Section 2 - Initial Siege
>>
>>5940777
>>5940779
zam, 3K defenders vs 160K-260K attackers. Literally our Thermopylae.
>>
>>5940777
WHY IS IRON ON A VOLCANIC MOUNTAIN, IMMERSION RUINED!!!@!
Also Fiona is cute.
>>
>>5940818
>WHY IS IRON ON A VOLCANIC MOUNTAIN
The same reason gold is in Louise's hair.
>>
>>5940779
Time for some smiting
>>
you can find iron in magmatic geologies, it's usually crystalline magnetite rather than the usual banded ores
>>
Winners: Context and the King
13 + 21 = 34 Intimidate vs. DC 35

"Damien," you lean in close and growl his name into his ear. He swallows hard, your behavior continuing to catch him off guard. You have shown your irritation with him before, but you always made sure to be reasonable. Right now, you are not feeling particularly reasonable. "My job is to ensure the safety of this diplomatic mission. I can't do that if you continue to be cagey about where we're going. I assure you that whatever you think might upset me cannot make me angrier than I am right now."

"I wouldn't be too sure about-" Damien starts saying something smooth, but you won't have it. Your fist slams into the wall again, right next to his ear, cracking the plaster and revealing some of the brickwork beneath it.

"Damien!" you hiss, your patience at its limit. The rage of your forefathers boils in your blood, threating to spill over, your cursed eye blazing with emerald light beneath the eyepatch "Context. NOW!"

Damien takes a deep breath, before saying. "Alright. Fine. I don't even know the half of it anyways, Arthur doesn't like sharing his theories when they're half baked. He wants them to have a nice, crispy crust before sending them out. What I did manage to dig up is that the mark on your eye matches the symbol of an old, apocryphal cult. I have a feeling most of their texts can be found in the Papal Archives in Leripol, but a few incomplete fragments can be found if you know where to look. Couldn't find much, but what I did find sounded like they wanted to... the most sensible translation I could piece together was 'Usurp the Authority of the Hungering Maw', but even that was missing several words."

You step away from Damien and fall back into a seat at the table. Rubbing your throbbing temples, you give him an irritated look, "And pray tell, why did you think that I would be upset by this? The apocryphal beliefs of the earliest among the faithful are fascinating, not upsetting..."

"Forgive me for thing the holy maiden knight would not be thrilled to hear that her eye now bore the sigil of a cult dedicated to seizing authority from an evil god," Damiens says with a wide gesture that makes you roll your eyes. He sits down across from you, and conjures himself up a glass of water that he immediately downs in a single gulp. "Half the time that I've been around you, it's been heretic this, apostate that, let's burn down this treasure trove of ancient wisdom because it might have instructions on how to masturbate in a way that conjures up a succubus! Thank you for letting me curate those books before you tossed them into the fire, by the by."

You give him a wry grin. "I'll still be holding you to publishing the Cantos. In fact, you've already worked with the young man I want printing the first run. I heard the Earl gave him enough money to buy the press he's been eying."
>>
>>5942072
"Bully," Damien says. He looks at you somewhat quizzically, and hesitates to ask, "Are you certain that you're not going to do something drastic like gouging your eye out for being branded with a mark of the heretic? I've never been one for cleaving to the faith too tightly, but I'm fairly sure that 'stealing the Dark One's power and shoving it inside of an angel' has to be pretty high up on the grand unified list of heresies."

You scoff. "First, you would do well if you clung just a little bit tighter to doctrine, Damien. You'd almost be respectable if you cleaned yourself up and showed a little faith."

Damien snorts at that.

"Second, if that's really what that cult was after, I could see no greater purpose in the world," you declare. Damien arches his eyebrow, but doesn't say a word, so you continue to explain that, "A world that need not suffer his depravations, where no monsters lurked in the in dark to destroy and degrade the LORD's children would certainly be a few steps closer to heaven. I can suffer a little bit of heresy for that, I think."

"Ever the optimist..." Damien shakes his head. "I think you'll learn a lesson in Rosarium, that humans are capable of great and terrible depravities all on their own, without an evil god's help."

"True," you tell him. "But one cannot deny: the evil god's presence makes it worse."

Soon after, you aim to depart. What forces do you leave behind to protect Lilliendorf, given recent events.
>Have father act as your castellan to raise a defensive levy of the common folk to reinforce the watch.
>Inform the watch guarding the town about the attack, and have them hold until your squire can return from the highlands.
>Leave half the men-at-arms you intended to bring with you in the village.
>Nothing. In this case, this is best swept under the rug to avoid panic.
>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>Write in

Roll 1d100
>>
Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>5942073
>>Inform the watch guarding the town about the attack, and have them hold until your squire can return from the highlands.
EZ hundo check it
>>
>>5942074
Eat shit Damien and Earl. This is what you get for not just telling Louise from the start. I for one am ready for the ambush by a demon possessed cave drake.
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5942073
>Have father act as your castellan to raise a defensive levy of the common folk to reinforce the watch.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d100)

>>5942072
>"Forgive me for thing the holy maiden knight would not be thrilled to hear that her eye now bore the sigil of a cult dedicated to seizing authority from an evil god"
Dunno Damien, you're not shy about speaking of heresy most of the time
>>5942073
>Inform the watch guarding the town about the attack, and have them hold until your squire can return from the highlands.
>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>>5942074
why are the anons who manage to vote less than 5 minutes after OP posts get shit rolls most of the time ?
>>
>>5942086
why are the anons who manage to vote more than five minutes after OP posts get shit rolls most of the time ?

