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/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


It is late afternoon that finds you, alone in contemplation in an Engelson Company storehouse. You are surrounded by the ruins of a bygone age, stripped bare of finery by generations of human and orcish raiders and plunderers, before finally being exhumed by a mercenary company and brought to the glorious and modern metropolis of Hawksong. The city leadership—Paladin King and Mages’ Tower alike—seem to believe something in this mess of city, angular brickwork and statuary lies the secret to improving the city’s defences…

And that’s something you cannot allow.

You are an Infiltrator, a half-human scion of the subterranean Reptilian Master Race. In service to the ineffable schemes of your Dark Gods and their Serpent Priests, you were raised to bring low the very city where you were conceived. While you had long seen this as penance for the disgrace of your birth, you have recently gained the <DIVINE FAVOUR> of the Dark Gods themselves, which has provided a much-needed boost to your sense of self-worth. And that’s not all you’ve done, either!


Thus far, you have:

>infiltrated and ascended the ranks of a local brothel, building your subversive and seductive skills and developing a cover identity which allows you access to a wide range of possible targets
>unearthed an undercity conspiracy of wererats AND a dangerously-knowledgeable pair of demonologists, and framed the former for the murder of the latter
>discovered and discredited a loose end left behind by a previous operative, in the form of a vengeful nobleman who knows of your people's plans
>investigated the details of a city defence plan, involving the Paladin King and Archmage, and artefacts from a mysterious dwarven ruin
>insinuated yourself into a position of trust and affection of leadership in The Engelson Storehouse Company, and used your subtle arts to secure that same company’s access to the aforementioned excavated materials
>unlocked your latent illusion abilities
>started a burgeoning drug empire with a foreign stimulant
>forged a close alliance with a succubus, enhancing your mystical powers and defences even further
>liberated the long-lost priestly staff of your deities from filthy mammalian clutches
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>>4965421

Of course you, you've run into your fair share of challenges as well…
>The demonologist you had executed (Lady Zivic) remains alive, after an undead fashion, and bonded to an ambitious demon
>The wererats, though scattered, yet live, including their leader Boss Leo
>The Mages Tower is investigating several crimes in which you have direct or indirect involvement
>The same demonic contract which made you so much more powerful ALSO has created complications for your plan to attend a Tower Gala in ten days’ time for the purposes of subverting the city defences (though a recently-performed occult ritual has helped to mitigate this somewhat)
>The Pretty Kitty Brothel is suffering difficulties, and you have taken it upon yourself to reverse their fortunes
>Your Dark Gods have personally assigned you the task of extinguishing the Yosef bloodline
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>>4965422
[LEVEL UP: You have become better still at research, occultism (especially psychic disciplines thereof), and merchantilism.

When facing a matter where success is not guaranteed or terribly likely, failure has notable consequences, and I’d feel railroady making you fail or cheap forcing a success, I will roll dice. Currently, that is 1d20 for most tasks. You get to roll 2d20 (taking the highest) for tasks involving: intimidation, swordsmanship. You roll 3d20 for matters related to dance, stealth, seduction or politesse, and arcane studies. Where illusion, mentalism, or occultism are concerned, you roll 4d20. Combining aptitudes, such as seduction and politesse or emotion-affecting illusion, can secure you the coveted 5d20. This is based on choices you’ve made.

You also have an inherent bonus to disguise attempts when relevant, can use human magic items without your Reptilian race’s usual penalty, and you have a decreased difficulty to rolls wherein you fight an untrained opponent hand-to-hand due to martial arts training.

Having been possessed by the succubus Irinnile, you can also shift your shape (including to create wings or natural weapons), sense and influence emotions and even read surface-level thoughts or enter dreams, and you are seemingly immune to permanent injury as a result of fire and mundane weapons.

As a general rule, DCs are 15, but disguise, magic item use, and favourable melees as discussed have DC 10. Thanks to Irinnile’s powers, you also currently have this reduced DC of 10 for nighttime or shadowy stealth checks, seduction rolls, and single-target illusion or mentalism checks.

However, your demonic powers are not without a price: Irinnile has a powerful sense of <WANT> at the core of her being. Every time you use her powers or deny her something she desires, the <WANT> grows stronger, increasing the DC of rolls to control her impulses. Should you fail, she will subsume your personality long enough to satisfy herself, sometimes at the cost of lives and the risk of exposure. However, having both humbled and befriended her to some extent, below a <WANT> Dc of 18, she will no longer risk actions likely to get you killed or exposed. Your current level of <WANT> is DC 12.
You have also gained a one-time invocation of your Dark Gods’ <DIVINE FAVOUR>, and access to their <AKASHIC RECORD>, a metaphysical record of the Dark Gods and their operatives’ actions across the world and into deep time, which you can access with a successful occult roll; the DC varies depending upon how long ago the event took place, how far away it occurred, and whether you have a relevant focus.

Rolls will be used somewhat sparingly, though overuse of demonic powers may cause them to be more frequent than they would otherwise.]


[ Previous volumes, for those of you just joining us, are at http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm ]
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>>4965425
You sit in the dingy dark of the storehouse in silence. Having come to suspect some manner of animated stone or metal man may be at the centre of the new city defence program, you have organized for a dwarven engineer AND your burly-but-beautiful dwarven coworker from The Pretty Kitty to meet with you here tomorrow. Impatient for answers, however, you made an early visit to survey the ruins yourself. Your hope was that accessing the Akashic Record of the Dark Gods could lend some clarity to the purpose behind the excavations of the dwarven materials now stacked around you. In the end, however, you were just BARELY able to reach out to a shade of a likely long-dead infiltrator who shared only an enigmatic warning:

>”They see without eyes.”

You don’t have too long to contemplate this message from the past—you have to be at work at your brothel job in a few scant hours, and there are Engelson guards and a carriage driver waiting outside. You can’t keep them waiting forever.

What do you do?
>Call in the DIVINE FAVOUR to seek guidance in interpreting and searching the Akashic Record [ONE TIME USE, expends your Divine Favour forever or until another can be earned]
>Look around for anything glowing with enough magical energy to make it worth pocketing for closer examination later
>Head to the headquarters of the Zika Excavation Company, at the risk of being late for work, in order to extract some answers form the mercs who retrieved the materials
>Pay a visit to the street-meat vendor you proposed as a chef for The Pretty Kitty, to see about recruiting him
>Just go to work at The Pretty Kitty and deal with all this tomorrow
>Write-in
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>>4965435
>Look around for anything glowing with enough magical energy to make it worth pocketing for closer examination later

>Pay a visit to the street-meat vendor you proposed as a chef for The Pretty Kitty, to see about recruiting him

We might be slightly late for work, but we can explain it away as time talking to the cook
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>>4965435
>Look around for anything glowing with enough magical energy to make it worth pocketing for closer examination later
>Pay a visit to the street-meat vendor you proposed as a chef for The Pretty Kitty, to see about recruiting him

While I'm tempted to know what that shade meant, our Divine Favor is too precious to be used on an unknown lark. I am open to being convinced however.

And welcome back QM!
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>>4965601
>>4965655
>>
Rolled 18, 10, 10 = 38 (3d20)

>>4965601
>>4965655

[Thanks, good to be back!... Even if under unenviable circumstances.]
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>>4965732
You scan the storehouse for anything of especial interest, relying upon Irinnile the Succubus’ improvement of your own developing arcane faculties.

‘I’m telling ya,’ the succubus says in her usual affected droll, speaking directly and silently by way of your psychic link, ‘I don’t see nothing here that looks like it’s got more than a bit of residual—ooo!’

Bonded as you are, you see it at essentially the same time the succubus does: a gleam registered only by your mystic ‘third eye’, amongst all the assorted clutter of ages past in kingdoms deep eblow and far away.

‘Hey, babe, nevermind what I just said. Check that out!’

Irinnile’s instruction is unnecessary. You’re already taking advantage of the darkvision the succubus also grants you—native to your mother’s race, but never natural to you thanks to your unknown father’s wretched human heritage---to navigate the gloom at the back of the storehouse, where late-day light passing through high-up windows is blotted out by great, wide statues of what you assume were once notably smaller dwarves. You trace the gleam of magical energy to its source: small box, composed of many smaller slats and blocks of irregular shape.

All of the components of this puzzling box seem to hold together as if connected, but as you turn it over and over in your hands, you can tell that the cuts which delineate the smaller parts are so deep that the structure should be fragile, if not falling apart. Following a hunch, you step out of the dark and hold it up to the light. Indeed, it shines right through at several places. You pull at each piece, but they are all lodged far more firmly than even magnetic force should achieve.

“How is this thing holding together?” you mutter to yourself in your mother’s tongue, before catching yourself. Best not to speak too openly in that language, even with the mammals relegated to waiting outside.

Do you…
>Pocket the cube, to examine later
>Leave it here, to examine tomorrow
>Smash it, lest it prove dangerous to your cause
>Write-in

[1/2]
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>>4965742
You have other matters to attend to for now, though. You bid the Engelson men guarding this cache of dwarven artefacts farewell, complimenting them on their excellent work protecting it from dangers within and without. None-the-wiser to your subversion, they are ignorant of the irony. Only when you are in the back of the carriage and safely out-of-sight do you smirk at your wit. Then, you set the coachman to task bringing you back to the central hub of the Hawksong urban experience: the Royal Library and its attendant plaza.

You can’t help but think of Edwin as you pull into the square. Edwin of Engel, your favourite male-mammal plaything, is the wealthy and jobless son of the Engelson Storehouse Company owner. He is also an enthusiastic and knowledgeable, albeit sadly inept, self-taught student of the arcane arts. You met him in this very library, and part of you wonders idly if he’s studying there even now. It would be just like him to have lost track of time.

<CURRENT AFFECTION (EDWIN): 87%>

You, on the other hand, are keenly aware of the passage of time and of your schedule. You suppose you’re destined to be a little late for your shift at The Pretty Kitty. If you can help lift the gloom of financial difficulties that have recently dogged the brothel, though, will anyone truly begrudge that? The establishment, a staple of the city’s bustling Red Lantern District, lost its former star dancer under suspicious circumstances—that is to say, you stabbed her in the sewers and had your dragonblooded contact burn her corpse beyond recognizability, following her kidnapping by wererat gangsters and rival occultists out to bait you. Her vanishing and presumed death was largely attributed to the wererats themselves, thanks in no small part to a tabloid story you published under a pseudonym, but the resultant climate of paranoia has done little to help repopulate the bar which makes The Pretty Kitty most of its money.

Your two-pronged plan to revitalize TPK? Good food and foreign drugs! While you have a small cask of imported ‘shirin’ stimulant-powder under your carriage-seat to handle the latter, you have settled upon the recruitment of a particular street-vendor to help with the former. There is a particular half-orc who fries up delicious street-meat most days in front of the library and, obligate carnivore that you are, you have had ample cause to appreciate his craft.
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>>4965755
You find the half-orc—you never did learn his name—in an unpleasant situation. Having hopped out of the carriage, you looked about for him, but it didn’t take long to pinpoint him thanks to the cackles and shouts of a trio of young male humans, and a female looker-on, and the cracking and smashing sounds of one of them wailing on a tragically-familiar meat-cart with a mace or morningstar of some description. The four young humans are all dressed in ‘adventurer chic’, semi-functional arms and armament meant to replicate the more practical pieces popular among the mercenaries and tomb-raiders who have recently captured the urban imagination. The half-orc towers a head-and-a-half above each of them, but clearly wants no trouble; by the grimace of irritation on the half-man’s face, you assume it is more to do with public perception, or his lack of equivalent armament, than a peaceful nature.

What do you do?
>Talk down the situation with diplomacy
>Use psychic and illusory abilities to startle and disorient the assailants
>Step in to defend the vendor martially [specify if you draw your dagger or not]
>Hold back and wait for the moment to pass, and approach the vendor afterwards
>Leave, to avoid attention
>Write-in
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>>4965742
>Pocket the cube, to examine later

I love puzzles!

>>4965757
>Talk down the situation with diplomacy
>Use psychic and illusory abilities to startle and disorient the assailants

Invite them to our show, and maybe a private 'show' after. Mindfucking Is always better done in private, and I really want to test out our psychic abilities on these guinea pigs, and with any luck we can get them wrapped around our finger. We need some disposable assets to take out Zivic and the were-rats after all.
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>>4965742
>Pocket the cube, to examine later
We better take it in case it's something controversial.

>>4965757
>Use psychic and illusory abilities to startle and disorient the assailants
Give them nightmares for months so they think twice before coming back.
and, if we can:
>Use Irinnile's power to amplify the attack and blind the aggressors so they can't identify you
We should avoid being recognized by street trash to minimize chance of being tracked in the future.
Negotiations with the half-orc might be easier after we help... and explain it was our illusion, lmao.

Welcome back sooner than expected, RQM!
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>>4965785
>Pocket the cube, to examine later
>Use psychic and illusory abilities to startle and disorient the assailants

Locking these in! However, each vote takes a very different tack as to whether to use the psychic and illusory abilities as a gateway to diplomacy and manipulation or to scare off the assailants. I'll wait for someone to vote on that for a bit loner, and roll if nobody does.
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>>4966235
I do think that we can use them as pawns against the were-rats at least lads. Disposable, deniable assets. Live or die, they can cull the were-rat population somewhat at least. This is another problem we've been putting off, and this is the perfect opportunity to deal with it in a time saving way.

Or we can dunk on them. I don't mind either way, I figured we can save some time and accomplish a secondary objective as a good beginning to this thread.
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Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>4966235
[Writing up!]
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>>4966364
You focus your energies, the air around you sparkling with little pulses of power, and then extend your hand out with fingers outstretched. The power surges forth into a firework-like explosion of light and glamour which catches both half-orc and humans off-guard.

“What in the hells?” grumbles the man with the mace, shouldering the spiked ball on a single oversized pauldron.

You step forward, an easy smile on your face and your hand by your side, ready to reach for your concealed dagger if need be. The humans look at you in confusion and with no small wariness—no non-magical person, let alone a costumed hoodlum masquerading as a real mercenary, wishes to face a mage in combat if they can help it. However, you know that you’re no match for the four humans if push comes to shove, certainly not without revealing your succubus-derived powers. Once more, you lament that your set of leafweave armour is not more portable— you feel underdressed for an actual, physical confrontation.

“Hey, you’re that girl,” the half-orc speaks up, recognizing you. “The unseasoned, rare-and-bloody meat girl.”

Not the most flattering epithet you’ve acquired, and you almost wince at it, but he’s not wrong. Vegetable matter sits poorly in your gut, even spices, but damned does this oaf—a half-human who looks almost porcine from some angle, while ape-like in gait—know how to tenderize and cook even mediocre cuts of meat JUST right. You can’t afford to lose such an asset, and so you nod slightly, smile reassuringly, and turn back to the human assailants.
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>>4966432
“Lissten up, boysss,” you say, addressing the three men while for now ignoring their apparent hanger-on. “What’ss going on here? Did this half-orc overcharge you? Ssell you a bad cut?”

“What’s it to you, lady?” demands one. “You some sort of monster-fucker?”

You reflect fondly on the hemipenes of a certain grumpy dragon-blooded Reptilian agent. Oh, if these fools only knew…

But you answer “No, obvioussly not. But thiss monsster an I have businessss to dissucusss. My name is Kamunu… of The Pretty Kitty?”

That sets them off, in particular the mid-sized, short-haired man who first questioned you: “What, that workhouse full of freakshows, run by a literal animal? No wonder you’re siding with some steppe-savage beast-man!”

“My mum’s human from Hawksong, eight generations back,” the half-orc snarls. “Born and raised, brother.”

“I ain’t no brother of yours, mutt,” the man snipes back, and you are forced to hold the half-orc back with a gentle hand on his chest and a pulse of soothing psychic energy.

“BOYSS,” you try again, cognizant of the need to turn up your glamour, “I think you have the wrong idea. The Pretty Kitty takes all kindss, it’ss true, but I think you’ll find we cater quite well to our good, human ladss… Esspeccially big, sstrapping men-of-action like you.”

You step up to the biggest and most heavily-armed man, the mace-wielder, and run a hand along his admittedly-impressive bicep. Direct contact and proximity helps you to insinuate yourself into his mind, and by the time you lock eyes with him the tension melts away from him like the fat from one of the half-orc’s cuts of pig-meat. You don’t even need to release Irinnile!

“Why don’t you come check out my show tonight?” you ask quietly, intimately. “Maybe even the private show afterwardsss?”

Even the most agitated of the men begins to calm as you talk to them about the twins, Red Annie, and the other human dancers and ‘dancers’ at The Pretty Kitty, plying them each with honeyed words and soft, subtle caresses to plant your psychic hooks deeper. Only the woman seems unaffected, eventually stepping forward to screech:

“What the FUCK is wrong with all of you?!”

This breaks your spell, albeit only somewhat. The three male humans step back, but only the one who was spitting vitriol earlier returns to the angry female’s side. The other two continue to eyeball you through eyes clouded with glamour and residual lust, while the woman and the least-enamoured man have a hushed, but furious, back-and-forth. She drags him off, and their friends follow along dutifully afterwards. You wave and wink, knowing you’ll see them later.
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>>4966437
‘Damn Lispy, that was some expert work if I do say so myself!’ Irinnile compliments you. ‘Think we can drain them later?’

‘Maybe,” you reply noncommittally. You can think of a few other uses for them… Such as helping to reduce the local wererat population. More immediately, though, you have business to discuss with the target of their ire.

“Thank you,” the half-orc says, before you can say anything to him. “You didn’t need to do that. You don’t know me. But… You did. That’s… Thank you.”

“Oh, I know you alright,” you smile mischievously. “I’m Rare-and-Blood Meat Girl, remember?”

The half-orc holds out a rough, sinewy hand with nails that almost resemble claws. You glance down at it skeptically, suddenly worried at what ahs been handling your food, but… Well, it seems reasonably-clean.

“Konrad,” he introduces himself. “Konrad, son of Brugagh. Or Brugaghson, if you want.”

“Kamunu.” You take his hand in yours. “Charmed.”

With his cart smashed, and especially after the favour you just did him, Konrad Brugaghson couldn’t refuse your offer if he wanted to—he says as much. He doesn’t want to, either, for that matter.

“Things have been rough with all this wererat-and-demon talk,” he explains. “People getting antsy about foreigners, demihumans, halfers like me. Getting hostile. And if you bust heads and you got tusks and shit, well, who you think the guards are gonna’ blame?”

You nod along sympathetically, but inwardly you simply rejoice at the lack of haggling over terms, and the position of dependency this is likely to put the half-orc in. You and The Pretty Kitty will all but own him, and his delicious cooking! So eager are you to lock him down that you invite him into the carriage to ride into work with you this very night!
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>>4966439
You are indeed a little late for your shift—the sun is already setting as you unload yourself and your new chef from the carriage. As you anticipated, though, Brugaghson’s presence is all it takes to smooth the situation over. You set him up for a meeting with Madam Mina, the cat-headed beastwoman proprietress of the lounge and brothel. Her face is as unreadable as always, but his tail flits with excitement and her ears show a calm alertness—signs you’ve learned to read as happiness. You exchange a nod, and you cannot help but feel a thrill of pride at her subtle praise.

You next meet with Felia, the busty middle-management of the establishment and Mina’s right hand. She seems more skeptical of your new hire, but you know she’ll come around to your way of thinking when she tastes his cooking and sees the financial impact of customers doing likewise.

For tonight, however, she tells you that you have a couple possible jobs: you can take to the stage, doing your signature ‘desert princess’ magic-and-dance routine and mingling with the crowd, or you can attend to a private party uptown, at a nobleman’s estate. Either, you note could provide you a good opportunity to distribute some shirin and to make money and connections—perhaps slightly higher-end connections and more money at the nobleman’s home—though only one would allow you to supervise situation with Brugaghson and the rowdy young men you just invited to check out the show.

What do you do?
>Dance at The Pretty Kitty tonight
>Attend the private nobleman’s soiree
>Suggest some of the other girls to manage one or both of those assignments while you attend to other matters [specify which, refer to previous threads for your coworkers]
>Write-in
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>>4966440
>Dance at The Pretty Kitty tonight

I'd absolutely love to go to the nobleman's soiree tonight, but it seems my idea has derailed that somewhat. I'm sure we can go to the nobility another time though, hopefully soon.
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>>4966440
>>Attend the private nobleman’s soiree
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>>4966440
>Dance at The Pretty Kitty tonight
Just like the first days at TPK.

Konrad absolutely has to drown the pretty kitty Mina in tuna to charm her inner cat and sell her on the idea. Can't go wrong there, unless she's one of those neurodivergent pussies that like to be wet and eat grass.

Hopefully inviting those nonmagical plebs to TPK won't cause any complications.
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>>4966440
>Dance at The Pretty Kitty tonight

We did invite those unsavory sorts
would be fine draining them later
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>>4966440
>>Dance at The Pretty Kitty tonight
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>>4966806
>>4966545
>>4966526
>>4966516
>>4966505

You opt to stay close to home-base for the evening—after all, you invited some especially unsavoury characters here tonight, and if they’ll smash up Konrad Brugaghson’s cart, who is to say they won’t create trouble for someone like Grendelia, or Mina herself?

As you head towards the stage, you bump into the half-orc in question, descending the stairs from madam Mina’s office. He looks stoic, but that might just be the heavy brow and underbite.

“Sso?” you ask, unable to hide your eagerness. “How did it go?”

“Your boss says she doesn’t have the facilities to set me up with a kitchen or supplies tonight, but f I can get the stuff together, she’ll help cover it and set me up out back. Says I can do up a menu, and she’ll have you girls taking orders, bring ‘em back to me, and bring the food in.”

“An exxcciting opportunity, issn’t it?” you ask with a smile.

Konrad Brugaghson nods along quietly, then asks: “What about those assholes from earlier? They swinging by?”

“Maybe,” you shrug. “Who caress? It got them off your back and, if they create trouble for uss… Well, I’ll handle them sswiftly enough.”

Brugaghson chortles quietly. “Yeah, I guess a brittle guy like me’s got nothing to worry about, big tough broad like you having my back and all.”

You tilt your head and just smirk. He may be almost twice your weight, but you and Brugaghson both know you have magic on your side—and this orc-man doesn’t know the half of it. Between your immunity to non-magical weapons brought on by your demon pact, your own sorcery, and your combat training, no adventurer-attired pretender could stand against you… IF you were willing to reveal the truth of your hidden might, which you aren’t. Still, it is still an undeniably strange thing to find a mage of ANY calibre working in a brothel, and the food-vendor can’t help but ask:

“What’s a girl like you doing here, anyhow?”

“Now now,” you quip with a wink, “let’ss keep this professional.”

That stymies the half-orc, who calms up to avoid accidentally pressing his luck a second time. Still, a you go about your evening, the question recurs, bouncing around in your brain.

Why ARE you still doing this job, really? Why do you want to help revitalize The Pretty Kitty?
>You still find having a cover identity apart from the Engels useful for spycraft
>You enjoy the attention, the dancing, the music, and the sensuality for its own sake
>You have developed an actual attachment and affection for your employer and coworkers
>Other
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>>4966866
>All the above

We could've- and probably should've- moved on by now, but a mix of the thrill, connections, and affection can be as strong as any tonic to us. Eventually we'll be forced to move on, but it'll be on our terms, and with business booming for the Kitty and it's girls.
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>>4967047
Supporting.
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>>4966866
>You enjoy the attention, the dancing, the music, and the sensuality for its own sake
And satisfaction from proving our superiority on stage.
>You have developed an actual attachment for your employer and coworkers
Attachment, cause affection would be a dangerous thing for a reptilian agent.

>>4967047
Why would we be *forced* to leave?
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>>4966866
>You still find having a cover identity apart from the Engels useful for spycraft

There is NOTHING but the mission
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>>4967152
Our Dark Overlords demands it? We succeed beyond our wildest dreams? We horribly fuck up and are forced to flee? There are many extreme reasons that can rear their ugly head.
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>>4967229
>>4967152
>>4967073
>>4967047
There is undeniably still SOME strategic advantage in having multiple identities and avenues to enter into humanoid society’s various castes and subsections—the opportunity to attend a nobleman’s private party just this very evening proves that. However, that was an opportunity you refused, and that refusal itself forces you to confront the truth: you LIKE The pretty Kitty. You love dancing, the satisfaction of demonstrating ever-more-superior mastery of your craft on stage, the thrill of the music moving your body!

And antithetical as it may be to your mission—and there is NOTHING more important than the mission—you have come to feel an… Attachment of sorts to Mina, and to The Pretty Kitty’s other dancers and prostitutes. It is a shameful fact, and yet you cannot bring yourself to feel wholly ashamed of it. If circumstances should force you to abandon this place, you will do so on your terms, having left these people all the better for your presence.

You work through these complicated, developing feelings the only way you know how: dance. As if he senses your conflict, the elven bard Laksar Endingray plays a slower, almost melancholy tune. However, as you speed up your dancing, ramping up the sensual sway and elegant steps, the tempo increases to match you. Before long, you have processed and compartmentalize the emotions with your usual Reptilian efficiency, and are taking your deliberately boob0bouncing bow to the adulation of the crowd.

Among those in the audience—on second observation, ‘crowd’ may have been overselling it—are indeed the four human hoodlums who harassed your new half-orc chef earlier. Even the female human is present; she is glaring daggers at you, even as her male companions ogle you with primal desire. You smirk and wink at her as you stand back up and leave the stage.

A quick situation report from the other dancers and the serving girls tells you that the table of armoured attendees has been rowdy and rude, especially to non-human serving staff. Madam Mina, no stranger to such attitudes in her years in Hawksong, has simply reduced the number of drinks going to their table and specified only huma employees to interact with them. This seems to be working to everyone’s satisfaction, though as Grendelia follows up your act you note that the burly, six-foot-something (but still quite sensitive) quarter-orc dancer is subject to a few shouted insults. The music muffles them, but it doesn’t take an expert operative to know which table they originate with.

What do you do?
>Pay the unruly table a personal visit, to sort them out with some magic [specify if your approach is manipulative, seductive, or threatening]
>Lure the rowdy men off for a ‘private show’ [specify if you plan to drain them to death or not]
>Mingle with the crowd and sling some shirin—there’s no reason to risk further escalating the situation, and you have business to attend to
>Other
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>>4967473
>Ask Mina whether she minds us dealing with the problem
Imply that we want to seduce, not threaten or get them killed.
>Lure the rowdy men off for a ‘private show’
Let Irinnile sort this out for good in some alleyway, just quietly. And their bitch comes too.
>Make SURE nobody follows us
We don't want to get discovered by Mina or Konrad concerned about our safety.

I hope this was the last time we told a bunch of aggressive, xenophobic thugs where to find us.

>>4967441
We're not leaving this brothel without a fight lol
>>
>>4967473
>Mingle with the crowd and sling some shirin—there’s no reason to risk further escalating the situation, and you have business to attend to

why yes I do flake hard
>>
>>4967473
>Pay the unruly table a personal visit, to sort them out with some magic [manipulative, seductive]

I don't mind giving them a private show and having our succubus have a snacc, but I would like to use these tools as pawns against our enemies. Plus, that female looks like she's be fun to tame and bring to heel.
>>
>>4967473
>Mingle with the crowd and sling some shirin—there’s no reason to risk further escalating the situation, and you have business to attend to

Them being rude ≠ them causing trouble

And we really need to start selling this stuff
>>
>>4967712
I'm honestly waiting until we can stretch the supply out with local herbs before we start distribution in earnest. I don't want people complaining about the difference of flavor or the strength of the hit when we change over to our more deluded/improved shirin.
>>
>>4967502
>>4967555
>>4967595
>>4967712
[We seem to have a tie between a seductive/manipulative approach to lure and drain the unruly attendees, and ignoring them for now to sell shirin. I will await a tiebreaker tonight, and roll for it if nobody breaks it!]
>>
Rolled 17, 16, 3 = 36 (3d20)

>>4967906
>>
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>>4968179
You rummage through your pack for the small amount of shirin you earlier extracted from the cask. The carriage is long-gone, but that is to your liking well enough—there’s little point in selling it all in one night, before you have another shipment ready to come in, and without having even figured out a way to stretch or extend your existing supply!

For now, the white ‘spice’ from the far east shall serve as a means to entice and distract the xenophobes harassing your fellow dancer. While the female at the table crosses her arms over her laughable (and no-doubt pinchy) chainmail two-piece, the males are eager to make space for you at their table. Able to pass for human better than your fellow mixed-breeds despite your mother’s more exotic ancestry, you are easily able to slip into their circle even as they mutter amongst themselves about how ill-fit and mannish they find Grendelia. Personally, you don’t see it—she’s strong, and tall, but her proportions are well within norms of mammalian females, and in some cases more exaggerated than most in their womanliness—that’s sort of a prerequisite for the job, after all. You nod and smile along, though, and eventually proffer a sample of your wares.

“Shirin?” the most loud-mouthed of the men asks. “Never heard of it.”

“It’ss from the Easst, a most delectable and sstimulating sspice that—”

“Foreign shit,” he scoffs dismissively, swatting at your hand. You pull your hand away, narrowly avoiding losing some of the precious commodity. “That’s the problem with this land these days—this city just lets anything in, and with it comes orcs, and rat-men, and crime.”

There is a chorus of more subdued agreement from the other men, and your rival female influence at the table clearly senses an opening.

“I meant to assssk, honey,” she mocks, “where iss that accccent from?’

This arouses another chorus of chortles, which you silently suffer.

‘You know, I could probably do something about that lisp,’ irinnile suggested from within. You ignore her, too.

“The provinccess,” you answer. “You know, we got this shirin sstuff first, and I musst say… It’s a ‘sstimulant’ in more wayss than one.”
>>
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>>4968187
You lower your head and flutter your eyelashes, licking a small amount of the shhirin suggestively from your fingertip. You dip it back into the bag, and proffer it t the most suggestible of the four: the man who wielded the mace. With only the subtlest nudge of glamour and succubus charm, he is driven to slurp it up without thinking further. His friends jeer, but before long, you know he is feeling the same pelasant buzz as you are…

And with peer pressure your friend, soon his friend is, also.

“Well I’ll be damned by the gods is this isn’t FUCKING spectacular!” the second, leaner man says. “Joris, Amelie, you HAVE to give this a go!”

The other two hesitate, but between your command of the drug and your less-than-subtle touches and flourishes, you have their goons hooked on you and your product.

What do you do?
>Escort the other two men away to further seduce and ensorcel, as pawns for later use
>Amp up your influence with magic to seduce the remaining skeptics at the table, and escort all four away to dispose of
>Attempt to manipulate and martial all four of them
>Turn the table against itself, as retaliation for their rudeness
>Return to the stage, and let them squabble
>Write-in

[Attempted a compromise that does a bit of both, and leaves the option to manipulate ro slay them open.]
>>
>>4968189
>Attempt to manipulate and martial all four of them

Pawns for the Dark Gods! Druggies for our Drug Empire! 'Tis a glorious combination!
>>
>>4968189
>Get the other two on shirin and calm them down so they don't make a scene

not sure what martial means in that one option. typo? surely not beating them all up outside
>>
>>4968227
I assume it means we rally them against the were-rats.
>>
>>4968227
Poor use of homonyms. *Marshal, as in assemble for action
>>
>>4968189
>Turn the table against itself, as retaliation for their rudeness
Especially the female - I wonder if we can *turn* her…
>>
>>4967595
>>4968247
alright I could overlook one, but can you guys please turn down the cringe
please

>>4968245
>>4968236
More appealing, but we have a lot of spinning plates already, not sure it would be worth adding them unless it was as convenient as sending them into the sewers tonight and they kill a few before getting wiped out

and it would suck if they got turned instead
>>
>>4968249
Didn't you say you flake hard? Seems we all have a bit of cringe in us mate.

