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This is a message, the first in a series of thirteen messages. You must pay attention to them!

Leaving these messages was important to us, as we know things that you may not.

This is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing is valued here.

What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. These messages are warnings about that danger.

The danger is still present in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is as great as it is in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is to the world, and absolutely everything in it, including yourself. It can spread. It can kill.

The danger is effects from the universal degeneration of magic, effects that we called the Strangeness.

The danger here is sealed in with lead, but it can be loosed if the site is disturbed physically.

The danger may have already bled out from containment, fouling the ground underneath you.

Do not drink from wells or streams near this place, or eat plants and animals you find around here.

Do not linger, do not settle, do not cultivate this place, or any land within sight of this stone.

For your sake, for the world, and for all you hold dear, shun this place, or you will suffer for our sins.


- A series of messages to future civilizations, engraved in several languages on a warning stone, buried by the Inquisition above a Leadbelly grave. Leadbelly graves are an absolute last resort used only for bodies or artifacts that are both too dangerous to mitigate and are Strange enough that their Strangeness will not naturally dissipate for hundreds or thousands of years.

Your name is Chlotsuintha, and among other things, you are in danger. You are a sneakthief, who after robbing a foreign merchantman at anchor is now wanted as a pirate. Additionally, in the commission of that crime, you forced the ship’s captain to open up his own strongbox, which the Port Authority has decided constitutes illegal hostage taking and illegal ransoming. Obviously, they cannot hang you three times, so it is likely that before any execution took place there would be some form of corporal punishment for you instead – probably several hour-long sessions of being strappadoed, if only because the winch-gallows doubles as a strappado. But whatever that punishment would end up being, it would be nothing compared to the punishment for being caught as a Leper who broke curfew and removed their Spotted Cloak, or what would happen to you if you were discovered by the Inquisition as a Witchlet. You are actually hard pressed to say which would be worse.
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>>4994632
Mitigation on a Stranger is a brutal process – and they do not kill you beforehand. Strangers lose all stability they had when they die, so all of the Strangeness that has accumulated in them through dissipation comes surging back. To protect themselves and their surroundings against this surge, the Inquisitors and Cleansers will attempt to mitigate away as much of this accumulation as possible before the Stranger dies. For someone as Strange as you are, you guess that you would probably be alive for a week or so at the bare minimum, while they target your body, piece by piece. What exactly you would go through would depend on whether a Cleanser or a Mitigator was performing the mitigation, and what where they were mitigating you with, but whoever it was and whatever they were using, the pain would be unspeakable. But it is possible that maybe your luck would turn white one last time, and you would be declared too Strange to mitigate safely with the equipment and personnel on hand, so you would get buried alive in a Leadbelly grave, or you would be left to die from dehydration inside a Lead Maiden. Neither of those are pleasant ways to die, of course, but are quicker and less painful than any manner of mitigation.

On the other hand, the fate that awaits as a Leper who tried to change out of their spots is not quicker than mitigation, and at points could be as painful as a mitigation. There is no doubt some official name for this punishment, but all of the denizens of the Midden call it ‘death by donation’. The bastards at the Chirurgeon’s Guild will occasionally request convicted criminals or Lepers to be sent to their guild house or the University’s Medical School, so that they can be practiced or experimented on … but those that have been requested are expected to be returned in good working order, or at the very least, in condition comparable to how they were when they were sent in. And while there is always a chance that someone who was requested is not going to be coming back, or that they will come back all frayed up, those are exceptions – if not rare, then at least very, very uncommon. Of course, those conditions only apply to those that have been requested. For Lepers and others convicted of capital crimes who have been sentenced to death by donation, they are never going to be returned or released. Which means that the vultures can be much more … vigorous with their experiments, not to mention that and that they can deliberately inflict injuries or induce illnesses to practice healing and treating. Father occasional has some dealings with members of the Chirurgeon’s Guild and with their representatives in the University’s Medical School, and he told you a couple of horror stories about what they get up to. And as they do not get too many ‘donations’ they make a point of keeping them alive for as long as possible – months, years even, strapped to a bed, hopefully drugged out of your mind.
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>>4994634
A true worst-case scenario would be that you are caught as a Leper that broke curfew and removed their Cloak, get sentenced to death by donation, then while you are being picked apart, your blood – which carries the Strangeness – manages to seriously contaminate the operating theatre, so then you will get donated and then mitigated.

And right now, you are closer to getting caught then you ever have been, at least, as far as you know. After performing a remediation on today’s client and finishing your errands, you immediately headed to the Leper’s Lift in the Cavity, to get the hearse up to the South Burying Grounds, on the Promontory. But when you arrived, you found to your complete and utter shock that the Inquisition had gone and commandeered the lift. Earlier in the day, they had mobilized to investigate and remediate Strangeness present on the third floor and roof of a house near the cemetery – it seems that they are still moving men and equipment up there, and to save themselves time and effort, they took over the least used lift in the cavity – the one that traditionally, only Lepers or the unclean are allowed to use. Now, there are unclean Cleansers in the ranks of the Inquisition, those who are responsible for any corpse handling, gravedigging and other general clean-up duties after a mitigation, but there are only a few of them for each chapterhouse, or at least, there were back when your father was still in the Inquisition, eighteen years ago. You had also heard that the men of the Inquisition were willing to risk fouling their own souls to fight the Strangeness – but you had never seen that in person like this before. Cleanliness* is pleasing to the Patternmaker, and you would never have expected a proud and dutiful Inquisitor to take the Leper’s Lift. And for him to be so cavalier about it!

*Theological Note: the lift itself is not physically dirty, but because it is used exclusively by those that are spiritually (and often physically) dirty, most people would shun it out of association, worried that using this lift would indicate to others (and to the Patternmaker himself) that they are willing to take risks with the cleanliness of their souls and the integrity of their moral fiber.

But enough about that, this fresh-faced Inquisitor asked you a question: Over the past few days, did you see anything unusual happening in the area? Now, he has a duty to investigate any Strangeness that he finds, and questioning possible witnesses, such as yourself, is obviously part of that duty. The issue is Inquisitors also investigate suspicious individuals, such as yourself. It is more than just taking people in to take shout questions at them, or to look for any signs of the Strangeness or magic use by stripping them naked – and despite how scared you are at the moment, insanely you can feel yourself blushing at the thought of being inspected in such a manner by his – focus! Focus!
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>>4994634
A true worst-case scenario would be that you are caught as a Leper that broke curfew and removed their Cloak, get sentenced to death by donation, then while you are being picked apart, your blood – which carries the Strangeness – manages to seriously contaminate the operating theatre, so then you will get donated and then mitigated.

And right now, you are closer to getting caught then you ever have been. After performing a remediation on today’s client and finishing your errands, you immediately headed straight to the Leper’s Lift in the Cavity, to get the hearse up to the South Burying Grounds, on the Promontory. But when you arrived, you found to your complete and utter shock that the Inquisition had gone and commandeered the lift. Earlier in the day, they had mobilized to investigate and remediate Strangeness present on the third floor and roof of a house near the cemetery – it seems that they are still moving men and equipment up there, and to save themselves time and effort, they took over the least used lift in the cavity – the one that traditionally, only Lepers or the unclean are allowed to use. Now, there are unclean Cleansers in the ranks of the Inquisition, those who are responsible for any corpse handling, gravedigging and other general clean-up duties after a mitigation, but there are only a few of them for each chapterhouse, or at least, there were back when your father was still in the Inquisition, eighteen years ago. You had also heard that the men of the Inquisition were willing to risk fouling their own souls to fight the Strangeness – but you had never seen that in person like this before. Cleanliness* is pleasing to the Patternmaker, and you would never have expected a proud and dutiful Inquisitor to take the Leper’s Lift. And for him to be so cavalier about it!

*Theological Note: the lift itself is not physically dirty, but because it is used exclusively by those that are spiritually (and often physically) dirty, most people would shun it out of association, worried that using this lift would indicate to others (and to the Patternmaker himself) that they are willing to take risks with the cleanliness of their souls and the integrity of their moral fiber.

But enough about that, this fresh-faced Inquisitor asked you a question: Over the past few days, did you see anything unusual happening in the area? Now, he has a duty to investigate any Strangeness that he finds, and questioning possible witnesses, such as yourself, is obviously part of that duty. The issue is Inquisitors also investigate suspicious individuals, such as yourself. It is more than just taking people in to take shout questions at them, or to look for any signs of the Strangeness or magic use by stripping them naked – and despite how scared you are at the moment, insanely you can feel yourself blushing at the thought of being inspected in such a manner by his – focus! Focus!
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>>4994647
The Inquistion, they can be pretty damned sly when they are of a mind to be. Asking casual, seemingly innocent questions, or just getting their mark to start talking, in the hopes that they reveal something. That’s how your father met your mother – he was on assignment, disguised as a journeyman pewtersmith. She had caught the attention of the Inquisition by purchasing suspicious amounts of raw lead, and they sent him to her, on the pretext of trying to buy some of that lead for his work. Of course, here the Inquisitor is dressed as an Inquisitor, so … so what? So, what does this mean? Pattern’s peace, where were you going with this? Just – just answer the question.

“Actually … I do not know if it was anything, but yesterday, when I was trimming the hedge by the rear entrance, I noticed that a bunch of birds – Hook Gulls – were flocking to a house across the street. I … something about it looked odd.”

“Really? What about it struck you as odd?”

“Well … it was only on that house. None of the others. They were only coming and going to that one roof. I – I couldn’t figure what exactly they were doing. I suppose that’s what made it odd.”

He is still looking at you. The broad smile that he had on his face earlier has since faded, but his lips are still slightly upturned, and his expression remains pleasant … but clearly expectant. You have said all you intended to say, but as the silence and his stare begin to weigh on you, you wonder if you should mention that you asked an Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>You should mention that you asked that Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls. If this Inquisitor knew about that Leper, it would demonstrate that you were being completely honest and open with him.
>You should keep quiet about asking that Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls. That level of interest towards something that turned out to be caused by the Strangeness could come off as suspicious.

Well, it took about a week longer than I thought it would, but it is good to be back in the saddle! For new players, welcome! This quest is very very loosely inspired by the Dishonored and Darkest Dungeon games, and uses a slightly modified version of Forgotten's 3x1d100 system for rolls, except for spells, which are 1x1d100, as we usually cast a bunch of them in one sitting, and having to wait for three rolls each would turn it into a real slog. The previous thread is at http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Graverobber%27s+Daughter. I am working on getting a glossary of terms written up, but in the meantime, feel free to ask any questions you may have, about definitions, or the setting, or whatever. Also, if anyone subjected themselves to /tv/ last week, you might recognize where I got the idea for the opening: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-time_nuclear_waste_warning_messages.
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>>4994663
>You should keep quiet about asking that Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls. That level of interest towards something that turned out to be caused by the Strangeness could come off as suspicious.

I was going to do the other prompt, but on reflection this inquisitor should be able to connect the dots that we were likely the one to talk to that animal control leper if he went to talk to the inquisition. If we are later detained or something we can then later mention us being the one to talk to the animal control leper as proof of our honesty and good intentions. Also, weren't we potentially worried about getting the animal control guy mitigated? If he didn't mention it to the inquisition even though he was leaning towards it, we don't wanna let them know because he could be put in danger from getting close to the site.
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>>4994663
>You should keep quiet about asking that Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls. That level of interest towards something that turned out to be caused by the Strangeness could come off as suspicious.

It’s very unlikely the Animal Control Leaper would have told anyone about oddness of the Hook Gulls yet before Ablution, especially since the Inquisition was moving on it when we got to the South Sexton this morning, unless he somehow left the previous night and told somebody important. What’s more likely is someone living in the building squealed about how weird the room seemed, and the amount of Hook Gulls coming in and shitting on the building was strange in of itself, and that triggered the Inquisition to move in. I say we got until tonight or tomorrow until they fully mitigate the room and start searching around for other Strangeness in the area, and at least until tonight for the Animal Control Leaper to notify them of the Strangeness and potentially get picked up by the Inquisition. Assuming worst case scenario, Animal Control rats us out, but it’ll take a full day for them to get something together to look for us if they wanted to, and by that time we should be fully prepared to leave at that point (again, assuming worst case scenario). To be honest, I expect them to be more focused on finding, trapping, and mitigating the Hook Gulls than I would on investigating a conversation between one leaper to another, but that’s just my outsider perspective on this. These hormones will be the death of us though, I totally believe that.

Btw, welcome back! When I saw this quest was back, it made my day. Thanks for coming back, TrashQM.
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>>4994663
>You should keep quiet about asking that Animal Control Leper about those Hook Gulls. That level of interest towards something that turned out to be caused by the Strangeness could come off as suspicious.
The animal control leper had clothes with strangeness on him, if they find out about that then they might check us as well as a "just in case"
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The screeching of metal as the Leper’s Lift draws your attention, as well as the Inquisitor’s, so the both of you look away from each other to watch as the platform starts to ascend. Thankful for the time that it buys you, you take the opportunity to do go over it back and forth in your head. In the end,you are almost certain that you should keep your mouth shut. At least until you figure out how the Inquisition managed to learn about this. Because Animal Control does not have a process in place to make reports of potential Strangeness with the Inquisition, like the Morgue does, the first opportunity that the Leper you spoke to would have had to contact anyone about it would have been later today, after Ablution. Did someone else, like the owners of the house, or maybe one of their neighbors raise the alarm? It is possible. If that Leper picked up that something was off with the place, then they might have as well. And you need to remember, the room was communicably Strange. At that level, if you stay around something that Strange for long enough without proper shielding or protection, it can start to affect your mind, even without actually contaminating you. Headaches, seeing spots, and inexplicable paranoia area all possible with relatively short bouts of exposure – though the second you move away from the epicenter, the effects will fade away. Which brings up another point. While you are not going to stick your neck out needlessly, especially under your current circumstances, by the same talent, you do not want to get that poor sap into any more trouble than he already is, unless of course, you have no choice.

After a little bit longer, the Inquisitor, finally accepting that you are not going to say anything else, asks another question – about what time did you see these gulls? You tell him the truth, that you are not certain what hour, but it was definitely in the late afternoon. He nods at that, and does not ask another question … but he does not return to the foot of the lift or to the wayhouse. Instead, he just stays where he is, and starts absently brushing your horse’s head with his hand. While the shaft is a cacophony of mechanical noise, his silence is still getting at you, making you doubt yourself as you scrunch down on the driver’s bench of the hearse. Should you … ask him something? Would that be suspicious? Or would it be suspicious to not ask questions.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Ask him if the house that he was called out to investigate was the one that you saw the Hook Gulls on, and if it was, do they know what was going on over there?
>Do not ask him anything. He has already said that you are not in danger in the South Burying Ground, so you have no real reason to get nosy here.

I'm going to leave this one up for a bit, but I intend to get at least one more update out today.
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>>4994799
>Do not ask him anything. He has already said that you are not in danger in the South Burying Ground, so you have no real reason to get nosy here.

We've been silent so it's normal to keep being silent. Plus, his silent staring is probably a tactic to make us fidgety. That, and us asking would open us up to being asked why we would think that. If we are curious we can investigate ourselves later.
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>>4994799
>Ask him if the house that he was called out to investigate was the one that you saw the Hook Gulls on, and if it was, do they know what was going on over there?

A bit of healthy curiosity wouldn’t hurt us, right? It couldn’t be suspicious just to ask some questions in return, and gaining some info would actually help us out, which was part of the reason why I didn’t want to go full mute here. If our luck stays white, we may get a feel for how long the mitigation process will take, since it seems like there’s a lot of effort pouring into this, even though it’s getting late in the day.
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>>4994799
>Do not ask him anything. He has already said that you are not in danger in the South Burying Ground, so you have no real reason to get nosy here.

yeah let's just keep this month shut for now.
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>>4994799
>Do not ask him anything. He has already said that you are not in danger in the South Burying Ground, so you have no real reason to get nosy here.