Honestly dude it's just the curse of good timing. Whoever happens to be updating the thread at that exact moment usually is cursed to have a bad roll. Them's the superstitious breaks.
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>5942073
>Write in
Confer with Durandal to see if requesting an inquisitorial detachment be sent to Lilliendorf is an appropriate response.

Where there is one there are likely more
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>5942073
>>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>>
>>5941832
This is something I didn't know.
Can you also find copper there?
>>
Rolled 71 (1d100)

>>5942073
Seconding >>5942099
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5942073
>>5942099
Supporting.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>5942073
>Have father act as your castellan to raise a defensive levy of the common folk to reinforce the watch.
>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5942073
>Have father act as your castellan to raise a defensive levy of the common folk to reinforce the watch.

>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5942073
>>Inform the watch guarding the town about the attack, and have them hold until your squire can return from the highlands.
>>+Inform your liege of what happened and request he send a force to reinforce the village until your squire returns.
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>5942073
>Inform the watch guarding the town about the attack, and have them hold until your squire can return from the highlands.
>>
Winners: Inform the Watch, your Liege, and Durandal.

Before you depart, you herd your cows in a row.

When you drop by the office of the constabulary to formally hand things over to your father in your absence, you inform the Chief Watchman of the matter regarding the Demon Summoning. He nods along as you urge him to keep things quiet, despite the fear showing in his eyes. The Town Watch will continue as it has, though they will know to keep a closer eye out for the activities of cultists and the apostate. You leave him with a writ bearing your seal, allowing his detectives access to the castle archives, to give them better resources in digging for the heretic.

Your next order of business is a letter to your liege. The request for men-at-arms to reinforce your village comes at the end of a report, both on the purging of the tower and the incident at the warehouse. Unlike your explanation to the watch, you do not leave Rebecca's involvement out of your report to your liege. She was a trusted apprentice of Joana, and he needs to know to keep an eye out for her movements. You do ask that you would prefer he detained rather than killed, for she has not yet served out the penance that you promised her.

The whole missive is then enciphered following the Sunflower Code. Not by memory, you are not Joana, but you have a key that guides you in scrambling the message. Once that's done, you destroy the draft, seal the ciphered scroll, and send it off - not by post or courier, but by an animated statuette that Hilde crafted for sending priority missives.

The final matter is informing Father Durandal.

Unfortunately, you missed him. Had he been in the village these past few days, you suspect he would have spent much of his time harassing the King's favorite heretic with theological debates. He and Damien would have gotten on like a burning castle, and your castle would have been filled with such a terrible noise that your head would have been aching for the next several weeks. That he probably would have caught whiff of Rebecca's Demon Summoning before it got out of hand would have been a small mercy.

As he's off to some priestly conference at the Sunflower Diocese for the next few weeks, you decide to...
>Send your missive by courier.
>Send your missive by one of Hilde's animated statues.
>Leave the missive in his office.
>(Write in)
>>
>>5942640
>Leave the missive in his office.
We have enough people on this for now.
>>
>>5942640
>Send your missive by courier.
>>
>>5942640
>Send your missive by one of Hilde's animated statues.
>>
>>5942640
>Leave the missive in his office.
the least we can do
>>
>>5942640
>>Leave the missive in his office.
>>
>>5942640
>Send your missive by one of Hilde's animated statues.
>>
>>5942640
>Send your missive by courier.
>>
Winner: Leave the missive in his office.

Once everything is settled, you depart.

Despite its name, no road leads to the Road Beneath. One might think that a shortcut beneath the Briarcrown that avoids the conflict-laden Ivylands would deserve a road all of its own, that merchants might take advantage of the time saved in bringing goods across the border. Yet only a few have any desire to brave the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the mountains. Enough to leave a trail of well worn wagon tracks from the caverns to the Lilyroad. Too few by far for it to merit the cost of construction and maintenance for even an unpaved dirt path.

The reason for this is twofold. The first, and most obvious of these is the Lilystem, a gentle and navigable river that flows north from the waters of Lake Lilien. It meanders across the northern reaches of Sonnenblume until it briefly dips into Primrose before flowing into the Ivylands, where it merges with the Ivystem. A riverboat on its own can carry as many goods as a full caravan of waggoneers, with a lesser risk of banditry than taking a dirt path through the wilderness. That makes the Lilystem the most economical means of bringing Rosarian goods into Sonnenblume territory.