As it regards to these hooligans, it seems to me that they wouldn't be hard to weaponize them towards the were-rats without much upkeep, especially with we put the idea in their heads and keep it there. Whether they become the scourge of the rat-men or die against a single rat-man is of no real consequence, I just figure this is a good opportunity to put more heat on Leo and his gang that we've been putting off for a while now, and these hooligans were obviously looking for a fight, I just figured that we'd obliged them.
>>
>>4968262
>Seems we all have a bit of cringe in us all* mate.

I really need to get in the habit of proof reading before I post.
>>
>>4968189
>Amp up your influence with magic to seduce the remaining skeptics at the table, and escort all four away to dispose of
What a mess.
>>
[Looking like a four-way tie, with a slight lean towards disposing of them. I'll await a tiebreaker.]
>>
>>4968262
Are you seriously putting changing my mind between posts on the same level as perhaps the most neckbearded phrases ever seen outside of r9k?
>>
>>4968769
Okay, fair.
Changing my vote (>>4968533) to
>Attempt to manipulate and martial all four of them
Let's sic them on those filthy wererats who abandoned their humanity to juggle turds, set fires and attack people at night.

>>4968262
>>4968802
Stop posting cringe, anons.
>>
Rolled 19, 8, 3, 11, 20 = 61 (5d20)

>>4968825
>>4968533
>>4968266
>>4968247
>>4968227
>>4968195
>>
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>>4968900
With half the table more concerned with wooing you (or paying you, in fairness) than in stirring up more trouble, you suppose you could consider the problem solved. Still, you know that all the nervous energy which builds from a shirin dose needs release eventually…

‘And they might as well release it in us, huh?’ Irinnile suggests. ‘And look at that haughty little number huffing on the other side of the table. I wonder if we could get her in on it?’

You cringe a little at Irinnile’s insatiable lust, but luckily none of the humans seated with you catch your microexpression. You continue to engage them in the vapid and frequently lusty chatter typical of their race while you consider what to do with them. Eventually, a thought occurs: if they’re so eager to purge inhuman elements from the city of Hawksong, why not turn them upon your wererats.

When at first you propose it, there is reticence.

“Uh, spending the night crawling around in shitty sewers doesn’t exactly sound like my idea of a fun time,” the female human protests, to a round of agreement and clinked glasses.

“But jusst think,” you suggest, turning on the charm and scooting in closer to the ringleader. “You could really clean up thiss ccity, and make a differencce! Imagine it: you, Joriss, the Hero of Hawkssong!”

You slide your foot up his leg beneath the table, and allow Irrinile to seep out of your inner darkness and into your skin. You are flushed with heat and arousal instantly, but the understanding you have built with the demon and your increased experience with utilizing the occult repent you from being overwhelmed. Not so Joris and his band of wannabes, who with each verbal or physical nudge all further and further under your control.

“Guys, seriously, what the fuck??” the female—Amelie, was it—whines.

“Come on,” you egg her up, tracing a finger along her jaw and a thumb across her lips. “I think you have a beautiful face for the cover of a Grey Press ‘Annalss of Adventure’ issssue.”

Amelie cowls slightly and struggels against your control, but your succubus touch is too much for her feeble will. Her eyes go slightly glossy as you leans into your petting of her hair and your amsage of her shoulders.

“You really think so…?” she asks softly.

You grin, your victory complete. These humans will do whatever you say, now, and You say that it’s time to tie up some loose ends with Boss Le and the wererats of the Hawksong undercity.

What do you do?
>Fetch your leafweave armour and magical items, and lead the humans into the sewers directly
>Send the humans into the sewers without guidance
>Use the humans as bait in the darkened streets of Hawksong, to draw wererats out of their home and into a trap
>Write-in
>>
>>4968911
>Fetch your leafweave armour and magical items, and lead the humans into the sewers directly
>Make sure nobody follows
We better look after these idiots, even if just from afar. Can also double boost them with illusion if shirin turns out to be insufficient for fighting the rabid shitchompers.

Poor Edwin, lmao.
>>
>>4968911
>Send the humans into the sewers without guidance

lmao
>>
>>4968911
>Fetch your leafweave armour and magical items, and lead the humans into the sewers directly
If we’re actually going to try and tie up this loose end - might as well do it right
>>
>>4969160
>If we’re actually going to try and tie up this loose end - might as well not leave another loose end
ftfy
>>
>>4968911
>>Use the humans as bait in the darkened streets of Hawksong, to draw wererats out of their home and into a trap
>>
>>4968911
>Fetch your leafweave armour and magical items, and lead the humans into the sewers directly

Snek magic!
>>
Rolled 20, 2, 13, 5 = 40 (4d20)

>>4969240
>>4969236
>>4969160
>>4969015
>>4968990
[Stealth roll x 3, perception roll x 1]
>>
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>>4969308
With all the humans in your thrall, you provide the rubes directions to retrieve their arms from Felia at coat-check—Madam Mina is too smart to allow them to bring blades or war-clubs into a drinking establishment—and to meet you at the rats’ main entrance to the sewers. Under normal circumstances it would seem too obvious, but with the cops and Mages’ Tower out for their hides, you doubt even the lowliest and slowest of Boss Leo’s wererat flunkies would be just loitering about in such a conspicuous place.

With your forces deployed, you play out the remainder of your shift, and then fetch the armour you had the good sense to bring with you in the carriage, and to stow away in your room. Too many times you’ve been caught without the beautiful suit of alchemically-treated leafweave leather. You admire the craftsmanship once more as you lather it with the chemicals its cute little half-elf creator sold you alongside it, and you begin to feel your subsumed lust for battle rise within you again. It’s not unlike the feeling you have towards dance, towards seduction and manipulation: you love the sensation of elegant mastery of a craft, of piqued emotion and individual glory, of mastery and humiliation of the weak.

Careful not to attract attention or face questions you aren’t prepared to answer, you slip out into the darkness of night through a window. Irinnile’s natural affinity for shadowy stealth and ability to manifest climbing claws synergizes well with your own training, and you are even able to descend down the walls with such finesse that your own allies are unaware of your presence in their midst before you speak up.

<WANT: 13>

“Ready, boyss?” you ask. “Oh, and Amelie?”

The humans jump, and you swallow a laugh, especially at Amelie’s squeak. These are no trained warriors. Still, they’re useful warm bodies to aim at your problems and shield you from hidden blades. And why tidy up one loose end only to leave another? Plus, their appreciative chatter about your armour makes you feel both beautiful and mighty, which is always a nice bonus.
>>
>>4969322
You lead the column of human meatshields down to the undercity entrance. Buoyed by your own aura, and perhaps especially by the shirin, they are untouched by fear even as they prepare to enter the belly of the beast which has haunted this city ever since you pinned your own brutal crimes on the wererats in your lurid expose to The Grey Press publishing house. Still, you know first-hand that the wererats are nothing to be trifled with: they are stealthy, fast, strong, and when organized they can be quite efficient killers.

‘Then again, they’ve never tangled with you an’ me together, have they, hotstuff?’

Irinnile’s right, of course: you’re immune to flame and mundane, one with the shadows, and can attack a mind with your demonic ally almost as easily as with shapeshifted claws… Though maybe not without tipping off your little corps of play-soldiers.

You see that the loose bars which the wererats would so carefully remove and replace to hide their comings and goings are now gone completely. Are they expecting you? Have the city officials already investigated this area and driven the wererats away? You certainly see no sign of either party as you enter…

What do you do?
>Send in the humans first, and bring up the rear stealthily
>Lead boldly and proudly from the front, letting your presence put the fear into the wererats
>Try to guide the humans in the ways of stealth
>Call out to any observers that may or may not exist, declaring (ie. bluffing) that you know they are there, and that they should come on out
>Write-in
>>
>>4969325
>Send in the humans first, and bring up the rear stealthily
>>
>>4969325
>Try to guide the humans in the ways of stealth

Might as well make the attempt. Suprise can be a wonderful boon, and if they suck at stealth we can always revert to our original plan, by making them march while we pull a rouge.
>>
>>4968911
*struggles

*massage

[Damnit, I will learn to spell someday. For now, goodnight! I am confirmed not to have Covid, but still can't return to work until my boss okays me and I have no symptoms, so I will have ample time to post for a few more days, most likely. Then, back to my old once-or-twice per day schedule, except when busy.]
>>
>>4969687
Oh shit, I didn't know that. I would have voted with >>4969385 here had I know you got time to burn!
>>
>>4969325
That perception tho.
>Try to guide the humans in the ways of stealth
>Tell Amelie to stay on the rearguard
We don't want to get surprise buttsecks.

>>4969687
That's a triple yay.
>>
Rolled 16, 11, 4, 17, 20 = 68 (5d20)

>>4969789
>>4969434
>>4969385
[3 for your stealth (DC 10), 1 for your allies' stealth (DC 13, due to your guidance), 1 for perception]
>>
>>4970128
perception yes
>>
>>4970128
>dat nat 20 perception

Nothing escapes our notice for long!
>>
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>>4970128
Fuck yes we NAILED it this time bros
Can't wait to report this operation to Roth and fuck his full-blooded self-esteem in the ass again.
>>
>>4970128
>>4970133
>>4970140
>>4970143
“Alright,” you begin in a hushed whisper, “I will take posssition near the front. Follow my lead, and sstep where I sstep. Amelie, you are the rearguard.”

“Wh-what?” she asks. “But why me?”

You dial up the demoniac charm and your own glamour, smiling and telling her it is because you trust her so much. Not even questioning why that would be so trusted, just as nobody questions how you knew about this sewer sanctuary, she falls into line with your other minions.

One of the many benefits of such a firm hold on your thralls is that they actually move with surprising stealth, truly following your steps like those of a reverent ritual dance. With your own vision and subtlety further enhanced by Irinnile’s abilities, your column moves deep into enemy territory with ease.

One thing that strikes you is the emptiness. You’ve never been down here when there WEREN’T wererats, be they guides or adversaries. On this descend into the undercity, one could be forgiven for thinking there was nothing down here but mundane waste-disposal architecture and human filth. Still, nobody questions your orders… And eventually, they are rewarded.

You hush up and halt the humans—who, admittedly, weren’t overly noisy to begin with—as your keen night-eyes and mystical senses detect another life form of appreciable size. You sneak forward alone a few more feet, and find the abandoned remains of the sad heap of furniture, clothing, and stolen knickknacks that once served as Boss Leo’s throne room as wererat king. Today, however, you find two of his lackeys—in human form, but two with whom you are familiar enough to know their true nature.

“This is a bad bad idea, Vin, a bad one. I mean it. You think nobody’s watching for us here?”

“You think anyone IS?” the other counters, rummaging through the ruins like a barbarian looting a fallen palace. “Leo’s long fuckin’ gone, and the guards have been through here twice.”

“What about Paladins? Tower?”

“Nox, you think the Paladins or the Tower are gonna’ have their people patrolling the SEWERS at midnight in the middle of the week? Come on, bullshit, not a chance, forget it.”

It seems they’re trying to collect what few resellable valuables both Boss Leo and the City Guard have left untouched in the weeks since you shattered their base of power and spoiled their anonymity. You sense only the two, and neither has noticed you at all…
>>
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>>4970152
‘That ain’t all, though,’ Irinnile warns. ‘I sense… Something else. Something with a magic aura, and not no therianthrope curse. Not approaching, not retreating. Not close. But it’s down here, an' it's trying to hide from us.’

Well that’s troubling. What do you do?
>Approach the wererats and attempt to recruit their aid in tracking down their leader
>Send in the human fodder to attack, and slip away before whatever else turns up to spoil your night
>Charge in with the humans to kill [or capture, specify] the wererats, then delve deeper in search of Boss Leo
>You acquired magic glasses from the Towier Inquisitor whom you mugged a few nights ago—use them to tag and track one of the wererats
>Write-in
>>
>>4970153
>You acquired magic glasses from the Towier Inquisitor whom you mugged a few nights ago—use them to tag and track one of the wererats
Outright making pacts next to 'our' xenohunters could lead to complications later.
>Tell the idiots to hold it and be on the lookout, something else is in here
>Carefully try to investigate the magical aura

Gotta figure out what the fuck is lurking in here before deciding to retreat or eliminate it.
>>
>>4970160
+1, we're gonna try and speed run today!
>>
>>4970153
>You acquired magic glasses from the Towier Inquisitor whom you mugged a few nights ago—use them to tag and track one of the wererats

for science
>>
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>>4970160
>>4970164
>>4970166
“What’s with these guys?” the big one with the mace—Bors, you think?—asks.

“The stories said the wererats could look like regular people,” Joris notes.

“Hold, and be quiet,” you command the human fools. “Ssomeone elsse is here.”

“What?” Joris asks, startled.

“Shit, is it the guards? Asks the third, least interesting man—the one who seems to fancy himself a rogue or ranger, but his single-bladed shortsword. “We’re not supposed to—”

You shush them again, lest rats or guards or anything else overhear you. Without taking your yes off the two scrounging vermin rooting around in Leo’s lost treasures, you fish out the pair of glasses you stole from the Tower Inquisitor. You place them upon your face and glare daggers at the targets, channeling your magical energy through the complicated matrices of unfamiliar enchantment. Luckily, your accursed human blood aids in the pursuit, and the glasses do their work: the wererat called ‘Vin’ appears in the lenses as a red silhouette, visible even when he is obscured from your traditional senses. You look away, and a red glow in the corner of your vision continues to point you in the direction of the attuned quarry.

‘Bet you look hot as hell in them, too,’ Irnnile adds. ‘Babes in glasses really do it for me.’

You abandon the rats for now, confident in your ability to track them and with your magically-loyal human troops standing guard to alert you to any dire developments. While they attend to this, you investigate the source of the mystery aura. Could it be your other loose end, the occultist-turned-demon Lady Zivic? She has allied with Boss Leo and his sewer-scum before. You follow the side-tunnels to track the mystic energies back to…

The way you came in?

You see no skulking figure, no lurking demon-addled rat or crow. You peer further forward with succubus senses, and still you sense no one…

‘Ah shit, Lispy?’

Irinnile spots it, and so do you: one of the bars was marked with a normally-invisible sigil. Cursory inspection suggests some sort of detection spell, which is ringing along non-audible channels even now like a silent alarm. Someone, somewhere, is being tipped off to the usage of this tunnel by you or the wererats. It could be Zivic, but something about the distinctly textbook configuration makes you suspect the Tower are more likely culprits, or some other city official.

‘Whadda we do, babe?’ the succubus asks nervously.
>Abandon the enterprise for the night—let the humans take the blame if anyone officious comes asking
>Call out to the humans, and get them out of there too
>Shapeshift to disguise yourself in case you’re spotted, and go back in
>Disable the alarm spell, if you can, and hope nobody yet noticed it
>Waste no more time—get in, track down and slaughter rats, tie up loose ends, get out
>Write-in
>>
>>4970330
>Call out to the humans, and get them out of there too
>Try to catch the rats and force them to lead you out of the sewer through a different, safe path
If we have to let one of rodents escape/go, let it be the one we're tracking.
>Use Irinnile to make sure you don't trigger any other alarms and to look out for new life forms

We all need to get out of the sewer through unmarked exit and asap. The Ratatouilles are our best chance.
I FUCKING KNEW IT. This is what I get for not planning like a paranoid autist the one time it would matter.
>>
>>4970330
>Call out to the humans, and get them out of there too

Well, this turned into a bust. I was really looking forward to a good fight.

>>4970347
+1, though to be fair, it wasn't like we figured the Tower was actively involved in curtailing the were-rats. From what we gathered from the mind of that one mage, they were more focused on the cat-men than any were-rat gang.
>>
>>4970330
>Disable the alarm spell, if you can, and hope nobody yet noticed it

Good practice for disabling tower spells
>>
>>4970351
>Well, this turned into a bust. I was really looking forward to a good fight.
Don't tempt fate.

>though to be fair
But I always tried to make sure to approach situations in RIQ seriously unlike other quests. Walking into the sewers without manual screening after we sent the mages of Tower of mages on the wererat trail was asking for trouble.
Lessons learned, though. About perception rolls and nature of magic in the quest.

>>4970358
Sadly I have to disagree with integrating this unless we can attempt it remotely and in a matter of seconds. This alarm was triggered a while ago back when we entered and we have to gtfo before the Tower can react.
>>
>>4970358
I'd rather make whoever put this here assume it was either the rats or a bunch of hooligans than peak their interest with someone noticing and disabling their invisible ward.

>>4970368
Maybe it was asking for trouble, but if the inquisitor gave any inkling as to taking seriously the were-rat claims, I would never have voted for such an excursion into were-rat territory.
>>
>>4970379
Shame, I want to freak them out and make them wonder wtf is up. As an infiltrator we should be sowing discord and confusion.

>>4970368
How long does it take to walk down a tunnel and put on some glasses?
>>
>>4970330
>Call out to the humans, and get them out of there too
Give them some excuse - we heard more wererats coming or something like that.

After this, it’s time to pick one and drain them a little
>>
>>4970381
Glasses do nothing but point towards one person of our choosing.
To do that, we have to go back towards the entrance we want to get *away* from, then focus and attempt to disarm a magical trap left there by a skilled mage - something we never tried and have no idea about as an illusionist. Means: we have one roll.
If we fail, we have to go back and hope for rats to still be there to lead us out, assuming we don't get caught.
>>4970379 makes a very good point, too.

Attempting that disarm has potential to cause more damage than it has to help us.
>>
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>>4970396
>we have one roll
[Point of clarification: I would classify a disable attempt as falling under "arcane studies", ie. 3d20, DC 15. It's a 'textbook spell', as the Infiltrator noted, which means she's read up on the publically-available basics of such sigils at the library with Edwin. The DC of 15 is because whoever set this and whatever their skill level, they put little effort or personal flourish into it. Perhaps, since wereats were a secondary focus to the Tower, they half-assed this measure?]
>>
>>4970402
Ah shit, sorry. I'll stick to my plan anyways since if we disarm it, they will know there was a mage in here.
>>
>>4970402
Even if they half-assed it, we shouldn't take these sorts of risks concerning the Tower, at least without shapeshifting first. Considering our current company, that's ill advised. It's quite a shame, I was hoping to make some serious progress on one of our side objectives, let alone a good fight.
>>
I don't suppose any of you lads are up for a different sewer? Now that we know the Tower is fucking around, we can probably find and disable the wards without the alarm being triggered.
>>
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Rolled 17, 11, 8, 8, 11, 7 = 62 (6d20)

>>4970394
>>4970358
>>4970351
>>4970347

‘Irinnile, scan for any additional alarm spells,’ you command.

‘That ain’t exactly how it works,’ she says.

A little annoyed, you ask ‘Well then, tell me how it DOES work.’

“I can detect it now ‘cause we’re scanning, and ‘cause it’s going off and sending a signal I can sense. My senses are justa bit more of a natural version of your mage sense, with a lot of practice behind it. Before we set it off, I’d have to be lookin’ REEEEAL close, ya’ know?’

“Great,” you mutter aloud and with great sarcasm.

You were actually sort of spoiling for a good fight, and the elimination of one of the many thorns in your side. However, tangling with the Mages’ Tower, only a little over a week before the Tower Gala? That’s not a risk you’re willing to take, and you can’t think of any way to pass by that alarm sigil OR to disable it without drawing suspicion. Stepping gingerly and with great care, you return to your human minions.

“We have to leave, now,” you tell them.

“Huh?” Bors asks. “Why?”

“There’ss… Trouble coming. Maybe more wererats, more than we can handle. I’m not sure.”


It’s a flimsy excuse, but the humans are all still under your influence, and the shirin high fills them, and you, with the nervous energy to get up and go. You can’t exactly leave the way you came, though… And eyeing the still none-the-wiser wererats in your sights, you come to the pleasing conclusion that you may not have to leave this sewer without a good fight, after all.

"We need a ssafe way out, and away from any ambush," you tell the humans. "Those ratss are going to give uss jusst that. Follow my lead."

[Cont., rolling 2d20 for your swordsmanship and 4d20 for the performance of your lackeys]
>>
>>4970503
Sadly, your humans are far less useful against hardened street criminals with supernatural agility and home terrain advantage than they are at, say, menacing a burly food-vendor who is afraid to create a scene by fighting back. As you let them loose, they bellow and shriek silly battlecries, waving their weaponry about inexpertly and with choreographed attacks. If it weren’t for how utterly startled the rats were, you’re not sure you would even have got in range to engage the vermin before the apes sent them scampering out of reach.

Luckily, you are adaptable. Using your human entourage as a noisy and ineffectual decoy, you are able to sweep in and cut off the escape route of one wererat. His ally, harassed and frightened by the mob of drug-addled sycophants you’ve brought with you, dives into the pile of trash-or-treasure, and emerges out of the other side in his hideous half-rat shape. This sets Amelie to screeching, and the men to chasing after it, but they are already winded… Well, except Bors, who is just too slow.

You smirk. It hardly matters—the one who escapes it the one you have assigned your glasses to tracking… And Vin’s partner in crime, the one called Nox, is whimpering, back to the wall, your dagger at his throat. One wrong move and he’s headless—and he knows it.

“Ssnakegirl?!” he whines.

“What does he mean—” Joris begins.

“Ignore him,” you command, and Joris seemingly does.

You turn your attention back to Nox, smiling sweetly and explaining: “We need an escape route that doessn’t take uss through your main gate. Can you do that for uss, Noxxx?”

Nox doesn’t hesitate, just nods and cringes back from the sharpness of your knife. You scan his aura for deceptive intent, but find only fear. Perfect.

What do you do with Nox?
>Attempt to enthrall Nox, as you have the humans
>Use fear to keep Nox in line
>Use seduction and politesse to win Nox over organically
>Write-in

What is your plan?
>Take the side-route to escape the tunnels with the humans
>Backstab the humans and Nox, leaving no loose ends from this debacle
>Send the humans topside for now, and use Nox and the glasses to track down more wererats—maybe even Boss Leo—knowing you have an easy escape route if the Tower turns up
>Make good on your escape, but command your human thralls to delve deeper into the sewers on their own
>Write-in
>>
>>4970514
>Attempt to enthrall Nox, as you have the humans
If that fails
>Use fear to keep Nox in line

>Send the humans topside for now, and use Nox and the glasses to track down more wererats—maybe even Boss Leo—knowing you have an easy escape route if the Tower turns up

I may be in the minority here, but I'm spoiling for a bit of a fight myself.
>>
>>4970514
>Use fear to keep Nox in line

were the fuck is leeooooo

>Backstab the humans, and use Nox and the glasses to track down more wererats—maybe even Boss Leo—knowing you have an easy escape route if the Tower turns up

I want the humans dead and I also want to track down Leo
>>
>>4970550
Why not bring the humans with us as meatshields? That's infinitely better than just going at it alone. Best part, of one manages to survive we can use them as a WANT battery.
>>
>>4970563
Acceptable, as long as we don't just send them topside.
>>
>>4970514
>Use fear to keep Nox in line

>Take the side-route to escape the tunnels with the humans

The Tower might investigate, let’s get out of here.

Kill Nox once we find the exit
>>
Rolled 19, 15, 2, 19 = 55 (4d20)

>>4970607
>>4970593
>>4970550
>>4970521
As you eye the escape route, you can't help but linger. Your blood is boiling for a fight, hot with the thrilling memory of your last victory over the wererats and tingling with shirin. Nobody has arrived yet, and you have an easy means to quickly exit the situation, so why not at least attempt to finish what you started?

“Where doess thiss exit come up?” you demand, giving Nox a jab.

“M-midtown! Behind the merchants, three streets west of the library, north of the guardhouse.”

You draw a quick mental map.

“Good,” you say. “Now, take uss to your leader.”

“Wait, I thought we were leaving?” Amelie whines.

“Come now, do you really want to let these monsssterss infesst our beloved ccity?” you appeal to the humans.

“But you said…” Bors begins.

“How do you know so much about all this, anyway?” Joris asks.

“Guys, I really have to get home,” the third one with the unknown name complains.

You can feel your glamour waning, and so concentrate your energies upon their pliable minds.
>>
>>4971094
Their will is weak, and easily subsumed. The questions cease, and if Nox has any of his own, your blade and the look on your face buts an end to their formation. The wererat leads you deeper into the maze of sewage tunnels.

“And don't forget,” you add brightly, “warn any of your friendss, or lie to uss, and I'll sspill your entrailss in thiss pool of wasste you call your home.”

Your glasses and the red glow they reveal through layers of masonry seemingly confirm Nox's bearing. Vin, at least, is up ahead. The same magic cowing the humans must also be weakening the will of the rat who guides you… Or else your natural predatory aura.

You slow down as you round a corner up ahead, pausing to listen carefully and to extend the feelers of Irinnile'a psychich sense.

“…go and loot my fuckin' shit, like I'm not coming back for it. You risk getting discovered in a place we KNOW the city has been snooping around to do it. And now Rossgard and a small army army are patrolling around down here, and they got one of our own. Am I accurately describing the FULL scope of your fuck-up, or is there more?”

That's Boss Leo's voice raging there, with Vin's reply an unintelligible and whispered squeak of apology. You sense four more souls in the vicinity: six rats altogether. Boss Leo's circle was never massive—slaughtering these rats could end the threat of their ilk in this city quite handiky.

What do you do?
>Charge in with your thralls and start chopping
>Attempt to stealth in and decapitate their leadership, Leo, so you can control the rest
>Backstab Nox and the humans, and use the full scope of your succubus powers to solo all these vermin with no witnesses
>Offer up the humans as a peace offering, to reopen diplomatic relations with Boss Leo
>Leave, now that you know where they are, to tip off the authorities
>Write-in
>>
>>4971109
>Charge in with your thralls and start chopping

Thralls first, good little meatshields
>>
>>4971109
One thing I wanna try (if it's possible to get a second weapon or use Irrinile to shapeshift one without humans noticing):
>Attempt to eliminate Leo from afar with a dagger
Then
>Charge in with your thralls and start chopping
Prioritize the oldfag, if applicable.
Try to eliminate the rats alongside our humans, but if that fails,
>Use the full scope of your succubus powers to solo all these vermin with no witnesses

This made me wonder if we could use succubus to boost our combat skills. Like, can she help us hit the Leo in this situation?
>>
>>4971298
[Irinnile can shapeshift weapons for you, at +1 WANT; however, doing so will only allow you to materialize something directly connected to your body, and made from the same materials, unless you perform a ritual not unlike what Lord Bianchi did to create his sceptre. It will also likely stand out a little if you open your hand and reveal the bony dagger is connected to your palm or the like.]
>>
>>4971423
Okay, then just ask if the rat or one of humans has a spare dagger, unless we have an extra.
>>
>>4971117
Supporting
>>
Rolled 9, 16, 18, 18, 3, 11, 7, 9, 3 = 94 (9d20)

>>4971117
>>4971298
>>4971506
[3d20 for stealthy approach, 2 for your performance, 4 with DC 16 for your untrained allies]
>>
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>>4971611
You approach quietly at first, but then something strikes you: there is no full moon, and the wererats have always seemed to prefer lounging about in human forms when possible, only transforming to do their dirty deeds or in response to your presence. With evil glee, you skulk closer still, and for the first time behold Boss Leo as he is when not transfigured by his curse: a fat, old, grey-haired human with pale skin and weathered, warty features, looking sweaty and tired. As soon as you have eyes on this sad king and his little court of wererats, you know that you can’t let them escape. Exhilaration and irritation fill you in equal measure. THIS is the beast that has so vexed you?!

You kick Nox in his unsuspecting rear end, sending his squawking and flailing to the ground, and point your dagger squarely at your target: Leo.

“Hello again, ‘Bossss’,” you mock his imagined station.

The chiefmost among wererats looks at you with furious, bulging eyes. Before he or his minions can transform themselves, though, your forces are upon him! If they have any doubt as to the nature of the apparent humans—two scraggly-looking young women, two men of mixed complexions with many signs of hard living—the transformed Vin kneeling in penance amongst them gives them license t do what they will. With your will in the back of their minds and shirin in their blood, they are ravenous killing machines!

…It’s just a shame they’re so green. Untraiend novices playing pretend are no match for even an old and untransformed wererat. Even with the element of surprise, they chase the accursed sewer-dwellers around with reckless, fooling lunges, tackles, and wild swings. They smash masonry and send the rats skittering, but almost as quickly as the assault has begun, Emelie is being pinned down and disarmed and the wererats are taking advantage of the chaos to mob and drag down Bors.

Only Boss Leo remains free of the fray, but that suits you just fine. You want that bustard’s head! Again, the fumbling and bumbling of your humans at least creates chaos, and you are trained specially to take advantage of such events. Springboarding off of prone Amelie and her attackers, you raise your dagger high and plunge it down into the wererat leader. He brings up hands to protect him, but your aim is true, your blade sharp, your purpose clear: you pierce both of his wisened old hands, and down into his face.
>>
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>>4971650
The old man stumbles back, shrieking and squealing like a real rat despite his human form. You hold fast to your dagger, pulling it loose, and to your surprise and dismay Boss Leo begins to heal and mend. Worse yet, he begins to transform himself into his mightier rodentine form.

“We coulda’—we coulda’ ruled this town, you stupid snake bitch!” he spits, clutching at his face as hair sprouts in uneven, weed-like tufts from every exposed patch of skin and his clothes begin to split around his swelling, overripe form.

“They perhapss you should have treated our alliancce with greater care?” you suggest innocently, twirling a blade and advancing.

“What, like you did?” he laughs bitterly. “promising us ransoms, promising us access, and then what? Cancelling every plan, reworking things around us, eliminating your other ‘allies’ as soon as they’re used up. Where were our assurances? What were we supposed to do?”

“Die,” you answer easily. “Die, like good vermin do.”

“You first!” he screams, lunging for you with his newly ratlike mouth wide open, saliva dripping from razor-sharp incisors…


And impaling itself upon your blade, right down his throat. He struggles. He squirms and thrashes, but it is to no avail.

“Goodbye, Leo,” you sigh happily as you draw the blade out and, with another swing, slice his throat. Falling upon him, you chop at his neck again and again.

‘Take the head!’ Irinnile instructs. ‘Take it right off!’

And so you do. The other participants of the skirmish are startled and dismayed by your ferocity, the shock of their various bites, scratches, and scrapes beginning to awaken the humans to their predicament even as the wererats are gaining the upper hand over them. Only Nox, until recently still wriggling on the ground, has avoided joining the fray. You can tell that, despite your decapitating strike, your ‘forces’ are still facing a losing battle…

But without their leader, the old man who bestowed their curse and their blessing, the lesser wererats are shaken. His harem-wretches are sobbing and crying out for their lost sultan of the sewers, and his honour guard look ready to desert the field for sheer terror of the look in your eyes and the gore sprayed across your face and chest.

What do you do?
>Invoke Irinnile’s mastery of fear to drive the wererats away—you’ve done what you set out to do
>Demand the allegiance of all in this chamber, and reinforce that demand with a glamour
>Transform into a demonic shape and end this farce in a full-blown massacre of everyone here
>Rally your humans to finish the job against the wererats, as a team
>Abandon the field, and let these fools sort the res out for themselves
>Write-in
>>
>>4971652
>Demand the allegiance of all in this chamber, and reinforce that demand with a glamour

While most of this was unplanned, I did enjoy how we springboarded an opportunity into a full blown success of a side objective, and I will be very amused if we manage to usurp Leo and take control of his little gang. I'm not too picky if we decide not to, but this may be a good opportunity to start spreading the were-rat infection throughout Hawksong, to cause even more chaos when we do choose, and these tools may help with us with our mission, both Divine and professional.

