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PRELUDE Through rambling tufts of feathermoss and tongue-leaf, sprigs of bearded ferns, crook-necked branches and drooping fronds, the pathless forest whispers and beckons.
>>
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In the summer winds the trees tilt and ride. Behind the lulled eyes of the King Beneath The Mountain sleeps the maze of desire, the warbled cry of birds and dew-glistened leaves twisting above the mottled stream.
>>
Motes of gold spun upon verdant branches swaying bright in the day blithe with flowers under dawdling shadows green beyond the pebble-strewn path.
>>
Where butterflies scamper through tumbling meadows and sun-caught dreams, speckled with the scent of petals and tussle of blossoms, birds snug in their nests as the gossamer drifts to hear singing dewfall doused in the warmth of the carefree light.
>>
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At the farthest reach of the Old Forest Of Idols, by the gnarled trunk of a twisted tree, a circle of children are chattering:
>>
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-Tamlyn has found a thing! Oh, it is so pretty -

-Quick, lift it up! There is something underneath it...

-This is not as good as that talking frog I found by the old well -

-Oh, how horrid! It is a dead thing! With antlers and broken teeth. Throw it away.

-Leave it alone, if you touch it, the Blearie Queene will cut open your belly and feed you to the faeries...!

-You should prod it - with a stick. See if it is just sleeping?

The bold girl, Tamlyn, looks to you for what to do.
>(...?)
>>
Location: Reichskloster Encampment, Ardnamorchuan Promontory

Flanked either side by his honour guard, Prince-Provost Aristophontes Gratian of Lorscheim awaits the report of the maiden-knight Liselotte. She delivers it a little haltingly:

-Our emissaries will return by noon today, My Lord. These local herdsmen have welcomed us without bloodshed. Truly, they will be brought to the Oath and the Light! Yet they are so... primitive and uncultured here, they possess not even the rudiments of war-making or conquest, knowing only to drive their beasts to the highlands in summer and down to the low vales by the forest in winter, with their cattle as their only treasure. They know not even the war-bow or the arbalest, let alone the art of siege. If I may, My Lord - I... I do not think it was wise to come here at all. These herdsmen do not have warfare in their lineage or blood. Perhaps some other land should have been chosen for the Heregeld?

The Prince-Provost is gazing with dreaming eyes beyond the fortifications that encircle the encampment, wooden palisades being sheathed in earth and stone. Amidst the clatter of shovels, stonemason chisels and hammers, the Prince-Provost rests his sight upon the distant forest edge. The Prince speaks:
>>
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-The Oriflamme is the herald of the Oath And The Light. Those sworn to it are freed from war; they are free to prosper, and know peace. Yet the battle against the Adversary is not fought in the wilderness, it is fought here - in our hearts. To doubt the cause of the Oath is to place a foothold for the Adversary to crawl slyly into the soul, from the soul to the weakness of flesh, from flesh thereon to poisoned words and treasonous acts that imperil all dominion. (Liselotte recoils slightly, but the Prince merely continues in a patient tone - ) This war-tithe, Maiden-Knight, this Heregeld - it is upon this land that the Adversary will be fought and defeated. And once our task here is done, we will bring forth the Oath and the Light to the lands beyond...

A sudden wind carries a guttural cry across from the faraway forest, the cawing of a crow or carrion-bird.

The Prince-Provost smiles kindly at Liselotte:

Ah - our party must be returning. You should ride out to meet them, Liselotte.

After the Maiden-Knight has departed, Prince-Provost Gratian turns to another in the encampment shadows. Clutching an Edict in his hands, the Prince whispers,

The Light has called upon you, my friend. Ride with her. The Oath will show you what to do.

>Highborn
>Lowborn
>Wildborn
>>
Before the black din of battle to come the sky was shorn of clouds, the still pallor of waiting unfurled amongst the gathered war-host beneath the grey borderlands of the sun.

Waiting, and waiting, in a voiceless vigil until sharp tongues are pulled from scabbards to redden the iron chant.
>>
-Tell us a tale, Ymmanuil. Of how you met the Men Of The East, and how they taught you the love of an old hag!

Guffaws and mocking laughter break the silence around the campfire.

In a stern yet knowing voice of mischief, Ymmanuil sets aside his whetstone and says

-Now I did endure the love-vows of an older woman, it is more than you brutes will ever know... But I witnessed many wonders on my travels. In the East I met magicians who wrote in words of worms and birds, who measured the lines and shapes of the land for their rites. In their strange hermeneutics they taught of many things, of the gold-gloom and the treasure-plague that began with greed in the hearts of men, maddening them to murder and slaughter. And I fear this unsoundness sways the old war-thane Iosaef...

At the mention of this name, the lumbering fat warrior Boriska Jotun-son spits.

- Speak not of that muddled fool, who was old and aged when even I was young! They say King Unbidden worships a tree now - a corpse, spread-eagled upon a tree! A man fights with spear and axe and knife, trusts the true strength of his arm and barehanded grasp as was the old way. What does a corpse on a tree bring in battle? Wolves and carrion-birds!

The warrior Olaefyr, new and untested, murmurs from near the edge of the campfire,

-This Skirnir we are after - is he not the kinsmen of Iosaef?

The fat Boriska scowls,

- That he is not. The old war-thane is far too high and mighty now, Iosaef thinks himself King! Nay, Skirnir belongs to Unferth, who is a distant kinsman of Waldmar. He is the Unferth who cut the face of the Atheling's daughter after she spurned him - and we will see he pays the blood price for that.

Ymmanuil glances up curiously:
-Waldmar Arrow-caller? Who sought bowstrings and war needles from Iosaef? The old thane gifted his men with many weapons...

The fat Jotun-son replies
-Aye, and Unferth carries a cursed battle-flame, a sword with an iron bite that will not heal until touched by the amber stone bound to its hilt. Unless we take that jewel from him, the Atheling's daughter will have a marred face forever.
>>
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Mission:
Retrieve the healing amber stone from the sword of Unferth, who scarred the face of the Atheling's daughter

(Choose ONE only)
>Try and count how many shields are present on Unferth's war-host. What arms are they bearing, how are they positioned upon the terrain? (Oath)

>You plan to taunt Unferth by saying he is a coward who dares only to strike at defenseless women. Perhaps he will be enraged and fight you alone? (Song)

>You should meditate upon the battle, wander through the dream roads in the meadows between life and death. (Wild)
>>
>>5265144
>Touch it.
If the Blearie Queene comes we'll give her a whooping.

>>5265151
>Highborn
The Light beckons for us. Our noble blood compels us to answer her call!

>>5265163
>Try and count how many shields are present on Unferth's war-host. What arms are they bearing, how are they positioned upon the terrain? (Oath)
>>
>>5265144
>Touch it.

>>5265151
>Wildborn

>>5265163
>You should meditate upon the battle, wander through the dream roads in the meadows between life and death. (Wild)
>>
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>>5265168
>>5265173
>Highborn
>Wildborn

Unlocked Origin: Child Of Two Worlds

Beneath an unfamiliar golden banner, depicting an eagle grasping a strangely shaped-sword, there is a deer skull. Nothing happens when you touch it.