If it were up to me, I'd say we just ask him something simple, like where he's from. Make some kind of small talk without letting it go anywhere dangerous. But, I don't know if Chlotsuintha has the social tact or speech ability to do so without being awkward.
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>>4994799
>Do not ask him anything. He has already said that you are not in danger in the South Burying Ground, so you have no real reason to get nosy here.
>>
Seconds continue to slowly seep pass, but the Inquisitor is still here, still messing about, brushing the old mare’s hair. Unfortunately for you, the old mare’s appreciative whickering seems to be encouraging him. If those damned fool Coroners brushed her down properly, she probably would not be so keen on all this attention, and maybe he would be done and gone by now. But he is not going anywhere. The Leper’s Lift continues to grind its way upwards, and elsewhere in the shaft, you can hear another lift begin to move. Whichever one it is, you can tell that it is descending – you can differentiate it by the noise it makes. While you listen, you casually turn your gaze upward to the hewn ceiling of the tunnel for a few moments. When you look down, you are startled to see that the Inquisitor has drawn much closer. He is now standing by the horse’s flank, intently looking up at you. Unable to help yourself, you physically recoil.

“Oh! Apologies, I did not mean to give you a fright.”

“N-no, it – it is just that, that you were so quiet, that’s all.”

“Quiet? Nay, not particularly. It is just that surroundings are so loud.”

“Uh - No doubt. No doubt.”

You actually do doubt it. You have excellent hearing, so even with all of the reverberating ruckus going on in here, had he drawn closer with normal footfalls, you would have heard him. You are certain he was sneaking, you would certify that he was sneaking as a professional sneaker. Was he trying to get a rise, a reaction out of you? What purpose would that serve? Would it, Pattern preserve you … prove something? No, no you must not panic, if he pulled that stunt on anyone, they would react like that, would they not? So then what, is he trying to get you off balance, to intimidate you? But why would he do that, unless he suspects –

“How long have you worked for the South Sexton?”

What? What kind of question is that? He is looking at you with this intense expectation, and whatever ghost of a smile he still had is gone now. With no idea where this new line of inquiry is leading, you have no other recourse but to give a completely honest answer.

“I’ve been a gravedigger for as long as I have worn and borne this Cloak - for nigh on eight years now. Every month, the assignments can be shuffled around, so sooner or later, you will end up in every one of the five; the South Burying Grounds, the North, the North-Eastern, the West and the Lichyard. That said, I’ve been assigned to the South Burying Grounds for the past three months.”

“Oh. Is that … typical?”

“Aye, I’d say it is.”

“So, it would be fair to say that you know the man.”

“Uh … not socially.”
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>>4995061
It seems that you were right in your first impression, laughter does come quick and easy to those good lips of his. He takes the absurdity of the joke well, and the tension in the stale, exhaust saturated air of the shaft begins to lessen. When he is finally done laughing, the smile remains, and insanely, you feel encouraged by its presence.

“What I am getting at, is that you would know something of the man’s nature, correct?”

“I would say so.”

“So then, what is he like?”

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Speak of the South Sexton in positive terms. Do not lie, simply make him out in the best possible light.
>Speak of the South Sexton in vague terms. Do not lie, simply refuse to give this Inquisitor anything he may find useful.
>Speak of the South Sexton in negative terms. You will not need to lie, the man is a skinflint and an ass.
>Before speaking of the South Sexton in any terms at all, ask the Inquisitor why he is asking.
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>>4995063
>Before speaking of the South Sexton in any terms at all, ask the Inquisitor why he is asking.

If the Inquisition is taking an interest in the South Sexton, we're gonna need to mitigate that coffin. This is obviously no small interest boytoy here has shown.
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>>4995063
>>Speak of the South Sexton in vague terms. Do not lie, simply refuse to give this Inquisitor anything he may find useful.
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>>4995063
>Speak of the South Sexton in vague terms. Do not lie, simply refuse to give this Inquisitor anything he may find useful.
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>>4995063
>Before speaking of the South Sexton in any terms at all, ask the Inquisitor why he is asking.

I don't know if this will make him more suspicious for whatever reason, but we ought to judge whether he is suspicious of the Sexton, we don't want to give him reason to unjustly harm him, ass though he may be as far as we know he is not guilty of any crimes.

I'm certain now that this guys behavior is deliberate, he is trying different tactics to get reactions out of us in order to gauge them, no doubt this isn't unusual for inquisitors.
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>>4995063
>Speak of the South Sexton in negative terms. You will not need to lie, the man is a skinflint and an ass.

If the guy has a reputation for being an asshole we shouldn't beat around the bush, otherwise this guy will take ANYTHING we say with a few grains of salt.
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>>4995063
>Speak of the South Sexton in negative terms. You will not need to lie, the man is a skinflint and an ass.

This is probably the most honest answer we could give.
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>>4995063
>Speak of the South Sexton in negative terms. You will not need to lie, the man is a skinflint and an ass.
Guys an asshole and people probably know it, so let's go with this.
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Let's take a tally:

>>4995310 Positive 0 Vague 0 Negative 0 Question 1
>>4995318 Positive 0 Vague 1 Negative 0 Question 1
>>4995321 Positive 0 Vague 2 Negative 0 Question 1
>>4995324 Positive 0 Vague 2 Negative 0 Question 2
>>4995340 Positive 0 Vague 2 Negative 1 Question 2
>>4995435 Positive 0 Vague 2 Negative 2 Question 2
>>4995499 Positive 0 Vague 2 Negative 3 Question 2

Pretty damned close, and I am still not going to be ready to sit down and write for an hour or two. I'll leave this open until then.
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>>4995514
So, I have started writing the next update, but I am fading fast. I'll try to get it up tomorrow for you guys. Going forward, I am going to shoot for two updates each day, but that could be a bit of a stretch. We'll see.

Oh, and in case it was not clear, as I have started to write, the vote is now closed.
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You cannot help but wonder if this is some sort of Inquisitor’s trick – a tactic to get you talking, something in that vein. Part of you just wants to say as little as possible, give him nothing to work with, in case this is actually a trick … but on the other hand, if it seems like you are being evasive, that could end really badly for you. Likewise, it is also tempting to ask why he wants to know about the South Sexton’s nature – and considering how out of the black that question was, asking him would be understandable … but you are just not comfortable enough. After having been completely off balance since you first laid eyes on him, it finally feels as if you have something solid under your feet. If this is a genuine line inquiry, and not some rhetorical trap for you to blunder straight into, then asking a pointed question, like ‘why do you ask’ could shift the focus of this discussion back on to you. And that is the last thing you want. So … by process of elimination, that leaves you with giving a truthful accounting of the man’s many faults.

It takes more than a few minutes, and by the time you are done painting the Inquisitor a picture of a cheap, capricious and ignoble man who acts more akin to a merchant than the religious official that he actually is, the Leper’s Lift has made it to the top of the Cavity and is being unloaded. After letting you finish, the Inquisitor has some follow up questions for you.

“Now, the South Sexton, he lives in the rectory, correct? In the graveyard?”

“Yes, the house by the entrance.”

“With his family?”

“Yes.”

“Only his family?”

“I … I don’t follow.”

“You said that he has a wife that you hardly ever see, two daughters at three and six years of age, and a son, Ralx, who helps him with the day to day running of the South Burying Ground.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“But there are no servants at the rectory?”

“Servants? No, there are servants. He has a cook, Engelbert, and there is usually a maid. They don’t last long though – between working in a cemetery, and having to deal with him, most quit before I even have the chance to learn their names.”

“So then, these servants live in the rectory?”

“Oh, no. Is that what you meant? No, none of them do.”

“Alright – now, as a Leper, your shift ends at the seventeenth hour, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And would you say that Engelbert and the maid, if there is one, would have left the South Burying Ground by twentieth hour, at the absolute latest?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“Yes, I get that – but if you had to take a guess.”

“Well … if I had to, then yes, I suppose that sounds reasonable.”

“And do you gravediggers or the servants arrive first, in the morning?”

“Oh, we arrive long before they do.”

“And what time would that be?”

“Around the seventh hour.”
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>>4996415
“Then you are saying that between the twentieth hour and the seventh hour of the next day, the only people who are present in the graveyard are the South Sexton and members of his immediate family?”

“… the twentieth hour was a guess.”

That elicits an amused snort.

“Were you not a Leper, you might have been a solicitor or a barrister. Alright then, would you guess that between the twentieth hour and the seventh hour of the next day, that they are the only ones there?”

“Yes. I would.”

“You also mentioned that he behaves as if he was a merchant, as opposed to an officiant. What did you mean by that?”

“It … it is hard to articulate, but with the other Sextons, you feel that they have a sense of duty and reverence for their cemeteries. On the other hand, the South Sexton, he seems to treat it as if it was a job. And it is, I suppose, but – it does not seem to be one he is particularly happy to have. And … and he has gone and let the gravesites in the Old Section fall into disarray, some of them pretty seriously. None of the other Sexton’s would have let get as bad as it has.”

The Inquisitor just looks at you for a long moment, and all your fears that this was some sort of trap come rushing back. But then:

“Wait here.”

He turns on his heel, and heads back out the access tunnel towards the wayhouse at a brisk jog. By the time he returns, the Lepers Lift has been unloaded, and it is descending. As he approaches, he pulls out a bright red neckerchief out of a pocket, and you notice he has a scrap of paper in the other, that has just been written on.

“The things that you have said here, would you be able to say under oath*, in front of a Justiciar or a Tribunal?”

If this is a trick, it must be the most elaborate trick that anyone has ever played. You can see what is happening here quite plainly; the Inquisition is coming for the South Sexton. What you cannot possibly comprehend is why. You can say with absolute confidence that he is not a Witch, and that he has no indicators of latent magical ability. He is not Strange either – he might just be the most mundane human to ever live. The Inquisition is making a mistake, but if they are involving the courts then your boob of a boss should be able to prove his innocence and cleanliness before any interrogation or mitigation is done to him, unlike that poor Animal Control Leper. But why has suspicion fallen on the Sexton so heavily? It cannot just be because there was a seriously contaminated house a stone’s throw from where he lives – there has to be more to it. Maybe you should have asked this fresh-faced Inquisitor why he was inquiring into his nature after all. Oh, he is still expecting an answer.
>>
>>4996649
“Uh … yes.”

He hands you the neckerchief and the paper.

“Good. Now, as I’ve got to stay here at the lift, I am invoking my Immediacy to temporarily muster you, as is the right of all of the Emperor’s direct vassals. All I ask of you is to deliver this note to the ranking authority at the ongoing mitigation across the street from the South Burying Grounds. Should be the Master Abbot, but if not – well, it is no matter, they’ll take you to whoever is. Just say that Ossavian sent you with a note.”

Pattern’s Perdition, he … you … oh … oh …

“There is a watchword at the perimeter: ‘under salted seas’. Even if they see the letter and the scarf and hear my name, the Cleansers on duty will not let you in unless you say ‘under salted seas’. You got that?”

“But – but – the, the coffin…”

That came out as a particularly feminine sounding squeak, but it seems that he does not notice.

“Fine, drop the coffin off first, but nothing else. You understand? Straight to the perimeter.”

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.
>It is one thing to have Cleansers milling around outside the cemetery or to have to talk to a single greenhorn Inquisitor. Presenting yourself to the fraying Master Abbot and the rest of his chapterhouse is another thing entirely. Try to talk your way out of this. [Requires Rolling]

*Legal Note: When Ossavian is asking Chlotsuintha if she can repeat what she said under oath, it is important to understand that he is not asking her if she is willing to provide testimony. Courts have the authority to compel untitled witness to give testimony, and if they do not, they can be charged in contempt of court, which is treated as a serious felony. Rather, by asking if she can repeat what she said about the Sexton under oath, he is simply asking if she is willing to swear on her body and her soul that what she said is the truth to the best of her knowledge.

Sorry it took so long to get this out. If we get enough votes soon enough, I should be able to get a post up overnight.
>>
>>4996659
>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.

If we play our cards right, we'll be absolutely fine. We get to drop off the coffin first, which is all that could possibly be detected by their instruments. We already know we are essentially undetectable unless they were to press very sensitive equipment right against our skin. We have his permission to drop the coffin off, alleviating any suspicion doing so. Frankly, trying to worm our way out of this will make us stand out far more than simply doing the favor. In addition, getting close enough might allow us to figure out what they're up to, and by extension might give us a clue as to father's whereabouts.
>>
>>4996659
>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.

After we're away from the lift we should see what the note says, to make sure that we're not walking into a trap.
>>
>>4996659
If we drop off the coffin and go straight home, what are the odds we can load everything up into the wagon and escspe town right now?

Would the wagon be difficult/neccessary to disguise? Do we really need the lifting oil? What could we leave with if we don't have the oil?
>>
>>4996710
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say slim to none. Not to mention it would immediately make us target, and all they have to do is ask around the burying yard workers to figure out where to find us. Almost certainly not a good idea.
>>
>>4996694
Good idea, anon. I bet he thinks we can't read.
>>
>>4996659
>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.
>>
>>4996659
>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.

Oh.. oh... o-ok.

If anything, we may be able to turn this to our advantage. If the Inquisition is going after the South Sexton, this may be a luck break for us. We're definitely mitigating that damn coffin though, and read the letter when we're out of sight.
>>
>>4996659
>>Tie the neckerchief around your neck, and follow his instructions.
>>
>>4996677
>>4996694
>>4996741
>>4996838
>>4996858
That is five to zero, an overwhelming lead if there ever was one. I'll get to writing up the overnight vote.
>>
saying it now: it won't be the old fuck, but his nice son who'll end up in the cross hair.
>>
There is now way around it – you have been mustered. You lower your hood to tie the kerchief around your neck, all the while carefully keeping yourself positioned so the fresh-faced Inquisitor, who is apparently named Ossavian, cannot see your shoulder length hair all done up in a bun on the back of your head. You did not need to worry though; as you have clearly acquiesced, his attention has reverted back to the old mare. After you get the madder-dyed linen tied down around your neck, you whisk your hood back up over your head. Eventually, he stops his ministrations on your horse long enough to walk your through everything once more. Soon the Leper’s Lift finishes its descent to the bottom of the shaft with a loud but desponding sounding thump. After easing the hearse on to the lift and securing it tightly with the provided straps and blocks, you hitch the horse to a post integrated into the lift. To ensure that the horse does not panic and hurt itself, while the lift is in operation, you are going to need to stand right next to the animal to keep it calm.

It turns out to be an unnecessary precaution. This horse has no doubt been up and down on the Leper’s Lift more than you have. Even still, it is nice to be back on your feet again. And it is not like there was anything else you could be doing at the moment – this portion of the shaft is very poorly lit, so reading the note that Ossavian gave you would be practically impossible, especially considering that you have slightly soiled gauze covering your eyes under your mask … which reminds you. In a matter of minutes, you might just be coming face to face with a Master Abbot of a Chapterhouse – a terrifying prospect, to be sure, but since you are expecting him, it does not scare you quite like the arrival of the Cleansers or your meeting with Ossavian.

Ossavian. Hmm. It is a very southern sounding name, but oddly enough, he does not look that southern. Well, now that you say it, you could definitely see his hair being southern. That nose though, with the flat upturned tip – you have never seen anything quite like it. And his skin was fairer than most in the south, but that just might be because he is always wearing the red Capello Romano hat that rank-and-file Inquisitors are issued. They –
>>
>>4997249
Pattern’s Perdition, you need to snap out of this nonsense. There was something about gauze, something important. Now, what the Hell was it?

