You are Noel Tiberius di Hazaran, formerly the Seventh-ranked warrior in the shadowy Organization. But that life is behind you now, after surviving what was for lack of a more accurate description a suicide mission that set you against two of the strongest monsters in the world. Many of your group did not survive, and those who did have collected in your ancestral stronghold in the mountains of Hazaran.But right now, you’re more concerned with the present task before you: helping the young warrior Lucia to grow into a warrior who can better keep up with her stronger and more experienced comrades.“It can be difficult to learn a new technique,” you admit to her, “depending on the technique and the warrior concerned it can be more so or less so. Where I might struggle to get high-speed sheathing correct Valentina or Serana or Helen could get it right the first time. But once you have the muscle memory built it becomes near-instinctive.”“I remember something that I heard Zoe say once,” Lucia muses, considering your words carefully. “She said that ‘mastery’ is just the result of having done something ten thousand times.”“It’s the same principle,” you nod. “Only the thing is, if you do something incorrectly ten thousand times all it does is ensure that you will never be able to correct yourself.”“So you have to get it right in the first place,” Lucia simplifies your words. “That makes sense. So your problem is that you don’t feel you’ve gotten the sheathing movement right yet?”You nod. “It’s one thing to do a simple movement faster, but I’ve found that approach is really inefficient and difficult to control. A lot of energy is wasted when you flail around like that.”“So it’s a matter of finding a movement that uses the least possible force and moves the blade as little as possible?”“That’s right,” you confirm. “I haven’t really found that I need a technique like what I have in mind, so I’ve left it as something of a low priority. But I still find myself considering some possible modifications to the basic principle, from time to time.”“So, you said that some techniques are harder for some warriors to learn?” she changes the topic.You were wondering when she would pursue that line of reasoning “I did, yes.”“What sort of techniques do you think would ‘suit me’, Noel?” she asks.That may be the first time she’s called you by name, when you pause to think about it. Does that mean she’s growing a bit friendlier towards you? Pushing that question aside, do you even know enough about Lucia to answer her question?>It’s impossible to say. I really haven’t gotten that good a feel for your fighting style just yet.>From what I’ve seen you improved your parrying very quickly. That might be something to improve on.>I could try teaching you a few tricks and see what you pick up on most readily. Other than that I’d be at a loss.>Other?
>>3567110>It’s impossible to say. I really haven’t gotten that good a feel for your fighting style just yet.>I could try teaching you a few tricks and see what you pick up on most readily.
>>3567110>It’s impossible to say. I really haven’t gotten that good a feel for your fighting style just yet.
>>3567141>>3567110This seems good
>>3567110>>It’s impossible to say. I really haven’t gotten that good a feel for your fighting style just yet.>>I could try teaching you a few tricks and see what you pick up on most readily. Other than that I’d be at a loss.
>>3567110>It’s impossible to say. I really haven’t gotten that good a feel for your fighting style just yet.>I could try teaching you a few tricks and see what you pick up on most readily. Other than that I’d be at a loss.
>>3567110“I can’t say for sure,” you admit. “I don’t know enough about your abilities yet, but I suppose I could have you do a few training exercises. See if I can figure out which of them you do the best at, and use that to suggest your own training regimen.”“You’d do that for me?” she asks.You nod, unclasping the outer layer of your outfit and tossing it aside so that you can lay on one of two padded mats in the center of the room. “Sure. We’re comrades after all… if we don’t look out for each other, no one will. And I couldn’t sleep well if I knew my comrades weren’t getting the best support they could given our circumstances.”“For you, that means helping you develop your abilities.”As Lucia takes the most comfortable spot against a wall that you can find, she makes one final observation for the evening. “No wonder you and Zoe get along.”>1/2
>>3569313The next morning you meet with Vigilus at the gate, who passes you a small amulet on a fine golden chain.WHAT’S THIS?Vigilus responds first by gesturing for you to put the amulet around your neck, which you do.UNMISTAKEABLE SIGN THAT YOU’VE EARNED OUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.You glance down at the amulet, turning it between your fingertips. It’s clearly been struck like a coin between two hand-carved dies. One is an intricate design centering around a double-cross of the twin Goddesses Clare and Teresa, with a lion and unicorn rampent to the sides. But on the reverse side is a simpler design, that of a simple raised emblem surrounded by a laurel crown.MY EMBLEM?Vigilus nods. INDEED IT IS.WHY?BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS THAT DAY, he explains. WHILE YOUR FRIEND SERANA IS LOVELY AS WELL, SHE DID NOT SAVE US FROM A YŌMA.I SEE.Vigilus smiles, and gestures widely before signing to you. GO IN PEACE, CLAYMORES.You bow, and Lucia does the same. Then you take your leave, wandering back along the road. You make good progress before the sun dips low.“Here,” you insist, stepping off the main path. “As promised.”“We’re training here?” Lucia asks excitedly.You nod once. “Yup, that’s right. Now, what should I subject you to...”>Explain to her the categories of techniques, and see if she is better at athletic abilities or yōki abilities.>Explain all of the baseline abilities, then test her power, speed, yōki output, and intelligence as best you can.>Try showing her some practical applications, see which ones she does best at recreating.>Other?
>>3569355>>Explain to her the categories of techniques, and see if she is better at athletic abilities or yōki abilities.
>>3569355>Explain all of the baseline abilities, then test her power, speed, yōki output, and intelligence as best you can.
