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/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


You stride the raw-hewn tunnels, smoothed entryways, and eventually past millennia-old carvings etched into the rocky edifices by generations of your ancestors. Your footfalls are soft, near-silent, as you were trained, but in your imaginings they echo deep into the heart of the earth like those of a conquering giant, heralding your glorious return.

It helps that, genuinely, those of the enormous (albeit malformed) dragon-chimera behind you DO thus herald his coming.

This “Dragonborn” entity, artificially-created scion of your people’s glorious champion of old, will no-doubt be greeted with the greater respect and adoration of the two of you. You know this, intellectually. You are a Degenerate, so-called for your human-tainted heritage—descended, in fact, from the very humans who helped destroy the Great Green Dragon of old. Right now, though, this is YOUR moment, and he is just one of the many trophies of your victories.

It was YOU that liberated the Dragonborn from his long captivity, enslaved his creator with dark magic, and brought his mage jailers to humiliated ruination. It was YOU who undermined the Paladin King of Hawksong whose great-grandfather killed the Great Green Dragon in the first place—YOU who seduced and infected his son with demonic taint, who slew his Paladins, who turned his beloved surface-city into a hives of anxiety and mistrust. Who destroyed his great hope by stealing his centrepiece of his city defence plan, if not YOU?

Your true name may be shamed, hardly-spoken except to curse it… But as Ismena Rosgard, as Kamunu the Dancer, as Isabelle Romanov, as Zithra Half-Orc, a the Slayer in the Sewers and the Deadly Demonist of Hawksong Horror? You have become one of the great foes of Man, and a credit to your people and to your Dark Gods’ Grand Design!

Today, you are a Reptilian Infiltrator without equal in living memory!

To either side of your stride your fellow Infiltrators: ‘Roth’, your senior by decades, a dragonblooded hothead and curmudgeon who ahs been your ally from the first; ‘Alhazred’, a fellow Degenerate of a southerly extraction and a keen mind. On your shoulder sits little Hirschel, a lesser byproduct of the dragon-hybridizing experiments of the humans, preening himself idly as he looks about the darkness of your native realm in half-interest. Behind you crawls the Dragonborn, too titanic to easily walk upon his hind legs through these narrow passages, and before him are three others: the False Degenerate, a demonically-enthralled human-turned-Reptilian hybrid; an owlbear, once a defender of Hawksong mages’ dark secrets; a tentacle-dog, strange, lean, periodically useful, and kind of cute in a mutated sort of way.

‘And don’t forget me!’
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>>5207193
In your mind you hear the voice of your partner-in-crime, you quite-literal soulmate. You could not forget Irinnile if you wanted to—and now and again, you have wanted to. Lately, you have been going through something of a rough patch with the succubus to whom you bound your soul—partly because, in thus binding yourself, you consigned your immortal spark to the Hellish realms from which she was birthed.

‘Baaabe,’ she whines, ‘I thought we were, like, past all that?’

You scrunch up your face, resisting the urge to fire back a psychic rejoinder. This is a moment of triumph, or exhalation, not a time for a lover’s quarrel! Besides, it is true that without Irinnile, you’re not certain how things would have gone. She has been a liability at times—forcing you to feed her the lust and lifeforce of mortal men and women, taking control of your body to sate her demoniac <WANT>, placing upon you a vulnerability to holy arms and areas—but it is also by her pact that you were empowered to subvert the pitiful minds of many a mammalian menace.

‘We’re in this together,’ Irinnile asserts, with a confidence you can tell she doesn’t feel. ‘R-right, hotstuff?’

How do you reply?
>Reassure Irinnile—she is invaluable, and you cannot begrudge a demon her nature [+affection]
>Admonish Irinnile—she is distracting you from your momentous moment of victory [-affection]
>Say nothing—your anger is waning, but your feelings are still ambivalent, and you want to let her sweat a little
>Write-in
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>>5207197
You finally step out of the purest shadows of the caverns and into the dimly-lit hall of the great cavern. Winding, intricate patterns resembling great snakes encoiling jagged stars are carved here, and great statues of shaped from stolen (or, rather, RIGHTFULLY RECLAIMED) surface-mammal gold and silver pay tribute to a long gone age—an age which will soon return! Yes, here you can truly feel the beauteous splendour of your ancestors who once ruled this world, and bask in the praise of your fellow children of the Master Race who now stand to preside over a new Age of Scales!

‘Why’re there so, like… Few of ‘em?’ Irinnile asks.

She isn’t wrong. The humans of Hawksong speak of elves as a race in decline, slow-breeding and past-their-prime, their numbers sadly diminished. Well, if this is true… You would loathe to hear what they would say of your people, whose numbers are unknown to you but which you know deep down must be even lesser in number. Divided into clans—almost subspecies—they seem even more reduced in each branch of the great family tree.

But not for long!

In this enormous hall, once home to throngs of hundreds or thousands, you see only a few dozen of your mother’s race mingling in small groups, discussing personal, political, and mercantile matters in hushed hisses of the True Speech. How to you announce yourself?
>Weave a glimmering glamour with illusion, displaying your magical prowess in a shower of sparkling light, and declare yourself boldly
>Approach humbly, quietly, as is the custom of a half-human Degenerate, and seek out a Serpent priest to report directly your accomplishments
>Ask Roth to speak in your favour, and to secure you an audience to make your announcements
>Let The Dragonborn bellow with all the thunder of his ancestor—it may be he and not you who is the centre of attention, but it is YOU who liberated him, and they will all remember that!
>Write-in
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>>5207201
LEVEL UP!
You have become better at biological manipulation through magic, at ranged combat, and at seduction. This is the result of your choices, and affects how many dice get rolled when it is time for dice to roll. If you don’t know the drill by now… Well, this is the <FINAL THREAD>, so you really should. If you’re just joining us, you will find the ‘rules’ at https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm, along with our adventures up to this point.

You have acquired a number of items in your inventory, though you may not always have access to all of them: a suit of leafweave armour and the materials to maintain it, a protective magical cloak which guards against heat and cold, a magical diadem granting clarity and control when your perceptions are affected by outside sources, a hidden charm which suppresses your succubus partner’s demonic aura inside you, an enchanted dagger both frosty and fierce, a sword-cane taken from the memories of a dead nobleman and shaped by your demonic paramour from her own essence, a coin which can buy the safe transit of your soul, a serpent-priest staff with unknown properties, a very small amount of shirin stimulant… And suicide poison.

Oh, and the burning heart of a long-dead dragon and a rune-covered dodecahedral dwarven master stone! Given all the trouble you went through to acquire and then RE-acquire them, it would be tough to forget those, even if currently Roth and Alhazred are hefting them at your behest.

You also have in your arsenal a <DIVINE FAVOUR> granted by the Dark Gods themselves for your piety and service, a <SOULBOND> with a succubus granting you an assortment of demonic strength and weaknesses, access to the <AKASHIC RECORD> of your deities and their agents across time and space… And no small amount of <HEARTBREAK> for the once human whom you truly love(d), Edwin of Engel.
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>>5207197
>Say nothing—your anger is waning, but your feelings are still ambivalent, and you want to let her sweat a little
Just manifest her in her own body, dammit.
>>5207201
>Approach humbly, quietly, as is the custom of a half-human Degenerate, and seek out a Serpent priest to report directly your accomplishments
>Ask Roth to speak in your favour, and to secure you an audience to make your announcements
Roth should accompany us in the conversation with the Serpent Priest as more-or-less our supervisor and companion on a couple of missions.
Alhazred should come as a part of the team who helped free the Dragonborn, reclaim the Heart and obtain the dwarven brick, too.
Owlbear & Co. stay back for now and look epic and horrifying to the snakes so they don't fuck with our dog and DIY degenerate.
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>>5207201
>Reassure Irinnile—she is invaluable, and you cannot begrudge a demon her nature [+affection]

>Approach humbly, quietly, as is the custom of a half-human Degenerate, and seek out a Serpent priest to report directly your accomplishments
>Ask Roth to speak in your favour, and to secure you an audience to make your announcements
>>
>>5207513
>>5207521
Locking:
>Approach humbly, quietly, as is the custom of a half-human Degenerate, and seek out a Serpent priest to report directly your accomplishments
>Ask Roth to speak in your favour, and to secure you an audience to make your announcements

Still up for a tie-breaker:
>What to do about Irinnile
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>>5207521
>>5207513

You do not address Irinnile. It’s not necessarily that you want her to stew or sweat—though it would serve her right—so much as that you aren’t yet sure how to feel about the whole situation. She has been buttering you up with flattery and spectral touches ever since your spat, which is both appreciated and makes you feel queerly concerned for her… But inasmuch as she is beloved by you, she is also a liability to your greater destiny. It is difficult to reconcile, and you have more pressing matters… Such as how to approach those pure-blooded Reptilians who now take notice of you.

Much of your bravado melts away as dozens of pairs of reptiliform faces turn towards you, yellow and orange eyes reflecting the limited light with piercing scrutiny. All at once, you feel the shame of your inborn status settle upon you like a physical weight. Your head bows instinctively, your eyes lower to the floor, your posture adjusts to show proper deference to these purebloods. You were raised right, after all, whatever your mother’s… Proclivities. No, you do not wish to draw too much attention to yourself. You know that a Degenerate’s greatest virtue in this place is humility and obedience.

Unfortunately, you also brought a small cadre of extremely-colourful pets, associates, and surface treasures. Attention is probably unavoidable.

No one approached immediately, the people of this place hovering well back. You can see the subtle signs of fascination and fear flit across their varies, scaly features. Even the mightiest Steeltalon is fearful to enter the owlbear’s considerable reach; even the noblest Dragonblood is awed (albeit probably also horrified) by the great and terrible DragonBORN. But your people are not a race given to meaningless chatter and exclamation. There are q few quiet whispers, subtle shifts of posture to draw closer or back away.

“What is the meaning of this?” one Dragonblood speaks up, after a while. “What… Are all these things? Who are you?”

You open your mouth to speak, but can say nothing. You are a little girl, a hatchling, once more. It is not your place... And so, you turn to Roth, the highest-born of your party. He meets your eyes for a moment, and almost seems surprised. You suppose it’s been some time since you showed the old male this level of respect for his bloodline and his station—you’d taken to teasing and bantering with him almost like an equal and, age, birth, and inherent haughtiness aside, he had come to expect and even accept it from you. Coming home is an adjustment for you both.
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>>5208034
“We are Infiltrators, returned from the human-infested surface-settlement called ‘Hawksong’,” Roth says, puffing up his chest and sticking out his proud, thorny chin. “You can see we come bearing important news and great treasures from the ape-folk’s ill-begotten hoards!”

The other Dragonblood says nothing for a time, staring at the chimeras, the magical items,a nd ESPECIALLY at the Dargonborn. The Great Green One lets lose a low rumble that radiates through the cavern, reflected off of every curve of the cave so that it seems to come from all sides. A few hisses and squeaks go up from the assembly, and a few Reptilians hurry from the hall. Each Dargonborn present, including the one who addressed you, seems to buckle slightly at the knees as if seized by an instinctive urge to submit and bow, though none do; Roth, by now used to it, stands straightest of all.

You lean close to Roth—not touching him, of course, not HERE—and whisper to him. He doesn’t deign to look at you, not paying you such close attention, but you see him nod very slightly. He may be back on the top of the natural hierarchy once more, but he agrees with your thinking, it seems.

“We three—myself and these Degenerates—must report to the Serpent Priests. Who is presently Chaplain of this place?”

“Chaplain Makss-Ssellu,” a male Silkscale answers, when the Dragonborn from before, still trembling slightly from the fearful presence of the Dragonborn, fails to do so.

“Bring us to him,” your senior Infiltrator orders, and the Silkscale obliges.

“As the humans say, ‘there is no place like home,’” Alhazred mutters.

You and he both fall into line behind Roth, leaving your menagerie behind at the mouth of the hall. There, they continue to confound and captivate the watching Reptilian throng. The Dragonborn stands up as straight as its bowed, hunched back will allow, basking in the adulation with a sad mockery of kingly bearing.
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>>5208037
Deeper into the well-wrought, carefully-maintained sanctum, you find the familiar halls of your True Faith. You do not meet The Chaplain in the gem-studded star-chamber of glorious ritual, where divine missions are handed down in service to The Grand Design when the stars are right to do so. Instead, you are set to wait in a place-of-confession, where lesser castes of Reptilian may tell of their deeds or misdeeds and be judged in private. There are no chairs, only a stone dais to kneel before, and a stone to rest one’s head upon; it is concave, with a lightly-browned basin in its centre, where eons of blood has been caught and collected, when judgement falls hard upon an agent of the Dark Gods.

Eventually, the Silkscale returns, head bowed low and eyes cast downwards, as you and Alhazred do—as even ROTH does. The Chaplain, called Makss-Ssellu, steps with unhurried gate behind the Silkscale. He has the hallmarks of high, priestly birth: an elegant and curved neck atop his narrow shoulders, a long, narrow face, blue-green eyes, a wattle of bluish skin beneath his proud chin. He is now Herald of Distant Starlight or Secret-Keeper of Deepest Dark, merely an Operational Chaplain of the Grand Design, but his station is high enough to warrant your collective, silent respect, and to grant him the wearing of ceremonial black robes and a cobra-like cowl of silver-laced fabric.

“Who will kneel?” he asks. “Who will tell me of your deeds, and your misdeeds, and face judgement?”

You gulp. You KNOW this is a time of triumph, you know it… But that basin’s staining is fresh, and you also know that your mission has not been unmitigated success, nor have your methods been… Orthodox.

‘Baaah, who even cares ‘bout THAT?’ Irinnile scoffs sacrilegiously. ‘You did great! And, like, what’s he gonna’ do? We’re immune ta’ curb-stompin’ or whatever. Magic weapons only, ‘member?’

The Silkscale reverently hands The Serpent Priest a staff of office—one ending in an obsidian cudgel carved to resemble the rattle of a rattlesnake… And radiating a dark magic to your mystic senses.

‘Oh,’ Irinnile says. ‘Uh, nevermind. Maybe let someone else tell ‘im that bad bits?’

Roth and Alahzred, too, stare at the staff. Alahzred steps back, only slightly… And to his credit, your curmudgeonly senior steps forward.

What do you do?
>Let Roth take the credit, or the blame, recounting the events which have transpired
>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged
>Take your place at the stone of judgement, but tell the most cherry-picked and flattering account possible [specify what you emphasize or leave out, if you have something in mind]
>Shove Alhazred forward, throwing your party’s juniormost member to the proverbial wolves, and see how it goes
>Write-in
>>
>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged

Unwise to lie to a priest in a confessional
>>
>>5208039
>>5208039 (You)
*He is no Herald of Distant Starlight

One day, I will catch my typos before I post. One day, if the stars are right.
>>
>>5208039
>>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged
>>
>>5208039
>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged
Obviously don't mention our unrelated activities if it's unnecessary and make sure to emphasize our conversation with the Serpent so that he knows we have the highest-order stamp of approval.

This update hits hard after spending a year on the surface alongside Ismena. Shit got very personal.
>>
>>5208039
>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged
>>
[Pathfinder campaign is going long. I'll post tomorrow morning, to ensure quality!]
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>>5208054
>>5208130
>>5208155
>>5208267
You reach out, touching Roth on the shoulder. He looks back to you, questioningly. Only a moment later do you see that The Chaplain and his Silkscale attendant have had an altogether more astonished and offended reaction to this display of familiarity.

“It is… Fine, “ Roth grunts. “This De—this younger Infiltrator has been at the centre of operations in a way that I have not. She should be the one to take my place in the Confession.”

For a moment, it seems the other two purebloods are at a loss. They clearly do not know what to make of a Dragonblooded One relinquishing his place of privilege to a half-human hybrid. However, as you step forward, fall you your knees, and press your forehead to the cold stone, The Chaplain falls back upon familiar ritual.

“Very well,” he says. “Tell me what ahs transpired—the good, the bad, the unseemly.”

And you do. It is unwise—blasphemous, even—to lie to a Serpent Priest in a room-of-confession. You tell him of your arrival in Sparrowton, your discovery of V.Rilney and his book. You tell him of how you arrived in Hawksong, and tracked down the true identity of this uncomfortably-knowledgeable human, and even of how you learned that he was your father’ father. You tell him of seducing mammals, and of using them, and of disposing of them just of readily. It all spills forth: the demon-pacts, the clandestine warfare against The Incubus and its mortal agents, and your soulbond with Irinnile.

“Disgusting!” the SIlkscale mle repudiates you.

“Silence!” The Chaplain commands of the lesser-ranked pureblood. “We are not done.”

You tell of every victory you won, of every ally and pawn you lost, of every piece you placed and played upon the great gameboard of that human metropolis. You present to him the Serpent Priest staff which you discovered, stole, and secured, and you see The Chaplain’s steely eyes widen in recognition.

“It was for this deed of piety and loyalty,” you point out pointedly, “that the Dark Gods saw fit to speak with me, and to grant me their <CIVINE FAVOUR> and access to the <AKASHIC RECORD>.”

All the Reptilians in the room stare at you now, fully comprehending what you have said in a troubled silence.

“It… Should not be possible,” The Chaplain says.

You say nothing. You hope that he can sense to truth of your words… And you suppose he must, for he traces a sigil of protection and dips his head.

“You… You have done well, to earn such favour,” he admits. You sense a jealous resentment in his voice, and you can surmise well—he has been born to a spiritual nobility, served your divine masters all his life, and never earned such a boon. It must rankle.

“It came with a duty as well,” you admit. “I must end the Yosef bloodline, avenging the Great Green Dragon.”

The Chaplain does not respond to this, merely nodding, taking it in.
>>
>>5208972
"I have not done so yet," you admit. "Other matters were more pressing. The Gala, the Dragonborn, the occult and demonic threats..."

“The threats which you resolved by making pacts with the Lesser Darknesses?” The Chaplain asks, a tad accusatory.

“A means to an end,” you say quickly.

“And what of the one you have inside of you to you?” he asks.

You hesitate.

“And what of this human, this… ‘Edwin of Engel’? How much did he learn of you? How compromised is your identity?”

This… This a difficult decision, moreso than any other. You have told the Serpent Priest VIRTUALLY everything—even details of your break-up with dear Edwin which you kept from Roth. The Chaplain knows that Edwin cast you out for your involvement in the Gala Attack—how could you hide such a detail from a SERPENT PRIEST, here, on the stone-of-confession?!—but he does not know of that Edwin’s mind remains clear, and clean of your mitigating occult influence. Likewise, you have described Irinnile as a tool—a tool towards your Master Race’s conquest of Man—but not told him of your love, your bond.

“You see,” you begin. Then, you pause. “It is…”

“First, let us address your demon, your succubus,” The Chaplain says, turning away. “It must be destroyed.”

‘W-w-what?!’ Irinnile whimpers. ‘Babe! No, what?! P-please, tell him not to-‘

“Do you know the nature of demons?” the Serpent Priest interrupts, without even realizing it.

“…I believe so?” you say, suddenly uncertain.

“A demon is an immortal, a creature of lightless flame and smoking heat, birthed from a primordial pit before the arrival of starlight of sunlight,” the Chaplain says, as if reciting from a tome committed to memory. “They are immortal… But their memories, personalities, egos… They are not. A demon of this sort, of desire… A ‘succubus’… They, in particular, are malleable. They are crafted by the coconscious and unconscious desires of the one who calls upon them.”

You think you recall this from the late Lord Bianchi’s tomes, from his descriptions of the ritual by which he summoned Irinnile in the first place. You nod, hesitantly.

“They cannot die, but when they are ‘slain’, their energies, memories, and personas are dispersed. Lost, forever. A death of ego.”

“That… That isn’t necessary!” you protest, defiant in spite of your upbringing. It would mean, effectively, the end of Irinnile as you now her—an irrational step, without obvious merit. “This demon is bound to me, loyal without question!”

“Is it?” The Chaplain asks, turning back to you. “I understand that this demon is… That it has been useful to you, to the Grand Design, but it is tainted by human weakness… And it holds secrets, secrets that it should not know."
>>
>>5208974
The Chaplain continues, saying: "Do you know, Infiltrator, that if you were to die, your succubus would yet live? It would go on, ego intact, carrying with it every secret of our Akashic Record which it has bared witness to, and every operational activity in which it has participated?”

“I… Do not understand,” you admit. “Then surely the succubus is a valuable record of operational intelligence?”

“If you DIED,” The Chaplain snaps, “any mammal with the requisite knowledge and the demon’s name could re-summon it and glean every single one of those details with a single commands! And the humans of Hawksong, you tell me, have demonological EXPERTS!”

‘We killed them!’ Irinnile protests. ‘Tell ‘im, babe!’

“They are no more,” you whisper.

“But is the knowledge lost to their Archmage?” The Chaplain asks. “I would wager the answer is less certain. And he suspects us, and knows of your use of such demons, and your connection to the succubus’ first summoner. Yes?”

‘Then we just won’t die!’ Irinnile says, her voice a titch manic. ‘Right? We’re fuckin’ INVINCIBLE, babe! Look at how far we’ve come, together, you ‘n me. Right?!’

“Yes,” you whisper, helpless beneath that piercing, blue-green judgement. “But…”
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>>5208976
“They reflect your desires, your dreams, mitigate and shore up your anxieties.” The Chaplains says, regarding you almost with compassion—with condescending gentleness. “They ingratiate themselves, appealing to your insecurity and loneliness, crafting a façade designed by their very nature to appeal to your weakness… And you, a human-spawn, sadly have no shortage of such weakness.”

The words hit you like a sledgehammer with their implication—that Irinnile’s affection, her affirmations, her love, are all a reflexive adaptation, a simple shadow of your own needs and wants, reflected back at you like a dark mirror. A plot, targeting the most vulnerable—most HUMAN—part of you.

‘Irinnile,’ you ask, looking inward, ‘is this true?’

‘Babe…’

‘Is… Is what we have, what you have shown me and been to me…’

You swallow, staring down at the basin beneath your face, remembering Irinnile’s projected form, her mischievous and lusty smile, her voice, her touch.

‘Was it real?’ you ask.

Irinnile doesn’t say anything.

“Infiltrator,” The Chaplain says, “it MUST be done, for the good of The Grand Design and the Great Conspiracy. I understand that the beast makes this a difficult thing, to sustain its own power, but it must be cut away to make you clean, and to make us all safe.”

“I will lose much,” you mutter. “We all will lose a great deal.”

“We will re-summon it, purified of forbidden knowledge,” The Chaplain reassures you.

‘I won’t remember you!’ Irinnile cries out, silent no longer. ‘I won’t… I’ll be like I was before I ever met you! I won’t be ME! Maybe what we have is, like… Just a part of my camouflage, but it FEELS real! I promise, it does, for me just like for you!’

“Can I… Take a moment to consider this?” you ask.

The Chaplain says nothing. It is a mercy that he humours your impudent request at all, you know.

“Please?” you whisper.

“Infiltrator,” The Chaplain says quietly, but without softeness, “detach yourself from this parasite, now.”

What do you do?
>Surrender Irinnile [will double your heartbreak penalty and cause her ego death]
>Attempt to bargain for Irinnile’s life [make your argument, politesse roll ensues, failure results in your disgrace]
>Invoke the <DIVINE FAVOUR> to grant Irinnile your Gods’ protection and blessing forevermore [expends the <FAVOUR>]
>Write-in
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>>5208039
>Step forward yourself, to take your rightful place at the head of this mission… And to tell the whole truth, and be judged
>>
>>5208977
I’m honestly tempted to use up our DIVINE FAVOUR for this…

The gods could also make her part of the Grand Plan. A demon who does not return to the hellscape - but who can only be summoned by those with true blood.

She has been a fantastic ally and is soul-bonded with us

What else could we use the Favour for?

Even if we ask to become a pure-blood or even a serpent priest, we will forever be looked down upon by others given our birth. Better to stay as a infiltrator - maybe even the commander of surface covert operations…
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>>5208977
>Attempt to bargain for Irinnile’s life [make your argument, politesse roll ensues, failure results in your disgrace]
Resummon her bound to the Serpent Priest to never say anything and put her in her own body. If we die, she will still have to respond to someone instead of running away with our knowledge.
She still has the partial control OVER THE FUCKING PRINCE and if that control is gone with her ego, the INCUBUS will remain the only demon controling him and if he finds a way to endanger our people, we're triple fucked.

>>>Irinnile doesn’t say anything.
WHAT. How did this not start a heartbreak.

>>5208986
I believe we can still win this one with reason, but please let them summon her in her own body so we will not be sent to hell if we die.
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>>5207197
>Reassure Irinnile—she is invaluable, and you cannot begrudge a demon her nature [+affection]

>>5208977
>Attempt to bargain for Irinnile’s life [make your argument, politesse roll ensues, failure results in your disgrace]
If this fails, I'm tempted to use the favor for this, even if this does remove our safety net.
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>>5208977
>>Surrender Irinnile [will double your heartbreak penalty and cause her ego death]
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>>5208986
Yeah I’m voting for it

>Invoke the <DIVINE FAVOUR> to grant Irinnile your Gods’ protection and blessing forevermore [expends the <FAVOUR>]
>>
>>5208977
>Attempt to bargain for Irinnile’s life [make your argument, politesse roll ensues, failure results in your disgrace]

What's the point of them resummoning her for us now? She'll just pick up more classified knowledge and need to be resummoned again and again. If the only dangerous point is when we die, then wait until we die to do it.

Now to never die...
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>>5209121
>>5209113
>>5209107
>>5209072
>>5209178

Your heart seems to slow to a crawl, its three chambers beating one a minute, an hour. You place your hands on your knees, feeling as if you will throw up into that basin before your smashes brains and blood come to fill it for your pitiful, disgusting mammalian emotional weakness. How could you have been such a fool—such a complete and utter IMBECILE, falling for a demon’s tricks?!

You won’t cry. You’re NOT going to cry.

‘It wasn’t … A trick, ya’ know?’

You look up suddenly, and see not The Chaplain standing there but Irinnile. Her form has shifted, albeit only slightly. She has not hooves, but feet; her red skin is subtly scaled. Her horns are smaller, daintier, her figure and face familiar without being that of anyone you know. That face smiles ruefully at your close scrutiny.

‘It’s, like, a combo of the features of everyone you’ve been attracted to,’ she admits.

‘To better manipulate me?’ you spit.

Irinnile laughs nervously, and shrugs. You feel the pit in your stomach grow.

‘Lispy, it’s not like that,’ she says, kneeling down to cup your face, meeting your eyes with her own brilliant, golden ones, with their eerie shining pupils. ‘I don’t do it on purpose When a succubus gets summoned, we automatically, like… Adapt to the desires of the summoner, or whoever we form a pact with. We become what you want us to be, what you need us to be.’

‘To get the most life-force and leeway from us,’ you say, bluntly.

Irinnile winces, but doesn’t recoil from you. ‘Yeah, yeah. You’re right. But, like… Ain’t that just dating inna’ nutsack? Or, nut-shell, I mean?’

You blink in confusion, so she continues:

‘You hid stuff about yourself from Edwin, lied… Even tried not to let on everything you felt about me. I know that even now, a part of you wants to just say “fuck it” and let the Snakefather out there just get rid of me and be done with me.’

‘Can you blame me?’ you demand.

Irinnile just smiles, and shakes her head.

‘We don’t lie to the ones we love, change ourselves to suit ‘em, because we hate ‘em or think they’re dumb and wanna’ use ‘em up,’ she says, stroking your check; you realize, shamefully, that in your mindscape the tears have begun to fall freely.

‘Then why?’ you whisper.

‘We do it to keep ‘em close to us,’ Irinnile says.

>Reassure Irinnile—she is invaluable, and you cannot begrudge a demon her nature [+affection]
>A belated tie-breaker at a thematically-relevant moment

You stare at her for a moment, then pull her close, pressing your lisp to hers and taking her into your embrace.

‘I won’t begrudge you your nature,’ you tell her, ‘if you’ll forgive me my own.’

Irinnile grins widely, giggling.

‘I love you too,’ she says.

>Irinnile Affection: 100%
>>
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Rolled 4, 7, 5, 10, 20 = 46 (5d20)

>>5209225
You close your eyes, open them again, and all at once you are looking up at The Chaplain again. You aren’t sure how much time has passed, but it can’t have been TOO long, or you would already have had Irinnile ripped away from you by force, or your head smashed open upon the stone, or both.

Time to make your case.

“The succubus cannot be destroyed an recreated in the way your propose,” you say.

“CANNOT?”

“Should not,” you hurriedly amend. “Apologies, Holy One. What I mean is that… The prince of Hawksong carries her influence within him. Without that direct connection, I fear that the Incubus I spoke of will have sole pruview.”

‘L-Lispy!’ Irinnile hisses. ‘That’s not true! I didn’t, like, know how to do the “ectoplasm trick” myself when we blue-balled that blueblood in the bathroom!’

The Chaplain doesn’t know that, though, and this gives him pause.

“With all respect and reverence, Chaplain, what would be the point of slaying and resummoning her now? She'll just pick up more classified knowledge and need to be resummoned again and again.”

“Do you not see how that would be better, more compartmentalized, and thus lower the risk of a leak or information loss?” The Chaplain asks.

“But it would also limit her utility,” you argue—ARGUING, with a SERPENT PRIEST! My, how you have changed. “Her command of her abilities, her understanding of our mode of operation, the strength accumulated along with those memories… All would be compromised. Holy One, what you propose is that we destroy a veteran agent of The Grand Design, in order to instead trained an unreliable, unpredictable novice with reduced impulse control for every mission. It is like taking a skilled Infiltrator and giving them a lobotomy so they cannot be interrogated. You may achieve the desired effect, but the loss of operational efficiency is a CONSIDERABLE trade-off.”

‘Ooo, talk dirty to me,’ Irinnile jokes, but you can feel her underlying tension.

The Chaplain stares at you, considering.
>>
>>5209235

The Chaplain looks past you, and talks past you, to Roth.

“Have you been tutoring this one?” he asks wryly. “She speaks like a male—no, almost like a real Reptilian.”

The words sting, but they are mitigated somewhat by what Roth says next, surprising you:

“No, Holy One. Her cunning is her own, inborn and innate. Her barbarous blood is clearly no match for the power of our superior and civilized heritage and culture. She is, perhaps, one of the most skilled Infiltrators I have seen in action.”

‘Aww, he does care!’ Irinnile coos.

“…Albeit unconventional, and still in need of supervision at times.”

‘There it is,’ Irinnile pouts.

>20

“Regardless,” The Chaplain says, to you this time, “you have made a compelling case. You shall keep your demon.”

“Th-thank you, Holy One,” you blurt, relief sapping the strength from your limbs as all the tension releases.

“I assume you have given as much thought to how to handle the matter of these ‘Edwin of Engel’ and ‘Mina’ creatures, too?”

You think quickly.

“Edwin of Engel does not know that I am a member of the Master Race, or even that we exist. He thinks me a human demonist from distant surface-lands.”

“But he IS loyal to his society, to some degree, and he knows your ‘Ismena Rosgard’ and ‘Kamunu’ identities. If that man lives, with memories intact, those identities are forever compromised.”

This much is… POTENTIALLY true. But this is Edwin, goodhearted Edwin! He loves you… or, well, loved you. He wouldn’t ever give testimony against you, would he?

“And this ‘Mina’, the cat-monster, she has had her memories meddled with by your magic. Yes? But the one you call ‘Bianchi’, his memories returns with a big enough shock. What if hers do? She was actually made AWARE of the nature of the Conspiracy, at least in part, was she not?”

What do you say?
>You are confident that Edwin and Mina are utterly loyal to you, and will never betray you to the authorities
>You must, reluctantly, agree—both Ismena and Kamunu are compromised identities, and must be forsaken for the safety of your race and the continuance of the Great Conspiracy
>Promise to handle both of them, if you are returned to Hawksong—to monitor the, and to deal with them if it becomes necessary
>Propose that they both be detained, and brought here for questioning and thorough mental re-education
>Write-in
>>
>>5209260
>You are confident that Edwin and Mina are utterly loyal to you, and will never betray you to the authorities
If there was a chance of betrayal, we would take care of them, of course.

I'm also tempted by
>You must, reluctantly, agree—both Ismena and Kamunu are compromised identities, and must be forsaken for the safety of your race and the continuance of the Great Conspiracy
so if more anons want to shed Ismena's skin, maybe even seek becoming a full-blood with the help from Henzler, I'll support this vote. I'll miss Mina tho.
>>
>>5209260
>>You are confident that Edwin and Mina are utterly loyal to you, and will never betray you to the authorities
>>Promise to handle both of them, if you are returned to Hawksong—to monitor the, and to deal with them if it becomes necessary
>>
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>>5209260
>“Have you been tutoring this one?” he asks wryly.
If he only knew...
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>>5209260
>You must, reluctantly, agree—both Ismena and Kamunu are compromised identities, and must be forsaken for the safety of your race and the continuance of the Great Conspiracy

not that we can't dip back into them from time to time, when we know they won't be traced back to the new identities we create
>>
>>5208977
>>Invoke the <DIVINE FAVOUR> to grant Irinnile your Gods’ protection and blessing forevermore [expends the <FAVOUR>]
>>
>>5209338
[You're a vote behind, anon.]
>>
>>5209290
>>5209300
>>5209316
You take a moment to consider this second inquiry. Unlike Irinnile, neither Edwin nor Mina are bound to you—not even in your control. Edwin, for his part… Well, it seems as if he doesn’t even wish to be in your life. Who is to say what he might do in the future, as tales of your attacks on the Paladins and the Tower come to light? And what if Mina learns what you have done to her, what you have kept from her, and deems you liability to her business?

But… No. You have been through this with both of them and, even if the exact situation changes and evolves, you are confident in your emotional control of both these mammals. SO, too, are you strategically (and perhaps emotionally) invested in your identities as Ismena and Kamunu, and in the allies you have won in those guises.

“I can manage them both,” you say, attempting to project a greater confidence than you feel. “I will deal with them, or abandon those identities, as required.”

“And if they turn on you and reveal you before you can stop them?” aks The Chaplain.

You shut your eyes a moment, willing Irinnile to shift your shape into something else—to a half-orc, a half-elf, to a human of a different hue, and back again.

“I… See,” says The Chaplain.

You resist the urge to smirk smugly at the reaction, averting your gaze instead and simply describing this as “Another reason I do not wish to dispatch with the demon.”

“Well, if you are as capable as your Dragonblooded colleague seems to believe that you are, and as your performance demonstrates… I will trust in you to correctly assess, and to MANAGE, this liability.”

“Yes, Holy One,” you say, bowing your head lower.

The knob of the Serpent priest’s cudgel-staff taps the back of your head, gently, and then each of your shoudlers in turn.

“I accept your confession,” The Chaplain says, “and deem you worthy to live, and to carry on in your service. Rise.”

You do so, and a moment later—when they are given permission to do so—your companions do as well.

“Rest,” The Chaplain instructs. “We will discuss this further, soon. Await my summons.”

You all bow your heads in thanks, waiting for The Chaplain and his Silkscale companion to leave before lifting your heads and looking to each other. Roth and Alhazred both radiate the same exhaustion and relief that you feel inside.
>>
>>5209813
“What happens now?” Alhazred asks.

“We do as instructed,” Roth answer, perfunctory. “We rest, and regroup when, and if, requested.”

“And what of The Great One?” Alhazred asks. “And the… Quasi-degenerate?”

It is a good question, but one none of you are qualified or authorized to answer. It is in the hand of greater Reptilians than any of you. For now, you must do as you were instructed, rest, and wait, and ready yourselves for your next instruction or assignment.