You can see the glint of metal scattered along the path leading deeper into the forest...

A gruff but not unkindly male voice calls out:

-Come away, children. Old Grandmother needs help with her chores! She is getting much too frail to sweep the path by her hut!

At the mention of chores all of the children scatter except for Tamlyn. She is clutching the unusual banner and staring at it.

>...?
(Some options:)
>Follow the glint of metal deeper into The Old Forest Of Idols
>Hide the banner
>Take an item
>Ask Tamlyn a question
>Run back towards the male voice and help Old Grandmother with her chores
>>
>>5265144
>Grab the Antlers and lift it out of the brush

>>5265151
>Lowborn

May as well honour tradition and make a three way tie.

>>5265163
>Try and count how many shields are present on Unferth's war-host. What arms are they bearing, how are they positioned upon the terrain? (Oath)

Here we go again, another Souv quest at long last...
>>
>>5265188
>Follow the glint of metal deeper into The Old Forest Of Idols

Ah, too late.
>>
>>5265188
>Follow the glint of metal deeper into The Old Forest Of Idols
>>
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>>5265195
>Grab the Antlers and lift it out of the brush

You have gained item:
Deer Skull
>>
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>>5265168
>>5265195
>>5265196
>>5265200
>Try and count how many shields are present on Unferth's war-host. What arms are they bearing, how are they positioned upon the terrain? (Oath)
>Follow the glint of metal deeper into The Old Forest Of Idols
>>5265173
>You should meditate upon the battle, wander through the dream roads in the meadows between life and death. (Wild)

You are dreaming of a sword with a bright jewel bound to its hilt. You can see glimpses of it, flickering in the gloom. A strange discordant song, chanted tonelessly into the moving cliff of shields, shields that splinter into broken fangs...

Somehow, you know the sword is not in Unferth's hand. Instead, you see it aflame, burning and searing the snout of a terrible creature:
>>
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The Adalwulf
Foul Beast-Father that fought the Great Wyrm during an age of ancient evil. It is said to have taken the form of a monstrous, ravenous wolf before it was vanquished, casting itself into the fires of the sun, though some corrupted and heretical followers of the Beast linger on. The mere mention of the name of the Beast-Father is punished by agonising death in civilised lands, whilst to invoke the unspeakable horror of its hooked emblems is to invite breaking upon the wheel. Some believe that the accursed hunger of The Great Wyrm Lotan began after it tasted the Adalwulf's blood.
>>
(The strange discordant chant rising over the beating of uncountable shields:)
>>5252018
Hark, in the days gone by
When Waldmar met Waldmar
In battle-din upon the spear-meadow
There was Iosaef Unbidden,
War-thane Of The Bright Mead-house
That was an ill King. He who looked
Upon the Falling Of The Five Hundred Banners
Woe, to the treasure-hoard, when his
Hunter's son did lie witless upon the swine-bed.
This was the age when toad-giver suffered the danger-hair
Upon the nameless whale-road, and one did claim another rutless,
Reddened the shield-rim of the man who begets men,
And the spear-shy looked upon deeds with face
Milk-agape. From the Wielder Of Triumph
Had come the war-tithe, that tribute of the East
Whose sea-steed cargoes had troubled
The strife-snatchers of Iosaef. In the Teutland
The queen of the Angles wept, in weary vigil
Their ward laid low in pyre gold-bereft.
For Olaefyr had seized their hard-fought spoils in haste,
And offered them to sate King Iosaef.
>>
Tamlyn looks up from the unfamiliar golden banner as you move to leave her and walk deeper into the forest. You can see now that the eagle emblem upon the golden banner is smeared with dark stains. Tamlyn seems alarmed by what you are doing.

- Grandmother Kospelina told us to stay away from the Old Forest! There are wolves lurking in the trees, they eat children! We should take this banner to her, she will know what it is...

You recognise the male voice that was calling you to your chores earlier. It is Skirnir, a friend from the village.
>>
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You can see a tangle of broken weapons and coins scattered in the grass between the dark trees ahead. It seems to be the aftermath of a battle.

>...?
>>
>>5265273
>Warily look around for danger.
>If we spot none then creep up and take a sword, a shield, take a bow and un-string it before sticking it and the bowstring in a quiver of arrows and looping the quiver over our shoulder and then begin pocketing coins. Do that in that order, keep an ear out for noises. We shouldn't be here.
>>
>>5265273
If we have trouble carrying all this while having the deer skull in our arms, then attempt to wear the deer skull like a lunatic on our head.
>>
>>5265273
Look around for signs of life, if it doesn't exist then try to scavenge a thing or two that could be useful.
>>
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>>5265319
>wear the deer skull

You have gained item:
Wildborn Shaman Skull Mask (Deer Skull)

When Iosaef Unbidden was chosen by the Jarls as war-thane of the Bright Mead-House, there was some consternation amongst the elders, particularly amongst those who had followed the Wielder Of Triumph before he was silenced. One drunken man broke into the great hall ranting and raving, wearing only animal pelts. Perhaps he had been possessed by the spirits of the Nameless Sea? The fate of this man is not known.
>>
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>>5265318
>>5265487
>Warily look around for danger
>try to scavenge a thing

Francisca (Throwing Axe)
Short Range, Swift, Shield-breaker, Weakness: Melee
Also known as a hurlebatte. Characterised by the inward curvature of the s-shaped axe head, designed to break or embed its weight into shields, thereby forcing the opponent to discard them. Even in skilled hands, this weapon would fare poorly in hand-to-hand combat.


You do not see bodies amongst the scattered weapons - many of which appear strange to you. The ground is fletched with the barbs of broken arrow shafts and shattered shields.

(Highborn)
You recognise these shields - the fyrd guards of the hill-fort at Esker Leath carry them. Why have they wandered so far from their patrol?

You know of three roads to the hill-fort: the Old Salt Road, patrolled by the fyrd; the Drover's Road, which encircles the hill-fort itself; and the Roguesmarch, a wild path through the old rynes and drowned fields lost to the marshes. It is not uncommon for brigands to attack those that travel over land - most merchants and wayfarers know that it is safer to bring goods over water and riverways. Yet even cut-throats avoid the old forest - the beasts that dwell there offer them no sanctuary.

Most of the weapons are too heavy to lift for your childlike arms. There is one small axe, with a shortened haft, embedded in the wood splinters.

You are creeping closer towards it, through the trees when you hear voices:
>>
-You fool, you let that woman get away! And where is the banner? Find it!

-We should not linger in these woods! They are haunted... ill spirits dwell here...

-But Unferth will make ghosts of us if we do not find that banner...

(The forest appears to darken)
>...?
>>
(some options, or write in. You have a feeling that if you reach for the axe, you may be seen...)