>>3569355>>Explain all of the baseline abilities, then test her power, speed, yōki output, and intelligence as best you can.better start with the basics, that might show which parts she should at least shore up and which she can build upon more easily
>>3569355>>Try showing her some practical applications, see which ones she does best at recreating.
>>3569355When did we kill a YOMA for Vigilus?Wasn't it a human that was a bandit?Or are we talking about the Guard captain that had a little sister who was eaten by a yoma then impersonated her?
>>3569385>or are we talking about the Guard captain that had a little sisterThis. Dealing with the bandit is something that Vigilus largely keeps mum, because it's still a Claymore fighting a human so it'd be a divisive event to most people.But he also recognizes that Noel dealt with a youma in the city below, basically on the monastery's doorstep.
>>3569355>>Explain all of the baseline abilities, then test her power, speed, yōki output, and intelligence as best you can.
>>3569355>baselineBut make sure she diagnoses herself well, thats the first step to finding something you like and do well enough to get good at.
>>3569355“Well,” you sigh, “I guess I need to ask what your baselines are… not that I expect you to know. Hell, I don’t even know what the Organization thought of me, in the end.”“Baselines?” Lucia asks curiously. “What do you mean by that?”“The Organization has seen countless warriors like ourselves,” you explain. “No one knows quite how many. And over the decades they have learned to evaluate the abilities of the warriors they create and train, assigning them rankings which ultimately reflect their total combat potential. These are all reckoned without yōki augmentation, of course, so they don’t tell the full story.”“Those baselines are six… yōki reserves, agility, physical strength, mental ability, sensory ability, and leadership ability.”“Why is this the first time I’ve heard about any of that!?” Lucia demands.“It’s not a broadly known aspect of the Organization’s structure, unlike type determination,” you clarify, accounting for the paucity of information you can share with her compared to how much must exist. “I had to needle and browbeat my former handler into sharing any details about it with me, so even I don’t know much beyond the basics.”“So, you don’t know what my ‘baselines’ might be?” she asks.You shake your head. “Only that they’re lower than mine.”Lucia huffs at you. “Well, that’s lovely.”“The way it was explained to me is that each warrior’s baselines are given a letter rank,” you quickly add. “With ‘A’ normally being the highest and ‘E’ being the lowest, completely unremarkable. For a single-digit the bare minimum expectation is no score lower than a ‘C’ and most being ‘A’s or ‘B’s.”“… and low-ranking warriors?” Lucia asks tentatively.You pause, trying to come up with a diplomatic way of phrasing it. “The average is a ‘C’, and most warriors in the middle ranks usually have one or two abilities that are slightly higher along with one or two that are slightly lower.”“Lower-ranked warriors usually have correspondingly lower baselines,” you admit. “Were I to guess based solely on your ranking and sparring with you a few times, I would say...">1/2
>>3571089>3d10, best of four
Rolled 1, 2, 10 = 13 (3d10)>>3571095
Rolled 9, 9, 5 = 23 (3d10)>>3571095
Rolled 3, 10, 6 = 19 (3d10)>>3571095
Rolled 6, 5, 10 = 21 (3d10)>>3571095
>>3571095Lucia hangs on your verdict.“Your strongest assets are probably your agility and yōki sensing, which can’t possibly be above a ‘C’. Your other abilities were likely rated as ‘D’ by the Organization.”She hangs her head, unable or unwilling to speak.“The upside is that I can’t say I find it likely you have any skills rated an ‘E’, so that’s good,” you continue. “Even if it’s not the answer you wanted to hear, you’re far from hopeless.”After a few moments, Lucia pushes one last question. “If you had to guess your own...”“My only ‘C’ would be my strength,” you admit. “At least that’s my guess… my own yōki reserves definitely feel lower than any single-digit I’ve met, more fitting a double-digit. So that would be a ‘B’ at best. But my agility and sensing are definitely ‘A’ rated.”“And your mental abilities?”“Probably another ‘B’,” you shrug. “I’m still prone to making rash decisions where my comrades are concerned, and my emotions can get the better of me.”“Zoe mentioned something about control...” Lucia begins, and you nod in agreement.“Many warriors with larger reserves of yōki need to be more judicious in how they use it, to the point where some special techniques don’t use it at all. They develop reasonably good control out of necessity… however my control has always been high. If I had to guess I would say my control over my yōki exceeds the highest rank normally possible… an ‘S’ or ‘Special’ rank that makes me more comparable to an Abyssal One than a half-blood warrior.”“Because of your mother...”You nod. “Yes. I’d say our half-awakened comrades have improved control over their yōki usage as well, beyond even their own awareness.”>I would recommend developing speed-based abilities. That’s your natural strong point.>You can still strengthen your body and sharpen your mind. Bring those up to standard first.>The stopgap is to use your yōki to improve on your baselines until you train them sufficiently.>Other?
>>3571163>>The stopgap is to use your yōki to improve on your baselines until you train them sufficiently.
>>3571163>The stopgap is to use your yoki to improve your baselines until you train them sufficiently.
>>3571163>I would recommend developing speed-based abilities. That’s your natural strong point.
>>3571163>You can still strengthen your body and sharpen your mind. Bring those up to standard first.
>>3571163>>You can still strengthen your body and sharpen your mind. Bring those up to standard first.
>>3571163>>You can still strengthen your body and sharpen your mind. Bring those up to standard first.I'm always in favor of a decent baseline before attempting to specialize.