The three of you leave the room together, but split apart almost immediately. There is no ‘hotel’ or ‘home’ here, no ‘inn’ or ‘apartment’. You are in a rendezvous point, a forward base, and there are only cell-like barracks for all below the highest echelons. For your part, you spend the night…

>With Roth, ‘paying him back’ for standing up for you and discussing your plans for the martial dangers which await you back in Hawksong
>With Alhazred, getting the know him better and discussing theories for how the matter of the Dragonborn, the dwarven master stone, and your other assets and relics could be employed
>Alone, collecting your thoughts and celebrating your victories with only Irinnile for company
>Checking on your Hawksong thralls, and perhaps dream-delving
>Wandering the winding passages of this place, too filled with nervous energy to find torpor
>Write-in
>>
>>5209815
>Thank Roth for backing us up and Alhazred for his work and coming with us too
>Checking on your Hawksong thralls
Tell Henzler to not return to the Hawksong, make her wait for us in the house near Sparrowtown where we made the pact. Tell her to be on the lookout for young humans travelling alone, and if she finds a suitable one - take some of their blood stealthily, only kill if she fails to do it without noticing. This is assuming she can put someone to sleep with one of her "tools".
If we get lucky, we could finish this pact even before we return to Hawksong.
>Wandering the winding passages of this place
Pet the owlbear if he's still outside, so that the full-blooded Reptilians know not to fuck with us. Maybe take the dog and Hirschel for a walk. Take the sights in, see if anything changed during our absence. It's a moody place and I'd like to read more about it.
>>
>>5209815
>>With Roth, ‘paying him back’ for standing up for you and discussing your plans for the martial dangers which await you back in Hawksong
>>
>>5210105
I don't think that's a good idea right now...
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>>5210096
Supporting
>>
>>5209815
>Wandering the winding passages of this place, too filled with nervous energy to find torpor

yay exploring home
>>
>>5210096
>>5210105
>>5210158
You psychically wave away Irinnile’s preferred method of displaying gratitude—a self-serving and time-consuming method—but you still resolve to thank both Roth and Alhazred. Unfortunately, the two males seem to automatically sort themselves by their social standing, and they head in different direction. Your eyes flit between them as you debate who to attend to first, and eventually you settle for a slightly-to-loud cry of:

“Thank you! Thank you both!”

Both looks back at that. Alhazred lifts his eyebrows in quietly-amused confusion. Roth simply snorts and rolls his eyes before turning away and hurrying on . A few other Reptilians, milling about, watch the undignified display of emotionality with judgement in their gaze…

But you have passed through the judgement of a far greater authority already. You are untroubled. As if to make a point, you step boldly through the small crowd of purebloods and (fighting instinctive terror, which still coils about your heart and squeezes as you approach), you PET the owlbear. The chimera makes a curious, low chitter as you pat its head. You get the feeling that the bid-beast is almost as uncomfortable as you, but you sense the shock, awe, and grudging respect which the display of confidence and control elicits in your fellow Reptilians.

That’ll show these Superior Ones that, whatever their inborn advantages, nobody fucks with The Infiltrator Sometimes Known as Ismena Rosgard!

Dominance thus reasserted, and confidence re-established, you discover that you are still not entirely at-ease. Certainly, you don’t think that you could achieve the dreamless sleep of a good Reptilian torpor—not yet. Your body is tried, but your mind is racing a mile a minute. You decide that walk through this dim, subterranean realm will help to settle your nerves—an provide you the opportunity to seek out somewhere where you can meditate in private, and extend your telepathic call to a thrall and thus tidy up a loose end.

You walk the empty passages of this outpost—an abandoned city of your people from eons past, preserved against the passage of time by the encapsulation of the earth. Your hands trace the carvings of dignified, stoic Reptilian expression, swirling patterns, meaningful glyphs. Murals abound on every surface, some worn down or chipped away, others restored. Star-signs dot the roof and antechambers—gathering-places and ritual-rooms, occupying the largest caverns. These false-constellations, carved into the rock and filled with gems to replicate the true sky above, commemorate great events, locking their date in place so that the stars shall always be right to remember your race’s greatest victories… Both before and after the decline of the first Age of Scales.
>>
>>5210219

‘I bet they make a little constellation for you, babe,’ Irinnile enthuses.

You smile, chuckling slightly. It is a wondrous notion, but it is fantasy… Isn’t it? To have even gotten the limited praise and respect which you were afforded today is almost unheard of for one of your disgraced breeding. Still… It is something to strive towards, and the particular chamber in which you now find yourself is blissfully abandoned. It provides a perfect space to attend to some meditation.

You lean against the wall, beneath an altar to a many-branched, almost tree-like effigy of a Dark God; of course, each ‘branch’ and ‘root’ of the superficially tree-like idol ends in a slim, toothy face, with ruby-red eyes. You close your own eyes and extend your own tendrils, such as they are, and reach out to the Head Chimercist, Henzler, across the gulf of physical space.
>>
>>5210220
When you find the peculiar mage-woman, occupying her mind as a passenger in a coach, she is encamped back at a familiar farmhouse. You remember the place and its people well: a late farmer’s former wife, and his son (her stepson), now lovers to you and to one another under your corrosive influence. The woman’s younger children, a boy and a girl, stare in muted fascination as Henzler flips through her notes and jots down still more, dispassionately spooning a hearty soup into her mouth like fuel for a fire.

‘Henzler,’ you whisper between your minds. ‘Can you hear me?’

Henzler stops writing, shutting her alchemical diary with a snap, and sets down her spoon.

“I can,” she says aloud, drawing confused looks from all four of the other humans in the farmhouse—they can hear her, but not you.

‘There hasss been a change of plans,’ you say. ‘Do NOT return to Hawksssong. Sstay in the booniess for now.’

Henzler’s confusion and frustration is palpable—only a prior command of yours stops a verbal mutiny: “WHAT? I thought the entire purpose of you leaving me up here was to have access to my laboratory, my research materials, and my equipment?!”

‘It iss too rissky, with the current climate in Hawkssong,’ you tell her. In truth, you’ve ben second-guessing the decision to send her back to that metropolis ever sicnce you did so. ‘For now, focusss on acquiring ssampless where you are and in the surrounding communities. Human ssampless, as non-lethally and inconsspicuoussssly as posssible.’

‘I… Don’t understand,’ she says, forcing civility. ‘I don’t think YOU understand. I don’t need more HUMAN blood. I need a better understanding of draconic and reptilian-humanoid genetics and of how to best chimericize them to a host. It’s blood like that of You and your FRIENDS which would serve my purposes… And, to better understand THAT, I need a proper laboratory!’

‘Do as I command,’ you admonish her, drawing a flinch.

‘…Of course, yes. But! The point stands. You wish to improve or iterate upon the green dragon chimera, yes? Then I NEED a laboratory, sample and sanitary, and stocked with proper equipment to run my experiments.’

The human female is insistent, in spite of your control. It truly must eb important, both to her and to the mission you have assigned her. What do you do?
>Allow Henzler to return to Hawksong, and hope your social engineering and ectoplasmic puppeteering can help her evade investigation
>Instruct your other thrall—the halfling cook of your human grandfather—to steal money, purchase equipment, and to deliver it to the farmhouse, so Henzler can continue her experiments there
>Summon Henzler to the subterranean lair of your Master Race, and attempt to convince The Chaplain to allow her a research space among your people’s fleshweavers
>Forget the dragon-hybridization research for now, and assign her a new task [such as?]
>Write-in
>>
>>5210215
[Sorry, missed this post. I'll be sure to further your exploration next post!]
>>
>>5210223
>Tell her you'll see about having her stuff retrieved from Hawksong as soon as she won't be arrested on sight, unless she thinks she can singlehandedly storm the city.

>During our wandering check out the fleshweaker area, see how suitable that would be for her

You know, we could always try having her transform herself into a Reptilian so she can fit in down here. We already have the degenerate transformation down, and it only needs to look the part, not truly make her a full Reptilian.
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>>5210223
>Tell her you'll see about having her stuff retrieved from Hawksong as soon as possible. You appreciate her enthusiasm, but don't want her captured.
All true. Tell her to calm down, we're trying our best, which is also best for her.
>Instruct your other thrall—the halfling cook of your human grandfather—to steal money, purchase equipment
We don't want Henzler back near Hawksong now.
I'd vote to get Goblins involved to get the funds, but getting favors with them through a proxy could prove difficult.
>Tell her to get human blood, so you two can make the farmer's wife younger once you get there
It's will also be another opportunity for Ismena to learn the technique.


Bianchi wasn't ectoplasmed, correct? Also just to make sure- we don't have any control over Prince?
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>>5210330
[Oh, totally didn't even think of goblins. I mean, if you could swing it...

And correct, Bianchi was nat-20'd with mesmerism, but not ectoplasmed. To your knowledge, nobody has or can overpower the effects of ectoplasmic puppeteering.]
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>>5210262
>>5210330
Alright, no third vote seems incoming, so I'm going to try to reconcile these two

‘I appreccciate your enthusssiassm,’ you say, ‘and I will sssee about having your materialsss retrieved from Hawksssong as ssoon as you will not be arresssted on ssight… Unlesss you think you can ssinglehandedly sstorm the cccity?’

Henzler deeps a deep, steadying breath,a nd you see her vision bob in a curt nod.

“You’re speaking with her now, aren’t you?” asks the wife of the late farmer—Gisela, was it?

Henzler doesn’t deign tor eply.

“Does she require anything more of us?” the woman asks, wringing her hands, looking deep into Henzler’s eyes as if to find you in them. Her stepson—boyfriend? lover?—rests a hand on her shoulder, but she shrugs it off.

Well… That’s a good question. Do you?
>Send one of these pact-bound humans to Hawksong, to retrieve some of Henzler’s things
>Send one of them to make contact with the goblin thieves and hobgoblin smugglers of Hawksong’s Goblintown slums, on your behalf, and thus arrange a meeting
>Have the humans stay put and assist Henzler in her youth-restoration and muscle-enhancement research, luring in or otherwise ‘acquiring’ humans to use as test subjects or blood sources
>Nah, no need to complicate matters—they can just keep putting the mad mage up while she attends to your commands herself—Henzler is the most competent among them
>Write-in
>>
>>5210854
With Henzler and the farmers thus addressed, you turn your mind to other matters… or, well, you try to do so. Henzler has given you much to think about and, truthfully, improving the Dragonborn or creating a perfected successor would go a long way towards further edifying the elites of the Serpent Priesthood to your worth. And it could—dare you consider it—even give you the opportunity to become a true, full-blodded member of the Master Race!

‘Lispy, I love ya’’ Irinnile says, ‘but you really think they’re gonna’ just, like, forget your mom got porked by a human? That Father Lizardlips guy seemed, uh, nice, I GUESS… But not exactly like that kinda’ mortal to just forget where you came from…’

You wait for it.

‘…And then you’d have no tits or ass!’

There it is. You roll your eyes. Still… A valid point exists among the flirtation and fiendish faffing-about.

What do you do next?
>Go deeper into the caverns, seeking out fleshweavers and inspecting their facilities to see if they would be suitable for Henzler
>Enter the mind of your other Hawksong thrall, the halfling cook, to get a feel for how things are going in Hawksong (and perhaps to employ her to other, more sinister ends)
>Dream-delve a little—seeing that peculiar ‘couple’ in the farmhouse made you think fo Edwin, and you want to pay him a visit
>dream-delve to pay Zi the Goblin a visit, and to recruit her aid
>get some rest—it grows late, you grow weary, and you expect you will need your rest for the day ahead if tonight was any indication
>Write-in
>>
>>5210854

>Nah, no need to complicate matters—they can just keep putting the mad mage up while she attends to your commands herself—Henzler is the most competent among them

>Go deeper into the caverns, seeking out fleshweavers and inspecting their facilities to see if they would be suitable for Henzler
maybe the physical form isn't as important as the recognition. if we're pro enough perhaps they'll make us an honorary full Reptilian

>Dream-delve a little—seeing that peculiar ‘couple’ in the farmhouse made you think fo Edwin, and you want to pay him a visit
:'(
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>>5210854
>Send the son to make contact with the goblin thieves and hobgoblin smugglers of Hawksong’s Goblintown slums, on your behalf, and thus arrange a meeting
>Tell mother you will need a young human's blood to make her young again
Man let's do this shit asap please.
>>5210856
>Enter the mind of your other Hawksong thrall, the halfling cook, to get a feel for how things are going in Hawksong (and perhaps to employ her to other, more sinister ends)

Did we tell the Chaplain about fucking roth, dicking the goblin and keeping Henzler on surface? How much does he know about Dragonborn and Henzler? How much about Quasi-Degenerate?
Sorry for late vote!
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>>5211257

>Did we tell the Chaplain about fucking roth, dicking the goblin
[It wasn't operationally-relevant, so no.]

>and keeping Henzler on surface?

[It was operationally relevant, so yes.]

>How much does he know about Dragonborn and Henzler? How much about Quasi-Degenerate?

[Everything that you knows, except maybe your full suite of motivations]

>>5210915
>>5211257
[I have an early meeting at work, so I'll hold off on the write-up for now. That and so other people can hopefully vote and resolve the tie.]
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>>5211275
So does he know we want to recreate the Dragonborn? That the current one could be fixed if we didn't "borrow" the fleshweaver?
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>>5211284
[The possibilities have been discussed.]
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>>5210915
Supporting this
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>>5210915
>>5211257
>>5211786
>Nah, no need to complicate matters—they can just keep putting the mad mage up while she attends to your commands herself—Henzler is the most competent among them
>Tell mother you will need a young human's blood to make her young again

You appease the Henzler and Gisela. You tell the farmwife that she must keep Henzler fed and watered, and allocate a room to her, and you challenge Henzler to focus upon the puzzle of how to de-age and preserve a human—namely, Gisela. This intellectual obstacle seems to hold the mage’s mania in check—not that she could rebel against you if you told her to just stare at a wall and do nothing for a week, anyway. It also seems to appeal to Gisela’s desire to please you, which you suspect to be rooted in a desire to not be forgotten and abandoned, and to sooner earn her reward. Smart woman, that one.

>Dream-delve a little—seeing that peculiar ‘couple’ in the farmhouse made you think fo Edwin, and you want to pay him a visit
However, watching the male human, Stefan, attempting to comfort his new mate make you think wistfully of YORU human lover. Against your better judgement, but with Irinnile’s gleeful encouragement—

‘We gonna’ dream-fuck him? Oooo, can’t wait to get some Eddie in me!’

—you return to the realm of dreams once more. You open your eyes just long enough to clear Henzler’s perspective from your sight and your mind, and then you close them again, delving into the astral plane between life and death, in the collective spiritual unconscious of those mortal beings who will inevitably traverse from one to the other: the dreamscape!

Here, deep in the earth and surrounded by Reptilians, the dreamscape is… Different. In Hawksong, it was a misty place full of emotional haze, a nebula illuminated by the sparkling stars of sleeping mammals’ own private fears and fantasies. Here, there is just the waking world, gray and lifeless. Irinnile appears at your side, her hand in yours and her eyes sparkling with mischief, but even her delight to go on a ‘dream date’ with you is dulled by the sheer dimness of this destitute area of the world.

‘You folks, uh, really know how ta’ party,’ she quips.

You glare at Irinnile for her implicit criticism of the Master Race but… Well, she isn’t wrong. As she guides you through the cavernous halls and narrow tunnels, back to the surface and to Hawksong, you pass by waking and sleeping Reptilians, they bring precious little liveliness to this dimension: the waking ones are hardly shades; the sleeping ones provide a fiery glow of the dimmest calibre, like a dying fire. You are eager to escape the confines of efficient, dreamless torpor, and to rise into the sky above.
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>>5212019
It is hardly past midnight, you would wager, but you are further away from Hawksong and from Edwin of Engel than you normally are when you undertake an excursion. Conscious that you cannot remain in this realm beyond dawnlight without risking difficulty and danger, you allow Irinnile to take hold of you and to guide you on leather wings through the cloudy skies and past sparkling clusters of dream-filled human hamlets, back to the great pillar of sleepless hopes and anxieties that IS Hawksong. Even here, in this aspect of reality, it remains a shining beacon—‘the city on the hill’.

In the dreamscape, spaces are less literal, less physical, and travel is usually faster... But you discover that it is a difficult thing to move across great, dreamless expanses, far from mortal minds. The sparsely-traveled night-time highway is a particularly difficult stretch, dark even against your eyes and Irinnile’s, and thick like turbid water. Still, Irinnile half-flies and half-swims through it, and as you approach Hawksong’s outlying areas you find yourself able to breath freely again… And shortly thereafter, you are at your destination, buoyed on currents of human unconscious. You have eyes for only one ember in this blaze, though. You well know the way to the Engel Estate—you’ve walked it on foot, and flown you way to it in dreams, many a time.

Dawn is a scant hour or two away by then, but you know that time moves slowly here… And truly, even a moment to see Edwin again, to touch him, hold him… It would be worth it! You could find such comfort in even the briefest such moment, and you know he would, too. He is a worrier, after all—a gentle, protective creature. Knowing the climate you have plunged his people into, and with what HE believes he knows of YOU, you imagine he must be worried sick!

But… He isn’t home.

You and Irinnile hover above his bed, empty of his familiar, lanky shape. Nor do you see the pointed cap of the would-be wizard hanging on his bedpost, a sign that perhaps he awoke to go to the elaborate estate’s very modern indoor toiletry-room.

‘You don’t think…’ Irinnile begins.

The thought occurs to you, too. You recall hearing rom Fynn, Edwin’s merchant-mogul father, that Edwin had been spending a great dela of time with the Tower Staffer Paula, to whom you introduced him by way of a tripartite date… And, on at least one occasion, steamy threesome. You’d sensed affection for her in him since then, too—musings about what could have been, had he not been so wrapped-up in your much more chaotic world.

‘That son of a BITCH!’ Irinnile shrieks. ‘He can’t do this to us! Let’s go fuck ‘em both up!’

‘We’re miles away,’ you remind her.

‘Let’s at least give ‘em nightmare, make ‘em pay!’
>>
>>5212021
You don’t respond right away. You are, to your embarrassment, overcome with emotion.

<HEARTBREAK: 85%>

And… Well, dawn is almost upon you, and you don’t KNOW that Edwin is with Paula, or… What they might be doing, if he is. Maybe, MAYBE, it’s all innocent. Maybe… Maybe if it ISN’T innocent, he’s better off this way.

What do you do?
>Leave Hawksong, and let sleeping humans lie where they may
>Seek Edwin out, vengeance in your heart, ready to turn this traitor’s slumber into a nightmare like he’ll never forget
>Go to Edwin, and spend what precious time you can with him—even if only in dreams—for you love him still
>Pay a visit to someone else’s dreams, instead [who?]
>Write-in

We'll address the fleshweavers and their facilities in the next post
>>
>>5212023
>Go to Edwin, and spend what precious time you can with him—even if only in dreams—for you love him still
T_T
>>
>>5212023
>Go to Edwin, and spend what precious time you can with him—even if only in dreams—for you love him still
>>
>>5212023
>Leave Hawksong, and let sleeping humans lie where they may
WHO CARES
>>
>>5212030
>>5212308
>>5212322
You’re inclined to just leave Hawksong altogether. Who even cares about these silyl creatures, this accursed city? You and Edwinn… Whatever you had, it’s over, done with, and that’s GOOD!

‘Yeah?’ Irinnile asks, skeptical.

‘…Fine, take me to Edwin.’

You cave, and Irinnile dutifully obliges your broken heart. She takes your hand gently in hers again, pulling you up into the air above and towards the Initiate’s Village, towards the bottom-floor suite of an old, twisting, impossibly-coloured apartment-block in this highly-magical borough of the great human metropolis. There, you find Paula… And, indeed, you find Edwin.

However, you don’t find quite what you expect. Edwin is NOT in her bed, nor is Paula.

‘They doing some freaky, kinky, fuck-on-ever-surface stuff?’ Irinnile asks indelicately.

You glare at her, drawing a sheepish and apologetic grin and a nervous laugh, but you sigh and the two of you hover about the home. Eventually, you find them standing around the back, talking. You can’t make out the words across the gulf between waking and sleeping worlds, but, well, both are fully clothed… And neither of their body language communicates eroticism.

Edwin is hunched slightly, leaning against the wall, robes pulled tight around him and hat more crumpled than usual. Paula is next to him, nodding as if listening, occasionally replying near as you can tell from their half-translucent shades. She reaches out to touch him, once, but it is a gesture of comfort—not of amorous intent.

‘Huh,’ Irinnile notes, ‘this is a lot less fun OR infuriating than I was hoping.’

For your part, you can’t help but hope that maybe this is indicative of a non-romantic relationship… That maybe, MAYBE, Edwin is confiding his concerns and worries about you with this mutual friend and occasionally secondary lover, rather than… than replacing you. Maybe there’s still hope?

‘Babe…’

‘I know, I know,’ you reply to irinnile’s cautionary tone. ‘I shouldn’t get my hopes up, only to be dashed again.’

‘Uh, okay, yeah,’ Irinnile says, blinking. ‘Like, I guess? That’s good advice. I just… I meant “babe, dawn’s on its way and we gotta’ hustle!”’

You look up and, damnit, the demoness is right. You sigh, reaching out to cup Edwin’s cheeks, willing him to feel the spectral touch of your astral projection… But knowing he can’t and won’t. Then, you leave, carried on Irinnile’s wings in what humans call ‘bridal fashion’. You race the sun all the way back home, cognizant of the dangers of being trapped in this realm beyond the scope of night, when Irinnile’s powers here will fail.
>>
>>5212455

When you ‘awaken’ in your body, you are stiff, light-headed, hungry… Still tired. Youa re also resolved to investigate the matter of the fleshweavers, though, and of their facilities.

‘Could get breakfast first?’ Irinnile suggests. ‘Maybe catch a nap? You Reptoids, like, barely sleep anyway.’

The idea of being caught sleeping, of being accused of human-blooded laziness and beaten by a superior, doesn’t exactly appeal to you. No, you force yourself to your fee and head out, attending first to:
>The ration lines
>The fleshweavers
>Alhazred and/or Roth—you wish to gather your closest allies to help you plan
>Write-in
>>
>>5212456
>The ration lines

time for reptoid cuisine
>>
>>5212456
>The ration lines
Grab something quickly and
>The fleshweavers
Time to hussle.
>>
>>5212612
Supporting
>>
>>5212471
>>5212612
>>5212747
It would be wrong to say that your people do not have ‘cuisine’. You are an ancient, storied culture, and you have had a great deal of time to refine the art of rearing, preparing, presenting, and even lightly spicing meats and other animal products to bring out the full richness of flavour.

However, to say that this particular FORWARD BASE of your people was a bit lacking… Well, that would be reasonable, you think. The chef (if such a word can be applied to the female Steeltalon who slaps the slab of meat upon your tray, barely soaked in a marinade and lumpy with irregular cysts) seems just as aware of this as you are, her glare daring you to say anything about it.

“What sort of animal is—”

“Rust-monster,” she says, flatly. “It’s what we can find without a surface excursion. That and smaller creatures, sufficient to grind into paste for meatloafs. That’s tomorrow’s meal.”

It is… Certainly rich in iron, you’ll give it that. Almost as chewy, too, though Irinnile shapeshifts you some shredding teeth to assist.

<WANT: 15>

Your dream-expedition ahs left HER hunger a little piqued, as well… But there is no breeding-pit here, and none of the other operatives are in-season.

‘Woah, woah, slow down,’ Irinnile interrupts your thoughts. ‘B-b-b-b—’

‘Breeding pits, yes,’ you acknowledge, swallowing a gulp of food. ‘For those who would seek to sate their needs and produce young, but who do not have the status to select a mate in a discriminate fashion.’

‘Well WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?’ she enthuses, practically taking control of you then and there…

But you wear the diadem, and you have <CALRITY>, at least with her hunger still subdued.

‘They’re very deep down,’ you say, ‘far from the forward base. We do not have time.’

And anyway… None will mate with a Degenerate. Well, not publicly, not where they can be discovered, and NEVER in such forms of copulatory activity which could conceivably pollute their bloodline.

Even sitting here, simply eating, you draw glares and glowers of disgust from other diners. You carefully avoid eye-contact, but you must be out-of-practice with social norms, for you accidentally hold one male gaze just a little too long: a Silkscale, like your mother. He is at a table with colleagues, fellows of his own clan, and they egg him on to make something of it. He rises, advances. You sigh.
>>
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>>5213276
“You’re the Degenerate who came back from the surface, yes?” he asks, brusque with authority.

“Yes,” you acknowledge, as you must.

“There is no realistic way for you to have attained all the loot you brought with you, and to tame those creatures,” he says. It is NOT a question.

You say nothing. What can you say? But then he reaches to snatch the diadem from your forehead.

“These items should eb relinquished to those who deserve them, not poisoned by association with human filth. They belong to real Reptilians!”

You stand up automatically, dodging the clumsy grab, but this merely draws his anger. His friends watch, not helping him nor calling him off—they are dispassionate, as is proper for your people, but plainly amused and interested in how this plays out.

What do you do?
>Put this foolish male in his place, as you once did Roth, with your savage wit and a succinct summary of all that you (not he) have accomplished and been acknowledged for
[intimidation]
>Apologize for any offence you caused and TRY to talk him out of his demands to take your magical diadem… But surrender it if you must [politesse]
>Kick his pure-blooded behind with your surface-honed martial arts—he WILL not humiliate you like this, after you’ve come so far and proven yourself to the Serpent priests and Dark Gods themselves! [melee]
>Flee—displaying cowardice, and weakness, but avoiding a confrontation and hurrying along to the fleshweavers [stealth to avoid pursuit]
>Write-in
>>
>>5213278
>Put this foolish male in his place, as you once did Roth, with your savage wit and a succinct summary of all that you (not he) have accomplished and been acknowledged for
Just put this scaled embarassment in his place. If it doesn't work:
>Blind him with mentalism
I bet he also thinks Degenerates can't command magic.

It's a shame what happened to our race, with these inbred imbeciles now acting just like the surface apes they say they loathe so much for their weak animal behavior.
>>
>>5213278
>Put this foolish male in his place, as you once did Roth, with your savage wit and a succinct summary of all that you (not he) have accomplished and been acknowledged for
[intimidation]
If that fails
>Apologize for any offence you caused and TRY to talk him out of his demands to take your magical diadem…

We ain’t giving him our shit though, so will support >>5213524’s mentalism play if all else fails.
>>
Rolled 18, 1, 2, 5, 3, 7, 18, 3, 15, 1, 4, 18, 18 = 113 (13d20)

>>5213524
>>5213604
[2 for intimidation (first resort), 5 for politesse (higher DC if you fail intimidation, second resort), 5 for mentalism (if all else fails), one mystery die.]
>>
>>5213740
We can still flash some glitter to horrify those shitbrains with the idea of Degenerate possessing magic!
>18 18 18 18
Is this Dark Gods trying to speak to us?
>>
>>5213740
>>5213757

You stare at this Silkscale male—a member of a clan known for subtlety, grasping and clawing at your belongings like a most indelicate ape-man of the surface might do. It’s… Depressing.

“…Why do you look at me like that, Degenerate? Do you not remember your place?”

“Do YOU?” you shoot back, causing him to pause and to stare at your defiance. “Is this how The Master race behaves? How a SILSKCALE behaves? I have been tutored all my days in how to lessen my human degeneracy, to subdue and weaken it. The end result is a honed form of myself, and the successes you see before you. I, who have journeyed to the surface and back again, been judged a prized Infiltrator by Holy Ones and Dragonblooded Ones who far outrank either of us, and have brought back tangible spoils to better our race’s position.”

“So you say,” he says, again insinuating deceit.

“What have YOU done?” you ask, pointedly. “Tell me now, list your accomplishments! Show me your spoils, tell me your deeds! Maybe we can both go speak our peace to The Chaplain, and see ourselves judged upon the Stone of Judgement? When you no doubt surpass me in every conceivable way, as you OUGHT to given your genetic advantages and your sex, he will smash my head in and pass this diadem you so prize to you for YOUR return to the most prestigious and dangerous human stronghold on the surface! What say you?”

>18

The Silskscale male flinches, and though he attempts to adjust his posture and to bluster a response, his initial hesitation to take up your bet draws whispers and murmurs from those who bore witness to it—including his friends.

“You…” He hisses lowly. “You go too far.”

“Return to your table,” you say, smiling slightly. “I will accept your mercy in not showing me up, oh-so-gracious that you are.”

You avert your eyes again, but so too do you cross them—a sow of brattiness that makes Irinnile cackle and the Silkscale fume as he slinks back to his fellows, defeated. About half-way there, he uses the apparent deference you showed—your crossed eyes were visible only to him—to help salvage the situation…

>18

Which has the added benefit of avoiding the appearance of racially-defiant impudence to any other watching highborn Reptilian. No more such confrontations for you, thanks! You even successfully resist the urge to show off some glitzy glamour, wowing and shocking the audience in this food-hall with a display of 'impossible' Degenerate magic. Instead you sit back down, finish your sad ‘meal’, and depart for the deeper dungeons of this dark realm… For the Fleshweavers.
>>
>>5213761

Your people use that term, ‘Fleshweaver’, to describe what the humans of Hawksong call a ‘Chimericist’. However, your race take a very different approach to the art. Rather than a sterile environment replete with tubes, vials, beakers, and magical fires and freezing units as Henzler has described to you, your Fleshweavers (all Serpent Priests, you note) stand around a circular ritual chamber beneath a symbolic mural depicting the Dark od of Lies and Manipulated Truths, and around a great and towering silo-cauldron.

‘What’s that smell?’ Irinnile asks, as she uses your nose to sniff the air, and then scrunches it. ‘Smels like…’

‘Blood,’ you answer. ‘Human blood, in great quantities.’

The Serpent Priests all stare at you in distaste as you enter, and one approaches you quite rapidly to shoo you away.

“This is no place for you ilk, Degenerate!” the Holy One tells you. “begone! Begone!”

You keep your eyes respectfully low, your voice soft and non-confrontational, but you hold your ground. You explain who you are… And what you seek.

What is it you approach them asking?
>You have some Fleshweaving ability yourself, which you wish to hone by learning of their craft
>You seek permission for a human thrall with foreign Fleshweaving experience to use their facilities for the good of your people
>You desire to take a malformed heir to The Great Green Dargon and to modify him, making him whole and truly great
>You wish to create your own Dragonborn, following Henzler’s suggestion or theirs or some combination thereof… And to thus give rise to a mentally and physically perfected successor to the creature above
>You want to know if it is possible, through their work, to make a Degenerate into a true Reptilian—after all, you made a human into a False Degenerate!
>Write-in
>>
>>5213762
Assuming we told them we're the one who brought boons yesterday,
>You desire to take a malformed heir to The Great Green Dragon and to modify him, making him whole and truly great
>(If applicable) Ask them to take a look at and judge the Quasi-Degenerate

Admitting we want to leave our duty as a human replica and thus a honed espionage tool to ascend for a purely egoistic gain is not exactly the greatest reason for disturbing Serpent Priests, lmao.

>>5213761
>t'was a roll for complications
>You even successfully resist the urge to show off some glitzy glamour, wowing and shocking the audience.
OOF. Pardon me, I'm a show-off.
Counterpoint: You made a typo in Great Green Dragon.
>>
>>5213786
[Oh anon, I didn't make A typo, I made SEVERAL typos.]
>>
>>5213762
>You desire to take a malformed heir to The Great Green Dargon and to modify him, making him whole and truly great

damn I underestimated the discrimination
>>
>>5213823
Was there any way for us to make it clear to you, anon? Genuinely asking since I saw it coming in the votes, but straightforward explanations usually just get ignored.
>>
>>5213886
Definitely a variety of ways, but nothing you were capable of doing. Genuinely explaining since you genuinely asked.
>>
>>5213934
Is that cause of my bluntness/autism or unrelated?
>>
>>5213980
Very likely the first
>>
>>5213762
>>You desire to take a malformed heir to The Great Green Dargon and to modify him, making him whole and truly great
>>
>>5213762
>>You want to know if it is possible, through their work, to make a Degenerate into a true Reptilian—after all, you made a human into a False Degenerate!
>>
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>>5214142
>>5214077
>>5213823
>>5213786
When you explain your purpose for coming here, and they realize that you are THAT Degenerate, the Fleshweavers’ flustered outrage diminishes.

“To mend the heir to the Great Dragon Dragon?” their apparent leader murmurs. It is apparent from his tone that he deems it a worthy cause.

“I have begun some… tentative experimentation to this end,” you proffer. “Using a human agent, bound to my will, I have learned much of how the Dragonborn—this Great One—was created, and how we might go about mending it.”

His draws scoffs and hisses of ridicule.

“A human? What human agent cold have any use to us?”

“She is a fleshweaver fo sorts herself,” you note.

“A human FEMALE, no elss? And claiming to be a fleshweaver? By what right?!”

“Well, they sue a different term,” you say patiently—as patiently as you can manage. “As to her qualifications, she did MAKE the Dragonborn, in her mage-facility, in the human city which was assigned to Infiltrate.”

This draws an awkward, confused silence as they process the information.

“What has this ape suggested?” another Fleshweaver asks, though with a concerted effort to appear as if he is merely humouring you rather than taking genuine interest.

You relate what Henzler ahs taught you—from her rambling impromptu lectures, her answers to your actual questions, and your experiments together. The Fleshweavers are all horrified as you recount the creation of your ‘False Degenerate’—you knew they would be—but they fall silent when you explain the genesis of that experiment:

“It was an attempt to learn how to extend youth—the reversal of senescence, and the preservation of vigor. This could…” You pause, lapsing into guesswork that is honestly beyond your ken. “It could be sued to reverse some of the deterioration of the Great One’s body, in tandem with magic meant to restore or regrow his removed wings, and his misshapen arm.”

“Could it?” one of the Fleshweavers mocks. “How should you know?!”

You don’t, and you avert your eyes downwards. A part of you sort of hoped that the False Degenerate would be central to their work on the true project of the Dragonborn’s repair—that, in mending the heir of the Great Green Dragon, they might unlock secrets to alleviate the prejudice which has surrounded you since your (not as glorious as you’d hoped) return.

However, it is then that another one of the Fleshweavers placed a hand upon the robes of the one who chastised you.

“This work is beyond healing, beyond the creation of Amulets of Disguise…” he says, loathe to admit it. After all, these ideas came from a HUMAN, of all things, transmitted… Well, by YOU, a Degenerate halfbreed. “We… Should investigate them, for the sake of serving The Grand Design however we can.”

Finally! Someone sensible. You look up with eyes and heart full of gratitude…
>>
>>5214384
Until they cast you out of the room anyway.

‘These motherfuckers!’ Irinnile howls in sympathetic outrage.

You, for your part, remain silent as they instruct you to send the Dragonborn down to them, to proceed in their great labour. The False Degeenrate also, if only to vivisect a more ‘disposal’ creation of the Dragonborn’s maker for clues to her methodology. With a muted sigh, you do so, ascending the tunnels once more to attend to this assigned task. The Dragonborn is nervous as you struggle to explain the concept of what is going to happen, and who is going to perform the procedure, to his sheltered and ill-nourished brain.

“…Mrroaar laik Hensszlur?” he asks, shuffling backwards in an undignified way and beginning to rumble with burgeoning firebreath. “NnnNNAAUW. NAUW wuill gao BACK!”

‘He, uh, doesn’t seem to like the idea of playin’ doctor with all those snakey-boys,’ rinnile notes unhelpfully.

“You could accompany him,” volunteers a voice from behind you.

You whirl about, almost drawing your dagger in spite of where you are, before you recognize that it is Alhazred who has spoken to you. Or… Well, whatever his true name is. Down her neither of you has need of your aliases any longer.

“I cannot,” you explain, trying to keep indignation and disappointment from your voice.

“He behaves better with supervision,” notes The Infiltrator Formerly Known as Alhazred, “and there is much about his creation and his creator’s methods which you understand better than even the Fleshweavers.”

“I CANNOT,” you reiterate bitterly, “because I was thrown out of the room.”

“For your race,” henzler correctly surmises. “But… You can shift shape. Why not play the role of an ‘attendant’ of pure blood, sent to supervise at the behest of The Chaplain?”

You narrow your eyes, instinctively suspicious. This proposition is dangerously close to sedition. Is this male Degenerate attempting to implicate you in gross disobedience, as some sort of power-play to inherit your credit and your spoils? But then… he raises valid points, and Alhazred ahs been a loyal ally and comrade-in-arms…

‘And a pretty alright fuck,’ Irinnile notes, sizing him up in her own way. ‘You know, HE doesn’t have, like, mating seasons or whatever…’

You send the succubus a psychic bop for her distracting horniness and instead ask Alhazred: “Did you come here only to preach insubordination, Degenerate?”

“No,” he says, smiling with his eyes alone, “I came for glory, and mystic curiosity… and t help an ally. Degenerate.”