>Flee back to Tamlyn, and warn her. Perhaps find Skirnir and tell him that there are brigands wandering in the old forest?

>Creep forward, take the throwing axe and try and catch a glimpse of these brigands. It seems strange they have not looted the bodies

>Wait where you are and continue to eavesdrop on their conversation

(Thinking back to the Adalwulf)
>>5265247
>If you know the hooked emblem, perhaps that might frighten these marauders? Write-in what you think it is

>Throw the deer skull at them, whilst howling like the Blearie Queene
>>
Iosaef Unbidden
Chosen to take the great thane-seat by his people after none dared follow the path of The Wielder Of Triumph. He has waited for so long, and accomplished so little.
>>
Waldmar
Inheritor of the broken Mir; in his land they said the King is the slave of history. His foolishness is to forget that oaths mean nothing to a conqueror.

(and...?)

Waldmar
A Lord Of Laughter And Song later accursed to fight kindred of his own name. It is difficult to even tell them apart.
>>
>>5265553
>>Wait where you are and continue to eavesdrop on their conversation


>>Throw the deer skull at them, whilst howling like the Blearie Queene
>>
You hear a heavy stride trampling through the undergrowth ahead. The muttering and complaints of the men abruptly dwindles.

The cruel, mocking voice of Unferth cuts through the air:

-Here is your ghost, you cowards. And she has helped us find what we are after!

(You hear the muffled yelp of Tamlyn, as the brigands untense and laugh)
>>
Unferth continues:

-And you were late, Skirnir. You did not give the signal... or perhaps, you wanted to wait to see what we made of the battle? No matter, we slaughtered them all the same. Behold - why, these corpses must be the handiwork of the ghosts of the Old Forest! What else can explain it? (laughter from the brigands) The Tree has taken them now!
>>
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You hazard a furtive glance through the trees, and see what was a man, his flesh unwound like the wings of a bird.

Unferth continues:
-Leave all their armour and gold - you will receive more than ample reward when we return. If this does not frighten away the superstitious fools then we will return the old way and burn them all - but it may not come to that.

A brigand asks,
-And the girl, Unferth? What shall we do with her?

You hear the clink of a mail shirt as Unferth bends down, and clasps Tamlyn's face in his hands.

-Would you like to meet the birds, pretty one?

The flayed flesh of the hanging corpses swings in the wind...

>Throw the deer skull now
>Hurl the francisca, the throwing axe at Unferth. Try as you might, your hand is trembling with fear. What if you hit Tamlyn?

You realise that Unferth has been deceived by his men. They mentioned before that a woman had escaped. Is there some way you could use this?
>Walk out and boldly say: your plan will not work Unferth. A woman survived your ambush. She will unravel your lies!

>Something else...?
>>
>>5265650
>Walk out and boldly say: your plan will not work Unferth. A woman survived your ambush. She will unravel your lies!
>>
>>5265650
>>Hurl the francisca, the throwing axe at Unferth. Try as you might, your hand is trembling with fear. What if you hit Tamlyn?
nothing bad can ever happen to me
>>
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The deer skull upon your brow feels strangely warm, as if it is quickening with life. Perhaps it is emboldening you, filling you with courage. For a moment before you rise and taunt Unferth, you see a glimpse of a loping shadow in the forest, watching. A horned shadow.

Unferth's sneer drops dead, and he glances around furiously at the brigands gathered, who shift and squirm a little uncomfortably. He is muttering something under his breath to the warriors, whom you see flinch in response.

(The Francisca / small throwing axe in your hand has gained the property Concealed. Unferth has not seen it)

Swiftly you draw the Francisca and hurl it with all your strength at Unferth, as he is distracted. The brigands are too shocked to even respond. Tamlyn screams as the blade passes close to her face...

You see now that Unferth is clad in a thick twofold brynja (war-shirt, war-mail) where each pair of rings passes through four further pairs of interlinked rings. It would take a fearsome blow at very close range with a war axe or heavy spear to pierce through it - more strength than a mere child possesses. The throwing axe falls harmlessly to the ground.

After an astonished pause, Unferth regains his composure. His forehead furrows in mock amusement:

-Why - here comes the mighty axe warrior of the Firu Fortrenn! (Fortress People, those who dwell in the hill-fort) Their best warriors... well (Unferth glances at the corpses hanging in the trees) they met a sad end. And now they have sent this heroic child! Ah - of course, I should have known - the pretty bird had a noble protector to accompany her.

One of the brigands seems a bit wary:
-Unferth - he looks... Highborn. Look at his face, his eyes. We should let him be...

Unferth throws back his head and laughs at this.
-They all look the same when they dangle from the Tree. Seize him - and cut off that weakling axe-throwing hand of his first!

>Throw the deer skull NOW. You really, really want to believe the tales of beasts and ghosts in the Old Forest are true

>Shout something to Tamlyn. Her eyes are welling with tears.

>Wait, and let the Old Forest answer. (You will be seized by Unferth's brigands)

>Something else...?
>>
>>5265748
>Throw the deer skull NOW. You really, really want to believe the tales of beasts and ghosts in the Old Forest are true
>>
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>>5265693
>nothing bad can ever happen to me
(You stealth has improved - you are better at concealing weapons)
(You combat has improved - you think you can defeat a medium or small child in combat)

Desperately, you pull the Shaman Skull Mask from your head, and throw it at one of Unferth's advancing bloodthirsty warriors. He has drawn an axe of his own, and is eyeing the stump of your arm where your wrist will soon end. Your aim is better this time - the deer skull strikes him squarely in the forehead, eliciting a cry more of indignation rather than pain. The deer skull clatters to the ground, cracked, antlers broken.

(You have lost: Deer Skull)

Nothing happens at all. Unferth holds up his hand, and the axe warrior stops momentarily, rubbing his forehead.

-Wait-wait I said! Well, this is unbelievable! The whelp is still fighting, he has no fear at all! But perhaps if he fears not for his own life, it might be better if we not kill him after all. You see, after I take your hands, your tongue and your eyes, you will be left as a ruin. Other children will point at you and know that this is what becomes of foolish whelps who stray from the sunbeams and bright paths, and into the dark forest. And then you will beg for death! But none will pity you enough to provide it!

Unferth draws his sword.
>>5265246
You see the unnatural patterned blade shimmer, illuminated by the jewelled hilt encarmine. You close your eyes for you cannot bear to watch what comes...

Upon the trees the carrion birds rise and take to the grey skies in a cacophony of screams.
>>
Hieronymous Erde

-Now I say, Dallyforth- Dallyforth! Dallyforth, what are you doing- do you know of the Rectification Of Names? Or the Fourfold Division Of Nature? Alas, it is my fate that none shall ever recognise my immensely engorged, swollen, quivering... intellect. Alas, not even the Contessa, as beautiful and fragrant and delectable as she is! Do you know Dallyforth, I believe The Contessa is infatuated with elves. Elves! There are no such things! Imagine travelling all this way to visit a horrible wild dirty barbarian forest in the hope of meeting a handsome Elf Prince, who cannot possibly exist, when there is such a breathtakingly spectacular specimen of staggering, stupendous, sensational handsomeness and rapier-sharp wit united, in the very marvel of the man before you! Me! Yes, me! Me! Dallyforth- are you listening?
>>
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Dallywhimper, The Diffident Dungeoneer

(he replies timidly, adjusting his monocle)

I-I'm Da-Dallywhimper, sir...
>>
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>interject into this conversation. Perhaps you know something of The Rectification Of Names, or the Fourfold Division Of Nature?