>>3571163“What I would do is work to bring your physical abilities and mental acuity up to parity at least with Sabrina’s ability,” you suggest. “Which will be a moving target, as she should be focusing on narrowing the gap with the rest of us.”“And how do you propose I do that?” Lucia demands.“There is only one way,” you inform her, gripping your hand tightly. “Our bodies are magnificent, literal works of living art. Capable of extreme exertion with little maintenance and caloric input, all vastly beyond the range of human variation.”You’ve considered her question before, and the answer is something counter-intuitive to most half-blooded warriors. It’s often believed that your yōki is what makes you special, but in fact there’s something deeper.“It isn’t our yōki,” you explain, “but those bodies adapted to the presence of yōki within them, that are our greatest combat asset. After, naturally, the ability to sniff out a yōma using our yōki sensing.”Lucia stares at you in confusion, having taken a seat at the base of a tree. “How’s that? I thought that our rankings were even loosely based of yōki measurements?”“They partly are,” you admit, “but I figured there must be a reason our baselines are calculated without the effects of yōki manipulation. Consider it this way, with a sword there is one way to make it more effective: to improve the properties of the way in which you strike with it. But with White Fist, both improving the yōki output and improving the physical aspects of my fighting ability lead to improvements in the result.”“I’m not following you,” Lucia admits with a frown.“As a warrior, you have combat potential drawn from your yōki utilization,” you continue. “And you have combat potential based on your speed, your strength, and the way you think and analyze your way through an engagement. You can use yōki to achieve some flashy results, but without matching improvements in your physical abilities you’re only getting half as much improvement as you could…”“Like coming up with a flashy sword technique,” Lucia realizes. “It’s still down to swinging the same sword.”You nod emphatically. “That’s it exactly!”“So you’re implying that the best way for me and Sabrina to train would be to stop using yōki?” Lucia continues.>And we can start sparring at dawn. This is gonna be fun!>Let’s find you a yōma to kill. No better way to train than a live exercise!>The best part is we don’t even have to spar for me to put you through Hell.>Other?
>>3573148>>The best part is we don’t even have to spar for me to put you through Hell.HOWEVER>And we can start sparring at dawn. This is gonna be fun!NO PAINOGAIN
>>3573154>>3573148>And we can start sparring at dawn. This is gonna be fun!i knew it was only a question of time for this to come up
>>3573148>And we can start sparring at dawn. This is gonna be fun!
>>3573148>>And we can start sparring at dawn. This is gonna be fun!If Noel doesn't clap her hands beside her head like a cute noble girl Imma riot
>>3573148>>The best part is we don’t even have to spar for me to put you through Hell.HELL WEEK BABY
>>3573148>Let’s find you a yōma to kill. No better way to train than a live exercise!
>>3573148>>3573154In with this guy
>>3573148>>3573154I'm with you, buddy
>>3573154>>3573185> Y E S> E> S
>>3573148>>The best part is we don’t even have to spar for me to put you through Hell.
>>3573148>3d10, best of four
Rolled 10, 6, 7 = 23 (3d10)>>3574662
Rolled 10, 4, 8 = 22 (3d10)>>3574662
Rolled 9, 1, 10 = 20 (3d10)>>3574662
Rolled 3, 9, 2 = 14 (3d10)>>3574662
>>3574662“I have some bad news for you,” you tell Lucia cheerfully, clapping your hands together. “This is gonna be fun!”She glances at you with obvious concern. “Why would that be bad...”“… for me,” you interrupt. “I’m going to have a lot fun running you ragged.”You find a nearby clearing, and draw a small circle in the dirt with the tip of your sword. Then you set aside your sword, gesturing for Lucia to do the same.“Here’s how this is going to work,” you tell her. “I’m going to close my eyes and stand within this circle. When you can land a hit on me I’ll consider you ready for the next step.”“When I can hit you?” Lucia repeats. “With your eyes closed.”“Yes.”“And you can’t dodge,” she repeats.“Only within this circle.”There’s a long pause. “What’s the catch?”“Attack me and you’ll see.”You take two steps, and find yourself in the center of the circle. Then you close your eyes, and slowly reach out to gesture for Lucia to attack you.>1/2
>>3574747It’s actually easy at first.You sidestep, counterpunch, and occasionally respond with a joint lock or a throw that sends Lucia tumbling out of your little circular territory. Within approximately the reach of your arm, you are the sole sovereign and authority.It feels like it must have been a hundred tries before Lucia doesn’t come again. You open your eyes to find that the sun has set, and Lucia is kneeling in the clearing panting.After a few seconds, you step out of your circle. “I’ll build a fire.”“I can keep going...” Lucia protests.“Resting is as important as effort during intensive training,” you remind her. “Surely Zoe has told you that.”The moon has risen by the time you return to find Lucia leaning against her sword at the edge of the clearing. You quickly set a fire near her, set amid a few rounded fist-sized stones, and hand her a few plants you collected while you were fetching wood. A few edible mushrooms, some yarrow and burdock, and a handful of wild carrots.“Eat,” you insist, leaning against your own sword. “You need to recover your strength for tomorrow.”“I’m not...”The show of bravado is cut short by Lucia’s traitorous stomach, rumbling audibly in the middle of her denial.“… hand me a carrot.”>Advise her to get some rest, you move out tomorrow.>Advise her to get some rest, you resume training tomorrow and will continue until she makes progress.>Make a few suggestions for suppressing her yōki.>Other?