You meet his eyes, and sense that he is full of carefully-guarded ambition… But not, near as you can tell, hatred, envy, or spite.
>>
>>5214388
What do you do?
>Take Alhazred’s suggestion—masquerade as a full-blooded Reptilian and attend the Fleshweavers’ rites with the Dragonborn and False Degenerate
>Send the two chimeras down alone, and await further instructions from on-high
>Discuss matters further with Alhazred [specify what?]
>Go consult with Roth on this matter
>Seek permissions and special considerations from the Chaplain, instead [specify if you report Alhazred for his scheming]
>Write-in
>>
>>5214389
>Seek permissions and special considerations from the Chaplain, instead [specify if you report Alhazred for his scheming]
Don't report. Raise the point that as Alhazred said, we are the one most privy to the details of his creation of those present, and if necessary that we can communicate live with the actual creator.

damn we really need to get these guys aboveground fast
do they not get a lot of reports back from up there?
>>
>>5214389
>Tell Alhazred it's not really help if he urges YOU to lie to Serpent Priests while he offers emotional support
>Seek permissions and special considerations from the Chaplain, instead

No clear indication of bad will, but he might be forgetting himself, being drunk on the surface fumes and huffing our success, that kinda stuff. We should carefully consider his advices and services from now on to compensate for that.

>>5214048
ow
>>
Rolled 12, 4, 1, 18, 15 = 50 (5d20)

>>5214602
>>5214457
>>5214602
“It's not really ‘helping’ to urge ME to lie to The Holy Ones while YOU offer…” you struggle to find the term for it in True Speech, where such a concept doesn’t even exist, eventually switching to the Northern Common-tongue of the surface-folk out of necessity: “Emotional support.”

You see a flicker of resentment now in Alhazred’s aura, of bitterness and envy. Were it not for Irinnile, you’d have never known: his features are as stiff in this moment as any full-blooded member of the Master Race. When he speaks, it is gently and calmly.

“You have advantages that I do not,” he says. “Your demon, and the abilities which is grants you, enable you to do this thing. Would that I could, I would have done so myself.”

“But—”

“But I cannot, you are correct,” he interrupts, bowing his head respectfully. “It is for you to decide, of course. Your unique gifts, your unique responsibilities, your unique decisions. I apologize for my lack of proper deference.”

You don’t sense any malice, nor ill-will. Perhaps the surface has merely tainted him, you speculate as he turns and leaves. Still, whatever his failures and flaws, it is your fellow Degenerate’s words which move your feet, change your course, and send you next to another Serpent priest—The Chaplain.
>>
>>5214786
>18
Your appeal to this authority, made in much the same terms as Alhazred’s appeal to you nut along this more official channel, proves fruitful.

“It would be an unfortunate thing for our facilities, or the… Great One… To sustain damage unnecessarily, yes,” he acknowledges.

It fills you with no small satisfaction to see that there IS indeed room within the system, as-it-is, for you. The Grand Design as it was passed down still has room for you to advance and gain special consideration after all!

“Why did you not approach me before The Fleshweavers?” The Chaplain then demands.

“I… Wished to make certain I was not troubling you unduly, Holy One. To ensure that it was even a request worth making.”

That reaction tempers your glee, reminding you of the dangers inherent in taking initiative on your own down here, among your people.

The Chaplain says nothing and does nothing, just looking to you for a time. If you were a titch more human, you would eb sweating.

“Go,” he says, “but be seen, not heard, unless absolutely necessary. Remember your place, Degenerate.”

“Y-yes, Holy One,” you say, bowing your head low and hurry from the room.

‘Damn we really need to get these guys aboveground FAST,’ Irinnile mutters. ‘Have they, like, been livin’ under a rock?’

‘Many layers of rock,’ you acknowledge, stifling a sigh.

Still, you cannot entirely hide your excitement to be given such special permissions, to attend research and experimentation which no Degenerate has ever borne witness to before!

A few hours later, you stand in the corner of the room—well out of the way—while the Serpent Priests serving as Fleshweavers gather about the Dragonborn. The False Degenerate, too, is there, kept in the corner with you. He, a former human mutated and chimericized by Henzler and yourself, looks at this nightmarish underground realm in horror, but remains silent as death at your urging; he cries, but does not whimper.
>>
>>5214810
To your confusion, however, it seems that the Fleshweavers hardly even know where to begin. They look to the Dragonborn—scrunched and squeezed into this place, uneasy and agitated so that you must occasionally offer him calming reassurances and settle him with subtle glamour. They turn back to each-other, debating how even to proceed, how to use the techniques which you described. Eventually, one of them steps forward, taking the False Degenerate from you.

“Order it onto the ritual slab,” the Fleshweaver commands you, and you apss along the command.

The False Degenerate, sniffling, obliges, laying down. His body trembles – he knows what is coming. Two Fleshweavers hold him down while a third brings a tray of cruel-looking, highly-specialized implements: knives, cups, jars, alchemical admixtures. This bit, at least, is closer to Henzler’s methodology… Albeit much simpler and cruder. It gives you pause. How are your people so far… BEHIND… their human equivalents in this field? They vivisect the False Degenerate, keeping him alive through carful medicine and deliberate precision even as they explore his hybridized organs, take cups and cups of his blood to mix with different coloured reagents.

“Fascinating,” says one.

“Disgusting!” says another.

“But… Applicable?” asks a third, aloud, drawing thoughtful silence.

“You did this?” one asks, turning to you.

Yous atnd bolt-upright, almost jump up at the sudden focus of their collective attention upon you.

“I did, yes,” you answer. “With… Assistance.”

It was, after all, MOSTLY Henzler’s doing.

“If Reptilian blood can be so enmeshed in human flesh and viscera—that of an ADULT, no less!—I see no reason why it cannot be enmeshed into The Great One.” The Feleshweaver who speaks up now does so with a confidence that, you cannot help but feel, may be unearned from what you have observed of their explorations over the last few hours. “I propose we take the heart, the Great Green Dragon’s own heart, and ‘chimericize’ it into his successor, even as we purge the human and animal contaminants!”

This gets a chorus of approval… Even as it runs utterly contrary to what Head Chimericist Henzler proposed to you up in the world above. To HER thinking, it had been the plasticity of human and lesser, non-draconic Reptilian blood, and the use of mesmeric or demonic measures to manipulate the ‘shape of the mind and soul’, which would enable more reliable transformation. It was THIS process that birthed the muscle-man and quasi-Degenerate.

But… She is a filthy surface mammal, a foolish scion of a young, weak, inferior species. You, you are but a Degenerate, ordered to be seen and not heard. These Serpent Priests? They are Holy Ones, learned elders, masters of a millennia-long craft responsible for your race’s nigh-perfect disguises, of unparalleled surgical, medical, and interrogative techniques.
>>
>>5214815
Do you speak up?
>Yes—Henzler knows better in this matter, and you will tell them (tough though it is to admit) that her techniques are best to fix the Dragonborn
>No—it is not your place, and you will not slander them so and risk your ever-bettering position in Reptilian society with blasphemy
>This is ridiculous—you can just use GLAMOUR to influence them long enough to take control of the procedure yourself, then make them all think that it was their idea
>Write-in
>>
>>5214818
>Yes—Henzler knows better in this matter, and you will tell them (tough though it is to admit) that her techniques are best to fix the Dragonborn
Do this by easing them into the topic, remind them "the ape" made the whole dragonborn and then (almost) taught us how to make the hybrid. Tell them her assumptions of how things work and how they proved to be successful in the field. Only then address our concerns.
In the end, they aren't COMPLETELY wrong, merely used to outdated methods.
If possible (although I think it's not):
>Contact Henzler directly to help you out with technicalities and problems that you might encounter

>>5214786
>You see a flicker of resentment now in Alhazred’s aura, of bitterness and envy
Now I wonder if he saw our little display with the Steeltalon, too.
Have I known this BEFORE the vote, I would've tried to pitch him a spot here as well.
Alhazred's human nature could be leveraged to gain his friendship by throwing him a sizeable bone and establishing ourselves as a stronger, but beneficial ally he is actually fond of.
>you struggle to find the term for it in True Speech, where such a concept doesn’t even exist
Ah shit, we North Korea now.
>>
>>5214818
>Yes—Henzler knows better in this matter, and you will tell them (tough though it is to admit) that her techniques are best to fix the Dragonborn

Let's do it a bit more diplomatically than "human way better" though. Float the ideas as the professional opinion of the creators of both. If more detail is needed get it from Henzler through quick communion. Use glamour if absolutely necessary.
>>
>>5215048
Since we would have to vote for this glamour and face horrible consequences if we fail, I'm voting against it. Plus it's not very in-character, considering how well we were doing in obeying customs while getting things done so far.
>>
>>5215067
This is the first time the Dragonborn's life might be at risk due to those customs, but it's your choice.
>>
>>521507
Oh well, I thought "absolutely necessary" meant "if we fail to convince them, use force" and it didn't make sense to me since I have trust in this scenario playing out fine if we carefully we provide the Priests with Henzler's knowledge.
I do think it's a stretch, but IF Dragonborn's life is indeed threatened, consider me supporting the careful usage of glamour. At least we'll be able to say we had a great green reason to defy them.

If we manage to contact Henzler, warn her about Alhazred, tell her to be cautious until we tell her the potential threat is over. I don't want her to get stabbed in sleep because that sissy threw a fit. Also how do these Serpent Priests look and how many are in this room?
>>
>>5215073
Oh well, I thought "absolutely necessary" meant "if we fail to convince them, use force" and it didn't make sense to me since I have trust in this scenario playing out fine if we carefully we provide the Priests with Henzler's knowledge.
>>5214818
I do think it's a stretch, but IF Dragonborn's life is indeed threatened, consider me supporting the careful usage of glamour. At least we'll be able to say we had a great green reason to defy them.

If we manage to contact Henzler, warn her about Alhazred, tell her to be cautious until we tell her the potential threat is over. I don't want her to get stabbed in sleep because that sissy threw a fit.Also how do these Serpent Priests look and how many are in this room?
>>
>>5215048
Supporting this specific path
>>
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[Expect a late post, tonight or tomorrow. D20 Modern with the boys tonight!]
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Rolled 4, 1, 18, 20, 20 = 63 (5d20)

>>5215044
>>5215048
>>5215397
>>5215106
>Also how do these Serpent Priests look and how many are in this room

You look about at the seven Serpent Priests here—all tall, elegant, wattled, finely-scaled males, with bulging eyes full of wisdom and shrouded in the red, hooded cloaks of their Fleshweaver station. They are noble, intelligent, rightly-proud…

>Yes—Henzler knows better in this matter, and you will tell them (tough though it is to admit) that her techniques are best to fix the Dragonborn

And WRONG. Not COMPLETELY wrong, merely used to outdated methods…. But these are outdated methods which could get The Dragonborn, heir to a godly champion and perhaps your race’s greatest hope for renewed supremacy, killed! You wish this was just you being dramatic and alarmist, a relic of human or female frailty…

But you cannot shake the remembered sight of that deer-thing you and Henzler created, growing huge, malevolent, terrible… And then exploding into gore and shrapnel.

“Wait!” you cry, startling Fleshweavers and Dragonborn alike.

“You dare?!” demands one of them.

“I… I apologize,” you say, casting your gaze hurriedly at the floor, but not slowing in your speech. “I speak up only out of grim necessity. I believe strongly that you can do this thing, of course—purge the Great One of his impurities, and make him a better, stronger champion for our Master Race and our Gods…”

“Then shut up and step back against the wall, cretinous half-ape!” hisses another Fleshweaver, sneering.

You gulp down a retort, shut your eyes to prevent yourself from glaring, and resist the urge to glamour the bastards and be done with it… But no. No, you CAN’T. More importantly, you NEEDN’T. You have gotten this far without betraying your people’s deeply-held ideals, your society’s righteous hierarchy. You will convince them with logical argument. You MUST.
>>
Rolled 20, 17, 19, 7, 10, 17, 9 = 99 (7d20)

>>5215815
>20

And by the grace of The Dark Gods, it works! The Fleshweavers gather around, looking quiet as if they’d like to pin you to a slab and vivisect you next to your Degenerate-like creation… But as you explain, with eloquence and tact, the ways in which Henzler’s ‘chimericist’ theories can build upon and better their own, they soften in posture, weaken in resolve. They glance nervously amongst themselves as you describe the disaster which might have befallen them—a Great One destroyed, a heart wasted for naught, not even enough material to recnstitute this great, unimagined hope.

“It is a distasteful thing,” you admit, “but we have been down in the depths too long… Our methods are great, and wondrous, and effective… But old, and without the innovations of centuries of magical and alchemical theory. We have little practical application. By applying your NATURALLY greater serpentine intellect to the methods which the ape-folk have CHANCED upon, you can refine them—and The Great One—into something truly new, spectacular, and UNRIVALLED in its capacity for glorious, righteous tyranny!”

They might have been furious. They would have been justified to cast you out. Instead…

Instead, they offer you a red cloak, and invite you as the eighth member of their circle—for this ritual, if not permanently—to aid them in this great work.

No, that’s not right: you aren’t just a PARTICIPANT. Your argumentation was so skilled, so confident and convincing, they let you reach out across your demonic connection to Head Chimercist Henzler and draw froth her expertise. Together, you do not AID the Fleshweavers…

>20 AGAIN

You LEAD them.

“Do not fail,” one Serpent Priest whispers to you, a harsh-but-fair warning. You can only imagine what terrible shame—what grisly fate—a failure here would bring.

“We will not,” you say, your shell of (false?) confidence yet-unshattered.

‘We won’t,’ Henzler assures you, ecstatic at this opportunity, ‘Even the destruction of the dragon-chimera would bring such INFORMATION to bear as to make our next attempt all the better!’

That is… Less reassuring than perhaps she intended. You feel Irinnile’s hands on your shoulders, an intangible, psychic massage of comfort and support.

‘You got this,’ she says, and you really do feel it. You look up at the the Dragonborn, who fights and flinches, smoke pouring from between parted lizard-lips in the centre of a ritual circle be, beneath the great cauldron.

<SOULBOND BONUS>
<HEARTBREAK PENALTY>
<FLESHWEAVER MAGE CIRCLE BONUS>
<DC: 12 to not damage the Dragonborn; 14 to begin mending it; 17 to markedly improve it; 19 to perfect it>
>>
>>5215829
>19…
IT is a labour which takes all your energy—all of the energy of EVERY Reptilian in attendance, and which commands all of Henzlr’s remotely-accessed intelligence and focus. She barks commands at you with fierceness that, conveyed to the Fleshweavers, makes even these noble beings flinch and jump to attention. The Dragonborn roars and shakes, lashing out only to be restrained by tightening of skin and ligaments, binding of bone…

And then the real work begins.

You had perhaps imagined a labour of one night, but how could it be? The Great Green Dragon’s warped and deformed progeny was the product of DECADES of Henzler’s research and labour. Even with the breakthrough which your genetics provided her, even with the distinct traditions and separate studies of seven Serpent priests to aid the two of you, even with Irinnile helping to calm and reshape the self-perception of the twisted soul trapped in the deformed body before you, it take you the better part of a WEEK of such nights to fix the damage done…

>and 20!

But you do it. You cut away shrunken and misshapen arm, reopen cauterized wing-stump, snap and mend neck and spine, remould muscles. You stroke the Dragonborn’s long face, comforting him even as you reshape his misaligned jaw and sooth out tumorous flesh where you find it. You BLEED for this enterprise, sacrificing buckets of your own blood to be pumped into or slathered onto the Dragonborn, and magically woven into his flesh.

“And it is working?” Alhazred asked of you, once, when you stopped your great labour to eat and to drink, by chance even to rest.

You could only nod.

In the mess hall, your red cloak—worn openly, with the blessing of ever-more-impressed Fleshweavers, frightened away even the boldest bullies. You sense even now that Alhazred has come to regard you with a startlement, a disbelief, an abject AWE which eclipses his jealousy.

By the end of that week, the Dragonborn is just as great a Greeat One… But he now can stand straight, and tall. He does not go about on all fours like his forebear, for your blood courses through him, and human (and ‘humanoid’ Reptilian) blood and flesh has shored up his weaknesses and replaced his lesser, animalistic portions. No, he stands twenty, twenty-five feet tall, man-like, unhunched, TITANIC. His arms are equal now, his wings an eclipse of the light wherever he spreads them—shockingly similar to Irinnile’s. His horns, too, curl with demonic influence, like that of a ram. His splotched scales are not an iridescent, jade-and-emerald milieu… Except around his chest, his armpits, his groan, where they carry your mother’s brassy hue.
>>
>>5215850

“Hrrrr…” he rumbles, voice low. “Hrr-Hun… Hungeeerrrr.”

His mind, to, you… Well, you HALF-fixed it. He is a sadly simple creature, still, honestly of even sub-HUMAN intellect… But physically, he is a marvel, and even his pronunciation has improved from the realignment of his jaw and of certain formations of the brain. Henzler was right, of course: he’ll never be truly, wholly ‘perfect’, not compared to a fresh start… But then, you made him this way in a week, while rearing a successor would have taken YEARS.

“Get this dragon a meal fit for a king,” you announce, with bold proudness in defiance of your birth, “for we have made him into one.”

A cheer goes up from the Fleshweavers, a ululation of such rejoicing that you know now what you have long hoped for…

“It is… Astonishing,” whispers The Chaplain, here today to oversee the finalization of your work.

…You are now, undeniably and avoidably, ascended beyond your station. Never, EVER again will anyone in this base—or Reptilian beyond it who knows what you have wrought—disparage you as ‘Degenerate’.

You are Dragon-Maker, Herald and Blood-Mother to the Newborn King!

However, just now… You are overtaxed, overworked, underslept, underfed. Before youc an properly enjoy this, perhaps your GREATEST triumph or all time, you feel the dam break and the floodwaters of long-forestalled torpor sweep you away.

You pass out.

Of what do you dream?
>The Great Green Dragon and the humans who destroyed him
>Your mother and your father
>Edwin
>Alhazred
>The infiltrator Chika, and the Hellish realms, and Death
>Write-in
>>
>>5215851
>All, but with a bit more focus on our parents and Edwin

Might as well go all out here.
>>
>>5215855
I... Have no idea how I would write that. Please don't pick "all".
>>
>>5215851
>The beginning of a new era for Reptilians, where more like the Great Green Dragon will walk the giant halls and Serpent Priests will slowl, but surely reeducate the populace and teach new things to make us more united and stronger than ever
>Maybe Roth
>The possibility of becoming a full-blooded Silkscale just like your mother, effectively erasing her mistake and becoming a shining example to follow for other Degenerates on the surface so they don't forget their heritage
>Subsequently, Alhazred's moment of weakness and Chika, whose soul you'll save from hell... some day.

Those 20s were a sign
>>
>>5215859
;_;

I was hoping for a disjointed dream, but I can settle on our parents with an Edwin cameo near the end. Would’ve loved the fall of the Great Dragon and the whole Chika/Hell/Death meetup again, I guess we’ll have to reserve Chika’s breakout near the end, huh?
>>
>>5215963
>>5215855
>New Age of Scales
You dream not of things and people past. No, you dream of things to come! You dream of a day when these hallowed, subterranean open like a cloaca, birthing great eggs. Form each egg hatches a Dragonborn—a towering king-among-reptiles, glorious and emerald green. They survey the surface world into which they are born with golden eyes, wondering eyes—your mother’s eyes.

Belatedly, you realize that you are not looking out FROM the depths of the earth: you ARE the earth from which these young Dragonborn emerge. You are not merely blood-mother to them, but brood-mother. The entrance to the darkness of the forward base is not like a cloaca: it IS your cloaca, literally delivering into the corrupt and mammal-infested surface-world an entire race of majestic nobility, successors to your Dark Gods’ Great Green Champion… And heirs to your bloodline.

You recoil from the thought, automatically. You are FORBIDDEN to breed—explicitly, legally, punishable by the slaughter of your hatchlings and the torture and destruction of yourself. This was made INCREDIBLY, and GRAPHICALLY clear to you from an early age. Your conception was a blasphemy, your egg’s laying and hatching permitted only so you could serve as a honed tool of a particular sort of espionage. Now, knowing your ancestry from the hated Yosef, who the Dark Gods have consigned to oblivion by your own hand…

>Parents
“But if I had not given birth to you,” you hear a soft, distantly-familiar voice say, “how would The Dragonborn have even been brought home to our people?”

You feel a hand clasp yours, and you look to the side and see…

“Mother?”

It is she—your mother, golden-green scaled and brass about her snout, her stomach. It is she—Izirina, a fair-skinned human woman with golden-green eyes and the slender proportions of the Silkscale Reptilian which she truly was. She is both. She is neither. She is a spectre, a memory.

“What would you have been—how far would you have gotten—if your father had been another Reptilian?” this shadow of your mother asks.

“I would have been… Better. Whole. Not disgusting, a half-person, a… A freak,” you mutter. “I have had to claw my way to acceptability, to respect among the Master Race.”

“But you have enjoyed things which we purebloods never—or rarely—can,” she says, admonishing you without great compassion but also without unkindness. “I felt something of their emotion… Once. Briefly. A side-effect of the hormones which accompanied my pregnancy with you.”
>>
>>5216272
She nods her head subtly, directing your eyes to another. You follow her gaze and see a human man, clad in fine, dark clothes, with curly brown hair. He is turned away from you. You cannot see his face.

“…Hirschel Yosef,” you surmise.

“Yes,” you mother says, wistfully. “He was… Strong, without brutality or supremacy. Shrewd and clever, without scheming. Kind, naïve, maybe weak… But when I carried your developing egg within me, I could see him as he saw me, and I began to think… Maybe weakness of that sort can be a kind of strength.”

“Humanist nonsense, to cope with their pathetic state,” you spit. “Emotional, mammalian sentimentality. STRENGTH is strength. To scheme is the PURPOSE of cleverness. His seed poisoned your brain and body, made you think stupid, human thoughts.”

“Maybe,” your mother’s shade acknowledges, but with a smile, not looking away from your father. “But these stupid, human thoughts give rise to you, and to all you have done…”

Suddenly, Hirschel Yosef is ablaze, smoking and sparking. His clothing is burnt away, leaving a strangely-stalwart human skeleton, burnt black. Between its bones and rips, you see a Dragonborn, but unlike the others…

>Maybe Roth
He has Roth’s red-orange eyes, and copy-brown scales: between red and green. He stands proud, too-proud, like the Dragonblooded Reptilian whom he reminds you of… The one who you have come to feel a (mutual?) affection for. The one who slew Hirschel Yosef, your father.
“Yes,” your mother acknowledges, more sadly now. “You came into this world not without… Great cost, and great violence. And this world has demanded a high price from you, in still MORE violence. But this struggle has made you strong, hasn’t it, Daughter?”

You don’t know what to say. You say nothing. Has all this been worth it? Is this future before you worth the cost you paid? Were all the steps along the way—your mother’s disgrace, your tainted heritage, your terrible childhood, your hedonism and your heartbreak in Hawksong… Were they all necessary, to achieve what you now see stretching out before you?

The army of Dragonborn—your creations, your children, march forth. They march on that shining city-on-the-hill, on Hawksong from whence they—and you—ultimately derive. They march on its Paladin King, on its Archmage, on its scrambling goblins and flawed-but-fun humans, on its peculiar and alien demons and desperate, hungry demonologists. They march on beastwomen who offered comfort and a sense of home, on dancers whose elegant pirouettes cannot carry them far enough to avoid immolation, and on elves whose alchemy and music were but frivolous arts against this tide of true, Reptilian strength.

Dragonfire sweeps the streets, cleansing it of everything you loved and hated about that place, without discrimination.
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>>5216274
>Edwin

And there at the centre of it all, surrounded by fire, stands Edwin… And across the gulf of space and time, he looks at you with sadness.

“I approve,” your mother says. “He reminds me of your father.”

And then, the fire consumes Edwin, also.

You wake up in a sweat, panting and heaving, trembling with nervous energy.

‘Babe?’ Irinnile asks, tone worried. ‘You, uhh… Your dream there was pretty intense. I kept trying to getting lpushed out. But I saw…’

‘Nevermind,’ you interrupt her, gripping your hair and shaking your head to banish the memory of that last vision.

Ultimately, the dream was…
>Sad in some regards, but ultimately glorious—the price you had paid, and must pay, would be worth it for such a future
>Too terrible to allow—not even for glory and duty could you allow such a thing to come to pass

What do you do?
>Speak to The Chaplain about the Serpent Priests’ plan for Hawksong and its people
>Go for a walk through the tunnels of your subterranean home to clear your head
>Bury yourself in your work
>Go find Alhazred or Roth to let off some steam <WANT: 18, after a week of exertion and being too busy for sex>
>Request to return to Hawksong, to finish your mission there
>Write-in
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>>5216276
>Sad in some regards, but ultimately glorious—the price you had paid, and must pay, would be worth it for such a future
Remember what those monkeys did to our people, to our mother... and now their blood is messing with our head even despite us spending a week working on the Great Green Dragon's glory after we were lifted from the status of a pathetic worm to a damn Serpent Priest helper.
>Go find Roth to let off some steam <WANT: 18, after a week of exertion and being too busy for sex>
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>>5215851
I woke up to some pogchamp rolls here

>>5216276
>Sad in some regards, but ultimately glorious—the price you had paid, and must pay, would be worth it for such a future

perhaps we could make it less sad though

>Speak to The Chaplain about the Serpent Priests’ plan for Hawksong and its people

What we just did should have made it clear that there's a lot to learn from the surface civilization, and indiscriminate slaughter would lose us so much potential knowledge. We should aim for as stealthy and surgical a conquest as possible.

Hell, from what we've seen there's a good chance a straight up war would be a disaster, with the gryphons and the magical technology leading ours by centuries and the massive population differences.
>>
>>5216561
This entire update was incredible! With one great victory we have abandoned our Degeneracy and elevated in status - while also bringing the Age of Scales closer.

Backing this vote, but do this action after speaking to the Chaplain.

>Go find Roth to let off some steam <WANT: 18, after a week of exertion and being too busy for sex>
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>>5216274
>coppery-brown scales

>>5216628
>>5216561
>>5216392
[Writing up!]
>>
>>5216751
You lament the necessity of the carnage you saw in your dream… But not so much that you wouldn’t bear witness to that—enable that!—and more, for the future which waits beyond the flames. To abandon Degeneracy and become something greater… To usher in a new Age of Scales! What more could a snakegirl want from life?

‘Maybe a dose of double dragon dick?’ Irinnile suggests.

You ignore her—well, you TRY to. Her <WANT> has grown in the absence of your enablement, and when she speaks of such things you feel certain parts of your anatomy grow warm and moist—a side-efefct of the soulbond. Despite this, when you don you red Fleshweaver cloak, though, it is NOT to attend to her inconsequential sexual urges—

‘Aww.’

—but to go see The Chaplain.

‘Ooo, daring!’

‘NOT to fuck him,’ you snap.

‘Aaaawwwwww,’ the succubus groans.

The vision you saw was glorious, it’s true, but it was also very optimistic—perhaps unrealistically so. You have spent long enough in Hawksong, and here in your people’s forward base, to know that there is a very good chance that a direct war would be a disaster. You cannot create an army of Dragonborn in without years of investment, even with all the Fleshweavers’ and Henzler’s arts combined. Between their (shudder) gryphons, and magical technology which seems to outstrip your own race’s by CENTURIES in some cases, it would be an uphill battle, even BEFORE the massive difference in population is taken into account.

“This is why I believe that we should aim for as stealthy and surgical a conquest as possible,” you tell The Chaplain, in your exclusive, private audience.

He seems unconvinced, though.

“They are mere mammals, short-lived in most cases on an individual level, and short-lived even as a race where the elves are concerned,” he says, dismissively. “They are weak, whatever their numbers.”

“What we just did should have made it clear that there's a lot to learn from the surface civilizations,” you say frankly, “and indiscriminate slaughter would waste precious knowledge and resources.”

“You forget yourself… Infiltrator,” The Chaplain criticizes you for your directness, your defiant insistence in spite of his words.

…But he does not call you ‘Degenerate’.

“I remember my mission, and my duty. A duty to you, our people, and our Gods. This duty is best served by acquiring that knowledge, and conquering the humans of Hawksong by subtler means.”
>>
>>5216849
“Subtler means than what?” he demands. “We have not told you of our plans for that city.”

“Then may I ask what they are?” you ask, as respectfully as you can manage.

The Chaplain leans back, tilting his noble, wattled chin upwards and looking at you sidelong.

“You have an inkling already, I sense,” he says quietly.

“An army of Dragonborn, to smash and burn it wholesale?” you ask.

“Maybe,” he admits. “in time, of course. At first… Raids, with what forces we can muster at present, upon vulnerable communities. To take their people, for their blood, to fuel the creation of these Dragonborn. I… Have been made to understand that human blood is SOMEHOW vital to the process of their creation.”

You nod.

“So you propose to kidnap whole communities, leaving no witness of survivor?” you ask.

“You understand the gist,” he says. “We can destroy their food production in this way as well, and provoke fear. Perhaps manoeuvre orc warbands into place, to explain the attacks…”

“And if a survivor escapes?” you press, impetuous for your standing, dedicated your purpose. “If the Paladins mount a defence?”

“We unleash what Dragonborn we have upon them, and destroy the apish acolytes of the foolish false gods above!”

The Chaplain has great faith in the martial merit of the ‘perfected’ Dragonborn… Perhaps not misplaced. Still, it may be worth offering you input. After all, with all you have achieved, he cannot help but have great faith in YOU, also; it is why you were even afforded the great prestige of this meeting!

What do you suggest?
>Approve of his plan [specify any adjustments which you would make]
>Suggest allying with The Incubus, who ahs control of a prince of Hawksong, to install a puppet monarch on the throne and disband or corrupt the Paladins into uselessness—a devilish shadow-coup with plausible deniability!
>Suggest using your Goblintown allies, Eastern beastfolk business-partners, and demonic enthrallment to smuggle drugs in and humans who nobody ill miss out—subvert their society and get a steady supply of blood in a decades-long long-con!
>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!
>Suggest that you forget Hawksong altogether for now, and focus on building an empire in the Southlands, where your people are already stronger and better-established—it will buy Edwin a comfortable lifetime without invasion, and in decades to come, you can turn one human empire against another!
>Write-in
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>>5216853
After the meeting has concluded, you do not return to you lodgings—a room all to yourself, replete with comforts and luxuries created by your people or stolen from the undeserving surface races! Imagine! No, you will enjoy these later. First… Well, Irinnile’s <WANT> is, undeniably, also your own. You cannot put it off any longer: you NEED the desire and the mana of a mortal to keep her from becoming a problem, and to help you focus. And you can think of none better for the job than…

“Degener—I mean, Infiltrator?” Roth greets you, stepping out from his own chamber. “What is the purpose of this—MMRF!”

You are upon him almost immediately, like a predator pouncing upon prey. Your <WANT> oozes out of you in a demonic glamour, stimulating the dragonblooded old Reptilian into an instantaneous heat cycle. You pin him down to the floor of his chamber—he is stronger, but his resistance is half-hearted, and quickly dissolves away as his mystically-stimulated desire overcomes his inhibitions.

‘Fffffuuuuck yes,’ Irinnile moans within you; you hear the words emerge from your own mouth in tandem, as you begin to ride.

However, as you feel the sensation of your senior oeprative’s coming orgasm, the vision of the night prior rears its head once more. You remember the copper-coloured Dragonborn, with his Roth-like eyes and posturing. You remember what Henzler told you: a Dragonborn, a TRULY perfect Dragonborn, would be best formed from a fresh start rather than molded after-the-fact from her flawed first attempt… And the egg of a Degenerate would be an ideal shell in which to incubate such an entity.

‘Irinnile,’ you call out to the succubus, breaking the rapturous reverie accompanying this long-delayed meal. ‘You have been preventing me from becoming…Fertilized, yes?’

‘H-huh?’ she asks, dazed. ‘Oh, yeah, ‘course babe! No baby bump’s gonna’ ruin your beach bod while I’m on duty!’

What do you instruct her to do?
>Continue to prevent pregnancy—you have too much to do, and too many conflicting feelings about giving birth to Roth’s child to serve as a living weapon
>Allow your insemination—you will be a LITERAL mother to dragons, and to a new Age of Scales
>>
>>5216854
>Allow your insemination—you will be a LITERAL mother to dragons, and to a new Age of Scales
hue hue hue hue hue
>>
>>5216992
Forgot the first vote
>Approve of his plan [specify any adjustments which you would make]

>Suggest using your Goblintown allies, Eastern beastfolk business-partners, and demonic enthrallment to smuggle drugs in and humans who nobody ill miss out—subvert their society and get a steady supply of blood in a decades-long long-con!
>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!
>>
>>5216853
>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!

wary of any more deals that could strengthen Zivic

>Allow your insemination—you will be a LITERAL mother to dragons, and to a new Age of Scales

they did say a lot of mean things about us getting eggo preggo, but I guess Iri can always emergency abort

maybe confirm Iri can emergency abort
>>
>>5216998
[So your modification to the raids is to ALSO smuggle drugs in and people out, and to assassinate the Archmage and put Henzler in his place?]
>>
>>5216853
>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!

>Suggest that you also focus on building an empire in the Southlands, where your people are already stronger and better-established—it will buy Edwin a comfortable lifetime without invasion, and in decades to come, you can turn one human empire against another!

These two together.

We need time - time to raise a new army, time to investigate new technology and build it.

We can leverage our hold over the southern humans to ensure that they are occupied fighting each other - getting weaker in the process - while we get stronger.

We’re not ready for a surface war yet… maybe in a decade or two.

>Allow your insemination—you will be a LITERAL mother to dragons, and to a new Age of Scales

Our people have been stagnant for too long. WE shall drive them forward!
>>
>>5217085
>>5217004
>>5216998
>>5216992
[Locking for pregnancy and archmage assassination, but will wait until morning to see if there is a plurality for smuggling operations, countryside raids, or moving South with operations]
>>
>>5216853
>Suggest using your Goblintown allies, Eastern beastfolk business-partners, and demonic enthrallment to smuggle drugs in and humans who nobody ill miss out—subvert their society and get a steady supply of blood in a decades-long long-con!
They did nothing to Reptilian race and live under the monkeys like slavess.
>Continue to prevent pregnancy—you have too much to do, and too many conflicting feelings about giving birth to Roth’s child to serve as a living weapon
>>
>>5216853
>Suggest allying with The Incubus, who ahs control of a prince of Hawksong, to install a puppet monarch on the throne and disband or corrupt the Paladins into uselessness—a devilish shadow-coup with plausible deniability!
>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!

>>5216854
>Continue to prevent pregnancy—you have too much to do, and too many conflicting feelings about giving birth to Roth’s child to serve as a living weapon

Why not the Dragonborn himself?
>>
>>5217656
>Why not the Dragonborn himself?
Is this foxanon
>>
>>5217625
>They did nothing to Reptilian race and live under the monkeys like slavess.
soon they will live under us like slaves too
>>
>>5217656
>>5217625
>>5217085
>>5217004
>>5216998
>>5216992
“Allow it,” you hiss.

“Hn-what?” Roth grunts, before gasping and digging claws into you in the sudden shock of your renewed intensity, rising and falling atop him.

“Release your seed, Dragonblooded One,” you urge him, seeing not his pleasured expression by the glorious future, feeling not his orgasm inside you by the rising tide of destiny.

<WANT: 16>

In the afterglow, you reflect on the meeting with The Chaplain. Despite your growing station, and rebounding confidence, you still hesitated to speak. So many plans circled in your head… Some of them at odds with one another in intent and effect, or redundant, and you feared to make a fool of yourself.

Eventually, The Chaplain broke the silence: “You features are transparent in their emotion. Maybe not to a monkey, but compared to a pureblood’s…”

He trailed off, as if to avoid insulting you, but you sighed and nod.

“Yes, Holy One. It is just… Are such raids not dangerous? We have ONE Dragonborn now, and our population is so small, and… The resources we risk losing may outweigh the benefits.”

“Do we not require their blood?” he asked, annoyed at your undercutting of his ideas. “How can we improve our resources without seizing those of the surface?”

“Yes, but… I have another plan for how to get it.”

You outlined a truly devious plan, making use of multiple of the pawns you have put into play, and The Chaplain listened intently, as if to the Dark Gods yourself. You know that whispers have begun, of the Degenerate who arrived with a Serpent priest’s staff and a Dragon in tow, who mastered magic such that’s he wears a Fleshweaver’s cloak and meets alone with the Chaplain… Of how she earned the favour of the Dark Gods themselves. Reflecting on the meeting, you wonder if even he may have begun to believe it?

>Propose assassinating the Archmage, who is suspicious of your race’s involvement, and the installation of Head Chimericist Henzler as his replacement, to gain access to the advanced magical facilities of The Mages’ Tower, so as to speed up Dragonborn product and to strengthen your army with chimercism!
>Suggest using your Goblintown allies, Eastern beastfolk business-partners, and demonic enthrallment to smuggle drugs in and humans who nobody ill miss out—subvert their society and get a steady supply of blood in a decades-long long-con!