Also, we did fuck up things with Leo huh? Was it intentional or were there other circumstances involved?
>>
>>4971652
>Rally your humans to finish the job against the wererats, as a team
We don’t need the rats - hunt them down like the vermin they are
>>
>>4971764
We don't need them, but they could be useful agents for chaos and mass hysteria, if we need that. Could certainly draw attention away from our other overt activities, assuming we'd need something like that.
>>
>>4971652
>Rally your humans to finish the job against the wererats, as a team

Rather just eliminate these rogue elements that could obstruct our mission

Wererats that can sense our true nature even though we're a halfblood are too dangerous to let live
>>
Rolled 20, 6, 15, 1, 6, 15 = 63 (6d20)

>>4971888
>>4971764
>>4971692
>>
Rolled 20, 14, 12, 20 = 66 (4d20)

>>4972004
>>
>>4972004
>>4972012
Well, this will be interesting.
>>
>>4972012
>>4972004
You briefly imagine yourself as Queen of the Undercity, Lady of Wererats, Boss Izzy…

But no. That is a sad dream for foul and lowly creatures. Maybe a beast like Leo could content himself with that, knowing he could hope for nothing better, but in your dreams you have presided over the city of Hawksong as a princess, like Kamunu, but real! You will not settle for squalor, nor will you force yourself to treat with the filthy creatures who those weeks ago used and abused you in such a degrading manner. You will scrub them, and any legacy of your early failures, from the world you will lord over!

“ATTACK!” comes your command.

At first, the humans are hesitant, almost as eager to flee as the rats, but you squint your eyes and speak the words again with the aethereal echo of your power:

<ATTACK>

You humans can do little else in the face of your majesty, your dominance. Like puppets, they jerk towards their foes. The wererats, who had been considering escape, have their hand forced. Bors falls, the highest priority target for his sheer mass and strength; neither saves him from knives, from claws, from fangs. He is ripped apart raw. His friends’ eyes bug out, but your force is still too compelling to even afford them a scream. The remaining three humans slash and stab and hack and fall. They live, but even with your ‘motivation’ they are no match for cornered wererats fighting for their lives…

But nor are those wererats any match for you. You take up Bors’ mace and whirl it above your head a couple times. You grin as you get a handle on the impractical, flail-like club, and you swing it low to take out a leg. It may be a somewhat dangerous weapon even to the wielder, but in experienced hands it splinters spindly rodent-legs like twigs, and it bashes in head quite effectively. If decapitation is what it takes to finish these creatures, well, you can give them a proper send-off!

And so you do. When Nox attempts to close in, you party his blow with your sword and send him careening into the human whose name you still can’t recall. As for the others, you bash heads from shoulders, or crush them as their owners lie prone. One male, one female, two females, two males! When Nox disentangles himself and tries to flee through one of the adjoining apssages, he slips and falls on the slimey viscera of his own sad little adopted family… And then joins them.

You hear joyful laughter, and only realize it is your own when every last wererat has been run to ground and slain, and you stand triumphant!

‘There might still be a wererat or two in Hawksong, ya’ know,’ Irinnile comments.

‘Don’t spoil this,’ you reply.
>>
>>4972022
The humans, useless save as distractions through the whole affair, are staring at you dumbly, screaming feebly within their minds but unable to even wail their companion’s name aloud. You have never had such command of another, that you can recall—total dominion! Is it Irinnile’s bond with you? The thrill of brutal, efficient bloodshed? The shirin?
>The blood
>The shirin
>Your bond with the demon
[Choose ONE, no write-ins]

However… The humans have seen and heard a great deal, some of which may incriminate you. One of their own is dead. The Tower, or worse, may be coming! And your shirin high is wearing off…

<WANT: 14>

Oh, and there’s that.

What do you do?
>Slay the humans, and make it look like wererats did the deed, so that anyone who finds this scene will see only an ill-fated battle between vigilantes and sewer-monsters
>Attempt to use your newfound psychic dominance to purge their memories of anything incriminating, and keep them as loyal puppets for later
>Drag them along to the surface and milk the survivors to reduce your WANT
>Just leave them here to take the fall for this mess
>Write-in
>>
>>4972023
>Your bond with the demon

Honestly? It's a tie between this or the blood, but I figure I'll throw Irinnile a bone here. And speaking of bones...

>Attempt to use your newfound psychic dominance to purge their memories of anything incriminating, and keep them as loyal puppets for later
>Drag them along to the surface and milk the survivors to reduce your WANT

Adventurer armor isn't cheap, and I would like to practice our psychic abilities.
>>
>>4972030
Actually, it may be a smart idea to recontextualize current events in a better light, by making it seem this excursion was Bors’ idea and that he heroically lead the charge and sacrificed himself to save his friends from the were-rats, and they were an integral part to defeating this threat. That way if they were found out, they would take the fall for this mess, and maybe their friend's 'sacrifice' might encourage them to train so that they won't just be useless meat-shields the next time we need some dirty work done.
>>
>>4972023
>The shirin
For me it's this or Irinnile, so I'm throwing in a vote for variety.
>Attempt to use your newfound psychic dominance to purge their memories of anything incriminating
I'm all for recontextualizing the events, but would like to leave asap instead of fooking the thralls. Might get an unpleasant surprise if we stick around for too long after that magic alarm went off and we started a fight which wasn't exactly quiet.
We can always calm down the WANT with the help from Edwin or Roth.

It was very satisfying to see our snek operate the mace so well. Clearly no need for dragonbloods when a degenerate gets stepped on and makes a path with sex-demon.
>>
>>4972030
Supporting.

If we fail to purge their memories, just kill them
>>
>>4972023
>Your bond with the demon

>Slay the humans, and make it look like wererats did the deed, so that anyone who finds this scene will see only an ill-fated battle between vigilantes and sewer-monsters
>>
>>4972195
I assume when we assuage our WANT it'll be far away from here.
>>
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Rolled 13, 3, 2, 9 = 27 (4d20)

>>4972300
>>4972195
>>4972137
>>4972030
[DC 10 to purge memories, DC 15 to rewrite with new ones, DC 20 to inspire lasting loyalty even when the magic wears off]
>>
>>4972367
Damn, I guess we'll work on this later if they survive the WANT.
>>
>>4972367
You know that it is your increased psychic and personal intimacy with Irinnile which has brought you to this point, making your glamour and her more elaborate manipulations of hearts and minds meld into something… Greater. Into hypnosis, a greater mentalism that can allow you to manipulate an even conscious minds!

‘You’re welcome,’ the demon pouts, but you can sense the tease.

‘You’re right,’ you acknowledge. ‘Thank you. I am… Grateful.’

‘Aww shucks Lispy, if Bianchi an’ you didn’t imagine me scarlet I’d be blushing!’

<Irinnile Affection: 70%>

First ‘suggesting’ that they take a seat, you turn these newly strengthened powers upon your thralls, delving into all three minds almost as one. You are cognizant that time is not on your side: your pitched battle will no doubt attract anyone responding to the magic alarm you set off. You find their minds as a hazy cloud of ideas, fears, desires. Most of them involve the danger of wererats, the danger of YOU, and questions about the relationship between the two aforementioned parties, as well as grief for a lost compatriot. You can do little about the latter—try as you might, you cannot figure out how to reliably purge and replace such vivid memories as the nature of his final moments and his death in three waking minds at once. What you ARE able to do is to eliminate any mention of ‘snakegirl’, of ‘ruling this city together’, of a pre-existing relationship or the exact specifics of how you located and identified the wererat leader.

You also learn the third one’s name: Davide. Huh.

<WANT: 15>

‘Sorry, babe,’ Irinnile sighs. ‘We can work on it later?’

‘If they survive your feeding-time,’ you reply with a mental shrug.

Irinnile squeals happily in your mind’s ear. ‘You mean it?!’

‘You’ve been a good girl,’ you tell her. ‘You deserve a treat.’

‘Then let’s get to fuc—’

‘AFTER we get out of here,’ you clarify.

‘Fiiiiine,’ she agrees melodramatically.

You drop your incriminating (and not terribly practical) borrowed morningstar. You cannot drag Bors’ massive corpse with you, but his wounds and the bodies around him tell a clear tale: a male beset by wererats, who slaughtered his way free but not before succumbing to his injuries. You may need to steer some inquiries later, but no obvious tells of your involvement jump out at you. It will do for now.
>>
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>>4972423
You lead the three dazed and confused humans back up the side passage, and none too soon; a quick scan with your mystic senses tells you that two people with fairly rich reserves of mystical power are coming to investigate. You return to the surface-world of Hawksong right where the now-dead Nox said you would: a back alley behind some storefronts, west of the library, north of the closest guardhouse.

“I can’t believe that Bors is gone…” Amelie mutters

The female is the strongest will among the bunch. The other two hardly seem to notice their ally’s absence until she mentions. Their blank features begin to furrow and crease.

“He died a hero, ssaving uss all,” you affirm.

Unable to remember anything to contradict this, the others can only stare and nod, and mutter a few appreciative words to that affect.

“Now, we can’t be wandering the sstreetss covered in blood,” you explain. “Sstrip.”

“What are you—woah!”

Joris’ confused reply is cut short as you slide out of your armour and underclothes and reveal your succubus-enhanced shape. Davide, too, is enraptured. Only accursed Amelie seems immune, or at least resistant, to your lust-inspiring effect—perhaps she’s simply too heterosexually inclined? As the other two begin to eagerly strip down and to reveal the swell of their arousal, she is merely confused and annoyed.

“You guys can’t be serious…” her protest is still weak, eyes still glassy and lips still half-parted in hypnotized disorientation. “Shouldn’t we… We should…”

You shush her with a kiss, and though she struggles, the <WANT> you draw from her leaves her weakened, and the pull of Irinnile’s desirous nature and your own glamour is too much. She may not be attracted to YOU, but as you guide her hand to Davide’s body, she finds her own urges enflamed. You can tell she’d prefer Joris, but you take a perverse pleasure in milking him first, for your own benefit.

‘You (nf) want me to (uh) leave them alive, Lispy? (fffuck)’

A good question, and it’s perhaps the first time Irinnile has had the presence of mind mid-coitus to ask you, and to heed your answer. You could reduce your <WANT> handily without even knocking them unconscious, as it is, maybe as low as (if you were to put a number to it) 12. However, you could knock it all the way down to a 9 even if absorbed every delicious drop of life-force.

What do you do?
>Spare the humans, to use later as you see fit
>Fuck them to death to feed the demon
>Write-in
>>
>>4972425
Eventually, the deed is done—whichever option you opt for. Though the carnality invigorates your magic, you are physically exhausted from the depletion of your shirin-derived energy and the dropoff of your adrenaline.

What comes next?
>Stealth back down into the sewers to see who has come to investigate the alarm
>Return to The Pretty Kitty for the evening
>Go home to Engel Manor, lest Edwin worry his pretty little head unduly
>Pay a visit to Roth, to report on the assassination of Leo and the wererats, and sleep there
>Write-in
>>
>>4972425
>Spare the humans, to use later as you see fit

Spare batteries. Plus, this is too close to the sewers to be draining them fully., and last time it was a ball ache to dispose of the body parts. Make sure we get their addresses though, so we can pay them a visit to top off and work our psychic abilities on them.

>>4972428
>Go home to Engel Manor, lest Edwin worry his pretty little head unduly

I have no real opinion on where we stay, but I figure that this'll be a nice way to fill our bellies and satisfy our WANT at the same time.
>>
>>4972425
>Fuck them to death to feed the demon

seriously, loose ends. kill them all
plus it will leave succ happy enough that we can do the following completely safely

>Go home to Engel Manor, lest Edwin worry his pretty little head unduly
>>
>>4972425
>Spare the humans
Personally, I don't wanna use these weak-ass thugs in the future, especially when we have to make sure they don't figure us out until we manage to break them. Might as well just ask Roth next time. This was a spontaneous action to use our expendable asset, after all.
>Go home to Engel Manor, lest Edwin worry his pretty little head unduly
It's been along night. Must return to bed and coil around our human heater.

Seeing how much the power was in favor of the rats, if we let the humans go alone would they 100% get turned into more wererats?
>>
>>4972567
>Seeing how much the power was in favor of the rats, if we let the humans go alone would they 100% get turned into more wererats?

Your understanding of tye curse is limited. Irinnile knows that destroying tge head or heart of an accursed creature of their sort can prevent regeneration, and you know their curse is spread through a bite. During your sexual escapades, you can see some evidence of srapes, scratches, and gouges, but no obvious bites. Many of the wererats spent the bulk of the fight in human form, as well.
>>
>>4972611
Well it wasn't about the curse and details necessarily, I was just curious if they were destined to lose if we sent them alone, since we saw that wererats would absolutely wipe them without Ismena.
>>
>>4972651
[Oh, probably, especially with those rolls. It wasn't predestined, but they were at a disadvantage.]
>>
>>4972461
Supporting.

These guys are too weak and the woman is annoyingly independent. Just kill them to tie up loose ends.
>>
>>4972817
>>4972567
>>4972461
>>4972448
[It seems you're definitely going to spend the night at the Engel manor, but what to do about the humans? We have a tie vote as to how to handle them...]
>>
>>4973015
I don't know what the other anons are thinking, but we've been complaining about not having helpers for a while now. While these hooligans are far form ideal, surely they are better than nothing?

Plus, I don't want to deal with hiding bodies that have been drained to death, especially with the Tower nosing about. You wanna kill them? Drain them individually, and away from prying eyes, not together in a fucking alley in front of the sewer being investigated.
>>
>>4973047
Fine, I’ll change my vote here >>4972817

From kill to spare - that woman is the first to go though. She’s too independent
>>
>>4973047
Have I shared my love of fire and its use in cremation yet?
>>
>>4973213
>>4972817
>>4972567
>>4972461
>>4972448

You decide against slaughtering these sheep here and now. It’s not affection, or even that you’re sure these three bumblers will ever amount to useful help—though with your masterful mentorship, who knows?—but rather that you don’t want to leave a pile of bodies this close to an active investigation, nor do you want to waste time and energy covering up their ‘disappearances’. You take what you need and send them on their way.

<WANT: 12>

For your part, you tidy up and head to the Engelson residence. Edwin worries when you’re away for too long and, aside from that… Well, you’ve come to appreciate sleeping next to a warm mammalian body. His in particular.

<Edwin of Engel Affection: 89%>

When you arrive, it is with no great fanfare. The servants know you well enough to bother you with no silly questions, simply letting you in and alerting Edwin to your arrival. He is wearing a star-spangled sleeping gown hardly different from his usual faux-wizard robes, and yet when you look at him, you want nothing more than to fall into his arms, snuggle up, and doze the night away.

“Izzy? You’re home late…”

It’s a light chastisement, and you shrug it away without an answer. He doesn’t press.

“You look… Are you okay?”

How diplomatic. You frown slightly and peer into the shiny chest of a never-worn suit of decorative armour on display in the foyer. You DO look a little haggard, despite the stolen lifeforce buzzing beneath your skin. It must be the shirin, you reason, and maybe a biiit too much gusto and too little rest.

“I will be,” you answer truthfully. “I jusst need ssleep.”

Edwin offers you some assistance ascending the stairs, which is patronizing, but sweet. You accept, and consider petitioning to be carried through the portal. He’s certainly tall enough to make you muse over having him carry you to bed, but as your relations remain more of an open secret than an actual official engagement, it’s best not to scandalize the help more than you need to… And anyway, his is the gangly form of a scholar, not an athlete.
>>
>>4973320
‘Big where it counts, though, amirite?’ Irinnile giggles.

There IS that… And you could stand to satisfy the succubus’ appetite a little more before bed. However, you hardly have the energy to wash more thoroughly and, well… It’s been a busy night in more ways than one. You’ve never outright spoken with Edwin about your continued ‘wetwork’ for The Pretty Kitty, dodging questions even as he is too embarrassed or afraid to ask indirectly if you’re still prostituting yourself. Tonight wasn’t QUITE that, but sex could raise further questions.

You ultimately climb the stairs mostly on your own, enter his chamber, and flop down on the bed as you consider your options.

What do you do?
>Just sleep it off, wash up in the morning, and deal with the <WANT> before breakfast
>Fuck it—it’s dark, you’re needy, and you can glamour Edwin if he gets nosy. You want him.
>Force yourself to get back up and go wash off, exhaustion bed damned
>Cuddle and kiss, sating just a LITTLE want and filling your need for affection without risking Edwin's feelings
>Speak with Edwin about your mutual expectations vis a vis monogamy and sexwork
>Write-in

[choice may affect affection levels with Edwin]
>>
>>4973322
>Force yourself to get back up and go wash off, exhaustion be damned

sleeping while gross is unpleasant
>>
>>4973322
>Force yourself to get back up and go wash off, exhaustion bed damned
>Cuddle and kiss, sating just a LITTLE want and filling your need for affection without risking Edwin's feelings

We'll bang his brains out in the morning, but a little snacc never hurt anybody.
>>
>>4973397
Supporting
>>
>>4973322
>Force yourself to get back up and go wash off, exhaustion be damned
cleaning firsst
>Cuddle and kiss, sating just a LITTLE want and filling your need for affection without risking Edwin's feelings
A handy?
>>
Rolled 11, 20, 3 = 34 (3d20)

>>4973577
>>4973397
>>4973332
>>
Is that a crit on seduction I see? Truly a Reptilian Infiltrator moment.
>>
>>4973803
You force yourself back up with a groan. By all the unnumbered and unknowable Dark Gods, you won’t sleep in filth!

“I’ll be right back. I’m ssweaty from my shift” you tell Edwin, giving him a peck of the cheek. “Wait for me?”

“Uh, sure. I’ll just be reading.”

You smile. “Of coursse you will.”

The bathing room here at the manor is infinitely more private, better furnished, and nearly as spacious as the communal one at The Pretty Kitty. The only downside is that, without any other people using this particular room throughout the day, the hot water is not routinely refreshed. It takes some time to warm it up. Bathing with cold water isn’t an option—with you low body temperature and your exhaustion, it would knock you right out.

You settle for the usual sort of bath you have been accustomed to before work: a hot bucket of water and a cloth and sponge for your skin. You note that a few scaly patches have begun to show themselves around your extremities again, and across your cheeks; at the moment, they look like little more than regular old dry patches of human skin, but you know that the golden-green tint of your mother’s scales will show itself soon. You have just enough oil to tide you over for tonight, but you’ve neglected to restock it. Well, you needed to visit an apothecary to stretch your shirin supply anyway, right?

‘Or I could just handle that permanently, ya’ know?’

Irinnile raises a valid point. She’s already meddled with other parts of your anatomy… Why not this to?
>Shapeshift the scaly patches away
>Use the last of your oil up

When you are washes and your scales hidden by your chosen means, you return to bed. Edwin is indeed still holding his book, though his eyes have slid shut. Ever the gentleman, you can see he’s worn pyjamas to bed—no assumptions on his part. He’s so very different from your clients. You slip under the covers and open his robes and huddle up inside against the warmth of his skin, coiling yourself around him.

‘Mmm, that energy. And that THICKNESS.’

“Nnn… Izzy?”

You forcibly retake control of your hand from Irinnile, sliding it away from Edwin’s genitals and up his body.

‘Down, demon,’ you command her. ‘We’re just taking a little right now.’

Irinnile complies, but grudgingly.

“Sshhh…” you whisper to Edwin, and kiss his lips softly.

The flow of his mystic energies into you sets you and the demon inside you both to tingling. Is it more vibrant than before, flowing more easily? It was an observation you noticed after Irinnile last took control of you during a sexual encounter with Edwin, but you have yet to explore the implications. Well, you lack the energy to do so tonight, but the warmth of his siphoned energy and his body heat alike keep you warm as you drift off into the easiest sleep that you’ve had for some time…
>>
>>4973819
<Nine days to the Tower Gala>
<Meeting with Helga Warchest and Kelvyn Jemkottur scheduled today>
<WANT: 11 (or 12 if scales shapeshifted away)>
<Edwin Affection: 91%>
<Irinnile Affection: 70%>
<Shirin supplies: moderate>

You wake before any of the mammals in the household, full of energy and with your muscles ore relaxed than they have been in days. You are still in Edwin’s full-body embrace and snuggled into the crook of his neck. You sigh happily, enjoying it for what it is, but knowing it can’t last all day. You are a busy lizard-woman, with things to do. Well one less at least, with the wererat infestation as good as dealt with! Nevertheless, you have more work to attend to.

Priority number one…
>Morning sex and breakfast—you can afford to slack a little bit
>Check out The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique, to find filler for your shirin and maybe some more body-oil
>Go to the Initiate’s Village to find some rube you can manipulate into helping you bypass Tower defences
>Pay a visit to your co-conspirators from last night, to ensure you keep your stories straight and your pawns loyal
>Write-in
>>
>>4973819
<Nine days to the Tower Gala>
<Meeting with Helga Warchest and Kelvyn Jemkottur scheduled today>
<WANT: 11 (or 12 if scales shapeshifted away)>
<Edwin Affection: 91%>
<Irinnile Affection: 70%>
<Shirin supplies: moderate>

You wake before any of the mammals in the household, full of energy and with your muscles ore relaxed than they have been in days. You are still in Edwin’s full-body embrace and snuggled into the crook of his neck. You sigh happily, enjoying it for what it is, but knowing it can’t last all day. You are a busy lizard-woman, with things to do. Well one less at least, with the wererat infestation as good as dealt with! Nevertheless, you have more work to attend to.

Priority number one…
>Morning sex and breakfast—you can afford to slack a little bit
>Check out The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique, to find filler for your shirin and maybe some more body-oil
>Go to the Initiate’s Village to find some rube you can manipulate into helping you bypass Tower defences
>Pay a visit to your co-conspirators from last night, to ensure you keep your stories straight and your pawns loyal
>Investigate the Yosef family further, in service to their extinction
>Write-in
>>
>>4973819
>Shapeshift the scaly patches away

>>4973822
>Pay a visit to your co-conspirators from last night, to ensure you keep your stories straight and your pawns loyal

really wish we had just killed them
>>
>>4973819
>Use the last of your oil up

I sort of like mom's scales, it's the only thing we have left to remember her by.

>>4973822
>Check out The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique, to find filler for your shirin and maybe some more body-oil
>Go to the Initiate’s Village to find some rube you can manipulate into helping you bypass Tower defences

I say we should fix our shirin problem first, then move the to subverting the Tower for today.
>>
>>4973819
>Use the last of your oil up
Let's do our little custom for the last time since we have just a little left. We can consider the permanent solution the next time the scales begin showing. Plus less WANT for today.
>Ask Irinnile whether she can remove your lisp for the Gala
Just so we don't accidentally bring extra unwanted attention to ourselves. She offered to do it permanently, but that's a part of Ismena's charm, especially as Kamunu, so just for Gala.
>Ask whether our (even tiny) transformations would stay if she was removed from our body, and whether right spells could turn us back into our original form with her still present
Gotta know this.
>Breakfast, but quick
Let's not just leave Edwin without a word
>Check out The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique, to find filler for your shirin and maybe some more body-oil
Let's find the filler, but also get the oil just in case.
>Pay a visit to your co-conspirators from last night, to ensure you keep your stories straight and your pawns loyal
I don't think we'll have to worry about them further if everything went right. This is just a control visit and a little story correction at worst.


>>4973849
>I sort of like mom's scales, it's the only thing we have left to remember her by.
I also think of the oil custom as a reminder of the training and a physical link to our real identity and background.

>fix our shirin problem
Damn, forgot we were even supposed to find a replacement.
>>
>>4973875
>>4973849
>>4973843
You rouse Edwin of Engel from his lumber, evidently earlier than he’d hoped that you would.

“Ugh… You got home after midnight. How are you already awake, Izzy?”

“Musst be my diet and the shirin,” you suggest innocently. “I have another busy day, but I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye.”

Your bleary-eyed human smiles at you, and pulls you into his embrace for another kiss. You melt into it, savouring this one last moment of peace. A part of you sometimes really wishes that your whole life could be like this… But you are no sleepy surface ape. Even half-human, yours is a noble bloodline, and a divine purpose!

Having decided not to eliminate your last memory of your mother and your true purpose here by smoothing away your scales with Irinnile’s shapeshifting, you sue dup the last of your oil. This is a situation which must then be rectified and, hey, what time like the present to visit your half-elven plaything Qicerys to seek out herbs which could stretch out your limited and unpredictable supply of shirin? If it’s to be a staple of The Pretty Kitty moving forward, that will be a must!

Aside from that, you have been musing over the idea of gaining intel on the Toer’s defences by manipulating or enchanting some sap from the Initiate’s Village. You also have some concerns about what your pawns from last night’s extermination campaign might say or do when your influence wanes. If everything went well, they should eb fine to leave unsupervised for a while, but you don’t want to let them go unchecked for TOO long…

The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique comes first, though! You get dressed and enjoy a quick sausage-and-egg breakfast with Edwin.

‘Not the sausage I wanted,’ Irinnile gripes.

‘Ah, you’re awake,’ you note.

‘I don’t sleep,’ she says simply. ‘You’re cute when you get all cuddly, though.’

‘Nevermind that,’ you hastily reply, ‘I have some questions for you…’

>Ask Irinnile whether she can remove your lisp for the Gala
‘Anytime, Lispy!’ she says cheerily. ‘But won’t Edwin wonder where your accccccccent went?’

‘Let me worry about that at the time,’ you say.

>Ask whether our (even tiny) transformations would stay if she was removed from our body, and whether right spells could turn us back into our original form with her still present
‘You mean the T-and-A I enhanced for ya’?’

‘Yes. Those.’

‘What, you don’t like ‘em? I can turn you back whenever. I just thought, you know, who doesn’t like being a bit bouncier where it counts, right?’

‘And if I was to remove you—’

‘Baaabe, I thought we were getting’ past all that!’

‘IF I was to remove you from my body,’ you continue, ‘what would happen to any of the so-called enhancements?’

‘They’d go bye-bye, I guess,’ she replies with a mental shrug.
>>
>>4974032
With these problems sorted, you put on your slightly-singed elven jacket and pantsuit and begin to load up your pack. Edwin watches you pensively, until eventually you sigh and glance his way.

“Yess, Edwin?” you ask.

“I was wondering if, maybe, I might be useful for this particular… Business venture?”

Edwin WAS the one to translate the Eastern names of the herbs which are ground up to manufacture shirin. He also has more knowledge of local herbs and their uses in mysticism and alchemy than you do. However, a good part of your typical stratagem for dealing with Qicerys is brazen flirting, and your other business today is no place for a naïve noble like your boy Edwin.

What will you do?
>Take Edwin along
>Leave him at home
>Bring Edwin, but change or reorganize your plans for after your visit to The Enchanted Grove
>Bring Edwin, but ONLY for this first job [specify if you have an excuse for why he can’t help you with your other matters]
>Write-in
>>
>>4974050
>>Bring Edwin, but change or reorganize your plans for after your visit to The Enchanted Grove
>>
>>4974050
>Bring Edwin, but change or reorganize your plans for after your visit to The Enchanted Grove

ugh

Not sure we wanna lose the lisp, maybe work on it and gradually ditch it but not all at once because that would look weird to people who already know us. Weirder than just having the accent would.
>>
>>4974050
>Leave him at home

I just don't like mixing our double life. I will say that Edwin and Qicerys may be able to talk shop about viable shirin herbal supplements way better than we ever could, and maybe they'll get along swimmingly. We should send him out when we're negotiating with Qicerys however, maybe for a nice refreshment or something.
>>
>>4974050
>Bring Edwin, but change or reorganize your plans for after your visit to The Enchanted Grove
Cute, he's gonna make up pick the druugs! lmao

>>4974229
Yeah, I'm not trying to push that idea. Just thought that Ismena could sound normal on her own with a bit of focus and we could use Irinnile purely as a safeguard. I musst've missinterpreted when people called out our assent.

>>4974428
Seems our scales would start poppin again if something suddenly removed the demon. Just like I thought.
>>
>>4974050
>Bring Edwin, but change or reorganize your plans for after your visit to The Enchanted Grove
Cute, he's gonna help us pick the druugs! lmao

>>4974229
Yeah, I'm not trying to push that idea. Just thought that Ismena could sound normal on her own with a bit of focus and we could use Irinnile purely as a safeguard. I musst've missinterpreted when people called out our assent.

>>4974428
Seems our scales would start poppin again if something suddenly removed the demon. Just like I thought.
>>
>>4974050
>>Leave him at home
>>
>>4974973
>>4974711
>>4974428
>>4974229
>>4974178
Edwin is too cute—and too useful to this particular mission—to resist. However, he isn’t privy to your double life, which is going to mean some adjustments to the planned flow of your day. But just look at that broad grin stretch across his face when you acquiesce to his request! How could you say no?

Naturally, you have him requisition a carriage again. Walking is for suckers. You also ask him to load the cask of shirin into the carriage. Edwin isn’t the strongest, but he’s eager to help, and he does his best to heave it up and in, while you relax and plan your move. You could get used to this!

A quick inspection of the cask reveals that, alas, most of the weight is the cask itself. Inside, you have probably enough shirin for a hundred or so doses, at the potency with which you usually enjoy the ‘spice’. The Eastern Standard Silk & Spice Company’s owner, the cat-man Cuggi, was cagey about when they might be able to return with more, and how much. They have traditionally entered Hawksong about twice a year. You’d need to double or triple the amount of material with some sort of reagent or ingredient to stretch this amount that far, and to still be offering it at The Pretty Kitty routinely.

The carriage conveys the two of you to the by-now familiar location of The Enchanted Grove. The specialty store has its sign up now: its name in fine script with a distinctly elven ornateness, and a small silhouette of a fairy with wand casting some sort of whimsical spell upon a flower. Nearby are a regular apothecary and a leatherworking boutique specializing in armours and faux-armours for the young adventure-chic set. You eye the set in the window, but only for a moment—you’re here on a mission, and your Enchanted Grove-made armour has proven more than sufficient.

Qicerys, the half-elf proprietress of the Grove, is helping the two halflings in her employ when you enter. She’s hardly taller than them, when you see her next to them—under five feet, anyway. They are tending to a number of exotic-looking flowering plants in one window, explaining the particular composition of their alchemically-derived fertilizer mix, and the apparently variable speeds at which each must be turned to match the movement of the sun as the height of summer approaches.

“Hi again,” you interrupt, causing he to squeak and jump slightly. What a flighty creature she is!

“Oh, um, yes! You! And you, um… You brought a friend.”

Edwin introduces himself, and the two of you move swiftly onto business, discussing the contents of the cask.
>>
>>4974988
“Shirin?” Qicerys repeats. “I’ve never heard of it.”

“Perhaps you’ll recognize the names of the pants involved in its production?” Edwin suggests. He speaks the names in the Eastern tongue. And Qicerys frowns.

“The roots are from a plant not unlike one known locally as ‘fireweed’, for the burning sensation that the leaves themselves produce when consumed. The roots are sometimes used as a… Ah…”

Qicerys flushes slightly, and Irinnile supplies the reason in the back of your mind.

“And aphrodisssiac?” you finish for her.

Qicerys nods, adjusting her spectacles and fidgeting even at the word. “It’s really more of a general improver of blood-flow, and a mild stimulant. The effects don’t last long. Given the difficulty to cultivate it at lower elevations, it’s not terribly popular, but I keep a small supply of dried samples.”

“And what of the broad-leafed plant, the primary ingredient?” Edwin asks.

“It’s… Not something we really have a local equivalent to. However, if I were to examine the shirin, I could maybe figure out what the active compound is and attempt to source a substitute from an admixture of other plants…”

‘Could maybe,’ Irinnile notes. ‘That means she could maybe NOT, and we’d lose out on some shirin in the process. Just sayin’.’

“How much would all thiss cosst?” you ask.

“Even the fireweed route is an import, so… It’s not inexpensive. The work on the rest of it will be time-intensive, for sure, but at the end… Um…”

She trails off, but when you press, it is indeed a fairly high figure. Your shirin, thus stretched, would still be quite the luxury product. If it’s meant to be a substitute for ale at TPK, well… It certainly won’t be, not for anyone but the most well-to-do clientele.