>>3574863>Advise her to get some rest, you resume training tomorrow and will continue until she makes progress>Tomorrow, we're going to do it while walking to our destination.
>>3574863>Advise her to get some rest, you resume training tomorrow and will continue until she makes progress.
>>3574863>>Make a few suggestions for suppressing her yōki.
>>3574874>>3574863BUCKLE UP, BUTTERCUP!
>>3574863>Make a few suggestions for suppressing her yōki.Gonna need to be sneaking around soon. Including other claymores, including the new ones they will be rolling out in a month or a year.
>>3574863“Take some rest,” you advise her calmly. “We’ll continue in the morning as we travel.”Lucia doesn’t argue, and practically passes out that instant. You however remain awake for several more hours, munching on some sorrel and watching the fire die low. Occasionally you throw a branch or a clump of fragrant herbs that cast a sweet-smelling smoke around the clearing.>3d10, best of four
Rolled 3, 5, 10 = 18 (3d10)>>3577238
Rolled 10, 10, 5 = 25 (3d10)>>3577238
Rolled 7, 5, 1 = 13 (3d10)>>3577238
Rolled 3, 4, 1 = 8 (3d10)>>3577238
>>3577238In the morning, you wake early and heft your sword over your shoulder and gently rouse Lucia.“We’re moving out,” you insist quietly. “If we’re going to move and train we need to start early and walk into the night.”“Awright,” she yawns, stretching her arms wide. “Alright, let’s do it.”You continue walking, until the sun has come up a little further into the sky. When you cross a bubbling stream on a narrow bridge, you stop midway. Seeing no travelers coming from either direction, you draw your sword.“Come,” you order, taking a solid midline stance. “Without yōki. When you can keep your yōki suppressed to my satisfaction while still moving you may pass.”You don’t need to tell her twice. She comes at you immediately, and you parry easily before knocking her backwards. “Your yōki is still palpable. If you’re going to really train your body you need to suppress it even further.”She attacks a second time, and a third time, with little progress to speak of. Eventually you lower your blade.“You feel frustrated, don’t you?” you ask her.“Of course I do!” she snaps for a moment, before glancing down. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”You walk towards her, guiding her by the shoulder. “Your response told me what I needed to know. Come here.”There’s a small highland grove near the bridge in which you take a seat before speaking to her again.“Please sit.”She does as you request. “What now?”“What I want you to do is let your eyes relax,” you instruct her. “Focus on your breathing… four seconds in, hold it for four seconds, four seconds out, wait for four seconds, repeat.”“How many times do I...”“Until I tell you to do something different,” you interrupt. “Focus on your breathing. Focus on nothing except for your breathing.”>2/3
>>3577315You let her continue doing this for some time, before you speak again.“Now focus on your body,” you instruct her. “Be aware of muscular tension in your arms, in your back, in your neck. Tense each muscle group in turn, familiarize yourself with that sensation, then relax.”You give her several more minutes to follow those instructions before issuing a new set. “Now focus entirely on your yōki. It isn’t just something that appears from nowhere, it comes from within your body and suffuses your body. Even now you can feel it, right?”She nods, but says nothing.“Now, release your yōki through parts of your body where you feel tension,” you continue. “Then relax again. Familiarize yourself with how each state feels differently, between your natural basic yōki usage in a guarded state and your relaxed state.”Slowly but surely, Lucia’s yōki signature weakens. It doesn’t disappear entirely, but it’s heavily suppressed… at best you’d call it a ‘trace’ of yōki which many double-digit warriors might fail to detect were they not aware that they should be looking for her.>That’s excellent progress. Now, let’s get moving again. We need to balance training with progress towards the castle.>Now, stand. Come at me, but try to maintain that sense of calm and relaxation that helps you reduce your yōki usage.>Let’s walk like this. Focus on maintaining your low yōki usage despite moving around in a ‘normal’ way.>Other?
>>3577450>>Let’s walk like this. Focus on maintaining your low yōki usage despite moving around in a ‘normal’ way.Walk with me for a bit, won't you?
>>3577450>>Let’s walk like this. Focus on maintaining your low yōki usage despite moving around in a ‘normal’ way.
>>3577450>Let’s walk like this. Focus on maintaining your low yōki usage despite moving around in a ‘normal’ way.
>>3577458>>3577480>>3577522>>3577559>>3577568>>3577450what they said
>>3577450>Let’s walk like this. Focus on maintaining your low yōki usage despite moving around in a ‘normal’ way.Could we fool something into attacking us?
>>3577450>3d10, best of four
Rolled 10, 4, 9 = 23 (3d10)>>3579271
Rolled 7, 4, 8 = 19 (3d10)>>3579271
Rolled 8, 10, 10 = 28 (3d10)>>3579271
Rolled 6, 1, 5 = 12 (3d10)>>3579271
>>3579271With a few deep breaths, you easily match Lucia’s feat and massively reduce your own yōki utilization. Like this, you can train right along with her… if for no other reason than to show her that what you’re asking is possible.“There,” you nod, satisfied with yourself. “Now walk with me.”You and Lucia walk for some time, breaking occasionally to do pushups and situps. Nothing too intensive either in terms of effort or time, so that you can keep moving back south towards Scaithness. Shortly after noon you encounter a group of travelers passing northward towards the bridge you passed earlier. You can see them from a great distance off.“One of them is a yōma?” Lucia asks.You nod quietly. “Yes. There is one yōma travelling with that band of merchants.”“Picking victims off in towns as they pass?” Lucia asks.“Most likely.”“So how do we proceed?”>I will release my yōki as a distraction and drive the yōma straight to you.>We will close in with suppressed yōki, then attack at the last possible second.>Let’s lay an ambush. You attack and I will support you.>Other?