“As Zithra Half-Orc, one of my identities, I have made allies in the goblin-filled slums on the outskirts of town. There is a hobgoblin who smuggles items into town. The efficacy of such smuggling has been… compromised… By heightened security in the area, and in the sewers, due to The Mages’ Tower and its Inquisition’s meddling…”
>>
>>5217900
You pause to take a breath, and to propose the most daring parts of your plan.

“But we have Henzler, their Head Chimericist, in our pocket. She is highly-ranked. If we can topple The Archmage, we can install her in his place. The inquisition can be recalled, the sewers used to smuggle in the ‘shirin’ drug I told of… And then, selecting from among the drug-addled dregs, we can smuggle these humans OUT, along with any other materials or equipment we may need from the Tower, using the underground river beneath the mages’ own base-of-operations!”

The Chaplain had leaned back, as if impressed. You hoped he was impressed with your plan, and not with your impudence, or some obvious flaw that you had missed.”

“It is daring,” he eventually said. “But it will take time.”

“Yes,” you said with a smile. “But we are not an impatient race.”

This drew a rattling laugh from the Serpent Priest before you.

“Very well,” he had said. “Shall we begin?”

You return to the present. You look down at your stomach, at your sex below.

‘HE really, uh, came a lot, huh?’ asks Irinnile rhetorically, with a giggle. ‘You sure about this? You’re gonna’ be a sneaky-snake super-spy AND grow an egg inside of ya’?’

You look over at Roth, asleep on the floor, all but emptied of seminal fluid and of lifeforce alike. You smirk, and throw a nearby tapestry—a map of the local area—over him for the sake of propriety, should another of your people pay him a less lewd sort of visit. Sadly, his living quarters lack anything like blankets, sheets, or pillows (“Mammalian nonsense!”), so it will have to suffice.

‘I can manage,’ you say. ‘Mother did.’

What is your first course of action to set your schemes into motion?
>Use the halfling cook you have enthralled as your ‘contact’, directing her to take action while you remain underground, supervising matters here and building status
>Send Henzler home, at long last, with a cover story about a kidnapping by Southern Demonists; once she is in-place for a time, she can ‘deal with’ the Archmage and hide his body, then ascend to his station
>Sadly, it is time to speak with The Incubus—if you can make a deal with that demon, you can use the Prince to remove the Archmage and call off the authorities in the sewer with unquestionable legitimacy
>This requires a PERSONAL touch—egg or no egg—and you shall return to the city yourself to speak with Zi, with Mina and thus her brother Cuggi, and to arrange a meeting with the Archmage through Lord Yosef
>Write-in
>>
>>5217902
>This requires a PERSONAL touch—egg or no egg—and you shall return to the city yourself to speak with Zi, with Mina and thus her brother Cuggi, and to arrange a meeting with the Archmage through Lord Yosef

We can RIP Yosef at the same time
>>
>>5217902
>Use the halfling cook you have enthralled as your ‘contact’, directing her to take action while you remain underground, supervising matters here and building status
or
>Sadly, it is time to speak with The Incubus—if you can make a deal with that demon, you can use the Prince to remove the Archmage and call off the authorities in the sewer with unquestionable legitimacy
Good job making us an egg now of all times... jfc.
>>
>>5217902
>Use the halfling cook you have enthralled as your ‘contact’, directing her to take action

He should begin to acquire poisons - we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone at their next meeting

>This requires a PERSONAL touch—egg or no egg—and you shall return to the city yourself to speak with Zi, with Mina and thus her brother Cuggi

See if we can get a squad of infiltrators assigned to us though as reinforcements.
>>
>>5217902
>>This requires a PERSONAL touch—egg or no egg—and you shall return to the city yourself to speak with Zi, with Mina and thus her brother Cuggi, and to arrange a meeting with the Archmage through Lord Yosef
>>
>>5218034
>>5218106
>>5218224
>Use the halfling cook you have enthralled as your ‘contact’, directing her to take action
>This requires a PERSONAL touch—egg or no egg—and you shall return to the city yourself to speak with Zi, with Mina and thus her brother Cuggi

You leave Roth’s quarters—you don’t wish to press you luck with your new status by allowing others to learn of the unilateral reproductive action you have taken, and with such a high-born male! Instead, your return to your own and, once there, you set the stage for your return to Hawksong. You do this by taking possession of the ectoplasm-inculcated halfling cook who serves your human ancestor, a female called Malalyn Warmfeet.

You don’t have her take any drastic action… Not yet. Rather, you send her to apothecaries around the city in her free time, spending her own hard-earned money on individual herbs and animal-derivatievs which can be combined (with your people’s in-depth knowledge of such matters) to create viable, ingestible toxins and subcutaneous poisons.

Next, you send the halfling—uncomprehend of her actions, naïve to your intentions—to Goblintown. This proves… A dicey proposition, with the small-sized mammal almost accosted and mugged (well, a mere mugging is the BEST-case scenario) shortly after her arrival. However, when she drops the names ‘Navrere’ and ‘Yen-Zi’, the green-skinned assailants back off, and before long she is brought to the former: Navrere, the loud-mouthed hobgoblin smuggler who seemingly runs the most successful such racket in Goblintown.

“Word is you’re asking for me,” she barks, gnawing on a bone mostly stripped of the half-raw meat which covered it not so long ago. “Why? Who do you work for, HOBBIT?”

“There’s no need for slurs,” the halfling whispers.

“WHAT WAS THAT?!”

“N-n-n-nothing!”

You sigh, taking manual control of the demure thrall. Through her, you explain you plan:

“I’m working for Zithra, the half-orc who you hid not long ago.”

“Oh yeah? I think I remember her… The real human-looking one, green skin… Big chest?”

You roll your eyes, but have Malalyn nod, and say (albeit without your accent): “That’ss the one. She iss no mere bar-brawler, but a much bigger player than that… And, having sseen you operation in-persson, she wishess to offer you an opportunity that could make you both very, VERY wealthy.”

“What kind of opportunity?” Navrere asks, setting down the bone on a bare, grimy-looking table, to your distaste; you have the distinct feeling she is not above continuing to gnaw on it after negotiations have concluded.

“Bring the goblin known asss Yen-Zi,” you say through Warmfeet, “and meet with her in three dayss, by the edge of the forestss along the road. I will tell you the exxact place clossser to the time.”
>>
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>>5218392
How do I know this ain’t some… Trick? Some set-up?” Navrere asks. “You don’t exactly strike me as the criminal element, hobbit.”

At your insistence, terrified little Malalyn Warmfeet shrugs and smirks.

“Your lossss,” you (and thus the halfling) say. “Then Zi’sss racket will get all the profit.”

It’s a bluff, for Zi is not as well-connected or highly-placed as Navrere, but it is one which seemingly succeeds.

“Fuck it,” she spits, taking up the bone from the table and snapping it to slurp out the marrow. “I’m in.”

You extract the halfling hurriedly from the sinister slums of Goblintown and return her to her normal abode in Lord Yosef’s home. Only then do you open your eyes and rise to your feet, ready for your part in the plan. You hold out your arm, Little Hirchel the feathered drake lighting upon it with a wide yawn and a quiet croak,a nd you leave to speak with The Chaplain again.

“You are requesting leave to deal with this… Personally?” The Chaplain asks, surprised. “But why? You have become quite valuable here, Infiltrator. You must eb aware of this.”

“My personal approach is necessary, to win the trust of the catfolk… And there are still other matters I must attend to.”

“Ah, yes… Your mission from The Dark Gods, to destroy the Yosefs” The Chaplain says, reverence mingling with envy. “Very well. What do you require?”

“Reinforcements at the ready would be nice,” you say.

“You may take the Dragonblooded one and your fellow—and the other Degenerate,” he says. “Do you require more? Too many Reptilians in one place decreases comaprmentalziation, and increases the risk of discovery.”

Do you request further reinforcements?
>Yes, but disperse them through the city with cover identities, to call upon as needed
>Yes, a small battalion of Steeltalons at the ready, to hunker down in Goblintown
>No, those two will be enough
>Write-in
>>
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>>5218393
There is also the OTHER matter… That of your embryo, developing within an egg inside you. You have successfully given reality to your vision, fulfilled your own prophecy: you are carrying Roth’s child. Irinnile’s soul-sense confirms as much: a child grows within you. However, what it is NOT is a Dragonborn. You have reached out to Head Chimericist Henzler across your ectoplasmic link about this matter, but her advice was… Troubling.

“The heart,” she said, excitement building as she considered the implications, and hears of what youv’e already achieved with her first such chimera. “We need the heart. The direct, untainted blood of the dragon, mingled with yours and with Roth’s own, already draconic, bloodline… And the travelers who I’ve ‘acquired with the help of these farmers… Yes, YES! This could be it! I could make a PERFECT Dragonborn with such ingredients!”

Of course, you know that you cannot just TAKE the heart of The Great Green Dragon. It is the last pure material your own Fleshwavers have! But to perform the experiment here… You would need to admit what you have done, that you have mated (in clear defiance of your people’s law, and without even asking) and conceived a Degenerate child with a Dragonblood. You’re not even sure ROTH understands that you were doing more than sating the succubus within. They may demand an abortion, or even strip you of some of the privileges you have acquired.

‘And Henzler’s, like, waaaay better at this stuff than them, anyway, right?’ Irinnile notes.

What do you do?
>Take the heart without asking, so Henzler can ensure the experiment is a success
>Attempt the experiment yourself, unaided except by Henzler’s remote advice [Your Biological Manipulation has risen to 3d20 thanks to your EXTREMELY successful experiment and studies]
>Ask The Chaplain for permission, and the Fleshweaver’s aid, and admit to your pregnancy
>Forget it—you will find another way
>Write-in

>>5218363
Already had this written up, but it DOES involve a personal touch... Oops!
>>
>>5218394
>No, those two will be enough
Honestly I'd be cool going alone

>Forget it—you will find another way
All those nat 20's were miracles, and to do this would be to risk it all.
>>
>>5218393
>Yes, but disperse them through the city with cover identities, to call upon as needed
Compartmentalized unless we need them.
>Ask The Chaplain for permission, and the Fleshweaver’s aid, and admit to your pregnancy
Remind he we WILL purify it of the weak human element in us.
We could just take some blood, and freeze it with a Serpent Priest's help, if possible.
>>
>>5218890
>>5218428
[Time for work, but I'll await a tiebreaker or else roll after my shift.]
>>
>>5218393
>Yes, but disperse them through the city with cover identities, to call upon as needed

>>5218394
>Feel the Chaplain's out on this subject, see how he feels and his thoughts on this before admitting to anything

I'm going for the cautious-optimistic approach here, don't want to risk our baby-plan too much.
>>
>>5219359
>>5218890
>>5218428
“We should take our time,” you say. “Disperse the reinforcements to avoid suspicion. Set them up with false identities. When we make our move, we can close ranks.”

The Chaplain inclines his head slightly and croaks an agreement.

"It is a worthwhile investment," he agrees. "The time to make or move will soon be upon us."

You are grateful he sees the wisdom so readily. It emboldens you. There is another matter to discuss, and you resolve to do so.

You have a prophetic dream to realize, and the dragon-heart is the surest way to achieve this. So far, The Chaplain has been quiet amiable to your suggestions and requests—how can he not be, you suppose, with the results you have been able to achieve? This is the best possible time to request an exemption to the reproductive restrictions placed upon your kind, and access to the heart itself…

But a lifetime of conditioning is difficult to break. You lower your eyes again, automatically submissive to his will, and despite a boldness rising in your chest, you hedge your bet.

“The Head Chimerisist, the human ‘fleshweaver’ Henzler… She suggested that there might be a way to sped the production, and to improve the quality, of the Dragonborn.”

The Chaplain no longer scoffs immediately at such ‘simian spellcraft’ as he once would have—he knows better. Still, you see his features flatten and wattle tremble with displeasure as you explain the plan: the impregnation of Degenerates, and modification of their developing eggs with the dragon-heart.
>>
>>5219454
“Absolutely not!” he says. “The human blood used to create these Great Ones must be MINIMAL. To plant golden seeds in such tainted soil… To actually have them BIRTHED from the ‘vaginas’ of such half-mammals…”

“We… Their kind are already less human that those full-blooded subjects we will be using to create them using the planned methods,” you note.

“Then we can use Degenerates for the human material, perhaps,” he allows, perhaps a bit mean-spiritedly; after all, the plan for captured humans is to use them for blood, like a binding-agent for the dragon and Reptilian blood, and then to throw away the drained ‘donors’.

“But—”

“The contribution of a mother is too great---far greater than to portion of human blood we were planning to use.”

“But if we also were to breed the Degenerates with full-blooded Reptilians—”

“Then we introduce additional variables, perhaps polluting MUTLIPLE bloodlines to produce utterly DEGNERATE Dragonborn!”

You are cowed by The Chaplain’s raised voice, immediately silencing yourself. In response, he softend only slightly.

“The Heart is a finite resource,” he says. “We must use it carefully, sparingly… We have a method which works, which produces beings of great might and majesty. This is thanks to you! But what you propose… It is blasphemy. So speaks your Chaplain.”

It is a bridge too far, you suppose… And it gives you much to consider.

What do you do?
>Take your leave and return to the surface, telling The Chaplain nothing of your growing egg
>Admit to your ‘blasphemous’ transgression, pleading mercy and offering to abort the fetus
>Leave this place… And take the heart with you anyway. They will forgive you when they see the truth of your glorious prophecy-child with their own eyes!
>You cannot, WILL not, steal the scared dragon-heart… But you know your plan will succeed, if you can merely take a little material from it and have Henzler guide you in a quick procedure…
>Write-in
>>
>>5219457
>Take your leave and return to the surface, telling The Chaplain nothing of your growing egg
aaand maybe have Iri kill it, we can always make another one later
>>
>>5219457
>Take your leave and return to the surface, telling The Chaplain nothing of your growing egg
>Tell Urinnile delete the egg
It's been just one day, no big deal.
>>
>>5219465
Supporting

Don’t delete egg yet
>>
>>5219465
>>5219773
>>5219887
You accept The Chaplain’s judgement as wise and just, and you leave the office. Despite this, you The Chaplain nothing of the growing embryo developing even now inside of you. At first, this is because you plan to simply erase the sin—to have Irinnile slay the small spark of the soul within you and to absorb it, to pretend none of this foolishness ever happened. Only…

>maybe have Iri kill it
>maybe
>Don’t delete egg yet

…Maybe not just yet. It’s only been a day. You still have plenty of time to consider your options, to persuade those in power of the merit of your plan.

“Come on, Superior One,” you say to Roth, leaning again outside of his chamber. “Let’s go.”

The older Dragonblood looks almost afraid of you then, instinctively shielding his groin. “I… I CANNOT. No, not so soon after—”

“Quiet yourself!” you hiss, lest he be overheard. “I mean to say that we have been assigned to return to Hawksong.”

“…Oh. Yes. I see.”

You resist the urge to laugh aloud; Irinnile, your voice only audible to you, shows no such restraint, and her infectious laughter forces a smile.

“Don’t you smirk at me, you Degenerate!” Roth blusters. “I will gather what I must and meet you at the exit cave, whence we entered.”
>>
>>5219926
Alhazred is less decisive when you approach him.

“Was I explicitly include din this order?” he asks. “My human parentage is Southernly, and the alarm which you have raised may well raise suspicion of darker, foreign human breeds.”

You pause before replying. Alhazred has been useful, stalwart, cunning, and supportive. He is a fellow Degenerate—the first of your abhorred and discriminated-against ilk with whom you have bonded.

‘Handsome son-of-an-iguana, too,’ Irinnile notes, appreciatively. ‘Ooo, that jawline!’

You sensed resentment and envy in him however. You do not detect it now, but his reluctance to immediately seize upon this opportunity in spit of his ambition speaks to a disillusionment.

What do you do?
>Bring Alhazred
>Leave Alhazred here
>Suggest that Alhazred at least join you as far as the surface, then chart his own course
>Write-in

The rest of your reinforcements are (so you are told) to meet you in Hawksong—or, rather, to privately coordinate through Roth and Albacete, and one other such contact called Sauer who hides in some capacity among the shippers and receivers at the dockyards. They will await your signal and summons, and join you when you need them—be it this month, or next year, or five years hence. They are to be embedded deep, attending to no other grand schemes save to support your own. It is an ego-affirming situation, to say the least: you are practically a field commander, something even Roth and Albacete cannot boast!

You don your leafweave armour, (reluctantly) trade your blood-red Fleshweaver cloak for your (by now cleaned and mended) blue one which Agatha Johan made for you, and you make the long trek up the winding tunnel-system to the cave outside of Sparrowtown. Roth is at your side, in his same humble garb and same human guise. Your first destination is…
>The farmhouse, to see Henzler and your pact-minions and to check in on their progress
>Sparrowton, to gather a few supplies
>Goblintown, to attend your promised meeting
>Mina at The Pretty Kitty, to explain your absence and to ask after your brother’s trading company—your source of subversive shirin stimulant
>Write-in
>>
>>5219928
>Leave Alhazred here
>The farmhouse, to see Henzler and your pact-minions and to check in on their progress
>Delete egg before it becomes a moral problem
>>
>>5219942
>Before it becomes a moral problem
[Point of order: it already has a soul inside it. In this setting, especially to someone with a spiritual sense, life really does begin at conception. If you mean by Reptilian Master Race ethical standards, killing a Degenerate at any age, before or after laying or hatching an egg, can be easily justified.]
>>
>>5219928
>Leave Alhazred here
sorry our pogchampness outshines you bro
we're just the best
our rolls can't be beat

>The farmhouse, to see Henzler and your pact-minions and to check in on their progress

backing fetus deletus
>>
>>5220010
>>5219960
actually wait on the egg just long enough to make sure Henzler can't do anything with it, since we're checking on her anyway
>>
>>5219926
>Don’t delete egg yet
We should talk to Henzler privately about it first

>Leave Alhazred here
Ambition requires a willingness to seize control over your own fate

He is clearly lacking in this department

>The farmhouse, to see Henzler and your pact-minions and to check in on their progress
>>
>>5220450
>>5220012
>>5220010
>>5219942
Under cover of darkness and forest, you travel with Roth and your chimeras. The Dragonborn stays behind, of course, doted on and monitored for side-effects or complications by the Fleshweavers. He has settled into the comforts of kingship quite readily, even if he still flinches away from the chimerical procedures and medicines they provide. You reassure the big lug that all will be well and, seemingly trusting you implicitly, he takes comfort in this. The owlbear, and tentacle dog, though, you cannot leave—ESECIALLY the owlbear, who most of your kind are instinctively terrified to even approach. If it wasn’t for you and Alhazred, he would never be fed! As for Little Hirchsel… You simply like him much to leave behind. He seems to appreciate you, too, leaning into your chin scritches with obvious eagerness.

Alhazred, though, you leave behind. You imagine you could do something to alter his complexion with yours and Henzler’s ever-better mastery of biological alchemy… But then, he clearly lacks the unique spark that sets you apart from common Degenerates. He will only slow you down. He seems to understand this well enough, anyway… You think.

Alhazred isn’t the only matter you have second thoughts about. Throughout the entirety of your journey to the farmhouse, you constantly war with your conscience about the small soul inside of you. The better, more loyal part of you feels like a stupid, STUPID fool for even humouring the idea of breeding, let alone without getting a Superior One’s explicit permission and protection. What if youa re found out? What fi it all goes wrong?! As you camp in the woods with Roth, half-way to the farmhouse, you stare down at your abdomen—still flat and toned—and debate simply erasing the entity within you as if itw as never there.

‘Baby souls don’t have a lot of flavour,’ Irinnile laments. ‘But hey, meal’s a meal. Want me to take care of this?’

‘…’

‘Hotstuff?’

‘Not yet,’ you respond. ‘Let Henzler have a look at this…. Opportunity.’

You place your hands upon your abdomen almost automatically, instinctively. You feel a smile crease your face, just slightly. You wonder if your mother ever looked down at you like this.

‘Hormones are kicking in, huh?’ Irinnile notes.

You shush her.

“What are you doing?” Roth snaps. “The fire requires more fuel, Infiltrator!”

You roll your eyes, and go gather more firewood for your father’s unknowing father, surly old curmudgeon that he is.
>>
>>5220543
The next day, you arrive on the farm, finding the people there… Changed. The two small children are much the same, albeit clearly more comfortable than they were before. Their time with Henzler has seemingly inoculated them against oddness—they even seem almost EXCITED to see you and your menagerie.

“The lizardfolks are here!” the girl cries when she sees you. “They brought the owlbear!”

The son is a bit warier, but still does not flee, or flinch, and regards you all with clear interest, and no obvious fear.

“Their father was… Not a terribly kind man, nor very emotionally present,” the farmwife explains, when you ask after their odd reaction. “We told them of what you have done... Are doing, for us.”

And indeed, you can see that progress has been made. The woman, Gisela, was in her forties—still IS, you suppose—but she looks to be about your age. She was already attractive enough to you, but now Irinnile is wolf-whistling at the human peasant from inside of you, and you find yourself appreciating her sturdy-but-supple figure yourself. And, uh…

‘Stefan,’ Irinnile helpfully provides.

STEFAN, her one-time stepson turned mate, he is also changed. He was never SMALL, being honed by formwork, but where he appeared younger than you, and even a bit shorter, he is now taller and broader than Roth. He hefts the heavy satchels and backpacks you foist upon him with ease. He even appears… Older, perhaps?

“It’s just like you promise,” he says, clearly no longer so troubled by the demise of his late father as he was. “I… I am sorry that I doubt you.”

“Mmm, yess,” you say, watching the light of the house’s lanterns glisten off of his sweat-slickened bicep.

Roth huffs, angling between the two of you.

‘Ooo, possessive,’ Irinnile notes. ‘Is that a bit of DESIRE I sense in Tightass McHeatcycle?’

“Progress has been swift,” Henzler notes, “since we began capturing subjects.”

This demands further explanation, which Henzler provides: she had been seizing upon opportunities to sample small amounts of blood from humans without harming them, but eventually this proved insufficient. Taking the initiative, she began using her magic and her physically augmentations—you remember the muscular tentacles hidden in her baggy robes—to snatch up lone travelers whose apparel and demeanour indicated to her that they would not be missed.

“You’ve been… KILLING humanss? Without permissssion?!”

It’s a bold move—a move you HOPED she and other ectoplasmically-enthralled individuals would not be able to take without your explicit say-so.

“Of course not,” she quickly corrects you. “That would be a waste of resources. No, I’ve been KIDNAPPING humans, and storing them in the barn for future use.”
>>
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>>5220546
You look to Gisela and Stefan, who hold each other subtly.

“You are okay with thisss?” you ask.

“No,” Stefan says, plainly.

“YES,” Gisela says, glaring at him, and then looking to you apologetically. “Forgive him, he is…”

“Being honest,” Stefan says. “But… Yes, sorry. No, we’re not… I’m not happy about it, but…”

“But it’s worth it,” Gisela finishes, squeezing his arm and looking at you in awe and terror. “We don’t regret it.. Our pact.”

“…No,” Stefan admits, though with obvious shame that he does not feel more regret. “Still… You can mess with minds, right? With memories? I’d hoped… The mage, Madame Henzler, she said we’d have to kill them, to keep them quiet. I was hoping…”

He was hoping you could sue mesmerism to purge his captured guests’ minds of their traumatic captivity and experimentation, and then release them.

“They’re only disposable, utterly unremarkable travelers,” Henzler mutters.

What do you do?
>Kill them all—it’s safer
>Attempt to forge further pacts, bargaining for these people’s freedom in exchange for their loyalty and energy to further empower Irrinile
>Erase these captives’ memories and free them
>Write-in
>>
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>>5220549
Once the captives have been attended to, you approach Henzler about the… OTHER matter.

“So, you have been impregnated,” Henzler reaffirms, with the subtlety of a brick. “By the red one—Roth?”

“Yess,” you say, “and he himsself hass in him the blood of ANOTHER dragon, The Red Dragon of the Middle Mountainsss.”

“The one who lived in that volcano and commanded all those kobolds?” Henzler asks. “Wasn’t it…”

“Sslain by an alliancce of elvesss and dwarvesss, before your people moved into thiss area of the ssurface, yess.”

Henzler is immediately enthralled. You’re lucky you have kept Roth distracted with dinner, for she is immediately upon you with ahnds and tentacles, prying at your clothes before you can utter the command to stop her.

“ENOUGH!” you snap. “I am not one of your roadsside victimss, HUMAN.”

“…Yes, of course. I emrely… I grew excited. Do you have the heart?!”

“No,” you say.

This causes Henzler to frown slightly.

“What can you do without it?” you ask.

“I can… Increase the musculature, accentuated the draconic phenotype. With your aid—and your demon’s—we could accentuate the most ferocious and reptilian elements of your bloodline, and of Roth’s… But without more dragon-blood, we will never have something quite like a true ‘Dragonborn’.”

Your heart sinks. An eight-foot tall, dragon-silkscale-human hybrid with much-diluted blood… It’s nothing to scoff at, but it is no titanic copper-hued King of Kings, as in your vision.

“Though…” Henzler says quietly.

“Yess?”

“With some draconic material from Roth, or that one upon your shoulder—”

She gestures her with her chin, to the little feather drake Hirschel upon your shoulder, who look sup at her.

“Maybe we can accentuate it a little further.”

“Is it ssafe for them?” you ask.

“Roth would probably live, but he’d be… He would, I admit, need to recover. The drake… It would die. We need too much material for it to live.”

Hirschel croaks a little, and fans his wings.


What do you do?
>Fuck it, abort the egg
>Agree—you will sacrifice Hirschel for your unborn son’s might and majesty
>Agree—you will tell Roth of what you have done, and request his aid in breeding an heir to him who will shake the very earth with his footsteps
>Disagree—you will not abort your pregnancy, but you MUST find another way, later
>Write-in
>>
>>5220549
>Tell Stefan yeah, you can totally do that.
Obviously we won't, they're all gonna die, but he doesn't need to hear that. We can let Iri eat them, she hasn't gotten to indulge in cannibalism for a while.

>Fuck it, abort the egg
we tried
and we can always try again if we happen into heart ownership
>>
>>5220549
>Attempt to forge further pacts, bargaining for these people’s freedom in exchange for their loyalty and energy to further empower Irrinile

Do this individually - and if they don’t agree or the demand is too great, just kill them.

>Disagree—you will not abort your pregnancy, but you MUST find another way, later
We’ll find another way
>>
>>5220549
>Kill them all—it’s safer
Make it look like we mesmerize them
>Offer Stefan and Gisela to purge their memory if this
Free of charge
>>5220550
>Fuck it, abort the egg
We will get another one once we're a full-blooded reptilian!
>>
>>5220549
>Attempt to forge further pacts, bargaining for these people’s freedom in exchange for their loyalty and energy to further empower Irrinile

>>5220550
>Disagree—you will not abort your pregnancy, but you MUST find another way, later

One round of unprotected sex and anons already want to have an aberration. You should’ve thought of that before you decided to impregnate us.
>>
>>5220549
>Attempt to forge further pacts, bargaining for these people’s freedom in exchange for their loyalty and energy to further empower Irrinile

>>5220550
>Disagree—you will not abort your pregnancy, but you MUST find another way, later

One round of unprotected sex and anons already want to have an abortion. You should’ve thought of that before you decided to impregnate us.
>>
>>5220976
>One round of unprotected sex and anons already want to have an aberration. You should’ve thought of that before you decided to impregnate us.
People abort when they learn of abnormality all the time.
>>
>>5220978
>You should’ve thought of that before you decided to impregnate us.
I never voted for this because I am capable of thinking ahead, fuck off.
>>
>>5220992
>I never voted for this because I am capable of thinking ahead

Then stop being offended by something that wasn’t aimed at you.
>>
>>5220614
>>5220825
>>5220919
>>5220978
Even now, you cannot make up your mind about the egg inside. Your hands continue to res unconsciously upon your belly, running up an down the skin whenever you mind drifts towards it. The perfection of the offspring within seems ever more distant, ever less likely… But there is still time! Your work with the fully-grown Dragonborn bac at the forward base shows as much! You will find your way, take another time… or smash the egg when you lay it, if you really must.

You had reassured nervous, overly-empathetic Stefan that you would give the human blood-banks kept in the barn the chance to be free again—and, perhaps mostly importantly, to live. This was not ENTRIELY a lie: some, at least, may yet see the sun. It is just that many—most? Maybe all?—may not.

You enter the barn to find rows of males and females (though mostly men, which you suppose makes sense for lone travelers) bound and gagged with rope and with cloth, tied to one another and to a fence-like apparatus at the back intended for tying up animals. Maybe of them show evidence of failed escape attempts: a broken foot or ankle here, a defeated, apathetic expression there. Each and every one has bloodied cloth bound to them somewhere—evidence of bloodletting, for the Head Chimericist’s experiments.

“Alright,” you say, smiling widely and clapping your hands. “Who wantss to go home?”

This gets many of their attention, though not all. When you turn up your glamour, that seems to do the rest. Not all of them are shouting eagerly (And unintelligibly,, thanks to their gags). Some are wary, perhaps understandably after their recent experiences.

“You don’t know me, but can be your friend,” you say, walking the line of them. “or… not. What I’m offering iss a chacce to leave thiss placce. In exxxchange, and in exchange for your loyalty, your ssilencce on what happened here, and a SSMALL amount of enery from each of you, I offer a pact.. And relative freedom.”

There is silence.

“Oh, and you get to live!” you add.

One human, a male, gestures for you to remove his gag. You do so.

“Why should we believe you?” he asks.

“Because I don’t actually NEED to negotiate, you point out wryly. “Not with ssomene in your posssition.”

“Then why are you?” he asks. “What will happen to us? What will you have us do, once we are free?”

Another human screams at him, frantic and furious, through his gag. You can just make out the word ‘demon.’

“SHUT UP!” the negotiator shuts, voice quavering slightly. “I know that, damnit… I know. But… I want to live. I don’t want to die here!”
>>
>>5221043

Do you have any specific plans for those who accept your deal?
>They will serve as safe-houses and stop-off points for your drug-and-captive trafficking route to and from Hawksong
>They will pray to Irinnile—and-to you—as a sort of Lesser God… or Greater Demon… And nothing else shall be necessary at this time
>They will continue to help Henzler with her experiments here
>They should be ready to rise in revolt and rebellion, when the time comes... And, perhaps, to be chimericzed into more perfect soldiers
>Write-in

Do you sweeten the to at all? After all… A pact will bind you magically, but not the humans, without a curse, and you do not know how to create such a thing yet.
>Offer these humans similar terms to the farmwife and her boytoy: physical betterment through Henzler’s work, if they comply
>You will use the drugs which will soon be at your disposal to keep them in-line
>You will use mesmerism and some succubus sex to extract energy and loyalty alike
>Fear will keep them in line… You will reveal a terrible, demonic war-form to them and dare them to challenge your authority
>Write-in
>>
>>5221046
>They will serve as safe-houses and stop-off points for your drug-and-captive trafficking route to and from Hawksong
>They will continue to help Henzler with her experiments here
Split them in two groups.
>You will use mesmerism and some succubus sex to extract energy and loyalty alike
for short term and then
>Offer these humans similar terms to the farmwife and her boytoy: physical betterment through Henzler’s work, if they comply
Weak and sick humans are useless to us.

>Delete the egg
Can't believe we can't agree to delay the egg till the epilogue and when we're potentially a fully blooded reptilian. It will only hinder our progress now.
>>
>>5221050
>Delete the egg
[It was a tie vote after several votes to delay. I'm not taking more votes on it until circumstances change enough to warrant putting the matter forward to vote anew. Sorry, but if everyone keeps appending unsolicited egg votes at the end of each entry, it will be a neverending circular argument.]
>>
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>>5221058
Nobody asked for the impregnation fetish out of nowhere and then dramatic reveal that the Chaplain would hack off Roth's cocks if he knew he impregnated Ismena! You did it to yourself.
>>
>>5221067
[People voted for the Infiltrator to become pregnant, knowing that she was legally forbidden from doing so... And when I presented repeated votes to keep or abort it, there was no consensus to do so. It is what it is. If circumstances change, I will put forward another vote. You can type "delete the egg" on every unrelated vote if you want. I'm just doing the courtesy of letting you know that I'm ignoring it until I actually ask again.]
>>
>>5221074
>knowing that she was legally forbidden from doing so
bold of you to assume they care about the consequences of their own choices
>>
>>5221046
>>They will serve as safe-houses and stop-off points for your drug-and-captive trafficking route to and from Hawksong
>>They will continue to help Henzler with her experiments here

>You will use mesmerism and some succubus sex to extract energy and loyalty alike
>>
>>5221046
>They will pray to Irinnile—and-to you—as a sort of Lesser God… or Greater Demon… And nothing else shall be necessary at this time

>Offer these humans similar terms to the farmwife and her boytoy: physical betterment through Henzler’s work, if they comply
>>
>>5221046
>They will serve as safe-houses and stop-off points for your drug-and-captive trafficking route to and from Hawksong
>They will pray to Irinnile—and-to you—as a sort of Lesser God… or Greater Demon…

These two.

She can always abduct more victims.

>Offer these humans similar terms to the farmwife and her boytoy: physical betterment through Henzler’s work, if they comply
>You will use mesmerism and some succubus sex to extract energy and loyalty alike

These two.

We really need to find out how to form pacts…

Can we ask Irinnile to search her inner thoughts…or consult the Record?
>>
>>5221363
We do know how to form pacts though? It's curses we don't know about.
>>
>>5221424
Ah, my mistake.

We need to know more about that then
>>
Rolled 14, 7, 18, 12, 15, 19 = 85 (6d20)

>>5221444
>>
>>5221050
>>5221092
>>5221169
>>5221363
>>5221632

“Pray to me,” you say, holding out your hand to the human male at your feet—the one who will be first to negotiate. “Pray to your new masster, in lieu of the Gods of Light. Be loyal to me. DO as I sssay, and you shall live.”

Several humans now cry out in outrage, but your smile does not wane, and the man’s eyes do not waver.

“Yes,” he says quietly, “Master.”

“Hmm, no,” you say. “We prefer… Missstresss.”

“…Yes, Mistress,” he says, and takes your hand

“Good boy!” you say.

From there, you outline to he, and to each of the humans who complies and agrees to serve you, your master plan: that they will serve as a rural network across the kingdom, ferrying or storing your goods—human chattel, drugs, agents of your will or that of your masters.

“In exchange,” you say cheerfully, “I will grant you not jusst life, but life with BENEFITSSS. You will be young, and strong, and…”

Irinnile sends a tingle across your body.

“…And virile, for sso much longer than other mere humanss!”

>19
The fear of further torture did some heavy lifting for you, but the promises pique interest in at least a few of them. Of the eight people gathered, the two females and four of the males are at your beck and call now. As for the others…

‘HeheheheheHEEEE,’ Irinnile squeals in delight.

They can watch as you buy a bit MORE loyalty, and sate the succubus’ <WANT>, with a good old fashioned gangbang.

“Come,” you beckon huskily. “Pay tribute to your new Misstressss.”

As so they do…

<WANT: 10>

SO much tribute.
>>
>>5221639
The barn is hellishly hot by the time you are done, each of your new vassals drenches in sweat and… Other fluids. Their clothes are scattered, torn. Scratches and bites cover many of them, marks of Irinnile’s wildness—marks of their Mistress’ dominion. Some look at you in wonderment; others cannot bear to, for the shame of what they have done. None held anything back, though—not once the frenzy took them.

Your lifeforce is swollen, your soulbound succubus full with lust-tainted magical energies like some great spiritual leech glutted almost to bursting… But she does not burst. No, she seems to have GROWN, in might and complexity.

‘I think I even, like… Got smart?’ Irinnile muses. ‘Everything seems clearer… And I think I’m actually NOT hungry or horny for once? Can that, like… Be RIGHT?’

You put that matter aside for a moment, turning to the two horrified, gagged captives who remain bound—the two men too pious to defiant to join in your festival of hedonistic delight. You elan down, removing their gags.

“You’re sure you two boysss don’t want to join in?” you tease.

One of them spits in your face.

“Demon bitch,” snarls the other, before turning on your acolytes. “You’re all DAMNED, do you hear me?! You’ve DOOMED yourselves, and she’s just probably going to kill you all anyway! You can’t trust a demon!”

‘Well,’ Irinnile muses, ‘I SAID I was full… But I could eat.’

And so…

<WANT: 4>

…You allow her to do so.