What do you do?
>Agree to use the herbs recommended by Qicerys to best retain the shirin’s effects, despite the cost
>Ask for harmless filler materials which might dilute and stretch the shirin for less money, while likely reducing the potency
>Inquire about other medicinal herbs which might have other, complementary effects—maybe you can sell shirin in tandem with something more local, expanding your product offerings?
>Attempt to seduce Qicerys into reduced rates and favourable terms
>Offer Qicerys something else in lieu of full payment [like what? Specify]
>Go elsewhere to find a solution
>Write-in
>>
>>4974990
>Ask for harmless filler materials which might dilute and stretch the shirin for less money, while likely reducing the potency

only reptilians are worthy of pure shirin
>>
>>4974990
>Offer Qicerys something else in lieu of full payment
Tell her that it sounds nice and all, but because of that price we have to check a few places first and think it through before making final decision.
Might be able haggle a bit later.
>Take your Edwin and drugs outside
I was thinking we can come back without big E and use our charm without NTR vibes.

Regardless, I think that we shouldn't be selling some cheap diluted crap, since the goal was to offer a luxury product and boost TPK's prestige, not start a crack den. Cuggi and his partners would probably get pissed off as well if they heard that we decided to downgrade their moon sugar.
>>
>>4974990
>Agree to use the herbs recommended by Qicerys to best retain the shirin’s effects, despite the cost
Keeping it as a luxury product isn’t a problem
>>
>>4975153
>>4975154
>>4975450
[Ah, the old three-way tie. Awaiting a tie-breaker!]
>>
>>4975153
>>4975154
>>4975450
+1 to all three.

Premium shit for the high rollers, deluded shit if the premium shit is too expensive for the Pretty Kitty, and we'll 'negotiate' a price decrease with our half-elf friend when Edwin isn't around to notice our negotiating tactics.

>>4975606
I hope this breaks it, because I think having a variety of products is smart play (shame no one voted for inquiring about other products), and if we don't have to pay full price for the herbs/production cost, then we should 'negotiate' using our best assets.
>>
>>4975781
I guess to clarify, don't agree to use the recommended herbs immediately. In fact, we should imply that we'd like a sample of the suggested shirin-herb combo, to be tested when we come back alone... ;^)
>>
>>4975781
>>4975606
>>4975450
>>4975154
>>4975153
“I might need to think about thiss a little,” you tell Qicerys coyly. “Conssider if anyone elsse might be able to help out with thiss...”

Qicerys stutters slightly, but nods and returns the cask without much fight. You resist the urge to frown—you were sort of hoping she would drop her price, or at least put up more of a fight. Perhaps she’s just no good at haggling—that would explain a lot about your previous interactions. You decide to take pity on her.

“If you can look into those other herbss, though… Maybe we can ssee about a ssort of tiered product offering, sselling a diluted and lesss-exxpenssive option to those who can’t afford the premium form?”

“Huh,” Edwin chimes in, “like the dedicated containers versus the shared storage facilities that Father offers. I think I get it.”

You pat him on the back, giving him a bit of affirmatio for the apparently new-to-him concept of multiple price-points. He’s smart in his sphere, and you appreciate his multilingualism and knowledge of magic and alchemy, but Edwin clearly didn’t inherited Father Fynn’s business sense.

Qicerys, for her part, agrees to explore her options and discuss the matter with you later, though she stresses that without adequate shirin samples she won’t be sure how other plant-derived chemicals might react with the drug. You promise to return to discuss the matter further, one way or another…

And if you can shake off Edwin, perhaps you can use your ‘best assets’ to negotiate the price a little lower without hurting his feelings.

‘Aww, what happened to that threesome idea you were mulling over a few days back?’ Irinnile asks, hope springing eternal.

You don’t reply. You aren’t actually sure if loyal, dutiful Edwin would be into such a thing, and you’re not even sure how to broach the subject. Perhaps it’s best to keep the uninhibited, carnal side of yourself separate from this man you’ve developed a genuine affection for, just as you shield him from the brutality and subterfuge which characterize your truest self?

Well, no need to dwell on such matters now. Business before pleasure and all that. You buy a bottle of lightly flower-scented body oil from a flushing Qicerys, give her a smile and a wink, and depart with Edwin and the shirin.

“So, where else were we ‘shopping this around’ to?” Edwin asks, hefting the heavy cask.
>Nowhere—you were bluffing to try to drive the price down
>Check out the nearby apothecary—it doesn’t hurt to explore your options
>>
>>4975806
For that matter, what’s your plan afterwards?
>Go for a date with Edwin to kill time until your meeting with the dwarves to discuss the excavated materials
>Shake Edwin off and attend to some other matter
>Attend to other matters, and bring Edwin along
[If you choose either the second or third option, please specify if you plan to investigate the Yosefs or visit your accomplices from last night, or something else]
>>
>>4975806
>Nowhere—you were bluffing to try to drive the price down

I'd rather we go with known contacts, and Qicerys is a nice target to bulli. And speaking of targets to bulli...

>>4975808
>Attend to other matters, and bring Edwin along

Bulli Agatha, then how about another date in the Initiate's Village (and maybe find that rube we can use).
>>
>>4975806
>‘Aww, what happened to that threesome idea you were mulling over a few days back?’
I'm down for the idea, but we don't exactly have Edwin in the know for seducing Q. Maybe we can talk him into it?

>Nowhere—you were bluffing to try to drive the price down
>Ask if he could help you "convince" Quicerys to lower the price
If other anons are okay with it.

>>4975808
>Go for a date with Edwin to kill time until your meeting with the dwarves to discuss the excavated materials
Not exactly a date, but we could go visit Kelvyn at work to discuss the details of the job with him. Maybe ask if he knows of any magical dwarven cubes (could imply we've heard stories).
This would actually support the story of is being busy with work that we told to Edwin.
>>
>>4975806
>Check out the nearby apothecary—it doesn’t hurt to explore your options

>Go for a date with Edwin to kill time until your meeting with the dwarves to discuss the excavated materials
>>
>>4975858
>>4976010
>>4976114

“Nowhere in particular,” you say cheerily.

“But—“

You pat Edwin on the back again. “It’ss a haggling atctic. I’m giving Qiceryss time to sstew, and to conssider if they want to lose out on ssomething sso potential lucrative as a contract involving The Pretty Kitty AND the Engelsson Sstorehousse Company.”

Edwin’s brown furrows. “Are you certain that Father will be alright with you associating those two… Enterprises?”

You grin cheekily. “It’ss unavoidable, now that he’ss employing me. Bessidess, it’ss better to beg forgivenesss than to assk permisssion. Bussinesss iss bussinesss.”

Edwin doesn’t press as you hop back into the carriage, and after replacing the cask of shirin beneath your shared bench seating, he climbs in the other side.

“Where to, then?” he asks.

You lean into his body, mulling over your options as the carriage rolls out into the main throughfare. It’s late morning by now, and the traffic is as busy as it ever gets, with other carts and carriages jostling for position, trains of farm animals being taken out to market interrupting the flow, and a dozen varieties of mammalian pedestrian milling about.

“A date might be nice,” you say after a time.

That brightens Edwin’s demeanour considerably.

“Oh! Where were you thinking?”
>Grab something to go from a dwarven gastropub near the Smithing District, and pay Kelvyn Jemkottur a visit at work to discuss the appointment later today
>Visit the Initiate’s Village again, for some magically-cooked meat and a show—and maybe to scout for manipulatable rubes among the student population of the Tower
>Go interrupt Agatha’s work at The Lacewing Boutique and go for a lunch with the two humans to catch up
>Nowhere in particular—you just want to kill time
>Write-in
>>
>>4976205
>Visit the Initiate’s Village again, for some magically-cooked meat and a show—and maybe to scout for manipulatable rubes among the student population of the Tower

you know if any of the students there just happen to be bragging about how much access they have to the tower
>>
>>4976205
>Grab something to go from a dwarven gastropub near the Smithing District, and pay Kelvyn Jemkottur a visit at work to discuss the appointment later today

>Ask Edwin if he could help you "convince" Quicerys to lower the price
Throwing this in once again since it wasn't openly refused.
>>
>>4976205
>Visit the Initiate’s Village again, for some magically-cooked meat and a show—and maybe to scout for manipulatable rubes among the student population of the Tower
>Go interrupt Agatha’s work at The Lacewing Boutique and go for a lunch with the two humans to catch up

Time to visit that fountain! Bulling Agatha is just a bonus.

>>4976219
While I'm not opposed, we'd have to 'prime' Edwin for the idea before we broach it with him, and that's assuming Quicerys would be attracted to a hunk such as Edwin. Just food for thought.
>>
>>4976393
>'prime' him
that's the idea
>hunk
yeah, but the main selling point is between his legs

We have great seduction skills and a succubus capable of turning people into hornballs. Just a food for thought.
>>
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>>4976393
>>4976219
>>4976218
“I could go for one of those lightning-cooked drake sskewers you were telling me about,” you suggest. “And I’ve been thinking about the Endlessss Foutnain ever ssince you mentioned it!”

You hardly need to say another word to get Edwin excited—a date-day, and one focused on his greatest passion (besides you)? The carriage is redirected immediately, and Edwin of Engel is leaning forward in his seat and blathering on charmingly about the wonders you are about to encounter the whole way. It’s oddly charming.

The Initiates’ Village is still captivating when you return to it, with its sweeping, archaic arrangement of old homes and manors winding in every direction like a great hedge-maze. The bustle of aerial broom-traffic and pedestrians loaded with odd and arcane accoutrement has even your head on a swivel, to say nothing of your date’s.

Drake-skewers turn out to be a rather pedestrian affair in terms of flavour—a bit unevenly-cooked, with crispy amphibious skin and a chewy, slightly undercooked centre, guts having been cleanly removed and replaced with a wooden stick. The price is also unreasonably steep, but you suppose it’s more about the show: two young humans with short-brimmed, practical-looking wizard caps summoning and ricocheting lightning between each other through a levitating, rotating metal pike impaling several of the wee winged beasties that provide your repast. Anyway, Edwin hardly seems to notice the expense, and his eyes light up and follow every electrical pulse from behind the smoked spectacles which the food purveyors provide.

“I wonder what one of Rilney’s dragon-worshiping lizardmen would think of something like this?” Edwin asks afterwards, eyeing his roasted drake and speaking through a mouthful of flesh.

You resist the urge to cringe at the mention of Rilney—Yosef’s alias in attempting to market his exposé on your Reptilain race and their dread purpose. You are reminded that his, his daughter, his granddaughter, and perhaps a smattering of other Yosefs yet live, despite your divine duty to eliminate them on behalf of The Dark Gods Beyond and Below. It’s also vaguely troubling that his half-mad, wildly-speculative scrawlings have so stuck with Edwin.

“Well, I ssusspect that they’d hardly care,” you reply casually. “Drakess aren’t actually a dragon relative after all—they’re not even reptiless, right? And if they were… Humanss don’t get upsset about eating pigss and cows.”

Edwin laughs. “I guess you’re right. Just a silly thought.”
>>
>>4976602

You walk towards the Endless Fountain while you talk, and THAT at least is a true wonder to behold. You were envisioning a single great statue, spouting water upwards without cease as if powered by an unending stream from underground and pumped by mechanisms unseen and supernatural. What you get instead is far grander: a single great column of water, like a waterfall, rising in a great torent ever upwards, as far as the eye can see, until it is beyond the range of sight. Droplets fall down into the pond constructed around it in an isolated rainfall, unending. Benches are arranged between placard-bearing statues of great magical hegemons of the Tower through the ages, and students and visitors sit on them or meander amongst them, many of them holding hands and clearly on dates as well.

“What…” you begin, then you turn to Edwin. “How? How iss thiss not vissible from well outsside of town?!”

Edwin winks and smiles. “You should know this one, Izzy. Illussion, just like what you use!”

You reach out tentatively, but the cool raindrops feel real enough to you as the spot your hand and arm.

“There’s actual water involved as well,” Edwin explains, “but the effect is amplified by the illusion to make the spout look much higher and more dramatic than it really is. The fountain was a gift from Iternagreyn, now the capitol of the Northeastern Elven Magocracy, to the founder of the Hawksong Mages’ Tower to celebrate its construction and opening.”

Well, you can’t say you’re not impressed. Even if it’s mostly a novelty, the amount of magical wherewithal that must have gone into the creation of such a persistent illusion, to last centuries and to create such a dynamic effect, is well beyond anything else you’ve seen!...

But you’re not just here on pleasure. You mentally set Irinnile to listening in on the crowd, with your ears and her sense for emotion. Your hope is to find someone who has a sense of confidence and familiarity with the Tower. Unfortunately, it’s an ephemeral thing to get a sense for based on surface thoughts in this place, and you don’t exactly hear anyone happen to brag about how much access they have to the Tower…
>>
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>>4976603
>54

…But you DO see someone in a striped bluish-grey robe and a small flat cap, which you recognize as the attire of a Tower staffer of lowly, non-magical rank. A janitor or secretary or something, perhaps? It’s a promising lead, and the rather fetching young lady wearing the uniform gives you an idea as well.

“Hey, don’t look now, but there’ss quite the cute little number over there,” you whisper softly into Edwin’s ear, causing him to shiver and, of course, immediately glance over.

“I… Don’t know what you mean, of course,” Edwin lies, blushing slightly and clearly taking this for some sort of test.

“Come now, I know you like a pair of hipss like that,” you tease, checking him lightly with your own.

“I…”

You have a little bit of time before your afternoon appointment. What do you do?
>Take the opportunity to test the waters with Edwin vis a vis threesomes
>Drag Edwin along to go strike up a casual conversation with the Tower staffer
>Go over to speak to the staffer yourself, and let Edwin do what he will
>Let the matter rest—you kind of like Edwin’s full attention being on you
>Write-in
>>
>>4976605
>Take the opportunity to test the waters with Edwin vis a vis threesomes
gotta corrupt him a little
>>
>>4976605
>Go over to speak to the staffer yourself, and let Edwin do what he will
if he doesn't join we can go full infiltrator
>>
>>4976605
>Take the opportunity to test the waters with Edwin vis a vis threesomes

Just hint at it, and Irinnile will tell us the rest.

>Go over to speak to the staffer yourself, and let Edwin do what he will

Be a darling and grab a couple more mana potions, will ya?
>>
Rolled 17, 12, 8, 8, 7, 5, 11 = 68 (7d20)

>>4976741
>>4976636
>>4976616
[4 seduction dice for Edwin at DC 10, 3 politesse dice for the staffer]
>>
>>4976849
“Come on, don't tell me you've never fantassized about ssuch thingss,” you press. “Maybe dreamed of it?”

You're putting your thumb on the scales a little with that one, you know. Irinnile and you saw to that several nights prior, when you capped off your first night of dream-diving with a steamy visit to Edwin's subconscious. The demon's sense for surface emotions tells you that the memory of the dream yet lingers. You may have done all the ‘priming’ you need to.

So it is that you gently pull Edwin along with you when you go to speak to the staffer. However, the young woman seems immediately hesitant to engage.

“Amazing, issn't it?” you say of the towering fountain.

“It is,” she acknowledges, perhaps a little wearily. “Technically, I mean. I sure couldn't do it.”

“Oh! You're alsso a mage, then?”

“I'm sorry, who are you?” she asks, looking your way for the first time, and then at Edwin in his unofficial and distinctly rumpled wizard hat and robe.

“A… Pair of hedge-mages,” you half-lie. “I'd jusst asssumed that you were one of the non-magical ssupport sstaff.”

“A lot of people assume a lot of things,” she says blandly. “You wouldn't be the first. What do you ‘hedge-mages' want?”

What do you do?
>Turn on the glamour and give her a charm offensive
>Attempt non-magical seduction, and make some flirty superficial conversation
>Ask her about her role at the Tower
>Tell her you're looking for a more learned magical scholar to help you appraise some antiques, and invite her along to your next appointment
>This is a disaster and she seems standoffish and of limited use—abandon ship and bid her farewell
>Write-in
>>
>>4976852
>Turn on the glamour and give her a charm offensive
>Ask her about her role at the Tower

Hey, if it fails, we can simply move on.
>>
>>4976852
>Ask her about her role at the Tower
>>
>>4976852
>>Ask her about her role at the Tower
>>
>>4976852
>Turn on the glamour and give her a charm offensive
>>
>>4976852
>Turn on the glamour and give her a charm offensive
>>
>>4976852
We still waiting on a tiebreaker QM?
>>
>>4977777
Damn, quin 7s! Whatever's about to happen must be the will of the Dark Gods, praise be!
>>
>>4977781
Wait, isn't this the seventh thread as well? This is one hell of a sign lads! Praise be to our dark overlords!
>>
Rolled 11, 15, 9, 7, 1 = 43 (5d20)

>>4977777
>>4977495
>>4977360
>>4977347
>>4977214
>>4976884
>Turn on the glamour and give her a charm offensive
[DC 7]
>>
>>4977818
>rolled a 7

The Dark Gods must favor the path we've chosen!
>>
>>4977818
>>4977876
You don't give up so easy as that. You flash a smile, and channel your magic into it until it's you practically glow like a torch with sheer likability.

“Ssorry, I've been inssenssitive, haven't I…”

“Um, Paula,” the Tower staffer says, blinking rapidly and taking you in as if for the first time.

You reach out, and she takes your extended hand. The physical contact pulls the poor full even further into the flame of your charisma, burning away resistance and replacing it with fascination, awe, and maybe a touch of desire. You sense magical wards against influence, like a n invisible helm, but you blow it away like a stray hair.

“Tell uss what it iss you do, Paula. Edwin and I would love to hear all about it.”

>Lowered DC for quints, more than double the DC counts as a critical success

Paula allows you to guide her to a bench, where she sits between you and Edwin, and begins to spill her guts as if you were the easiest people to talk to in world, as if she'd known you for years. How she is a mage herself, but lacked the money, connections, or raw talent to make it into the Tower’s student body. What she does there—cleans, tidies, fetches reagents, disposes of waste. What her specialties are—the manipulation of temperature, climate, air currents—and how she dreams to apply them as some sort of master weather-witch and broom-riding, savant, if she's ever allowed the privilege of a broom.

“Can't ssay I've ever had the privilege mysself,” you chime in, “unlesss you count the broomsstick between Edwin'ss legss.”

“Ismena!” Edwin exclaims, red in the face.

Your magic is strong, though. Your magnetism is so strong a pull that you don't even require the extra force of Irinnile to steer Paula's appetites.

“That… Sounds like a fun ride, too,” she says quietly as you subtly rub her back, redoubling your boyfriend's blush and your own amusement.

More importantly, Paula's eliminated misgivings and mystically-won trust open the way to learning about the private areas of the Tower which she is responsible for cleaning… And how they are protected.

“Sso it'ss not jusst wardss?” you ask.

“Oh no! And not every badge will get you in every section. Mine won't allow me access to the REALLY dangerous stuff, for instance… But some of the laboratories , the storage rooms, most sections of the library…”

You don't push your luck by grilling her, but you do get Paula's address, and she seems eager to meet both you and your date again. When you hint that you'd love to see the Tower after hours some time, she doesn't exactly promise, but she does giggle and blush.

In other words: you have an in.
>>
>>4977893
You are forced to cut the rather productive fun short—you have an appointment, after all. You and Edwin load back up into the carriage, and you can't help but notice that he's a little mote confident for the whole affair, with his chest puffed. You resist the urge to laugh aloud, but it's not an unattractive look if you're being honest.

The carriage makes as straight a line as possible for the storehouse, at your insistence. You arrive in the nick of time: both Helga Warchest and Kelvyn Jemkottur are there, and by the former’s standoffish body language you can tell that their little date isn’t going nearly as well as yours.

You hope down from the carriage and slip casually into place between them, making cursory introductions—though, of course, everyone has at least met each other once by now. It’s the least you can do, since you realize that their uneasy initial meeting might have something to do with your using of Helga as a sort of incentive for Jemkottur to attend. Perhaps you set expectations a little high? Helga is happy to see you, though, and is eager to get down to business. You smile a her predictability.

With both yourself and Edwin, the posted storehouse guards step aside without so much as being asked, giving the four of you free reign to explore the hastily sorted relics like your own private museum. if he seemed a little miffed for Helga’s cold shoulder initially, Kelvyn Jemkottur quickly forgets it in wide-eyed wonder at the plethora of ancient treasures you have spread out before him. Her marvels over the most mundane details, relating without prompting the approximate eras they may date from, regional influences he detects, and tricky nuances of the crafting process which would have necessitated specialty tools. Indeed, he identifies several odd mechanisms which had been utterly incomprehensible to you as components of larger, more complicated devices for mining or shaping stone and metal ore.

“But what of the moving metal men?” you ask, guiding the dwarven mechanist back to the topic you’d rented his expertise for in the first place.

“Moving metal men?” Helga asks, confused.

“Hm, I don’t see anything like that,” he admits. “The statues are all articulated, but that’s typical of any Neo-Nepotist dwarven architecture, from the period in which the corporate leadership established a second wave of hereditary liens of ownership. It was meant to harken back to a creation myth…”
>>
>>4977941
But could they be made to move?” you press.

“Theoretically… With an enchantment, any stone or metal sculpture COULD. Certainly articulation makes it easier, but it’s not the primary purpose for it, and you wouldn’t get all this fine detail work around the beards, or all these sockets where gems were clearly once inset, if these were meant to serve as defenders for a keep.”

Your heart falls. A dead end?

What do you do?
>Ask Helga her opinion on the legendary stone and metal defenders, and her people's variations on the legends—maybe she’s heard something of use?
>Ask about the stone polyhedron with the runes on it, which you read about in other excavations’ manifests
>Ask if the phrase ‘they see without eyes’ means anything to either of them
>Show the dwarves the cube you pocketed from the storehouse earlier, and ask what they think of it
>Abandon this hunch about animated statuary, and ask about other dwarven defences which might involve such things
>Write-in

[Sorry for the delay--a bit of writer's block tonight, and I was back to work all day.]
>>
>>4977944
>Ask about the stone polyhedron with the runes on it, which you read about in other excavations’ manifests
>Ask if the phrase ‘they see without eyes’ means anything to either of them
>>
>>4977944
>Ask about the stone polyhedron with the runes on it, which you read about in other excavations’ manifests
>Ask if the phrase ‘they see without eyes’ means anything to either of them
>Ask about other dwarven defences which might involve such things

Curious. I wonder what else the Tower is using these for then?
>>
https://archived.moe/qst/thread/4918227/#q4937777
>>4977777
First quads, now quints.
This quest is truly based.
>>
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>>4978028
>>4977994
“What of sstone polyhedronss?” you ask.

During your first week in Hawksong, Janus Zika (son of the man whose mercenary company excavated and transported all these materials to begin with) had shown you a sketch of such an artefact, cracked and broken but resembling a great multifaceted die of some sort. You weren’t able to find it when you were searching this storehouse, but it was among the materials once!

“I can’t say I know much about that…” Jemkottur mumbles, brushing finger across his wiry, lopsided blonde beard.

“Were the sides covered in runes?” Helga asks, unexpectedly.

All eyes turn to Helga, who is briefly thrown off her usual confidence by all the attention. She recovers quickly, though.

“There were stories, in the hills where I grew up, about something like what you’re talking about,” she continues. “A round stone, cut flat on about 20 or 30 sides, with a rune on each?”

You nod wordlessly. Yes! It’s just as you can see that sketch in your mind’s eye.

“We told stories about the golems, too—the moving statues and sculptures—but not just those. Those stones were used by great enchanters and rulers to… Sort of move the whole city.”

“Move the whole city?” Edwin asks. “What do you mean?”

“Like… The walls, the buildings. The stones of the roads. The statues, the mining equipment… Anything enchanted to attune to them, anywhere in the city. They could turn the place into a maze, rearrange it, pack up and move deeper into a mountain building by building… All with moving stone or metal men defending it. I remember one story about a young man who was the last survivor of his city, and kept moving what was left of it around, looking for a place to stay with other dwarves and other races…”

You remember the unusual way in which dwarven architecture, even the walls, seemed to slot together in a modular fashion. And articulation made such a spell function more easily, hadn’t Jemkottur said? Maybe that would apply to buildings as well…

“Does the phrasse ‘they ssee without eyess’ mean anything to you?” you ask.

Helga frowns and shakes her head, but here Jemkottur prove useful again.

“Yes, actually! It’s something we engineers have long sought to crack, a puzzle about the old, lost, magical ways of making these metal men. Those that we make must be directed to do specific tasks. If they walk, they must be aimed, and stopped. If this is not done for them, they will stride boldly right into a wall, or off a cliff, without realizing or understanding.”

“Whereas enchanted ‘golemss’ could navigate,” Edwin says, with a small trace of smugness. Magic beats new-fangled technology again, you suppose.
>>
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>>4978460

Kelvyn Jemkottur nods. “An artificial awareness, eve an intelligence to understand what it is they’re looking at, and to know what should be done about certain things based on commands given. That was what the ancients ascribed to their creations.”


Curious… And apparently worrying enough for a Reptilian Infiltrator to warn you about it from beyond the grave.

The three of you explore the storehouse a while longer, looking for such a polyhedron, or anything else that might indicate that Helga’s story is directly related to the ruins at hand… But if there’s anything of the like, you don’t find it. Has the Tower already taken it for their own examination?

It is late afternoon by the time you tire of rummaging through dusty stonework. What do you do?
>Ask the dwarves further questions [such as?]
>Propose a double date with the dwarves
>Head to the library with Edwin, to do further reading
>Split up with the others for now, and go check in on your co-conspirators from last night
>Write-in
>>
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>>4978464
>Ask the dwarves further questions
That cube we found. Make it sound like we have just heard about it, in case it's something important.
>Head to the library with Edwin, to do further reading

Lookin good. Makes me wonder how Ismena would look with her scaly skin.
>>
>>4978464
>Ask the dwarves further questions [Das Cube]
>Propose a double date with the dwarves

I say we continue our business with some late lunch, if that's acceptable. We can fill our minds after we've filled our stomach.

But this is quite interesting, and will require future time investment.
>>
>>4978464
>Head to the library with Edwin, to do further reading

from the last update it seems the double date is already a bust
>>
>>4978563
I'm sure they just got off to a rough start. The real reason is to pick their brains about this new development that has arisen with these dwarven artifacts. I can't imagine we'll get better info from sanctioned book than we would from dwarves knowledgeable in their ancestry and culture.
>>
>>4978563
>>4978508
>>4978495
You mention a cube—not something you've seen in the storehouse yourself (and certainly nothing you pocketed on your last visit here) but another item from a manifest you browsed. It had a lot of interlocking components and (so you say) it was appraised as magical by those who found it. Could that help clarify the purpose of those relics thus far examined and discussed?

“Maybe…” the engineer muses. “Perhaps it's intended as a scale model? A training device or a proof-of-concept?”

“If it's used to train people with the master stone, maybe it would be attuned to it?” the dancer guesses. “It would explain why it would register as enchanted to a mage's eye, right?”

Kelvyn scoffs at Helga's interjection, attracting a glare he hardly notices. You hear him mumble something about amateur speculation, deepening tge emotional divide. You decide against a double date--you're not exactly hungry, anyway, between your breakfast and the drake skewers. Your metabolism is much slower than a full-blooded human, after all.

“And about the matter of payment?” Jemkottur asks.

On this, at least, he and Helga are of one mind. “Right, about that, Kamunu…”

“Payment?” Edwin asks, confused. You never did get his authorization for the fee, and their consultation rate is a bit more than is practical to pay out of even his walking-around money.

What do you do?
>Have Edwin pay an advance, and promise the rest later
>Ask the dwarves to swing by the manor tomorrow for their payment
>Promise to pay them as soon as possible, from your own money
>Turn on the magical charm to persuade them to waive or lower their fee [dwarves are resistant to magic]
>Write-in

After the four of you part company, you stay with Edwin. He, at least, mist grab some food on your way to your next destination: the library. The Royal Hawksong Library may be scrubbed of tye most high-level or controversial topics, but its helpful elven librarian Fesliel is more than capable of finding at least SOME material on virtually any subject, among the floor-to-ceiling walls of literature and records.

What do you seek?
>Books on the attunement of items to one another
>Books on dwarven fables
>Books on wars between men and dwarves
>Books on the history of the Tower
>Books in Dwarven script—maybe Irinnile or the Akashic Record can help you translate?
>Write-in
>>
>>4978867
>Ask the dwarves to swing by the manor tomorrow for their payment

>Books on the attunement of items to one another
>>
>>4978867
>Ask the dwarves to swing by the manor tomorrow for their payment

We can give them an advance now if they want it, but definitely swing by the mansion for payment. Maybe a good night's rest will come up with some inspiration.

>Books in Dwarven script—maybe Irinnile or the Akashic Record can help you translate?

Edwin can read about attunement and get a kick out of it, so why not read the original dwarven script?
>>
>>4978867
>Ask the dwarves to swing by the manor tomorrow for their payment
I agree with >>4978877 pay them a bit now and tell to hit the manor tomorrow. Just make sure they don't come at the wrong time, since Fynn doesn't know about this either iirc.
>Books on the attunement of items to one another
Might as well try to piece these puzzles together now.
>Books in Dwarven script—maybe Irinnile or the Akashic Record can help you translate?
But only if we have spare time and can avoid Edwin looking. This would be hard to explain.
>>
Rolled 13, 18, 14 = 45 (3d20)

>>4979161
>>4978877
>>4978869
>>
>>4979275
Edwin, with his knack for magical study (if not so much the actual practice and performance of the arcane) is set to work research attunement. Perhaps if you can learn more about the way in which two enchanted items might be linked together by unseen strings, you can unravel this mystery in its entirety?

While he is busied with that, you approach the somewhat snobbish—but nevertheless helpful—elf at the front desk. Royal Librarian Fesliel seems surprised at your request for Dwarven-language books, but she obliges you, bringing you to a small collection in a dusty and somewhat dim area of the library, blocked from the wide windows by its inconvenient and inauspicious location.

“I admit I’ve never had so much interest in the dwarven language as to learn it,” Fesliel says, rather diplomatically, “but our organizational records seem to suggest that these tomes are primarily focused on history, genealogy, military matters… And, of course, matters of geology and related secondary craft.”

You thank her, and as soon as she departs, you set to work.

‘Irinnile, can you read any of these?’

‘Sorry babe, dwarf ain’t in my lexicon,’ the succubus replies.

You sigh. No matter. You know of at least one past operative—the one who issued you the enigmatic warning, who seemed to have some familiarity with dwarvenkind. You need only reach out to their shade again. You shut your eyes, summon the aethereal ledger of past missions and missteps which is the Akashic Record of the Dark Gods, and focus upon the impression that oeprative’s faded memory left wit you the morning prior.

>18

It comes easier than it did before, with a point to focus on, and before long a powerful-looking Steeltalon has materialized before you. Automatically, you look this way and that to ensure there are no witnesses… But of course only you can see this apparition.

‘He’s kinda’ hot,’ Irinnile says. ‘Shame about the limited libido on those guys, huh? Well ,and that he probably died a billion years ago or whatever, I guess.’

…Well, only you and Irinnile. The three of you—infiltrator, demon, and summoned memory—work together. The titles across the spines of ancient tomes and on the caps of rarely-dusted scroll-cases become as your own tongue to you, and before long you are able to narrow your selection down to a few relevant works: “The Legendary Techniques of the Ancestors”, “Enchantments and Magicks: Profit Potential and Risk”, and “Unconventional Defences Against Barbarian Races”. Not wanting to waste the ephemeral connection to your Akashic guide, you skim through each, seeking anything—ANYTHING—about stones which could control cities or the statues within them.
>>
>>4979297
What you find seems to corroborate Helga’s speculations. Even in these collected works, none of the mentions are contemporaneous or terribly instructive, but each of the three old volumes mentions at least in passing a ‘stone of will-to-earth’ which can be attuned to any well-hewn item and that, with training and practice, was able to enable the ancestors to muster great defences against hordes of orcs, men, and other marauders with small garrisons, as well as to continue and improve the profitability of operations after suffering great losses.

You sense the remembered unease of lost battle in the operative whose memory you have summoned. You focus upon him, bringing his waning shadow back into a greater realness, and you send the psychic missive: Why? What happened to make him so afraid this knowledge?

>They see without eyes

“Yes, but what does it mean?” you find yourself hissing aloud, in your own tongue.