>>3579456>We will close in with suppressed yōki, then attack at the last possible second.
>>3579456>>We will close in with suppressed yōki, then attack at the last possible second.
>>3579456>>We will close in with suppressed yōki, then attack at the last possible second.Seems like a good test.
>>3579456>3d10, best of three
Rolled 3, 3, 8 = 14 (3d10)>>3581244
Rolled 6, 10, 9 = 25 (3d10)>>3581244
Rolled 4, 2, 9 = 15 (3d10)>>3581244
>>3581244“We’ll close the distance with our yōki suppressed, then attack at the last second,” you decide. “Say nothing. Only act when you see me move. Understood?”Lucia nods. “Yeah, I understand. Am I to use my yōki when I strike?”You shake your head. “I’d like to turn this into an exercise… and if I judge it to be necessary I’ll be the one to use my yōki.”“Okay,” she agrees. “My life will be in your hands.”When you approach the caravan you exchange brief, meaningless pleasantries with the lead driver… before leaping to the top of the second wagon and swinging your blade up from its holster and then arcing round to a low sweep that narrowly misses the yōma that moves like lightning from its seat, transforming in the blink of an eye.“You!” the monster cries out before suddenly stopping as a wide blade emerges from its sternum. “How did she...”Before it can even finish its thought you slice its head from its shoulders, and Lucia rips her own blade downward to completely split its body open from chest to crotch. It falls to the ground with a wet, oozy series of thumps.“Nicely done,” you nod to your companion. “Though spilling its guts was probably unnecessary.”“Just to be certain,” she shrugs, flicking the gore from her sword before holstering it. Then she turns to the shouting men. “Oh, hush up!”“Consider this one a courtesy,” you apologize as you put up your own sword. “Sorry, but it seems like you’ll need to find a new driver. That one was trouble.”Then you proceed on your way.“Good job,” you acknowledge Lucia. “You managed to execute that movement without increasing your yōki utilization at all. I think you’re getting used to suppressing yourself… you may be able to get it to go even lower with some more practice.”“And then what?” Lucia asks.>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.>Then you train to briefly spike your yōki usage, as many of us do when we attack.>That’s up to you. Whatever you want to try, I’m sure any of us will be willing to help.>Other?
>>3581343>>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.>>Then you train to briefly spike your yōki usage, as many of us do when we attack.both are good uses of this, try them and figure out which one suits you better for now
>>3581343>>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.>>Then you train to briefly spike your yōki usage, as many of us do when we attack.One is a suggestion for the future, the other is a thing for now.
>>3581343>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.>Whatever you want to try, I’m sure any of us will be willing to help.
>>3581343>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.
>>3581343>>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.>>Then you train to briefly spike your yōki usage, as many of us do when we attack.
>>3581343>>That’s up to you. Whatever you want to try, I’m sure any of us will be willing to help.
>>3581343>That’s up to you. Whatever you want to try, I’m sure any of us will be willing to help.
>>3581343>>Then you keep improving your baseline speed and strength. That simple.FUNDAMENTALS
>>3581343>Then you train to briefly spike your yōki usage, as many of us do when we attack.
>>3581343“If I were you I’d focus on improving my baseline speed and strength,” you tell her. “That way when you get to a certain point you’ll be able to truly make use of any special techniques you devise. It may not feel that way in the short term, but in the long term it will lead to better results.”“I guess that makes sense,” Lucia agrees. “Thanks for...”“Stop,” you interrupt her. “Don’t thank me for doing something I wanted to do anyway, it just feels weird.”“Okay,” Lucia agrees. “So how about I just promise to make good use of what you’ve taught me?”You nod with a smile. “That works for me.”Eventually you return to the castle, where you find that several of your companions have already left. The only one remaining here is Justina, whom you find out in the courtyard exercising with her sword in hand. She greets you with a nod.“Welcome back.”“Who were the teams and where did they go?” you ask her.“Helen and Sabrina went to Baiko,” Justina replies, continuing with her movements. “Serana and Valentina went to Tarskavaig.”“They won’t be back any time soon,” you sigh. “Maybe Helen and Sabrina, but not the team heading to Tarskavaig.”Justina shrugs, before returning to what she was doing.“Not the most talkative, is she?” Lucia whispers to you.“You… okay?” you ask her.Justina nods. “Fine.”>You wanna spar with me as a partner?>Let’s go do something together. What do you do for fun?>Let’s go find a yōma to kill together. Do some bonding.>Other?
>>3583649>>You wanna spar with me as a partner?something something crossing swords, something something knowing their soul
>>3583649>Let’s go do something together. What do you do for fun?
>>3583649>>Let’s go do something together. What do you do for fun?