>perhaps you know the Contessa?

>rage and seethe at the QM... did he really just horribly mutilate and kill our helpless character?
>>5265845

>(Something else...?)
>>
>>5265870
>Go back to the child POV. Surely he's OK and the tales of beasts and ghosts are true!
>>
>>5265870
>>perhaps you know the Contessa?
Scaring children is not very nice
>>
>>5265870
>Cripple Dallywhimper
>>
>>5265870
>interject into this conversation. Perhaps you know something of The Rectification Of Names, or the Fourfold Division Of Nature?
>>
>>5265870
>interject into this conversation. Perhaps you know something of The Rectification Of Names, or the Fourfold Division Of Nature?
>>
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Hieronymous Erde continues his interminable lamentations:
-Now I am under no illusions - the Contessa has many admirers. That horrid simpering Prince Gratian of Lorscheim for instance, he is not at all handsome. And there is something very untoward about how he is always surrounded by those maiden knights, with all those armoured bosoms and greatswords, it seems... very wrong. Now I am aware of the history of women warriors. I heard in the East, in Imperial Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon, they have invented a ritual game, where they gather a hundred warriors and place them on an island, some of these warriors are even women, and they fight each other to the death until one remains. Most of the warriors are slaves and prisoners, but a few of these belluaires are even of royal blood! It is like a royal battle, for honour and glory! And there is some ceremony involving a ring of blue fireworks of some sort, that may be hearsay. But these warrior women are clearly barbarians. Not like the beauteous Contessa... if only I could find some way to get her attention, and end her infatuation with nonexistent Elves and Elf Princes...

Dallywhimper The Diffident Dungeoneer looks up hopefully:
- Perhaps, sir, you need the advice of a lady... that scarred sellsword woman guiding us, who knows these lands. What was her name again? Oh, I remember! Her name is -

>>5265902
>Cripple Dallywhimper
As Dallywhimper opens his mouth, on the verge of uttering his answer, a sudden blur hits him in the face -
>>
Shiveree Frog
A strange frog? Or toad?
It makes a curious croaking noise, that sounds like "Chivalry, chivalry!"
Or perhaps it is more like
"Shiveree! Shiver-REE! Shiver-REEEEE!"
What a strange frog.

>If you know of the Rectification of Names or the Fourfold Division Of Nature, you must write in your conversational rejoinder

alternatively,
>Write in what you know of the Contessa

>Write in if you remember the name of the scarred sellsword woman

>Something else...?
>>
>>5265246
Just started to reread. So Unferth's sword was used to strike the Adalwulf...

>>5265266
Among many familiar faces we have to deal with the return of a gender-bent Kospel...

>>5265491
anons are spirits from the Nameless Sea. Is it really still a nameless sea if we were to start wearing names?

>>5265532
All the POV shifting confused me a bit when I read this last night and started reading this morning, at first I thought this was the guy overlooking the shieldwall choosing how to approach the battle and not our child MC using his highborn knowledge. I didn't really have time for close reading last night.

>>5265552
Should've tried to use wild magic here I think.

>>5265642
Fuck...should've hidden the banner.

>>5265650
old way? Do they have wild magic or do they mean old hidden roads or what?

>>5265247
>>5265252
>>5265567
Guessing Adalwulf and Waldmar are one and the same?

>>5265870
Ah wait, is this us claiming to know something about it and not us asking him? Nevermind, changing my vote to...
>perhaps you know the Contessa?
>>
>>5265926
Pepe is that you?

I'm not sure if this Fourfold Division stuff involves knowing stuff from the previous quests, but if so it'll have to wait since I don't have time to go back and reread the old quests.

For other anons who have more time on their hands then Contessa was first mentioned in the first quest in the third playthrough when our POV was split between the Beggar-Knight and our newly promoted money-grubbing dude. I think she may also have appeared in the 2nd quest, Galerne I think it was. I can't remember, it has been a long time.

As for warrior women...I can't remember, I'll go back and look when I have the time, there were plenty of females combatants in every quest.

The division thing might have to do with the class divisions, or the different factions or the corruption and different metaphysical aspects, again I can't remember.
>>
>>5265926
Aqua. Terra. Flame. Aether. My grandmother used to tell me stories about the olden days, a time of peace when the Archmage kept balance between the Aqua Tribes, Terra Kingdom, Flame Nation, and Aether Nomads. But that all changed when the Flame Nation attacked. Only the Archmage mastered all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless flamewielders. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years had passed and the Flame Nation was nearing victory in the War. Someone's father and the men of their tribe journeyed to the Terra Kingdom to help fight against the Flame Nation, leaving a girl and her brother to look after their tribe. Some people believe that the Archmage was never reborn into the Aether Nomads, and that the cycle was broken. But they hadn't lost hope. They found the Archmage, who had returned to save the world.

It's a story my grandmother told me to explain Fourfold Division Of Nature.
>>
>>5265926
Kyriarch isn't it. Probably Marotte or Florence? That Harlequin?

ah, here are the four deviations...

I. To Reject The Great Freedom
Those that renounce their Everlasting Liberation beneath the Throne Of Stars and abjure The Sacrifice Of The Great Conquest Against Tyrants commit The Greatest Treason.

Show No Mercy to those that cast Salvation aside.

II. To Consort With The Unnatural
Those who seek to pollute the perfection of the human form, by performing unnatural acts of procreation, engenderment or solitary pleasure, thereby begetting the propagation of the aberrant and the abhuman, are singularly deserving of the most severe torment.

Only the sacred Scholar-Saints of the Imperial Censorate are permitted to pursue the eremitic path of Arcane Transcendence.

III. To Consort With The Machine
Those who seek to interrogate history, and unravel the Ancient Promises which bind machine-demons to Obedience, will themselves be interrogated.

Only the Magister-Savants of the Imperial Censorate possess the fortitude and rigour to discern Truth From Corruption.

IV. To Consort With The Adversary
To imperil the ordained fate of Highborn and Lowborn is to doom Humanity to extinction. To disseminate eschatological falsehoods that overturn order and Imperial Harmony is to invite destruction.

Only the Disciples and Preceptors of the Imperial Censorate can use untruth to serve the Throne Of Stars.