The reply fills you with a primal dread, such that you lose the connection almost immediately. When Edwin comes to find you, you are still considering the terrible implications, and even as he excitedly rattles off his own discoveries—about how even a magical novice, with proper materials and time, can conjoin the magic of a sufficiently-potent enchanted item to a new one through proximity, a keyword, and the proper use of dwarven-deirved ‘runic’ magic—you are scarcely able to focus. It’s indeed useful, exciting information, but it can hardly rival the revelation you have uncovered.

They see without eyes. Without eyes, without senses that can be fooled easily by illusion, or by superficial shapeshifting, they see. A golem, or other enchanted construct, instructed to seek out and to slay demons will find them… Even hidden in plain sight, even bound within an occultist…

And such a construct, instructed to seek out a Reptilian infiltrator, will unfailing identify such beings, no matter their disguise.
>>
>>4979299
The research takes up much of the remaining afternoon, and the sunlight outside begins to dim and to shift to orange and red. Edwin suggests that he could drive you work—well, have his carriage-driver do so.

“…And then I could return home and discuss what we have found so far with Father! We’ve learned a lot about the actual value of these dwarven materials which the Zikas are storing with us, right? It should be useful for negotiating with the Tower for a better rate for both companies, given how rare and powerful the magic involved is! IT’s only a shame we couldn’t find one of those cubes or ‘master stones’ you, Kelvyn, and Helga were talking about…”

Right—your cover story for this whole escapade. It gives a handy excuse for why the dwarves would need, and deserve, further payment tomorrow than the advance you provided earlier… But it would also tip your hand to Fynn about examining the stored items without his permission or participation, and hiring consultants under him name and with his funds. Worse yet: it could reveal your investigations, and the results thereof, to the Tower!

What do you do?
>Ask Edwin to keep this between you two for now, until you have something more substantial
>Tell Edwin to go ahead, and that you’d like to arrange a meeting with Fynn tomorrow to discuss the matter further
>Explain to Edwin that you haven’t actually gotten permission for any of this, and that you want to tell Fynn about this yourself
>Attempt to use your magic to purge the memories of anything untoward from Edwin’s pretty little head
>Skip work at The Pretty Kitty to get ahead of this, and meet with Fynn now
>Write-in
>>
>>4979302
>Ask Edwin to keep this between you two for now, until you have something more substantial

How do we deal with Fynn lads?
>>
>>4979302
>Explain to Edwin that you haven’t actually gotten permission for any of this, and that you want to tell Fynn about this yourself
Ask him to cover paying the dwarves tomorrow, without letting Fynn know. I'm sure he won't mind if we motivate him a little and say we were just testing the waters.

So, in layman terms, how can those golems be brought back to function by the Tower? We gotta know what to avoid.

>The Steeltalon, who may hide behind the size and shape of a regular humanoid man or woman, but who are coiled with serpentine muscle and may expand and grow into a behemoth when their masquerade is broken [Bonus to physical ability, intimidation]
Interesting, thanks for the reminder. Can we ask Irinnile to alter and reinforce our muscle tissue to resemble that of a Steeltalon? Her demonic interventions aren't exactly discrete, so having that extra physical edge wouldn't hurt.
>>
>>4979337
We don't pay large sums of money to people we hire without his or Edwin's knowledge and make sure nobody is inspecting the warehouses while we're there.
>>
>>4979302
Backing >>4979341
also if we figure out what sense these golems do use to see we can illusion that sense badda bing badda boom.
>>
[Sorry, but expect a late post tonight--running a campaign!]
>>
>>4979351
>>4979341
>>4979337
“About that…”

Edwin's enthusiasm dims a little as you explain that, technically, you neither sought permission for the appraisal nor the fee.

“Izzy, I… I can't pay that out-of-pocket. Not in one day. My money comes from Father as well, and that's a LOT more than he normally provides me in a week.”

“Well ssurely I can provide ssome ‘motivation' to requesst a little more?” you suggest hopefully, tracing a hand down his chest.

“It's not a matter of motivation,” he replies miserably. “Father already thinks I'm a spendthrift who wastes time and money on… On frivolity, on silliness. He'll demand to know where the money is going.”

You frown, considering your options.

“I won't tell Father, but we need to come clean or find another way to pay them. Maybe… Maybe if you could get them to accept installments?”

The carriage ride to work is a little awkward. Edwin is clearly twisting in his seat with nervousness over how Fynn of Engel will react when two dwarves turn up demanding payment. Still, he embraces you and wishes you well when you step out of the carriage with your things. He’s not mad at you—just afraid to bear the consequences of your actions.

As you enter The Pretty Kitty, you divert your thoughts to more important matters. You have nearly a full day to solve the quandary of the dwarves, after all, and it dwindles in importance next to the matter of the golems. From what you understand, is the Tower has—or can piece out how to recreate—a functional runic master-stone, they could then readily attune it to nearly any statue or earthenware idol to create a golem capable of magically sensing and identifying even a mystically-disguised or hidden target. It would be an utter disaster for your mission, for your whole RACE! Even if the humans of Hawksong wouldn’t know to aim them at Reptilian infiltrators right away, as soon as ONE of you was discovered an army of artificial sentinels would bear down upon you all with unerring accuracy.

‘Irinnile, is there any chance you could… Physically augment me? Make me like the Steeltalon we saw in the vision?’

‘Eeehh… Maybe. That level of bulk and might is a little outside my usual repertoire. I can mainly make you look however you want, but as far as abilities… I can kinda’ only give you ones I’ve got, ya’ know?’

‘I see.’
>>
>>4980056
You accidentally lock eyes with Helga, who grins and winks. She’s clearly grateful for having been hooked up with an opportunity to earn some good coin for much less work than usual… But will she be so happy come tomorrow? Between this remind of your debt to her and the stress of your recent discovery, you feel little of the usual peace changing into your Kamunu attire and persona usually bring. You’re off your game!

What do you do?
>Take a few deep breaths and meditate
>Power through it—you have a job to do
>Go speak to Mina, and get some clarity through conversation
>Request a sick night—you have to focus on your real mission right now!
>Write-in
>>
>>4980057
>Take a few deep breaths and meditate

No need to panic, for those who panic die.

Radical solution- we steal the gold that we'll pay them. Hell, this may be a good opportunity to check in on those thralls of ours as well. That adventurers equipment ain't cheap, and the way they were acting like thugs in front of the Royal Library? My bet is they're rich brats, which would explain a lot about their combat performance.
>>
>>4979869
Also, how did the campaign go btw?
>>
>>4980057
>Take a few deep breaths and meditate
If not paying Helga her 25% yet would help manage our situation:
>Tell Helga about our situation and ask if she'd be okay to get her money a few days later
Obviously omitting the few details we don't want her to know.

Damn, I didn't expect that dwarf wanted to be paid an actual fortune. Might wanna be more specific next time, QM.
>>
>>4980075
[Quite well, despite having to do it by text thanks to my throat being raw. Thanks for asking!]

>>4980197
Though you folks negotiated him down, in thread 6 I noted:
>You do the usual back-and-forth banter of mercantile haggling, until the dwarf gives you a quote at last. It is high enough that, were it your coinage on the line, you'd have choked.
It's not a FORTUNE, but if you were to imagine Edwin as a trust-fund kid who gets a $1000-a-week allowance, the dwarves are owed something like $2500 between them. Not the end of the world, but simce Edwin routinely blows through his allowance rather than saving any... Well, if he needs an advance on the next week and then some, dad's going to ask why.
>>
>>4980199
Yeah I know. Went back to archive to check the exact phrasing to see if I overlooked anything before posting.
>were it your coinage on the line, you'd have choked
was the only indication of the price for the players, and it was based on Ismena's point of view, not Edwin's. It resulted in my false assumption that while for us it would've been too much, Edwin's virtually bottomless pockets could cover it.

Sorry if I came off as rude. Just saying it needed a bit more clarification, since the vagueness caused wrong assumptions.
>>
File: EWspNZTVcAMMvZE.jpg (236 KB, 960x1200)
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236 KB .jpg
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>4980073
>>4980197
>Take a few deep breaths and meditate
>>
>>4980306
The meditation tehcniques you learned with Edwin, initially to try to channel magic, have proven invaluable for calming yourself in times of stress. Simple, slow movements and practiced breathing techniques lower your heartrate and regulate your breathing. Your energies are focused. Your emotions are compartmentalized. You are ready to work. You are Kamunu!

“Uhh, Kamunu?”

You open your eyes, to see the halfling dancer Manuela LaPert staring. She is trying not to laugh, and failing.

“It’ss… Ssomething Edwin taught me.”

“Kinky,” says Manuela.

‘I like this one,’ says Irinnile.

You silence the demon and ask Manuela what she wants. Is it time to dance?

“Nearly,” she says, “but Mina wants to speak with you first.”

Perhaps it’s about the half-orc chef, or the shirin supply? You finish your exercises, and waste no time in heeding your employer’s call.

“Yess, Mina?”

Mina gestures for you to close her office door behind you, and so you do. There is a bit of your usual pleasantries, but Mina is a focused cat-woman. She wasted no time, either.

“Cuggi tells me that the City Guard have been asking some odd questions of his people. Questions about his employees, about their whereabouts…”

Uh oh. Right, Mina is his sister. If the Tower Inquisitor who you mugged while in the guise of a cat-person near the docks reported the incident, the investigation would surely turn upon Cuggi of Eastern Standard Silk & Spice, and then the news would work its way back to Mina. Could this jeopardize your cover? Your shirin supply? Surely she has no way to connect a rogue cat-person to you, not knowing you can shapeshift?

“There is also news of an incident in the sewers… A number of bodies found. The details are thin. I guess it’s still being investigated… But it’s where the wererats you had trouble with used to hang around.”

You say nothing. What does Mina know? How much has she puzzled out?

“Is there anything you know about any of this? Anything you need to tell me?”
>Come clean about as much as you can without revealing the Reptilian conspiracy
>Feign ignorance of both incidents
>Try to pin it all on the shapeshifting fox-woman of Eastern Standard as a likely culprit
>Magically charm Mina into changing the subject and not letting this trouble her any longer [DC 15]
>Attempt to infiltrate, observe, and edit her memories [DC 16 to infiltrate and observe, DC 18 to edit; DCs drop by 2 if you knock her out first]
>Write-in
>>
>>4980229
>vagueness caused wrong assumptions.
[Duly noted and I think you for the input, but that isn't 100% accidental--you don't know, or didn't have a clear idea until now, how much money Edwin really had access to. Soemtimes, unless I mention a specific figure or you folks ask specific questions or investigate specific avenues, the character will be operating on incomplete knowledge]
>>
>>4980319
>Come clean about as much as you can without revealing the Reptilian conspiracy
I like our catployer and she tried to help when we talked to her previously, so yeah
>Tell Mina we learned that it was a tower mage who tailed Cuggi and his men (as well as why)... aaand we might or might not have knocked him out, without telling her details.
Also request she doesn't tell her brother we were responsible for that. Hopefully the context helps Cuggi deal with the situation a bit better.
>Mention we pitted those thugs from last night against the rats
No spicy details, she has her secrets and we have ours.

If she takes this badly, we sic her with the succy. If not, she gets infinite back scratches for being a good kitter.
Maybe that image was a sign, that we're destined to work together, who knows?

>>4980321
>you don't know, or didn't have a clear idea until now, how much money Edwin really had access to
Fair and sneaky.
Gotta admit, I let myself assume Ismena wouldn't make that kinda decision if she knew Edwin might have problems paying up and also thought that she knew more of less his daily spending. But that's on me.
>>
>>4980319
>Admit you incited and directed a bunch of hoodlums to wipe out the wererats in the sewers, but feign ignorance of the Cuggi problems.
>>
>>4980319
Would prefer
>Magically charm Mina into changing the subject and not letting this trouble her any longer [DC 15]

If we're telling the truth, I'm gonna settle for >>4980481. The wererat problem took one of our own, correct? This is just payback. We also knew somebody was trailing Cuggi and his men, but anything beyond that will tip our hand when it comes to our occult abilities, and we we don't know what Mina's reaction will be to that bit of knowledge.
>>
>>4980574
>>4980481
>>4980468
You sigh and look away, making a show of contrition. It's only partly false, for that matter—you genuinely regret bringing attention from the authorities to this aspect of your life, and to thw feline madam.

“It'ss true,” you say. “I inccited and directed a group of… Hoodlumss… To sstrike back againsst the wereratss.”

Mina's ears flatten and his tail lashes, smacking repeatedly against her chair.

“You what?!” she snarls.

“They killed Esstellia, didn't they?” you demand. “Thiss wass jusst payback! Protecting our own!”

Of course, that much is a lie. Though the undead occultist Lady Zivic and the wererats helped seal her fate, it was your blade which ended Estellia's life… But Mina need not know this.

Mina's temper cools, but you still sense the unease of a pacing tiger in her still form.

“And what of Cuggi and his people? What is your connection to that investigation?”

You feign ignorance here, cautious about giving out any information which might tie you to matters occult or subversive.

“I did think ssomeone wass following me lasst time I wass there to do bussinesss with your brother… Do you think it'ss related?”

[Rolling 3d20 politesse and a 1d20 mystery die, continuing after I take the dog out.]
>>
Rolled 7, 14, 12, 11 = 44 (4d20)

>>
>>4980940
oh boy I hope those weren't dc 15
>>
>>4980989
I'm slightly curious myself desu.
>>
>>4980989
>>4980996
Mina’s face is unreadable as usual, a panther’s visage in unmoving stone, but her body language is stiff as well. Fear of the law’s interference, of being embroiled in something beyond her control? Suspicion of you, disbelief, anegr?

‘Irinnile…’

‘On it, babe.’

The demon anticipates your request, reaching out with psychic feelers… But to your surprise, this too offers no insight. Mina’s mind is less defenceless than you have gotten used to non-occultists’ being. The again, she was once Lady Zivic’s ‘pet exotic’, as with Cuggi…

But is her mind simply difficult to penetrate, or is it an active defence? Does she KNOW?

“I understand why did what you did,” she says, breaking your concentration, “but if I discover you’re engaged in something that dangerous again—something that could bring down the wrath of powerful enemies on my business and my girls—I will not hesitate to take appropriate action.”

“Yess, Mina,” you say.

“Am I clear?”

“Yess, Mina,” you repeat.

You are dismissed without further punishment, or further questioning. Did you get off lucky? Should you be suspicious?

Tonight, you are dancing as usual—no special escort jobs. Felia does request that you help train up Robin and Vivian tonight, though. They’re your newest dancers, and while they both have ample experience as prostitutes for their comparatively young ages, neither yet shows the makings of a great burlesque entertainer. As a master of stagecraft already, and one of The Pretty Kitty’s top attractions, you’re the perfect mentor!

What do you do?
>Help them with the basics of practical footwork and rhythm, with the lounge’s elven bard assisting
>Devise gimmicks to help them stand out more, and to give them more stage presence
>Tell them to amp up the sex appeal, and have Irinnile give them a nudge
>Let them sink or swim on their own merits, and focus on your own work
>Write-in

[Shit, sorry--the last part of the post just didn't go through for some reason]
>>
>>4981023
>Help them with the basics of practical footwork and rhythm, with the lounge’s elven bard assisting
>Devise gimmicks to help them stand out more, and to give them more stage presence

Hmm, curious.
>>
>>4981023
>Help them with the basics of practical footwork and rhythm, with the lounge’s elven bard assisting
>Devise gimmicks to help them stand out more, and to give them more stage presence

No more bringing thugs to TPK and using them as cannon fodder, nice.
We still gotta check with them tho.
>>
Laskar Endingray and his faintly-mystical melodies were instrumental to your career in dance, so you reason that the elf’s curious on-man-band apparatus will help to inspire the two human women to similar heights of performance!

Prior to the show, you bring Robin and Vivian up to the elf’s hidden nest amongst the rafters, posted amongst stored costumes and equipment. The entire time, they are giddy as foolish young hatchlings.

“Have you SEEN him?”

“He doesn’t really talk much, but yeah, once or twice…”

“He’s SOOO hansome!”

You roll your eyes. What is it with human women and elves? Their features may be symmetrical and eternally young, but they have never had any particular character to charm you. Laskar in particular has a sort of… intriguing affinity for you, and vice versa, but in a city where you have spread your legs for coin, strategic advantage, to sate a demon, or simply for affection’s sake, you have never once laid with Laskar Endingray.

Still, he does cute a striking figure in profile as he stands up. He turns to face the three of you as you approach, shucking his musical accoutrement, and greeting you all with a smile: “Kamunu. And… robin, Vivian, was that it?”

The girls giggle and nod, Vivian giving him a little wave.

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” the elven bard asks.

You explain the mission: to quickly help whip these humans into shape.

“We hardly have time before tonight…” he says uncertainly.

“You’ve played for them for sseveral nights now. Surely you have ssome ssort of… Recommendationss? Ssomething they could do to better ssynchronize their danccing with your musssic on a… Deeper level?”

“Wait,” Vivian asks, “is she proposing a…?”

“Not sssex, no,” you interrupt.

Laskar chuckles. “Yes, I hardly think that would resolve matters. And as I said, we have precious little time.”

The elf mulls it over.
>>
>>4981560
“Well, you don’t have that spark of magic that Kamunu does,” he concludes. “But you hardly lack for vibrancy of soul. Your dance, your connection to the music, it just needs… Direction.”

“A gimmick?” you suggest.

Laskar frowns. “It’s not the term I’d sue, but… Annie’s passion is found in the sea, and in hr memories of her youth and of the docks and the men and women who work them, so her ‘gimmick’ became rather nautical, and when the music matches it, she comes alive. Grendelia may not be an orc except by her grandfather’s ancestry, but their musical styles play well to a more athletic dance with the big, wide movements which help to accentuate her size and strength. Manuela is playful, flirtatious beyond even the rest of you—and that’s saying something—and she makes good sue of a jig with many unpredictable lilts. The Twins favour elegance and a slow music that allows them to focus on one another and not the audience, but they works well for them. Helga has a very clockwork sensibility, and an even, steady, military beat helps her feel comfortable.”

The two human girls stare, blinking. Laskar looks up from his considerations, and surveys their rather blank faces with some exasperation.

“Do you follow?”

You nod slowly.

“What are you two passsssionate about?” you ask thick-in-the-waist Robin and thick-in-the-head Vivian?

They seem to have trouble answering the question, embarrassed or not understanding it fully and its application to dance. Luckily, you have the ability to scan their surface thoughts, and thus to help guide the girls.

>What should their gimmicks be based around?
>>
>>4981561
>Scan their surface thoughts for what they're passionate about, interview them until they confirm it, and give whatever you find a try
>>
>>4981659
+1
>>
>>4981664
>>4981659
[To clatify: I'm allowing you fine folks to further characterize your juniors at work. Tell me what you want tgeir thenes to be!]
>>
>>4981725
Ah, well, I'll give it a good think while I grab some groceries and a bite to eat, will report back in a couple hours.
>>
>>4981725
*clarify
*their themes

[Jeez, me.]
>>
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>>4981561
>>4981659
>>4981664
All we know is that they're both used to just fucking for money and not so good at dancing.
Robin is the chubby who got shitfaced on our performance for the townguard.
Vivian is the... dumb one?

Idk, I'd vote for spending a bit of time with them after tonight to get their interests and use that to craft a fitting theme. For now cast glamour and they can get perverted or something.
Or use Irinnile to read their thoughts...

Also does Vivian have a big ass by any chance? Asking cause I just remembered that Vivian from Paladins had a dumptruck. I can send some Vivian if you anons need inspiration.
>>
>>4981561
>>4981725
In that case, maybe a light and airy, floaty theme for vivian.

Robin I dunno, club twerker.
>>
>>4981973
>>4981858
>>4981659
>>4981664

You scan the two young females for some indicator as to their innermost passions. You find in Vivian a general air-headedness, but little else. The ephemera of flitting surface thoughts flit about gaseous vacuum of her innermost self like passing, pretty birds.

“How about ssomething light and airy for you?” you suggest, stretching to work with what you have got.

“Oooh! Yeah, I think that would work!”

You send Vivian to rummage through the boxes of affects, to find something light and gauzy. Then, you set your sights to Robin.

The heavier of the two newbies has a mind that is fuller and busier, but no less vapid to your sensibilities. She seems a heavy imbiber, her aura already wobbly with alcoholic influence, and her surface thoughts seem mostly consumed with Laskar. You resist the urge to sigh, reminding yourself that unshaped clay holds many possibilities. For now, though?

“How about a ‘party girl’ theme? Work hard, play hard…”

“Doesn't that seem a lot like Manuela's?” she asks.

The question catches you off-guard. You hadn't actually thought she'd been paying attention. “Well, she goess a little bit mote whimssical. I’m envisioning ssomething a bit more… Modern. Overt. Bessidess, you have assssetss she doessn't.”

Robin grins, and turns around, bounding her considerable rear suggestively and running fingers through her hair. “What do you think, Laskar?”

Laskar clears his throat. “I… Think I can work with that.”

“I bet you can,” she whsipers.

“Find a sskirt or dresss that ridess high,” you instruct, and she jumps to it.

“Laskar!” roars Mina from down below.

“Well, that’s my cue,” the elf says, taking a bow. “I eagerly await your accompaniment to my performance, ladies.”

By the sound of the first instrumental piece, Manuela has taken the stage first. For your part, you only descend to join the other dancers when both your juniors are properly attired.
>>
>>4982180
Vivian has swirled herself in silken scarves in a sky blue, atop a white, loose-fitting dress. It’s honestly not a bad look. Robin is… Considerably low-class in her attire, but this too is very on-brand, and the skirt she’s chosen hugs her hips and rear snugly. You suppose it will do.

Certainly, the other girls ooh and aah at the transformation. Even Mina, though she says little, seems a bit more at-ease. Annie runs off to fetch her make-up kit to complete the look, and by the time they go on, you find that you need not even augment their performance with glamour. They’re not Kamunu or Estellia, but the crowd seems more engaged than on nights prior.

“Solid work, Kamunu!” Helga commends you with a slap on the back.

Mina remains muted, even as you glance her way. You wonder if you should be troubled or not, but before you can say anything or take any action, it’s your turn on stage.

What do you do?
>Focus on the performance, and lose yourself in the melody
>Scan the crowd for suspicious characters—what if the City Guard or the Tower are keeping an eye on this place, too?
>Attract the attention of the wealthiest-looking clientele—a wealthy patron could help solve your money problems tomorrow!
>Attempt to draw in some ambient desire to sate a bit of <WANT>
>Write-in
>>
>>4982181
>Attract the attention of the wealthiest-looking clientele—a wealthy patron could help solve your money problems tomorrow!

live in the moment!
future planning is for chumps!
>>
>>4982181
>Scan the crowd for suspicious characters—what if the City Guard or the Tower are keeping an eye on this place, too?
>Attract the attention of the wealthiest-looking clientele—a wealthy patron could help solve your money problems tomorrow!

Paranoia and opportunity go hand in hand.
>>
>>4982181
>Focus on the performance, and lose yourself in the melody
>Scan the crowd for suspicious characters—what if the City Guard or the Tower are keeping an eye on this place, too?
Let's not fuck anything up tonight.
>>
Rolled 6, 5, 3, 7, 3 = 24 (5d20)

>>4982527
>>4982422
>>4982216
>Scan the crowd for suspicious characters—what if the City Guard or the Tower are keeping an eye on this place, too?
1d20
>Attract the attention of the wealthiest-looking clientele—a wealthy patron could help solve your money problems tomorrow!
4d20
>>
>>4982692
Despite your earlier meditations, you just cannot get into a clear headspace, and your performance suffers for it. So too, sadly, does your spycraft. Apart from the usual drunken guardsman in the front row—supplementing his liquid diet with a fried meat skewer tonight, you note—you see no obvious or subtle signs of guard presence.

What of Tower Inquisitors, though? The one you ambushed lacked any identifying attire, save his hidden badge… Anyone here could be an operative!

The thought puts you off of your magic, and distracts you from any attempts to snag a big fish for some quick coin. Oh, you’re not BAD by any means—you’re too practiced by this point—but you have trouble synchronizing your own mental and mystical energies to that of Laskar Endingray’s music. You leave the sage feeling disappointed in yourself, and with all the tension you’d earlier dispensed of coiled up inside you like so many snakes.

And what of Mina? You meet her eyes but briefly as you step backstage, but you both look away. What does she know? What does she suspect? Are you just being paranoid? Paranoia and opportunity go hand in hand, and yet you feel empty-handed.

What do you do?
>Take some shirin to restore your confidence, and go up for an encore
>Do some ‘wetwork’—getting laid and sating some <WANT> will take the edge off
>See out the rest of your shift and then slip into shadows and spy on Mina, to assuage your suspicions
>Leave early to go visit with Agatha Johan at home—it’s bee a while, and you need someone mundane and easy-to-bully to take your mind off of things
>Go see Roth to get his input and decades of expertise on the many, many troubling events and discoveries
>Write-in
>>
>>4982703
>See out the rest of your shift and then slip into shadows and spy on Mina, to assuage your suspicions
Since we couldn't determine whether we're tailed or not, we better avoid visiting Agatha or Roth.
>>
>>4982703
>Leave early to go visit with Agatha Johan at home—it’s bee a while, and you need someone mundane and easy-to-bully to take your mind off of things

Vacations always help when work isn't going well.
>>
>>4982703
>Take some shirin to restore your confidence, and go up for an encore

I honestly want to give it a second go. At least the wealthy patrons may alleviate one of our concerns (and disappointing a freind), and we can probably either assuage our Mina suspicions or bulli Agatha after.
>>
>>4982979
>>4982905
>>4982904
[Bit loopy on cough syrup, but we have a tie anyway, so... I'll post when ti's broken and my faculties return.]
>>
>>4982703
>See out the rest of your shift and then slip into shadows and spy on Mina, to assuage your suspicions
>>
>>4983388
Don't die, QM.
>>
Rolled 11, 7, 12, 17 = 47 (4d20)

>>4983699
>>4982979
>>4982905
>>4982904
[3d20 Stealth, 1d20 Perception.]
>>
>>4984219
The rest of your shift goes by without incident, which is ideal, as your mind remains elsewhere. The mammals chatter, you join them. They dance, you watch. You all assemble on stage of the line dance, the high kicks, and the last barrage of coins rolled or tossed onto the stage. You survey the crowd and find a number of plates, indicating that the new chef you’ve had installed here has met with some early success. Still, numbers in the audience are undeniably down. Presumably, tales of a massacre in the sewer have stoked further fears among the already-rattled Hawksong nightlife.

Your focus remains on impassive Madam Mina. When the crowds disperse and the lounge has been tidied, you excuse yourself to return home.

“Be careful,” Manuela warns.

“Yeah, did you hear about all the fucking bodies they found?” Red Annie asks with a shudder.

“Do you need an escort?” Helga asks.

“Pleassse,” you quip, “I AM an essscort.”

That gets a laugh from everyone, and you wish the other girls a good night… But you don’t leave. Not yet.

‘Irinnile,’ you summon the demon from wherever she has been lurking inside of you.

‘Sneaky snake time, hotstuff?’

Indeed it is. You shut your eyes and allow Irinnile’s inherent affinity for night and shadow to blur your silhouette, to deepen and desaturate your hues, to render you less notable to the other senses of mortals. You wait outside the brothel. Some lights are snuffed out, but many more rooms remain lit, soft moans and slaps of the night’s remaining work emanating from open or closed windows. You focus, listening for the distinct rumble of Mina’s voice through the unrelated noise…

And you hear her! Speaking with someone in her office. Stranger yet, while you don’t recognize the other voice, it seems to be coming from… Outside the window?

You slide seamlessly and soundlessly back into the shadows as Mina opens her window…

And with a flutter of wings, a black-feathered bird flutters inside her office.

‘Ooooh shiiiiit!’ exclaims Irinnile.

Her reaction is not without reason: undead or unusual corvids have been used in the past as spies by Lady Zivic—the meddling occultist whose assassination you enabled, and who later succeeded in stoking the wererats’ fears of you from beyond the grave with the help of some ambitious demon.

What do you do?
>Sneak closer to listen in—hopefully she can’t sense your presence mystically
>Confront them immediately and directly
>Slay them both, before they can conspire further against you and your race
>Lurk outside, waiting to seize or follow the bird when it departs
>Leave for now, and decide what to do tomorrow
>Write-in
>>
>>4984232
>Sneak closer to listen in—hopefully she can’t sense your presence mystically

nevermore?
>>
>>4984232
>Sneak closer to listen in—hopefully she can’t sense your presence mystically
>Lurk outside, waiting to seize or follow the bird when it departs

While I would prefer we fix our money problems, we shouldn't ignore this budding development.
>>
>>4984232
>Sneak closer to listen in—hopefully she can’t sense your presence mystically
Inb4 detected. Prepare the hose, we're makin this pussy drip if she tries anything funny.
>Lurk outside, waiting to seize or follow the bird when it departs
Pick its feathers and feed it to Roth.

Fuck's sake. This is what happens when we neglect the clear signs of shit going wrong. Are we actively ignoring any other red flags..? Oh right, just EDWIN'S SLEEP ACCOMPLICE.
Not to mention that zivic demon has been running free around the city for all this time and we know from Irinnile that it's likely grown in power through the pacts it's made.
I don't wanna put our cat to sleep, but will not hesitate to shiv her if necessary.
Pain.
>>
>>4984424
>>4984304
>>4984407

Mina’s room is several stories up, but a pair of succubus-produced claws make light work of the climb, while the continued advantage of Irinnile’s nocturnal affinity keeps you shielded against mundane sight. You can only hope and pray that the ritual you performed to hide her presence shields your shared vessel from subtler and more occult forms of detection.

<WANT: 12>

Perched just below the window like a spider on a wall, you listen intently to the conversation taking place inside.

“Didn’t I warn you?” croaks a voice one might imagine a crow or raven producing.

“You warned me of betrayal,” replies Mina. “You warned me of danger. I see none here.”

The bird croaks, or perhaps ‘tuts’ might be a better word. It is a strangely human sound. You are tempted to scoff yourself. Who should feel betrayed, you wonder, with Mina speaking to one of your gravest foes behind your back? But the contents of the conversation thus far are vague. Perhaps this can still be salvaged.

“Kamunu was upfront with me, when it came down to it,” Mina continues. “She has told me what she is. She has told me of the action she’s taken, every step of the way.”

“Except the slaying of Estellia,” the visitor croaks.

You feel your cold blood freeze. So Mina DOES know who it was that sunk the blade into Estellia, had her burned beyond recognition…

“While you inhabited her body, Kasandra,” Mina counters. “I have only your story to go by, that the killing was not necessary to protect herself from you.”

“But she hasn’t told you of it, even now. And that matter with your brother…”

“Do NOT speak of my family, witch.”

“Little Miss Mina, still so sensitive about the past…”

“The past isn’t what we’re here to discuss,” Mina snaps.

“Right you are,” croaks the bird. “We’re here to discuss the danger that hosting a bloody and brutal enemy of the Paladins and the Tower means to your business… To your family, for that matter.”

It seems there’s no love lost between your undead foe and your employer, as you’d suspected from past conversations with her brother… But Mina still is willing to invite her in, to speak with her, and about you no less! Zivic, or the demon employing Zivic’s memories, and connections, is communicating with your allies, telling them your secrets, turning them against you! For any misgivings she has or defences she offers, Mina is worried enough to break bread with the bird.
>>
>>4984530
“That’s more hearsay on your part,” Mina eventually says. “I have no reason to think Kamunu’s doing anything of the sort.”

“So a mage with a mysterious ancestry just decides to become a prostitute and dancer? To take an interest in your… Delightful little enterprise? And she starts cozying up to nobles and merchants, occultists like myself, beings like Leo and his ilk… And then killing them off in secret, at night… For fun? A hobby? She’s playing SOME game.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“Not on that level. Not with such risky moves, such high stakes.”

“No riskier or more dangerous than your games, Kasandra,” Mina notes.

The bird croaks, a rattling sound like a laugh.