>>3583649“What do you do for fun, Justina?” you ask your fellow warrior abruptly, causing her to stop what she’s doing.She stares at you. “For fun?”“For fun,” you repeat. “You know, that thing people do when they aren’t working.”>3d10, best of three
Rolled 10, 7, 1 = 18 (3d10)>>3585952
Rolled 2, 2, 4 = 8 (3d10)>>3585952
Rolled 4, 10, 4 = 18 (3d10)>>3585952
Rolled 5, 5, 6 = 16 (3d10)>>3585952
Rolled 1, 2, 10 = 13 (3d10)>>3585952
>>3585952After a few moments, Justina responds. “Music. When I’m not reading.”“What kind of music?”“Fiddle,” she replies calmly.“Fiddle?” you repeat. “How long has it been since you played?”“Years,” Justina admits.“Would you like to have a fiddle?” you ask her.She watches you carefully. “Perhaps? Why?”“I just thought it might be nice,” you shrug. “For us all to have things to bond over that aren’t just killing yōma.”There’s a long pause, which makes it difficult to assess what Justina might be thinking. You’re about to say something, when it seems that she finally makes her mind.“That sounds nice.”>I can get you an instrument in town. I’ll look next time I go out.>There may be some instruments sitting around. We can play together.>See if you can interest Justina in some other activity, like painting or riding or hunting.>Other?
>>3586044>>There may be some instruments sitting around. We can play together.
>>3586044>There may be some instruments sitting around. We can play together.
>>3586044>>I can get you an instrument in town. I’ll look next time I go out.>>There may be some instruments sitting around. We can play together.Let's see if there are any laying around, if not, we'll see what we can get in town.
>>3586044“I’m sure there’s got to be something like that lying around the castle someplace,” you shrug. “Though who knows if it’d be in tune or not… my guess is not.”“That’s not...”“Come on, don’t be that way,” you sigh at Justina, practically dragging her along behind you. “Let’s do something together. I know, you can play and I’ll sing! This is gonna be fun!”>3d10, best of four>DC 17, crit 22
Rolled 6, 7, 3 = 16 (3d10)>>3588481
Rolled 10, 8, 4 = 22 (3d10)>>3588481It's going to hurt when they die.
Rolled 8, 3, 9 = 20 (3d10)>>3588481
Rolled 2, 3, 4 = 9 (3d10)>>3588481
>>3588481“Here!” you eventually declare, having slipped through an open window and into the groundskeepers’ house across the courtyard. There’s an old fiddle lying on a shelf… you say it’s old, because it obviously hasn’t seen any use recently. The laminated wooden top is coated in a years-thick layer of dust that you wipe clean away from it with a nearby silk rag.The sight of this fiddle begins to stir something in your memory… the ebony tailpiece and fingerboard, inlaid with small blossoms in mother-of-pearl and branches in gold wire, are tantalizingly familiar.The smell of a fire, the sound of a beginner working on etudes, the feeling of comfort and warmth. These are the memories which return to you.“This belonged to my father,” you realize. “They rescued it from the Capital when they were exiled and kept it here… they must have never played it. He always used to say...”Plucking gingerly at the strings, you exchange an amazed glance with Justina.“It’s still in tune!” she exclaims.“He always used to say it’s like it was waiting for him to come back,” you continue, “never going out of tune between practice sessions.”You hold it out to Justina, along with its matching bow.She stares at you like you’re offering her a pile of gold and jewels. “I… I can’t.”“Sure you can,” you insist with a faint smile. “He’d want it to be played, and by a friend of mine? He’d be happy to see it.”Despite accepting the instrument, she remains in a state of shock.“I’m… sorry I could never meet him.”“I’m sorry you never met him too.”>Continue snooping around. Maybe there are other mementos of your father sitting around.>See yourselves out to the courtyard, and see what Justina can do with a fine fiddle.>Other?
>>3588537>>See yourselves out to the courtyard, and see what Justina can do with a fine fiddle.Now is a time for music, mementos can wait.
>>3588537>>Continue snooping around. Maybe there are other mementos of your father sitting around.Just for a little bit
>>3588537>>>Continue snooping around. Maybe there are other mementos of your father sitting around.A fat lute maybe?
>>3588537>>See yourselves out to the courtyard, and see what Justina can do with a fine fiddle.
>>3588537>See yourselves out to the courtyard, and see what Justina can do with a fine fiddle.
>>3588537>>Continue snooping around. Maybe there are other mementos of your father sitting around.
>>3588537Deciding not to rummage through someone else’s home any further, you see yourselves out through the same window and walk back across the courtyard. You decide to head back up to the common room on the upstairs landing.After allowing her to pluck at the strings, and get a good feel for what she’s doing by running through a series of arpeggios and fragments of what must be etudes, Justina begins to play a simple melody…>3d10, best of four
Rolled 6, 2, 1 = 9 (3d10)>>3590766
Rolled 4, 3, 6 = 13 (3d10)>>3590766
Rolled 3, 4, 6 = 13 (3d10)>>3590766
Rolled 10, 3, 7 = 20 (3d10)>>3590766
>>3590779>>3590780now what are the odds of that
>>3590766It takes you a few seconds of complete confusion before you come up with a way to sing along together with the lively tune that Justina is playing. Instead of trying to fit the lyrics of a folk song to a tune from a different land, and one you’re not even sure that Justina is going to stick with, you again return to an old Hazari tradition.You sing a brief prayer, drawing out each syllable for as long as you can and using pitch and tone variations to keep pace with your partner instead of matching the scansion.After several minutes, the cadence tells you that Justina is coming to a conclusion, and you advance through the last three syllables much more quickly, only dragging out the final sound for as long as you need to end at the same time as Justina.“That was nice,” she nods, laying the fiddle on her knee. “A Hazari ‘long song’, yes?”“It’s more easily adapted to an unfamiliar tune,” you admit. “Where are you from, again?”“The Galacian coast,” Justina tells you.“They have some lively music there it seems,” you chuckle. “Were there originally words to that song?”“Yes,” she tells you.“Can you remember what they were?”There’s a long pause. “I can’t.”“Well, that’s too bad,” you shrug. “Do you know any Hazari tunes?”She shakes her head. “Sorry.”“That’s not a problem,” you assure her. “After all we’re from totally different parts of the world.”“True,” she nods. “Wherever we come from, they have music there.”“Fair enough,” you chuckle. “I’d love to hear more songs from your homeland some time>”“And I from yours.”“Aw, this is nice,” Lucia smiles, sitting at the top stair.>So what do you do for fun, Lucia?>So what were you doing around here, Justina?>So you wanna do some training together?>You have any mission ideas, Justina?