The Road Beneath might have a niche as the route preferred for lightweight goods of high value, where a single wagon moving swiftly might profit as much on its own as an entire caravan. The need for specialists in navigating the labyrinthine halls rules that out, however, for there is little value in an expensive good that does not reach the market at the opportune moment. Louise has experienced once before how easily even veteran navigators can lose their way in those tunnels, chasing Rosarians back to their homelands during the annual border clash that has almost become a sport.

Thus only desperate men who think themselves clever take the Road Beneath. Them, and folk who do not mind taking their time and braving the beasts that call the labyrinth their home.

Right now, you're roughly two days out from Liliendorf, another day until you reach the Road Beneath by your best estimation. Your men-at-arms surround a small wagon train carrying the supplies the Earl purchased for the journey, with the Earl himself sitting in the gonne seat of the wagon Damien volunteered to drive. You have elected to stretch your legs for the past half mile, after a long ways in the saddle, patrolling up and down the wagon train. Distaste for horseback riding is one of the many reasons you prefer to fight on your own two feet, though you can join the cavalry when you must.

"Hnnnnnnnnnnnng-ah~!" Hilde makes a sleepy sounding noise from the driver's seat of her mobile workshop. Her arms stretch up into the air, giving her whole upper body a motion that catches the eyes of the menfolk around her. "Is anyone else getting a little sleepy?"
>>
>>5943564

"'Tis a long and weary road, Miss Hilde," the Earl says, before letting out a yawn of his own. A wry grin crosses his face as he tells her that, "That's why the LORD gave us clever minds that could build wagons, you see. Covered carriage or simple box on wheels laden down with hay, it's quite simple to sneak in a snooze when you need one. I would know. I'm a connoisseur of such things. Why, back in my youth, I used to sneak into the hay bales of the merchant wagons that visited my father's keep, and sleep the day away whilst I hitched a ride to the city..."

A wistful sigh escapes his lips. His voice grows wearier and wearier as he speaks. "I needed my rest, of course, because the nights... ah, the nights would be filled with excitement and pretty girls. Not as pretty as you, of course, Miss Hilde. Nor the Baroness Louise. No, what am I saying, I should beg your pardon for the comparison, that was quite crude. But how pretty they were..."

The Earl nods forward as he rambles on. He would have tumbled from his chair had he not strapped himself into it. He hangs limply from the leather thongs that make up the safety harness, and after a sympathetic yawn you notice that Hilde is in much the same state.

A worried note fills Damien's voice, hidden behind a yawn of his own. "Louise... do you see one of those flowers over there?"

He points to something that looks like a sunflower, with just a few subtle differences that make you realize at a closer glance that they must be an entirely different species. The valley that the tracks lead through is overgrown with them, turning the grassy fields into a sea of golden yellow that you thought was rather beautiful. Now, however, as weariness consumes you, you cannot help but feel a sense of dread as you approach one of the flowers and pluck it from the ground. The haze in the valley, you mistook it for fog, but it must be pollen heavy in the air.

Staggering back to the wagon, you see that many of your men at arms have already collapsed. In the back, Joana hugs her knees to her breasts, desperately trying to stay awake as weariness weighs down upon her. When you pass the flower into Damien's hands, he takes a single look before letting out a curse. "Crapbaskets. Louise... this is Somnumblume."

With those words, his head nods forward, out cold.

Though everyone around you - from the men to the horses - has fallen off to sleep, collapsed among the flowers or on the road, you have some life in you yet. Stammering to the back of the wagon, biting your tongue to stave off the weight of your eyelids, you search through the boxes in Hilde's wagon for a vital piece of equipment for purging demons. You find them in a lockbox whose combination you need to fumble for, glass flasks filled with a sticky golden substance that ignites the moment it touches air: Khemical Flame.
>>
>>5943567

There is only half a dozen of them, but it's the only thing you can think to do. Hurling them with all the might you have remaining, they shatter upon impact with the ground and scatter fire throughout the fields. It does not spread well, the valley is humid and the flowers are wet, but it should at least cut down the number of flowers spewing sleeping pollen.

With a grim smile on your face, you finally collapse into a deep slumber. What is your dream of? Roll 1d100
>The path not taken.
>A delightful opportunity.
>An alluring dance.
>A night at the riverside.
>A day at the festival.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

>>5943569
>The path not taken.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>5943569
>>A day at the festival.
I like to party. Also, check this 69. Fucking schemers getting us into this sleepy mess.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>5943569
>>An alluring dance.
>>
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>>5943589
>>5943606
>>5943655
>these rolls
>>
Rolled 10 (1d100)

>>5943569
>The path not taken.
>>5943589
>>5943606
>>5943655
we're getting mugged before even reaching the damn road, wtf is this dogshit streak of bad rolls ? welp, it's time for the tokens.
>>
>>5943589
>>5943606
>>5943655
>>5943667
>the first 4 rolls were all 10 or below
wtf is going on ? man, that bitch really fucked us, didn't she ?
>>
>>5942103
>>5942142
btw do close rolls like those 2 have any use ?
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>5943569
>The path not taken.
Sounds interesting.
>>
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS DAMIEN. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCK AROUND
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>5943569
>An alluring dance.