Oh! Right, the rest of the gauze. You still have the rest of the gauze wadded up in your pocket, with the graven steel musket ball inside of it. You performed a near flawless Salt-Mitigation on it, so it is neither magical or Strange at this point, but the damage that has been done to it is clearly from a mitigation, and the glyphs are still legible, obviously marking it as a formerly magical artifact. It is not something that you would want the Master Abbot to see, nor is the suspicious amount of salt that you are carrying with you at the moment. You hold off on making a decision on what to do about that until you are off of the lift and back outside in the sunlight at the Landward Crossroads, the spot on the Promontory where the Cavity, the quickest route to and from Cleanport, and the Chip, the quickest route to and from Stickport, meet up.

You put a little distance between you and the upper wayhouse, much larger than the one at the other end of the shaft, to better accommodate all of the lifts’ machinery. Finally satisfied, that you are far enough away, you slip the slip of paper into your hand, cradling it against cupped palm and fingers, so you may surreptitiously read it as you make your way back to the South Burying Ground.

Granduncle (or Saturno, or whoever is actually reading this)

The bearer of this note presumably witnessed the device we found in operation. Their testimony corroborates the statements taken from the residents and the Leper we have in curative custody – both for the function of the device and that the device had been active since yesterday afternoon.

Additionally, the bearer of this note is a gravedigger, who has worked underneath all five of the Mount’s Sexton’s. When I asked him about the South Sexton, after some initial hesitation, he gave me a scathing and surprisingly articulate portrait of the man. Unfortunately, there is nothing to act on, but it seems that out of the five, the South Sexton is most worldly. Some possible indications that he is ‘living beyond his means’, strongly recommend taking a closer look at his finances.

If nothing definitive comes up and we do end up needing to go before a Tribunal or a Synod, then I would consider cultivating this individual as a professional witness. Their testimony will carry more weight than the others.

-Oss


Well, there is a lot to work through there, but right now, the important thing is that unless this is some sort of code, you do not seem to be a person of interest, at least to ‘Oss’. But now that you have read the note, and have a better idea of what might happen to you once you present it, what should you do about the graven steel musket ball?
>>
>>4997249
Pattern’s Perdition, you need to snap out of this nonsense. There was something about gauze, something important. Now, what the Hell was it?

Oh! Right, the rest of the gauze. You still have the rest of the gauze wadded up in your pocket, with the graven steel musket ball inside of it. You performed a near flawless Salt-Mitigation on it, so it is neither magical or Strange at this point, but the damage that has been done to it is clearly from a mitigation, and the glyphs are still legible, obviously marking it as a formerly magical artifact. It is not something that you would want the Master Abbot to see, nor is the suspicious amount of salt that you are carrying with you at the moment. You hold off on making a decision on what to do about that until you are off of the lift and back outside in the sunlight at the Landward Crossroads, the spot on the Promontory where the Cavity, the quickest route to and from Cleanport, and the Chip, the quickest route to and from Stickport, meet up.

You put a little distance between you and the upper wayhouse, much larger than the one at the other end of the shaft, to better accommodate all of the lifts’ machinery. Finally satisfied, that you are far enough away, you slip the slip of paper into your hand, cradling it against cupped palm and fingers, so you may surreptitiously read it as you make your way back to the South Burying Ground.

Granduncle (or Saturno, or whoever is actually reading this)

The bearer of this note presumably witnessed the device we found in operation. Their testimony corroborates the statements taken from the residents and the Leper we have in curative custody – both for the function of the device and that the device had been active since yesterday afternoon.

Additionally, the bearer of this note is a gravedigger, who has worked underneath all five of the Mount’s Sextons. When I asked him about the South Sexton, after some initial hesitation, he gave me a scathing and surprisingly articulate portrait of the man. Unfortunately, there is nothing to act on, but it seems that out of the five, the South Sexton is most worldly. Some possible indications that he is ‘living beyond his means’, strongly recommend taking a closer look at his finances.

If nothing definitive comes up and we do end up needing to go before a Tribunal or a Synod, then I would consider cultivating this individual as a professional witness. Their testimony will carry more weight than the others.

-Oss

Well, there is a lot to work through there, but right now, the important thing is that unless this is some sort of code, you do not seem to be a person of interest, at least to ‘Oss’. But now that you have read the note, and have a better idea of what might happen to you once you present it, what should you do about the graven steel musket ball?
>>
>>4997249
Pattern’s Perdition, you need to snap out of this nonsense. There was something about gauze, something important. Now, what the Hell was it?

Oh! Right, the rest of the gauze. You still have the rest of the gauze wadded up in your pocket, with the graven steel musket ball inside of it. You performed a near flawless Salt-Mitigation on it, so it is neither magical or Strange at this point, but the damage that has been done to it is clearly from a mitigation, and the glyphs are still legible, obviously marking it as a formerly magical artifact. It is not something that you would want the Master Abbot to see, nor is the suspicious amount of salt that you are carrying with you at the moment. You hold off on making a decision on what to do about that until you are off of the lift and back outside in the sunlight at the Landward Crossroads, the spot on the Promontory where the Cavity, the quickest route to and from Cleanport, and the Chip, the quickest route to and from Stickport, meet up.

You put a little distance between you and the upper wayhouse, much larger than the one at the other end of the shaft, to better accommodate all of the lifts’ machinery. Finally satisfied, that you are far enough away, you slip the slip of paper into your hand, cradling it against cupped palm and fingers, so you may surreptitiously read it as you make your way back to the South Burying Ground.

Granduncle (or Saturno, or whoever is actually reading this):

The bearer of this note presumably witnessed the device we found in operation. Their testimony corroborates the statements taken from the residents and the Leper we have in curative custody – both for the function of the device and that the device had been active since yesterday afternoon.

Additionally, the bearer of this note is a gravedigger, who has worked underneath all five of the Mount’s Sextons. When I asked him about the South Sexton, after some initial hesitation, he gave me a scathing and surprisingly articulate portrait of the man. Unfortunately, there is nothing to act on, but it seems that out of the five, the South Sexton is most worldly. Some possible indications that he is ‘living beyond his means’, strongly recommend taking a closer look at his finances.

If nothing definitive comes up and we do end up needing to go before a Tribunal or a Synod, then I would consider cultivating this individual as a professional witness. Their testimony will carry more weight than the others.

-Oss


Well, there is a lot to work through there, but right now, the important thing is that unless this is some sort of code, you do not seem to be a person of interest, at least to ‘Oss’. But now that you have read the note, and have a better idea of what might happen to you once you present it, what should you do about the graven steel musket ball?
>>
>>4997254
>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Keep the ball on your person. Nothing that you have read indicates that they would physically search you, and after having been Salt-Mitigated to completion, the ball will not register on a dosimeter.
>Hide the ball somewhere on the Promontory, outside of the South Burying Ground. If it is not already the thirteenth hour, it certainly will be by the time you get to the graveyard. If you are just dropping the hearse off and then going over to deliver the note, you might not have the time or the opportunity to hide the ball in the cemetery – people will probably be by the entrance.
>Hide the ball somewhere inside the South Burying Ground. It might be late, and it might be difficult to sneak away, but you have already randomly run into the Inquisition twice today. And if you hide it somewhere out here, then who is to say that it will still be there when you get back. Lots of thieves around here, you have got to be careful.
>>
>>4997219
You know, there was this one quest (I believe it to be L5R Chanbara Quest, great quest btw), where I knew from foreshadowing something that would become immensely relevant later in the quest (funnily enough, it was also in the second thread, like in this case). The difference between us is that I just made a cryptic remark hinting that I knew more than I should using a meme from earlier in the quest (I believe also created in the same thread), about our protagonist creating beautiful artworks, yet leaving one detail in the background to give it a dangerous unease to it, an unnatural addition to an otherwise peaceful painting. Subtlety is a beautiful thing in art, both written and colored, and should be cherished when you recognize it, not spoiled. Just some noodles for thought mate.
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>>4997255
>Hide the ball somewhere on the Promontory, outside of the South Burying Ground. If it is not already the thirteenth hour, it certainly will be by the time you get to the graveyard. If you are just dropping the hearse off and then going over to deliver the note, you might not have the time or the opportunity to hide the ball in the cemetery – people will probably be by the entrance.
Ditch it near a bush or tree or something out of the way, where we can get it on our way back.

Also now that we know that the South Sexton is being investigated, we either need the body Discovered, Cleansed or to tip them off that they are being looked into to prevent worse things from happening, it also serves as a better excuse as to why we were late.
>>
>>4997255
>Keep the ball on your person. Nothing that you have read indicates that they would physically search you, and after having been Salt-Mitigated to completion, the ball will not register on a dosimeter.
>>
>>4997255
>Hide the ball somewhere on the Promontory, outside of the South Burying Ground. If it is not already the thirteenth hour, it certainly will be by the time you get to the graveyard. If you are just dropping the hearse off and then going over to deliver the note, you might not have the time or the opportunity to hide the ball in the cemetery – people will probably be by the entrance.

>>4997266
well my predictions are usually wrong so there's that.
>>
>>4997255
>Keep the ball on your person. Nothing that you have read indicates that they would physically search you, and after having been Salt-Mitigated to completion, the ball will not register on a dosimeter.

We are a Leaper, who has been mustered by the Inquisition by the Grandmaster's own family. They shouldn't have any reason to search us unless we give them cause to. Still, we should properly hide the ball on our person (maybe our hair-bun?) and wrap some unsoiled gauze around our face when we get some time and the gauze.

What peaks my interest is the Strange producing machine, whose purpose is to attract Strange Hook Gulls? Whether this relates to the broader Sexton investigation, or that this is a mere happenstance, is unknown. We do know that they have reason to suspect the South Sexton (or one of the Sextons) of something naughty, but it seems like it wasn't targeted at any particular Sexton. That means we not only successfully talked our way into the Inquisition snooping around our workplace, but also made us stand out as a key witness in an Inquisition trial against our boss. Truely, we have outdone ourselves this time. Phenomenal process on digging our own grave.

Jokes aside, this is quite a pickle we've found ourselves in, one that will force us to either stay or be singled out as something other than a simple gravedigger. All isn't lost though- this may be a hidden opportunity by the Patternmaker. We not only have an in with the Inquisition, but their leadership as well. Maybe sticking around a little longer will be worth whatever leverage being mustered gives us in not only finding Father, but throwing them off his scent as well. We should still prepare and be ready to bolt at a moment's notice however.

We also have to investigate Smil's residence, and dispose of the corpse before our adventures tonight (which now includes coffin mitigation). Fun.

>>4997327
I'd take it as a compliment that I believe you're right, or that it would be an interesting twist at least. It just reminded me of my temptation to blurt my predictions out there at the time. I'm just glad I had the wisdom to not ruin the other anons' experience with the quest. Snape kills Dumbledore btw.
>>
>>4997254
Oh, I realized I should clarify two things in the note that Chlotsuintha would know, and that you as the reader would not.

1. Curative custody means that the family and the Animal Control Leper are locked away in a chapterhouse somewhere so they can be remediated or mitigated; probably remediation for the family, and mitigation for the Leper. Neither of them are pleasant as they involve the application of pressing stones, open flame and salt, but remediation is less likely to maim or kill you. Remediation is harder to perform, requires more material, and is more likely to leave residual Strangeness, as opposed to mitigation. In this society, the family would be worth the extra effort and the marginal risk that not all of the Strangeness was removed. On the other hand, the Leper would not rate this kind of consideration.

2. In the setting, a professional witness is not someone who provides expert testimony at a trial. Instead they are like an informer, or undercover detective.

Anyway, it is great to see all this discussion, so I am going to wait for a tiebreaker instead of rolling for one.
>>
>>4997255
>>Keep the ball on your person. Nothing that you have read indicates that they would physically search you, and after having been Salt-Mitigated to completion, the ball will not register on a dosimeter.
>>
Alright, we have our tie-breaker. I'll get to work on the overnight update.
>>
The unfortunate reality is that as long as you are wearing the Spotted Cloak and driving a hearse, then you are going to be the center of attention on any street you pass through. The Promontory is not like Stickport, there are no deserted streets, no rows of warehouses to slip behind. It is just houses and businesses everywhere, all of them seemingly full to bursting. If you were to stop and get off to go hide the mitigated remains of the graven ball, you would definitely be seen, and probably even be accosted by homeowners, landlords and merchants angered by your presence. Ultimately, you would have to hide the ball without leaving the driver’s bench of the hearse – so you would either have to find someplace that you could drop it as you passed by, or you would have to throw the damned thing somewhere. Neither of those are acceptable. And you are similarly uncomfortable with the idea of leaving the graven ball in the cemetery, for what amounts to the same reason – the second you get through the main gate, all eyes are going to be on you until you leave. So, for now, with no other viable options, you are going to hold onto the ball, as well as suspicious amount of Sea Salt you are carrying. Obviously, if the Inquisition finds them on you … well, if it happens, then there really is not going to be anyway to talk your way out of it. You are going to have to run for your life. In fact, now that you think about it a bit, it might have been a good idea to have stashed the steel ball and the Sea Salt somewhere in Stickport. Even if you did not know that you were be running an errand for an Inquisitor, you were perfectly aware that a bunch of Cleansers were milling around the South Burying Ground. Fraying Hell. But with everything that is bearing down on you at the moment, you have to keep moving forward.

With your line of sight blocked by buildings, you actually smell the fire before you can see it. The old mare smells it too, and whickers nervously. Pattern’s Perdition – if they are doing what you think they are doing, an on-site Leadfire burn, then the house must have been much, much more contaminated than you thought. Just what was going on in there? The note specifically mentioned a device that they found; a device that apparently was responsible for attracting the birds. Does the device only work on Hook Gulls, or was something done to those particular birds for it to affect them? Are the birds Strange, like you originally thought, or are they mundane and simply effected by the device? Did they find anything else out about the mysterious University Student who just disappeared with all of their belongings? You have a lot of questions, and maybe, just maybe, if you keep your eyes and ears open while you drop off the note, you might just get a few answers. But of course, you cannot afford to take any real risks, not in front of a fraying Master Abbot.
>>
>>4998391
By the time that you reach the gates of the South Burying Ground, you can just make out the tops of the flames on the far side of the cemetery – and while you do not fail to notice the white tint to what little of the flames that you can see, indicating that your guess about the Inquisitors using Leadfire was right on the money, what really catches your eye is the funerary wreath placed on the door of the South Burying Grounds interment temple. The wreath that is made out of distinctive, naturally black leaves, as opposed to the typical tarred laurel. Now, you cannot know with absolute certainty that this was the wreath that you saw earlier when you passed the house that had the Strangeness outside in the alley. It is a possibility that some florist has started carrying these wreathes, and that there are a few of them out there right now in circulation … but at this point, you are pretty much convinced that today’s client lived and was shot in that house with the graven ball.

As you take the hearse around the back of the temple to get to the coil’s vestibule, you find that a harried looking Vaclav is already there, waiting for you.

“Sty! By the Pattern’s Perfection, what took so fraying long? There’s a fully ordained Priest and two Undertakers in there, all just twiddling their thumbs, waiting to start the preliminary rites. Family members have even –”

“Aye, aye. I saw the wreath. I’m sorry. It was unavoidable; an Inquisitor commandeered the Leper’s Lift, and while I was waiting to be put through, he mustered me to deliver a note. I –”

“Wait, our lift? They were using our lift?”

“I know, right? Anyway, I need to get the note to whoever is burning that house across the street. I’ll be right back.”

“Wait, you can’t just leave! Smil never showed up, and there is no way I can carry a coffin by myself.”

“I shouldn’t be long – I just need to put a note in someone’s hand. I’ll be back before you know it.”