>>3590878>>So what do you do for fun, Lucia?
>>3590878>>So you wanna do some training together?
>>3590878>So what were you doing around here, Justina?
>>3590878“So, Lucia, what do you do for fun?”Lucia seems unusually thrown by your simple question. “I’m sorry?”“Fun?” you repeat. “How do you do it?”“I… don’t, really,” she admits. “I had kind of a hard life before being dragged into the Organization.”“No games?” you ask.She shakes her head. “Never any kids my own age around.”“Hobbies?” Justina asks.“Never had any money for them.”“Free time?” you press, seriously doubting that the answer could be…“I was working when I was old enough to walk,” Lucia informs you.“Is there anything you used to enjoy doing, even if it was work?” you ask.After considering it for a moment, Lucia nods. “Cooking… sometimes. When the ingredients are really fresh. But I hardly eat anymore, so it feels like it’s not worth it.”This is getting more depressing by the minute. You exchange a glance with Justina… how do you bond with someone who has so few obvious interests of her own, whose entire life has been defined by the hand-to-mouth struggle first and the rigorous training of the Organization second?“Come on, don’t worry about it!” Lucia tries to insist. “That was so pretty before, why don’t you do another song?”>I mean, Justina and I can eat a fair bit by warrior standards. Let’s cook something together.>Lucia, we’re either gonna find you a hobby to practice at or we’re gonna die trying.>What are your thoughts about dancing? It’s a surprisingly versatile skill to have.>Other?
>>3594420>>I mean, Justina and I can eat a fair bit by warrior standards. Let’s cook something together.
>>3594420>I mean, Justina and I can eat a fair bit by warrior standards. Let’s cook something together.
>>3594420>>I mean, Justina and I can eat a fair bit by warrior standards. Let’s cook something together.if it tastes great, anyone present can learn something, if it does't claymore eat so little that throwing it away won't make a differenceactually, better not say that last part
>>3594420>>Lucia, we’re either gonna find you a hobby to practice at or we’re gonna die trying.
>>3594420>I mean, Justina and I can eat a fair bit by warrior standards. Let’s cook something together.>Other?There is a castle full of guards, servants and custodians. I know for a fact that guards are almost always hungry.
>>3595152AgreedTime for community outreach
>>3594420“Well, when you half-awaken you start eating a lot more,” you explain to Lucia. “So it’s not like you need to worry about wasting food.”“I’d be interested,” Justina admits.After considering it for a few moments, Lucia nods. “Alright, let’s go downstairs and see how much I remember...”Withdrawing to the kitchen downstairs, Lucia immediately sets to work rifling through the cupboards and drawers before deciding that what she’s looking for isn’t here.“Fish,” she says simply. “Don’t we have any fish around here?”“The icebox is downstairs,” you tell her. “Maybe there?”She shakes her head. “I’m looking for fresh fish.”>Head into town and buy some fish.>Grab some fishing gear and fish off the side of the castle.>Jump into the water and catch some fish with your bare hands.>Other?
>Jump into the water and catch some fish with your bare hands.
>>3597047>Grab some fishing gear and fish off the side of the castle.
>>3597047>Grab some fishing gear and fish off the side of the castle.FISHER QUEEN
>>3597047>>Jump into the water and catch some fish with your bare hands.
>>3597047>>>Jump into the water and catch some fish with your bare hands. it is time, to influence water with our yoki!?
>>3597047>Jump into the water and catch some fish with your bare hands.
>>3597047>>Grab some fishing gear and fish off the side of the castle.
>>3597047>3d10, best of four
Rolled 3, 4, 7 = 14 (3d10)>>3597303
Rolled 6, 4, 9 = 19 (3d10)>>3597303slapping the water with a rubberband infused yoki arm would probably be like dynamite fishing.
Rolled 5, 2, 7 = 14 (3d10)>>3597303
>>3597303>Noel teaches her friends how to fish>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10KGEAcRy-c
Rolled 6, 9, 8 = 23 (3d10)>>3597303
>>3597311>>3597319Okay. Now I want to see Noel walk out of the water with 20 lbs of Trout between her teeth.