>>5943669
Regular rolls, no, but if we get a crit that can override the previous rolls. Speaking of...
>>
>>5943747
Zam, where’s this when we needed ? KEK. Hope we can use one of the boobs here. Pic rel is QM seeing these rolls
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5943569
>An alluring dance.
>>
>>5943589
>>5943606
>>5943655
W e l p

This was already an encounter that I had planned on being annoying for you guys. Now it's going to be extra annoying.
>>5943667
It could have been worse. I believe you still have a Negation, but the Natty 1 encounter on this trip was just... you run into one of the KoD. This is just some exposure to "things in this world that are very dangerous but won't instakill you."
>>5943668
This actually has 0 things to do with Rebecca and a lot to do with old Gardener weapons systems that have spiraled out of control. Somnumblume is a plant that was designed to pacify populations where their seeds were sewn, and then die off after a few days.

Uh, the strain figured out how to reproduce, and is a very dangerous weed. Worst case is entire caravans disappearing into fields of uncontrolled Somnumblume.
>>5943669
The rolls that give you banked rolls are 100, 77, and 69 on the d100, and 20 on the 20. Banked rolls can overwrite Nat 1s on either die, but not generally "bad" rolls.
>>5943714
Yeah, Louise is going to lord this over Damien and the Earl's head for AGES. The King is going to be amused.
>>5943751
>Use one of the boobs
With how votes are going right now, Louise going to use both of her boobs... in the dreamspace, don't worry about it to hard. There's potential for it in all decisions made here, Dance is just the one that gets to Pastebin Scenes the quickest. With Louise understanding that "Oh, this scenario is so absurd that it can only be a dream, so I may as well have fun with it", and basically pouncing on Dreamwalking Rene.

Yes I am very pleased where the direction is going with these votes. They'll remain open until 5pm, but I am very much looking forward to writing this next post as it currently stands.
>>
>>5944039
>Use one of the boobs
It was supposed to be boons, but auto corrector happened. Also I was just referring to the good roll, but thanks for informing what the option could give. Considering our roll either we’ll snu snu dream Rene or trip in the imaginary root before getting to him.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5943569
>>An alluring dance.
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>5943569
>The path not taken.
>>
>>5944039
>This actually has 0 things to do with Rebecca
I was just venting, I wasn’t actually blaming her. It’s just that it was one unlucky encounter after another.

>Somnumblume is a plant that was designed to pacify populations where their seeds were sewn, and then die off after a few days.
>Uh, the strain figured out how to reproduce, and is a very dangerous weed.
Just like real life

>Yeah, Louise is going to lord this over Damien and the Earl's head for AGES. The King is going to be amused.
Just like TFS cooler https://youtu.be/HsqmU3v0hVA
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5944039
>Dance is just the one that gets to Pastebin Scenes the quickest.
WELL IN THAT CASE

>>5943569
>An alluring dance.

>>5944039
>the Natty 1 encounter on this trip was just... you run into one of the KoD.
So... a Bad End where everyone present is cleaved into mincemeat if they're lucky and taken to the witch to be violated if they aren't?
>>
>>5944292
>So... a Bad End where everyone present is cleaved into mincemeat if they're lucky and taken to the witch to be violated if they aren't?
More like Lady Knight Quest is over, but DARK LADY KNIGHT Quest begins. Now with 700% more femdom and thorny whips. And Rene becoming the greatest wizard of all time to save his beloved's soul.
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5943569
>>An alluring dance.
Fuck it
>>
Due to a long day at work and S o c i a l O b l i g a t i o n s, I do not have enough time to do update writing or hot lore before I need to go to sleep. I will answer some things though. I am locking things in for the Alluring Dance though.
>>5944112
This roll is for the "After", not the dream itself, and there's a limit on how bad it's going to be because of who's going to help you out. Dream Snu-Snu is happening 100% because Louise knows it's a dream, but doesn't know that she's speaking with the real Rene.
>>5944150
>Just like real life
Something spiraling out of control due to a systems collapse causing a competency crisis? SAY IT AIN'T SO!
>>5944292
>So... a Bad End where everyone present is cleaved into mincemeat if they're lucky and taken to the witch to be violated if they aren't?
No. Damien is strong enough to survive - and MAYBE win if he's got the opportunity to be underhanded - against one of the Knights of Depravity when he's well rested. Your Id has the reflexes and strength to push one now, especially if you draw your Opus and use your Curse Mark (the Lily Blooms Twice). Though LORD knows you'd be frothing at the mouth if you push yourself that hard.

The Earl is probably the strongest person in the party right now. Your protection of him isn't fully ceremonial, as you have better physicals and a warrior on your level who got the drop on him would gut him like a fish. But in terms of being a spellcaster, he's very much in the "if he was in the military it would be a treaty violation" camp. Basically think Rudeus in late Mushoku Tensei - god tier wizard, but fighters merc him instantly without his power armor.