“And how did that turn out for me, Miss Mina?”
The window suddenly snaps and clatters open, as if forced ajar by some energy within, and the bird hops onto the ledge.

“Beware the serpent, Mina,” the Devil-Zivic says, and its avian avatar takes to the wing once more.

You have but scant seconds to act now, if you’re to catch the bird in mid-flight. You’ve seemingly gone undetected, but to catch ZIvic’s vessel you would need to take to the wing yourself, or seize her swiftly, before the bird flutters too far. Then again… Perhaps it makes better sense to administer antivenom to the poisonous rumours she spreads, and to discuss this matter with Mina before her seeds of discord blossom?

>Attempt to snatch up the bird before it gets far
>Take to the wing, shapeshifting again and following Zivic’s bird to where is has been hiding
>Enter the window to speak to Mina about her misgivings, and Zivic’s manipulations
>You’ve heard enough—go report to Roth, and plan an appropriate response together
>Slay Mina—she knows too much about the Reptilian conspiracy, and sadly there can be no going back
>Write-in
>>
>>4984531
>Take to the wing, shapeshifting again and following Zivic’s bird to where is has been hiding
Once we know where she is hiding, we can plan a better response.

Also, Mina isn’t lost to us yet - she defended us a few times there.

We just need to remove the source of poison and keep our mission away from work for some time.
>>
>>4984531
>Take to the wing, shapeshifting again and following Zivic’s bird to where is has been hiding
Maybe let's not reveal that we were eavesdropping on Mina right after she told our second-to-worst enemy to shove heavy accusations up her ass.
We can take care of coming cleanish later, now we have a chance to follow this bird to the source and get some info on how the fuck this demon even works.
>Use tracking glasses to mark the bird and follow it from a safe distance to increase our chances at stealth
If possible.

>>4984530
>Who should feel betrayed, you wonder, with Mina speaking to one of your gravest foes behind your back?
Snek didn't pass self-awareness check.
Mina has a story with the witch, who is clearly much more powerful than herself and talking behind people's back is unavoidable when you're a person in control... at least in this context. Furthermore, we don't really deserve any kindness from her and it's a miracle that the kitter still defends us at this point, despite being visibly emotionally shaken/traumatized after we fucking flatlined her Estellia.

Plot thickens. Good stuff RQM!
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 17 = 24 (3d20)

>>4984560
>>4984558
>Use tracking glasses to mark the bird and follow it from a safe distance to increase our chances at stealth
>Take to the wing, shapeshifting again and following Zivic’s bird to where is has been hiding
>>
>>4984921
You fumble for your stolen glasses, using their enchantment for a second time, to begin to process of (you hope) wrapping up another loose end. Mina can wait—she may be meeting with your accursed enemy, but she also defended you against quite heavy (and true) accusations. All you need do is stem the flow of the poison at its source. You don the glasses and focus upon the disappearing shadow of the black-feathered bird, until the red aura which signifies a successful tarcking spell appears around it.

‘Irinnile, wings,’ you command. ‘We’ll fly after it, low and quiet.’

‘Right on, babe!’

You grip the side of the building and squeeze your eyes shut as newly-formed wings tear through the back of your green peasant dress. You are just thankful you had the foresight to change out of your Kamunu attire wit its jingling coins for this stealth mission! Still, you may need another shopping excursion soon. Bah! That thought can wait. It’s time to prioritize your true self, and to compartmentalize thoughts of friend and fashion. With killer instinct, you take to the skies.

<WANT: 13>

You seem to travel undetected through the warm night air, carried more by magic than by the beating of your great leather wings. You following the glowing red beacon half-way across the city and over the outer walls, to a small collection of dilapidated apartments and small, irregularly-shaped hovels. You’ve come to know Hawksong well enough to recognize the place where the bird descends and settles: here there be orcs, half-orcs, and goblins, barely tolerated on the outskirts of the settlement. You drop lower still, landing on a rooftop inside the walls while your less-obtrusive quarry sails over it.

‘Huh? What gives? Why did we stop?’ Irinnile asks.

‘Guards are posted on the walls,’ you note, following several bobbing beacons of lanternlight with your eyes. ‘They won’t notice or care about a crow. A bat-winged humanoid, though?’

‘Oh yeah. I getcha. Still, we just gonna’ let this bitch get away again?’
>No—you’re stealthy enough to brave a flight over the wall
>No, but you’re going to shapeshift and pass through the gates in disguise rather than risk drawing attention
>Yes, for now—you know where Zivic dwells, and can return by daylight and with better preparation
>Yes, but you’re going to fetch back-up and return tonight
>Why go in yourself when you can tip off the guards to a dangerous occultist in the slums?
>Write-in
>>
>>4984939
>Yes, for now—you know where Zivic dwells, and can return by daylight and with better preparation
>Yes, but you’re going to fetch back-up and return tonight

She won’t be moving, and the extra time can only help us.
>>
>>4984939
>No, but you’re going to shapeshift and pass through the gates in disguise rather than risk drawing attention
I don't wanna chase her down tonight, it's time to stop acting on impulse without any preparation. Just do a little reconnaissance, figure out what we can and leave. Maybe we can still jump inside Edwin's dreams tonight.
Tipping off the guards won't solve the issue, but most certainly make our job harder when we have to return to deal with the situation later. Worst case scenario, one of the guards becomes buddies with hellspawn and we're even more fucked.
>>
>>4985022
Oh, right, guess it's
>Yes, but you’re going to shapeshift and pass through the gates in disguise rather than risk drawing attention
>Yes, but you’re going to fetch back-up and return tonight
My bad.
>>
>>4984939
>Yes, for now—you know where Zivic dwells, and can return by daylight and with better preparation
>>
>>4985363
>>4985024
>>4985022
>>4985020
You eye the walls for some time, before folding your great wings and sinking down into the overhang of the guildhall—a brewery, perhaps, by the smell—where you currently perch like a gargoyle.

‘We’ll be back,’ you tell Irinnile, ‘better prepared, and with greater numbers.’

‘Hey, whatever you say,’ she says with a mental shrug. ‘I’m just sayin’, she’s gonna’ be doing more prepwork, too.’

‘Not if she doesn’t know that WE know. She’ll be sluggish, sloppy. If we tip her off…’

‘Yeah, okay, I getcha’,’ Irinnile acknowledges. ‘So, what’s our plan?’

>Return to the Engel manor to sleep on it for now
>Report back to Roth, and draft his aid in expunging Zivic from your life
>Wrangle your human co-conspirators from last night for another mission of racially-charged
>Visit Mina, to come clean (to an extent) and seek her aid
>Enter the dreamscape, and attempt to influence the simpleminded fools in Goblintown to do your dirty work for you
>Write-in
>>
>>4985379
>Enter the dreamscape, and attempt to influence the simpleminded fools in Goblintown to do your dirty work for you

Just start a riot, or make them have a taste for crow.
>>
>>4985379
>Report back to Roth, and draft his aid in expunging Zivic from your life
>Enter the dreamscape, and attempt to influence the simpleminded fools in Goblintown to do your dirty work for you
We can go to Roth and invade the dreamscape from there, right?
>>
>>4985379
>Return to the Engel manor to sleep on it for now

I think the dreamscape move is just going to tip her off.
>>
>>4985379
>>Report back to Roth, and draft his aid in expunging Zivic from your life
>>
>>4985379
The blue anon is right, changing my vote (>>4985411) to just
>Report back to Roth, and draft his aid in expunging Zivic from your life

We should invade Edwin's dreams if we're not doing anything else.
>>
>>4985379
>Report back to Roth, and draft his aid in expunging Zivic from your life

If we do enter the dreamscape, we should see into Mina’s memories to ascertain what she knows / feels with greater accuracy

A riot of non-humans will just add too much chaos into the mix.
>>
>>4985379
Actually, I'll like to add
>Return to the Engel manor to sleep on it for now
to my vote here (>>4985390).

We're going to need to be at the Engel manor to pay the dwarves come morning, and we need to deal with the Fynn situation.
>>
>>4986194
>>4985608
>>4985597
>>4985554
>>4985434
>>4985411
>>4985390
While you know you must return to the Engel Manor to deal with the dwarves tomorrow, you also know that the Devil-Zivic and her interference is too urgent a matter to let lie. Furthermore, Roth does not yet know the true, deadly anger of the Hawksong defence plans! While you retain your wings, you sue them to travel swiftly on the nighttime gales to your fellow Reptilian infiltrator: Dragonblooded ‘Roth’, working without sweat over his furnace and anvil in his guise of a dark-skinned human blacksmith.

You descend somewhere inconspicuous to passersby, and clear our throat. Almost immediately, Roth has his hammer in hand defensively. When he sees you, he doesn’t lower It peaceably, but rather narrows his eyes. He does not lash out verbally of physically, though—your <DIVINE FAVOUR> commands too much respect, despite your demonic visage.

“Infiltrator,” he greets you blandly. “Meet me at the rear entrance. Your wings are… Conspicuous.”

“There’ss hardly much traffic at thiss time of night,” you counter. “I sscanned from above before landing.”

“Be that as it may,” he grunts, standing up and glancing nervously around.


You acknowledge the point and do as he says. The disguised dragonblood shucks his apron and steps inside. You hear his paranoid array of locks unhitch and relock from all the way on the other side of his home and businesses, and then a similar array unlatch to allow you inside through the back. You step in, gingerly folding your wings to enter his abode.

“To what do I owe the… Honour of your visit?” he asks in the true-speech, mulling over the last word and seemingly displeased with his eventual choice.

“I come bearing hard-won intelligence,” you reply, similarly switching to your native tongue. “It is not pleasant news to bring, but important.”

“Speak. I am no hatchling or female, to soften a blow before delivering it.”
>>
>>4986335
And so you tell Roth the fullness of it: Lady Zivic the Occultist has revealed herself again, and is dwelling just outside the city walls, using her birds to spy and to spread dangerous information about your race and your mission. Worse yet, the city’s highest officials are working upon a defensive plan which could render your elaborate magical disguises useless—a patrol of golems with mystic senses which cannot be befuddled, seeking and destroying enemies of this surface-dweller settlement!

Roth says nothing, save to curse your collective fortunes. The two pieces of news in tandem are especially troubling, of course: with Zivic (and Yosef, for that matter) spreading word of your kind, and the Tower already investigating the sites of several of your subversive activities, it makes the likelihood of the golems actually being properly aimed at your operatives all the more likely.

“Who has the Zivic demon told about this?” Roth asks. “Do you know?”

You hesitate. Last time you communicated a surface-mammal’s knowledge of your people, it was Zivic herself, and her ‘teacher’ Tokunbo. Roth slaughtered and incinerated them both, and all the other servants of her manor. Can you risk such a fate befalling Mina, or the girls at The Pretty Kitty?
>Tell him about Zivic’s conversation with Mina
>Withhold the conversation, and tell Roth you do not know
>Redirect Roth by urging swift action against whatever goblins or orcs Zivic might be working with
>Ask Roth to let you take the lead on this manner, in a less fiery fashion
>Write-in

For that matter, what do you plan to do?
>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge
>Return tonight with Roth, to raze Zivic’s hiding-place and any who aid her
>Rally your allies from last night to aid you and Roth in a group assault
>Rest for now, and plan in the morning
>Write-in
>>
>>4986337
>Redirect Roth by urging swift action against whatever goblins or orcs Zivic might be working with

>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge
>Rally your allies from last night to aid you and Roth in a group assault

Suicide squad, and cover our tracks with a race riot. We can also check to see if our allies are loaded when it comes to gold, as that may solve another one of our problems.
>>
>>4986337
>Withhold the conversation, and tell Roth you do not know
Tell him we have her bird on a tracker, tho. Assuming we still do.
>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge
Use this to find out exactly what is going on, so there are no more loose ends left.
>Return with Roth, to raze Zivic’s hiding-place and any who aid her
One of those xenophobic pawns was found dead among the wererats, so dragging the others into demon's lair would allow the investigators to figure out there's a close connection. Roth would likely want them dead after the fight anyway.
>Remind him that his visible fear of women is cute and all, but hardly a good trait in a reptilian operative
>>
>>4986504
>>4986705
[Seems we have a tie to resolve!]
>>
>>4986337
>>4986891
I wanna do a smalll tweak to (>>4986705) and change withholding the conversation to
>Redirect Roth's attention towards the goblins/orcs, for all you know Zivic could've told them about your conspiracy

I don't wanna outright lie about Mina to our co-conspirator, but after we determined there are flawed cogs in the Reptile machine, Roth himself is unpredictable and one of the Serpents showed they trust our actions so far, it's safe to assume we're not in the wrong by hiding her and TPK from a potential demise. Especially since she does not know or believe we're a part of the conspiracy, if the witch has even told her.

But if she did and Mina thinks that the witch's "games" are more dangerous than potential infiltration and enslavement of the human race, then we should focus all our efforts on deleting that bitch and/or demon from existence for good before they turn into the final boss.

Please correct me if I'm missing/misunderstood anything from Mina's conversation with Zivic.
>>
>>4986337
>Tell Roth she's been collaborating with the Yosefs lmao

>Return tonight with Roth, to raze Zivic’s hiding-place and any who aid her
>>
>>4986337
>Redirect Roth by urging swift action against whatever goblins or orcs Zivic might be working with

>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge

I think Mina and those humans we duped should be our dream targets. We need to check our cover and cut out any doubts.

Tell Roth that we’ll assault Zivic‘a hideout tomorrow.

Are there any anti-demon weapons / spells / items we know of that we can prepare during the day?
>>
>>4987309
Defensive talismans probably, but they also hurt us and won't mean shit cause we already have a demon to fuck the other demon up. But we could probably use it to cause damage to any possessed individuals.
Don't remember anything else.
>>
>>4986504
>>4986705
>>4986986
>>4987309
>>4986963

>Redirect Roth by urging swift action against whatever goblins or orcs Zivic might be working with
3
>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge
3
>Return with Roth, to raze Zivic’s hiding-place and any who aid her
2
>Tell Roth she's been collaborating with the Yosefs lmao
1
>Remind him that his visible fear of women is cute and all, but hardly a good trait in a reptilian operative
1, but easily compatible with the rest of the winning votes, and very in-character


Seems you'll be doing:

>Redirect Roth by urging swift action against whatever goblins or orcs Zivic might be working with
>Enter the dreamscape to wage a war of psychic subterfuge
>Remind him that his visible fear of women is cute and all, but hardly a good trait in a reptilian operative

Posting soon!
>>
>>4987559
“It is quite endearing, how fearful you become around females and matters of femininity,” you chide Roth, “but it’s not terribly professional or practical.”

“What?” he asks, affronted. “I am not—”

“Anyway,” you cut him off, “the real threat is the goblin and orc army she may even now be amassing, armed with information about our glorious purpose in this filthy human city.”

Roth stares daggers at you, but he doesn’t contradict you. It is indeed troubling. The Reptilian Master Race well knows the threat of rallying simple-minded pawns to a devious cause—it is a classic strategy, to which your kind have sacrificed many lives in pursuit of the Age of Scales.

“Shall we burn their diseased hovels to the ground?” Roth asks, a bit of eagerness creeping into his voice. A dragon ever loves the flames, it seems.

“No, not yet,” you say after a moment. “We lack the forces to fight such a militia, even a pitiful one consisting of goblin whelps and braindead orcs.”

“You told me your peons were sufficient to defeat the wererats,” Roth notes, recalling your debrief.

You wave the thought away. “Fools, and fools who would connect the two events in the human authorities’ investigations. No, this is a matter where occultism must defeat occultism.”

Roth groans, displeased at your continued employment of the demon. Irinnile blows a psychic strawberry at him, wo which only you are privy. Still, Roth bends the proverbial knee to your God-given authority. For that matter, you cannot help but take the <DIVINE AVOUR> as proof that you are right to take command, and justified in keeping Mina’s involvement from your contact. Who, after all, has spoken directly with a Dark God? Not Roth.

You hop upon your con-conspirator’s bed and cross your legs, assuming the transcendental pose which best aligns your energies. You shut your eyes, and begin to focus upon the psychic plane of the dreamscape. The night is still a rich tapestry of blackness, speckled with the stars of sleeping minds. Vulnerable minds! Goblintown is no exception…

Or perhaps now would be a good time to investigate and influence Mina, and your human minions from last night, to prepare for a daylight assault tomorrow? Or to simply scout, gathering information without risking tipping off Zivic or whoever might be serving her these days?

‘Or we could try and just take her out,’ Irinnile suggests. ‘Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! I mean… Unless the demon she’s sevrin’ is real tough…’

What do you do?
>Attempt a psychic assassination of Zivic and her demon
>Scout the dreamscape for clues as to Zivic’s operations, allies, and end-goal
>Influence the goblins and orcs against Zivic
>Check in on your allies and pawns, to ensure loyalty and begin building hostility against Zivic
>Write-in
>>
>>4987566
>Scout the dreamscape for clues as to Zivic’s operations, allies, and end-goal
>Influence the goblins and orcs against Zivic
>Check in on your allies and pawns, to ensure loyalty and begin building hostility against Zivic

I don't think that this will be be accomplished in a day, but we can certainly lay the foundation tonight. I do wish to jump into Fynn's mind tonigjt as well though.
>>
>>4987566
I'll support >>4987586, but let's make sure our influence can't be discovered by Zivic, so it doesn't tip her off.

We will probably have to return and focus on individuals more for the loyalty check.
>>
Rolled 12, 9, 13, 7, 17, 6, 18, 18, 10, 9 = 119 (10d20)

>>4988021
>>4987586
[4 dice for sneaky occult measures, 4 for influencing people with mentalism, and 2 mystery dice.]
>>
>>4988210
>13 for sneak
Fuck.
>>
>>4988210
There’s so much to do, but so little time before dawn! Well, maybe not LITTLE time, but time moves differently in dreams, and you worry that it will pass you by before you can gather intel, manipulate the rocs and goblins, AND check in on your loyal or not-so-loyal allies in this conflict… Especially if you have to do it all with great finesse, so as not to tip off your occult opponent.

You move with utmost caution through the miasma of dreams, instructing Irinnile to fly low here as you did in material reality.

‘Actually, high’s better, abbe,’ she explains. ‘Further from all those dreaming and scheming minds.’

Keeping a safe distance, the two of retrace your course through the hazy and wobbly unreality of the dreamscape. When you reach Goblintown, you hover above it like circling vultures. While Irinnile keeps you suspended in the ‘air’ of this plane, you cast your will downwards. You seek knowledge and suspicions—glimpses of magical strangeness or bizarre behaviour which trouble the residents even in their dreams. It is a difficult thing, a broader task than you have previously put your mental might towards… But in dreams, at least, it is possible. Several pinpoints of light flare beneath you in response to your call.

‘Irinnile, a little closer…’

‘If you say so,’ she complies.

You have no time to enter each dream one by one, and cannot afford to tarry here for long. The Devil-Zivic has visited you in dreams before, as well. It knows this place, also, even if it does not yet know to look for you here. If you were to be distracted exploring each individual sleeping mind, you would be a sitting duck for an ambush! Instead, you draw upon vague impressions, and you plot the constellation of concerned residents. An ill omen here, a strange purchase or theft by a goblin there, a half-orc keeping odd hours and working at strange things with goblin aid, a pet crow…

And all of these feelings and remembrances Correlating to one area of Goblintown in particular, in a tall and skinny tenement, above a store of some sort… A mycologist?

You slip away from this place, seemingly unnoticed or at least without interference, but not before stoking a few of the lingering misgivings.

‘An orcblooded man shouldn’t me meddling with namby-oamby magic. It’s un-orky!’

‘Orcs and goblins scheming at something, maybe something big, and they didn’t cut you in? That’s no fair.’

‘What are they buying and stealing all that stuff for, anyway? What are they hiding up in that building?’

‘What if these thefts from humans draw the City Guard into Goblintown? That never ends well…’

With these seeds planted, you instruct Irinnile to rise, and to carry you on to your next destination…
>Mina and The Pretty Kitty
>Your human allies from last night
>Edwin & Fynn of Engel
>Write-in
[You only have time for one before dawn]
>>
>>4987411
>>4987309
[You are indeed primarily aware of wards, defensive charms, and the like… But your research and your personal experience also tells you that Bianchi’s library holds spells and rituals to bind, banish, or weaken demons, while magical weapons can harm one possessed by a demon… And, of course, the Paladins and the Tower have many ways t battle back the forces of darkness.]
>>
>>4988219
>Edwin & Fynn of Engel
We know Mina's relationship with the demon already and the humans are not related to Zivic in any way, but Edwin's dream visitor needs further investigation.
>>
>>4988219
>Edwin & Fynn of Engel

Payment is still a goddamn issue that I'd to see resolved.
>>
>>4988219
>Your human allies from last night
>>
>>4988306
Just ask Roth to borrow us some of his gold and give it back in a few days, so it's not a problem for Edwin...
I mean, he has a legitimate business and we don't have to explain shit to him.
>>
>>4988459
Can Roth cover the gold with his business? If that's the case, I would be willing to switch to another target, as Edwin's visitor isn't immediately hostile, and thus a lower priority.
>>
>>4988481
>isn't immediately hostile
We don't know anything about that thing, it likely didn't even see us there. What we do know however, is that demons are the only creatures who we saw manipulate dreams and that need to stop ignoring weird shit happening right under our nose.
>>
>>4988502
Actually, does Zivic know of our relationship with Edwin? If she doesn't, I'd rather not reveal that to her if she did detect our demon fuckery and decided to snoop a bit herself.
>>
>>4988556
How would that reveal anything? If that was her in his dream, then she already knows about us either way.
>>
>>4988561
No, I meant in general. If we can see Irinnile and other dream versions of people, then would other dreamdelvers see us in return? And if that's true, would Zivic follow our dreamselves into our weakness? I don't know if that's wise, regardless of Edwin's mysterious visitor or dealing with Fynn about the dwarves payment.
>>
>>4988575
I have some vague understanding of how this works, but we need QM to actually clarify how things work with dreamscape and then actually stalking unconscious people's minds.
>>
>>4988219
>Mina and The Pretty Kitty
>>
>>4988646
If we can be tracked, I'd rather us head to Mina, at least then we won't risk blowing our operation like the Yosef situation.
>>
>>4988646
>>4988481

[Your occult knowledge is nearly as limited as your knowledge of Roth's finances. You DO have reason to suspect a demon could detect and track another in the dreamscape. You also know that a Reptilian of Roth's seniority could probably call in a favour with his other contacts and superiors to procure some gold... Probably. If he was motivated.]
>>
>>4988899
We.ll, that answers some questions. I'm at a loss of what should be done lads.
>>
>>4988304
>>4988306
>>4988650
>>4988410

With limited time to work within, you decide that the human lackeys are of less immediate relevance, and Mina decidedly in your corner. If you can only investigate and ply influence in one more locale on this evening expedition into the collective Hawksong unconscious, it will be at the House of Engel!

‘Irinnile, keep a low profile,’ you instruct the succubus.

‘Babe, what do you think I’ve been doing?’ she asks, a little annoyed.

You can’t help but feel you could have been doing a better job, even with no obvious sign that you have been detected. Still, it’s a tough anxiety to justify, and if you’ve been ‘spotted’ in this ephemeral place, by some occult means yet known to you… Well, how would you ever avoid it tracing you to Roth’s, and from there to other places later? No, you must assume your current strategy has worked, and continue to employ it.

Still feeling anxious, you rise high above Hawksong, and then dive low into a familiar place: the Engel manor, tinted by memory, emotion, and sense-impression, filtered through the dream-logic of every servant and noveau riche quasi-noble alike. You can sense them all, including Fynn in his bedroom and Edwin in his. Both are asleep—if Edwin stayed awake waiting for you, it seems he’s given up on your return for tonight.

The thought of keeping Edwin up, and knowing he surely worried over it without explanation, briefly prickles you with guilt… But it is easily repressed. Still, maybe you should pay his slumber a visit, anyway? There was that… Oddness with the dream-visitor. A spectre of his unconscious mind, or a dreamwalker like yourself?

…But then, what harm ahs really befallen Edwin? Do you even know it’s anything serious? And what of Fynn, whose pliability you may require to settle your financial arrears tomorrow? Without sorting that situation out, he could begin to investigate your investigations, to deny you access and autonomy. You NEED that uninterrupted access to the relics he is storing to prevent the Tower’s defences from coming to fruition!

What do you do?
>Enter Edwin’s dreams
>Enter Fynn’s dreams
>>
>>4989122
>Enter Fynn’s dreams

Give him dreams where forgiving his sons girlfriend for spending his money without permission went really well for him.
>>
>>4989122
>Enter Fynn’s dreams
>>
>>4989127
Yeah, backing this
>>
>>4989122
>Enter Edwin’s dreams
>>
Rolled 7, 20, 1, 6 = 34 (4d20)

>>4989355
>>4989259
>>4989136
>>4989127
>>
>>4989557
You half-float, half-fly up the stairs to the upper landing, Irnnile pulling you along against the almost-viscous feel of the realm which you now inhabit. You glance up at the roof, and see that its vaulted ceiling is vanished, replaced by the swirling miasma of shared ideas and induvial desires, and twinkling stars which stress like eyes.

Fynn of Engel has a bedroom quite unlike his son’s, more akin to his office. It is a place without decoration, boasting a single large bed, a dresser with an expensive-looking mirror, a candleholder, and little else in the way of luxuries. The blankets aren’t spartan, but hardly as luxurious and plush as the man could afford. Even the mirror is without ornate decoration: it is a luxury item, but built and likely employed for the purely practical purpose of helping Fynn get dressed in the morning. There are no paintings on the dressers or the walls, no spots of decoration and items set down to imply the personality or attachments of the man within, save the high-quality materials and practicality used n the construction of it all.

The man of the hour lays on his stomach as he quietly snores, asleep and as peaceful as you’ve ever seen him without a drink in hand… Not that he hasn’t possibly imbibed, you suppose. He turns slightly, and tosses some of the blankets aside, revealing an undershirt and scratching at his scruffily-bearded chin. You nod to Irinnile, and the pair of you take aim upon his head and dive into his unconscious.’

“Woah!”

‘Oh, yeah, this happens sometimes,’ Irinnile says chipperly.

The dream is a wobbly, amorphous place, awash in sense memories. Scents drift by, lifting and dropping you with associated emotions. A fruity apple smell lifts you slightly; an acrid odour sends you tumbling down and darkens your surroundings. An almost medicinal waft send you spinning,; a whiff of brandy steadies you. A perfume catches your nose and pulls you along with such intensity that it is almost painful, then smashes you hard into some unseen ‘ground’ in all this shapeless mess, hard enough to knock the wind from you. Irinnile helps you up.

“What is this?” you ask.

“He’s sleeping lightly, and his dreams aren’t coalescing into anything specific or concrete. Se?”

The demon points out little pockets of light, hazily0outlined shapes of familiar objects and people, patches of full lucuidity. They appear and disappear like bubbles in a tumultuous sea. With Irinnile’s help, you wade through them all, eventually finding Fynn of Engel seated at a table with a pair of undefined, shadowy figures, drinking tea. You attempt to listen in, fearing outside interference, but only Fynn is speaking.

“I think she’s really going to love it,” he says. “I think it will be a really smart investment in our future, in our son…”

The shadows merely wobble, fading in and out of focus, developing and losing facial features.
>>
>>4989576
‘Just shadows, mental placeholders,’ Irinnile says. ‘He’s imagining or remembering a conversation, but he doesn’t know or care who it is with.’

Well, with his dream so directionless, it should be an easy thing to divert its course to your desired ends! You instruct Irinnile, and the two of you focus upon the dreamscape around Fynn until it begins to solidify. The pair of you step closer, setting feet (or hooves, in your partner’s case) upon the ground as it forms beneath you. Your dress takes shape around you, your most professional attire; Irinnile at your side takes on the look of the ‘sexy secretary’ in the deep red clerical robes and spectacles you’ve seen her materialize before.

“Fynn!” you greet him warmly.

“Ismena?” he replies, surprised at your presence. “I was just…”

He looks back, but his two undefined cohorts have faded from being, forgotten.

“May I join you for ssome tea, Fynn?” you ask sweetly. “My asssocciate and I have a very interesssting, and I think profitable, proposssal, but you’ll need to authorize it quickly if we’re to capitalize on it!”

By the time you’ve left the dream, Fynn has been put through subjective hours of scenarios—maybe even days, flitting by without clear markers—of scenarios where one Ismena-directed impulsive and decisive business decision after another pays off for he and his business. He is thoroughly subconsciously primed for your return tomorrow! When you leave his mindscape, he is smiling, chuckling quietly. It’s not unlike Edwin’s smile…


But you have no time to visit Edwin just now. Dawnlight chases you and the succubus all the way back to Roth's, to your body.

“What would happen to us if we were caught out of my body at dawn?” you ask.

Irinnile winces. “Me? I'd be fine. It's not my body. But you? Well… You'd be stranded out here all day.”

“I could return the next night, though?” you speculate.

“Well yeah, if you survived it.”

That makes you pause. “Care to elaborate?”

Irinnile titters nervously. “When someone without the ability to navigate the dreamscape is caught out here alone, or with a guide like me who can't operate in daylight… Things get dicey. And when fewer people are dreaming, it gets… Less pleasant.”
>>
>>4989578
You have no time to discuss the matter further, for you and Irinnile have reached your meditating physical form. Especially in light of what the demon has just told you, you waste no time reentering your vessel. Your eyes snap open, and you awaken once more.

<WANT: 14>

“Was the mission successful?” Roth demands, standing over you.

“Preparations have begun,” you reply.

What's your next move?
>Zivic can wait until later—you must hurry to the Engel manor to handle the matter of money
>Zivic is a problem which demands immediate resolution—you will shapeshift into a less-conspicuous form and visit Goblintown by daylight
>You're famished—you need food, and maybe some more rest
>Your WANT is creeping higher… And Roth is a satisfyingly-aggressive mate, when you can egg him into it with magic and teasing…
>Write-in
>>
>>4989579
>Zivic can wait until later—you must hurry to the Engel manor to handle the matter of money
>Blueball Roth so we can "use" him the next time
Seems like we'll be returning here soon enough and we can burn some of that WANT with Edwin when we deal with our wholesome business midgets.
>>
>>4989579
>Zivic can wait until later—you must hurry to the Engel manor to handle the matter of money
>>
>>4989579
>Zivic can wait until later—you must hurry to the Engel manor to handle the matter of money
>>
>>4989602
Supporting

Our WANT is creeping up and it needs to be sorted before we assault Zivic‘s hiding place
>>
[May take a break for a day or so--bit of a rough week, and I'm loopy on anti-cough meds just now anyway. Will post when able!]
>>
>>4990406
Stay healthy QM, and I hope things improve for you mate.
>>
Rolled 20, 3, 13, 1 = 37 (4d20)

>>4990422
Thanks! Taking a crack at a post before bed at least...

>>4990001
>>4989799
>>4989723
>>4989602

Writing up...
>>
>>4990559

You rattle off a rather perfunctory debrief to Roth, leaving out your personal matters. You’ve spurred some suspicions and misgivings, and gathered a bit of cursory information on your shared foe: Devil-Zivic is gathering materials through paid or manipulated minions, and doing her work above a mushroom-based apothecary in a distinctive tenement, through a mysterious half-orc. It’s not a bad lead.

For now, though, you offer Roth only a passing, mocking flirtation as you shift your shape into something more suitable for travel by daylight… Though this necessarily increases your unholy hunger for magical and emotional energies.

<WANT: 15>

Still, you can’t exactly go about with wings. In fact, you have to ‘borrow’ one of Roth’s shirts—an ill-fit, given his much broader frame—given your dress have been shredded by the formation of wings last night. He puts up little fight, and a little spark of succubus power keeps him fixated on you as you change. You cackle mean-spiritedly as you leave him to his unnatural, out-of-season frustrations.

The trek across town is as easy as it gets—early mornings are always quiet, relative to Hawksong’s normal, even if they’re more bustling than anything isolated little you every experienced while you were being reared and prepared in the caverns below. You don’t slow down to appreciate it, though, for you have business.