Before I know it! Sty, please, if the Master Sexton comes back here and sees me just standing around next to a still-loaded hearse, he’ll probably exempt me. And he’ll definitely exempt you.”
>>
>>4998393
Exempt Lepers are no longer allowed to work anywhere, which means that they have to survive on the questionable free meals provided in the Midden, and the potentially dangerous public water. Obviously, you do not want to see an older, more vunerable Leper like Vaclav get screwed like that on your account, but … it is not just bringing the coffin into the temple and then leaving. Once the coffin is inside the temple, the service begins, and you will need to be on hand through the entirety of the Last Ablution to move the client from bier to bier as the ceremony progresses. And then there is the added complexity of having three officiants (or four, counting the South Sexton, though his is a very small role). The last time you were at a service with a Priest and two Undertakers, it took the better part of two hours. Ossavian made it pretty damned clear that you were to get the note delivered as soon as possible, and to take a delay … you are worried that it might come across as suspicious, like you did not want to go see any more Inquisitors, or something like that.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.
>Bring the coffin into the temple, but then immediately attempt to sneak out, hoping that you are back before you are needed again. [Requires Rolling: Difficult]
>Bring the coffin into the temple, and stay at your post as you are expected to.
>>
>>4998395
>>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.

We can ask the Master Abbot to explain to our boss that we were asked to deliver the note, if we are feeling ballsy we can even condition our being a "professional witness" on it.
>>
>>4998395
>Bring the coffin into the temple, but then immediately attempt to sneak out, hoping that you are back before you are needed again. [Requires Rolling: Difficult]

Might as well try and help Vaclav out. It's a tough spot we're put in, but even if we fail the sneaking roll, it'll be just us that takes the flak, and given the the Inquisition has mustered us and that the South Sexton will need two Leapers to finish the Last Ablution, he won't attempt to exempt us until after the coffin is laid to rest, and maybe he'll be considerate of Master Abbot's letter (if we're even lucky to get a letter explaining our tardiness), but even if we're exempted, it isn't the end of the road for us.
>>
>>4998395
>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.
yeah sorry Vaclav, this takes priority.
>>
>>4998395
>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.
Deliver the letter and excuse ourselves as fast as we possibly can, we are just messengers, after all, if not at least try explaining about the inquisitorial letter.
>>
>>4998395
>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.
If it helps settle him give him todays wages.
>>
>>4998395
>>Deliver the letter immediately, as you were instructed.
>>
With five votes, delivering the letter has a commanding lead. Now, here is a trickier question. Do you want to activate your Hide-Eyes glyph? It creates a wearable glamor, to conceal your normally blank eyes. The spell does not produce enough Strangeness to spread, so it is invisible to ranged-dosimeters, but if a sensitive dosimetrist were to point an equally sensitive spot-dosimeter directly at your eyes, or at the location of the scarification glyph on your back, there might be some feedback - or if someone were to touch your eyes, the glamor would be dispelled. On the other hand, if you were to not use the glamor, and you were asked to take off your mask and the gauze for some reason, then you would be just good and frayed, as the glamor gradually constructs itself over the course of a minute.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Activate Hide-Eyes.
>Just rely on your mask.
>>
>>4998753
>>Just rely on your mask.
>>
>>4998753
>Activate Hide-Eyes.
>>
>>4998753
>Activate Hide-Eyes.
They have no reason to use a dosimeter on us as far as I can tell so let's go with this.
Man what the fuck are these captchas.
>>
>>4998753
>>Just rely on your mask.

They are probably waving spot dosimeters all over the place, and knowing how paranoid these guys are, I wouldn't be surprised if they just waved one over us just to be sure. On the other hand, they probably wouldn't want to take the mask off a leper.

However, hypothetically I could see them needing to see our face for witness identification purposes, but I imagine our name would be enough.
>>
>>4998753
Does the Lead Burning mitigation lead to some strangeness polluting the air, making the sensitive spot-dosimeter more faulty in the immediate area. If so, Activate Hide-Eyes.

If not, just rely on our mask. We're a Leaper after all, would the Inquisition really risk unmasking a potential infectious Leaper when said person hasn't tipped off any strangeness on the dosimeters.

How fast would Hide-Eyes deconstruct btw, and could we charge it while we're talking to a person, like say, the person in charge?
>>
>>4998963
Btw, assume this is my official vote (as non-committed as it seems), as I may not be back in time to make a proper vote. Good luck lads, and may the Pattermaker bless our fabric, wherever it may lead us.
>>
>>4998753
>Just rely on your mask.
Just rely on your mask and if it seems you need to take it off you could make a minute-long excuse while the glamor constructs itself.
>>
>>4998963
>>4998969
It can be dispelled instantly, either by you willing it away, or the glamor being physically disrupted. And as for the Leadfire affecting the readings, as long as it is properly burning, then it should not be releasing any Strangeness into the air at all. It will release lead particulates, which have Strangeness permanently sealed away inside of it, but no, assuming everything was done properly, there would be noting for a dosimeter to pick up on.

Anyway, there are enough votes in to close it. I have two smaller assignments that I need to get in for midnight, but after that, I should be able to write up an overnight vote.
>>
>>4999030
>minute-long excuse

Just start coughing violently, and slowly unravel our bloody gaze first, maybe ask for some fresh gaze from them. That'll stop the mask from coming off.
>>
>>4999218
I like this idea. Just closeour eyes, bend over and let loose with the snot.
>>
Hey guys, just wanted to give anyone who was still in the thread a heads up - I'm not going to be able to finish the post tonight (or at this point, this morning). Sorry about that. I'll get it up sometime later in the day. The good news is that I barely have any homework for over the weekend, so I should be able to get in more posts than usual to make up for this.
>>
>>4999222
Lovely trips mate.

>>4999477
Thank you for telling us, I can’t wait for the next update!
>>
>>4999477
Do you sleep?
>>
>>4999570
He's in university, so I assume not.
>>
>>4999572
Eh, who needs it anyway.
>>
He is right, the South Sexton is definitively petty enough to exempt him for something that was completely out of his control. In fact, after being embarrassed like this in front of people that he personally knows, you and Vaclav might just get exempted, even if you brought the coffin in right now, considering that you are already running late.

It is funny; realization that you might be exempted barely even registers; you have had so much more dire things on your mind since you first saw the Cleansers that the prospect of losing your job had not even occurred to you until Vaclav actually brought it up. Compared to being hanged as a pirate, ‘donated’ as a curfew-breaker and Cloak-slipper, or getting your ass mitigated into oblivion for being a Witchlet, the ‘fear’ of being unemployed … it does not even register for you. The brand that all exempted Lepers get is of slightly more concern to you, but only as a potential inconvenience. A small, mostly external injury like that, especially while it is still fresh, could be fixed with the Life-Loom, even by someone at your level, so long as they had a supply of human flesh to work with. And lucky you, you have a perfectly good body to work with, waiting for you in your room. Even the pain associated with the branding is not scaring you, because you have three scarification glyphs subdermally etched into you, and there is no way that a quick little kiss with a metal brand can hurt more than the hour-long process of getting flensed, salt-prepped, and then inscribed.

And if you lost the gravedigging job, but your father did return? Well, you are not fretting about that either. With everything going on in the Mount, you are convinced that father would be looking to flee as well – if he was not, then … hopefully, you could make him see reason, but if you could not, and you were going to stay here, then with nothing to do but sit around in the belfry all night and day, perhaps your magical education would finally pick up speed. And now that you think about it, there are other ways that getting exempted might actually be to your benefit – even if father does not return. If you were not working during the day, then you would have much more time to prepare for your escape to the frontier. Additionally, if you were no longer working or around the South Sexton, then you would be worthless to the Inquisition as a professional witness against him in whatever manner of case they are building against him. For a Witchlet who is about to deliver a message for a Master Abbot, you are feeling remarkably good about things … until you realize that Vaclav is still waiting for a response, looking at you with plaintive, pleading eyes.
>>
>>5000350
You find yourself looking away awkwardly under your mask. There is absolutely no way in Heaven or in Hell that getting exempted benefits him. With his humors ill-balanced by the Masticating Pox, getting branded could be a serious risk to life and limb for him – and that is not even considering what drinking only public water will do to him. But … you cannot afford to bring down the suspicion of the Inquisition on your by delaying delivery of this note – that is simply not an option, because as a Witchlet, your life would be on the line. At the very least, you should say something. Something to explain yourself, some justification … even if it has to be a lie, or at best, a half-truth.

“Vaclav … I’m sorry. But I have to do this. I mean, I was mustered. And not as part of a larger group, it was just me. Ossavian, er – the Inquisitor who mustered me – he could easily find me in the Midden if he found out that I shirked or delayed in the duty that he gave me. And consider this – if the man is crazy enough to use our lifts, then who knows what the Hell he’ll do to me if I don’t comply.”

Now, none of that is a lie, or even a half-truth. But it is a bit of a misrepresentation, as you seriously doubt that Ossavian would even impose the traditional penalties for a muster who failed to follow orders – either hanging, flogging, or for free citizens, indenturization – let alone get creative and come up with some new method of execution or torture for you. But when Vaclav’s shoulders slump, and he does not offer up any new objections, you know that he bought it. While the Inquisition is afforded great respect for their fight against the Strangeness, that respect is colored by more than a little fear.

You depart without looking back, moving through the South Burying Ground as quickly as you can while still remaining respectful. While you cut through the Old Section, you contemplate activating the Hide-Eyes glyph, but by the time you pass by the last of the old-model graves, you decide that with all of the dosimeters that are presumably going to be around you when you deliver the note, relying on your mask would be the smarter play here. There is another decision that you need to make, but this one is quite a bit harder. And by the time you are finally in sight of the rear entrance, and seeing more and more of the flames with every step, you have made no progress on it.

After you deliver the letter, assuming you have an opportunity to do so, should you ask the Master Abbot to intervene with the South Sexton to keep you – and Vaclav – from being exempted? Exemption would give you so much more time to work with, which will make things easier, and more importantly, safer for you during the Refinery heist, the final preparations, and the actual escape itself. But if Vaclav got exempted too (and knowing the South Sexton as you do, he probably would), it could easily be the death of him.
>>
>>5000352
>Please choose ONE of the following:
>It is hard, but you have to look out for yourself. You do not even know for sure that he will be exempted … and if he is, then he has already lasted this long. If anyone could survive on the free food and swill in the pumps, it is him. You just need to keep moving forward.
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.

Considering the note we read, there is a good chance that it could be traded for our service either way, depending on how we play things.
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.

Even at great risk and added difficulty to ourselves, we chose to save the Captain's life. What's one more difficulty to deal with, and risk to manage, in service of saving another life, this one known for half of our life?
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.
>>
>>5000354
>It is hard, but you have to do the right thing. Vaclav might just be an acquaintance, but you have known the man for years. Dooming him by not asking for the Inquisition to intercede on your behalf would just be too cruel, even if it would be to your benefit.
>>
>>5000397
>>5000424
>>5000455
>>5000572
Well, this is a lot more unanimous than I thought it would be, which is good. It means that there is a strong sense of the MC's character.

Now, I've outlined the next update in my head, but I'm going to actually get some sleep instead of flushing it out, so I can be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the run I promised you all over the weekend. I'll put a post up in the /qtg/ when I am ready to start, considering that this thread is no longer bumping, or it won't be by the time I'm ready.

In the meantime, I do have something for guys to vote on - another character question, but this one is just cosmetic, as opposed to the right or left handed vote in the last thread, which had future gameplay implications. What color is Chlotsuintha's hair? It seems kind of silly to have decided how she wears her hair without deciding what color it is, but honestly, I never really settled on anything. The Waifubowl or whatever the Hell it's called got me thinking about trying to draw her or something, and that's when I realized I had not settled on a color. Also, while I'm thinking about it, I'd like to thank the anon that nominated Chlotsuintha - I appreciate it.

>Please choose ONE:
>Dark or Dirty Blonde
>Blonde
>Platinum Blonde
>Dark Redhead
>Redhead
>Light Redhead
>Black
>Brunette
>Auburn
>>
>>5000669
>Black

I dearly hope this isn't an indication we are about to have our hood thrown off.
>>
>>5000669
>Black
>>
>>5000669
It's a good quest, and Chlotsuintha is a well written character. It'd be criminal not to nominate her for the Waifubowl.

When it came to hair color, I always thought of her as Black, or Raven haired, if you will (and not just because it's black hair on the title card btw). Thematically, I think it's appropriate, as she does her best to hide in the shadows and stay out of the spotlight, plus Dark quest = Dark hair.

Now with that said, I'm wondering if Platinum Blonde or Auburn is really the way to go. I think it would be neat to have something else stand out about her appearance- whether that be hair as fiery red, or as white as the driven snow, I'm a bit undecided on.

Thinking back on the dominant hand vote, I'm sort of kicking myself from abstaining from that vote. Thinking from a character standpoint rather than a mechanical one, being left handed would have suited Chlotsuintha's character and the story more, as being the Strangehanded, or the Black Sheep, would have done more to make her distinctive as a character, especially as she struggles to hide what would be an instinctive use of her dominant hand. Not only that, but it would've also subtly highlighted the constant threat that she's under, and the risk of being discovered. It definitely would have been another incentive for Chlotsuintha to become really considerate and self-conscious of her habits and the need to conceal herself from society, and it would've emphasized her careful and cautious nature in the beginning of the quest.

Unfortunately, I can't really come to a snap decision on character development without letting my brain chew on it for a couple days, and I'm afraid I'm in the same position here with Chlotsuintha's hair as I was with her hands.
>>
>>5000669
>Redhead
I do enjoy playing her as a character, but I'm not really getting waifu vibes from her, sorry
>>
>>5000669
>>Redhead
>>
Even with the Inquisition waiting for you on the other side of the rear entrance’s door, even will all of the trepidation and terror buzzing around your skull and rending your guts, the thought of you throwing Vaclav to the wolves somehow manages to make you feel even worse than you already do. You have known and worked alongside the man for half of your life. The thought of throwing him to dogs – and for what? Yes, not working during the day would give you the time to shop for everything that you could possibly need. You would be able to give the refineries a proper stake-out, to ensure that the heist went off as quickly, cleanly, and safely as possible. And, yes, if you were exempted, you would be effectively worthless to the Inquisition as a professional witness, which would hopefully be the end of your dealings with them – forever. But it is not worth it. Truly, it is not. You can do this without allowing yourself (and Vaclav) to be exempted, you are certain of it. It will harder, to be sure … but it is the right thing to do. Pattern’s Peace, you spared the captain, even though the easier, the ‘smarter’ thing to do would have been to stick him like a pig to keep him from telling any tales – the damning fruits of that mercy are going to be hanging over your head for years, perhaps the rest of your life. Any complications that stem from keeping Vaclav from getting exempted are only going to last what, two days? They might be an important two days, but still – no, it is settled. Drop it.

Your long legs have finally brought you to the door – an affair of wood and iron, located in the basalt brick wall that runs along the border of the South Burying Ground. The hedge that you trimmed needlessly yesterday sits right inside of that wall, helping to screen the sight of graves from the view of the outside world – though obviously, there is a gap in the hedge to get to the door. As you take the final few steps, you realize that you can actually hear the fire – it is just a little bit up the street from you. You want to take a minute or so to prepare yourself, but you are worried that if you stop, the enormity of the danger here is going to crash down on you and you will completely lose your nerve. So instead, you do not even let yourself break your stride as you swing the door wide.

But when you finally get a good look at the extent of the Inquisition’s operation here, you do come to a stop. This is not just a detachment, dispatched to deal with some Strangeness, this is a fully-fledged, full-strength Hunt – there is easily one hundred and twenty Cleansers here in full environmental kit, keeping a perimeter, moving material around, and assisting the Inquisitors overseeing the Leadfire. And the Leadfire – they are not just burning contaminated material or recovered artifacts, they are burning down the entire fraying house!
>>
>>5001248
The five houses that used to surround it have been torn down and doused with water, to prevent the Leadfire from spreading any further, and now that you look, a lot of the Cleansers seem to be standing by what appears to be an impressive looking machine emblazoned with the three white needle swords, fanned and gleaming white on a black field. The mundane construct is an absolute hodge-podge of steel valves and cranks, leather hoses and copper tanks, mounted on a flatbed wagon, surrounded by other wagons bearing copper tanks of their own – it is almost certainly some newfangled firefighting equipment. They are really pulling out all of the stops for this. Either things were much, much, much Stranger in there than you previously thought – or this Master Abbot is not taking any chances. As you watch, you can see a few Cleansers take debris from the torn down houses and throw it on the conflagration. Do they truly intend to burn everything? You inadvertently glance at the now slightly crumpled note in your right hand. Just what exactly did they find in that place?