Between the three of you, plus the notable NPCs you brought, you should be able to at the very least drive a Knight of Depravity off.

>>5944298
I actually have an end game planned out for this involving the stuff in the Road Beneath, the Dark One, and Louise. So if I couldn't bend things towards where I want them to eventually go, it would probably just be a "bad end".

Anyways, choose your outfit for the Alluring Dance dream sequence.
>Stamen Gentleman's Club hostess outfit (Bunny Girl)
>Sonnenblume Red Light District Dancer's Outfit (Reverse Bunny Girl)
>Golnari Harem Girl Outfit (Harem Girl Outfit With Face Veil [Important])
>Habit of the Sisters of the Light's Embrace (Sexy Nun Outfit)
>Rosarian Cabaret Girl's Outfit (French Cabaret Outfit)
>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>Linnaean Pole Dancer's Silks (Lingerie)
>>
>>5944488
>Habit of the Sisters of the Light's Embrace (Sexy Nun Outfit)
>>
>>5944488
>But in terms of being a spellcaster, he's very much in the "if he was in the military it would be a treaty violation" camp. Basically think Rudeus in late Mushoku Tensei - god tier wizard, but fighters merc him instantly without his power armor.
Or Frieren, where she's an elf nuke but a fighter like Stark can end her if he get's the chance to.

>Golnari Harem Girl Outfit (Harem Girl Outfit With Face Veil [Important])
you got me with the veil
>>
>>5944488
No offense meant, QM, but don't you think you're dropping a few too many hints for surprises and such? Just a thought.

Anyway, rest well and...
>Golnari Harem Girl Outfit (Harem Girl Outfit With Face Veil [Important])
>>
>>5944488
>Golnari Harem Girl Outfit (Harem Girl Outfit With Face Veil [Important])
>>
>>5944488
>Stamen Gentleman's Club hostess outfit (Bunny Girl)

Can't beat a classic.
>>
>>5944488
>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>>
>>5944488
>>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>>
>>5944502
Or a well-placed Mimic.
>>
>>5944488
>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>5942113
copper's main deposition is hydrothermal, iirc, as is nickel's, though I'm not completely knowledgeable about the history of the exploitation of those deposits...I don't know where this civilization is on the scale from 'mostly works native copper' (I doubt it, they're pretty advanced and have a predecessor civ) to 'only can locate ore in the form of the ruins of their forebears' a la book of the new sun. they're probably more or less on par with early modern metallurgy, given the setting's general vibes but they do have literal Alchemists. so I don't know how high purity they need ores to be to work them and ultimately that's the kind of nitty gritty detail that interferes rather than serves a story
>>
>>5944513
I have been trained to overcommunicate by my place of work so that I don't go and break something without someone else knowing about it.
>>5944502
Yes, mouth veils are based.
>>5944775
Cosmology of the universe is a bit strange due to how "hands on" the LORD of Light is with creation. I would say that metal sourcing for most things is as follows:
>Metal Recycling: 40%
>Elemental Ore Nodes: 40%
>Processing of Mundane Ores: 20%

Basically there are two types of ore resources that occur. There are Mundane Ores, which are abundant but intensive to purify. These function as they do in our world with little difference. Then there are Elemental Ore Nodes, which would be likened to plants. Think of them like the Lore behind Starcraft Minerals; they grow in areas that support them and effectively pump abundant and high purity ores to an accessible location. These tend to be more plentiful around areas where the crust is thin... like a volcano.
>>
>>5944491
Swapping to

>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>>
>>5944488
>>Linnaean Pole Dancer's Silks (Lingerie)
>>
>>5944488
>Golnari Harem Girl Outfit (Harem Girl Outfit With Face Veil [Important])
>>
>>5944488
>Sal Khemian Pleasure Girl's Outfit (Greco-Egyptian Loincloth + Jewelry)
>>
>>5944502
This reminds me of a good pixiv art for the veil, I’ll try to find it again. Ignore the double.
>>
found a good pic and with a working link this time https://files.catbox.moe/nho7xs.png
>>
Apologies for the lack of update yesterday, all. I kind of collapsed shortly after I got home; not sick, just super tired from work. We'll be back tonight.
>>
>>5945590
Glad you're feeling a bit better, QM. Rest up if you need it!
>>
>>5945590
No worries and rest if you need to qm.
>>
>>5945590
No problems qm, rest well
>>
File: Spoiler Image (232 KB, 1915x2678)
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>Pastebin no longer lets you post spicy content
>Rentry still getting blocked as spam
Modern problems require modern solutions. See the image for the content prior to what's in this post.
Also, the first image from this set is what I originally planned as the post image: (For Rene's Eyes ONLY)": https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/88992303

--__--__--

"René!" a scratchy voice that could have come from a grandmother or a young girl-child interrupts you before you can get any further with your beloved. "Where have you gotten off to? We have a meeting with- oh, there you are! Playing around in dreamspace instead of getting any work done, are you? Well, I'm respecting your autonomy as a person by knocking, but asserting my authority as your teacher by coming in anyways!"