You leave your burgeoning demon-cult to clean themselves up and dispose of the remains of the two defiant ones—a loyalty test, to ensure they fear you or covet your gifts enough to do the terrible things which you require. You and Irinnile commune as you return to the farmhouse, deducing that with a FEW more pacts like that, you might be able to make her TRULY great.

‘With my own sigil and everything!’

<Greater Demon Completion: 75%>

It’s certainly an avenue to still greater power—one you had considered in the past, but only now made strides towards. Still, even with a powered-up parasite within you, you have had a long journey, and your body was just put through its paces. Weariness lingers at the edges of your excitement, encroaching on your post-coitus buzz.

What do you do?
>Rest up—you’ll need it, for tomorrow’s trek will be similarly long
>Snuggle up with Roth for the evening, and talk to him [about what?]
>Have Henzler make what chimeric modification to your growing egg that she can [specify if you have anything in mind]
>Search Irinnile’s growing consciousness, and the Akashic Record, for information on an occult matter [specify what]
>Pay a dream-visit to Edwin—that orgy was excellent, but it left you emotionally wanting
>Write-in
>>
>>5221641
>Have Henzler make what chimeric modification to your growing egg that she can

Any improvements she can make which do not put our own life or body at risk

If anons are desperate to delet egg, we may as well try and fix it first

>Search Irinnile’s growing consciousness, and the Akashic Record, for information on an occult matter

Curses linked to pacts
>>
>>5221641
>>Have Henzler make what chimeric modification to your growing egg that she can [specify if you have anything in mind]
Fix egg

>>Pay a dream-visit to Edwin—that orgy was excellent, but it left you emotionally wanting
>>
>>5221641
>Rest up—you’ll need it, for tomorrow’s trek will be similarly long
>>
Rolled 76, 40 = 116 (2d100)

>>5221852
>>5221844
>>5221785
[Rolling a couple probabilities, then posting.]
>>
>>5221989
>>5221852
>>5221844
>>5221785You spend the first phase of the long night meditating and researching, while the farmhands and your new minions tend to your chimeras. Cross-legged upon the floor of the room which you have commandeered, you and your demonic partner delve deep into the Akashic Record of the Dark Gods -- that invisible book in the space between spaces, recording the words and deeds of every agent your divine masters have ever employed.

It has been a while since you accessed the Record, and you have never before seen much in the way of detailed demon-dealings within. Oh, you’ve seen entities like Iirnnile summoned and deployed as assets, but it seems to be a rare thing for a Reptilian to form a pact with a demonic entity, or even to deeply involve themselves in their summoned demon’s specific methods and abilities…

‘Hey, babe, lemme’ take the reins for a bit, huh?’

Luckily, you newly-empowered succubus seems to know what she’s looking for. What she finds is, frankly, shocking. She guides you through aeons and across continents to a dark, misty place, warm despite the nighttime texture of this particular memory, in the green of the woods. There, you find an agent of your gods, communing with demons and commanding a curious, amphibious breed of lizardmen who cower before them…

But ‘they’ are a ‘she’, and SHE is NOT a Reptilian!

You bear witness to a dark-skinned (Southern?) human woman, tattooed and afflicted by some deformity of the face and a foggy eye, wrapped in silks and festooned with jewelry of gold and bone alike, commanding Reptilian servants in evident service to YOUR dark Gods. How is this allowed?!

‘Hey, hey, Hotstuff!’ irinnile snaps her ephemeral fingers a few times. ‘Focus, alrght?’

You snap out of your moral panic to witness how this HUMAN WOMAN (indignity!) keeps lizardmen in line: when one-defies her, moves against her, attempts to rally his brethren in croaking, rattling war-chorus, a deep affliction affects him. His eyes go fogy, as the human female’s own. His face withers and melts into a mirror of her deformation, and then that physical mutation spreads across his features and down his body. HE shrivels up, curls up, and pleads for mercy as the human female approaches. His fellow males prostrate themselves, abandoning their revolt.


>Success: You have gained basic understanding of how to afflict a contingent curse

You do not see what happens to them next.
>>
>>5222005

It is difficult for you to make heads or tails of the heretical scenario which you have seen, but you think you understand the mechanisms by which this human oppressed scalykind (with Dark Gods’ blessing?!)—an occult modification of warding magic, both of which you have experience with. Irinnile thoughtfully mulls over the implications on your behalf, putting her newly-improved mental acuity to the test while you next pay a visit to Henzler.

“A wise decision,” she sniffs, “even if a half-measure. You know, we should really—”

“Ssilenccce,” you wearily command her, and the Head Chimericist obeys.

You know what she was going to say: that you should sacrifice Hirschel to this enterprise, or bring in Roth, so that you can properly ‘draconicize’ the fetus within the egg within your womb. However, as your eyes settle upon Hirschel—fluttered from your shoulder to avoid Henzler’s prodding, but still unwilling to leave the room where she is performing the procedure on you—you again cannot bring yourself to sacrifice him.

“Do what you can to make my sson sstrong, fiercce, and noble.”

Henzler nods silently, but her expression seems skeptical. You grant her permission to speak once more, and she says: “May I ask how you know it’s a ‘son’ to begin with?”

“Developing in a warm environment, such ass a mammalian body, will almossst alwaysss guarantee an egg will hatch male,” you say. “And anyway, the ssuccubusss can sensse it.”

“I… See.” Henzler considers this. “May I have the succubus’ aid in this? It will make things easier, and safer for you and your child.”

You frown. You’d been meaning to pay Edwin a visit in his dreams again…

What do you do?
>Allow this, but attempt to dream-delve WITHOUT Irinnile to guide you
>Refuse—Irinnile will be assisting you, and Henzler will have to make do
>Do one, then the other—though it will leave you quite mentally and physically tired for tomorrow, more than this busy night is already likely to do
>Write-in
>>
>>5222006
>Allow this
>>
>>5222006
>>Allow this, but attempt to dream-delve WITHOUT Irinnile to guide you
>>
>>5222006
>Allow this, but attempt to dream-delve WITHOUT Irinnile to guide you

what could possibly go wrong
>>
>>5222006
>Allow this

Don’t go dreaming - we’re far from the city and almost didn’t make it back last time
>>
>>5222011
>>5222026
>>5222253
>>5222300
[I'll wait a little while later for a (non 1post id) tiebreaker, or else roll for it at the end of the night.]
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5222470
>>
>>5222470
>>5222544
>>5222300
>>5222253
>>5222026
>>5222011
With Irinnile’s consciousness expanded, and your own occult expertise likewise increased, you decide to trust the succubus to manage your material body while you take a little jaunt into the city on your own. You’re cognizant of how far the city is, and of dawn’s approach, but , well…

It’s EDWIN.

You miss Edwin, and a part of you maybe even misses Hawksong. The forward base of your people—a place where you grew up, essentially—has been good to you at some times, cruel to you at others, but it is undeniably a BORING affair when you’re not working. It is mission-focused by design. There is a chapel, and the faded and eroded ruins of great architectural works, but you KNOW all those works—have run your hands across the stone visages and spiraling, madness-inducing patterns since you were a hatchling. There is no breeding pit (as Irinnile oft lamented), but also no refined Reptilian charcuterie, no wondrous works of darkest magic as you might find deeper down—the TRUE glories of your people. It is a staging-ground for attacks on the much more interesting World Above, staffed with a skeleton-crew of agent provocateurs, off-duty from provocateur-ing. The farm, while more intriguing erotically, is still a far cry from the always-illuminated lantern light, the sights, soudns, smells, the fashion and fun, to be found in Hawksong!

And so you brave the obscuring haze and alien pressures of the dark spaces between consciousness-centres, traveling the dreamscape for the first time without your demonic guide. Irinnile had been worried for you, but your were adamant that you could do this alone… And so far, you have to say, you think you were right. Following the road into Hawksong, you hope for one sleeping caravan-vagrant to another, and follow the familiar trail of inns and small settlements which you have seen in waking and dreaming, by day and night. You exhilarate in the freedom of moving unseen, leaping from one spot of light and vibrancy to another in this world of shades and shadows.
>>
>>5222553
Eventually, you arrive at the sparkling constellation of your destiny—your genesis, your conquest, your Hawksong! And therein, buoyed on familiar and comfortable currents of mammalian fantasies, fears, and ambitions, you soar through the city and to your precious Edwin of Engel.

Tonight, he is in his bed, and he is alone. You hover above him for a time, just watching him. The way he holds his pillow in an embrace in your absence leaves you wistful, almost perversely jealous, and lonesome. In spite of Irinnile’s warmth within you all day and night, in spite of your… Unique relationship to Roth…

It’s EDWIN, and you wish you could turn back time and be with him here, in person, as you were.

What do you do?
>Just watch him, maybe leave him with a happy (sexy?) dream—this is enough
>Dive into his dream and spy upon him, learn what he has been up to and what has become of Hawksong more broadly
>Assume an avatar of Paula in his dreams and soil his image of her subconsciously, poisoning what you take to be a burgeoning relationship
>Approach him to have a deep conversation, honest and raw, as you wish you could do when he was awake [specify the details thereof that you wish to touch upon]
>Visit another dreamer—this is making you surprisingly melancholy [specify who you visit]
>Write-in
>>
>>5222555
>Just watch him, maybe leave him with a happy (sexy?) dream—this is enough

Other anon was right as well, we can't lose track of time. Gotta be extra careful without Iri.
>>
>>5222555
>Just watch him, maybe leave him with a happy (sexy?) dream—this is enough

>Visit another dreamer—this is making you surprisingly melancholy
Our father…
>>
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>>5222566
The Infiltrator's father is dead. DO you mean Lord Yosef, her grandfather?
>>
Ew. What the fuck is wrong with you retards? First you compulsively decide to use Roth to impregnate Ismena, then refuse to abort the shit and now you STILL try to bother Edwin?
>>
>>5222578
Yeah, meant him…
>>
>>5222555
>Approach him to have a deep conversation, honest and raw, as you wish you could do when he was awake [That we love him, that he meant the world to us, that I wish we could go back to where we were]

Don’t stay for too long, we have dawn to deal with.
>>
>>5222631
*impulsively

[You voted yet? If not...]

>>5222774
>>5222566
>>5222565
[Three way tie: one for returning to your body, one for REALTALK with Edwin, and one for a visit to Lord Yosef]
>>
>>5222868
>>5222774
I can back the REALTALK
>>
>>5222868
Yes, whatever, I'm a fucking ESL.
>Return to your body
>>5222924
Fuck you.
>>
>>5222631
They are roleplaying a woman.
>>
[Locking for realtalk, then return to body. Will post after work! Expect delays or missed posts on Saturday, as I am hosting a party.]
>>
>>5222555
>>Assume an avatar of Paula in his dreams and soil his image of her subconsciously, poisoning what you take to be a burgeoning relationship

>>5222951
This.
>>
>>5223227
We're already locked.

>>5222565
>>5222566
>>5222774
>>5222934
>>5223227
You lower closer and closer to Edwin’s form, fawning over his features—his soft expression, his strong features, his creased brown. You sigh, a happy sigh of fond remembrance, remembering his lips pressed to yours, his loving gaze.

No, this isn’t enough. You need to SEE him, to SPEAK with him… Maybe to have a bit of sex with him.

You delve into his mindscape, entering his private dreams.

In his dreams, Edwin is before the Endless Fountain—that Initiates’ Village monument which you and your Degenerates destroyed. You wince at the vista—it can’t possible bode well for your talk—but you are pleased that he is seated alone This was where you first encountered Paula, after all… But, glancing around, you see no sign of any such dream avatar. You briefly consider occupying her role yourself—of soiling Edwin’s impression of her subconsciously with a foul dream…

But no. it’s a personal point of pride for you that you haven’t yet purged the man’s memories, or manipulated his emotions magically. You haven’t been petty, or vindictive, or abusive… At least, not to him. NEVER to him.

Instead, you approach gingerly, nervously. Your usual cool is broken. You realize that this entrie expedition is silly, frivolous, emotional, PAINFULLY feminine in a most steroetypcial and utterly MAMMALIAN way…

<HEARTBREAK: 87%>

…But you can’t help it. It’s EDWIN.

“It’s gone, isn’t it?”

You freeze at the words. Edwin hasn’t straightened his posture, hasn’t turned to face you, but he’s clearly… Sensed you? Heard your faltering, hesitating footfalls? Who can say what means he has sensed you by, in this realm of dreams?

“What iss?” you ask.

“The Endless Fountain… It’s gone, and with the elves in decline, they’ll never make us a new one. It’s just… A magical wonder, gone forever.”

“It iss,” you admit after a while, taking another step.

Edwin looks over his shoulder at you, not in anger but in sadness, and pats the seat next to him. You step forward, and join him by his side. It feels…

Good, you think?

“It’s not all that’s gone for good, is it?” he asks, smiling sadly.

…Oh, no.
>>
>>5223400
“Edwin…” you say. Your voice hitches, and you gather yourself, steel your spine, and begin again.

“Edwin, I love you.”

“I love you too,” he says, not hesitating… But hardly ecstatic.

“You mean the world to me,” you say. “Really, you do! If we could go back to where we were…”

“But we can’t,” he says. “We’re… Changed. The situation is different. It’s like the Fountain. It’s… Broken.”

Oh no. No, no, no, no…

“Yesss,” you admit, looking down, gripping the stone bench with trembling hands.

You will NOT fucking cry. You wish Irinnile was here.

“Ismena,” Edwin says, and with leaping heart you feel his large, strong, soft hand on yours, so warm and firm and…

You can’t help it. You kiss him. He kisses you back, too! It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s everything you were missing! But then…

“Izzy, wait!” he says, breath heaving with the effect you (to your delight) still have on him. “Izzy… Ismena… I can’t. I’m… There’s someone else.”

“Paula,” you say, resisting the urge to sneer, or to spit.

Edwin looks abashed, shamed, his face aflame with crimson blush of embarrassment.

“She’s kind,” he says. “And smart, and shares my interests, and she’s a hard worker, and…”

“And she issn’t a foreign agent, and she hassn’t ever killed anyone,” you finish. “She’ss uncomplicated.”

Edwin nods, then looks to you, tears in the corners of his eyes.

“I love you,” he says, “but I can’t do it. I can’t be party to, to… Dead paladins, and mages, and whatever else it is you’re doing. I heard about what happened… What was published in The Grey Press. I know that it’s lies—”

“Not all of it!” you are quick to correct. “The Tower, The Paladinss… They aren’t GOOD people, Edwin!”

“Are you?”

That makes you draw breath and lean back… And yet, can you truly answer in the affirmative? By Edwin of Engels’ standards… Can someone who just earlier this evening tore apart two ‘innocent travellers’ to feed to a demon, and enslaved a half-dozen more, be called ‘good’? Is there any critique you could level at his former heroes and idols which would not also damn you in his perception?

“Have you ssaid anything?”

He shakes his head, but you can tell… Keeping this secret is eating at Edwin, tearing him apart. It’s probably what he was talking to Paula about, when last you visited him in dreams.
>>
>>5223403
Dawn draws near, and this hasn’t gone at all how you hoped it would go, but… Maybe there is still time. But time for what?

What do you do?
>Wipe Edwin’s mind of the revelation of the terrible truth of your terrorism, and thus to ‘uncomplicate’ your relationship and begin fresh [6d20, failure will have terrible consequences for you both]
>Offer to wipe Edwin’s memories of your criminality… And to leave him, peacefully, with Paula [eliminates HEARTBREAK condition, but route-locks a happy ending with Edwin]
>Seduce Edwin—Paula may have him in waking life, but damnit, you will share this much with him—his dreams, his sleep, where outside complications do not matter! [no guarantee of a happy ending, but keeps it open]
>If you can’t have him, nobody will—scramble his mind in a fit of spiteful passion [will NOT eliminate HEARTBREAK, but will decrease it]
>Write-in
>>
>>5223404
>Offer to wipe Edwin’s memories of your criminality… And to leave him, peacefully, with Paula [eliminates HEARTBREAK condition, but route-locks a happy ending with Edwin]

T_T
>>
>>5223404
>Wipe Edwin’s mind of the revelation of the terrible truth of your terrorism, and thus to ‘uncomplicate’ your relationship and begin fresh [6d20, failure will have terrible consequences for you both]
You know what? The odds aren't that bad.
>>
>>5223404
>>Wipe Edwin’s mind of the revelation of the terrible truth of your terrorism, and thus to ‘uncomplicate’ your relationship and begin fresh [6d20, failure will have terrible consequences for you both]
>>
>>5223404
>Seduce Edwin—Paula may have him in waking life, but damnit, you will share this much with him—his dreams, his sleep, where outside complications do not matter! [no guarantee of a happy ending, but keeps it open]
>>
>>5222951
>>5223227
no, you're just a bunch of retarded faggots projecting onto a woman and acting like children about one fucking character
>>
>>5223708
[We're all acting lie children in playing a game of make-believe together. I appreciate their investment. If you haven't voted, though, we seem to have a tie to break!]
>>
>>5223708
[We're all acting like children in playing a game of make-believe together. We're all projecting onto a woman insofar as we're writing or playing as one. I appreciate their investment! If you haven't voted, though, we seem to be leaning towards trying to continue the romance, so you may wish to vote against that.]
>>
>>5223736
My vote doesn't matter when those cretins suddenly pop out of woodworks solely to vote for autistic slice of life with disregard for literally everything else. It's not real investment, they just desperately want you to write their fantasy, despite not giving a shit about the rest of the quest.
Metagaming to get Ismena back to the fatso THEY got a "little" overinvested in is NOT acting in-character. They are self-serving and it has nothing to do with roleplaying.

You might not care, but I'm leaning towards leaving before it comes to a completely disappointing fucking ending after I've voted practically every day for over 13 months. It's just too much bullshit for me to put up with.
>>
>>5223750
[There is literally an option to route-lock Edwin which already has a vote, but I can't guarantee it will win or that you'll get the ending and characterization for The Infiltrator that you want. She's as forlorn and romantic or as cold and dispassionate as people vote for her to be and, given that she's maxed affection with two characters and had a tragic heartbreak followed by dream-creeping her ex, I have to say that from a QM perspective it all seems pretty consistent to me. You do you, though.]
>>
>>5223755
>literally an option to route-lock Edwin which already has a vote
Fair enough, all I saw was love and edwin and cry emoticon, don't even wanna dig deeper as I'm seething even without it.
>Heartbreak
She wouldn't have such a heartbreak problem now if they just let go and decided to focus on succubus, roth or goblin. As for consistency, the only consistency I saw is that Ismena acts like she has a DID. She's going between a ruthless, bloody killer that doesn't flinch at gruesome medical experiments and body horrors literally exploding in her face, to having an innocent childish crush on her human ex-boyfriend... despite allegedly being a reptilian supremacist and having all the physical and emotional attention she'd ever need from Irinnile, 24/7.
>>
>>5223404
>If you can’t have him, nobody will—scramble his mind in a fit of spiteful passion [will NOT eliminate HEARTBREAK, but will decrease it]
>>
So that's...
>>5223415
One to route-lock Edwin but leave him happy

>>5223420
>>5223556
Two to attempt a "romantic" mind-wipe

>>5223577
One to leave the matter unresolved

>>5223776
One to spitefully scramble his skull-contents

[It looks like it's anyone's game! I'll leave this open until tomorrow, if no clear plurality emerges in the meantime.]
>>
So that's...
>>5223415
One to route-lock Edwin but leave him happy

>>5223420
>>5223556
Two to attempt a "romantic" mind-wipe

>>5223577
One to leave the matter unresolved

>>5223776
One to spitefully scramble his skull-contents

[It looks like it's anyone's game! I'll leave this open until tomorrow, if no clear plurality emerges in the meantime. Oh, and in the event that this seems to be manipulated or no clear plurality emerges by tomorrow when I’m ready to post, I’ll eliminate the 1-post IDs from the count as my first step, so if you’re mobile-posting or something, please corroborate you ID by posting from your main connection by then!]
>>
>>5223404
>Seduce Edwin—Paula may have him in waking life, but damnit, you will share this much with him—his dreams, his sleep, where outside complications do not matter! [no guarantee of a happy ending, but keeps it open]

I don't know how I feel about the mindwipe. We could offer to mindwipe him of our criminality and then just purge the terrorism revelation, and then see how this goes from there. If we win, then we can swoop in to have our happy ending with Edwin, and if we lose, he still gets Paula.

Sorry for not making up my mind about this, I just don't want to cut him loose without attempting to win his affection back for a good ending.
>>
>>5223415
>>5223420
>>5223556
>>5223577
>>5223776
>>5225158
Much like the mater of the egg, you KNOW better than this... Your upbringing, your training, have deeply ingrained in you an aversion to sentimentality and emotionality. Decisive action, the chopping off of loose ends, the plugging of leaks, these are all of greatest importance—far, FAR greater than this frivolous dalliance, this humanly courtship. And if you WERE to pursue this, to make it a priority… Well, then surely the solution is obvious: Edwin cannot change his mind about what you do—what you ARE could present an issue, too, you imagine—and the easiest way to solve that problem is too change it FOR him with magic…

You reach out to him, placing a hand upon his back. Slowly, you slide your fingers up to rub his neck, his shoulders, comforting him and massaging the stress of this dilemma out of him even as your own anxiety continues to build and mount. Your hands are so close to his head, to his MIND. With a single touch, a pulse of mystical energy, and a few whispered he could be yours again. You cup his chin, gently guide his eyes to you, and you remember when they looks at you as they do now—with love—but without the undercurrent of sadness, even of fear. You imagine it again, and feel your heart warmed by it: uncomplicated, whole-hearted love, such as no Reptilian could ever truly provide, and without the parasitic motivations of Irinnile.

Just one little spark of magic to start that most wonderful flame, to burn away the bad memories and inconvenient truths, and he could be yours again. You could be HIS.

But you have never done such a thing to him. Not to Edwin. Even manipulating Mina’s mind made your feel uncomfortable in the end, and to do such a thing to Edwin… Well, it’s almost unthinkable.

You kiss him, embrace him, and indulge in one last moment of nocturnal fantasy with your one-time lover—the human male who, sadly, wonderfully, remains the love of your life—and you leave.

Your journey back is hurried, a harried flight chased by the dawn. You know you cannot remain disembodied and astrally-projected in this space when dawn comes, even if the exact nature of the risk this presents is not entirely clear. You know you will, at the evry elast, be vulnerable in thsis tate, and unable to use Irinnile’s gifted ability to return to your body even with her aid until the next night. You blink the tears from your eyes and press on, following your path back from mind to mind as the sleeping mammals serving as beacons begin to wake and sunlight begins to erase the clarity of the path ‘home’. A fog of light supplants the fog of darkness, and you are very nearly swallowed up by that iridescence as the farmhouse nears. It is with nary a moment to spare that you descend like a diving dragon into your cross-legged form, joining Irinnile within your physical form.
>>
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>>5225556
‘Welcome back,’ Irinnile greets you. ‘Soooo, spill. How’d it go?’

‘I… I don’t want to talk about it,’ you reply, physically, magically, and emotionally drained.

Henzler, raccoon-eyed from lack of sleep, looks up from where she still labours upon ours and Roth’s offspring inside you with gestures, murmured mysticisms, and frequent consultations of a small pile of scrolls and note-papers kept beside her. She looks briefly alarmed.

“Do you feel pain?” she asks, suddenly. “Where is the pain? Sharp, or dull? I don’t understand, I did everything as I should have… Tehre should be no damage! Is the egg intact?”

“What are you talking about?” you demand sharply. “Calm yourssself, Head Chimierccisst. I am not in any pain.”

Henzler looks puzzled, then, and asks: “Then why are you crying?”

‘Oh, babe,’ Irinnile coos, sympathetic. ‘that bad, huh? It’ll be okay… Get some rest. It’s okay. I’ll run the body for a bit longer.’

You take her up on that, just for a little while, and allow your brain—and your wounded heart—some respite.

A short while later, Henzler has concluded her work. She assures you that, with her modifiucations, your child has now been guaranteed great stature of mind and body, screened for genetic disorders or malformations likely to result from such muddled cross-species heritage, AND per-emptively prepared to defeat a slew of transmissible maladies. She takes some time to document her findings, and the modifications, in one of the growing number of scientific journals she has been compiling about her work on this farm, and her remote work with you on the Dragonborn. Then, citing several papers SHE apparently authored on the subject of the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation on physical and mental longevity and health, she takes her leave for a rest of her own.
>>
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>>5225557
You, alas, have no such luxury. An Infiltrator’s work is never done, and you have already taken altogether too much ‘personal time’, when such a concept is anathema to your people and your very purpose. It is a new day, and there is much to do, so the half-rest which you got, which you only half-enjoyed, will have to do. You compartmentalize your treasonous, filthy, oh-so-human thoughts and feelings relating to Edwin and stuff them into the back of your being… Though you know that, not having found closure on that front, they will never truly be far from your heart.

For now, though, you…
>Depart from Hawksong’s Goblintown slum—it is time for the meeting with Navrere and Zi, to make good on consolidating your new smuggling ring
>Plan to make a long-overdue appearance eat The Pretty Kitty, to explain your absence and discuss your business proposal with Mina, and her traveling trader brother by proxy
>Will leave the organization of the smuggling and trafficking operations on the back-burner for now, instead attending to a more viscerally-satisfying element of your master-plan: the destruction of the Archmage, so Henzler may replace him
>Take possession of Malayn Warmfeet again, to spy upon Lord Ysoefa nd to advance your conspiracy against him
>Write-in

[If you choose to depart for Hawksong, please specify which of your many minions and allies present (humans, chimeras, Roth, etc.) you choose to bring with you. If you wish to delegate something to them, or assign one of them a duty, please also note this.]
>>
>>5225558
>Take possession of Malayn Warmfeet again, to spy upon Lord Ysoefa nd to advance your conspiracy against him
We might also get the archmage, or see when he's next visiting so we can pull a double whammy
>>
>>5225558
>Depart from Hawksong’s Goblintown slum—it is time for the meeting with Navrere and Zi, to make good on consolidating your new smuggling ring
>>
>>5225599
>>5225764
You command your pact-lackeys to begin gathering the provisions you will need for you trip, and to wake Roth. They do not yet march with a zealot’s enthusiasm, but out of fear or hope that you will make good on your pact—Gisela the Farmwife stands as testament to the legitimacy of your offer, after all!—they obey. They move slowly and stiffly, but then, you suppose Irinnile took a lot out of them.

‘And can ya’ believe I’m STILL not hungry?’ Irinnile enthuses. ‘My mind is, like, crystal squeaky clean ‘n clear right now!’

<WANT: 5>

It IS a nice change of pace, not having o worry about feeding the demon’s unholy appetite any longer. You help yourself to a farm-fresh breakfast of a more mundane and meaty sort, and then make some more use of Irinnile’s newfound power and mental acuity to reach out once more to your grandfather’s halfling servant.

Malalyn Warmfeet still seems shaken by her recent experiences, serving as your messenger in Goblintown. When you re-enter her mind, she squeaks with alarm and trembles a little. You order her to calm down, and to provide you a report on Lord Yosef and his visitations with the Archmage.

“E-ever since the, uh, those Paladins got attacked by monsters, and the Royal Hawksong’s librarians both died, there’s been a curfew set and everything’s been locked down,” she says. “There’s a curfew, the guards and Paladins question anyone who is anywhere where it doesn’t seem like they’d belong… Even the Tower is closed to outsiders, and lessons have been cancelled I hear! N-not that anyone would know, since even moving between areas of town, you have to go through checkpoints and explain what you’re doing there, and why, and for how long.”


“What of the Archmage?’ you ask. “Hass he visssited lately?”

The halfling’s view wobbles side to side as she shakes her head. “No, not once. But… A messenger came by from the Paladins, and I listened in like you told me to, and… I guess that our Lord Yosef is going to be attending a strategic conference with the other High Nobility of the city! It must be very important… the King himself—and the Archmage too—are both going to be there!”
>>
>>5226336
An atmosphere of oppressive paranoia, then? Well, that’s certainly the mark of an effective campaign of terror and subversion! However, it is frustrating to consider how this will impact your access to human specimens, or the dispersal of your shirin ‘spice’. Something to discuss further with the goblins his evening, you suppose.

And this conference… It’s an opportunity, for sure, but also a grave threat if it proves a springboard for the theories of one ‘V. Rilney’, or even simply for more lockdowns and security measures.

What do you do?
>Instruct Malalyn to poison Lord Yosef before he can attend
>Have Malalyn worm her way into attending as well, as a guest of Lord Yosef
>Send Malalyn to warn Lord Yosef’s status-conscious daughter Lady Vaz, that her father may embarrass them at this conference, and that she should attend in his stead
>Postpone your planned trip for Goblintown—you must attend to this matter personally
>Send Roth and some human minions to go ‘deal with’ Lord Yosef while you attend to matters in Goblintown
>Write-in
>>
>>5226336
It is crazy, I don't think our WANT has ever been so low

>>5226338
>Send Malalyn to warn Lord Yosef’s status-conscious daughter Lady Vaz, that her father may embarrass them at this conference, and that she should attend in his stead

if she can't stop her dad, use poison
>>
>>5226338
>Instruct Malalyn to poison Lord Yosef before he can attend

Why bother with going to the daughter. Just poison him and then tell Malalyn to attack him with a knife - going for arteries.

Then she can kill herself.
>>
>>5226338
>Have Malalyn worm her way into attending as well, as a guest
>Send Malalyn to warn Lord Yosef’s status-conscious daughter Lady Vaz, that her father may embarrass them at this conference, and that she should attend in his stead

Maybe we should kill and shapeshift into a noble, just to gain access? Or do we call in Incy and take our piece of the Prince pie?
>>
>>5226810
>Asking Incubus for a favour
[Can't believe I forgot to include that as a default option. Damn. Well, yes, you can also do that!

Tallying votes and posting in 30 to 60 minutes.]
>>
>>5226810
>>5226725
>>5226395
You decide against assassinating old Yosef just yet. For him to be slain like that, by poison or dagger, RIGHT before such an suspicious meeting cannot help but draw further attention to him and his ‘theories’. Worse, it will only redouble security around this event, making it harder to insinuate yourself into proceedings. No, this heightened alarm was brought about by direct action, but indirect misdirection shall now undermine your enemies’ efforts.

You sent Malalyn Warmfeet out on a little walk. Breakfast having been served, and Lord Yosef being busy bustling about with unusual verve in his excitement (about the coming opportunity to expose your race’s machinations, no doubt), it is an easy thing for her to sneak away without explanation. From there, you have her travel across the wealthy and well-to-do boroughs which house Hawksong’s hereditary elite. Your target: your human father’s snooty and self-conscious sister, Lady Miriam Vaz (nee Yosef).

Malalyn is known to the Vaz family, of course—Miriam’s relationship ith her father may have long since soured, but she still knows his most long-serving staff. As such, it is easy enough for her to gain access to the home. She even earns the honour of an audience, albeit one of shared attention: Lady Vaz is busy cradling (and breast-feeding) her pouting-faced baby. The sight sends a shiver up your spine. Are you going to… SECRETE like that, soon? Or will your oviparous, lizardly nature spare you such gross indignity?

‘I don’t know,’ Irinnile muses. ‘That’s kinda’ hot.’

You ignore her—and that terrible prospect—and focus upon matters of greater importance: you instruct the halfling cook to tell the noblewoman of her father’s updated itinerary. Her response is… Predictable.

“He WHAT?” she demands, eyes bugging out. Her baby begins to cry, and she bounces it gently with an idle, but powerful, maternal instinct. “They WHAT?!”

“Lord Yosef has been invited to attend a conference of—”

“I heard you!” Lady Vaz snaps, hurrying from the room. Malalyn follows at a safe distance, and catches sight of the noblewoman snapping her fingers impatiently, waving over a female human servant who takes her child from her. Immediately, Vaz’s eyes dart about, seeking something. She finds it: a light coat, which she begins to frantically squirm into and orders another servant to button up.

“This is ridiculous!” she blusters. “They know that Father is… Is… Not WELL! That I am the one—and Lord Vaz, of course, of COURSE—who handles the family affairs and responsibilities now!”

You smirk, and pass another message to Warmfeet, to dig the knife deeper and set Lady Vaz into still more desperate action

“I believe he has been sharing his… IDEAS… With the Archmage. They have been visiting quite a lot lately.”
>>
>>5226975
A vein pops out noticeably upon the Lady's prominent forehead, but then her expression changes, eyes narrowing and face growing pale.

“Does the Archmage… Believe they have merit?” she asks.

You tell Malalyn to shake her head, to shrug; she does so.

“I did not listen closely,” the halfling lies on your behalf. “I’m sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have listened at all, or said anything, but…”

“No, no,” Lady Vaz assures your puppet. “You did well. I’ll remember this, Miss Warmfeet, and what you did to keep this family RESPECTABLE in the eyes of the King. If tehre’s anything that I can do…”

What do you request?
>Nothing—to serve is enough
>To attend the meeting as well [specify if you have an excuse for why such a cook would be interested, lest she get suspicious]
>Request that Vaz keep this between herself and Warmfeet—you don’t want any trouble, do you?
>Ask for employment—you have to exterminate the ENTRIE bloodline, after all, and here tehre are two more Yosefs awaiting your attention
>Write-in

What do you attend to next?
>The meeting in Goblintown
>Discussions of ‘spice’ and smuggling with Madame Mina and her brother
>Pay The Incubus a visit—you may need a favour, and the use of Hawksong’s demon-puppeteered Prince, to lower the state of high alert
>Plan more aggressive action with Roth [specify a target]
>Write-in
>>
>>5226976
>To attend the meeting as well [I always wanted to see the king in person, and I this will be a good networking opportunity for my family]
>Request that Vaz keep this between herself and Warmfeet—you don’t want any trouble, do you?

>The meeting in Goblintown
After that
>Pay The Incubus a visit—you may need a favour, and the use of Hawksong’s demon-puppeteered Prince, to lower the state of high alert
>>
[I'll wait for further votes to roll in, and post after work either way.]
>>
>>5226976
>Ask for employment—you have to exterminate the ENTRIE bloodline, after all, and here tehre are two more Yosefs awaiting your attention

>Discussions of ‘spice’ and smuggling with Madame Mina and her brother

kinda don't want to meet the incubus, he might not react too well to Iri's new powerlevel
>>
>>5227399
Can we at least agree to focus on the goblin meeting first?
>>
>>5227480
Would you be willing to not go to the incubus?
>>
>>5227573
The only reason I want to go to the Incubus is to get control of the Prince via Iri. If you can figure out a way to do that without involving the Incubus, I'm sold.
>>
>>5227584
I can't at the moment, but what makes you think the incubus is just going to hand that over?
>>
>>5227614
He won't, not without a price, but having direct control of the Prince, even shared control, is invaluable.
>>
>>5226976
>Request that Vaz keep this between herself and Warmfeet—you don’t want any trouble, do you?
>Ask for employment, if Yosef finds out and fires us…

>The meeting in Goblintown
One domino at a time - and I really want to stop dealing with the Incubus
>>
>>5227399
Supporting
>>
>>5227655
I don't think the Incubus even can give us what you're looking to get - only his ectoplasm is inside the prince. To get control of him with Iri I think we'd need to physically get our own in him through the standard method. I doubt there's a way to remote ectoplasm swap. Plus we don't know if there's room for two in there, could be the Incubus presence would block us from establishing anything.
>>
[We seem to have a tie between Mina and Goblintown. Locking the rest of the vote, for what to ask of Lady Vaz, but if the tie isn't broken I'll roll for which you do first after this meeting in about a half hour.]
>>
>>5226976
>Request that Vaz keep this between herself and Warmfeet—you don’t want any trouble, do you?
When is the meeting?
>The meeting in Goblintown
>Ambush and ectoplasm a noble to act as our eyes and ears in the emergency meeting
>>
>>5227879
>>5227688
>>5227726
>>5227399
>>5227213
“Jussst helping iss enough…” you begin, like a whisper in the halfling’s ear—a whisper so intimate to her heart that even Warmfeet believes the truth of it in that moment.

It’s enough for me to help out, my Lady,” she parapharses, “but… If I could ask you not to tell Lord Ysoef that I told you…”

Lady Vaz nods quickly. Thinking herself clever, she readily agrees.

“Better to have you keeping an eye on the doddering, deluded old fool, after all.”

“R-right,” Malalyn agrees, gripping her frock nervously. “And… If he should find out if he were to fire me…”

“You’d have work with our household,” Lady Vaz agrees. “I understand. We have a chef, but we can keep you on as an assistant.”

Malalyn looks up sharply, taking a deep inhalation. You can feel the palpable outrage in her at the word ‘assistant’, but you quickly tamp it down.

“…I would be grateful, my Lady,” she says instead, as you instruct.