Addendum / Dignum Memoria / Nota Bene: dependent upon precise circumstances, none of these restrictions apply to Highborn.

from the first thread.
>>
>>5265926
"Contessa has a jade moth pendant, I've been so close to her as to smell her red rose perfume, you'll never touch her you simp, I know she throws pretend tantrums to draw concessions from simpering retards like you, but if you ignore her she plays the flirt and if you ignore her still she cries in rage at the ineffectiveness of her womanly charms. Hell I even know that the drapes match the carpet, I've been to her bed chambers in Nova Versaye in another land across the Nameless Sea, you'll never touch her you simpering retard"

>Insert more ranting crazy person ramblings about our knowledge of Contessa
>>
>>5265924
Wait a second...is this guy the Erling?
>>
>>5265943
>>5265952
>>5265957
>>5266009
(unfortunately, this is not it)
>Is it really still a nameless sea if we were to start wearing names?
(you have a feeling this is close, but what are the right names? What names correspond to reality?)
>>5265247
>>5265252
>>5265491

You launch eloquently into a beautiful elemental myth told to you by your grandmother.

Hieronymous waves at you dismissively, as he dispassionately and unsympathetically studies the gargling Dallywhimper, who is punching himself in the face as he attempts to battle and dislodge the frog squatting nonchalantly upon it.
-hmmm yes, yes... the Empedoclean cosmogony, all are familiar with this tale...

>Insert more ranting crazy person ramblings about our knowledge of the Contessa

At your mention of Versaye Palace, you suddenly draw the attention of Hieronymous Erde. He turns and gawks incredulously at you:
-So... you have met the Contessa?! You? You truly have met her? But how-How can this be? You are not even... Why would she grant you an audience? This cannot be tolerated! You must tell me...

There is a hard thump as someone smacks Dallywhimper hard from behind - he coughs and splutters, retching at the disgusting trail of amphibian slime smeared on his face. After inflicting much agony the Shiveree Frog mercifully leaps away, still croaking its bizarre warning: Shiveree! Shiver-REE! Shiver-REEEE!

Dallywhimper finally utters through choked breaths (still coughing and spluttering) -

Ta (coughs)-Tam Lin. Tamlene, Tamerlane? Tamlyn! That is the Scarred Sellsword Woman's name. (turning around, looking at who smacked him hard from behind) Oh-there she is! That was very kind of you, that frog will be the death of me! My thanks again, Tamlyn, my thanks for getting rid of that monster...
>>
>>5265845
When you open your eyes, the screams have died down to shuddering sobs. You arms are held pinioned firmly by Unferth's cruel brigands - but your hands are still your own. Instead, you see Unferth has drawn his sword across the face of Tamlyn. You cannot meet her gaze through her gasps - there is a lot of blood.

The deer skull and its broken antlers lies shattered and useless, beyond your grasp.

The francisca throwing axe has been cast aside. You tried your best, but what can the strength of a child do against these cruel men?

With a serene expression, Unferth wipes his jewelled sword across the prostrate and bleeding Tamlyn's back. He says to you:
- A lesson King Unbidden taught me, long ago. What is given by The God Upon The Tree can be taken only by death... but what to do against those who do not fear death? You injure those they love! King Unbidden is so very wise! Now, your turn, brave warrior. Hold out your arm... your sword arm... keep it very still...

>(SONG) Write in what your words are to Unferth The Cruel. Choose carefully, for they may be your last.

>(OATH) You have not the strength to defeat this evil foe. But you will fight to the end.

>(WILD) You must call out to the forest... really believe. Did it help you before? You feel like this is your last chance...
>>
>>5266059
>(OATH) You have not the strength to defeat this evil foe. But you will fight to the end.
>>
>>5266059
>>(WILD) You must call out to the forest... really believe. Did it help you before? You feel like this is your last chance...
>>
>>5266059
>(WILD) You must call out to the forest... really believe. Did it help you before? You feel like this is your last chance...
>>
>>5266053
I dunno, something something beowulf...

>>5265252
Still trying to parse this. So a long time ago Iosaef was ill, his son or his enemy's son was struck with mental illness(?), someone claimed a poorly traveled road, some eastern leader or guy with a special weapon came with recruited troops fulfilling their obligations came and bothered the enemies of Iosaef, some queen is sad, she may be the hostess of the ill son and had some money stolen from her by Olaefyr. I dunno, I'm not good at parsing this kinda stuff.

>>5266059
>(WILD) You must call out to the forest... really believe. Did it help you before? You feel like this is your last chance...

There was some shadowy horned creature we saw before.
>>
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Perhaps we are all dreams in the slumbering mind of the King Beneath The Mountain. When he wakes, will we cease to exist?

Origin: Child Of Two Worlds
You are pledged deeply to the WILD
- you rely upon magic to save yourself from greatest danger. But does the magic belong to you? Who is truly choosing?

You have some prowess to the OATH
- you do not fear battle, and seek out desperate, dangerous situations. Take care not to hurt others or yourself by mistake...

The SONG is greatly weakened in you.
Without it, you will never learn the truth of this world - you will be shaped by others, and bent to their will.
>>
>>5266067
>>5266074
>>5266080
>>5266098
>OATH
>WILD +3

The jewelled sword is raised high and you see it silhouetted against the dark arches of tree branches and rustling leaves. Then the wind itself seems to hold her breath, as Unferth the Cruel prepares to deliver the blow.

Tamlyn has turned - she fell very close to Unferth, as he cut her across the face. But through the rivulets of blood streaked across her eyes, you see she is clutching a shattered antler prong - from the deer skull you threw earlier, that broke - Tamlyn can reach it, though you could not.

Unferth's attention is focused entirely upon your outstretched wrist, held fast by his men. He does not see Tamlyn as she leaps upon him, jabbing him repeatedly in the neck with the broken antler. You see only a very small puncture of blood - there is more of her own upon him, than she has drawn.

Unferth is howling, flailing, struggling to fling the scarred girl clasped upon his back, screaming and jabbing at his neck - and then a horned shadow steps from the trees. It resembles a deer. A headless deer.

>(Write in...? Some options below)

>You must flee with Tamlyn, now. Scream at her to run

>Flee, on your own. (Write-in, where to?)

>Try and hurl the throwing axe at Unferth, again. Now he is thrashing and cursing, with Tamlyn stabbing him...

>Something else...?
>>
>>5266233
>You must flee with Tamlyn, now. Scream at her to run

Don't risk hitting Tamlyn, if we do pick it up then either throw it at an extremity or risk using it in melee targeting a foot or something to make up for the weakness of it in melee.
>>
>>5266233
>You must flee with Tamlyn, now. Scream at her to run
>Try and hurl the throwing axe at Unferth, again. Now he is thrashing and cursing, with Tamlyn stabbing him...

A parting gift
>>
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Thunder echoes across the distant ridges and valleys of stone - the voice of the King Beneath The Mountain, the voice that is The Wanderer, The Tamer Of The Slain, The Mover Of Constellations, The Ruler Of Treachery. Grey clouds, rain-burdened with his woe have gathered overhead.