You actually physically shake your head to snap yourself back to it. You have been mustered after all, and even though you do not think that you would be punished for taking too long to get the message to the Master Abbot, or whoever is in charge here, you should not take any chances. You approach the perimeter that the Cleansers have established. A small crowd of onlookers have formed, but they make way as they see you. The Cleanser nearest to you moves to intercept you, his leaded poleaxe at the ready, but when he sees the red neckerchief, he lowers it – not much, mind you, but you will take what you can get. You explain your business here to him, and without any prompting from him recite the watch-word (or really, the watch-phrase) that Ossavian gave you; ‘under salted seas’. Before you know it, you are being brought to the Master Abbot, who is still overseeing the operation here. He was standing on the other side of the machine, so you could not have seen him from outside the perimeter. But there is no mistaking him now.

You immediately take note of how he is dressed. Unlike the Cleansers all around you, or even the children standing near him, presumably Acolytes at his chapterhouse, he is not in uniform. And that hat of his, it looks like something a merchant would wear. A prosperous merchant, perhaps, but it is pretty ostentatious for someone who is in what is effectively a monastic order. He does not even seem to be carrying any weapons, though you definitely should not assume that. It is strange, but dressed as he is, he seems more intimating than he would be as if he was in uniform and armed. Perhaps it is the hubris of the survivor on his part, but he really gives off the sense that he is simply not afraid – at least for himself.
>>
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>>5001251
He is watching the Leadfire with the children, the glow of the flames bathing their faces. As you and the Cleanser escorting you approach, the Acolytes all turn to face you. The Master Abbot keeps his long, angular face forward, but he does glance at you sideways as you approach with his rather predatory looking eyes. Returning his attention to the fire, he speaks in a loud, clear voice.

“And what do we have here?”

The Cleanser who brought you over starts to speak, but the Master Abbot immediately interrupts him.

“The children, Sallust, I was asking the children.”

For a moment, the only sounds are the roar of the fire and the distant milling of Cleansers up and down the street. But then, one of the older ones pipes up.

“It is a Leper, Master Abbot.”

The Master Abbot nods solemnly at that, but still does not look away from the blaze.

“I suppose that is as good of a start as any, Catullus. But can anyone tell me anything more substantive about this Leper?”

Another one of the students chimes in.

“It is probably a gravedigger, Master Abbot.”

“Are you saying that just because we are right outside of a graveyard?”

“Uh … no, not just because of that. Lepers that labor in public areas have to wear sashes to identify their purpose – ours wear white, Animal Control wears red, Sanitation wears brown, and other have other colors. The ones that do not work around cleaner souls, do not wear sashes. Of those professions, the most physically demanding is gravedigging. While it is hard to tell, this Leper looks to be of sound body; his back is straight, and there is not hesitation, slowness or stutter in his steps, as there might be of someone who is sick or deformed. If I were to assign them to a task that did not require them to wear a sash, it would be gravedigging. That, taken with our current location, is why I said that he is a gravedigger.”

“Very good, Miloš.”

Like Hell it is! You are standing here, fully dressed, and you feel as if you were naked with all of this attention on you. Between your nerves and the heat of the fire, you are beginning to seriously sweat. But as you are trying not to fidget or do anything besides just stand still as a stone, the Master Abbot suddenly starts smiling, and once again, he looks at you out of the corner of his eye. You thought he looked predatory before, but -

“But not perfect. This Leper is a woman.”

Before you can stop yourself, you shiver – you noticeably shiver – in fear. The children and the Cleanser that brought you over react with some surprise at the revelation, and it is all you can do to keep from breaking down.

“Now, what’s your name, Leper?”
>>
>>5001252
>Please choose ONE of the following:
> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
> “My name is … Desiderata.” You have the look of someone from the Old Hinterlands, so it stands to reason that you should use a name common to the area. There are no records anywhere to contradict your claim. But will the Master Abbot pick up on your deception? [Requires Rolling: Easy]
> “My name is Chlotsuintha.” Why not tell the truth? It might mean that you will not be able to live under your real name once (or if) you leave the city, but if the truth does not work here, nothing will.

>>5000760
Oh I get it, I haven't really written her as a 'waifu'. The ongoing competition just made me think about trying to draw her, which is what made me realize that I never actually decided on a hair color. That's why I brought it up. Anyway, I'm going to post this in the /qtg/, like I promised. As for the hair color vote, I'm more than willing to wait for a tiebreaker.
>>
>>5001261
>> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
>>
>>5001261
>“My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
>Black
I gotta agree with what another anon said. I always imagined her as having raven black hair.
>>
>>5001261
>“My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
>>
>>5001261
> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
If you need a tiebreaker vote for hair color then
>Black
>>
>>5001763
>>5001583
>>5001492
>>5001311
Okay, that's enough to close the vote. Hopefully the Master Abbot will be good enough to let you slide with just a nickname. And there are definitely enough votes - Chlotsuintha has black hair. I'll get a short post up for an overnight vote.
>>
>>5001261
>> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
i know i know
>>
>>5001261
> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
>>
>>5001261
> “My name is Sty.” Obviously, that is not your birthname, but most Lepers try to distance themselves from their pasts out of shame, and assume new identities or nicknames after entering the Midden. Maybe it will be good enough for the Master Abbot?
>>
>>5001261
> “My name is … Desiderata.” You have the look of someone from the Old Hinterlands, so it stands to reason that you should use a name common to the area. There are no records anywhere to contradict your claim. But will the Master Abbot pick up on your deception? [Requires Rolling: Easy]

option 1 will invite further probing, option 3 is highly undesirable (probably daddy is still on some most wanted list). So it's time for easy rolling.
>>
>>5001785
>Chlotsuintha has black hair

Shame. I was beginning to think a little color would've been neat.
>>
You feel another involuntary shiver coming, but you manage to force yourself rigid in time to hopefully prevent the Master Abbot from noticing it. He wants your name. Why would he want your name? It is certainly not just to address you in a more polite and personal manner. Is this some sort of trap? Does he somehow already know you name, and is testing to see if you will tell him? No, that does not make a lick of sense. Maybe it is a tactic that Inquisitors use when they are questioning someone – but if that was the case, why did Ossavian not ask for your name? Damn it all – why cannot you wrap your head around this, why are you so fraying stupid?

“Sty. M-my name is Sty.”

‘Sty’ is obviously not your birthname, but most Lepers make a point of distancing themselves from their past lives by exclusively going by a nickname, or making up a completely new name after entering the Midden. The Master Abbot should accept it – truly, why does it matter to him what you are called? When you entered into the Midden, they did not even bother asking for your name – the record of intake only refers to you as ‘daughter of Liutprand, age 7’. The only other person in the entire world who actually knows your real name is your father – oh, and your mother, of course.

“And why exactly are you here, Sty?”

“A note. I was told to – to deliver this note. By Ossavian.”

“I figured as much. Give it here.”

It seems that the Master Abbot shares his grandnephew’s disregard for spiritual hygiene. You approach, coming no closer to him than you absolutely have to, then you reach out to hand over the scrap of paper. He finally turns away from the flames to accept take it from you, then scans it quickly.

“So, who taught you to read?”

Suddenly your heart has jumped up into your throat and your stomach has dropped into your bowels. How? How is it even possible that he figured out that you read the note? It is not. It is simply not possible. This has to be a bluff. He is wondering if you read the note, and just taking a shot in the dark, that is all this is. But … then again, he figured out you were woman by barely even looking at you – is it possible that you left some sort of clue behind on the slip of paper when you read it? No, that does not even make sense. Pattern’s Peace, what do you do here? When Ralx asked you the same question earlier today after handing you the slips, you were able to just brush it off – but you doubt that the noncommittal route is going to go over well with the Master Abbot, especially after not giving him a real name. Being evasive is suspicious, just like being able to read is suspicious, just in a different way. And if somehow, he actually does know that you can read, and you say that you cannot, then that is extremely suspicious. Of course, if this was just a bluff, then a flat denial is obviously the best choice …
>>
>>5001925
>Please choose ONE of the following:
> “My father taught me – he is a Leper now, but before that, he was a clerk”.
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I really don’t know how to read.”
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I don’t really know how to read.”

5:22am - so much for an overnight post. Also, your father's name is not Liutprand, it is Odovacar.
>>
>>5001928
>> “My father taught me – he is a Leper now, but before that, he was a clerk”.
>>
>>5001928
He's not assuming we got Ossavian's name from the note, his full name isn't in the note. We must assume that he could tell by how it was crinkled or something that we read it.

I'm guessing the difference between the latter two prompts is between saying we don't know how to read at all and saying we don't know how to read well.

> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I don’t really know how to read.”
>>
>>5001928
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I don’t really know how to read.”
I don't see why we can't get away with saying that we know a few letters but can't exactly read the thing.
If he calls that bluff, we might as well go with option one.
>>
>>5001928
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I really don’t know how to read.”

It's a shot in the dark. Even if he knows that we've opened the note somehow, it just means that we're curious, not necessarily able to read. It's just a bullshit mind game, or he's Sherlock Homes with a burning passion, and if he's Sherlock, we're probably dead anyway.
>>
>>5001928
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I really don’t know how to read.”
I agree with the guy above me, he's fucking with us. Unless he has some sort of mindread powers, intuition? And the half-assed explanation could be seen as an admittance.
>>
>>5001928
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I really don’t know how to read.”
Gonna just bandwagon with the two above me, reasons seem reasonable enough.
>>
>>5001928
> “I’m sorry Master Abbot, but I don’t really know how to read.”
how did he know we are female? This guy definitely has either magical help or some Sherlock Holmes autism powers. So he is somehow able to infer we took a peek, maybe he can see it was folded twice or something. We can explain taking a peek if we say we picked up a few letters here and there and were curious to see if we could decipher it. We can't however explain taking a look if we say we cannot read at all. So this makes the most sense to me.
>>
>>5001935 Father 1 Illiterate 0 ~Illiterate 0
>>5001938 Father 1 Illiterate 1 ~Illiterate 0
>>5001955 Father 1 Illiterate 2 ~Illiterate 0
>>5001960 Father 1 Illiterate 3 ~Illiterate 0
>>5001973 Father 1 Illiterate 4 ~Illiterate 0
>>5001996 Father 1 Illiterate 5 ~Illiterate 0
>>5002011 Father 1 Illiterate 5 ~Illiterate 1

With the votes 5 to 1 to 1, we will be pretending to be illiterate (as opposed to being 'functionally illiterate').
>>
“Your pardons, Master Abbot, but I really don’t know how to read.”

“Is that so? Miloš, come here. Now, you did very, very well deducing this Leper’s function earlier. Can you tell me why I think that she can actually read?”

The youth Miloš, a boy on the cusp of adulthood, nervously approaches the Master Abbot. At this point, you have broken out into a cold sweat, and it is all you can do to remain still.

“Now, someone has taught you how to read, of course. Here is the note.”

The scrap of paper is passed from the Master Abbot to his Acolyte. The youth brings the paper up to a comfortable position to read, but a second later, the Master Abbot interrupts him.

“And of course, someone has taught me how to read. Would you give me back the note?”

The boy, looking as confused as you are, passes the note back to the Master Abbot, who takes it in his hands, and positions the paper as if he was going to read it again. But instead, he pointedly looks at Miloš.

“Do you understand now?”

The Acolyte stares at the note long and hard, as if willing for the answer to appear on the back of the paper scrap, but eventually he admits that he cannot.

“Anyone else, children? Sallust, what about you? Any ideas?”

But none of the children or the Cleanser have anything to say. Some of them seem to have given up, no doubt assuming that an explanation is forthcoming, but others seem to be deep in thought, trying to figure out what just the Master Abbot has picked up on. Time seeps by, and the tension becomes more and more physically painful for you before the teacher finally gives up on his students and shares the answer.

“It is a small thing, and it not definitive. But if you were to write a note, the letters would all be right side up. Now, if you were to hand that note to someone standing in front of you, and they were to take it, for them, the letters would be upside-down. So, if they were literate, then without thinking, they would instinctively flip the note, so it would be right side up for them. Of course, you could say that Sty here simply adjusted her hold on the paper on her way to us, or that it made sense for her to hold the paper right side up. But if she was just mindlessly adjusting her hold on the note, is it not odd that she ended up holding it exactly in the right orientation to read it? And of course, there is the paper itself. It is not a sheet, but rather, a torn scrap without an obvious top and bottom to it. If a similar note, written on an identical scrap of paper was just found sitting on the ground somewhere, and it was written in a cypher, or in some foreign language with their own alphabet, then we would have absolutely no idea how to make ‘heads or tails of it’, in a physical or literal sense.”

“And to someone who is illiterate, everything written is in a cypher. So is it not … peculiar, that Sty here was holding the note perfectly?”
>>
>>5002291
Patterns’ Perdition – out of all the things to be suspicious of, this has to be the most fraying ridiculous. And it is made only more fraying ridiculous because his intuition is completely and utterly correct. Doubling down, and flatly denying, or insisting that it is all a coincidence seems suicidal – but suddenly, a flash of inspiration strikes you. A way out! Finding some steel in yourself, you speak up without being spoken to.

“I – Master Abbot, I-I don’t know h-how to r-read. That’s the Pattern's truth. But - but I’ve worked eight years in the Mount’s graveyards. And one of the things that I do is install headstones. The headstones all have a right way up, and they have all got letters on them too, so –”

“So you do know how to read?”

“No! No, I don’t! I just know which way is up and which way is down for a letter. That doesn’t mean I can read. I – I know which is the top and the bottom of a house, but that doesn’t mean I can build one!”

There is a smattering of laughter at that analogy, and even the Master Abbot’s smile becomes marginally less predatory looking.

“Is that right? I suppose that is as good of an explanation as any.”

A loud crack finally draws everyone’s attention away from you – after burning for quite some time now, the house is finally beginning to collapse. The roof crashes down into the third story, presumably because that it where the Cleansers started the Leadfire, as it was the area most fouled by the Strangeness. You are thankful for the reprieve, but as soon as you can feel yourself starting to marginally calm down, the Master Abbot starts to speak again – though once more his attention is only on the flames.

“If your name is Sty, would I be correct in assuming that the affliction that sent you to the Midden was one of the eyes?”

“Yes.”

“Did you know that the eyes are the organ most sensitive to the presence of the Strangeness? They will be adversely affected before even the brain.”

“I – I might have heard something to that –”

“Did you also know that one of the possible symptoms of Strangeness in a living thing is unusual size? Typically, that means being unusually large, but there are cases where they are shrunk and shriveled instead.”

“… I’m not a s-Stranger.”

Once again, he looks at you sideways, with his face bathed by tinted firelight. It is reminiscent of the way that a hawk or a kite would glare at a potential meal.
>>
>>5002293
“Oh, I don’t think you are. Because if I did, if I thought that the Strangeness had taken such a hold of you to cause physical deformities, then I would have had you cast straight into the flames here, without a second thought. But … if you were that Strange, as a rule, your mind would have been ravaged away by this point. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. And I would sleep much easier tonight if I knew you weren’t one of them. As you have been good enough to deliver this note to me, I suppose it would be ungracious if I were not to ask if you had a preference between being physically inspected by a Vestal in some private spot or being scanned here by one of our Dosimetrists.