René pales. Your eyes squint in suspicion as all signs of arousal flee from his body like a thief in the night, even though you have not moved from your position astride him. Even your new favorite sword retreats into its scabbard at the sound of this woman's voice.

Then, the world cracks like glass, and a woman enters through a hole left behind by an energetic punch.

You cannot tell if she's an old crone, or a young maiden over a decade younger than you, not at first glance, nor the second, third, or fourth. Her hair is like pale straw compared to your vibrant gold, her eyes dark and black as the starlit sky, glimmering with a spark of vibrant green. She wears clothes of purest white silk, in a fashion that must have been ancient a thousand years ago. Her feet are bare of any cover, yet they look soft as the driven snow.

"René, my favorite pupil, I've come to take you-" she starts, but her words cut off when she sees what you're wearing. Both the white silk upon your body, and the mysterious white liquid splattered across your face and breasts. Her expression shifts from a cheerful smile to a knowing smirk, and she looks to René. "Ohhhhhh~! This must be that childhood friend of yours, right René? The one you've been trying to get in contact with? Well it looks like you've succeeded beyond my wildest expectations~"

"Uh, teacher, I can explain!" René stammers out from beneath you. "I definitely wasn't trying to abuse the art of Dr-"

"Sush!" She raises a finger to him, and gives you a stern look. A strange turn this dream, but not the strangest that you've dreamt up before. "I don't want to hear it from you. This is a talk between ladies. You there! Louise, I think it was? What makes you think you're good enough for my little René, huh?" Roll 1d20
>Because you love him the most.
>Because no one knows him as well as you do.
>Because you're a Baroness now, and have access to both powerful allies and significant funding.
>Because he loves you the most.
>[Draw Booba Scythe] Because if anyone harms so much as a single hair upon his head, you will gut them like the catch of the day.
>All of the Above.
>[Write in]
>All of the Above (Including Write Ins)
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>5946193
>>[Write in]
>"Huh? Are you stupid? We're in love."
nat 1
>>
>>5946209
Damn, so close, yet so far.
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5946193
>>All of the Above (Including Write Ins)
"Because I am his, and he is mine."
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5946193
>[Write in]
"Good enough? Do you think me craven? Hobbled by self-doubt regarding my 'worthiness'? I needn't affirmation from you to pursue my desire. And that aside, Rene and I share a bond of love strong enough to slay devils and rend the curtain of time and space. I'd advise against hindering us, for my patience is not nearly as boundless as the LORD's."
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>5946193
>Because he loves you the most.
No hesitation.
Nice scene but sadly i can't view the pic because o don't have a pixiv account.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>5946193
Porn, then a FOP reference. What an unexpected whiplash of emotion.

>>5946209
Supporting this. Give in to the green-eyed intrusive thought monster.
>>
>>5946193
>All of the Above.
That was a nice scene, but "using" completely breaks the flow and sends the reader to rely on their prior porn experiences instead of your narrative.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>5946321
>>
>>5946321
I'ma be real with you chief, I don't know what you mean by that. I also didn't even read the image. I'm not here for that. I'm here to purge the unclean. Maybe butcher the unholy, as a treat.

Also
>anyone unironically using "I'm the bottom rung of nobility; a baroness" as a flex especially against what is probably one of the most influential and powerful people in the world
Foolishness. The "all" votes are always a trap!
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5946193
>>[Draw Booba Scythe] Because if anyone harms so much as a single hair upon his head, you will gut them like the catch of the day.
>>
The special outfit image. Thank me later.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5946193
>Because you love him the most.
>>5946209
bruh when will this bad streak stop ?
>>5946237
what's FOP ?
>>5946322
well, at least we banked a nat20
>>5946321
>That was a nice scene, but "using" completely breaks the flow
where is 'completely' used ? didn't notice this
>>
>>5946421
"Using" was used.
>>
>>5946445
now I see, but what's the problem with it ? it's kinda intuitive on what she's using her boobs for.
btw OP, does this encounter fit the definitions of the quill to be used ?
>>
>>5946409
Thank you.
>>
>>5946453
Does the phrase "use her boobs" elicit emotion in you? Does it make you feel what she feels?
>>
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>>5946421
>what's FOP?
Fairly Odd Parents
>>
>>5946502
>Does the phrase "use her boobs" elicit emotion in you?
does horniness count ? if not, how'd change that part for a better one ?
>>
>>5946542
oh, kek
>>
>>5946237
Yeah, I'm not sure how canon this is for his teacher. I haven't developed her enough. She's definitely the "granny who looks like a babe" type, but need to balance her personality out a bit more.
>>5946321
>>5946445
>>5946502
Critic KING. This type of feedback is how you grow, thank you very much.
>>5946453
Yes, you can use the quill. I would not advise it, this is not the Low Roll on the d100 result.
>>5946544
The moment he said that I understood where I wrote wrong and had three different ideas on how I could have phrased it.
>>5946327
You'd kind of be doing the bit along with her, with that choice. "I'm a noble who has bountiful and productive lands, holding the favor of my liege and the king. I can provide for him, and protect him."
"I see, I see. I will require a dowry of 40 head of cattle and a trade agreement for favorable prices of Lily Bourbon."
"Consider it done."
Rene: "Why do I feel like I've just been auctioned off?"
>>
>>5946577
>giving up the cows
Dreaming Louise is a menace.
>>
>>5946577
>Yes, you can use the quill. I would not advise it, this is not the Low Roll on the d100 result.
alright then, I'll keep it banked.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5946193
>Because you love him the most.
>>
>>5946577
>Yeah, I'm not sure how canon this is for his teacher. I haven't developed her enough. She's definitely the "granny who looks like a babe" type, but need to balance her personality out a bit more.
I've been imagining her a young woman who talks like a granny. speaking of her, she's strangely calm for someone who caught her student with a "glazed" childhood crush on top of him.
>>
>D&D Status: Ran Late
>Helldivers Status: An all consuming void
>Lore Status: Hot