(QM: The way I will rule this is you can take a single action or combination of actions as follows:

If you immediately flee on your own, you may choose to take one item from the strewn remnants of the battle. It can literally be the throwing axe, the francisca, or you can write-in some other preferences - I may adjust it based on what I know is available and what I know has previously occurred. The default technology level of this region is Dark Ages, Beowulf Anglo-Saxon Celtic Viking etc. Remember this section, and how they fight here...
>>5265159

Bear in mind though that you are running for your life. Also I hope you have an idea as to where you are going...

If you flee with Tamlyn, you must pull her away as Unferth and his brigands are distracted and horrified by the Headless Deer. You cannot take any items. Tamlyn, however, is less likely to get lost than you.

You can also write in if you have some idea of other actions to try. I will generally prioritise your first simple action, you may not get a chance to follow through with subsequent actions, if the situation becomes very desperate...

Also... write-in any priorities, people or locations you feel you need to visit, head towards, seek refuge etc. Otherwise, you might get lost...)
>>
>>5266281
Flee with Tamlyn, head back to Kospelina.
>>
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The old skalds called the storm and the winds the grief of the bramble, the wolf of the land. Into the rain you run, slipping and stumbling hand-in-hand with the wounded girl Tamlyn. Around you the trees lurch and groan, their foliage trembling.
>>
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You know not if you are followed or pursued. You know not even if you are running from Unferth, his murdering marauders, or the dead, headless deer itself. From what you witnessed as it gored the carcasses of his men, their entrails speared upon its severed maw of a neck with hooked prongs, talons and tusks that mocked the form of a stag crowned with antlers, you think it would kill you too had you lingered.

(Your allegiance to the Song is too weak. You cannot name this rite, or understand what you have unleashed)

For as long as you dwell in the forest, the Headless Deer will slaughter and change. It will hunt you too.

(All magick has a consequence - the price of the unnatural. Use it sparingly, lest you are lost to the Wild)
>>
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You run through the tangle of the storm-shaken trees for a long time. Eventually, Tamlyn stops, the patter of rain pooling in puddles of forest mud around her. She is turned away from you - you cannot see her wounded face in the downpour, the squall-cast shadows - as Tamlyn whispers:
-You threw an axe at me.
>>5265693
- Why did you miss? (clutching her wounded face) I wish you had hit me, sent me to the King Beneath The Mountain...

>Write in your response. Some options:

>Your face will heal, Tamlyn. Grandmother Kospelina will make it better...
(Warning: you do not believe in the cursed magic of Unferth's sword, and the jewel bound to its hilt. There may be a consequence to this...)

>Don't say such things! The Mountain listens, he will make it true...

>There are no gods in this world, Tamlyn. All the gods died, long ago.

>I think your face... has improved. Maybe you should worry less about your appearance and become better at fighting, I almost lost my hands...

>Turn Tamlyn around and look at her face... how bad is it...? (Maybe... don't do this)

>Just say nothing, continue to trudge towards Old Grandmother Kospelina's dwelling through the rain.

>Something else...?
>>
>>5266430
>"He was going to split open your back and spread the flesh like the wings of an eagle Tamlyn! I'm sorry, I was trying to save you! Come, let me see how bad it is, I'll bandage you."
>Try and get her to turn around and bandage her face with our shirt or something.
>>
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A sudden gust through the pelting rain, and the darkness between the trees writhes with madness. For a moment you see a noseless skull, a disfigured horror of a face...

(QM is so tempted... but on the qtg anons want noblebright hehe)
>>5266327
>>
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>>5266525
>I'm sorry, I was trying to save you!
>Try and get her to turn around and bandage her face with our shirt or something

(The WILD is weakened)
(The SONG is strengthened)

...what you ask for shall not be withheld, for I think Skofnung well bestowed if you bear it. But the nature of the sword is such that the sun must not shine upon its hilt, nor must it be drawn if a woman should be near. If a man be wounded by the sword the hurt may not be healed, unless the healing-stone that goes with the sword be rubbed there on...

The Laxdaela Saga, Chapter LVII, 1018 AD
translation here:
http://mcllibrary.org/Laxdaela/chapter57.html
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/viking_sword.htm

Tamlyn turns. Her face seems bruised, and there is blood seeping from a shallow cut on her scalp. Perhaps Unferth merely struck her with the pommel? It does not look too bad.

So much has occurred, so quickly... You were all merely playing, teasing and frolicking, by the sunbeams and flowers near the Old Forest Of Idols. You found the Oriflamme and the brigands. You fought as best as you could... but you nearly lost your hand. You are still not quite sure how you escaped. Was it something you did? Or Tamlyn? Maybe the brigands were just distracted by a stray deer?

You recall the old tales of the skalds, cursed swords that inflict wounds that never heal, unless granted the mercy of the magic stone or jewel bound to their hilt (lyfsteinn). You think it is a ridiculous story. A rock could never knit flesh rent by a sword-blow. The skalds must be exaggerating, embellishing, maybe just lying. And mercy... that does not sound like a word from this land. It sounds like the word of priests, the word of Unferth's god, the mercy of Iosaef wielded by his God Upon The Tree. It cannot be true.

Despite your kind intentions (obligatory Twilight-tier film scene of naked suddenly more manly chest in the rain, torn clothing / improvised bandages) Tamlyn shoves you back:
-Get away from me! Your... oafish, axe-throwing hands! I don't want them near my face... it hurts! Go away!

Tamlyn dashes away into the trees. In the murk and gloom you feel confused and lost. You think you are quite close to Old Grandmother Kospelina's abode... but what to do?

>Chase after her... but where did she go?
>Just sit down for a moment, on your own. A lot has happened.
>Tamlyn is... so annoying! You saved her, and she responds with a tantrum! You can find Old Grandmother's Abode by yourself. It is pretty close...
>Something else...(write-in. You always have the option to think about a topic to see if you remember any lore, eg think about the gods, the King Beneath The Mountain, other topics etc)
>>
The winds and the rain are relenting but the trees here are contorted into grotesque shapes, clawing at the darkened skies. Old Grandmother Kospelina's Abode is very, very close. You remember her dwelling is near water, across a pond. Perhaps if you follow a stream, find a river, it will lead you to her?

You are trying to find the familiar path to Old Grandmother's dwelling but the storm has unsettled you. All the trees look wrong. And ahead, you notice one very peculiar tree. Its trunk is crooked and gnarled, bent almost as if it resembles a living person, outstretched arms raised in supplication. The lower leaves are verdant and green yet the uppermost leaves on this tree are withered, and there is an odd, bleached-white orb lodged and tangled near the highest branches. Piled near the roots of the tree you can see offerings - a metallic gleam.

You wonder if this is some sort of Tree Shrine. But to what god have the offerings been made? Is this The God Upon The Tree?
>>
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(You can see metal and gold tangled in the vines and greenery upon the lowermost part of the peculiar twisted tree. The upper branches reaching towards The Great Dark Sky are withered)

>You have a vague memory of Tree Shrines, surrounded by weapons... they are NOT good. You have a very strong suspicion towards those who worship trees, claim to embrace nature... you have a feeling they are misrepresenting what the Wild actually is and can become. Stay away from this Tree Shrine, and on no account even look at that strange white skull-sized sphere lodged in its branches...