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Activate the blighted version of Hide-Eyes, and ask for a Vestal to physically inspect you for signs of the Strangeness. Hopefully the clouded over, infected, lump-besotted look is enough to keep them away from getting close enough to dispel the glamor.
>Activate the standard version of Hide-Eyes, and ask for a Vestal to physically inspect your for signs of the Strangeness. Hopefully your ‘normal’ brown eyes do not draw any undue attention, so they do not get close enough to dispel the glamor. If asked, you can simply say that your condition comes and goes.
>Ask to be scanned by a Dosimetrist. Hopefully, they will not ask you to take off your mask (or any other article of clothing), nor will they happen to point the machine at where your always active Strange-Staining scarification glyph is located on your back.
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>>5002294
>Ask to be scanned by a Dosimetrist. Hopefully, they will not ask you to take off your mask (or any other article of clothing), nor will they happen to point the machine at where your always active Strange-Staining scarification glyph is located on your back.

If the vestals are as thorough and as paranoid as this guy, they will try and touch our eyes. We need to take the scan instead.

A big worry of mine is that they will do the opposite of the choice we pick.

>Be prepared for the Abbot to pick the opposite choice of what we pick and to immediately be ready to activate our Hide-Eyes, the blighted version.

Damn, I didn't think the name choice would have some consequences.

I suppose we can play off not wanting to be examined physically as fear of spreading disease or unclean substances or something.
>>
>>5002294
Finally caught up in this quest and you've really outdone yourself with this one Trash QM, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading the archive. Excellent work on getting readers invested in the world, the characters' lives within it and building some nerve wracking tension. Hueg Chlotsuintha has her work cut out for her.

Speaking of, did I miss the handedness vote getting closed? Or is it still going? I hope its the latter since it was neck and neck and I would've liked to vote for left handedness.

Lastly, what does Chlotsuintha know about the Empire, the Principalities, the Outremer and the Old World? I have my hypotheses about what they are analogous to, but I would like to know more before reaching a conclusion.

As to the current prompt, all the choices are dangerous as is anything when a stranger is interacting with an inquisition member. The question is which one has the greatest chance to hold against the scrutiny of the Vestals or Dosimetrists. I think
>Ask to be scanned by a Dosimetrist. Hopefully, they will not ask you to take off your mask (or any other article of clothing), nor will they happen to point the machine at where your always active Strange-Staining scarification glyph is located on your back.
Is the least worst choice since, from what I understood, they won't find anything unless they put it up against her bare skin compered to the other options which look like they could fall through if an especially inquisitive vestal were investigating them.
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>>5002294
>Ask to be scanned by a Dosimetrist. Hopefully, they will not ask you to take off your mask (or any other article of clothing), nor will they happen to point the machine at where your always active Strange-Staining scarification glyph is located on your back.

Frankly, we're fucked. I don't really see away out of this, but I'll be damned if I let a Cleaner feel up our gal or strip naked in front of children, mark my words.
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>>5002294
>Ask to be scanned by a Dosimetrist. Hopefully, they will not ask you to take off your mask (or any other article of clothing), nor will they happen to point the machine at where your always active Strange-Staining scarification glyph is located on your back.
Shiiieeet we made all the wrong choices with this guy. I actually voted contrarian in both votes so I can say I told you so, but I really don't want the quest to end like this.
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>>5002434
Hey, I wasn't expecting an autistic Sherlock Homes (even though I should've, given his position), and considering we have no personal experience with Dosimetrists, I think getting picked up from an unknown range was what anons were most worried about. Doesn't matter really at the moment, I think we're boned any way you cut it
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>>5002434
>>5002535
I will say, had I known the Strange-Staining glyph could be picked up by the Dosimetrist, I probably would've voted to activate our Hide-Eyes from the get go.
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>>5002301
>>5002390
>>5002410
>>5002434
Alright that's four votes for asking for the Dosimetrist. I'll get to writing.

>>5002537
>I will say, had I known the Strange-Staining glyph could be picked up by the Dosimetrist, I probably would've voted to activate our Hide-Eyes from the get go.
I did not make this particularly clear, so I will just come out and say it - being detected is not a foregone conclusion, is just a possibility if the Dosimetrist and the Spot-Dosimeter are good enough.

>>5002390
>they won't find anything unless they put it up against her bare skin
It should not register unless it was at point blank range on bare skin directly above the location of the scarification glyph.

>>5002390
I'm glad to have you along for the ride, anon! As for the handedness vote, I thought I had closed that, but if I didn't actually indicate that I did then I see no reason to not count your vote, especially if it was still tied. When I get a second, I'll go back and check the archive.

>Lastly, what does Chlotsuintha know about the Empire, the Principalities, the Outremer and the Old World? I have my hypotheses about what they are analogous to, but I would like to know more before reaching a conclusion.
Well, that is a pretty big question. For now, here is the basics about the Empire. It is an amalgamation of dozens of quasi-sovereign states that are ruled and administered by core provinces, which are either ruled by Imperial Vassals or members of the Imperial Family. The Imperial City and its nation-sized demesne is directly under the control of the Emperor himself. I'll try to get more information up for you as I can.

I don't know if you want me to explicitly tell you the analogs, so I won't (unless you ask, of course). But I will warn you: one of the tags that I used to archive the quest does - and now that I think about it, one of the definitions I give does as well, so stay away from those too. The actual clues that I give in the quest are a bit more subtle, but I don't think they are completely out of left field: olive oil and bread made from Emmer being typical foodstuffs, and a troublemaker on the frontier who is the governor of three provinces simultaneously and is illegally raising armies to deal with raids and incursions... yeah, there is definitely an analog I have in mind here.
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>>5002585
If the hand vote still counts, allow me to put my vote in for the left hand, if only for character and story reasons. I don't think it's necessarily balanced mechanics wise, but I do think it's appropriate given our character and the setting.
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>>5002410
I don't think a Cleaner or a child is gonna feel us up. The Abbot said we could be inspected in private by a Vestal. Considering this Setting's historical analog, I think it is safe to say he means a Vestal Virgin, or in other words a virgin holy woman.
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>>5002833
Oh. I probably would've been more interested in that than the Dosimetrist had I known. I guess it a bit of a forgone conclusion now, huh? It seems we've been making all the wrong decisions concerning Addot to be honest.
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>>5002861
I suppose so, but we are learning a lot about the inquisition's competence, I just wish it didn't come at the cost of making me more afraid than I've ever been for a character's life.
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>>5002861
Thing is, preferring to be strip searched over a simple dosimeter test is hella suspicious as well.
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>>5002833
Given that their superior is this overwhelmingly meticulous, I don't think it's unlikely that they would check our face.
>>5002861
We made the best choices under the circumstaces, the only definitive mistake was mentioning those gulls in the elevator which was what got us here in the first place.

I am >>5002390 by the way, only on my phone.
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>>5002971
I literally say that in my post above your first post, I'm just saying they aren't going to grope us and that it isn't a random cleanser that is gonna be checking us out, nor are we stripping in front of some acolyte child.
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>>5002972
My apologies then. I misunderstood what you meant.
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>>5002976
No need to apologize, I was just clarifying that I'd already addressed this.
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>>5002983
I know you did. I apologized because if I had read as carefully as one ought to, I would have noticed it.

Regardless, I pray to the Pattermaker that Chlotsuintha will make it out of this mess as soon as she can.
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Okay, I'm still chipping away at the post. At the rate I am going, it should be up for an overnight vote. After that one is done, we might be able to get back to two posts a day - no promises though, my schedule can be kind of touch and go.
>>
been reading this quest since the start but kind of missed a bit after one of my kittens died
also our eyes normally are completely blank? as in no iris or anything or is it just white eyes.
also he has such a mind for detail he would find it strange if our eyes where blighted but we see perfectly.
and possibly strange we are a leper if our eyes where normal
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>>5004025
Sorry to hear about your kitten anon.

As for the eye, yes, it they are completely blank. They also glow when when all but the lowest of intensity spells are cast. Pic related.

As for the update, I am still working away it. Been a bit harder to write than I thought it would, largely because it introduces some very important information about how the Strangeness and magic works, especially at a higher level, and I'm still not 100% on all of the details. Don't worry, I don't have anything else on my plate for today, so I am going to get out. And to make sure that I do, I'll give you another lucky tenth-talent if I don't redeemable for one reroll.
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>>5004303
On the one hand, I really need my [italics]The Graverobber's Daughter[/italics] fix, on the other hand, that tenth-talent would be [bold]really[/bold] nice to have.
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>>5004303
I don't how much time you have left in your timezone so this may be erroneus but its four and a half hours for me. You better finish up because either you'll wake up late tomorrow or we will be one tenth-talent richer. Sweet dreams QM!
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You knew this was coming – from the moment that Ossavian asked you to deliver that fraying note, you just knew that something like this was going to happen. At this point, your nerves are completely shot, and your head feels like a spinning top. You are so damned scared that you cannot even think straight. What do you do? What do you say? Trying to calm yourself down, you to take a deep breath, but not only is it somewhat stifled by your mask, the air being pulled through the mask’s mouth makes a reedy, metallic noise – drawing attention to the fact that you just took an unusually deep breath, no doubt indicating to everyone around you that your are experience some level of distress. You are just about ready to start crying at this point – everything seems to just be getting worse and worse and worse. All of the Acolytes as well as the Cleanser, apparently named Sallust, are all still looking at you.

The Master Abbot is once again looking at the Leadfire.

Damn! Damn it all! Pull yourself together! What happened to being level-headed? What happened to thinking and acting like a man, huh? You have spent what is probably less than an hour in the company of the Inquisition, and you are about one glare away from completely breaking down. Your father managed to spend half of his adult life working for these fanatics, day in and day out! There has to be a way out of this, you just need to think it through. Now, of the two options given to you, what do you know about them? Start there.

A physically inspection by a Vestal or a scan from a Dosimetrist. Well, first, you did not even know that the Inquisition had Vestals in its ranks – father certainly never mentioned anything about that. Setting that aside, you focus on the idea of a physical inspection. If the Master Abbot is going to go to the trouble of finding a woman to perform it in a private ‘spot’, then that almost certainly means you are going to be naked. But it remains to be seen just how intensive the inspection will actually be. You have no doubt that they would take a close look at your eyes, but would they physically attempt to touch them? That is an important question, because the glamor that Hide-Eyes produces, both the standard and the blighted versions, can be physically dispelled. If that happened, if they had definitive proof that you had some magical ability, then there is no talking your way out of that.
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>>5004904
Compared to that, getting a reading taken by a dosimeter seems to be safer, at least at first glance. Your glyphs were scrivened to be practically undetectable by a Spot-Dosimeter when inactive (or suppressed, in the case of the always active Strange-Staining); so, unless they managed to get the fraying machine right on top of the glyph, you should come up clean. But that is just procedure for someone they suspect as a Stranger, some poor soul exposed to enough Strangeness to cause some physiological response or mental disturbance. If they suspect you of being a magic user, then they might go as far as to draw your blood … which is why getting scanned is not your automatic answer.

When a spell is said to not produce Strangeness, what that actually means is that it does not produce any Strangeness outside of the casters body. Internally, with all spells, some Strangeness is in fact produced, but even while the magic user is performing the cast, their body is at work, dissipating away the Strangeness into itself, where it will remain inert until they die. The amount that can be dissipated as well as the rate that it is dissipated at depends on how stable they are. As you are so exceptionally stable, you have never had to worry about the internal accumulation of Strangeness in your body – you know for a fact that you can dissipate the Strangeness created by Hide-Eyes and Strange-Staining faster than the spells can make it. But Salt-Remediation and Salt-Mitigation also produce Strangeness internally, and considering that they are moderate intensity spells, they produce much more Strangeness. Now, you are still able to safely dissipate all of it away, without having to perform remediations or mitigations on yourself (as a less stable magic user might have to subject themselves to), but because those spells produce Strangeness faster than your body can dissipate it, there is some internal accumulation that will take some time for your body to work its way through.

What makes this an issue is that while the accumulation of the Strangeness from casting is spread evenly throughout your body, your ability to dissipate it is not. It is unclear why exactly this is, but for someone or something with magical ability, their blood, as well as the vitreous fluid of their eyes takes longer to dissipate away the Strangeness that has accumulated in them than anywhere else in the rest of their body. At the moment, the only way that you would be able to tell if there is still Strangeness in your blood is to cut yourself and examine the blood externally with Strange-Staining*. Obviously, you cannot do that in current company. That means you are going to have to guess. It must have been almost two hours ago since you cast the last spell back by those warehouses in Stickport.
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>>5004905
Is that long enough for all of the Strangeness to have dissipated itself away? For spells of their moderate intensity, Salt-Remediation and Salt-Mitigation produce relatively little Strangeness, as one would expect, considering their function. But ‘relatively little’ here still means quite a lot more than the very low intensity scarification glyphs that you have. If there is Strangeness in your blood, and the Dosimetrist decides to test it, the odds are good that it registers – which in your estimation would make getting scanned less safe than being physically inspected by the Vestal, because you really do not have a frame of reference as to how closely they are going to look you over, but you would imagine that it is not the most thorough of inspections. On the other hand, if the Strangeness in your blood has dissipated away already, even if the Dosimetrist decides to test it, you will come up as mundane as lead – which would make getting scanned more safe than being physically inspected by that Vestal. So, it all comes down to one question – has it been long enough that your blood will come up clean? You have no way of knowing for sure, but you do have an idea …

“Master Abbot, i-if I may ask, what’s a Dosimetrist?”

You are going to go with being scanned. The Vestal would no doubt be paying close attention to your eyes, and you are just worried that she would wreck the spell, and you are confident enough that enough time has passed that whatever Strangeness managed to accumulate in your blood has since dissipated. Confident enough to bet your life on it. Of course, you are not opposed to buying yourself a little more time to improve your odds. The turns his head away from the flames to look at you, and you wonder if he is going to be upset by you not giving him an answer, but after a moment, he humors you.

“A Dosimetrist is an Inquisitor who has been trained in the use of the dosimeter, which is a mechanical device attuned to the presence of Strangeness. If there is any Strangeness in something, then they will be able to find it.”

You are impressed – the Master Abbot managed to fit two huge lies into two little sentences. It makes you wonder what else he might have been fibbing about. The first lie is that neither type of dosimeter, the Spot-Dosimeter, which tests for the presence of Strangeness in a specific spot, or Ranged-Dosimeter, which tests for the spread of the Strangeness in a specific area are ‘mechanical devices’, like some new-model pocket timekeeper. They are both hermaphrodites – constructs that are part mechanical and part magical. Of course, the fact that the Inquisition depends so heavily on magical equipment is not common knowledge – you only know this through your father. The second lie was that they can find if there is any Strangeness in something. You know for a fact that past a certain threshold*, dosimeters are effectively useless.

“Is … is it going to hurt?”
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>>5004907
“A bit. Ecgbeorht, if you would be so good, go pull one of the Dosimetrists off of the sweep.”

So much for stalling. Ecgbeorht, a younger Acolyte with a Northern look to him, breaks ranks with the rest of the children to go off and find one, but before he can get out of sight, the Master Abbot raises his voice and calls out to him with an additional instruction.

“And make sure the one you bring back has a newer model, if you please.”

He then looks at the Acolytes crowded around him.

“Children, it is time for you to return to your classes. Go find Saturno, and tell him I said to take you back to the chapterhouse.”