>>3597303>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evnz_IQXkVM“… what are you doing?” Justina asks you, completely nonplussed as you strip out of your outer clothing and grab a broom out of the corner of the kitchen.“Getting us some fish,” you inform her, setting your neatly-folded top and trousers on a long table before snapping the end of the broom off leaving a sharp end.“With a broom,” Lucia observes.You shake your head. “With a pointy broom.”“… okay, this I have to see,” Justina smirks, following you out the door.Once outside on the lochside gun platform, you cast your gaze down into the waters below. Just below the wall the water is only about as deep as your shoulders, but the bottom quickly drops away. So as long as you don’t just step off there’s no risk of hitting the bottom.Your eyes sweep back and forth across the water’s surface, calm and smooth like darkened glass, looking for the telltale signs your father used to mention to you. It’s not long before you spot it: a few feet below the surface, slowly stalking a small duck. As long as you are tall, the veritable war machines which dwell within the Loch of Shadows… the shadow gar.“I see you,” you mutter with a wide grin, slowly easing your way over the edge of the wall with your improvised spear in one hand and the other tightly grasping the stone as you balance. Your muscles coil in preparation.“Can you see me?”The giant fish shows no sign of recognition that the hunter has already become the hunted. Its eyes are entirely on the duck as it bobs towards the wall along the water’s surface.Your left hand releases your hold on the wall, and you begin to fall forward. At precisely the right moment you propel yourself forward through the air, hurtling as though your body itself were a spear. Straight past the duck, into the water, and several feet past where the gar had been slowly swimming along behind its own prey. The mighty fish is dragged down with you for those several feet through the water, having been impaled through the gills until its hard scales were right against your fist.The shock probably was enough to kill it instantly, but just as a precaution you reach forward through the inky blackness of the water and snap the beast’s neck with your hands before dragging it back some twenty feet to the surface.“This good enough!?” you shout, lifting the monstrous fish over your head as your feet kick powerfully to keep your upper torso out of water.>1/2
>>3597907Getting the fish back out of the water is somewhat more awkward of a task, as it almost certainly weighs more than you do even with your armor and your sword. But with both your fellow warriors, and quite a bit of rope, your manage the task before hauling yourself out onto the battlements.“You realize you just killed a six-foot long fish with a broom handle, right?” Lucia asks.You nod once to confirm it. “I was there.”“Just checking.”>Let’s invite some of the garrison. Make an event out of it… once I get dressed that is.>We should preserve some of it. It’ll go a long way towards feeding ourselves.>Who gets to eat it is up to you. I just want the head as a trophy.>Other?
>>3597920>>Let’s invite some of the garrison. Make an event out of it… once I get dressed that is.
>>3597920>>We should preserve some of it. It’ll go a long way towards feeding ourselves.
>>3597920And to clarify, an adult gar 6 feet in length can weigh some 200 pounds.
>>3597920>We should preserve some of it. It’ll go a long way towards feeding ourselves.
>>3597920>>Let’s invite some of the garrison. Make an event out of it… once I get dressed that is.>The head will be a trophy as well as the broom handle used to kill it.
>>3597920>Let’s invite some of the garrison. Make an event out of it… once I get dressed that is.
>>3598010... and they thought the king was the mad one.
>>3599463What the fuck was in that fish?
>>3599469Apparently all of the drugs.Gimme a sec and I'll fix this.
>>3597920“You know something?” you muse. “We should invite the garrison. A six-foot fish should be able to feed forty people… that’s at least a hundred pounds of good meat.”“I like that idea,” Lucia agrees. “Justina, do you mind?”“Noel caught it,” Justina shrugs. “Her call.”“I like the idea,” you declare. “And it can’t be a bad idea to try winning over our hosts a little bit. May even make them a little less hesitant to let us dip into their rations for our own use.”“Alright!” Lucia nods resolutely. “It’s been a while since I cooked for so many people, but I’ll do my best!”“I know you will.”>1/2
>>3599546By the time you’ve dried yourself off and dressed, returning to the kitchen, you find that Lucia has expertly sliced the fish apart and is now walking Justina through the process of preparing her recipe. Mostly that seems to consist of chopping vegetables and grinding spices, which fills the whole kitchen with a wonderful fragrance.The result, a few hours of slow-cooking later, is a lovely fish dish with a thick herby broth, filled with vegetables. Something perfect to go over steamed rice, which Lucia and Justina have also made enough of to feed a few dozen people.Meanwhile, you approached the commander with your offer.“I caught a shadow gar earlier today,” you explained to him, “and it’s way too much for us to eat. How would you like to give your soldiers a treat?”“A shadow gar?” he mused. “I had no idea you were an angler.”“I’m not,” you admitted. “I killed it with a broken broom handle.”“Wow. That’s… huh.”The soldiers appear not long after Lucia puts her handiwork out on the long formal tables, using the less-than-formal dishes and flatware. They seem appreciative, and you can tell why: the flavor is excellent, and plenty of people tell Lucia so.She seems completely taken aback by the praise.“You weren’t wrong,” you smile. “Turns out you’re pretty good at this. Thanks for treating us.”“It was nothing!” Lucia insists, blushing at your praise.>Offer to take care of the cleaning as your thanks for a good meal.>Bring out some sweet wine from the cellar, assuming it’s still there.>Talk to the Commander about the logistics of your own missions.>Other?
>>3599666>Bring out some sweet wine from the cellar, assuming it’s still there.>Talk to the Commander about the logistics of your own missions.
>>3599666>Offer to take care of the cleaning as your thanks for a good meal.
>>3599666>>Bring out some sweet wine from the cellar, assuming it’s still there.>>Talk to the Commander about the logistics of your own missions.
>>3599666>>Talk to the Commander about the logistics of your own missions.
>>3599666>Bring out some sweet wine from the cellar, assuming it’s still there.
>>3599666>>Bring out some sweet wine from the cellar, assuming it’s still there.>Talk to the Commander about the logistics of your own missions.