The Golden Council

The governance board for the University of Sal Khemia. They would remind you that despite all political jockeying and how they vie for power and control over Sal Khemia's institutions, they are not the government of Sal Khemia. Indeed, they would call the idea that a University is a government absurd. Despite holding domain over the thousand islands of the Khemian Archipelago, they pretend that they do not imagine themselves as kings and nobles despite their games of politics being only slightly less deadly than the Court of Rosarium.

The Golden Council is not elected, nor are they chosen by the high sages. A seat upon the Council is given to every scholar who achieves a Golden Core through the higher arts of Khemistry. Each Council member has an equal vote, with coalitions forming and breaking upon the scholars' whim - or upon the death of those who might move too much against entrenched powers. The primary battleground is the University's budget, measured not in coin but in the energy used to perform experiments and build great works.

Nominally, the Golden Council also selects the head of each College on a yearly basis. However, the Philosophers who hold these positions are so entrenched that removing them from power would irrevocably destroy each college. Currently there are Twelve Colleges:

Achlys, which studies the human mind and emotions.
Aion, which studies the observable extremes of time.
Ananke, which studies the principles of cause and effect.
Chronos, which studies the curvature of time and space.
Erebus, which studies the inverse world from whence demons spring.
Gaia, which studies the material world and the flow elemental water through the ley-lines.
Hemera, which studies the nature of the Angels and Heaven's court.
Nyx, which studies the motions of the stars and the Aurora.
Ouranos, which studies the LORD of Light.
Phanes, which studies the origins of life and its speciation.
Tartarus, which studies the Dark One.
Thalassa, which studies the effects of elemental water upon the curvature of spacetime.

René was selected by the Philosopher Mare Inanna to be her apprentice after he became the first student of the University to undergo the process of leucosis and achieve a heart of chalk in several decades. Mare Inanna heads the college of Thalassa, and is known as the Philosopher of Many Waters.
>>
Rolled 35 (1d69)

>>5947047
>René was selected by the Philosopher Mare Inanna
I got your sign, OP. Trully a worthy partner for Louise.
>>
>>5947047
Okay yeah sure tits whatever but can she make a grilled cheese?
>>
>>5947059
Anon, seu can cheese the grill
>>
>>5947057
>>5947059
>>5947065
If there's a reference I'm absolutely missing it.
>>
>>5947147
>If there's a reference I'm absolutely missing it.
something something water school and sating Louise's thirst
>>
>>5947059
>>5947065
>>
>>5947973
Zam, I was expecting OP.
>>
Winner: "Are you stupid?"
2 + ??? = ???. Don't Panic

René looks like he's about to protest his teacher's words. Before the words can escape from his mouth, you once again cut him off with a gentle finger to his lips. That gesture is just about the only thing gentle about your mood and your motion as you rise up from your happy place atop your darling to address this interloper. Your limbs move like those of a puppet caught on strings as you restrain your barely concealed rage at being interrupted.

Your head tilts at an awkward angle to meet the interloper's eyes with contempt. The delusions and dreams shatter to reveal the scars of your most recent battle. In this dream, you had all the trophies you carried from war, but not the curse mark that crawls up your left arm to embrace your breast with a bough of black thorned vined and flowers. Nor your blackened eye, marked with an inverted Flower of Life that burns with emerald flames.

Your blood is boiling. Black flames pour from your skin like water overflowing in a pitcher. They eat away at the dreamscape around you and leave behind a sea of stars upon the soothing expanse of the ever-blessed night sky. They tear apart the clothing you wear, and that wretched chastity seal that kept you from enjoying René's company to the fullest. They burned away the glaze of his love upon your skin. Yet for all they burn like the very fire of the sun, the flames are cool and soothing to the touch.

The dream heals itself as quickly as it is eaten away, but the truth wraps around your body like a second skin and clothes you in the colors of a crystal clear night.