Still, the successful night and the teasing of Roth combine with your relaxing walk and your ever-mounting <WANT>. When you arrive and are seen into the Engel household, you are immediately scanning for Edwin like a gecko seeking a cricket.

“Izzy, welcome b—”

You interrupt the tall glass of water in his oh-so-wholesome morning greeting to wrap your arms around him, leap upon him, and to kiss him with ferocious and predatory savagery.

“What has gotten into you?” he asks, startled but smiling as you very nearly bowl him over.

“You, hopefully, and ssoon,” you and Irinnile whisper into his ear as one, giving the lobe a lick.

Edwin flushes, and looks with apparent embarrassment at his family servants… But despite muffled protestations, he doesn’t disappoint. Within a few more minutes, you are within your guest bedroom, and your want is…

<WANT: 13>

Sated QUITE effectively.
>>
>>4990566
‘Fuck,’ Irinnile says. ‘Were YOU riding him for that last orgasm, or was I? I lost track.’

‘Who cares? We both felt it,’ you reply, still in the afterglow...

But speaking of afterglow…

‘…Is he glowing?’ you ask after a moment

You and Irinnile fix Edwin with a stare that sets him to self-consciousness where he lies underneath you.

“…Is something wrong? Is there something in my teeth?”

To your mystical senses, your painfully and ashamedly unmagical paramour’s aura is indeed aglow with an even more swollen aura of magical energy. Neither you nor the demon know what to make of it.

You make a note to address the matter later, but for now you require physical sustenance to accompany the spiritual-sexual sort. Over breakfast, Edwin’s blissed-out expression fades to concern.

“Have you decided how we’re to tell father?”

“About the dwarvess?” you ask through a mouthful of bacon omelette. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Edwin frowns. “Izzy, I’m serious.”

“Sso am I,” your eassure him with a smile. “I’ll sort it out.”

Do you do anything else while you await the dwarves?
>Plan a shopping excursion with Edwin—better to keep an eye on whatever’s going on with him, and to refresh your wardrobe
>Ask Edwin how he’s been feeling, and what he makes of recent events (ie. the sewer massacre, the dwarven materials you’ve been studying… Any weird dreams or odd magical feelings he’s been having)
>Seek a threesome, or at least a dinner date, with Paula from the Initiate’s Village—you have an in into the Tower there, and want to work that angle
>Discuss the plans for your shirin enterprise—you still need to decide what to do with your first shipment, and how to safeguard subsequent ones
>Ask Edwin what he knows about orc and goblin magic, and Goblintown more generally
>Write-in
>>
>>4990567
>Plan a shopping excursion with Edwin—better to keep an eye on whatever’s going on with him, and to refresh your wardrobe
>Seek a threesome, or at least a dinner date, with Paula from the Initiate’s Village—you have an in into the Tower there, and want to work that angle
>Ask Edwin what he knows about orc and goblin magic, and Goblintown more generally

We can ask the other bits when we come back tomorrow. I think today we should be dealing with Quicerys (shirin and WANT), our thralls (WANT and mindfuckery), with either a dash of bulli Agatha (if Edwin want to do the shopping trip now) or fixing the Mina/Zivic situation at the Pretty Kitty. With any luck, we can begin distribution of our shirin at the Pretty Kitty, nail two personal projects with one stone here, and hone our psychic craft on the thralls as we decide what to do with them (I do think having some sleeper agents around has some utility, and they may help with distribution of our shirin, though I know some anons here have a murder boner going for the thralls here). I hope we can clear our plate of some of our minor projects today, and really hammer away at our bigger ones come nightfall and the day after.
>>
>>4990567
>>4990610
So threesome and shirin with Quicerys and Edwin, ultimate mindrape and foursome with thralls, topped off by shopping for clothes and embarassing Agatha or kissing Mina's ass? I kneel.
Supporting Quicerys+Agatha+Thugs.

I'm not the one with murder-boner, but don't feel like having those particular lowlife idiots as tools is... the best we can get. Plus they could have one or two things tying them to the rat extermination (by being seen/having left a trace or being tracked down by the association to their dead friend).

How many days left, RQM?
>>
>>4990835
<Eight days to the Tower Gala>
>>
>>4990835
All the important villains have mook they can throw around. What are we, some kind of protagonist?

In all seriousness, these thrall seem like they have deep pockets and connections, giving that they're acting like street thugs in adventurer armor in broad daylight no less. No fear, retarded as all hell, still somehow manages to get expensive armor? Clearly affluent, these thralls.
>>
>>4991023
>some kind of protagonist
Precisely. We're not evil, just have a business in putting humans out of business. I won't let you smear our snek's name, anon.

>deep pockets and connections
I would actually like to ask our dearest QM whether any of what you said here is true. Ismena would definitely observe these things.
>No fear, retarded as all hell
Literally half of the reasons why I don't want to use them. They're expendable trash, not a quality asset.

Again, I don't want to flatline the fuckers, but won't hesitate to drop them when their death will be beneficial or even as much as give us a situational advantage.
Or we could just let them live their pitiful lives without a single memory of us, but I know you don't wanna do that.
>>
>>4990567
>Ask Edwin what he knows about orc and goblin magic, and Goblintown more generally
>>
>>4990567
>Ask Edwin how he’s been feeling, and what he makes of recent events (ie. the sewer massacre, the dwarven materials you’ve been studying… Any weird dreams or odd magical feelings he’s been having)

>Seek a threesome, or at least a dinner date, with Paula from the Initiate’s Village—you have an in into the Tower there, and want to work that angle

>Ask Edwin what he knows about orc and goblin magic, and Goblintown more generally

Mostly conversations about immediate issues
>>
>>4991023
>>4991062
[Their armour isn't as functional or as ornate as someone truly upper crust would be wont to buy. They aren't peasants, but probably not nobility or from the same kind of money as Edwin and Janus. Likely children of upper-middle class landowners or artisans, going solely off of mannerisms and equipment.]
>>
>>4991062
I actually don’t mind leaving them to their own devices, I just figure they’ll good practice for our psychic abilities, and I figure the other anons don’t want to leave loose ends in regards to these thralls. I find it amusing that anons complain about not having enough time in the day to keep our plates spinning, yet go ballistic when we attempt to enlist some help to finish some of our secondary priorities.
>>
>>4991494
I am the one who said we had too many things to do and wants to corrupt Edwin and use his "skills" to help our cause.
Again, these guys can't really help much aside for fighting and being a little harem, lmao.
>>
>>4991859
And being our street dealers, but I never imagined they being able to help us in any of our larger goals anyway, just our personal pet projects (such as finally finishing off the were-rats and potentially helping with shirin distribution). I certainly don’t see them as being able to help us out in any of our larger schemes (let alone the Grand Design), but I also don’t want to get bogged down trying to distribute our shirin by ourselves, what with everything else on our plate. We need dealers, people we can manipulate with ease and aren’t too important that we have to worry about their safety or welfare.
>>
>>4991893
Fair enough, anon. I don't really focus on production and distribution, just the business side of things.

I hope that RQM is getting better.
>>
>>4990610
>>Plan a shopping excursion with Edwin—better to keep an eye on whatever’s going on with him, and to refresh your wardrobe
>>Seek a threesome, or at least a dinner date, with Paula from the Initiate’s Village—you have an in into the Tower there, and want to work that angle
>>Ask Edwin what he knows about orc and goblin magic, and Goblintown more generally

[These seem to be the winning prompts. Writing up!]
>>
>>4992394
“I wass wondering,” you change subjects, “You’ve been studying nonhuman magicss, yesss?”

“I have,” Edwin replies with a bit of confusion at the sudden shift in topics.

“What about goblins, and orcs?”

Edwin chuckles slightly. “What about them? The orcs hardly trust magic, outside of their… I’m not sure ‘religion’ is the right terms. And goblins are almost antithetical to magic—it doesn’t work well on them, and they don’t work well with it. Any spell they try to cast is a fireball, whether that’s what they’re going for or not, and it’s as likely to explode them as anyone else.”

You frown. What would Zivic want with such beings, then?

“What about occultisssm?” you ask, following a hunch.

It’s Edwin’s turn to frown now, and to stroke his chin. “It’s… Not really my field of study. It’s far too risk, and illegal without a special Tower dispensation, and you can’t find any good literature on it anyway.”

You say nothing about your own dabbling, of course, merely nodding.

“That said…” Edwin pauses. “Well, orc religion is pretty demonology, from what I understand. I guess it’s not a refined sort of occultism, but it probably counts. So… Yes, I suppose it’s pretty in-line with what they do for magic!”

“I ssee,” you say. And so you do: the Devil-Zivic would find, in a half-orc raised among orcs, a more magically-inclined scion of a race and culture that might worship it and do its bidding, with incurious cannon-fodder in the form of magically-resistant goblins. THAT’S trouble.

“Why were you wondering?” Edwin asks.

“Work took me near Goblintown” you half-lie, easily and swiftly, “and you know me—alwaysss interessted in the mysstic artss!”

Edwin grins. “I really do lo—err… You know, really appreciate that about you, and the way your min works. You’re always learning, always exploring… It’s really impressive.”

Your heart flutters a little disconcertingly in your chest at the praise, and you clear your throat.
>>
>>4992436
“Sspeaking of magic… What did you think of that Tower girl yessterday? Paula?”

You turn the tables on Edwin, and now he is the flustered one. “I… Ummm… She was nice. She seemed… Nice.”

You smirk.

“What do you think about paying her a… Visssit? I could use ssome new clothes. Maybe she could come shopping with ussss? Get something to eat? Get to know each other a little better?”

Edwin fidgets slightly, uncomfortable. By his aura, though, you can sense more than a twinge of interest. Your priming of the man has been a success, and you’re confident that the feelings you stimulated in Paula will be easily reactivated, too. Building that relationship can only help in the days to come, in getting to know more about the Tower, its defences, and its storage facilities.

“They do have some magical clothing stores that might be your sort of thing,” Edwin suggests. “But they’re not inexpensive, and with the whole situation with Helga and Kelvyn…”

“Like I ssaid,” you say, placing your hand on his across the breakfast table. “Don’t worry about that. I’ll handle that. Afterwardss, let’ss go on thiss date!”

Edwin frowns, troubled again by the thought of the negotiation to come, and his father’s reaction… But he assents.

Before long, the moment of truth ahs arrived. Both dwarves are punctual, as is their nature: Helga and Kelvyn arrive almost simultaneously at the arranged-upon time, despite having set off from different sides of the city and no doubt keeping very different schedules. They nod to each other in forced politeness, of common purpose this day, and both greet you and Edwin more warmly. Neither is so gauche as to outright demand payment, but it’s clear why they’re there.

“Come in,” you insist. “Have ssome breakfast!”

You smile widely as they take a seat and the servants plate their food and pour their beverages. Kelvyn grumbles a bit about the non-alcoholic nature but Helga is clearly tired from her late night and is more than happy to take some tea for the caffeine.

What do you do?
>Send Edwin to fetch his father, and attempt to haggle the fee down a little bit more
>Go fetch Fynn yourself, to ensure your dream-time shenanigans are still affecting him as potently as possible
>Offer one or the dwarves full-time employment as Engel employees [who? In what capacity?]
>Request further services, on a contractual consultant basis [what services?]
>Write-in
>>
>>4992441
>Go fetch Fynn yourself, to ensure your dream-time shenanigans are still affecting him as potently as possible
>>
>>4992441
>Go fetch Fynn yourself, to ensure your dream-time shenanigans are still affecting him as potently as possible
>>
>>4992441
>Go fetch Fynn yourself, to ensure your dream-time shenanigans are still affecting him as potently as possible
>>
>>4992441
>Go fetch Fynn yourself, to ensure your dream-time shenanigans are still affecting him as potently as possible
>>
>>4992727
>>4992721
>>4992591
>>4992496
Edwin can entertain the dwarves for a time, you decide.

“I’ll be right back,” you tell them. “Master Engel will want to meet with hiss conssultantss directly, I’m ccertain.”

Edwin looks considerably LESS certain about his father’s disposition towards random demihuman visitors demanding money for services he didn’t even know they’d provided… But then, Edwin wasn’t there in his father’s dreams last night, was he?

You ascend the staircase once more, this time in the more concrete and conscious daylight world, and head to Fynn of Engel’s office. You knock, but to no avail, and find the door locked. Not one to give up hope or stand around unproductively, you scan the other doorways until you find his bedroom door, approximately where it had been in the dreamscape. You march over to it and, a second time, you knock.

This time, a groaning voice replies to you: “What is it? Edwin, is that you?”

“Not quite,” you say with a smirk.

A silence follows, and a few moments later Fynn opens the door in a dishevelled, monogrammed robe and his nightclothes. Though not so tall as his heir, from certain angles this Engel looks quite a bit like a salt-and-pepper version of his son. Edwin has quite a few attractive years ahead of him, by that metric. You smile slightly at the thought, though it’s anyone’s guess if you’ll be here to see such a transformation you suppose…

“Ismena?” Fynn interrupts your thoughts. “What is it? It’s early yet.”

“Nonssensse,” you admonish him gently. “It’ss only four hourss to noon, and a man who iss early to rise may sseize the day!”

Fynn blinks blearily a couple times, but nods. “And what, exactly, is it I’m to be seizing on this day?”

Straight and to the point—though you politely ignore the way his eyes briefly drift down over you when he talks about ‘seizing’.

How do you pitch the expenditure?
>As a matter of appraisal, simple as that—the dwarves have helped determine that the stored materials are worth a great deal more than originally believed, and both Engelson and Zika companies stand to benefit hugely from another meeting with the Tower’s Secretary
>As a possible avenue to take the Engelson enterprise long term—by hiring on these dwarves and other such experts to appraise goods, you can offer an additional service to clients of rare and unusual artefacts and curiosities
>Flirtatiously, and enigmatically—play to Fynn’s attraction to you, and the impression you left in his dreams, appealing t emotion and discouraging him from asking many questions which might reveal particulars
>Pin it on Edwin—he made promises of money which his stipend couldn’t back up, and you’re just trying to salvage the situation and Engelson’s good name [reduces Edwin affection]
>Write-in
>>
>>4993214
>>As a possible avenue to take the Engelson enterprise long term—by hiring on these dwarves and other such experts to appraise goods, you can offer an additional service to clients of rare and unusual artefacts and curiosities

We played up the ‘she had good long term ideas’ aspect in the dream - so let’s play to this.

Maybe show a bit of cleavage while we’re at it
>>
>>4993214
>As a matter of appraisal, simple as that—the dwarves have helped determine that the stored materials are worth a great deal more than originally believed, and both Engelson and Zika companies stand to benefit hugely from another meeting with the Tower’s Secretary
>As a possible avenue to take the Engelson enterprise long term—by hiring on these dwarves and other such experts to appraise goods, you can offer an additional service to clients of rare and unusual artefacts and curiosities
>Flirtatiously, and enigmatically—play to Fynn’s attraction to you, and the impression you left in his dreams, appealing t emotion and discouraging him from asking many questions which might reveal particulars

Wow, look a what we accomplished on your behalf. *curtain falls revealing our true intentions* P-pay no attention to the woman behind curtains!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NZR64EF3OpA
>>
>>4993214
>>As a possible avenue to take the Engelson enterprise long term—by hiring on these dwarves and other such experts to appraise goods, you can offer an additional service to clients of rare and unusual artefacts and curiosities

Idk about the cleavage while we're at it
>>
>>4993214
>Flirtatiously, and enigmatically—play to Fynn’s attraction to you, and the impression you left in his dreams, appealing t emotion and discouraging him from asking many questions which might reveal particulars

not sure about the cleavage, may backfire
would have to be subtle
>>
>>4993218
>>4993231
>>4993233
>>4994012

Seems as if we're all pretty much in agreement with
>As a possible avenue to take the Engelson enterprise long term—by hiring on these dwarves and other such experts to appraise goods, you can offer an additional service to clients of rare and unusual artefacts and curiosities
...But with maybe a bit of light flirtation and vague details, to keep Fynn from examining it very closely. I'll be posting in a bit and, unless votes are added, changed, or clarified, that's where we're at.
>>
>>4994069
“I have found uss another ravenue to enrich and exxxpand the bussinesss,” you boldly declare.

“Oh?” Fynn asks, a little surprised, or perhaps thrown off by how well this turn of events mirrors his dreams.

“Two dwarvess are waiting downsstairss—Helga Warchesst and Kelvyn Jemkottur. I have already taken the liberty of vetting them both, for a nominal fee, and they have proven most useful conssultantsss.”

“They’re already here. And... They’ve already been providing consultancy services?” Fynn scratches his scruffy chin slightly. “What sort of services, Ismena?”

“They’ve leant professsional and cultural exxpertisse in the appraissal of the Zika exxcavation,” you say smoothly.

Fynn scowls. “And who’s to pay them for this?”

You smile easily and rest a hand gently on his arm, allowing a touch of your influence to pass through the gesture. A shiver travels up the man, subtle but to your keen eye and Irinnile-enhanced senses.

“Trusst me, with what they’ve already helped Edwin and I to uncover, these dwarvesss have already paid for themsselvess.”

“Still…” Fynn says uneasily, clearly put off by his son’s girlfriend taking such liberties with his enterprise, and his finances.

“You do trussst me, don’t you, Fynn?” you whisper softly, taking his hand in yours briefly and squeezing it. You meet his eyes and, just for good measure, signal Irinnile to swell and push up your breasts subtly.

“I… Will see how this matter proceeds, and decide from there.”

You tilt your head slightly. “Sso I have the go-ahead to pay these dwarvess, and to keep them on retainer?”
Fynn hesitates, but nods. “I will trust your instincts on this, Ismena. You haven’t failed us yet, and if this pays off… Well, we’ll consider it further proof of your surprising business prowess.”

You try to hide your smug satisfaction, simply releasing your physical and mental grasp on the male human.

“You won’t have causse to second-guesss thiss deccission,” you say.
>>
>>4994110
When Fynn descends the stairs a short while later, with you at his arm, it is also with a letter authorizing each of the dwarves to take a withdrawal from the Hawksong Royal Treasury—apparently the de facto money store around this place—in his name. It is also with an author of a small retainer and additional pay in the future if they will keep themselves available to consult on further arefacts, and fi they can refer additional experts when relevant. Helga seems a little surprised and caught off-guard by the generous offer, while Jemkottur is immediately and enthusiastically shaking Fynn’s hand. Ultimately, both accept.

“Ssee?” you whisper to Edwin, taking his side and looping your arm through his. “Handled.”

“I do see,” he says, impressed. “Your’e something else, Miss Rosgard.”

You smirk. He doesn’t know the half of it.

With this matter dealt with, you and Edwin gather what you need and load up in the carriage, to go pay Paula the mage-girl a visit, and to go on your shopping excursion. She’s surprised to see you when you arrive, but when she steps out it is to join you. Better yet, she seems eager to impress, in a much more flattering blue-and-black robe and a smaller, more stylish cap with a ribbon on the side.

“So… What exactly is it you two have planned?” she asks, as nervous as excited. With your influence more subdued in her mind, perhaps she is a little embarrassed by how forward the flirtation between the three of you got yesterday, and is wondering what to expect.

What do you do?
>Put her at ease, and talk shop about your job, Edwin’s passions, and her work with the Tower [please specify if there are specific details you want to get out of her]
>Loosen her up with some shopping, and have Edwin drop some change to fit the two of you with new outfits
>Renew your sorcerous and seductive hold on her with further glamour, at the risk of tiring yourself out early in the day if you keep it up for the whole date
>Go for the sexual power play, and begin making out with her immediately
>Write-in
>>
>>4994112
>Loosen her up with some shopping, and have Edwin drop some change to fit the two of you with new outfits
We need new outfits anyway

Build up the sexual tension by suggesting some slightly more revealing outfits for her
>>
>>4994112
>Put her at ease, and talk shop about your job, Edwin’s passions, and her work with the Tower [please specify if there are specific details you want to get out of her]
>Loosen her up with some shopping, and have Edwin drop some change to fit the two of you with new outfits

After this, I say we make a sexual power play.
>>
>>4994192
>>4994180
Whether because you feel the need to ease your new pawn into her new relationship as a willing thrall, or because you genuinely are excited for another date-day, you decide to keep the talk light. Not too direct in your snooping for information, nor to forward in your flirtation, you propose a little shopping excursion.

“I ssee you have an eye for sstyle yoursself,” you note, “and I’m in need of a dresss after getting one of mine ssinged in a wizard’ss duel with an academy student.”

Paula’s eyebrows rise up her forehead at such a nonchalant declaration. Obviously, she’s no avid duelist herself.

“No way! Really?”

You smile. “Don’t worry, I won.”

“In an admittedly unconventional fashion,” Edwin notes. This is true enough: you can’t imagine many duels are won in the Initiate’s Village through martial arts prowess and a disarming kiss.

“You what?” Paula asks, dumfounded, when your tactical mastery is explained. You leave out the bit where the chaos your glamour created was used as cover to steal a magical artefact.

You shrug. “I won. What elsse iss there to ssay?”

The three of you step out of the carriage in front of ‘Lux Annex Clothing & Goods’, a rather elaborate-looking storefront not far from Paula’s house.

“I’ve never been able to afford anything from here,” Paula admits sheepishly. “As a member of the tower custodial crew, I don’t get the student discounts.”

“Well today’ss your lucky day then,” You say, placing an arm around her waist and Edwin’s as you shove them both inside. “Today’ss on Edwin!”

“Ismena,” Edwin says seriously, “I really appreciate you handling matters with Father, but I genuinely don’t have enough money to buy magical items here either. Not even cosmetically-enchanted ones. I… don’t have a discount either.”

“Don’t worry about it,” you whisper to Edwin.

After all…
>You’re just window-shopping here, and you then plan to pay a visit to Agatha Johan, your first surface-world ‘friend’, at the Lacewing Boutique to get a nonmagical equivalent tailored based on the designs
>You plan to use glamour to charm the proprietor into a discount
>You’re going to steal what you want (not that you’re telling Edwin that)
>You intend for Fynn of Engel to cover it as a business expense
>You are fairly certain you can use Irinnile to replicate these designs with ectoplasm, the same way her summoner Lord Bianchi had her replicate a family heirloom
>Write-in
>>
>>4994471
>You’re just window-shopping here, and you then plan to pay a visit to Agatha Johan, your first surface-world ‘friend’, at the Lacewing Boutique to get a nonmagical equivalent tailored based on the designs

Spending crazy gold on this girl might get her suspicious. What is this, second or third time we've even talked to her?
>>
>>4994471
>You’re just window-shopping here, and you then plan to pay a visit to Agatha Johan, your first surface-world ‘friend’, at the Lacewing Boutique to get a nonmagical equivalent tailored based on the designs
>You plan to use glamour to charm the proprietor into a discount
>(Not right now)You are fairly certain you can use Irinnile to replicate these designs with ectoplasm, the same way her summoner Lord Bianchi had her replicate a family heirloom

This will make our gal feel special, which is the most important thing. Plus, I want to see if we can replicate enchantments with Irinnile's ectoplasm later on, so it'll make a wonderful gift.

>>4994483
Nah, shit like this happens in RL, and we obviously outperform her in the income department (even if Edwin is unable to pay for it). It'll be fine.
>>
>>4994483
Supporting
>>
>>4994471
>You’re just window-shopping here, and you then plan to pay a visit to Agatha Johan, your first surface-world ‘friend’, at the Lacewing Boutique to get a nonmagical equivalent tailored based on the designs
>>
>>4994752
>>4994556
>>4994519
>>4994483
Secure in the knowledge that you don’t actually plan to spend so much as a copper coin in this overpriced boutique, Paula and yourself are free to try on all manner of outrageous outfits.

It seems the only thing more gauche and grandiose than adventurer chic is the sort of attire young mages wear when they are strutting their stuff about town. The most expensive clothing here emphasizes impossible colours and dynamic effects which shift and change depending upon the angle the wearer is viewed from. Some seem to set the air around you to sparking and sizzling in subtle manners—something you idly wonder if you could replicate with your own illusion abilities—while others just seem to stay on by some unseen, unfelt magnetism. To your amusement, and Edwin’s obvious-if-muted enjoyment, this enables you and Paula both to flaunt some rather revealing ensembles.

“Those are meant to be worn with a capelet,” the shop’s proprietor, a rather pudgy-faced human man, informs you. “To preserve mystery.”

“I have plenty of myssstery already,” you reply casually. “Edwin, I’m not sso ccertain that thiss iss quite our sstyle… Let’ss ccircle back here later, maybe?”

Of course, you’re lying. Edwin nods and, with a quick bow of the head to the shop’s owner, he hurries out. You and Paula follow him, changed once more into the clothes you were wearing when you walked in. You can practically feel the shopkeep’s annoyed glare on your back, which just sets you to chuckling.

“But I don’t understand,” Paula says. “I thought we—I thought you were genuinely in need of new clothing.”

“Oh, I am,” you acknowledge as you slide into the carriage again, wedged between Edwin and Paula, “but I have a friend in mid-town who can make uss ssomething like thiss for a fraction of the pricce.”
>>
>>4994970
However, when you arrive at the Lacewing Boutique—the distinctly non-magical (albeit reasonably upscale) tailor’s storefront where your old human acquaintance Agatha Johan works, the young woman seems much less certain. She greets you warmly enough, saying it’s been too long since you’ve gotten together and asking after your wellbeing, but she pales a bit when you describe what it is you’d like.

“Ismena, I can’t… I don’t really know how to do that! A lot of these designs and ideas you’re describing work based on magic!”

“Told you so,” Paula mumbles quietly.

What do you do?
>Forget it, then—you can magic up some dresses yourself with Irinnile’s ectoplasm
>Have Edwin buy you and Paula something off-the-rack, then, just for practciality’s sake
>Ask Agatha to put her unique and avant garde design sensibilities to work approximating some of the cuts and designs popular among the young mage set
>Offer to work at enchanting one of her designs, if she can get it close enough—it could be a good opportunity to see if you can apply what you’ve begun to learn about the enchanting process behind the new city defences
>Write-in
>>
>>4994972
>Offer to work at enchanting one of her designs, if she can get it close enough—it could be a good opportunity to see if you can apply what you’ve begun to learn about the enchanting process behind the new city defences
>>
>>4994972
>Offer to work at enchanting one of her designs, if she can get it close enough—it could be a good opportunity to see if you can apply what you’ve begun to learn about the enchanting process behind the new city defences
Shit I knew this would blow up in our face.
>>
>>4994972
>Ask Agatha to put her unique and avant garde design sensibilities to work approximating some of the cuts and designs popular among the young mage set
>Offer to work at enchanting one of her designs, if she can get it close enough—it could be a good opportunity to see if you can apply what you’ve begun to learn about the enchanting process behind the new city defences

If this fails, we can magic some dresses with ectoplasm tomorrow. We do know what Paula likes btw, right?

>>4995153
I always prefer to try shit, even with the possibility of failure, because unless it's a dangerous situation, we really have nothing to lose in the attempt, and gain our goal if we succeed.
>>
>>4995280
But anon, humiliation is dangerouss! We can't just rely on Agatha after we abandoned her like that!
>>
>>4994972
>Ask Agatha to put her unique and avant garde design sensibilities to work approximating some of the cuts and designs popular among the young mage set
>Offer to work at enchanting one of her designs, if she can get it close enough—it could be a good opportunity to see if you can apply what you’ve begun to learn about the enchanting process behind the new city defences

Gotta try
>>
>>4995373
What do you think bulli means? (But we should total hang out with her sometimes after this, when we can clear our plate a bit.
>>
>>4995385
We left that hoe for so long her interest dropped, tho.
>>
>>4995399
You might want to explain your thought process a bit then anon. As it relates to time management, I wouldn't mind hanging with her, but we have so much on out plate and so little time to finish them before the Gala that we have to prioritize what we want to accomplish and what loose end we have to tie up.
>>
>>4995410
Was just saying that leaving her for days on end without a word is not "bully".
>>
>>4995442
We got busy, and anons had other priorities. Shit happens. Doesn't mean we're still not friends, or that we can't revive that interest again.
>>
>>4994972
>>Ask Agatha to put her unique and avant garde design sensibilities to work approximating some of the cuts and designs popular among the young mage set
>>
>>4995450
>friends
hmm
>>
Rolled 17, 2, 9, 10 = 38 (4d20)

>>4995442
>>4995399
>>4995385
>>4995373

[It's been a few days, but you're both starting new careers in town. Agatha's demeanor and emotional aura have not noticeably changed in relation to you.]

>>4995119
>>4995153
>>4995280
>>4995382
>>4995470
[Seems you're all largely in favour of getting something tailored in wizarding fashion, and then trying to enchant it maybe! Rolling for it, DC 18 due to enchantment being outside your usual wheelhouse.]
>>
>>4995643
>17

So close.
>>
>>4995643
“Well you’re a masster of high fashion,” you muse, “and I’m something of a mage mysself, yess?”

“Ye-es, I guess,” Agatha says. Then, suddenly, she flushes and flails adorably. “Wait, no, that sounded conceited! I mean that you’re a mage and I’m, I’m… You know, okay a… Fashion things…”

You smirk and pat her on the back. “No need to be modesst. We both know you’re great! That’ss why I came here. Only the bessst for uss, right?”

Paula glances between you two, and shrugs noncommittally.

“Trusst me,” you say, “Agatha hass got this.”

And indeed it seems she does! As you describe what you have in mind, Agatha begins to sketch with a charcoal pencil on a scroll, rolling it out and making adjustments as Paula eventually joins in. It seems the Tower staffer has dreams of looking absolutely fabulous, too, and can’t help but take a crack at it. When all’s said and done, Agatha reveals a pair of genuinely impressive sketches that are reasonable approximations of the very designs you had in mind, and with matching pointed caps as well!

“Huh. Ismena was right—you ARE pretty good,” Paula admits, admiring the mock-up. Agatha even captured her impressive hips, and accented them with a tight-but-frilled asymmetrical dress.

“Never doubted you for a moment,” you say with a wink, setting Agatha to blushing embarrassedly and mumbling a muffled thank you.

The up-and-coming seamstress sets herself to gathering appropriate fabrics and materials. They’re nothing compared to the exotic and enchanted materials of the shop in the Initiate’s Village, but they ARE a fraction of the cost. Still not INexpensive, but well with Edwin’s allowance. And as for the rest? You crack your knuckles, roll you neck, and grin. This is where YOU come in!

…But, despite your best efforts, you don’t. Not really, anyway. You focus your energies, run your hands across the materials, and set you mind to replicating some of the simpler cosmetic enchantments you witnessed in Lux Annex. Again and again, though, they fizzle out as soon as you take your hands away. Try as you might, you cannot seem to set a permanent (or even semi-permanent) effect upon the fabrics. Your illusion seems to require your presence and focus to maintain.
>>
>>4995679
Agatha smiles reassuringly. “I think it’s really impressive that you can create all those different shimmering effects, and those sparkles, all just by memory!”

“It is quite impressive for someone with no formal training,” Paula notes, trying not to sound jealous even as she commends you. “You’ll have to tell me your secret sometime…”

“She’s just an amazingly fast learner,” Edwin praises you, rubbing your shoulder.

You’re not sure you’ve ever felt such a level of support from so many people in all your life… And at a miserable failure? You scowl… But it’s tough to stay miserable, surrounded by so much praise and encouragement. It’s an alien feeling. It feels… Wrong, and right, and weird. You shake it off.

“Well the dresses won’t stay one without… Support… And straps and such,” Agatha says, looking away slightly at the discussion of particular anatomy. “But I can probably modify them a little and have these both ready for you two tomorrow!”

An impressive turnaround time, but then you’re sure Agatha will set herself doggedly to task… And that her employer, well acquainted with the gold you bring to bear, won’t object to prioritizing your project.

“That ssoundss good,” you tell her.

“I have to admit, I’m still excited to see you—I mean, us, rather—in these.”

You smirk at the slip-up, and contemplate what’s next. You have work tonight, of course, but it’s still only late afternoon.