After several of the older ones formally thank him for taking them out today to see the Leadfire, they head off, with the rest of their classmates filing behind them like ducklings, leaving you alone with the Master Abbot, Sallust the Cleanser … and of course, those flames. The die has been cast – whether you live, or you die, it is completely out of your hands at this point. You force yourself to breathe as normally as you can, stifled as you are by the mask. With nothing left to say or do, you turn to the flames, and begin to offer up silent prayer after silent prayer. Not all of them are for you – several are for your missing father, and several are for the mother that you barely know. You even have time to make a quick one on behalf of Vaclav, as you have indirectly involved him in your problems. You have just started another prayer on your behalf when the Dosimetrist finally shows up – tellingly, with three other Cleansers and no Acolyte.
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>>5004910
In his hands is the Spot-Dosimeter – and it really must be a newer model, because it doesn’t look anything at all like the remains of the one father took with him when he ran away from the Inquisition – a delicate, pole-mounted device. This thing here could almost pass as a lantern, were it not for its queer looking lens. It evokes an eye, which considering what you know about dosimeters is no doubt deliberate. Mounted on the other side of that leaded glass, no doubt in some sort of preservative, is the magical half of the hermaphrodite – a living construct made from the eye of a Witch, or an equivalently magical creature***. It was never clear to your father if the Reformed Priests of the Pattern had their Life-Weavers makes these implements for the Inquisition, or if they captured Witches to make them, but one way or the other, they are still being made new, two hundred and sixteen years after the Bull**** of the Great Hunt created the Inquisition to kill all magic users.

The Dosimetrist walks over to the Master Abbot, and they start up a quiet conversation. As they do, the three Cleansers that came with him join up with Sallust, and they all take up positions around you. All of them, including Sallust have slung their leaded poleaxes over their shoulders, but they now have their hands at their belts, near pistols and leaded knives. You shift nervously while telling yourself to remain calm – they are just taking precautions here, you must not read any more into it then that. Do not do anything stupid. Do not say anything stupid. Do not even think anything stupid.

As the seconds seep by, you can almost physically feel the tenuous sense of calm you have meticulously built up inside you disintegrate. Once more, it is all you can do to not shiver or tremble. Just when it is almost unbearable, the Dosimetrist nods, turns on his heel, and approaches you. As he does, he removes the lid off of the top of the Spot-Dosimeter, then stuffs it in a pocket. From another pocket of his uniform, he withdraws a medium sized glass vial, one that contains this bluish-black liquid. While he draws nearer, he empties the vial over his off hand, and then once it has been covered, he slowly inserts it into the hermaphrodite. He prods around inside the leaded body of the device, then suddenly, there is a clicking noise, not metallic clicks, but more like those you can make with your tongue and the roof of your mouth – wet and meaty sounding – and then lens begins to glow. You were definitely right, this machine is nothing like the one father stole. There are a few more of those wet clicks, then there is a mechanical whirring noise that starts and ends abruptly. Suddenly, the beveled pieces of glass at the bottom of the device, which you had thought were solely decorative, start to glow as well. But before you can figure out their function, the Dosimetrist speaks to you.
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>>5004911
“Roll up your left sleeve.”

The thought that he is asking you to commit what is a capital crime for a Leper does not even occur to you until after you have finished rolling the sleeve up as far as it will go. And while you are complying with this order, the four Cleansers around you draw even closer, and the Spot-Dosimeter keeps clicking.

“Now, please back up against the fire engine – that’s the wagon right behind you.”

What? Why? You look over your shoulder. There is just barely enough room to get by Sallust and the other Cleanser without touching. You desperately want to ask why, but you cannot bring yourself to ask a question. Was this the right choice? Should you have chosen the inspection by the Vestal instead? What is he going to do? Openly trembling now, you walk backwards until you bump up against the rough wood of the ‘fire engine’. You swallow hard.

“Good. Now, put your left arm out like a signpost, with the inside of the arm facing out, and hold it up against the wood.”

What are you doing? You should be stalling, not complying – what if they draw blood? What if it has not been enough time? What if this –

“Your arm.”

What little warmth was in his voice is dead and gone. There is going to be no stalling here. Not understanding any of this, you just follow his orders. What else can you really do at this point?

“Good. This is device takes a few moments or so to do its work. During that time, it will be pressed up right against you. It is delicate – delicate enough that it can be easily damaged if you move. If it is damaged while I am using it, I may be seriously hurt. For my safety, these Cleansers are going to restrain you.”
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>>5004912
Before the last sentence even started, the four Cleansers piled on you, with your arm still outstretched. You do not even get the chance to think about moving it, Sallust just grabs your left hand, tightly squeezing, crushing your fingers straight through the thick canvas your glove in his gauntleted hand as he wrenches your left arm out to its full extension. Another Cleanser gets his gauntlets around your throat, and with his entire body weight, presses you against the wagon, pining your there. The third one pins your left arm with one gauntlet on your wrist and the other on your bicep. The last one holds your right arm steady – he is not as forceful as the others, but it does not matter, the right arm is just as immobilized as the left. Now utterly scared out of your mind, and in no small amount of pain, you start to cry.

The Dosimetrist waits until he is satisfied that you are restrained, and then starts to approach you with the Spot-Dosimeter as the wet clicks keep coming. Suddenly, over his shoulder, you notice the Master Abbot. He is staring at you, with the exact same intensity that he was staring at the Leadfire. You are transfixed by his gaze, at least until the Spot-Dosimeter is pressed into your skin, lens first. It is warm, warm to the touch, and getting warmer by the second. Suddenly, there is a louder, metallic sounding click from the Dosimeter, and then a searing pain in your arm. You are so panicked, that it takes you a second or so to understand what is happening.

They are bleeding you. There must have been a blade of some sort, hidden in the ‘eyelid’ of the Spot-Dosimeter. No! It has not been enough time! Not enough! This was a mistake. This was such a mistake! The minute you saw these maniacs you should have dropped everything and run away. What were you thinking? You are not your father. You are never going to be like your father. And now, you are never going to see your –

“She’s clean.”
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>>5004914
Once the Dosimetrist withdraws the Spot-Dosimeter, the four Cleansers let go. The one that had you by the neck actually apologizes to you, and after an awkward moment, Sallust does as well. You are too busy panting and sobbing collapsed on the ground to thank them for extending such courtesy to a Leper, but neither of them seems upset by it. The three Cleansers that came with the Dosimetrist soon head off somewhere else, leaving you alone with the Dosimetrist and Sallust – wait, where did the Master Abbot go? You look around with tear-stained eyes, but you cannot see him anywhere. You manage to stop crying and to finally catch your breath. While you do, you experimentally move the fingers on your left hand to see if anything is broken – and while it does hurt, it is not ‘broken bone hurt’. There is movement at the edge of your vision, so you look up and see the Dosimetrist standing right in front of you once more, but this time with a fresh linen bandage in his hands. You cup your hands, which are still trembling, and extend them out, so he may give them to you without risk touching your hands. Seems kind of silly, after you had just been manhandled like that, but some people are sticklers. When he drops it in, you are surprised by the weight.

“That is from the Master Abbot. There is a four-talent in there, for the troubles we caused you. Wrap yourself up, and take all the time you need to recover. He’s sending someone to relieve the Inquisitor on the lift, so they can personally apologize to the South Sexton for delaying you. You head back to the South Burying Ground right now if you want, you could wait for the Inquisitor to arrive, or – and he stressed that this was your choice – if you were willing to wait around a little bit longer, he apparently had something to ask you privately. If not, well, he will send for you tomorrow morning.”

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Get out of here immediately, even if it means that you will arrive before Ossavian can explain what happened.
>Wait until Ossavian arrives so he can explain what happened when you show up at the internment temple.
>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.
>>
>>5004915
*Remember, Strange-Staining does not work on your body. This is done specifically so the scarification glyph does not ‘stain’ the inside of your eyes when you are casting. If it did, it would mean that you would have to choose between performing magic while effectively blinded, or dispelling the glyph while casting magic, depriving you of its assistance when you would need it most.

**It was mentioned in passing in the first thread, but much like radiation, which the Strangeness is based off of, there are background levels of Strangeness everywhere. Below a certain threshold, the Strangeness is no longer able to dissipate, so it just remains there, effectively inert. The issue is that these very, very low levels are quite simply beyond the dosimeters ability to get decent readings from. They cannot accurately distinguish between a background level of Strangeness and a slightly higher than background level that could be associated with well concealed magic. It is worth mentioning that it is possible to mitigate or remediate things (living or otherwise) that have only background levels of the Strangeness present. In fact, since the appearance of the Strangeness, one of the few surviving schools of combat magic, Refragantibology – literally, the study of breaking – informally developed a new school; Strange Refragantibology – the study of breaking with Strangeness, or the weaponization of mitigation spells. Your mother is (was?) a student of this new school, and she got really good at it.

***Like any magical creature, many of your body parts have magical properties, useful in constructs and powerful in spells.

****A public decree, letters patent or charter issued by a religious authority. Not to be confused with the animal of the same name.

Well, this is the single longest update that I have ever written. Hope it was worth the wait. For anyone who is curious to whether asking for the Dosimetrist or the Vestal was the smarter choice: Dosimetrist was definitely the better of the two options. Your glyphs and the glamors that they produce are designed - or scrivened, rather - to avoid detection from dosimeters, not physical disturbances from intrusive inspection. On top of that, you guys all completely forgot about all of the suspicious things that you are currently carrying: your lead-lined mask, the inexplicable amount of salt you have on your, or the blatantly obviously magical artifact in bloody gauze in your pocket. At least one of these would have been uncovered by the Vestal, maybe more, and you would have some serious explaining to do. It would not have been game over, but it would have prompted either a roll where a game over result was an option, or a vote where one of the choices would result in a game over. With the exception of the 'lucky tenth-talent' rerolls, there is no fudge, no mulligans and no plot armor - if anyone was around for Space Scrapper, my first big Quest, they'd know that.
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>>5004915
>Get out of here immediately, even if it means that you will arrive before Ossavian can explain what happened.

Since we're already running late it would be best to get back ASAP, we can explain once we get there and get back to work, and have proof once Ossavian turns up.

Turning over the money we just got to Vaclav seems like a good idea to help smooth things over.

Tipping off the South Sexton that the Cleansers are looking into him, may also go some way to keeping our job.
>>
>>5004915
>>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.
It's dangerous but it seems like an interesting story to read for Chlot to be balancing on this knife's edge longer and more
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>>5004915
>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.

I don't want to go through this shit again just to meet him in the morning.
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>>5004915
>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.

Best get this over with while he is in an apologetic mood, if he is fresh in the morning he'll be clear-minded enough to go full-Sherlock again.
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>>5004915
>>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.
>>
>>5004915
>Wait until the Master Abbot is done with whatever exactly he is doing right now to hear whatever he has to say.
That was tense, good job QM.
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>>5005682
>>5005492
>>5005488
>>5004961
>>5004937
>>5004934
Alright, that is five to one for waiting around for the Master Abbot. I'll get to writing.
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>>5004915
>Wait until Ossavian arrives so he can explain what happened when you show up at the internment temple.
also don't forget our commitment to get Vaclavs ass out of the line of fire
>>
Hmmm we should make a request that our fella is not punished for us not being there for the service.

Also to explain the lead mask lead is known to block strangeness and or salt also does the samethings and how the lead mask is a gift from our father to protect us and that the spookyness about the strangeness scared us so we started carrying salt.

And i dont remember this early in the morning what the steal ball is
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>>5005738
Yeah lets not fuck over a fellow leper
>>
If your choice is between dealing with the Master Abbot now or dealing with him tomorrow morning, then you think that it would be for the best to see him while he still might feel apologetic. You tell the Dosimetrist that – excluding your reasoning, of course – and he nods, then leaves you with Sallust as you fumble at the linen to get it unwrapped. The cut you got from the hidden blade in the lens of that Spot-Dosimeter is clean and shallow, but it looks like it went straight across a smaller vein. Blood is beginning to flow in fairly serious quantities. Thankfully, you know what you are doing, so you get the wound dressed quickly. You probably could have done it even faster, if you had not packed it – it was probably unnecessary for a cut this shallow, but the risk of the wound closing and healing improperly is on your mind. Once it is on, you twist your forearm around a bit to make sure that it is secure. The dressing stays in place, and more importantly, it looks and feels like you have managed to staunch the flow, though at this point, the dressing is more blood red than linen white. As you roll down your sleeve and pick up the four-talent that you let fall to the ground in your rush to get the dressing on, you wonder if you are going to be able to climb with your arm like this. You spend the next minute or so, sitting on the ground, flexing your arm, then prodding at the wound. In the end you decide that you should be alright to climb, but you acknowledge that it is probably going to be noticeably more difficult for you the next few days. Just what you needed – another complication.

Eventually, the Cleansers tending the fire decide that they need to use the fire engine, so you and Sallust stand clear as they use it to pump water at an absolutely astonishing rate on the debris surrounding the Leadfire, to ensure that it remains contained. Watching the water roar out of the hoses is really a sight to behold. Truly, the thing is a marvel of the instrumental sciences. But by the time they are through re-wetting the debris, you have notice just how ‘thirsty’ the machine is – how quickly it depletes the tanks of the water-wagons. It makes you wonder just how effective something like this would be in dealing with a real conflagration, opposed to maintaining a controlled burn like this.

Any further reflection about the fire engine is abruptly cut short when another Cleanser in environmental kit arrives to relieve Sallust and escort you to the Master Abbot. He leads you further down the street to where the two liveried carriages that passed you earlier today are parked, alongside other wagons for men and for material.
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>>5006099
The horses are still yoked, but they are being watered and brushed by a Cleanser, while another one stands watch nearby. One of these carriages has had its door left open, and you can see that there is very, very little light inside. It is only when the Cleanser gestures towards the door that you realize that this is what the Master Abbot meant by ‘private’.

Or is it? What if you actually did not come up clean on the Spot-Dosimeter? What if this is all just some elaborate trick just to get you under lock and key?

No – no, that does not make any sense. If they wanted you in that carriage, or in a Lead Maiden, or even in that Leadfire, they simply could have carried you there and tossed you in while all of the Cleansers had you completely immobilized. These men are not Thief-Takers, they do not have to rely on trickery like that or exploit loopholes in the law – they can pretty much do whatever they see fit to whoever, so long as they are untitled. Feeling only slightly reassured about this, you climb up into the quiet gloom of the carriage. As you expected, the Master Abbot is sitting across from you, but you are surprised when the Cleanser that was escorting you over climbs in after you. You scoot over on the wooden bench, to make as much room for him as possible, but there is little need – this is a large carriage, large enough for four people to sit comfortably on each bench. You do your best to keep and look calm, though you cannot help but jump when the Cleanser that was guarding the carriage slams the door shut. Swallowing hard, you fold your hands, place them in your lap, and just wait for your eyes to adjust and for the Master Abbot to speak.

“Did you get the coin?”

“I did Master Abbot – thank you. It, it was so incredibly generous of you.”

“Mmm.”

He lapses back into silence. You are seriously considering asking him why you are here, when to your surprise, the Cleanser sitting next to you speaks instead.

“By any chance, do you know what a ‘professional witness’ does?”

Before you decide on how to answer that question, you peer at the man sitting next to you – who you had assumed was just here to protect the Master Abbot. You had assumed that he was Cleanser, because was in the environmental kit that they wear, but now you wonder if this man is a full-fledged Inquisitor. You do not come to any definite conclusions, so just to keep things moving you decide to lie, and double down on the articulate-but-ignorant gravedigger image that you have inadvertently started to cultivate.

“Uh, I might have heard the term before …”

“Do you know what an informant does?”

“Aye …”

“Well, that’s the sum and substance of what a professional witness is – an informant for a prosecutor, placed during the course of an investigation.”

The Master Abbot speaks up.

“And it just so happens that we are in course of an investigation right now.”
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>>5006103
You are on dangerous ground here – you have to make sure that you do not reveal that you actually were able to read the note, especially after so vehemently insisting that you could not just minutes earlier.

“So … what then, you want me to … inform for you?”

“Yes.”

Half a second later, the man on your left provides the elaboration that you were waiting for.

“Yes, on your current boss – the South Sexton.”

“What? Why? What’s he done?”

The two men look at each other for several moments. No words pass their lips, but when they both return their attention to you, it is obvious that they have come to some sort of unspoken understanding.