You take your leave of Malalyn Warmfeet, as she takes her leave of your human aunt. Awaking once more to your own senses, you gather up your things. It is time for your meeting in Goblintown. With you, you bring…
>Roth
>Hirschel
>The tentacle dog
>The owlbear
>Henzler
>Some of your new pact-bound minions
>Gisela
>Stefan
>Nobody but Irinnile—this is a solo mission
>>
>>5227969
The journey to Goblintown is a simple one, albeit long. It takes up all of the remaining daylight; keeping a nocturnal schedule, a you have been lately, there is little left of it anyway. No matter, though—your tan is natural, and you are well-acquainted with darkness from a childhood beneath the stone.

You see no Paladins on the road, at least from the woods alongside, but perhaps that is no surprise—after the brutal murder of several of their number, and several high-profile assaults on their city, the Paladin King must be keeping his holy honour-guard close at hand. You expect that the security measures within Hawksong’s walls will be much greater—in fact, having traveled within Malalyn Warmfeet you KNOW they are, with guards posted at checkpoints throughout the city, and gryphon-mounted Paladins among them, albeit NEVER in a group smaller than four.

‘Not a lotta’ Inquisitors, though,’ Irinnile snigegrs.

You smirk along with her. Your little expose on the Tower must have cast them into disrepute. Still, it is lucky for your low profile that Goblintown is OUTSIDE the walls, a fungal growth upon the city proper, around one of the gates. You assume the tusked, green-hued form of ‘Zithra the Half-Orc’, and you make for your arranged meeting place in the forest just outside of the dreaded den of demihumans.

Along the way, you consider how you will approach negotiations. They’ll obviously have concerns about how to smuggle shirin into the town, or human chattel out, with so many watchful eyes. Zi in particular seems to abhor the idea of drawing direct attention from the authorities… But she is also infatuated with you. Navrere is bolder, but used to being her own boss—will she readily fall into line? How can you keep her in check?

What is your pitch to Navrere, and to Zi?
>Reveal the Reptilian Conspiracy to the, in part, and your demonic power, and cow them into submission [Intimidation, bonus for bringing more allies if you do so]
>Propose a mutually-beneficial equal partnership… Though it may mean losing some authority, and paying them greater financial compensation, in order to appeal to Navrere’s lust for power and Zi’s lust for gold
>Hide and downplay the downsides, and promise to handle security yourself—even though it may mean proving your ability to make good on these promises before they agree to your terms
>Ambush and ectoplasm them—your <WANT> is so low, and Irinnile so strong, that you could probably manage it
>Write-in
>>
>>5227971
>Intimidate and seduce them into compliance with our schemes

Might as well finish off our cult, I'm excited about finding out what 100% Greater Demon means mechanically.

>>5227870
I'm sure there's room for our ectoplasm, it's just getting it in the Prince and preventing Incy from fucking with our ectoplasm that's the tough bit. It would be simpler to set this up though Incy, though I imagine a bit pricey. Controlling the Prince would cement our influence in Hawksong, so it should at least be investigated.
>>
>>5227971
>Propose a mutually-beneficial equal partnership… Though it may mean losing some authority, and paying them greater financial compensation, in order to appeal to Navrere’s lust for power and Zi’s lust for gold

>>5228016
What makes you so sure? I don't think we've tried anything similar before.
>>
>>5228056
The fact that ectoplasm is only a part of a demon, and demons can fit comfortably within a body/soul. Granted, this is conjecture, but a reasonable one.
>>
>>5228079
It might be more complicated than just having the space - there might be essential areas they need to occupy. I'd rather test for viability before committing anything to this route.
>>
>>5227971
>>The owlbear
>Propose a mutually-beneficial equal partnership… Though it may mean losing some authority, and paying them greater financial compensation, in order to appeal to Navrere’s lust for power and Zi’s lust for gold
>>
>>5227971
>The owlbear
>Propose a mutually-beneficial equal partnership… Though it may mean losing some authority, and paying them greater financial compensation, in order to appeal to Navrere’s lust for power and Zi’s lust for gold
>>
>>5228251
>>5228335
>>5228056
>>5228016
You emerge from a particularly dense thicket of woodland and into a small clearing—one you had spied on your criss-crossing journeys to-and-from Hawksong, in waking and in dreaming. Here, as Irinnile’s now-expanded spiritual senses had forewarned you, you find not merely Navrere the Hobgoblin and Yen-Zi the Goblin, but several others. Some your recognize, including Zi’s ally/relative, an older, eye-patched male, the twins who once stole Roth’s amulet of disguise, Navrere’s sort-of-sexy field-nurse sister. Others have the look of hired help: two orcish females, too jutting of face, sharp of tooth, and big of build to be a half-breed, but too enormously curvaceous to be anything but women.

“Impressssive,” you murmur.

“Oh?” Navrere asks, grinning widely and with cosndierable pride. “Yeah, I guess we all know who’s going to be organizing the muscle around here!”

‘She don’t waste no time, huh?’ Irinnile notes.

“Don’t be sso ccertain,” you say, and with a snap of fingers and a crashing of foliage, the owlbear barrels out of the woods behind you to take position at your side.

The gobinoids are not like your people, gripped instinctively by the terror of the beast—perhaps they lack to wisdom to be, since your folk are obviously superior. Still, it is a startling display: an urban legend of the Mages ‘ Tower exploding from the woods, and then heeling to you like a loyal hound. They stumble back, except the orcs, who advance forward and assume defensive postures as if ready to do battle.

“Heh, I knew Zithra’d be too smart to come alone,” Zi notes, smiling at you and blushing slightly when you meet her gaze. “Still… Didn’t expect THIS. Where’d you find the fluffbucket?”

“When I infiltrated the Magesss’ Tower,” you say, deciding not to mince words. The declaration draws hushed whispers from a few quarters, and (these being goblinoids and orcs) a few much LESS hushed cries of disbelief.

“It’ss true,” you say, “which iss why I know that you will underssstand that what I proposse nexxt, while not an EASSSY thing, will indeed be posssible… And profitable.”

And so you tell them something of what you have planned: to sell shirin ‘spice’ through the city in exchange for trafficking humans out.
>>
>>5228469

“No fucking way do the guards not pick up on this shit,” Zi says, before catching herself and shutting her mouth quickly. She looks to you apologetically.

“You were right to say it,” her older male colleague notes. “I know—we ALL know—you’ve pulled some impressive shit, half-orc, including stopping that hellhound, but you’re going to bring PALADISN down on Goblintown. It’ll be the end of us all if we get caught.”

Navrere’s sister, Yandorse, nods silently. Her sister, however…

“COWARDS!” she roars, then laughs. “But they’re little gobbo-lings. What can you expect? I’m in, if you do all the sneaky shit! All the risk’s on you, if we don’t enter the city, way I see it. But what do you need the humans smuggled out for? Where to?”

“Let me worry about that,” you say.

NAvrere frowns at that, crossing her arms beneath her chest. “Who says it’s not MY business, too?”

“Getting the sspice in will involve you. Moving the people to a rendezvous from there to their dessstination iss all me. Moving in the cccity…”

You look hopefully to the goblins. “That will take a team, who can sstay low and move undetected.”

Zi purses her lips and squints her eyes, wanting to speak up but unwilling to undermine you or her senior goblin sneakthief.

“What I’m proposing iss a mutual partnership,” you say, “but I’m open to letting you more exxxperienced ladiess arrange the organizational sstructure and day -to-day operationsss… And the compenssation.”

Appealing to both camps in such a way—authority for Navrere, wealth for Zi and her elder goblin—you set the lot of them to excited chatter. Eventually—very, VERY eventually, for goblins and hobgoblins bicker with all the animosity on earth—an accord is reached. It favours Navrere the most, and you very much the least, as far as risks and financial rewards go.

You will be doing the bulk of the work setting up supply channels in and out, and securing and carrying drugs and funds, but the goblins will help you with couriering things through channels (channels which YOU must make safe) in and around the city. Outside of Goblintown and the immediate area around it, you must also arrange for the ‘product’ to be shifted. However in their spheres of influence and competency, though for no small cost, you will have the resources of Goblintown’s two biggest factions.
>>
>>5228471

“I just hope you know what you’re doing, Zith,” Zi whispers to you, when the others are occupied.

You reach down, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze and thus drawing a squeak and a flustered flush.

Well, you’ve secured the aid of the goblins and hobgoblins of Hawksong… For a price. But you still need to figure out how you’re going to get shirin, AND how you’re going to smuggle humans out under the notice of the city’s defenders.

What is your plan?
>Use The Pretty Kitty brothel as a distribution point for shirin, and your work as an exotic dancer and prostitute there to lure in, mesmerize, and ‘disappear’ humans
>Assassinate the Archmage, install Henzler, and use the tunnel and river system beneath the Tower to transport shirin in and human chattel out
>Speak with The Incubus, however distasteful or dangerous that prospect may be, and see about negotiating ‘shared custody’ (or at least a favourably-lax guard regimen) from the prince you helped it ensorcel
>Pay Lord Yosef, Lady Vaz, or another highly-placed noble (specify who) and see if you can manipulate or enthrall them not making a case for a lowering-of-the-guard, or a focusing of their attention elsewhere, at the meeting tomorrow
>Write-in

The meeting is in two days, btw
>>
>>5228473
>Assassinate the Archmage, install Henzler, and use the tunnel and river system beneath the Tower to transport shirin in and human chattel out
>Speak with The Incubus, however distasteful or dangerous that prospect may be, and see about negotiating ‘shared custody’ (or at least a favourably-lax guard regimen) from the prince you helped it ensorcel
>>
>>5228686
[Please choose one to focus on.]
>>
>>5228473
>Assassinate the Archmage, install Henzler, and use the tunnel and river system beneath the Tower to transport shirin in and human chattel out
>>
>>5228473
>Use The Pretty Kitty brothel as a distribution point for shirin, and your work as an exotic dancer and prostitute there to lure in, mesmerize, and ‘disappear’ humans
Tower is about to get smeared by media after that suicide letter, so I dunno if putting Henzler in position of power is a good idea. Especially after she led arguably the most fucked up experiments.
>>
>>5228713
Then just
>Assassinate the Archmage, install Henzler, and use the tunnel and river system beneath the Tower to transport shirin in and human chattel out

>>5228893
You mean already smeared. Control of the levers of power in Hawksong, and by extension the Tower, was always my goal. Just because anons decided to smear them in a short-sighted PR attack doesn't invalidate their magical knowledge, influence, or role in society. So it's either controlling the Tower or dealing with the Incubus over control of the Prince.
>>
>>5228936
>>5228893
>>5228781
You settle upon the most direct route to power and influence, WITHOUT the potential for infuriation interfere by the Incubus: you will set the stage for Henzler's ascention by taking out the Archmage and installing your mage-puppet in his stead!

Of course, this presents further obstacles. For one thing, you have smeared the Tower, revealing every dirty dealing of every department to the scorn of the Paladin King and the public. This INCLUDES Henzler's own Chimerical Research Laboratory. Further, the Tower already suspects (or, realistically, KNOWS) a puppeteering demonologist infected qt least one of their agents—the late Inquisitor Felman. Between that and Henzler’s disappearance, they may draw… Conclusions. Even once you assassinate the current occupant of the top job at the Hawksong Mages’ Tower, you must then concoct a cover story and dissuade investigation of your plant.

But one thing at a time! First, you need that old fool Archmage Alfonse dead and buried—or burned to a crisp, you suppose. But how to achieve this end? You’re frankly too tired to do anything about it tonight, but tomorrow demands decisive action, if you want to move on the Archmage before the meeting.

What is you plan to take out the Archmage and install Henzler?
>Call Henzler to you, and have her face the Archmage in a direct, public confrontation, accusing him of direct responsibility for the Tower’s disgraceful deeds and challenging him to a Mage’s Duel for the honour of his office
>Spend tomorrow tracking him down, perhaps with the imp Yemrep’s help, and assassinate him personally at earliest opportunity
>Pay Yosef a visit, and request a meeting with the Archmage through him to reveal important new information… And then have Malalyn poison him
>Have the goblins do the deed—they are resistant to magic, stealthy, and have agreed to help you
>Bide your time until after the meeting of the city elites—it can wait
>Write-in

Given your exhaustion, where do you plan to spend the night?
>With Zi in Goblintown, cuddling and catching up
>At Mina’s brothel—you are long overdue, and have matters to discuss
>Return to the farmhouse, though the trek is long and you are weary, for it is most secure
>At the home of your oldest human friend, Agatha Johan
>Write-in
>>
>>5229050
>Call Henzler to you, and have her face the Archmage in a direct, public confrontation, accusing him of direct responsibility for the Tower’s disgraceful deeds and challenging him to a Mage’s Duel for the honour of his office
>Do it after weakening him with poison somehow

>Either Zi or Agatha

Wouldn’t mind either, it been quite awhile since we talked to them and I’d like to catch up with both.
>>
[As before, I'll wait and see if we get a second vote by this evening, then post either way.]
>>
>>5229050
>Pay Yosef a visit, and request a meeting with the Archmage through him to reveal important new information… And then have Malalyn poison him
hue

>With Zi in Goblintown, cuddling and catching up
>>
>>5229050
>>Pay Yosef a visit, and request a meeting with the Archmage through him to reveal important new information… And then have Malalyn poison him
>At Mina’s brothel—you are long overdue, and have matters to discuss
>>
>>5229352
>>5229660
>>5229772
You are tired in the extreme, and in no shape for travel—not even to The Pretty Kitty or Agatha’s uncle home.

“Zi,” you whisper, “can I spend the night with you?”

The goblinness makes a show of trying not to show her enthusiasm, with a simple clearing of her throat and a “Yeah, sure, whatever, I guess,” but you can see her ears wiggle with excitement.

The two of you find what slim pickings there are for accommodations in the overcrowded network of storage rooms, bunks, and meeting-places that make up the goblin warren. The maze of interconnected basements has a low enough ceiling to make even an entity such as yourself claustrophobic at times, especially with the crowded nature of the den and the off-putting chattering and odours its denizens produce. Luckily, Zi knows her way around, and has enough clout to get you both a pair of mattresses in a room which seems to be primarily used to store pickled produce.

“Sso, thiss place iss busssier than I remember,” you note.

Zi grimaces, and shotos you a glare. “Well, whose fault is that? Sewers are on-watch, guards won’t let anyone without a fucking stack of paperwork two goblins tall into town… Everyone’s stuck here, bickering and bartering and trying to make it work. The forest’s pretty much cleared out of game! Gobs are talking about starting up raiding bands again and setting out like the bad old days of ma and pa and old uncle stuck-on-a-pike-for-thieving.”

“Why not farm?” you ask.

Zi just looks at you, dumfounded and almost offended. “You ever SEEN a goblin try to farm, Zith?”

You have no answer to that, obviously, though the mental image of the impatient little greenskins trying to manage crop rotations and heard animals who hate the sight and smell of them amuses you. You suppose you can see Zi’s point.

Zi sighs, and flops down onto her bedroll, before turning to you with a wry smile.

“I guess you big plan here is going to change all that, though, huh?”

You shrug, and smile. She narrows her eyes.
>>
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>>5230248
“It is, right?” Zi says. “I mean, I didn’t want to ask in front of that hob’lin bitch, Navrere, but this isn’t some dark-lord-manipulating-the-goblins-then-fucking-them-over nonsense for some big-ass demonic monster, is it?”

“Zi…”

“Come on, spill” she presses.

The goblin-girl scoots a little closer and batting her eyelashes in a hilariously-transparent, ill-practiced attempt at seduction. It’s made a bit better by her big, shiny, green eyes, which are admittedly captivating… And by the wiggling of her wide hips and that characteristic big goblin butt.

What do you tell her?
>The truth—abridged and redacted, of course—about what you are and what you’re hoping to accomplish [specify anything you specifically include or leave out] [+affection] [+trust]
>A comforting lie [specify the details] [Politesse, failure will reduce her trust]
>Admonish her and refuse to say a thing [-affection] [-trust]
>Distract her with your wiles, and hope it’s enough to curb her curiosity [you’ll end up having sex either way, but if you fail a seduction check on this, it will reduce trust]
>Write-in
>>
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>>5230249
The next morning, you leave Goblintown, shifting shape and expending a at-this-time trivial amount of stored magical energy to befuddle the guards at the nearest gate into the city proper. The night ‘cuddling’ with your goblin lover certain didn’t hurt your reserves, either.

<WANT: 5>

Immediately, you feel a strange sense of homecoming, almost like your return to the forward base where you spent much of your childhood. Hawksong, for all its human nonsense, is where you really became YOU—where you discovered your potential, and moulded yourself into the wom—the REPTILIAN you are today.

By the time you have arrived at the manor-home of your father’s father—Lord Yosef, AKA V. Rilney—you have returned to your more-or-less default physical appearance. You greet his old, red-headed servant Callaghan, and find his hair has begun to grey,a nd that he looks weary.

“It’s all this… Madness, going on in the city,” he admits, when you ask after him, before adding: “and closer to home.”

You are surprised at the lack of tact, even if the man did lower his voice, but when you hear the shriek from inside—the voice of Lady Miriam Vaz, from her father’s study, followed by his own croaking bellow—you can understand why.

“It’s not a good time,” he intimates. “You may wish to return later.”

Do you?
>No, but you’ll wait until Lady Vaz has left to enter
>No, and in fact you think you’d like to interject into this family drama—after all, though neither knows it, you ARE family, and the cause of the drama! [specify if you egg them on or attempt to calm things down so you can make your appeal to Yosef]
>Yes, you will attend to other matters for a few hours and come back later
>Yes, but use Malalyn Warmfeet to spy upon them
>Yes… But with both Yosefs in one place, now is a perfect time to assume a demonic visage, climb up into a window, and slay them both at once with no actual witness!
>Write-in
>>
>>5230249
>Distract her with your wiles, and hope it’s enough to curb her curiosity [you’ll end up having sex either way, but if you fail a seduction check on this, it will reduce trust]

Don’t you worry your pretty little head

>>5230250
>No, but you’ll wait until Lady Vaz has left to enter

We need to appear on his side to get the arch-mage here.

We should invite him to dinner, poison the dinner and arrive a bit late - so the food has already been served.
>>
>>5230249
>Distract her with your wiles, and hope it’s enough to curb her curiosity [you’ll end up having sex either way, but if you fail a seduction check on this, it will reduce trust]
Definitely no big ass demon monsters
Maybe a little fucking over though, they ripped us off with that accord

>No, but you’ll wait until Lady Vaz has left to enter
so tempting to get them both at once
but the bebe isn't here
>>
>>5230249
>The truth—abridged and redacted, of course—about what you are and what you’re hoping to accomplish [specify anything you specifically include or leave out] [+affection] [+trust]
>>5230250
>Yes, you will attend to other matters for a few hours and come back later
>>
Rolled 5, 11, 19, 6, 4, 18, 18, 20, 18, 1, 1, 1, 15, 4, 6, 20, 4, 1, 20, 20 = 212 (20d20)

>>5230611
>>5230276
>>5230259
[5d20 for Seduction (last night), 4d20 for Stealth (avoiding Miriam Vaz's attention and waiting her out, 5d20 for Politesse (Yosef, Vaz if she notices you), 1d20 REDACTED]
>>
>>5230669
>>5230611
>>5230276
>>5230259
You decide it best not to interfere. Interjecting—perhaps lethally!—would be fun, and no doubt quite effective, but it would complicate plans you already have in motion involving these two, raise the alarm right before the meeting of the city elite, AND fail to completely destroy the bloodline anyway.

“Ssay nothing,” you plead Callaghan. “I wass never here.”

“I—”

>20

Before the old human attendant can say anything, you are already gone—vanished into an adjoining room and tucked away into the shadow of a suit of antique, green-and-gold armour where Irinnile can augment your already-impressive stealth capabilities.

You hear the clopping of Lady Miriam Vaz’s heels across the wooden floor, until they suddenly stop at the door near where you left Callaghan.

“Mister Callaghan, I expected better of you than to allow… THIS… To proceed unabated. Father is going to absolutely RUIN his reputation, and all of our reputations. He doesn’t know what he’s saying, what he’s doing. You know it as well as I.”

“Lady Vaz,” he replies quietly, “I am sorry, but what am I to do? He does not listen to anyone, and since he has begun to meet with the Archmage—”

“The DISGRACED Archmage of the much-maligned Mages’ Tower,” she interrupts, harshly, then geos quiet for a moment. “You don’t think he hopes to scapegoat father, do you? To use his… Peculiar notions to distract from his own scandals and failures?”

Callaghan says nothing, not daring to speculate you’d wager.

“Nevermind,” Vaz huffs. “I will find a way into that meeting if it’s the last thing I do. Damn that old fool…”

Once she has left, you do not bother with Callaghan again. You do the manservant the favour of granting him deniability, slipping right by him as he shows Lady Vaz out and ascending the stairs to enter the study. Luckily, there is no guard stationed there today—dismissed, reassigned, or sent on a walk while the two nobles hashed out their familial disagreement? Regardless, you are able to show yourself in, and to close the study door behind you.
>>
>>5230692
Lord Yosef is facing the opposite direction when you enter, hastily reorganizing scattered notes—scattered by Miriam Vaz in a tantrum, you’d wager. You gentlyr ap upon the door, and he turns about.

“I told you, Miriam,” Lord Yosef rumbles, “I am NOT relinquishing my seat at the table to spare your fee—”

He stops, blinking a few times, and adjusts his glasses.

“Oh, girl, it’s you. How did you get in here?”

“Callaghan,” you say truthfully enough (if not the whole truth, obviously). “But nevermind that! I have terrible newsss… Newss I have to share with you, and with the Archmage. Newss of THEM.”

Yosef was already prickly about his emotional aura, but this sets his spirit ablaze. Curiously, he doesn’t much move.

“The Archmage and I?” he asks.

You nod.

“Tell me,” he says. “I will be meeting with him tomorrow, and with others in positions of authority.”

“It cannot wait!” you proclaim.

“Then out with it, what is it?” the old human asks.

You hesitate only an instant, thinking fast. Dark Gods damn you, you should have thought up a cover story in advance. You settle on:

“It invovless ssome of the ccity’ss very officialsss!”

>15

Lord Yosef’s body stiffens and freezes. He gently sets down a scroll upon his stack of papers, idly aligning them to be aquare with the corner of his desk.

“Who?” he asks quietly.

You shake your head, saying “I do not know who among them is compromised, but I DO know there is a leak.”

“And it is not Alfonse… Not the Archmage, you say? That’s what most of them would believe, after that… Hit-piece in The Grey Press.”

“I wouldn’t be inviting him to discusss the matter if it wass,” you say.

“I’ve noticed some… Oddities myself, lately,” Lord Yosef says vaguely. “Among the ruling class, their servants, their… Well, nevermind. Yes, yes, I agree, girl. We should compare notes.”

He leaves his desk, and the room. You follow, though you do not hover too close—best not to seem TOO over-attentive. You are surprised when he returns with a cloak, a case, and your very own puppet, Malalyn Warmfeet, as well as Callaghan.

“Lord Yossef?” you ask.

‘Pretend to do not know who and what I am,’ you send the command, unspoken, to Warmfeet, who looks at you with eyes like saucers.

“Well let’s not stand around,” Yosef says, with a tone of command. “Let’s go!”

“Where?” you ask, a little disoriented.

“The Tower, of course,” he says. “If the Archmage is trustworthy, there is no safer place for such a discussion.”

And no more DANGEROUS place for you.
>>
>>5230669
>18, 18, 20, 18 on stealth
>triple 1 on politesse
>nat 20 on REDACTED

HMMMM
>>
>>5230693
What do you do?
>Agree—you’ve infiltrated the Tower before, and the Archmage’s office is hardly likely to better-defended than their plundered vault of secrets was
>Suggest a different meeting place [specify a place, and a rationale]
>Bow out of the meeting [specify an excuse]
>Use your glamour to steer these wayward pawns back towards a meeting HERE, where you can control the environment better
>Write-in
>>
>>5230696
>Use your glamour to steer these wayward pawns back towards a meeting HERE, where you can control the environment better

After our shenanigans I'm willing to bet the Archmage's office has been warded a trillion times over.

If we need rationale or if it helps, point out that the Tower clearly can't even manage their own assets right now. The chance that they've been infiltrated is high.
>>
>>5230707
Supporting this.

We ‘know’ the Archmage can be trusted, but everyone ‘knows’ that the Tower itself is corrupt.

He should send his most trusted servant, Callaghan to fetch him immediately.
>>
>>5230696
>Use your glamour to steer these wayward pawns back towards a meeting HERE, where you can control the environment better
>>
[Sorry, all -- I will likely post tomorrow or Sunday, Monday at the latest. I am out of town, and my laptop died at the worst possible time. Happy Easter, though, and don't worry -- the quest is not dead.]
>>
Rolled 18, 7, 11, 10, 19, 9 = 74 (6d20)

>>5230707
>>5231064
>>5231135
[Mentalism/politesse roll, post incoming!]
>>
Rolled 16, 16, 18, 18, 13, 11 = 92 (6d20)

>>5231733
This proposal of Yosef's is far from ideal, and you resolve to adjust it.

“While the Archmage can obvioussly be trusssted, the Tower as a whole cannot,” you insist. “I mean, clearly there iss SSOMETHING foul afoot there, or the ‘hit-piecce’ would never have sseen the light of day.”

It's a strong argument, even if you know it is false, but you decide not to leave anything to chance. You gently rest a hand upon Lord Yosef's shoulder, making very deliberate eye contact, and imbue your next words with glamour.

“They have likely been infiltrated by Reptiliansss.”

Yosef looks uncertain, conflicted…

>19

But he complies.

“You make a great deal of sense,” he admits, averting his gaze and brushing away your hand.

“You should send Callaghan to—”

“Miss Warmfeet!” Lord Yosef blurts, unnecessarily loudly, causing the halfling chef to jump.

“Y-yes, my Lord?”

“Go fetch the Archmage. Tell him that what we feared has come to pass, and we need him here, at the manor, urgently.”

Your secret spy snaps to attention… And then looks questioningly to you. You nod, slowly. Yosef, like the late agent Felman, shows a startling degree of initiative under glamour. You suppose he isn’t even properly enthralled…

“In the meantime, shall we pour and drink and discuss this coming darkness?” Yosef proposes, speaking lowly and with grim tone. “Mister Callaghan, Rosgard and I will have… The old cask, the Dragonwine from the anniversary of Hawksong’s salvation.”

Callaghan bows his head and hurries off, and Yosef looks you with raised eyebrows.

Do you partake?
>Yes, why not? Plus, Yosef seems… Independent, as these things go. Better to avoid triggering any alertness.
>No, you must keep your wits about you.
>Accept it, but only pretend to drink; dump it.
>Write-in

What do you discuss while you wait for the Archmage?
>What is ‘Dragonwine’?
>What is it that the Archmage and Yosef feared, presicely?
>Why send Malalyn instead of Callaghan?
>What had Lady Vaz so upset?
>Spin an elaborate story of Reptilian Conspiracy, to wind him up
>Ask about his late son (your father), Hirschel
>Write-in
>>
>>5231761
[Oops, ignore this set of rolls -- didn't clear the options window]
>>
>>5231761
>Accept it, but only pretend to drink; dump it.
zero tolerance ftl

>What is it that the Archmage and Yosef feared, presicely?
>Why send Malalyn instead of Callaghan?
>Ask about his late son (your father), Hirschel

In that order, knowing some might not come up depending on how speedy the archmage is.
>>
>>5231761
>>Accept it, but only pretend to drink; dump it.

>What is it that the Archmage and Yosef feared, presicely?
>What had Lady Vaz so upset?
>Ask about his late son (your father), Hirschel
>>
>>5231761
>Yes, why not? Plus, Yosef seems… Independent, as these things go. Better to avoid triggering any alertness.

>What is ‘Dragonwine’?
>Why send Malalyn instead of Callaghan?
>What had Lady Vaz so upset?
>Ask about his late son (your father), Hirschel
>>
>>5232133
>>5232402
>>5232412
You accept the preferred drink, giving it a whiff and a sip. The aroma of the blood-red ‘dragonwine’ is… Heady, powerful, at once coppery, earthy and citrusy, and pungently floral. When you swish it about your mouth, it is… Spicy, rich, powerful, and QUIET alcoholic.

You well know your tolerance, or sad lack thereof. As soon as Yosef turns and leans in to whisper instructions to Callaghan, you spit the wine back into your glass as subtly as possible. You’ll have to look for an opportunity to dump it somewhere.

“Mmm, deliciousss,” you lie through a smile.

“I’m glad you like it,” Lord Yosef says, inclining his head.

You are both in a room of his expansive, if somewhat-underutilized, manse. Not his study, this time, but some sort of lounge room. You think you vaguely recognize it… From a memory of Miriam’s, now that you think of it. Yes, yes, you know this place—it was where Miriam last saw Hirschel… And, in her human disguise, your mother. They had been together, that night… For the last time.

“You have a beautiful home,” you say to Lord Yosef, stepping about the room, gravitating to the spot where you saw the two of them standing and speak their hushed words to one another.

“It’s kind of you to say,” the old nobleman says, “but I know it is not well-lived-in. Not anymore. Not since…”

“…Your sson,” you conclude, looking to him. “He musst have been a good sson, to drive you sso profoundly and fierccely, with hiss lossss.”

Yosef leans back, as if slapped, and scowls… But then takes a drink, and rubs his eyes, and the expression passes. Still, he cannot quite meet your ees.

“He was my boy,” he whispers. “My first child, pride and my joy. A delight. Almost half as bright as his sister, ha! Which still made him twice as bright as me. He was strong, too, where it mattered: in his heart, his principles.”
>>
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>>5232564

“I’m a little ssurprissed to hear you sspeak sso glowingly of Lady Vaz,” you admit, swishing your drink. It is by now half-depleted, the other half fertilizing a withered plant by one window.

Lord Yosef looks at you sharply, eyebrows high up his forehead.

“I mean no offence,” you hastily add. “It’sss jussst… She sseemed quite upsset and hossstile, as I caught her departure.”

“She’s passionate,” Lord Yosef chuckles, “like her father. Less like her mother, her brother. But I understand it. She thinks I’m going senile, seeing shadowy patterns where there are none. But, if we did not KNOW the truth, would we ourselves believe it? Especially when the official and unofficial ‘explanations’ are so… carefully-tailored? So TIDY? No, no, I understand why she resents being suddenly cut out of such a high-level meeting by her crotchety, conspiracy-theorist father. Gods Above know I resented my own father for far lighter offences.”

“We all must sstruggle with our parentss’ legaciesss…” you acknowledge.

“And our children’s future!” he says, raising a toast. You mirror it, though you only feign to drink; it strikes you, in a moment of perverse amusement, that refraining from drink may be best for your own child’s development.

A moment of silence, almost of understanding, passes between you and your unwitting ancestor.

“If I may asssk,” you hazard, “why ssend your halfling cook, and not your manservant?”

Lord Yosef takes a moment to savour his dragonwine, swishing it about and then gulping it.

“It was agreed upon,” he eventually says, “that I would send her in the event that the danger which we foresaw might come to pass… Did indeed, come to pass.”

He smirks slightly, chuckling a dark, almost sad chuckle. Callaghan, standing at his side, looks to him nervously at the laugh, resting a hand on his old employer’s back as it turns to coughing. Despite this outburst, Yosef shrugs him away.

“And what ISSS thiss calamity, which you foresaw and sso fear?” you ask.

“Why, Miss Rosgard, come now,” Lord Yosef says dryly. “You should know. It’s you.”

You raise an eyebrow. “You think you already know what I’m here to warn the two of you about, then?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that!” Lord Yosef says. “My imagination is… Well, overactive, if you ask Miriam, of course, but I don’t claim to be any predictor of fortunes!”

“Then… What iss it that you’re anticipating?” you press, confused. “What iss it that you and he feared, which hass now come to passs.”
>>
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>>5232568
Lord Yosef inclines his head, nodding to Callaghan to leave. Reluctantly, the manservant does so.

>All those 20s in the [REDACTED] investigation rolls for Yosef and the Archmage

“It’s YOU,” he repeats, leaning forward and setting his now-empty glass before him. He meets your eyes, his own cold and hard as steel. “YOU are the danger, Miss Rosgard… Or whatever your true, Reptilian name may be.”

‘…FucktheWHAT,’ Irinnile babbles.

You feel your blood run cold. Well, colder than normal. HOW? How is he not enthralled? WHEN DID HE DISCOVER THE TRUTH?

What do you do?
>Kill Yosef—slay him NOW, before he can say another damned thing or take any further action against you—and hunt down that damned manservant!
>Flee—you weren’t prepared for a trap, and you haven’t even yet worked out the exact details of this counter-plot against you, so you can’t risk remaining here a moment longer
>Deny the accusation, laughing it off and attempting to dissuade the old man
>Admit to it, but keep him talking—you need to know how Yosef resisted your glamour, what he knows or THINKS he knows, who he has told, and what comes next
>Pounce upon him, rip away whatever protection he might have, and use your ectoplasmic puppeteering to MAKE Lord Yosef talk, and even to speak in your defence if the Archmage arrives
>Write-in
>>
>>5232571
>Admit to it, but keep him talking—you need to know how Yosef resisted your glamour, what he knows or THINKS he knows, who he has told, and what comes next

haha
I suspected the wine was drugged
No point in chasing down Callaghan, the suspicions about us have already been shared with the Archmage. Better to learn what we can while we can. Definitely kill Yosef before we run though, and call him Grandpa before we kill him. Maybe even apologize.

Keep Iri focused on the time while we press for info, don't want to be here when the Archmage arrives with a squad of battlemages. Actually, we have the halfling enthralled, just mentally recall her now.
>>
>>5232571
>Admit to it, but keep him talking—you need to know how Yosef resisted your glamour, what he knows or THINKS he knows, who he has told, and what comes next

Oh, why’d you have to do that old man. Didn’t you know that you just sealed your fate?

I am going to enjoy the sudden but inevitable reveal that we are his granddaughter, and rightful heir to the Yosef bloodline.
>>
>>5232981
>>5233082
You say nothing for a moment, swirling the glass before you and looking into it. This silly old man… He’s sealed his fate and he doesn’t even seem to realize it.

“No denial?” he asks, mockingly.

“Why bother?” you ask, looking up with a casual smile and shrug. “You already know. I take it that you drugged the wine?”

“I take it that you planned to do the same thing to me and to the Archmage? It would certainly explain the herbs and powders which I found in Miss Warmfeet’s room.”

“Ssearching a woman’s quartersss Lord Yossef?” you ask, teasingly. “Not very proper of you.”

“Better to invade her privacy than to invade her mind, Reptilian,” he replies.

You shrug again.

“You didn’t actually drink the wine,” he surmises.

“Low alcohol toleranccce,” you admit. “It’ss common, to my kind. And you weren’t actually affected by my magic?”

Lord Yosef taps his chest through his silken shirt, and you hear his nail tap something hard.

“No inexpensive, this amulet… But, when we realized what was happening around town, to those mages, to my own cook… We knew that there was a charmer-of-minds at play.”

You tilt your head. “What elsse do you think you know?”

Lord Yosef chuckles. You raise an eyebrow.

“So that’s why you haven’t killed me, or run away with your tail—DO you have a tail, I wonder?—between your legs. You’re hoping to get me to talk.”

“And YOU have made no move to kill ME becaussse you’re sstalling,” you point out.

Lord Yosef laughs again, a bitter sound that turns once more to a cough. Eventually, he croaks out a reply.

“No,” he says, “because I am an old man. I couldn’t kill a monster like you s I am now. I’d just die like a fool.”

‘Watch the time,’ you command Irinnile. ‘Reach out to Malalyn Warmfeet, and instruct her to return.’

“Then the Archmage iss on hisss way with a platoon of battle-ready sspellcassterss?” you ask, setting your half-full glass on the table.

‘Babe, something’s wrong,’ Irinnile whines. ‘I can’t reach the hobbit!’

“Ooooh no,” Yosef says with a sigh, leaning back. “That wasn’t our plan at all. The plan was to capture and exorcise the halfling, and then ask her what she knows. You did such a good job disposing of the other pawns you’d been playing with—AFTER sending one to spread misinformation through that rag, The Grey Press—we thought it a wise idea to keep this one alive. Besides, I quite like her. She makes a very niche quiche.”

“And what nexxxt?” you ask, by now growing frustrated. “You can’t possibly believe that you’ll leave thiss place alive… or that you can capture me without aid.”