What do you do?
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that private Tower tour
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that ‘private Tower tour’ [seduction]
>You have to master enchantment—you WON’T fail. Time for a study date!
>Suggest dinner, and invite Agatha
>Call it an evening—you have some spycraft to do before work tonight
>Write-in
>>
>>4995681
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that ‘private Tower tour’ [seduction]

I don't mind a study date though.
>>
>>4995681
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that private Tower tour

We should fit in that enchantment training though, we were so close!
>>
>>4995681
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that private Tower tour
>>
>>4995681
>Suggest Paula take you and Edwin on that private Tower tour
>>
Rolled 3, 10, 8, 8 = 29 (4d20)

>>4996176
>>4995719
>>4995688
[3 politesse dice, one mystery die]
>>
>>4996274
>>4996271
>>4996176
>>4995688

“If you’re comfortable with it, I think that private tour of the Tower might be nicce,” you suggest to Paula.

“Oh!” she says, remembering your little proposal the other day and blushing slightly. She clears her throat, composed herself, and repeats. “Oh, well, I’m not supposed to let people into the Tower with my badge, at least not without logging you as visitors.”

“Edwin, you’re curiouss, too, aren’t you?” you ignore the misgivings to recruit Edwin to the cause.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to put anyone out, but… Yes! Of course I am. I’ve never seen the offices and storage facilities in The Mages’ Tower before! Do you have access to, you know, the student library?”

You smile and look back to Paula. You knew Edwin would be unable to hold back his enthusiasm, and you know your combined peer pressure (and perhaps the possibility of some vaguely taboo flirtation) will press upon the feeble will of your newest acolyte…

“I’m sorry,” Paula says, frowning. “But… No. I can’t afford to lose this job. It’s my only way into the Tower! If we’re found out, it’s all over for me.”

You keep your glower deep within, far from your beatific smile. That was… Unexpected. You suppose your magical influence from the other day has long waned. There is only the beginnings of affection and camaraderie to influence the tower staffer now, and she clearly doesn’t trust or adore you enough yet to risk her career by breaking the rules of the enshrined institution where she one day hopes to find her future.

Understandable? May. Frustrating? Absolutely. What do you do?
>Turn on the glamour, and even use Irinnile if you must—Paula WILL invite you into the Tower this day
>Don’t push too hard, lest you give the game away, but continue to build this relationship with a dinner out with the four of you
>Slyly and seductively suggest you know another place where the three of you can have some ‘privacy’, then—the storehouse, where you can pick Paula’s brain about the artefact
>Pressure Paula socially, and bully her into acquiescing. What is she, a square? A NERD?
>Write-in
>>
>>4996280
>Don’t push too hard, lest you give the game away, but continue to build this relationship with a dinner out with the four of you
>>
>>4996280
>Slyly and seductively suggest you know another place where the three of you can have some ‘privacy’, then—the storehouse, where you can pick Paula’s brain about the artefact

Remember lads, seduction is our best asset.
>>
>>4996280
>Don’t push too hard, lest you give the game away, but continue to build this relationship with a dinner out with the four of you
>>
>>4996280
>Slyly and seductively suggest you know another place where the three of you can have some ‘privacy’, then—the storehouse, where you can pick Paula’s brain about the artefact

Seduction go!
>>
>>4996280
>>Slyly and seductively suggest you know another place where the three of you can have some ‘privacy’, then—the storehouse, where you can pick Paula’s brain about the artefact
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 19, 6 = 31 (4d20)

>>4996866
>>4996617
>>4996484
>>4996288
It sseems we have a sslight predisspossition for sseduction. DC 11, since you're not using Irinnile explicitly and Paula is a little less relaxed, but you ARE still a master seductress hosting a succubus.
>>
>>4996951
“Fair enough,” you say easily, masking your annoyance at two failures in a row. “We wouldn’t want to get you into any trouble!”

Paula breatehs a little easier, clearly a little tense that you were going to press her. “Thank you for understanding, Izzy.”

It’s a little odd to hear the nickname spoken so casually by someone other than Edwin… But then, you suppose you can be familiar right back!

“I know another placce where we can have ssome ‘privaccy’, though.”

Paula is immediately tense once more, but a subtle probe of her aura reveals it’s for entirely different reasons than before.

“Oh?” she and Edwin say as one, both with a bit of trepidation.

You smirk slyly, and guide the two outside, bidding Agatha farewell for now so she might focus on her work. Once you’re outside, you spring your trap, and your indecent proposal.

“The storehouse?” Edwin frown and flushes, and he whispers, “But… What about Father’s men posted outside?”

“What ABOUT them?” you ask. “Ssurely we can order them to go take a walk while we take our friend on a little tour?”

Both Paula and Edwin exchange a look, uncertain but clearly interested. You smirk, and lead them into the carriage by a leash of curiosity and burgeoning interest. They honestly have more in common than you do with the Edwin, in many ways...
>>
>>4996996
The atmosphere inside the carriage is thick, the close proximity of the three of you not helping. You rest a hand on each of their knees while you fill Paula in on the excavation and the Tower’s connection to it (well, in broad strokes, without the secret specifics to which you are privy).

“Dwarven enchantment magic?” she asks. “That must be why youw ere so interested in those dresses.”

‘Perceptive one,’ Irinnile notes.

You can’t help but agree. Maybe too perceptive? You play it off with a shrug. “Magic items are also worth no ssmall change, as we learned today.”

Edwin laughs. “Always working, aren’t you, Izzy?”

You smile sweetly. “It’ss in my nature.”

“I can’t say it’s my specialty, or even that I’ve studied things like enchantment much more than either of you,” Paula admits. “Let aloen dwarven enchantment…”

“What iss your sspecialty, then?” you ask. “Wait, you told me thiss... Climatic control, yess?”

Paula nods, surprised you remembered. “That’s right. Pretty far removed from the earthen magic of a dwarf…”

You three step out from the carriage and, with guards dismissed quite easily by this point, step inside the storehouse.

“Is the Tower doing a lot of sstudy of sstuff like thiss?” you ask innocently, as you watch a new iteration of the usual expressions flit across Paula’s face. The great statues, the weight of ages, the hastily-arranged arrays of antique art and architecture… It tends to have that effect the first time.

“Well, they do have a wing dedicated to international and inhuman items of power, as well as of course wings of the library,” she replies, even as she walks deeper inside and peers around, inspecting the artefacts from all angles. “Nothing like all this, though! There’s not the room for it.”

“Likely why they needed storehouses involved at all,” Edwin comments.

“They have been bringing a lot of tools into some of the experimental rooms beyond my permission to enter, though,” Paula notes. “Stuff that could be for restoring or working stonework. And books, with runes or letters I didn’t know…”

You latch onto the lead. “Runes like dwarven writing?”

You show the staffer a sample, carved deep into one of the pillars which may once have marked off a building’s purpose or a street name.

“Not… DISsimilar.”

You hide a sinister smile behind idle, innocent curiosity. It sounds as if she knows where this room is, too, even if she can’t access it. Is the master stone, meant to control constructs and other enchanted, attuned items, in that mysterious chamber of the Tower? It's worth investigating...

You 'investigate' Paula's substantial and shapely rear as she bends over to investigate a rather ornate, sarcophagus-like storage basin, and catch Edwin doing the same. Right, the implicit erotic part of the evening...
>>
>>4996997
What do you do?
>Start fooling around with Paula, intimately and intensely, as far as she’ll go—win her over with your body and your sexual prowess, until she’s hanging on your every word
>Keep things tame, flirtatious, maybe a little making out—keep her on the line, with the promise of more to come LATER… On your terms
>Team up with Edwin to fuck Paula’s brains out… And then worm your succubus’ tendrils into her mind, to enthrall her for later use [5d20, DC 17 for a shielded mind]
>Keep things scholastic, and talk enchantment with her and Edwin—this might just be a study date after all!
>Write-in
>>
>>4996998
>Keep things scholastic, and talk enchantment with her and Edwin—this might just be a study date after all!

I worry we're moving too fast
>>
>>4996998
>Start fooling around with Paula, intimately and intensely, as far as she’ll go—win her over with your body and your sexual prowess, until she’s hanging on your every word
>Keep things scholastic, and talk enchantment with her and Edwin—this might just be a study date after all!

Turn this into a game, with the winning condition being a good fucking (and subsequent attemp to enthrall).

>>4997051
We don't have the luxury of time, and we are built for seduction.
>>
>>4996998
>Keep things tame, flirtatious, maybe a little making out—keep her on the line, with the promise of more to come LATER… On your terms

The idea of revealing dresses is that you’re left wanting more… same principle here.
>>
>>4996998
>Team up with Edwin to fuck Paula’s brains out… And then worm your succubus’ tendrils into her mind, to enthrall her for later use [5d20, DC 17 for a shielded mind]

>>4997055
>we are built for seduction
and Edwin is build for breeding
>>
>>4997325
Wait, is that the coveted 5d20?

Well, that settles it. If >>4997055 doesn't get any support, consider my vote changed to supporting yours with a +1 (no force though, consent required, even if it's gained through seduction).

I would prefer to make a game of it (and learn a bit about enchanting as well), but I can't ignore a 5d20, even at a DC of 17.
>>
>>4997358
>no force though, consent required, even if it's gained through seduction
Edwin hands typed this.
>>
>>4996998
>>Keep things scholastic, and talk enchantment with her and Edwin—this might just be a study date after all!
>>
>>4997051
>>4997395
Scholastic

>>4997073
Tame-ish

>>4997325
Magically erotic, with a side of d̶̡̪͚̘̳̯̐̀͌͂̍̒ͅơ̸̺̘͚̮͍͔̠̱͔̫͑̂͗̽͂̀̆̒ͅḿ̸̟͍̀̒͆͋̍̇̑̌͆͂̏̽͘i̸̺̼̼̐̋̈́͑̐̀̐̀͆̃̊̈́͊n̴̜̝͙͉̖͓͕̪̫̝̄̈́̿̈̂̽̿̽̈́̐͜a̵̧̧͎̖͓̼͖̘̪̗͙̦̝̐͆̍͒̂͊ṯ̶̨̧̮͚̥̳̊i̶̧̯̣̟͓͇̥̭̺̫͌̑ö̸̼̹͔͖̣̦̫̜́̀ͅn̶̡̤͔̥͇̹̫̠̗̖̰̈̓́̈͆̃͆͐̂̂͐̑̚͜͠͝

>>4997055
A mix of scholastic and sexy, with the above as a back-up option


My interpretation:
>Keep the date scholastic, but with a lot of teasing, flirting, and maybe light making out, to keep Paula hooked and wanting more

Writing!
>>
>>4997487
>teasing, flirting and making out, but denying Paula Edwin's horse cock
Probably the coldest thing Ismena has done in her entire life.
>>
>>4997487
“Ssuch a sharp mind,” you comment, “and sstill, all thiss bessidess.”

“All this wha—” Paula begins to ask, before looking back over her shoulder and catching both your gaze and Edwin’s.

The amateur mage flushes slightly, but ultimately… She doesn’t stand up. Does she even sway her hips a little more while she keeps rummaging?

‘Cheeky,’ Irinnile quips.

“What are you looking for?” you ask, keeping things on an intellectual level a you approach.

“This box… I recognize some of the symbols used on the lid.” Paula gestures to a lid, cracked down the middle and stored adjacent to the basin. “That circle on it, with the runes around the outer lip and the angled shapes drawn within… The exact sigils and pattern aren’t ones I’m familiar with, but it’s not NOT like the sort of pattern you might use in a suppression or cloaking spell.”

“To hide the presence of magic?” Edwin asks, intrigued. He, too, draws nearer.

Paula nods. “Exactly! You see them all the time on Tower laboratory doors. Something was in this basin which had a magical signature, at least that’s what I’d guess. A magical signature which, once upon the time, the lid would have hidden. Maybe something to do with that enchantment magic you were talking about?”

Maybe the ‘master stone’ used for controlling the constructs? This hasn’t been a fruitless excursion after all!

“But where is it now?” Edwin asks.

“The Tower,” you and Paula say as one.

“…Well, most likely,” Paula hedges her bets.
>>
>>4997537
“But then why do they need the rest of thiss detrituss?”

“Who can say?” says Paula. “Maybe they were hoping to find more artefacts. Maybe all this other stuff is attuned in some way, and they figure they can use the artefact more easily to enchant this material. Some materials are easier to enchant than others, and its easier to reactivate an existing enchantment than to make a new one.”

“Well, aren’t you jusst a wonderfully usseful ASSSSet.”

“What to you—EEK!”

You cut Paula off with a playful squeeze of her plush rear.

“I’m sso glad we brought you here,” you whisper into her ear.

Paula had been starting to stand up, but you stop her, bending her back over the runic container which she had been investigating so closely. She puts up little resistance, more focused upon your roaming hand now.

“Good girlss desserve rewardss,” you hiss quietly, sending a shiver up her spine. “Edwin, care to help?”

Edwin, by the look of him—his breathing, his flushed complexion, his aura, the subtle tenting on his robe—would very much care to help.

“I… Don’t know. I mean, if I wouldn’t be… If Paula would LIKE some help?”

Ah, but ever the gentleman! You smirk, allowing Irinnile to send just the smallest spike of seductive influence into the fellow female.

“Well, Paula?” you ask, finegr tracing her thigh and implanting your influence.

“Yes,” she gasps, looking over her shoulder at the two of you. “P-please.”

Well, that’s all Edwin needs to hear. Before long, Paula is on her back on a slab of dwarven stone, with both you and Edwin freely kissing and caressing her. You don’t take the ‘flirtation’ to its logical extreme, leaving Edwin wonderfully pent-up in a way you hope to exploit later, but you aren’t above hiking up the mage’s dress to explore her a little more deeply with your fingers. With your influence upon them, Edwin isn’t above helping, either.

<WANT: 12>

When the three of you leave, you feel a little less WANTing. Edwin is more dishevelled than usual, and has a hungry look in his eye. Paula, for her part, is still wobbly on her legs.

“I hope we can do thiss again ssometime?” you ask.

“The day together, or… That?” Paula asks.

“Yess,” you say.

Paula hesitates, but nods. “I’d… Like that a lot.”

You smirk. Of course she would. You’re a professional.

What do you do next?
>To work! It is almost evening, after all. Catch a ride with Edwin, and let him take Paula home afterwards.
>Send Edwin to take Paula back to the Initiate’s Village—you have some spycraft to do tonight
>To the library! You need to research more about enchantment in light of all this.
>To Lord Bianchi’s! You’ll travel there on your own, but you wish to explore Irinnile’s ability to create enchanted items, if indeed she can.
>Write-in
>>
>>4997540
>To work! It is almost evening, after all. Catch a ride with Edwin, and let him take Paula home afterwards.

I don't think we can accomplish anything of note before work today.
>>
>>4997540
>To work! It is almost evening, after all. Catch a ride with Edwin, and let him take Paula home afterwards.
Edwin's dreams tonight? Dude's so pent up he's gonna fuck the dream visitor, lol
>>
>>4997540
>To work! It is almost evening, after all. Catch a ride with Edwin, and let him take Paula home afterwards.
>>
[Running a campaign today, so expect a late post or a delay until tomorrow.]
>>
>>4997988
Hope it goes well RQM!
>>
>>4997988
Have fun crushing your players, RQM.
>>
>>4998457
>>4998229
[All went just according to keikaku]

>>4997625
>>4997656
>>4997766
>To work! It is almost evening, after all. Catch a ride with Edwin, and let him take Paula home afterwards.

Posting!
>>
>>4998586
You don’t believe there’s much more you can accomplish in the time you have left before work, and you have no intention to miss the shift.

“Thank you for joining usss today, Paula,” you say.

“I feel like I should be thanking YOU,” she says, still a little winded as the carriage rolls towards your work.

“Edwin, pleasse ssee to it that our friend iss sseen ssafely home.”

Edwin nods, saying “Of course.”

You smile. With anyone else, you might expect that you’d have cause to worry, given his level of unsatisfied arousal, and being left alone with an obviously-interested female. However, with Edwin being who he is, you can’t help but feel you have nothing to fear.

…Not that you care too deeply to begin with, of course. Naturally. You’re an Infiltrator.
>>
>>4998604
You have Edwin drop you off with your possessions at the edge of the district rather than right in front of The Pretty Kitty. ‘A girl is entitled to her secrets,’ as you’ve heard Felia say, and you haven’t discussed your work with Paula. Better to do that on your own terms, if you do.

It’s a short walk from there, and then a quick trip to the bathing room to freshen up and get changed into your silk-and-coin dancewear. As you are going about your pre-work routine, you hear the quiet creak of the door, and turn to see Mina. She is totally indifferent to your partial nudity, but clearly here to see you.

“Hello Mina,” you say. “Can I help with ssomething?”

“We have a situation,” she says.

Her face is as stony and blank as ever, but her tail is flitting furiously, and voice gravelly with the snarl of feline stress. Well, shit.

It seems that Cuggi has been detained—or, rather, his temporary residence is being searched through by investigators from the City Guard and the Tower. His operations have been halted, and none are permitted to leave until the investigation is concluded.

“They’ve connected him—and me, obviously, it’s not like that was hard when we’re the only two cat-folk in town—to Zivic.”

You say nothing. It makes sense, from an outside perspective. Two beastmen, one of whom employs a shapeshifter, who have connections to a now-dead noblewoman. A shapeshifting assailant who assaulted an agent of the tower. Shapeshifting beastmen in the sewers, killing and/or being killed in what could easily look like—in fact, sort of WAS—a turf-war between non-human criminal enterprises. Not knowing of the Reptilian Master Race, it all would add up quite nicely.

“I’m ssorry to hear it,” you sympathize.

“They found more bodies,” Mina says.

“What?” you ask, not sure if she means those in the sewer or—

“Three bodies. Two young humans and an older one, a merchant. Chopped into pieces, with one partly eaten.”

‘You ATE him?!’ you demand of Irinnile, remembering the heavyset pig of a man who had roughly manhandled you several days ago, before you’d lost control of the succubus.

‘Technically, uh, WE ate him,’ Irinnile giggles nervously. ‘Only part of him! But… You know how it is. A girl’s gotta’ eat!’

You’d been hungry before that encounter, but when you’d awoken the next day… You weren’t hungry any longer.

“They suspect the fox-woman, but no one can find her.”
>>
>>4998606

You snap out of your mental back-and-forth to register what Mina has said. That makes a lot of intuitive sense, too. What are fox-women known for, but luring humans into dark places to kill and consume? You reflect on the fox-woman and your brief period working together… As well as the more intimate encounter you had shared. A shame, if she were to suffer for your activities… But better than suffering yourself, and exposing the Master Race, surely?

‘Uh, Lispy? She’s also, you know… In-the-know about you summoning me, and being possessed by me, and she knows about Bianchi, and she knows where you’re staying, and…’

Your eye twitches slightly. Irinnile is, infuriatingly, right. If the fox-woman is run to run to ground and apprehended alive, she has more than enough information to lead the investigation right to your doorstep, even if she doesn’t know the full scope or purpose of your actions in Hawksong.

“We have a… Hevaier-than-usual guard presence here, as well,” Mina adds grimly. “In case we’re connected.”

You meet her eyes. It’s an unspoken question: are you embroiled in this? Do you know anything?
>Reassure Mina you are not involved, and stay close to The Pretty Kitty, lowering suspicion and appeasing the investigators here
>Promise to handle this, and head out to seek out and ‘secure’ the fox-woman and her knowledge of your involvement
>Come clean, insofar as you can without betraying your glorious race, and work together to find a solution
>Panic, and call in your [DIVINE FAVOUR] (specify how)
>Write-in
>>
>>4998609
>Reassure Mina you are not involved, and stay close to The Pretty Kitty, lowering suspicion and appeasing the investigators here
or
>Promise to handle this, and head out to seek out and ‘secure’ the fox-woman and her knowledge of your involvement

While we're definitely seeking the fox-woman after work, I wouldn't mind if we lowered suspicion and appeased the investigators here beforehand.
>>
>>4998609
>Reassure Mina you are not involved, and stay close to The Pretty Kitty, lowering suspicion and appeasing the investigators here

But we might want to ask the fox woman to move on to greener pastures

Without telling anyone
>>
>>4998826
Supporting this.

Also, we need to check in with our human proxies (who it may be better to kill now) as well as Bianchi…
>>
[A post will be forthcoming before bed--just hanging with the fiance and taking it easy.]
>>
>>4999282
Good on you. How did the campaign go btw?
>>
>>4998695
>>4998826
>>4998940
It may worth paying a visit to the fox-woman soon, you decide. Time to move onto somewhere a little safer and more secure, for BOTH your sakes.

‘I don’t trust her,’ Irinnile mutters.

For all her usual joviality, you know the succubus has no love for the fox-woman, and you can feel through your empathic link that she has no small dread for discovery by the Tower Inquisition. What do they do to demons, you wonder, in this city ruled by a Paladin King?

‘Nothing good,’ Irinnile replies to your unspoken question, before vanishing into your psychic depths to brood.

You contemplate your course of action, but there is nothing you can do or say right now that will make your sudden departure any less suspicious, and you are not prepared to give Madame Mina and more information than necessary. Besides, surely this a wonderful opportunity to lower the investigators’ suspicion?

“No need to worry,” you say calmly, handle dodging the implicit question in Mina’s green gaze, “I’ll assssuage their ssusspicionsss with my usual exxxpert touch.”

“Kamunu,” she says, “tread carefully.”

“I will,” you say.

“I am…” Mina pauses. “I’m not your enemy, but I’m also not doing to sacrifice my home, my business, my girls… Everything I’ve worked for… For whatever it is that’s going on with you.”

She chooses her words carefully. Of course she does. She has no idea that you’ve eavesdropped on her. She (seemingly) isn’t certain exactly what you are up to, despite the Devil-Zivic’s whispers of the dark truth behind your presence. Still, the meaning is clear.

You nod, and turn around to assume the role fo Kamunu and to settle things with the city guard.
>>
The usual drunken guardsman from the front row is there in the audience, albeit with his breastplate and helm polished properly, and his sword on his hip for a change rather than checked in with Felia. Also armed and armoured are his other, less slovenly and less-familiar colleagues. Both stand at attention, square-jawed and steely-eyed, hardly even ogling the serving-girls. This is doubly impressive, for you can see Mina has ordered these colleagues of yours to pay special attention to them, with strong drinks and low tops. Felia herself, with her enormous bosom and make-up to cover her burgeoning crow’s feet, is even catering their table personally!

They’re LESS familiar, you realize after a moment, but not UNfamiliar: they are guards from the little watchman festivity which you, Robin, and Helga entertained several nights ago! One of them ahd been quite eager to play hide-the-serpent, ssuch as it isss. Both of them were decidedly gung-ho about undermining the Tower and proving their own organization’s merit by routing the rat-men. Well, no luck there, since you handled the problem personally…


Ah. But maybe that’s an in? Or maybe that could draw more suspicion to you, and The Pretty Kitty? You mull over your options once more.
>Flirt with the guards, build a rapport, and seduce and/or magic them into believing what you want them to believe
>Test the waters with the guards to gauge their opinion of the wererat massacre, and (if they seem approving) reveal your role in it
>Play it cool, and just dance and do your job; the spectacle of one of your stellar performances will keep them occupied, and prove that nothing abnormal is going on here
>Sacrifice Mina or the fox-woman to these dogs of the mammalian state, implicating them for your crimes so as to take the heat off of you [specify who]
>Write-in

>>4999305
It went well! It's actually set in the same setting as the Amican Loyalist Quest I ran a year or so back.

>>4998457
They accidentally incited a factionalist race-class war in a small colonial settlement.
>>
>>4999383
>Flirt with the guards, build a rapport, and seduce and/or magic them into believing what you want them to believe

Ah, has the Tower pushed the men of the Watch to the side yet again? Are they still sticking their noses in your backyard? Honestly, it seems like the Tower has a bit of a grudge against the Watch. It's probably the lack of a sex, with the big, strapping guardsmen getting all the attention of the fairer sex making them feel impotent and jealous. It must by why they're getting involved in the affairs of the Watch, to try and humiliate you big boys because of the lack of female attention. Well, don't worry, the Pretty Kitty recognizes the true value of the Watch. Allow us to give you some service, on the house ;^)
>>
>>4999383
I can back >>4999448
god damn tower incels
>>
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>>4999383
>>4999448 +1
>>4999651 +2
damn fucking tower incels

attaching a chad mage from a book I read for yingyang and shit
>>
>>4999780
>>4999651
>>4999448
[At work, but will tally votes and post this evening.]
>>
>>4999794
Based player-updating QM.
>>
Rolled 2, 19, 18, 17, 10 = 66 (5d20)

>>4999780
>>4999651
>>4999448
>>
>>5000349
You stride confidently towards the table around which the three guards self-consciously stand, half at attention. Felia gives you a questioning look, and you smile a shrewd smile and nod for make way. She keeps close, which might just be to your benefit: you might need her back-up for this one.

“Hey there boyss,” you greet them. “Jusst couldn’t get enough, hm?”

“You know it,” rumbles the drunkard.

The other two guards glance your way, and then do a second take. You smile, sending a mental missive of thanks to your succubus passenger for the activation of a subtle glamour to keep their attention even more effectively. You can ill afford failure here.

“I remember you,” the broader-chested one says. “Kamunu, was it?”

To your surprise, you remember his name: the rural bumpkin who accompanied you with his loudmouthed friend from that Guardsman Gala!

“Guardssman Tomasss,” you return the greeting. “A pleassure to ssee you again. And who’ss thisss?”

Tomas introduces you to his coworker, a Guardsman Levier, tall and sort of lanky. He sort of reminds you of Edwin in build )which is nice, should you need to get physical to resolve this matter), though his demeanour is stiff and formal.

“What bringss two—ssorry, three, Guardssman Crossss—to our establishment tonight? Ssurely not jusst to ssee my show again? Who’ss keeping the sstreetsss ssafe from our ‘rodent infesstation’?”

The guards exchange a series of silent and meaningful looks.

“The two jobs are… Related,” Tomas volunteers, earning a glare of admonishment from Levier.

“Oh?” you feign surprise. “But we haven’t had any troubless—oh. Oh no! Hass the Tower pushed the men of the good men of Watch to the sside yet again?”

Guardsman Cross, the drunken lout of a regular, narrows his eyes. “Huh? What do you mean?”

Levier snorts, but Tomas is interested. “Yeah, what do ya’ mean, Miss Kamunu?”


“Jusst wondering if they were sstill ssticking their nossess in matterss… You know, ssendning you to go hang out at a lounge while they ssteal the actual invesstigation out from under you.”

“What would YOU know about the investigation?” Levier spits, clearly annoyed at his assignment, your presumption, or maybe just life in general.

You shrug innocently. “Only what I heard at the gala… And in the paperss and rumour mill. There’ss been ssome activity in the ssewerss, yesss?”
>>
>>5000360
Tomas says nothing, but his gaze—all three of their gazes, in fact—are fixed upon you now. With a little kick to your glamour for good measure, even levier softens to you, with the drinks Felia hands to each of you helping things along. You take a seat with the men, and begin building a deeper and more ‘intimate’ rapport of flattery and subtle touches, eroding their professionalism by small measures until they are freely lamenting the apparent silliness of this assignment.

“Honesstly, it sseems like the Tower hass a bit of a grudge against the Watch,” you suggest after a few drinks have gone down the hatch and everyone is loosened up.

A chorus of agreement greets you, with stiff Levier and sloppy Cross alike in agreement.

“Bunch of hoity-toity bookworms thing magic can make up for a proper walk ‘round the cobblestones!” Cross belches. “They don’t know Hawksong like us!”

“No respect for the non-magical,” Levier agrees.

“It'ss probably the lack of a ssex,” you say.

Tomas practically chokes on his drink at the sudden remark. Cross gufafws.

“What?” Levier asks, as if he didn’t hear or understand.

“They’re all ccelibate,” you explain. “Meanwhile, you have all these sbig, sstrapping guardssmen getting all the attention of the fairer sssex, making them feel impotent and jealousss.”

Levier frowns, but looks as if, in his foggy-minded state, he’s actually cosndiering this petty line of thought.

“It must by why they're getting involved in the affairss of the Watch, to try and humiliate you BIG boyss because of the lack of female attention.”

You slide your foot up Levier’s thigh, and stroke it along his crotch with a soft swing motion. It makes him jump at first, and then flush and squirm. You smirk, and scoot in closer… Upon Tomas’ lap. He attempts to shift, perhaps a little uncomfortable at first, but as you settle more ‘comfortably’ into place, you feel him stiffen between your buttocks.

“Well, don't worry, The Pretty Kitty recognizess the true value of the Watch. Allow uss to give you some sservice, on the house…”

The fools are eating out of your hands, and eager to dine still more deeply than that upon your offerings. With a gesture, you summon Felia, Robin, and Vivian. While the twins take the stage, you escort your three brave night-watchmen into the back rooms, and occupy their attentions as only the skilled professional of The Pretty Kitty can.

>Feed your <WANT>
>Take advantage of the opportunity to influence the officers more deeply, implanting false memories or artificial ideas [specify what]
>Keep it simple and sexy, and send them on their way
>Write-in
>>
>>5000362
>Feed your <WANT>

I trust Irinnile not to go overboard with her snacc, and she deserves a bit of a treat.

>Take advantage of the opportunity to influence the officers more deeply, implanting false memories or artificial ideas [specify what]

Pleasant memories of Kamunu, making them more susceptible to our influence. Otherwise, the Pretty Kitty is a boring dead-end in this investigation, and probably Cuggi's business as well, and they're damn sure that the Tower is stealing their investigation out from under them if this posting is anything to go by (and that's assuming that they aren't out to humiliate the Watch as well). Have them stir up some trouble and discord between the Watch and the Tower. And if we're feeling pretty frisky lads, we can even make them assume that the real investigation lay in Goblin Town.
>>
>>5000362
>Take advantage of the opportunity to influence the officers more deeply, implanting false memories or artificial ideas [specify what]

No want feeding, I'm kinda mad Irinnile ate that guy without asking us. She didn't even tell us after the fact, we had to hear it from Mina and got blindsided.

Also you know delicate situation and whatnot

Subtly twist their memories to reinforce what we talked about tonight. Make all their interactions with Tower personnel more condescending from the Tower side, inject lingering resentment on the Guardsmen side.
>>
>>5000492
Actually, that was the night that we posed as a streetwalking catwoman, and had that fat fuck start abusing a beating on us before we blacked out. Next thing we knew, we're we in bed with Edwin after quite a wild night of ranchy sex. Given that Edwin was off limits to Irinnile at the time, we decide it was best to not talk to her after crossing the red line that was Edwin. I'm more miffed that she didn't properly dispose of the body instead of gobbling chunks out of the man. Could have certainly done with a bit of a warning though, Irinnile.

Regardless, we should top off our WANT while we have the opportunity, as I'm sure we're going to go though it fast tonight if we want to search for Foxy after our shift is finished. This reminds me of previous goal we had, 'PERSONAL/TACTICAL: Explore options to make Irinnile more ‘fuel efficient’ and obedient'. We should definitely revisit that option sometime after we fix the current mess we're in. Maybe Foxy can be of some assistance in that venture?
>>
>>5000492
Actually, that was the night that we posed as a streetwalking catwoman, and had that fat fuck start abusing and beating on us before we blacked out. Next thing we knew, we were in bed with Edwin after quite a wild night of ranchy sex. Given that Edwin was off limits to Irinnile at the time, we decided it was best to not talk to her after crossing the red line that was Edwin. I'm more miffed that she didn't properly dispose of the body instead of gobbling chunks out of the man. Could have certainly done with a bit of a warning though, Irinnile.

Regardless, we should top off our WANT while we have the opportunity, as I'm sure we're going to go though it fast tonight if we want to search for Foxy after our shift is finished. This reminds me of previous goal we had- 'PERSONAL/TACTICAL: Explore options to make Irinnile more ‘fuel efficient’ and obedient'. We should definitely revisit that optio