"Huh? Are you stupid...?" your voice comes out with an uncharacteristic drawl. No, not quite uncharacteristic. It's the tone you want to take so very often, when people say foolish things that show how very little they understand about you, about the topic at hand, about the world. Your mind floats, free of the shackles that normally keep your words and voice restrained. It's a side of yourself that even your darling René has only seen scarcely. "We're in love, you rotten old hag. A love that burns pure and bright, and casts a terribly deep shadow. So why don't you leave before you're made to."

Huh? Why is your René looking at you with a panicked expression like that? Doesn't he know that this is all a dream, that the fire surrounding you has even begun to peel back the morphean veil and reveal the oblivion of blissful sleep? But of course, you can only dream up a René as clever as you are, and your darling is the most brilliant and clever man in all the world, you're quite certain.
>>
>>5948240
"Louise, since when could you-" he starts, but realizes there's no point to the question. He reaches out and grabs your hand, pulling you down from... oh, when did you start floating? His steely blue eyes meet your own, filled with such worry that it punches at your gut to have caused it. "Nevermind, you should just calm down before teacher decides to-"

A bell like sound fills the air.

It takes you a moment to realize that it's the old hag's- no, René's venerable teacher's laughter. René stares off at the straw-haired woman as she nearly buckles over with mirth, wiping a tear from her face as she struggles to breathe. "Aha, haha... Oh, René, you have yourself a keeper right there."

René looks like he's fumbling for his words at what his teacher said, so you speak for him and say, "Of course he does. I shattered an army of apostates and demons for my country, and I don't love my country half as much as I love him."

"Indeed," René's teacher says before he can find the words he dropped. She steps over and lays a hand on your shoulder. "Young lady, you have my approval to court my pupil."

"I would have even if you didn't approve," you let your intrusive thoughts spill out. After all, this is all just a dream. A strange, wonderful dream.

"And that's why I do," she says with a nod. Then, she grabs your darling René by the ear and tells you, "Now, I need to borrow little René for a bit, so I can appropriately chastise him for abusing the higher Khemistries of Water for the sake of a conjugal visit. You should probably wake up."

-----

The dream ends.

As you abruptly wake with a shot of lightning and adrenaline, you notice three very important things. First off, you no longer lay among the field of golden Somnumblume. They have not burnt away, nor have they finally wilted and moved on with their seeds upon the air to infest another field. Someone removed you from the field entirely, for you now lay upon a bed, tucked into a set of white linen sheets patterned with a blooming golden rose.

Overhead, you see evidence that this is an opulent wheelhouse. A wooden roof sits lower than a proper house, and magelights are embedded in the ceiling rather than hanging among crystal chandeliers. With so few moving parts that you can see, and the way the wooden ceiling and panels appear to be spoken from a single piece, you suspect it to be the work of Plenifloran artifice. They do so love their forests and trees.

The second thing you notice is that you are stark naked beneath the sheets. Someone removed your clothing... hopefully only to bathe you, knowing how long the Somnumblume can make men sleep.
>>
>>5948241

Third, and final, you see the culprit. At first you hope against all hope that it's René, for the gentle wavy curls of ruby red that fall from the man's head remind you so much of him. If only you could be so lucky. The face of the man is more beautiful than René's, sculpted and manly for certain, but more pretty than handsome by far. It is a face that you have seen seven times before, in the yearly skirmishes brought by his principality that are more sport than war.

On the one hand, you know the Princeps Pleniflora to be a man of chivalry, who always gives fair quarter to men who yield, and acts with more honor than any dog of the Rosarian Empire has any right to. On the other hand, he's something of... a pest? At the start of every spring skirmish, he declares his intent to show you his sincerity and affection by defeating you in battle and bringing you home with him to be wed. Honestly, if you didn't have your darling René, you could accept such terms... and perhaps even anticipate the day he defeats you on the battlefield as an excuse to become his bride.

However, you have your René. Which makes his overtures more an annoyance than something to look forward to.

And now you're unarmed, unarmored, unclothed, in his wheelhouse, and no doubt on your way to the city of Pleniflors to become his bride. Of all the small mercies, he seems more focused on contemplating the scenery outside the window than staring at you with a creepy look on his face. Roll 1d20 for your immediate reaction
>Point out that if this is a bridal kidnapping, it doesn't count. The flowers defeated you, not him.
>Demand to know where your companions have been taken.
>Demand to know why you're naked. His answer will have consequences.
>Don your armorsilks, punch him in the face, and prepare to make your cunning escape.
>No, none of that. Just genuinely thank him for finding that field of Somnumblume and - presumably - dealing with it.
>(Write in)
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5948242
>Point out that if this is a bridal kidnapping, it doesn't count. The flowers defeated you, not him.
Considering what we knew about him, he should be above this and hopefully he just came in between some servant cleaning us. Fingers crossed for a good roll.
>>
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>>5948269
finally
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5948242
>>No, none of that. Just genuinely thank him for finding that field of Somnumblume and - presumably - dealing with it.