“And you can’t possibly think I’m going to tell you what I have planned, after all this hard work!” Lord Yosef says.
>>
>>5233438
“I did exxxpect more angry ranting,” you admit. “You DO go on, when you think your poor, dead sson iss—”

“DO NOT,” he bellows, “SPEAK ANOTHER WORD ABOUT MY SON.”

“There it isss,” you say with a smirk.

Lord Yosef steadies his trembling hands and leans back, beginning another coughing fit. Was he always so feeble? You don’t remember him coughing like this after each shouting match or outburst before now…

“You wouldn’t understand, you vile wretch,” he spits. “You… You creeping, crawling cold-blooded murderer and manipulator. Do your people even feel love?”

You don’t dignify that with a response. Ultimately… You’re not entirely sure, where pure-blooded Reptilians are concerned.

“You’ll never understand what you’ve done to me,” he says. “I’ll never be able to make you FEEL the pain you deserve to feel, you monsters… But I can make you fall, make you FAIL.”

“How?”

He begins to cough again, but as he does, he shakes his head. Th coughing goes on quite a while.

‘Hotstuff…’

‘He poisoned himself,’ you interrupt. ‘I know.’

You watch this scheming old man, this sad, aged mammal, coughing and cough, wheezing, almost choking. You see blood splattered across the hand he is coughing into.

“You’ll never get the chance to extract my secrets from my mind,” he growls, glaring at you. “And the Archmage is already spoiling your plans as we speak.”

What do you do?
>Use your knowledge of biological magic in an effort to mend this old man and keep him alive
>Kill him yourself, while mocking him with the knowledge that you are will kill his daughter and grandchild next
>Leave this place now—you need to find the Archmage and stamp out this scheme in its infancy
>Retreat from this place to the Incubus—you need its aid, and that of the enthralled Prince, to make this right
>Summon Henzler—this calls for a direct and public confrontation with the Archmage
>Write-in

Do you tell him that you are his son's daughter?
>Yes
>No
>>
>>5233441
>Tear off his amulet and search his mind with what time he has left

>Yes
>>
>>5233441
>Use your knowledge of biological magic in an effort to mend this old man and keep him alive, then ectoplasm him
>Yes

Don’t be excessively mean about it, you wanted to genuinely learn about out father. It wasn’t all cynical, getting-close to our target.

Now, we’ll need you to kill your friend anc spy on the proceedings, and tell us everything you know about what and how you learned of my secrets.
>>
>>5233527
>>5233569
Supporting these
>>
Rolled 11, 15, 8, 20, 4, 8, 8 = 74 (7d20)

>>5233527
>>5233569
>>5233912
[2d20 for Biological Manipulation, DC 15 to stabilize him and DC 17 to fully correct the poisoning; 5d20 mentalism if that fails, DC 17 thanks to his protections and deteriorating health causing you to be pressed for time]
>>
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>>5234128
Lord Yosef’s coughing fit resumes, even worsening. He hacks up blood and bile upon his floor, falling from his chair to his hands and knees. Tears well in his eyes from the pain of his damaged lungs and stomach lining, though the defiance and triumph never leaves his expression. Or, well, not until…

“Not sso fasst, Grandpa,” you say, falling to your knees beside him and placing a hand upon his back.

“Huh-HAAAK-huh…” Lord Yosef groans and wheezes, not quite able to form words. “Huh-hwhat?”

You shush him, narrowing your eyes and focusing upon him. He tries to bat your hands away, but his self-inflicted poisoning ironically renders him too weak to fight off your efforts to stabilize him. The charmed amulet upon his chest is a more serious impediment, with its demon-repellant components and warding runes, but his retching leaves it dangling from his neck; a swift slash of your frost-dagger removes that obstacle and sends it flying across the room.

“You heard me,” you say, forcing a smile. “You assked my Reptilian name, yess? Well, it’ss unpronounccceable to your pitiful mammalian maw… But my mother onccce told me what my father intended to name me—or, well, hisss firsst child, if it wass female.”

You meet his confused expression.

“Shira,” you tell him. “Shira Yosssef.”

“…No.”

>15

Your command of biological manipulation is hardly up to the standards which presumably helped create the Tower’s distinctive and potent healing potions—you’ll have to study with Henzler further, some day, to make your own equivalent. Still, it is enough to help slow and neutralize the organic poisons in old Lord Yosef’s system, and to mend the worst of the damage. Your human grandfather will not be going on any mind-control murder-missions against masterful mages anytime soon—at least, not with any chance of success—but he will live.

“You’re… You’re lying,” he wheezes. “You’re a filthy, lying, degenerate sack of—”

“’Degenerate’ isss correct, at leasst,” you say. “It’ss the term that my people—my MOTHER’SS people—use for my cassste… The hybridss of her race and yoursss.”

Lord Yosef looks at you in horror, the pieces coming together. You can see it in his eyes: the understanding now of why you reminded him so much of his late wife. He is speechless in horror, in anguish. His son is dead, gone, killed by an ancient menace beyond human understanding in service to abomination… And his sole legacy, his son’s ‘rightful’ heir, is also heir to that darkness which consumed him.

The tears start flowing, and they don’t stop until you place your hands upon the poor, sorrowing old man’s wet, wrinkled face and reach into his mind to wipe the pain away. When you kiss him, it is no lustful and sadistic affair, but a chaste and familial gesture, almost a mercy. You search his mind while the ectoplasm is delivered…

>20

…And you find EVERYTHING.
>>
>>5234170
In your time away from this particular mission, Lord Isaac Yosef and Alfonse the Archmage have been busy septuagenarians, to say the very least. Their comparing of notes eventually led to the realization that BOTH their theories might be correct: that an agent of a hostile power was using demonological knowledge and tools to infiltrate, attack, and subvert Hawksong while disguised as a native, but that they ALSO clearly had some knowledge and interest pertaining to the secret, draconic ‘project’ in the bottom-most basement, and connections in and out of the Tower.

The Archmage already knew, of course, that demonic materials had been used to infect and brainwash the Inquisitor, Felman. A mounting paranoia had led them to surreptitiously use Lord Yosef’s Glasses of True-Seeing to scan each member of his staff—and several members of the Archmage’s—for influence. They found Irinnile’s essence inside of Malalyn Warmfeet but, recalling how you—their shadowy foe—had found and silenced Felman using Lithobathius, they deemed it best to say and do nothing, save to observe her actions while they pursued other leads as to your identity.

That was where Federigo came in: The Magus Auctor, who published his damning (if mostly factual) ‘hit-piece’ on the Tower through The Grey Press. The similarities to other recent panic-inducing exposés did not go unnoticed by the old men, and it took only cursory investigation to learn of the “Isabelle Romanov” who encouraged the Press’ ownership to cease publication of Yosef’s writings on Reptilians AND who reported on the wererat menace… A certainly distinctive beauty with tan skin, golden eyes, and a ssstrange acccent.

‘Ffffuuuuuck.’

You share Irrinile’s reaction as you learn what THEY learned next: that several Inquisitors had, when interrogated, noted Felman acting somewhat strangely after leaving a meeting with just such a woman during his ‘pointless’ raid on The Pretty Kitty: a dancer named Kamunu, apparently a false lead.

“Well, perhaps not so false?” The Archmage has suggested over steepled fingers.

“It’s Rosgard,” Yosef had said, slamming a drink down on the table in the memory you now watch like a stage-play, running through his mind. “It’s so, so damn OBVIOUS! I’ve been an IDIOT!”

“Only as long as I’ve known you, Isaac,” the Archmage had jested, with a sigh. “Myself as well. What has your cook been doing with her ‘free time?’”

“Callaghan says he saw her sneaking in Goblintown, of all places.”

“Goblintown…” The Archmage had murmured. “There has been a lot of occult activity there as of late. But the goblins will never cooperate with an investigation, obviously. It risks turning up too many of their own dealings. What was she doing there?”

“Callaghan couldn’t follow her, obviously,” Yosef had grumbled bitterly. “But we’ll find out…”
>>
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>>5234172

“Well, apparently this ‘Kamunu’ character has been seen associating with a pair of merchants, as well… A storehouse proprietor and some adventurer who runs a dungeon-delving ‘excavation’ company, both of whom have had dealings with the Tower.”

“…Miriam was tipped off to our talking, at the Gala,” Yosef then realized with a start. “She was there!”

“Or an agent of hers,” the Archmage confirmed, “I will consult with the Tower Guardians, see who she was seen to interact with besides the merchants. In the meantime, I will have the Inquisition keep tabs on the known associates of this ‘Infiltrator’.”

“Don’t move on them yet,” Lord Yosef had warned. “The Subterranean Reptilians are crafty, and she’s clearly watching by unseen means. You’ll risk tipping her off.”

“Agreed,” the Archmage had said. “If she returns, if she sees you… Well, she clearly has specific interest in you. Keep her busy, and send Miss Warmfeet to me. I’ll capture her, exorcise her, store her somewhere safe known only to the agents we’ve already verified to be free of demonic taint…”

“And then you make your move,” Yosef finishes, grinning darkly. “On the whorehouse, on the merchants, on the Press, on all of them! Detain and question them all, find out every little detail they know! Cut off her network, track down everyone she or her scaly, slimy friends have dealt with, and cut out this Reptilian infection like an infected cyst! Display it before King Archos and COMMAND his attention!”

“Send her with the glasses, too,” The Archmage had suggested. “Don’t tell her what they are, just stuff it in a pocket of her cloak, in a package.

“…Just in case,” Lord Yosef had sighed, face paling. “Yes, I… I suppose that is best.”

The Archmage rested a hand on his friend’s own white-knuckled one, looking kindly into his eyes.

“I will come as soon as I can,” he’d said. “I promise, Isaac.”

“No,” Yosef had said, shaking his head. “I have lived long enough—too long, in too much pain. If I survive this encounter, it means I am surely compromised… A pawn for this ‘Rosgard, this… THING. If you see me after I sent Miss Warmfeet, detain me, too. Assume the worst.”
>>
>>5234174

You exit Lord Yosef’s mind, looking into his blinking, bleary eyes, still weeping but now seemingly uncertain as to why.

“I… Almost killed my… My granddaughter,” he mumbled. “I almost killed… Gods forgive, I almost killed my Hirschel’s daughter… Little Shira…”

You only barely register his words. The humans… These two old men, in particular… They know so, SO much more than you’d feared. Edwin, his father, the Zika corporation, Madam Mina and the girls at The Pretty Kitty, Goblintown… All of it, all of your glorious and elaborate plans to subvert Hawksong are now in the balance!

‘Doesn’t seem like the two suspicious old farts… Like shared many of the details around, though, ya’ know?’ Irinnile points out. ‘If we can off the old magical son-of-a-bitch, I bet we can plug this leak right up!’

You can only hope… Only pray, to whatever Dark God might hear you and be able to act upon it. But every Infiltrator knows that the Dark Gods help those who help themselves…

What do you do? [please choose one]
>Rush to the Archmage’s office in the Tower, to end him immediately
>Head for The Pretty Kitty, to alert Mina and head them off at the pass
>You have to save Edwin! You will hurry to him, before the Tower’s agents get there first, and spirit him to safety!
>Alas, it is time to negotiate with The Incubus; you need its puppet-prince to combat such a highly-placed adversary
>Warn (and consult with) Dame Albacete, lest the trail lead back to her, and from her to every other Reptilian in the city
>Abandon Hawksong, and go warn the Serpent Priests themselves of this existential threat to the Conspiracy
>Write-in

What do you do with Yosef?
>Tell him to stay put and rest up—he is of no use to you right now, and any desperate action could seriously hurt him in his current state
>Send him to the Archmage, to serve as a distraction at the very least
>Order him to kill himself—you have what you need
>Send him to the farmhouse—you have more to ask of him, later
>Write-in
>>
>>5234176
>Rush to the Archmage’s office in the Tower, to end him immediately
>Tell him to stay put and rest up—he is of no use to you right now, and any desperate action could seriously hurt him in his current state

Did the investigation really get all those nat 20s? Not one nat 1?
>>
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>>5234187
>>
>>5234176
>Order him to kill himself—you have what you need
He'll just get exorcised if he's seen alive, as per his own request.

>Warn (and consult with) Dame Albacete, lest the trail lead back to her, and from her to every other Reptilian in the city
Make sure we aren't followed, but Edwin, Mina, etc all are unaware of our true Reptilian nature. As long as we get the actual Reptilians undercover there's nothing to set us apart from Southern demonologists, who already are shouldering the blame.
>>
>>5234176
>Send him to the farmhouse—you have more to ask of him, later

>Warn (and consult with) Dame Albacete, lest the trail lead back to her, and from her to every other Reptilian in the city

Hasty actions will only get us killed.

We need a plan to take down the Archmage
>>
>>5234176
>Warn (and consult with) Dame Albacete, lest the trail lead back to her, and from her to every other Reptilian in the city
>Tell him to stay put and rest up—he is of no use to you right now, and any desperate action could seriously hurt him in his current state
>>
>>5234187
>>5234212
>>5234313
“Ressst, Grandfather,” you instruct Lord Yosef. “When you feel well enough, depart for the framlandss beyond Hawkssong. I have a farmhoussse where you will be cared for.”

‘Don’t we gotta’, like, kill ‘im for your gods?’ Irinnile points out.

‘Later,’ you say. ‘We have more important matters to attend to.’

‘But it would only take a—’

‘Later!’

Irinnile drops the subject, and you help Lord Yosef up into his chair.

“I’m so sorry, Hirschel….” He mumbles, eyes half-closed and quaking with pain and grief.

You turn away, and leave.

Your objective is Dame Albacete’s home. Your fear is that, if the Archmage’s investigation proceeds along either the route of looking into each person you spoke to at the Gala OR interrogating Edwin about known associates, Albacete could easily crop up as a connection worth investigating. If they were to gaze upon her with those damned Glasses of True Sight that Lord Yosef acquired…

‘They’ll know those tits are fake, that’s for sure!’ Irinnile sniggers, before withering beneath your psychic ‘glare’.

Unfortunately, though, reaching her home by the most direct route would take you across two of the city’s new security checkpoints… Which play host to (admittedly manipulable) guards

‘We still gotta’ ton of fuel in thank, babe, don’t sweat it!’

<WANT: 7>

She isn’t wrong, of course… But checkpoints also sometimes the harder-to-handle Paladins.

How do you plan to bypass these threats?
>Talk your way through them without risking magic
>Slay your way there if need be
>use glamour, even on the Paladins if need be
>Stealth and a less-direct route [may cost time]
>It’s almost nighttime, and then you can manifest wings and avoid being spotted altogether [will definitely cost time, but no risk of detection]
>Write-in

What is your plan for Albacete?
>Instruct her to leave town immediately
>Join forces with her to go find each and every Reptilian agent in town, and make sure all of them leave before any can be found-out
>Kill her, before her most-valuable information can be extracted by the enemy
>Write-in
>>
>>5234590
>Stealth and a less-direct route [may cost time]
>Join forces with her to go find each and every Reptilian agent in town, and make sure all of them leave before any can be found-out
>>
>>5234620
Supporting

Get her opinion on the matter before deciding on a course of action though
>>
Rolled 1, 15, 6, 9 = 31 (4d20)

>>5234883
>>5234620
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5234903
>>
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>>5234903
>>5234906
>>5234883
>>5234620
You sneak through the city streets, by now so familiar that you can navigate practically without landmarks. However, you cannot traverse as freely as you once did: there are guards everywhere. While you suppose you could expend time and mana to glamour each and every patrol, you think it a smarter play to take the extra time necessary to avoid them—and ESPECIALLY the more physically and magically-imposing Paladins who you spot on at least one occasion. You are without reinforcements, and cannot risk battling one of those bastards or their blasted bird-monsters right now.

>15 for stealth
>Favourable probability roll [37, greater than the 25% chance that the Inquisition would get to Albacete before you did]

You manage to evade the patrols, circling through the mid-town area and back into the more well-to-do districts under their noses. There, a few blocks from your old apartment, you find the familiar residence of Hawksong’s premier etiquette and dance teacher (and fellow Reptilian Infiltrator), ‘Dame’ Albacete.

“Yes?” she says, opening the door. “Who is… Oh.”

The Reptilian wears the guise of an elderly (though still quite fit) human woman in a flowery dress and hat. She beckons you inside, and you slam the door shut behind you, causing her to look at you in confusion.

“You seem… Alarmed,” she notes.

“Asss should you be,” you hiss, before switching to the True Speech. “The city’s authorities are onto us. We are all at risk. I seek counsel, and aid.”

“Well, I’ll pour us some tea, and you can explain further,” she says.

“There is no time!”

“Then we are already doomed,” she says calmly. “Either our enemies are about to burst through that door, and I have no time to advise you, or we can discuss this matter while also drinking soothing tea.

You take a steadying breath, and acquiesce. The tea is pleasant—not too fragrant or strong, with a soft mintiness to it which is suitable to a Reptilian palette. As you sip it, you explain all that has occurred.

“Then I am, after all, doomed,” Dame Albacete sighs. “Or at least, this identity is.”

“What do you mean?” you ask, alarmed anew.

“How was I to get you the reinforcements you required, for the Gala?” she asks, a question for a question, before expanding upon the answer: “I made recommendations, served as a character reference, to get many of the Degenerates onto the staff of caterers and highly-placed households. Even when they were searching for ‘Southern demonists’, I feared my connection to them might invite trouble.”

“And now that they know what they are looking for…” you begin.

“Yes,” Albacete agrees. “If I stay, they will see through my disguise with these glasses. If I go, I will confirm their suspicions.”

She sips her tea, looking wistfully at the floating leaves.
>>
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>>5234931
“It’s strange,” she says. “I’ve been here for decades now… Played this role. I think I may actually miss it, at least for a time. I don’t like them when they grow up, but humans are actually quite endearing, when they are young.”

You feel something of her pain—how could you not, given how many attachments you have formed in your time here?

“Is there any other option, Senior Infiltrator?” you ask.

Albacete considers it.

“None that you haven’t already considered,” she surmises. “We could attempt to kill or obfuscate the Archmage, or to steal or destroy the glasses. Otherwise, I can leave the city alone…”

“…Or with all other operatives who can be connected back to you, for maximum security.”

“If we ALL go missing, however, we’ll have no eyes or ears in this city any longer,” Albacete points out. “It will also be more suspicious than merely MY disappearance. They’ll have no Reptilian Infiltrator to torture or magically probe for information, nor any way to fully confirm our existence, but they’ll know SOMETHING was afoot.”

“Better that they be suspicious than certain,” you reply.

Albacete says nothing for a moment, then looks up from her tea again.

“You are better informed of the developments than I am… More enmeshed in the mission as it now stands.”

It’s your call, then. What do you do?
>Split up and alert each Reptilian Infiltrator in Hawksong that it is time to go
>Alert the Reptilian agents to lay low, but to remain in the city and to keep up their covers
>Set a trap for the Inquisition here, to take them out when they come for Albacete
>Take Albacete, the most valuable asset in Hawksong, and abandon the city for the farmlands
>Write-in
>>
>>5234932
It doesn't seem as though she's noticed herself being tailed or investigated so I think we should go with

>Alert the Reptilian agents to lay low, but to remain in the city and to keep up their covers

As they didn't pursue too hard yet to avoid spooking us, and as Albacete said evacing them all would show something was up and leave us blind. Not to mention evacing them all would be nigh impossible with the lockdown.
Better to lay low until those glasses are taken care of.
>>
>>5234932
>Alert the Reptilian agents to lay low, but to remain in the city and to keep up their covers
>>
>>5234932
>>Alert the Reptilian agents to lay low, but to remain in the city and to keep up their covers
>>
>>5235527
>>5235438
>>5235068

You think for a time, sipping your tea and feeling the relaxing effects of the warm beverage and simple ritual soothe your nerves. With Dame Albacete’s wise counsel, you feel your own panic subside. A new plan takes form.

“You have no noticed anyone observing you, or following you?” you ask.

“Not as yet,” Albacete confirms.

“They are moving slowly, to avoid alerting us before they can seize all of us at once.” You finish your tea, gently setting the cup down. “We should alert the other Infiltrators in the city immediately, but it is not yet necessary to abandon this place. Instead, you, and they, should all lay low.”

“And what of you?” Alabcete asks.

You consider those words over and over, as you travel the town. One by one, you locate your fellow Reptilians, informed by Albacete of their locations, false faces, and surface-world professions. You meet a slaughterhouse worker here (“perfect for disposal of evidence”), a storeowner there (“excellent cover to acquire and export certain goods”), a courier at the edge of town (“I have the honourable duty to watch these apes and monitor their population movements”), and a number of general labourers and serving staff (“we await further instructions, when the Star Are Right”). All the while, you cosnide your own place here, in this world-above-ground.

They know of Ismena Rosgard, obviously, and of Kamunu, and of your journalistic alia Isabelle Romanov. But how MANY know? Can you still save those identities, if you move swiftly, silencing the Archmage and his inner circle? If so… How do to it?
>>
>>5235646

Dawn approaches. Your eyes are bleary, body weary. You have been all across town, carefully choosing your routes and utilizing the darkness and Irinnile’s abilities to evade checkpoints and patrols. This city is paranoid, a powder-keg. Its King has locked down its people, who by daylight move in quiet uncertainty; by night, they huddle in their homes. In such an environment, is The Pretty Kitty even an aspect of your life worth maintaining?

‘It’ll be a shame ta’ not see Mina an’ the girls, though….’ Irinnile murmurs, reflecting your mood.

And then there’s Zithra Half-Orc, your Goblintown guise. SHE at least isn’t compromised… Not directly. But Goblintown is in the Inquisition’s crosshairs, if you do nothing about it. And even if you abandon Ismena, her Edwin (YOUR Edwin) is still destined to have his life ruined by his association to you--by his keeping of your secrets. You have done your duty to your people, your Master Race, but what duty do you have to your friends, lovers, allies… To yourself?

‘Fuck ‘im,’ Irinnile shrugs. ‘I mean, Zi’s a cute little cocksleeve an’ I’m down to tip her off... And to put th' tip in her. And it’d be fun ta’ get on stage again at TPK! But Eddie… I know ya’ love him, Hotstuff, but he ain’t your responsibility no more. When are ya' gonna' let him, ya' know... Go?’

What do you do?
>Pay a visit to The Pretty Kitty, and warn Madame Mina of what is coming to her doorstep
>Return to Goblintown, and tip off Zi to the Inquisition’s incoming investigation
>Speak with Edwin of Engel, and discuss how they should proceed if mages or paladins come calling
>Crash at an inn in town—you need rest, and these mammals (even the one you care for) are NOT your priority
>You cannot let this come to pass—you MUST find the Archmage and, if possible, assassinate him before the meeting
>It is time to consult with the Incubus, and to make a deal
>Write-in
>>
>>5235649
>Pay a visit to The Pretty Kitty, and warn Madame Mina of what is coming to her doorstep
Save the cat mom
>>
>>5235649
>Speak with Edwin of Engel, and discuss how they should proceed if mages or paladins come calling
He actually knows. Mina will be fine, we wiped her mind, she'll be treated as another victim. Edwin knows we did bad shit.
>>
>>5235699
Supporting this.

We may need to mind wipe him in person - and his father.
>>
>>5235649
>>Speak with Edwin of Engel, and discuss how they should proceed if mages or paladins come calling
>>
>>5235670
>>5235699
>>5235899
>>5235960
Mina, with her mind wiped of most of the details of what you are and what you’ve done, is likely to be treated as a victim of your demoniac mayhem… At least, you hope so. You yourself stirred up existing anti-beastfolk sentiment, after all, in your first Grey press exposé on the wererats. Still, there’s nothing to prove she was any more than another pawn of yours… And perhaps, ultimately, she was, but she’s a pawn you don’t want to see sacrificed. To keep her safe, you must stay away from her… At least, for now.

Edwin, though, is another matter. He is already torn up inside about the keeping of your dark secrets. Confronted with knowledge that you are not even HUMAN, and with pressure on himself and his father, what if he buckles?

‘Especially if they tell him about, ya’ know, all the mind-fucking. And… Actual fucking. And, uh, murder, I guess.’

Irinnile has a point. The more the authorities tell him about the true nature of your mission, and the full details of your actions in Hawksong, the elss likely he is to hold his tongue. Youw ant to believe he is loyal to you, to the love you BELIEVE you both felt, but—

‘Oh! An’ the cannibalism!’

—but you can’t be certain. Not without speaking to him.

You are quite tired by the time you trek all the way back across town to the Engel manor. The sun is rising, and you feel you ought to be doing quite the opposite—you have gotten used to working nights, and it has been QUITE the night. Still, it cannot wait. You’re just grateful that the servants see fit to allow you inside, for a part of you had feared you might no longer be welcome.

The gate-man guide you in. He is more heavily armed than you recall the house’s guardians be, with a meat-cleaver of a sword on his hip; even here, you massacre of city and Tower officials is felt. He leaves you fidgeting in the entrance hall, and goes to fetch the man of the house… And, alas, not the man you wanted to speak with.
>>
>>5236301
“Ismena?”

It’s Fynn of Engel, Edwin’s father. The elder Engel man will need addressing as well, you suppose, but… Well, his graying hair and furrowed brow isn’t quite the comfort of Edwin’s younger and softer visage.

“What brings you back to my home?” he asks, breaking your silence—a very diplomatic form of ‘what are you doing here?’

“I’m here to sspeak with… With you, and with Edwin,” you say.

“About what?” he asks.

“It’ss a matter of ssome improtancce, and urgencccy. If you could jusst—”

“Father? Do we have a visitor? It’s pretty early…”

Your eyes snap to Edwin, standing at the top of the stairs. He is dissheveled, his robe more wrinkled than usual, his pointed wizard-cap askew. The sleep at the corner of his eyes makes you smile, and clues you into the reason for it—he never WAS the earliest riser, always up late reading his scrolls and tomes.

“Izzy?” Edwin asks. His tone is… Less excited than you might have hoped.

…And then, you catch sight of another familiar face: Paula, sheepishly peaking down from atop the stairs. Having come from the leftmost bedchamber…

Edwin’s bedchamber.

<Heartbreak: 90%>

‘That fucking SLUT!’ Irinnile rages.

You aren’t sure which of them she means.

What do you do?
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—in private [specify what you tell them, politesse and/or intimidation may apply]
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating
>Ask to speak with Fynn alone, and make him an offer of mercantile mutual benefit; if Mina cannot be your shirin go-between, perhaps the opportunity can buy Fynn’s silence
>Ask to speak with Edwin, ALONE, and pour your heart out to him, buying his silence with an appeal to his soft heart [seduction]
>FLIP THE FUCK OUT. KILL THEM ALL.
>Write-in
>>
>>5236305
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating

Good end attempt round 2
>>
>>5236305
>>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating
>>Ask to speak with Edwin, ALONE, and pour your heart out to him, buying his silence with an appeal to his soft heart [seduction]
>>
>>5236305
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating

>>>FLIP THE FUCK OUT. KILL THEM ALL.
very funny
>>
>>5236305
>Ask to speak with Edwin, ALONE, and pour your heart out to him, buying his silence with an appeal to his soft heart [seduction]
>>
>>5236305
>Ask to speak with Edwin, ALONE, and pour your heart out to him, buying his silence with an appeal to his soft heart [seduction]
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating

Try seduction with Edwin first. If it fails then mindwipe
>>
>>5236305
Let's not be a hypocrite and slut-shame.
>Ask to speak with Edwin, ALONE, and pour your heart out to him, buying his silence with an appeal to his soft heart [seduction]
>>
>>5236305
>Ask to speak with both of the Engel men—and Paula, you suppose—and wipe all their minds of anything incriminating

It’s the only way
>>
Rolled 19, 6, 16, 1, 16 = 58 (5d20)

>>5236360
>>5236633
>>5236665
>>5236669
>>5236670
>>5236682
>>5236742
“Edwin,” you greet him… And then, a moment later, “Paula.”

Edwin waves, while Paula’s eyes widen and she nearly falls over in her hurry to duck out of sight.

‘Oooo, I’m seethin’, babe,’ Irinnile broils within you.

‘Let’s not by hypocrites,’ you say, forcing yourself to remain calm and in-control. ‘We’ve had sexual relations with literal dozens of people.’

‘But he LOVES her!’ Irnnile laments! ‘It’s not the same!’

That hits a little harder. Certainly, Edwin… DESIRES Paula, on a personal level, but surely he doesn’t…

No. NO. Focus, Infiltrator!

“Edwin,” you say levelly, ‘can I ssspeak with you for a moment? Alone?”

Fynn and Paula both look to the man in question who, smoothing out his robes a little in nervousness, nods his head. He descends the stairs, joining you in the same study where you once bargained your way into his home… Before, more recently and in that same room, you were ousted from that prized position, in his home and in his heart. Perhaps it’s that history which renders you helpless to stem the rising tide of your sickeningly human, disgustingly feminine emotions; the moment the door is closed, they explode forth like a surge breaking through a dam.

“Jussst like that?! You’ve moved on jusst like THAT?!”

Edwin stays near the door. He’d been drawing closer, but the outburst startles him.

“Ismena, I…”

You take a moment to collect yourself, wiping your eyes and taking a deep breath.

“I… Undersstand. I left you little choicce. The ssort of things which I have had to do… You could not rissk being party to them, and you… Require companionship.”

Edwin opens his mouth to say something, but stops. You look at him expectantly.

“Paula is a good person,” he says. “She’s smart, and driven, and she’s… Good for me.”

You’ve heard it all before, and more, in dreams. You suppose you can’t begrudge Edwin repeating himself in the waking world, though. Does he even remember the dream? If he does, how could he know that you would remember it, also—that you weren’t a figment of his sleeping mind?

“I know that I am not what you would sstrictly call ‘a good perssson’,” you admit, “but I would never, ever hurt you. The trouble I brought upon you wass never intentional, and I am sso, sso grateful for what you did for me… For what we ahd.”

“Izzy…”

Edwin draws nearer, gently resting his big, warm hands upon your arms.

“I love you, Edwin of Engel,” you say to him, looking up to meet his brilliant blue eyes. “That’sss why I have to wipe your mind.”
>>
>>5236761
Edwin is startled, removing his ahnds frm you (no! wait!) and stepping back.

“What did you say?” he asks, incredulous.

“Not everything,” you hasten to amend. “But, well... Here’sss the thing.”

You explain the situation as best you can: the Inquisition is coming, and the Paladin King, too. They’ve worked out who you are, where you work, where you lived, who you loved. They’re coming for Edwin, his father, their holdings.

“The lessss you know,” you say, “the better off you’ll all be, when thisss is over.”

“I never said a word,” Edwin promise you. “Izzy, I swear. I never would.”

You smile. You trust him, you think, which makes it harder.

“I know,” you say. “But you might. Under torture, under pressssure…”

If eh truth about the extent of your massacres and mayhem were revealed.

“You might.”

“No,” Edwin says, with such conviction that you almost believe it. Yor heart flutters. You love it when he stands firm like this.

“Pleasse,” you say, “trussst me. Let me do thiss for you.”

Edwin hesitates… But eventually, he nods.

“You know that these sorts of measures—magical mind-manipulations—they can be reversed, in principle, if one knows what to look for?”

You nod. The thought ahd occurred to you.

“My sskillss have grown,” you say, “and anyway, I have no other optionsss.”

“You do,” Edwin points out. “you could have killed us.”

You reel at the suggestion.

“I… That would draw attention, too. And it would… I…”

“You don’t WANt to,” Edwn finishes the sentence for you.

You stare at him, and he smiles. He pulls you into his embrace, and you felt into it. He strokes your hair, comfortingly, and you are his again, all over again.

“You ARE a good person, Ismena,” he assures you. “Whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve had to do for this, this MISSON of yours… You’re a good person.”

‘Uhh, Hotsuff, your face is leakin’ again,’ Irinnile points our.

You wipe your eyes, and give Edwin’s hand one more squeeze.

“bring your father and your… And Paula.”

Edwin nods, leaving the room. You don’t hear what he says to them, but Fynn and Paula return when he does. The older male is wary-looking, as if confused by this whole affair. Paula hangs back, looking at you with fear and shame—

‘GOOD,’ Irinnile snaps. ‘She riding OUR mana-makin’ magic mushroom!’

—but you fix her with a comforting smile. This procedure will be easier if they are at ease.

“Ismena, what is all this about?” Fynn asks. His wariness seems to soften a bit as he looks more closely at your face, and notices that you’ve been crying. “Are you in… Is this some sort of trouble, again?”

You nod, but when you speak, it is a speech infused with glamour.

“We all have been,” you say, “but it will soon be over.”
>>
>>5236770
One by one, you touch their faces, their foreheads, their hearts, and you begin to work your magic. First, Fynn’s limited knowledge of your occult involvement and suspicious dealings are obfuscated…

<WANT: 8>

Then, Paula’s knowledge of your magical ability, of your interest in the Tower. She already had her memory suppressed of her accompaniment on your scouting mission, but you further scramble the remnants of that recollection, as best you can..

<WANT: 9>

And then, you turn to Edwin. He is placid, pacified by your magic. It’s better this way, better that he not be afraid, but even so…

“Will I remember you?” he asks. “Will I remember… Loving you, Izzy?”

Oh… Your heart. But… Will he? Should he?
>Yes
>No

And what comes next? With their minds wiped, it would be fully to stay here—even if they remember you, it’s just more opportunity for unfortunate connections to be drawn by those now rooting about your business. What is your plan?
>You will return to Albacete’s, and rest there
>You will pay your old friend/bullying victim Agatha Young a visit, to rest there
>You will return to Lord Yosef’s home, to lay in wait and to ambush whoever comes for him
>It’s time to deal with Lady Vaz and her spawn—your cousin, Yosef’s OTHER grandchild
>Write-in
>>
>>5236773
>No
>It’s time to deal with Lady Vaz and her spawn—your cousin, Yosef’s OTHER grandchild
>>
>>5236773
>Yes
T_T

>It’s time to deal with Lady Vaz and her spawn—your cousin, Yosef’s OTHER grandchild
Finally
>>
>>5236819
aand we're fucked as soon as they get him
>>
>>5236972
?
We're wiping everything incriminating, including this conversation. What about them finding what looks like a one sided love fucks us over? The more we have to wipe the more suspicious it'll look, which raises the chances that they'll dig deeper and try to reverse the wipe with their own magic.
>>
>>5236773
>Yes
>It’s time to deal with Lady Vaz and her spawn—your cousin, Yosef’s OTHER grandchild
>>
>>5236773
>Yes
>You will pay your old friend/bullying victim Agatha Young a visit, to rest there
>>
>>5236773
>Yes
;_;

>You will return to Lord Yosef’s home, to lay in wait and to ambush whoever comes for him
>>
>>5237276
>>5237241
>>5237222
>>5236819
>>5236801
You hold your hand to Edwin’s face, running it across his stubble, and feel the tears befin to return. Before you can further chame yourself, you simply say:

“Of courssse you will.”

You kiss him one more time, and leave.

<WANT: 10>

You leave the manor and its dazed denizens with the muddled memories behind. For a time, you travel in silence, sluggish with sleepiness that you continue to battle back. Eventually, Irinnile speaks up.

‘You, uh, sure that was a good idea?’ she asks. ‘I know you love him and all, but… He’s a liability. Maybe killing ‘em woulda’ been the smarter play.’

‘This coming from the demon who was talking about Edwin like he was your personal property?’ you shoot back.

‘It’s the principle of the thing!’ Irinnile protests. ‘We—I mean, you, but kinda’ also me, had… Like, dibs!’

“Nevermind,’ you say, sighing aloud.

Irinnile pauses, flustered, and then continues on, saying ‘All I’m sayin’ is, like, what if the memories you left have, like… A clue in ‘em, or tip the incels and holy-rollers off?’

‘We wiped everything incriminating from his mind. What appears to be a one-sided affection will emrely make Edwin seem all the more pitiable a victim. A complete wipe would have been altogether more suspicious, since they know we were… Acquainted.’

‘Whatever you say, babe…’ Irinnile trails off.
>>
>>5237494
It is another long trek through the wealthier areas of town which brings you to your next destination. Tired as you are, stealth is beyond you; you are forced to pick and choose your checkpoints, expending still more mana to mesmerize and bypass guards unaccompanied by a Paladin escort. Finally, though, you arrive: the Vaz manor.

The guards posted here are a burlier, more martial sort, and well-equipped. You suspect former adventurers—not wannabes, either, like those you fooled, fleeces, and finally fucked and fileted in the Hawksong sewer-system. One has the look of a half-elf, one a regular human. Behind them, the Vaz manor is much as you saw it in dreams: an old construction, but well-maintained and renovated with more modern, boxier architecture in places, all tastefully made to match the colour and aesthetic of the old. It has none of the tackiness of new wealth, but none of the dilapidated trappings of stagnant, beyond-its-prime old money.