>But... there might be weapons offered beneath this Tree Shrine, you really need a weapon! You can almost see one... maybe just creep over slightly and have at look at what that metallic gleam is all about...

>Maybe The God Upon The Tree is an elf? An Elf Prince? You really want to see handsome elves! (Far away, the Contessa sighs inconsolably)

>The God Upon The Tree intrigues you and you want to become a devoted disciple. Kneel before the Tree Shrine and receive its blessing

>Something else...? Where is Tamlyn? (write in what you would like to do)
>>
Ferryman Figurine
An offering placed before a Tree Shrine, carved from sacred wood brought from far lands across vast distances, stars cast upon the waters of the Nameless Whale-Road.
>>
>>5266724
>Chase after her... but where did she go?
Don't get lost now...

>The God Upon The Tree intrigues you and you want to become a devoted disciple. Kneel before the Tree Shrine and receive its blessing
>>
Lost somewhere in the pathless forest of your thoughts is a yearning to find Tamlyn... but she cannot have run that far. She is perhaps just a little upset, you did try your best to offer her some consolation. Girls can be so wilful!

Besides, Old Grandmother Kospelina's abode is so close, surely you must be safe here?
>>
As suddenly as it began, the rain clouds and storm from the mountains subsides. Perhaps the God Upon The Tree is stronger than the King Beneath The Mountain? You are not sure what to believe, but you are truly entranced by this peculiar twisted tree and the offerings beneath it. Maybe you could make use of them...?

(You have gained: Ferryman Figurine)

(The SONG is GREATLY STRENGTHENED)
>>
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On another world there is an old tale known to many, of man and maiden, lured before a Tree of Temptation.

The Tree had branches that spanned the stars and roots that bound the bones of the mountains.

It was known by many names, but one forgotten name was Laeradr, the Harm-Tree. The Betrayer's Tree: the one who made the greatest sacrifice, who hung there inverted for wisdom. The myths spoke of creatures that sheltered beneath the leaves of this tree, and a deer that bit at its leaves, dying.
>>
Kneeling before the Tree Shrine, you can now clearly see there is some sort of broken spearhead, embedded deeper into the side of the twisted tree like a wound under the tangle of vines. Serpents wrought in gold are entwined around the broken remnant of its spear-haft. You would have to reach much further in to examine it.
>>
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Broken Elf Spear?
Could it be? Are there really... elves in the Old Forest? Please let it be true!
>>
You are startled by a voice behind you - it is an old voice, though not unkind. The Hooded Man says:

-I would leave that be, if I were you. You have already set in place many things. Tell me - do you know what magic is?

>You must imitate your best astonished hobbit face and say: Gandalf? (eyes mouth agape) is that you?

>Reply: Words. Words and Names.

>Magic is pillars of flame, sky-fire, winds and storms.

>Myths and legends are magic

>Magic belongs to the dead gods. Not to men

>The Trees are magic?

>Magic is change in conformity with will.

>(thinking of Ymmanuil, Hieronymous Erde etc.) Magic is natural philosophy, alchemy, metaphysics? Hermeneutics?

>(thinking of science) We will know the Laws Of Nature some day, but that time has not yet come to pass.

>(you think this is some sort of ancient future setting?) Magic is what the men of old have forgotten.

>(very advanced: thinking of money, capitalism lol) He who wields the treasure-hoard is the true magician. Also, are you a vampire sorceror?

>Reply - have you ever seen this strange talking frog?

>Just say: I do not know what magic is.

>Something else?
>>
>>5267032
>Stab him with something while he’s distracted. He will be a sacrifice for the tree.
>>
>>5267032
>Reply: Words. Words and Names.

Man I need to read your other quests to get caught up on the lore hug
>>
Ok, I don't understand SHIT about this, but I like the V i b e s
A anon said something about there being other quests, so I would like the link of the archive and maybe hope to understand the weird shifts of POV, the fuckton of names and the way this is written. Because being a ESL is being hard for me in this bitch
>>
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>>5267065
>>5267065
>Stab him with something while he’s distracted. He will be a sacrifice for the tree.

(The WILD is GREATLY STRENGTHENED)

The Headless Deer has changed
You Are Being Hunted

A twisted serpent is uncoiling inside you - perhaps provoked by what you have seen carved upon the strange broken spear.

If this is the Betrayer's Tree, The Harm-Tree Laeradr, surely there will be no more fitting rite than to take the life of this Stranger, this Hooded Man before it? You possess no weapon, but your eyes flit furtively towards the spearhead embedded inside the Tree. You are imagining its weight in your hand, its sharp edges - the blade is strangely entwined with a dream vision of the skull of the Headless Deer, summoned (eventually) to draw blood at your command...
>>
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Imunlaukr
Swift, Coup-de-grace, Witchbreaker
Short Reach, Cursed: Withering, Cursed: Haunted, Treacherous

A strange blade of the wild forest. Its curious name in the kennings of the skalds means battle-leek. It withers those it strikes.
>>
You stab again and again until you are breathless. All that remains is a dessicated skull on a stick of bone. Around you, the grass is scorched into sand and ash. You feel dazed, faint...
>>
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Wooden Sword... And A Paddle?
A toy sword, crudely assembled from a wand of brushwood retrieved from The Old Forest Of Idols. In the hands of an imaginative child, it could become anything. Sometimes naughty children become too eager to play with their toys, so their elders take them away. Other times? Well...
>>
>>5267068
>Reply: Words. Words and Names.

(The Song has been lost. You can no longer name the lore of the ancient rites)

You have gained: Wooden Sword
(unfortunately, you do not get the paddle, hehe)

You are not sure if you are sitting, standing, kneeling or lying down. Everything looks like a whirling spiral.

Somehow as the trees and forest spin around you, the voice of the Old Hooded Man is still speaking in your head. But all is a blur and smear of curling and coruscating light. You feel very sick.

The Old Hooded Man continues,
-I think you know what magic is, you have shown it. Yet your answer is wrong. You see, a thing can have many names. Which is the true one? Your friend Tamlyn has many names. The war-thane of Mir, Waldmar - some call him Waldemar, Voldimer, there are so many ways to spell it! Ha, spells, spelling. You see this is magic! Names and words cannot be relied upon. You can call anything by a different name. Does that change it?

>Ask the Old Hooded Man his name

return to the greentext
>>5267032
and choose another option...

>Write in what you think magic is?

>Something else? (you feel very sick...)

>Tearfully beg the Old Hooded Man: please... make the spinning stop... I am getting really dizzy...
>>
Odd timing, but I just saw The Northman last night.

>>5266722
QM, don't do what some people who may not even be playing your quest want, do what you and your actual players want.

You seem to have like 4 players this quest, and I've been one of your only 2 consistent players in all your previous quests, pay attention to them not the equivalent of chat room buddies and archive readers/table-top streamer watchers.