“I can’t tell you anything specific unless you agree to work with us. And to be clear, we are genuinely asking you if you want to, not telling you. You have already done a lot for our case, with that character testimony that you gave Ossavian, and getting further involved could be dangerous. But, if you agree whatever the outcome of the investigation, we’ll take care of you – once this is all done, we will have you transferred over to apprentice under a leatherworker, or ... whatever job you want."

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).
>Ask to think about the offer for a few days - which de facto declines the offer. Your tentative schedule for the next few days will remain intact. Unless the Inquisitors or Cleansers start paying you visits to convince you to join, you should be able to avoid them for the next two days. Unfortunately, you will almost certainly not be able to learn exactly what the know (or what they think they know).
>Decline the offer outright. Your tentative schedule for the next few days will remain intact. After such a firm refusal, there should be no further interactions with them for the next two days (at least because of the job offer). Unfortunately, you will almost certainly not be able to learn exactly what the know (or what they think they know).

>>5006084
Don't worry, that's a given at this point. No matter what is chosen here, you will ask to for them to advocate for you and Vaclav.
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>>5006111
>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).

Well, if Father is in trouble, we have to help him, even if it’s dangerous.

Nice trips btw!
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>>5006111
>Ask to think about the offer for a few days - which de facto declines the offer. Your tentative schedule for the next few days will remain intact. Unless the Inquisitors or Cleansers start paying you visits to convince you to join, you should be able to avoid them for the next two days. Unfortunately, you will almost certainly not be able to learn exactly what the know (or what they think they know).

Ask to know more about the Danger, Since Father is "Sick", we should run this past him to make sure that he is ok with it and that we know the South Sexton is busy for the next few days so if they need us for anything we may well be busy.

For people that don't know the "spare" body we have may well be a good stand in, if it comes down to it, and play things right
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>>5006111
>Ask to think about the offer for a few days - which de facto declines the offer. Your tentative schedule for the next few days will remain intact. Unless the Inquisitors or Cleansers start paying you visits to convince you to join, you should be able to avoid them for the next two days. Unfortunately, you will almost certainly not be able to learn exactly what the know (or what they think they know).
Nope. We are already in way too deep. After what she has just been through, this is the most in-character choice and it it buys us time we urgently need.
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>>5006282
You mean it puts a spotlight on our backs. Anon, I know working work for the Inquisition is risky, but saying we’ll think on it and then hightailing it away is still as risky, but with none of the benefits of steering their investigation or even knowing what the hell is going on so that we can avoid Inquisition hotspots in the next two days. I’d rather we give them a definitive answer rather than pussyfooting around the issue and putting even more interest on our activities (we didn’t even give them a false name to throw them off).

Another thing to keep in mind is that if we’re not their hatchet man, somebody else will be, and we’re going to be in the dark about it and their investigation into us as well.

Also, saying that yours is the most in-character choice is presumptuous, and I’d advise against bringing meta into this personally.
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>>5006290
>saying that yours is the most in-character choice is presumptuous

I really think it is though. Imagine you are standing close to the people you fear most in your life. Being manhandled and probed and experiencing actual terror for your life. Then these people offer you a job. First instinct would be to find a way to get away from these people as soon as possible and as fast as possible, preferably in a polite and non-commiting way. We have no real indication that their investigation is in any way tied to Father's disappearance, which to me would be the only thing that could convince our girl to take such a crazy risk.
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>>5006350
> We have no real indication that their investigation is in any way tied to Father's disappearance, which to me would be the only thing that could convince our girl to take such a crazy risk.

Besides all this happening when our Father went out for a job that he was uncharacteristically emotional about (only time in living memory that he called us by our real name)? The Inquisition specifically investigating the South Sexton, who both we and our Father were recently working under? The fact that this is really a small town to begin with, with only a handful of Witchlets living here, including us and Father, and that Father has (assumed magical) friends who might be related to this current mess being burned by Leadfire? Hell, if we were noticeably with the Inquisition it may keep the Thief-takers off our backs, or at least give them pause as to thinking we’re the wanted gal.

I think that is sufficient reason to accept the risk, whatever comes next. I won’t begrudge anyone for not taking it, but it certainly isn’t IC I feel.
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>>5006350
> We have no real indication that their investigation is in any way tied to Father's disappearance, which to me would be the only thing that could convince our girl to take such a crazy risk.

Besides all this happening when our Father went out for a job that he was uncharacteristically emotional about (only time in living memory that he called us by our real name)? The Inquisition specifically investigating the South Sexton, who both we and our Father were recently working under? The fact that this is really a small town to begin with, with only a handful of Witchlets living here, including us and Father, and that Father has (assumed magical) friends who might be related to this current mess being burned by Leadfire? Hell, if we were noticeably with the Inquisition it may keep the Thief-takers off our backs, or at least give them pause as to thinking we’re the wanted gal.

I think that is sufficient reason to accept the risk, whatever comes next. I won’t begrudge anyone for not taking it, but taking it isn’t OC.
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>>5006111
>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).
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>>5006111
>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).

At this point I've given up hope up of us having everything we need to leave on schedule with all the crafting tables. I think we'll have to make sacrifices and either leave a couple of the tables behind or use more time to safely accomplish our goals, we are getting too tied up in non-essential tasks. Like, what if we learn what this is all about, but to actually do something about it or find father we have to stay longer than he told us too, or it is too dangerous and there is no realistic means of us actually affecting anything or it turns out to be unrelated to father?

Still, having more information about what is going on so we can make better decisions is probably good. And if father just set a deadline for us to leave out of caution rather than a certainty we'd be found, we may not even need to leave, getting set up as a leatherworkers apprentice may be good.
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>>5006111
>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).

I don't believe they'll really let us not do what they want. I think he is gauging our intentions.
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>>5006700
>we may not even need to leave
town's already teeming with inquisition and once everything blows up it'll get worse. We should try our best to get gone by dad's deadline.
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>>5006817
Oh, I don't want to stay, but if we keep getting sidetracked I don't see us getting everything done by our deadline.
>>
QUESTION: What would Entering A Strange Fever entail?
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>>5007033
Strange Fever is a state that Witches (and even Witchlets) can enter into - effectively, your entire body is turned into a living magical conduit, which makes casting spells much, much easier, like from DC 60 to DC 20 to 15 or 12. The downside is that in the process, the temperature of your entire body is raised to a dangerous level - and it glows like your eyes do, so it is not particularly suited for stealthy stuff. Anything that you are directly touching, or have ingested is automatically cooked off to fuel the conduit, so you steam and smoke too - and the steam and the smoke is Strange, potentially communicably. If you run out of fuel, your body will begin to cook off your own blood - and even if you have enough fuel to prevent your blood from cooking, eventually you will collapse from the fever anyway. Also, you would need to remediate yourself afterwards, or else risk a potentially dangerous buildup of Strangeness (even at your level of stability).

Sorry I wasn't able to do any writing today guys, I don't know how it happened, but I just got buried under a bunch of work. When I am ready to write tomorrow, I'll close the vote. When the post goes up, I'll be sure to put something in the general, considering that we are no longer bumping.
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>>5006111
>>Agree to work for the Inquisition as a professional witness. This will no doubt further complicate your schedule for the next two days. Also, being in the presence of Inquisitors and Cleansers is a genuine risk to yourself. But clearly they are on to something serious, and this is almost certainly the only way to learn exactly what they know (or what they think they know).
they think the sexton is a possible candidate for the Hook Gull device, which last we knew was associated with the university student, which IIRC was a possible lead for Chlot's Father. it's a little convoluted, and it is both a danger and a pain in the ass. but it also just seems interesting
agreeing readily when offered a new job also gives the master abbot the impression that Sty wants a new job or some other favor and doesn't mind being around somewhat the somewhat feared and dangerous Inquisition. although he's sharp as sin and twice as entangling, I do think that his scrutiny will decrease after he thinks he has a firm grasp on who Sty is, who he now thinks is at least not all that Strange, even if he doesn't necessarily have no reason to suspect that
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Okay, I'll try to get a post up for an overnight vote today.

>>5006171 Agree 1 De facto 0 De jure 0
>>5006251 Agree 1 De facto 1 De jure 0
>>5006290 Agree 1 De facto 2 De jure 0
>>5006442 Agree 2 De facto 2 De jure 0
>>5006700 Agree 3 De facto 2 De jure 0
>>5006816 Agree 4 De facto 2 De jure 0
>>5007238 Agree 5 De facto 2 De jure 0

Pretty overwhelming! I'll get to writing as soon as I finish eating dinner.
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Hello, I found this quest and went to read the first thread. I think I will catch up and join you guys in time
So far I can tell that I like the writing and the tone, and that our father was based
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>>5007785
I will say, it will be a sad day when this quests ends.

>>5008014
Welcome aboard lad!
>>
To your surprise, you find yourself actually considering the offer, solely for the chance to learn what they know. Earlier today, just seeing a Cleanser driving this very carriage past you was enough to send you into a state of shock. You were so thoroughly panicked, that not only did you seriously contemplate just running away immediately, but the only way you could calm yourself down was by reminding yourself that you could take your own life before the Inquisitors got their hands on you. And here you are, just a few hours later thinking about working for these fanatics. Well, perhaps ‘working for’ is not the best way to describe it, as you are still planning on leaving the Mount, just like father instructed you to. ‘Getting involved with’ is much closer to the mark. And truly, you already are involved with them. Two of them have interrogated you, probably more than a dozen of them know your name and that you are a woman, and to top it all off, they have scanned you with that creepy lantern-like Spot-Dosimeter.

Now that you think about it, that has to be the reason why you are only nervous right now, instead of having a complete breakdown. After being put through the wringer by these Inquisitors, and not only coming out of it alive, but alive and with their trust, how could you be as afraid of the Inquisition as you were earlier today? You have seen that in spite of their reputation, and all of their highly vaunted tools and training, they are still fallible, that they can be tricked and deceived – and more importantly, that you can trick and deceive them. But … and you are not sure about this … but perhaps you have become too confident. Too sure of yourself. Sure, they have not found any proof, or anything beyond the most circumstantial evidence as to what you are so far – but if you were to agree to work for them, if you were to spend more time with them, is it possible that they could pick up on something? That you would let something slip? Perhaps it would be for the best if you asked for ‘three or four days’ to think it over, or something like that. If they accepted that, then hopefully by the time that they came back for an answer, you would be long gone. Truly, what kind of information would be worth this kind of risk?

Unfortunately, you know the answer to that question. Information about your father. It is possible that this investigation that they are trying to involve you in somehow leads back to him, or at least, is connected to him. If there is so much as a chance, then – you are going to do it. But you are going to need to be careful. Careful about how you accept the offer, to not let on that you are going to bail on them in just two days, and careful about how you conduct yourself while working for them. If you are too perceptive, then that is suspicious. If you are too oblivious, then that is suspicious too.
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>>5008523
And even if you are no longer physically quaking in your boots at the sight of Inquisitors, at the very least you still should be figuratively.

“This … a leatherworker? You can do that?”

The two men share another look, and now that your eyes have adjusted somewhat, you can see that the Master Abbot is smiling again. No doubt he is convinced that he has you. And to be fair, he does … just not in the way he thinks. And definitely not in the way he wants. The man you thought was a Cleanser but now think is an Inquisitor is the one who answers – if you had to guess, he will be your ‘handler’.

“With a wave of the hand.”

Should you ask for something for your father, or should you not? As far as the rest of the world is concerned, he is still in the belfry, sick as a dog. Once you have thought about it for a few moments, you come to the conclusion

that you should. After all, what kind of daughter would ignore her own father?

“What about my father? Once this is all done, can you make him a leatherworker too?”

“Yes, yes – assigning two new leatherworkers is as easy as assigning one.”

You open your mouth to ask about Vaclav, to fulfill the promise you made to yourself, when a terrible thought streaks across your mind like a bolt of lightning. No matter what happens over the course of the next two days, Vaclav is not going to be leaving the Mount. Vaclav is going to be spending the rest of his life in the Midden. If you were to mention him to the Inquisition, even in passing, just to make sure that the South Sexton did not unfairly punish him, and then, two days later, you were to disappear, would the Inquisition think that Vaclav might know something? Would they come for him? He would obviously pass a Spot-Dosimeter test if they gave him one, but you are more worried about the interrogation they would put him through. Would they torture him?

Years ago, when father was going punish you for some fairly serious misdeed – you do not even remember what it was exactly, but you took something of his without asking and then proceeded to damage it by accident – you were begging him to not turn his belt on you. In what was no doubt a joke to him and one of the most terrifying experiences of your young life, he took out the kit of ‘interrogative implements’ that he used during his years as an Inquisitor, and graphically explained the function of each and every one of the remaining tools. Once he was done, he asked if you still had any objections to his belt. Obviously, you did not.
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>>5008524
You do not want to throw Vaclav under the wagon with the South Sexton, who will definitely be looking to come down on someone after being so thoroughly humiliated today. But you also do not want to throw Vaclav under the wagon with the Inquisition either. Once you disappear, and they realize that your father is gone too, the Inquisition is probably going to be taking a serious look at anyone and everyone that you knew. If you were to draw additional attention to Vaclav by asking for them to intercede on his behalf today, would that mean that he would become suspicious enough that they would consider torturing him for information? Possibly. After all, he is a Leper. It is not like anyone would really care if they overreacted. Or if they seriously hurt him in the process. On the other hand, even without exempting him, the South Sexton could quite easily make Vaclav's life absolutely miserable. Maker’s mercy, what should you do?

>Please choose ONE of the following:
>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.
>It might make you feel like a cur, but for his sake, you cannot ask for them to help him.

I somehow managed to fall asleep writing the update - sorry about that. Anyway, I have quite a bit of stuff to do today and tomorrow, but I should be able to get a post or two out.
>>
Oh, almost forgot!

>>5008014
Glad to have you along for the ride, anon!
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>>5008529
>It might make you feel like a cur, but for his sake, you cannot ask for them to help him.
Without us mentioning him the Cleansers should have no interest in him at all.

We should also be able to trade the knowledge of the investigation to the South Sexton to have him spare Vaclav, and potentially throw a wrench in the Investigation at the same time.

The results of which won't matter if we do actually mange to leave on time, and may otherwise tie up resources because of the fallout.
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>>5008529
>>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.
>>
>>5008529
>>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.
Don't phrase it so much as us wanting them to help him, more so that if they want us to inform on the sexton then they can't let him Exempt us today. And if they won't let him exempt us it would be unfair and suspicious to let him exempt V
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>>5008529
>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.
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>>5008529
>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.

Just say the other leapers will need to avoid being Exempted for this to work. Or we can ask Ossavian to do it for us. Just avoid singling Vaclav.

Bigger question is, how are we going to make this look like we were kidnapped and then killed for working with the Inquisition. It will throw them off our tracks, and may help them hyper focus on the South Sexton, as we are just a pawn in Inquisition’s game and will naturally assume they were on to something if their leaper informant suddenly goes missing in what looks like a bloody struggle.
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>>5008529
>Stick to the original plan and ask for them to help him.
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Alright - I'll start chipping away at this, but I just want to warn you guys, I've got a lot of work to do, so I might not even be able to get an overnight post up.
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Jesus fuck you guys are really bad at this "ignore the plothooks and run away" thing, are you.
We had a plan, remember?
[] steal money
[ ] steal anti-gravity oil
[ ] get out of the city
And now we're in all this shit.
Why did it take me so long to catch up god damn it, maybe I could've prevented this T_T
Also great quest, don't overwork youself, qm
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>>5010085
>could have prevented a 5v2

Honestly, de facto denying the Inquisition would gain us only their interest and ire, and none of the benefits of flat out denying them or actionable intel to avoid their operations. Asking for a few days to think it over wouldn't gain us intel or get the Inquisition off our backs. Next time you don't want to work for the Inquisition, just say no thank you.
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>>5010100
>just say no thank you.
Yes. This is exactly what you should have done