The future fo the Family Yosef, if indeed they HAD a future.

What is your play?
>The direct approach: appear at the front gate, tired and hungry (you ARE both), a family friend in need of a bed and something to eat—you’ll take it slow
>Lure them to a second location: approach in a panic, desperate to speak with Lady Vaz, telling her that her father is unwell and she is needed at his manor
>Avoid the guards, enter stealthily, and assassinate your target(s) with utmost efficiency—enough faffing about!
>Mind-meddling and mentalism have served you well—glamour the guards, have them lead you inside, and maybe even have them cut down their mistress if it comes to it
>Write-in
>>
>>5237499
>avoid guards, sneak in, assassinate targets
>>
>>5237499
>The direct approach: appear at the front gate, tired and hungry (you ARE both), a family friend in need of a bed and something to eat—you’ll take it slow

Ectoplasm her and use her as our bait to trap the Archmage.
>>
>>5237499
>Avoid the guards, enter stealthily, and assassinate your target(s) with utmost efficiency—enough faffing about!
>>
>>5237499
>>The direct approach: appear at the front gate, tired and hungry (you ARE both), a family friend in need of a bed and something to eat—you’ll take it slow
>>
[Looks like a tie! We'll wait until qfter work to see if that gets broken.]
>>
>>5237499
>>Avoid the guards, enter stealthily, and assassinate your target(s) with utmost efficiency—enough faffing about!
smdh @ faffers
>>
>>5237499
>>Avoid the guards, enter stealthily, and assassinate your target(s) with utmost efficiency—enough faffing about!
>>
Rolled 13, 9, 19, 1, 1, 6, 4, 19, 5 = 77 (9d20)

>>5238387
>>5237961
>>5237878
>>5237860
>>5237670
>>5237622
>Sneaky Snake Assassinates Aunt
[4d20 stealth, 4d20 melee; DC is 17 for the first (exhaustion penalties) and 7 for the second (goes up to 12 if you’re spotted. Final dice is, as you might expect, a mYyYysteryyYY]
>>
>>5238570
>19
It is a simple thing to bypass the security, even in broad daylight, even as tired as you are. Humans are silyl creatures—they do not seem to think in three dimensions when designing their security. When they do, it is simple HEIGHT that they seem to place their trust in, with no further thought given to protections on-high. And this from a race of people who breed gryphons! You suppose only the king’s is winged, though…

This isn’t to say you can simply manifest demonic wings (not in daylight, anyway), but you are by this point well-versed in climbing and hopping fences, even those with tasteful spikes atop their scaffolding. You scale the so-called obstacle and land gracefully on the other side. When the faint sound seems to alert a third guard whom the manor’s masters have assigned to patrol the inside perimeter—clever, Lord and Lady Vaz!—you dive ignobly into a hedge until he passes, and then continue on your merry, murderous way.

Entering the home is as simple as prying loose the stained glass panels from one window with your dagger until you can reach inside and work the simple latch which locks it. It’s almost insultingly easy…. But then, Lady Vaz never did share her father’s well-placed paranoia, did she? Pity that, you suppose… But, at this moment, pity and mercy and other such human faff is far from your mind. Your lizard brain—superior, cold, efficient—takes the fore.

‘Your about-to-stab-a-mortal inner monologues always get me SOOO fuckin’ wet, babe,’ Irinnile purrs.

‘You want their souls?’ you surmise.

‘Mmmmyesssss please!’ she admits to her rationale for so eagerly praising you.

You think on it as you make your silent approach. You keep close to the darker corners of rooms, avoiding being sighted by staff. It’s not that you aren’t willing to ‘handle’ the hired help, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and it only takes one to escape to create a repeat of the near-disaster which you faced at Bianchi’s manor. Irinnile’s ability to help you at this time of day is, after all, limited…

‘But my, like, spooky demon eyes sure did spot your extended senpai, didn’t they?’

They did indeed: three pinpoints of light a floor above you and slightly to the east. You evade what looks to be a maid transporting waste-bins and chamber-pots and crest the stairs, creeping slowly towards the room.
>>
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>>5238614
“Of course I love the old man!” you hear your father’s sister, Miriam Vaz, crying in protest. “Would I bother trying to spare him these… These EMBARASSMENTS if I didn’t? I’d just take his damn place! You think Prince Rufos wouldn’t rather be dealing with ME than Father?”

“Dear…” you hear the warning in the masculine voice, emanating from the same room.

“Oh please, it was a childhood crush, at least that’s all it was for ME,” she says dismissively. “But… Yes, very well, I’ll not speak of it. “

“Thank you,” Lord Vaz says. “And I well know you care for your Father. I’m simply saying that, well, perhaps he could be better dissuades from these… Headstrong actions, taken without consultation, if he felt you were listening to—”

“I HAVE listened to it all!” she cries. “And for far too long, Odalis. It wasn’t only he who lost a son—I lost my brother, and Mother was never the same afterwards either, and where was he for either of us? In the weeds, with his ‘research’ and his conspiracy theories about damned secret lizardmen!”

There is a pause, and then the Lord asks: “Did you ever give much thought to it? Tow hat actually happened to Hirschel?”

“His girlfriend killed him, took what money he had, and skipped town.”

“And burnt him to death?”

“Don’t YOU start!” she cries. “This entire city is falling to paranoid madness, but if my own husband starts to lose his mind to these mad theories of imminent invasion because of some silly wizard-war, I SWEAR that I shall SCREAM!”

Lord Vaz starts to answer, but it is at this exact juncture that you open the door just a crack. Lady VAz’s back is to you, but the Lord is facing her. He sees you, starts to open his mouth to say something…

>19

…And catches your dagger—your non-magical one, brought from the depths of the earth—in his throat.

Lady Vaz stares in confusion for a moment at her gurgling husband, blood bubbling from his mouth and the new opening just below it. He clutches the dagger, then his eyes roll and he topples. Only then does she turn around, and see you.

She is right: she does scream.

It lasts only a fraction of a second, the smallest and shrillest squeal, before your hand is upon her mouth and your frost dagger in her gut, stabbing again and again. No margin for error—this is a promise, made to the most awesome architects of the Great Design. You shush her as she claws weakly at you, attempts again to cry out.

You lay her body upon the carpet, next to her late husband. Together in death: your aunt, your… Well, technical uncle-through-marriage, you suppose.

‘Aww, babe,’ Irinnile whines. ‘Their souls are—’

‘Not important,’ you say. ‘Efficiency takes precedent.’

Irinnile sulks, so you appease her, promising (without specifics) a later meal.

‘Why not now?’ Irinnile asks, directing you attention to the third aura in the room—the only soul remaining, besides your own.
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>>5238617
You turn, and gaze upon the crib containing the infant. Lady Vaz seems old (despite her youthful face, you know her age from points of reference) to have had only a single child. And such a young one! The human newborn (a female, you think) squirms, whining and wheezing in that peculiar cry of human newborns in early stages of development. Its (her?) motor functions seems scarcely developed, though she grasps at the bars of the crib with ape-like strength, and stares at you with such big, brown eyes.

Slaying her will be, you reflect grimly, like taking lifeblood from a baby.

You advance, stepping closer. This is it: a moment of promise. You’ve slain Lord Yosef’s daughter, as Roth slew his son. You suppose he’s next, once you’re done with him at the farmhouse—he’ll probably think it a blessing, now, knowing he is without any non-Reptilian heir. The Dark Gods will be pleased with his despair, his utter ruination and that of the bloodline of their centuries-old foes…

>“You ARE a good person, Ismena.”

You hesitate, reeling at the sudden, unbidden recollection of Edwin of Engel’s words.

>”Whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve had to do for this, this MISSON of yours… You’re a good person.”

You look at the baby you are about to butcher. Would Edwin still have said that, knowing this is where you were going, what you were doing, when you left his home?

Do you deserve his love, his trust, if you do this thing?

Do you care?
>Kill your infant cousin
>Kill your infant cousin, and feed her soul to your demon
>Spare your infant cousin, and leave this place
>Kidnap your infant cousin, and take her with you
>Write-in
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>>5238618
>Kidnap your infant cousin, and take her with you

Turn her into a proper reptilian.

And I am properly disappointed in y’all’s actions.
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>>5238614
>extended senpai

Fuck my life, how am I supposed to write a ditzy succubimbo with these word filters in my way?
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>>5238618
>Kidnap your infant cousin, and take her with you

aaaaagahghg
fuck
Take her to the farmhouse and have Henzler spay her so she won't have kids. Bloodline technically ended. Child murder avoided.
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>>5238618
>Kill your infant cousin
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>>5238875
>>5238727
>>5238658
You step towards the crib, resting your hand on its side to steady yourself.

‘Not a ton of desire in ‘er,’ Irinnile notes. ‘Well, a bit. For food, mostly, and… Like, her mother, I guess?’

Something about that last bit sentence you heart. You turn towards the two bodies laid out upon the floor, staring at the final, pained expression of Miriam Vaz. Strangely, you think of your mother.

You shake off the feeling, compartmentalize it, focus on the mission before you. It’s too late to turn back! You’ve come this far and now….

Now, that child’s small hand is squeezing yours.

You slowly turn, meeting the human infant’s—your cousin’s—big eyes with your own. She burbles, whines, and squeezes at the air in an odd way. Intuitively (instinctively?) you understand what she wants. You pick her up.

‘Lispy…?’

‘We can’t kill the child.’

Irinnile sighs, and you get the impression of her rolling her eyes and smiling a little.

‘Thought I felt those pregnancy hormones really kickin’ in.’

‘Irinnile…’ you warn.

‘Alright, alright!’ she hastily agrees. ‘But, like… What about the whole “end the Yosef bloodline” thing, or whatever?’

The baby coos, pulling at your hair, and you gently swat her hand away. This merely seems to make her laugh. You sigh, and sheathe your frost dagger, before collecting your other—Unsheathing it from the throat of this infant’s father.

What ARE you going to do with her?
>Have Henzler spay the human infant when she is old enough—there, bloodline ended!
>Have Henzler corrupt the child into a False Deviant—bam, bloodline corrupted beyond recognition!
>Use the [DIVINE FAVOUR] to place the influence of the Dark Gods upon this child, christening her their servant and raising her as a loyal acolyte of their will
>Leave her with the farmers, Gisela and Stefan, with instructions to raise her as their own
>Write-in

And before all that… Is there anything else you wish to attend to, first? After all, today is the day when the city’s elite (well, the surviving members thereof) will join together to discuss the mess you have made of their metropolis. The Archmage yet lives and, when no Yosef shows up, he will no doubt realize what has happened. You have hidden the hard evidence of Reptilian involvement, but the deaths of this family will lend credence to the patriarch’s theories…
>Reach out to Yosef and have him change his plans—he must attend the council meeting to debunk his own beliefs
>Hand off the Vaz Baby [to whom? Please specify] and head this off at the pass—assassinate the Archmage en-route, if you can
>Meet with the Incubus [bring the baby, or no?] and make a deal to have Prince Rufos subvert the security meeting
>With the Yosefs dead, the real threat to the Conspiracy is eliminated; let the rest idly speculate in circles, but you will be long gone to the farmlands
>Write-in
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>>5239080
>Have Henzler spay the human infant when she is old enough
>Have Henzler corrupt the child into a False Deviant—bam, bloodline corrupted beyond recognition!
Both, make her follow our path in the name of Yosefs!
>Hand off the Vaz Baby and head this off at the pass—assassinate the Archmage en-route, if you can
Roth or Albacete. A degenerate agent will do if they're both not available.

Shame Vaz didn't have time to realize Isaac was right.
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>>5239080
>Use the [DIVINE FAVOUR] to place the influence of the Dark Gods upon this child, christening her their servant and raising her as a loyal acolyte of their will
Since we're kinda fulfilling our divine mission on a technicality here it might be best to finally use our favor so it's no longer a technicality.

I can back why not both if no one agrees

>Hand off the Vaz Baby [to whom? Please specify] and head this off at the pass—assassinate the Archmage en-route, if you can
Agatha Young or Zi

Scope out the situation first, if he's too heavily guarded retreating to the farmlands would be best.
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>>5238618
Offset is a cute name for the baby.
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>>5239142
>>5239103
[Looks like a tie game! Any enterprising non-1post ID interested in breaking it?]
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>>5239080
>Have Henzler corrupt the child into a False Deviant—bam, bloodline corrupted beyond recognition!
>If it hasn’t been used up dealing with the Archmage, use the [DIVINE FAVOUR] to place the influence of the Dark Gods upon this child, christening her their servant and raising her as a loyal acolyte of their will
We still have to deal with the Archmage, but I don’t see why we can’t use it on her after everything is dealt with.

>Drop baby off with Zi and finish turning Iri into a Greater Demon with the goblins.
I honestly just want to see what 100% Greater Demon status does to be honest.
>Meet with the Incubus [bring the baby, or no?] and make a deal to have Prince Rufos subvert the security meeting
I think we need a failsafe in place just in case our Archmage assassination goes awry.
>Remember to use Roth’s essence and the Dragon’s essence after this to create a full-fledged Dragonborn.
Just to make sure we become the Mother of Dragons, since we got completely cucked from our Edwin-True-Love Ending by those bullshit nat 20s. Seriously, a principled, if autistic, stance in paranoia and dealing with potential leaks, and it all gets undone by some bullshit luck. Makes an infiltrator want to scream.
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>>5239142
>>5239990
Well if you insist on wasting the Divine Favor that can do anything for, including saving our soul from eternal hell on meaningless shit, why not use it on our kid and instead of aunt's bastard?
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>>5240005
Ehh, maybe we should wait on it.

>>5239080
>>5239990
Just put a freeze on that Divine Favor until after we get our shit cleaned up, that fine?
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>>5239103
>>5239142
>>5239990
>>5240016
>Have Henzler corrupt the child into a False Deviant—bam, bloodline corrupted beyond recognition!
>Hand off the Vaz Baby [Zi] and head this off at the pass—assassinate the Archmage en-route, if you can

[Writing up!]

>>5239990
>Seriously, a principled, if autistic, stance in paranoia and dealing with potential leaks, and it all gets undone by some bullshit luck.

[In fairness, all the nat 20s in the world wouldn't have got you caught if The Infiltrator hadn't left leads unattended to, such as Grey Press publishers who knew her face, or Felman's retinue who didn't get mind-wiped, or tying the attacks to 'Southern Demonists' when she herself employs demons and her fellow Degenerates all had the appearance of southern humans. If your foes had failed the roll, I would have just had them miss some or all of those clues.]
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>>5240183

You briefly toy with the idea of simply marking the child with your <DIVINE FAVOUR>. Surely, to corrupt your Gods’ enemy into a scion of their will would stay their hand against her—and against you?

‘Or, like… You could use that for your own kid instead’ve your sexy aunt’s bastard?’

You rest your hand on your (for now still quiet flat) abdomen. Irinnile raises a point, even if it would be more accurate to call YOUR child the bastard… Not that human silliness such as ‘marriage’ has any meaning to a Reptilian such as yourself. For that matter, the <DIVINE FAVOUR> might yet prove necessary for the last task ahead of you, before you leave Hawksong: the assassination of the Archmage of the Hawksong Mages’ Tower. After all, he is a deadly foe… And your death right now, with your duty to the divine not yet complete, would leave your soul in a precarious position.

‘Keep pumpin’ me up with pacts, and ain’t nobody gonna’ fuck with us down in my hometown!’ Irinnile boasts.

You sense the lack of true confidence behind the words, though. Irinnile may approach Greater Demonhood, but even then, she is a fundamentally weak and simple sort of demon. Her strength ahs been in how you have directed and applied her energies, not raw power, and certainly not status or authority among those true Princes of Demonkind. You resolve to keep the <FAVOUR> in your back pocket, for now.

You consider these options as you trek once more across town. Your energy is waning rapidly by the time you arrive once more in Goblintown, especially as you expend yet more magical energy to bypass the guards and shift shape to that of Zithra.

<WANT: 11>
<Exhaustion penalty: 2>

Time is of the essence, though. The meeting is in a scant few hours, as you understand it, and you hardly relish the idea of having to battle to just the Archmage but the Paladin King, whose reputation (and that of his WINGED gryphon!) proceeds him. No, you must kill your foolish human ancestor’s aracanely-inclined affiliate en route, if you are to stand any chance of extinguishing this threat to the conspiracy once and for all!... And you cannot do that while carrying an infant everywhere.

In fairness to the little mammal, your cousin IS a fairly well-behaved example of her kind. Granted, you have the unfair advantage of being able to apply a glamour to her, as you do so many other humans, but once you stem her panic and confusion, the human child seems content to stare in wide-eyed curiosity at the sights, sounds, and (rather pungent) smells abounding in the goblin-filled slum outside Hawksong’s wall. She giggles and coos at the oftentimes-malformed faces of some of the inhabitants, and reached up to pat at the tusks which now jut from your lower lip, as if fascinated by their sudden growth. It is… Oddly endearing.
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>>5240238
You gingerly push your cousin's tiny, chubby hand back down, and hurry past the stares of goblinoids, and the unspoken question in their eyes ‘what is a half-orc doing with a human baby, and in this part of town?’

“What the FUCK are you doing with a HUMAN baby,” Zi asks, flabberghasted and still rubbing sleep from her eyes, “and WHY IN ALL THE HELLS did you bring it HERE?”

You hold your cousin out to the goblin-girl in outstretched arms, but your green-skinned paramour recoils back as if you had offered her a handful of excrement.

“Uh, thanks Zith, but I already ate,” she says.

“Very funny,” you reply. “I’m sseriousss.”

“And I’m SERIOUSLY not gonna’ look after a humie sprog.”

“It’ss only for a little while,” you assure her. “I’ll be back in a few hoursss, topsss.”

“I haven’t even had any crotch-goblins of my own!’ Zi protests, though as you release the baby she instinctively catches her. “I don’t know the first thing about taking care of a pink kid!”

“I’m ssure that ssome member of your exxxtended family can offer aid,” you say, as cheerfully as you can manage.

The squalid conditions of this place really DON’T seem ideal for a human child, but the family structure of goblins DOES offer a lot of opportunity for competent caregivers. And anyway…

“I have ssent word to my min—to ssome other alliesss, humanss from the farmland. If I am… Waylaid… They will be by to retrieve the child.”

Indeed, you did send such a message, relayed through Henzler via your ectoplasmic link. A pair of your past-bound patsies are already on the way to retrieve the child, and to deliver her up to the Head Chimercist (possibly Archmage, soon) so that she can work her magic. If you cannot mark the child as one of the Chosen with a <DIVINE FAVOUR>, well…. Perhaps enmeshing her bloodline with that of the Master Race will suffice? After all, you yourself are a Reptilian Yosef, and the Dark Gods spared you, didn’t they?

"What is this even ABOUT?" the goblin demands. "WHY do you have a human kid?"

"She's... My cousssin," you say truthfully, leaving out the other details. "Her parentss are otherwisse disspossed, but a job came up, and I can't look after her jusst now."

Zi grumbles and pouts, but is helpless to say no to her. You reward her with a kiss, and her knees wobble and her resistance melts away.
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>>5240241
‘You know… Maybe we could find another babysitter and, like, give Greenie a proper “reward”?’ Irinnile amorously suggests.

The notion occurs to you as well, if only to replenish your energies… But no. The <WANT> is still relatively subdued. There’s no time, either, to work out and form the pacts necessary to make Irinnile a true Greater Demon—goblins are greedy, suspicious creatures, wont to haggle and debate terms, and you have already wasted so much time transporting your tiny human relative across town. Your green-skinned lover and your aunt’s wide-eyed spawn watch you go, as you depart Goblintown once more. Now, the REAL work begins.

Thanks to your invasion of Lord Yosef’s mind, you know where ethe meeting is to take place, and when. Moreover, you know who will be in attendance, if all goes as planned—well, aside from Yosef’s own absence. The Archmage intends to meet with Paladin King Archos, Prince Rufos, the Paladins’ Knight-Commander, the head of the Tower Guardians and Tower Inquisition, with the heads of four prominent and well-established noble households, the Commander of the City Guard, and the Portmaster of the city’s docks (also de facto master of the city’s trade more broadly).

He and Yosef had discussed how they might prove their theory, as well: he will have the Glasses of True Sight with him, and your exorcised ex-puppet, and several mages who they have together vetted, and who have been investigating and identifying possible Reptilian assets. Once they get the go-ahead, IF they get the go-ahead, they plan is to arrange a task-force assembled of Paladins, Inquisitors, Guardsmen, and legal-officers to move against your known pawns and associates, to capture and interrogate them, and to use the glasses to search them (and anyone in their orbit) for signs of demonic possession or fundamental inhumanity. Of course, you’ve cleared the board of all ACTUAL Reptilians, and even of your ectoplasmic pawns… But that was a temporary measure. To allow their return, and the resumption of your subversive activities in this city, a more PERMANENT solution must now be devised.

How will you attempt to assassinate the archmage?
>Head straight for his office, ascend the tower, unweave his wards, and kill him before the rest of his entourage can arrive
>Lay in wait on a rooftop along his route and, when he exits his carriage, attempt to assassinate him from a distance and abscond
>Summon a demon to lay in wait in his carriage, and hope that its sudden appearance and assault mortally wounds one or more of the mages inside
>Arrive early where this meeting is to be held, in shifted shape, and use your suicide-poison to engineer an ‘accident’
>Write-in

In deference to missing an update, have a huge-ass one instead!
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>>5240242
>Find and mesmerize some thugs, make them jump the Archmage in his carriage while you watch from afar and make sure he doesn't get away.
Tell em to prioritize cutting off any and all amulets :>
He's probably ready for one or couple of attackers, mind magic and all the demonic stuff. Let's use our talents to overwhelm him instead of putting our neck on the line.

>>5240183
>Grey Press publishers who knew her face
I knew this was a fuckup back then, but what was I supposed to do? Magically convince anons to shiv both those motherfuckers in the open and then try to cover up their disappearance? It was rigged from the start and I just hoped for the best at that point. If it wasn't rigged, then idk how could we have solved it.
Besides, with enough 20s in OUR favor, we'd learn all the witnesses got ran over by a horse on their way back home. Simple as.
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>>5240250
[Sorry you feel it's a rigged game, anon. It's not, but I'm sad to hear that it's your impression of events. I feel I've actually been pretty forgiving in how I've QMed, and I hope you've enjoyed the ride either way.]
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>>5240255
I mean, my goal was always covering our tracks and not leaving loose ends. You should know it by now, heh.
But yeah, I remember that one situation felt like it didn't have an easy solution. It was also before we started properly using shapeshifting. And then I realized the rolls had more weight than my autism.
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>>5240271
[I suppose there's no shame in telling you guys now, but the "right answer" (if your objective was to play a maximally-efficient superspy) was to use disguises and not just pseudonyms, or to assassinate anyone who can tie your true identity to false ones.

Alternatively, you could perhaps just never form human attachments at all (or with anyone who wasn't already on-board with your mission) so you had fewer liabilities and loose ends. That's arguably a less interesting quest, though.

There are lots of other ways the quest could have gone, with "better", "worse" or just DIFFERENT results. I can do a post-mortem at the end if people want.]
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>>5240285
>assassinate anyone who can tie your true identity to false ones
So I was always right. Expected, but still feels weird after being called paranoid and getting on edge trying to stab people so they don't talk.
>just never form human attachments at all
You're running a quest for a bunch of humans, don't expect them to not get distracted, horny and attached. I am the only one antisocial enough to want to skip all the emotional/relationship shit and stick to the quest stuff, and even I have characters I like and want around, like the khajiits and goblins. Edwin was fine, but I really didn't like the romance aspect.
Also good job, you write characters so human that I felt bad when Ismena's aunt was killed. That conversation she had was too real.
>I can do a post-mortem
I'd like that. Spent quite a few threads wondering how things looked behind the scenes exactly.

Sorry for being a sperg recently. At this point I'm just screening the eggfuckery and focusing on the nice writing while pretending all the bad and unresolved things, like "doomed soul despite us just having to split with demon to fix it, jesus christ what makes those people think it would be a downgrade?" and "chika burning in hell forever" and "what happened to TPK", don't exist. I also liked Chika purely because of her name and being a fellow degenerate on the bottom of the reptilian chain.
/blog
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>>5240371
>stick to the quest stuff

[Anon, the romance and egg stuff is also part of the quest. There's a reason I put "right answer" in quotes. I am happy with how the quest developed. Surprised, but happy. Thank you for the kind words!]
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>>5240242
I can back the thug crew.

Might need to sate some want after that mezzing tho

I'd also be down for the poison - it's reptilian, right? might get past his poison detection spells due to unfamiliarity.

Also as for saving our soul from hell, didn't we have a soul coin saved to use? Pretty sure we heard Chika suffered and were like "lmao we can save you but we'd rather save us if necessary"

I just don't really want to finish everything Divine Favor still unspent. Using it on the kid seemed fitting to me narratively.
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>>5240242
>Ectoplasm a bunch of mook mages, and commence with the Zapp Brannigan strategy of dealing with threats
>Summon a demon (the savage Desmond) to lay in wait in his carriage, and hope that its sudden appearance and assault mortally wounds one or more of the mages inside
And as an insurance
>Ectoplasm a noble to take the suicide-poison and create an ‘accident’ the the Archmage if all else fails
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>>5240469
It’s supposed to be the savage demon, not Desmond! Damnit autocorrect!
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>>5240250
Can back this.

Don’t use thugs though - mesmerise a squad of guardsmen.

They’ll have actual weaponry and the authority to stop the carriage under the pretence of a ‘search’

Once they go for the kill when the Archmage is out in the open, we need to be ready nearby to sneak attack him while his attention is focused on the other attackers.

Also is Roth around? And the reinforcements we requested?

We should gather as our own hit squad to compliment the attack. We have one shot at this
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Rolled 10, 3, 19, 5, 16 = 53 (5d20)

>>5240781
>>5240469
>>5240459
>>5240250
You want to do everything possible to guarantee a success, obviously. If you could, you’d mesmerize and ectoplasmically puppeteer a whole battalion of guards, summon a demon, call Reptilian reinforcements, and poison the meal of these high-status humans for good measure!...

But you can’t. You have already spent hours traveling to Goblintown and back. Time is of the essence, if you’re to deal with the Archmage before he arrives and blows the proverbial whistle on your entire operation, spoiling possibly CENTURIES of infiltration. Frankly, you’re not even certain that you’ll be able to round up a sufficiently well-armed and well-trained gaggle of goons in time. Where does one find, even in the seediest parts of a metropolis this size, a small army of men-at-arms, capable of detaining and slaying an official on short notice? Hells, it’s broad daylight!

‘Then why not do, like, one of the other things?’ Irinnile asks.

‘We have not been here long enough for the Serpent priests to seed the city with new assets, and all EXISTING assets have just been ordered into hiding by Alabcete and ourselves,’ you say. ‘If the Archmage reaches the dinner in his current state of high-alert, who is to say he will not check his drink and dinner for poison by some magical means before consuming it?’

‘Right, right,’ Irinnile mutters. ‘An’ he knows all about how you use demons for dirty wor, so he’ll be ready for th’ likes a’ me or any of those asshoels from th’ Akashic Record.’

You both go silent.

>Don’t use thugs though - mesmerise a squad of guardsmen

‘What about th’ guards?’ Irinnile asks. ‘We already got two of ‘em all perma-thralled, right?’

And by the Dark Gods, Irinnile is RIGHT!

‘You don’t gotta’ act so surprised,’ she mumbles, sound almost hurt.

Tomas and Levier, the city guards, are still enthralled to you, by dint of some especially-good mesmerism. You can’t reach out to them across any sort of ectoplasmic link, but you know their beats, and you know the location of the Guardhouse—you were an exotic dancer there, on one occasion, after all! Why search all over town, assembling a posse of pawns piecemeal and finding them armour and arms, when you can waylay one of your existing assets, and through him acquire some of the city’s own professional thugs to do your bidding?
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Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5240893
It is a masterstroke. You find Tomas in almost no time—in addition to knowing his beat well enough from your previous dealings and mental infiltrations, you can hardly fail to spot the tall man in a crowd. No sooner do you lock eyes with him than he is yours again, hurrying to you as if pulled by an unseen force—which, appropriately, is exactly what’s happening to the hapless thrall. You ahven’t seen hide or hair of him since you sued him and Levier to restrain Felman while you seized his own senses, and yet even now, he remains your obedient plaything.

Tomas leads you to the guard-hall, and from there…

>19

…Well, between you and the ever-more-powerful Irinnile, it is a simple matter to ‘convert’ a half-dozen guards to your way of thinking, including Tomas and Levier. You have already sewed resentment in their ranks on past visits, and Magus Auctor Federigo’s report has damaged even un-glamoured guardsmen’s opinion of the venerable Mages’ Tower. From that half dozen mesmerized recuits, you raise a mob of fifteen men, ready to (as one guard puts it) “hold the damned Archmage accountable for illegal torture, mutilation, mutation, and demonic endangerment of the good, common folk of Hawksong!”

Best of all: these men have carriages, allowing they (and you) to cross town to the Tower most expediently, bypassing checkpoints all the way. It is precious time, once squandered and now saved, AND an excuse to rest your weary feet. You’d forgotten what a difference this method of travel made, even BEFORE checkpoints impeded you every step of the way!

<Exhaustion penalties: reduce by 1>

Three carriages, each fully-loaded with equipped and trained guardsmen, arrive at the Tower just as the Archmage’s own carriage is setting off. It’s impossible to miss: it’s pulled by two horned horses, its uncanny blue-black paintjob iridescent in a way mundane materials cannot be, and the Tower’s owl-and-bear crest is stamped proudly on the side. Despite all these fantastical accoutrement, it cannot simply bypass a barricade of policemen’s sideways-turned carts, and it is forced to draw to an early and abrupt halt.

“What is the meaning of this?!” demands the black-capped mage driving the Archmage’s conveyance.

“Send out the Archmage!” Levier cries out sanctimoniously, at your urging, and a dozen shouts fo agreement ring out from the neighbouring carts.

“W-what?” the mage asks, paling. “By what right do you…”

“He is under arrest,” Levier asserts, “in the name of the good and honest, hard-working, REGULAR people of this city!”

“You can’t!” protests another mage—an Inquisitor, by the red-capped head which leans out of the carriage. “The City Guard has NO authority over the Tower. This is Inquisition business, idiot—step aside, or we’ll blow you to smithereens with a fireball!”

[Low DC 25, High DC 50, Total Victory 90]
>>
Rolled 7, 10, 18, 1, 13 = 49 (5d20)

>>5240911
You almost laugh aloud at that predictable, arrogant response, uttered so unthinkingly by the agent of the Inquisition at such a precarious and paranoid time, with hostilities high and trust at a great deficit. You had thought to spur the action to riotous proportions with a twitch of your mesmeric influence, but this fool of a wizard created ready-made outrage without even your urging! Insults and agitations to violence rise up without your intervention, and when the guards advance…

Well, the mage doesn’t quite make good on his threat, but he and his fellows are quick (too quick) to sling more subdued spells. Unfortunately, it is misconstrued; while YOU can make out gestures mend for a binding spell such as the ever-popular ‘Hold Person’, the ill-educated guardsmen merely see a man who threatened to ignite them with magical fire waving his hands and chanting.

Someone fires a crossbow.

An Inquisitor dies.

A pall falls over everyone.

THEN, you send the psychic push.

“They’re resisting!” Tomas bellows. “They’re gonna’ kill us all! GET THEM!”

What follows is chaos. The mages are still taken aback at first, granting guardsmen precious time. The man in the black cap is bashed in the face by a shield and, while he raises his own Mage’s Shield in defence, he is battered around its edges by cudgels until he is unconscious—maybe worse. Only then do the other Inquisitors fling themselves from the carriage and begin properly deploying their arcane ordnance… But a spell-caster, in close-quarters with over a dozen men? Oh, they fell more than their fair share—you see guards baking in their armoured shells like lobsters, screaming and burning with a sickly simmer, one man frozen solid and shattered upon the ground as momentum flings him backwards and scatters him across the cobblestones—but the Inquisitors are swiftly overwhelmed. Two more die. A third is slammed face-first into the pavement, hands behind his back, a knee on his spine. He tries to cast a spell without somatic components—or maybe just to negotiate a ceasefire, but that’s not how it is interpreted—and an armoured boot swiftly kicks in his teeth and silenced his unknown utterance.

Irinnile claps her hands giddily at the show, squealing in delight. You are somewhat more reserved, of course, but you well understand the sentiment.

…But then you see it. Or rather, you DON’T. The carriage is empty… But there is no Archmage. Not inside, not outside. Not alive, not dead. He's NOWHERE.

Where the fuck is he?!
>>
>>5240922
>18

Luckily, even in your panic, you know hat to do. You think back to your library study dates with Edwin, sweet Edwin. You reflect on what you learned from the Akashic Record, and what you have taught yourself of magic which affects perception. You close your eyes, calm yourself, focus your ‘third eye’… And look again.

‘There!’ Irinnile cries out.

You see it—you see HIM. Well, a glimmer of magic, moving hurriedly away from the confused melee. Illusion, and a ward against demonic detection and influence besides! He’s using some sort of invisibility spell, or an item bequeathing such!

“Clever old man,” you say under your breath. “But it’ss not enough.”

What do you do?
>Cloak yourself, imitating his spellcraft and following him unseen until you can get close and stab him [stealth, melee, bonus roll for arcane study/illusion to see if you learn Invisibility]
>Attempt to dispel his magic with your own, revealing him to the angry mob of guardsmen [arcane study, warding magic]
>Aim and throw your dagger, hoping it will strike true and end this now [ranged combat]
>Shout a warning—he can drop his feeble illusion and face you, or die like a dog [intimidation]
>Write-in
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>>5240934
>Aim and throw your dagger, hoping it will strike true and end this now [ranged combat]
Forgot all about those old guys, that worked out super well. Now to avoid trying to outmagic the Archmage.
>>
>>5240934
>Cloak yourself, imitating his spellcraft and following him unseen until you can get close and stab him [stealth, melee, bonus roll for arcane study/illusion to see if you learn Invisibility]

We’re not great at warding or throwing daggers. We are very good at melee and stealth

That suggestion to use guardsmen paid off better than I could have ever hoped
>>
>>5240934
>Cloak yourself, imitating his spellcraft and following him unseen until you can get close and stab him [stealth, melee, bonus roll for arcane study/illusion to see if you learn Invisibility]
>Attempt to dispel his magic with your own, revealing him to the angry mob of guardsmen [arcane study, warding magic]
>>
>>5240934
>Cover your face of shapeshift a mask
Guardsmen know who we are, but we should still avoid getting seen by potential bystanders.
>Attempt to dispel his magic with your own, revealing him to the angry mob of guardsmen [arcane study, warding magic]
Siccing the dogs on him will help our narrative.

>>5240422
"Quest stuff" as in logical/gamey aspects of the whole thing. I did overlook the fact that even romance had mechanics, tho. Still, socializing is not my area of interest.
>>5240459
>divine favor
I think we should use it on something grand to maximize the impact (like aiding our Reptilian cause, helping to break Irinnile's association with). Pretty sure we'll know when last votes roll in and will be able to spend it if we feel like it, so using it now isn't necessary.
That said, I think RQM did say that not spending Divine Favor for the whole quest would have some effect as well. >>5240285 please correct me if I remembered wrong.

So, uh... I just realized this egg will continue Yosefs' bloodline. Please reconsider going full reptilian and then getting another one..?
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>>5241248
>So, uh... I just realized this egg will continue Yosefs' bloodline.

Hey, if the Dark Gods really gave us that Mother-of-Dragonborns dream, I’ll take that as permission to fully corrupt the Yosef line into the Reptilian Conspiracy. And if the Dark Gods themselves don’t want it, we can always self-abort as needed.
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>>5241272
Well, why not just do it now, anon? I just want to get things right from beginning to the end rather than get into endless spiral of assumptions x.x
Wouldn't purging yosefs blood from ourself be considered kino anyway?
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>>5241275
Eh, I’ll think about it. Besides, it might not matter anyway. We might not survive the encounter with that Archmage.
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>>5241278
Nah he's going DOWN. He's an old prick and would aid his band of virgins if he could, instead of running like a coward.
>>
Rolled 12, 9, 14, 6, 5, 20, 13, 19, 14, 12, 11, 18, 4 = 157 (13d20)

>>5241003
>>5241240