>>5267087
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=tarot

Go to November 2021 start with Invultua, read Galerne next, then read Golgotha and the Golgotha meta thread.

>>5267142
Fuck, I wanted to ditch the wild and go full song and oath, wild magic is way too unreliable despite it being probably being the most certain way of getting out of that early situation without having avoided it entirely.

>Please, I beg of you, stop the spinning!
>Yes, it does change the nature of the thing itself, things change with the telling!
>Puke, void our sickness in desperation.
>>
>>5267196
>Please, I beg of you, stop the spinning!
>Puke, void our sickness in desperation.

You are trying to throw up, hoping that it will make the nausea stop. But to your horror, you find you cannot feel anything... you have no body at all. You remember the dessicated skull on a stick, that you struck with the withering cursed blade... is that what you have become? A shrivelled, waterless husk?

Then with a sudden heave you throw up. The world has stopped revolving around you, and you realise you have befouled yourself with what can only be described as a revolting stench.
>>
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The Old Hooded Man bursts into bellowing laughter.

>>5267196
>Yes, it does change the nature of the thing itself
>things change with the telling!

Somehow you blubber this through slobbering gobs and long trails of spittle and partially regurgitated matter. You realise you have fallen flat upon your face, and there are clods of bitter earth and soil in your mouth.

The Old Hooded Man squints at you curiously. It is an ugly expression, for you can see he possesses only one good eye - the other eye drooping, almost seared shut. Finally, he laughs again:
-You have not shamed yourself. You must tell all the tale of how you murdered a Great Evil-Doer, a great wizard! It was a mighty battle! I feel your mortal blow upon me now, ha, ha! But I think you understand, though you did not express it... as I expected it, at first. Things change, depending upon how they are told! So another way of saying this is... magic is lies! A wizard is a liar!

(You are not sure if there are two, three, four or five overlapping visions of the Old Hooded Man Now. Your vision churns and all seems unfocused and blurred. You still feel nauseous and very dizzy. Nonetheless he continues:)

-Now Bolverkr, The Baleful One, The Great Evil-Doer (ha, ha!) is just one of my many names. I have been called that very often. I am known also as The Bearer Of Burdens, The Slain Tamer, The Wandbearer; The Hooded One, The Blind Wanderer, The Songfather (Galdrafodr), The Gallows-catcher... I have many epithets. As I said, the names do not matter. Only the lies! The lies are the magic!

Suddenly, The Hooded Man, The Great Evil-Doer, turns mournfully away from you. He whispers,
-You do not know of the lies. You are just a weakling child.
>>
When your vision clears, the Old Hooded Man is gone. There is merely the cawing of birds rising from the trees - strangely you do not see the twisted tree with the tangled spear at all. Instead you twitch, startled by the sudden crack of a footstep on a twig.

Tamlyn is here. She is approaching you with a remorseful expression on her wounded and bleeding face:
-I am sorry about earlier... I know you were only trying to help, doing your best - (she wrinkles her nose suddenly, in disgust) urgh! Urgh! What-what is that smell? You... urgh! You! You really are a disgusting, oafish, uncaring, wild wretch! Urgh! Get away!

You want to reply, but unfortunately as a wild wretch, you actually retch uncontrollably again. Some of it flies onto Tamlyn. She runs back into the trees, escaping you.

Mission (optional)
Find a way to make amends with Tamlyn

You are alone when you see Old Grandmother Kospelina's Abode ahead. Her dwelling is upon a small hillock, partially recessed into an enormous old tree besides a burbling brook and pond. As you approach it, you see a dark feathered shape take off into the sky. You swear the shape appears to have horns.

The door to the dwelling is slightly ajar, but you do not see anyone inside or around. Behind the hut and tree itself, you can hear a girl humming a lilting melody.

>Tamlyn? Is that you there?
>Walk around and see who it is.
>Walk into the hut through the ajar door
>(Something else...?)
>>
The Horned Owl
>>
>>5267334
>Respond with a song/tale of our own
>Sing of Bolverkr. The Baleful One. The Great Evil-Doer… The Liar!
>>
>>5267344
>Sing of how we slain him beneath the betrayer tree… A lie of our own?!
>>
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>>5267344
>>5267348
>Sing

You wonder if you have tricked the Great Evil-Deed Doer, The Old Hooded Man. Would it not be clever, if (admittedly, in a very humiliating manner) after you failed to murder him beneath the Betrayer's Tree, you tricked him into boastfully betraying his own Name instead? What did he say it was? Bolverkr? Perhaps you can weave this into a song...

You open your mouth to incant his name: Bolverkr. A braying sound comes out.

You try again, and this time it sounds like a sort of barking croak, as if a wolf had swallowed a particularly eloquent frog.

To your growing horror, you find you can no longer speak. The laughter of the Old Hooded Man, The Great Evil-Deed Doer, echoes in your ears...

(You wrought a magic greater than you could comprehend when you summoned the withering cursed blade beneath the Betrayer's Tree. In doing so, you surrendered completely to the Wild, and lost the Song. You cannot even speak words at all...)

Panic is rising with the alternating chorus of braying, squealing and guttural throat sounds gargling from your mouth. You have a horrible premonition that the next step towards the Wild will see you fall to your hands and knees, lose the ability to even stand and walk upright...

>How to fix this? How? (write-in)
>When you find this Great Evil Deed-Doer, you are going to... wait, that will not help. Perhaps you know his true name? Will uttering that change things? But each time you get it wrong - what will happen...?
(write in?)
>Just ignore your inability to speak for the time being, pretend you are a normal person.
>Something else?
>>
>>5267364
>How to fix this? How? (We don't yet, sulk and play with our wooden sword pretending to be a handsome knight, a well-traveled bard, this may be the last time we walk as humans do)
>Finish sulking outside the abode and creep inside to see who left the door ajar, maybe if it is Kospelina she can help us.
>>
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There is a strange toad in the pond by Old Grandmother's Abode. It huffs its chest at you contemptuously, as if sensing a rival.
>>
You look at the wooden sword, think about playing with it - but it makes you feel like a silly child. Your ears suddenly redden with the taunt of that horrible, evil Hooded Old Man. Why is a mighty wizard tormenting a weakling child, turning them into animals, but so very slowly... He... he should be flinging spells and scorching cruel murderers like Unferth! Not mischievous murderous children, like you... The thought makes you want to almost cry in frustration, but instead of sobs, you can only manage some noises in between mewling and croaking.

The interior of Old Grandmother's dwelling always appears larger on the inside than on the outside, as it sinks into the trunk of the old tree. The interior is suffused in a warm orange glow, the scent of herbs and spices by a gently steaming fire-lit cauldron. There are small effigies of twine and twigs dangling from the roof beams, lantern cages of candles, trinkets and chimes, beads, pebbles and feathers scattered all around. Of Old Grandmother Kospelina herself, no sight is to be found.

Before you can search the surroundings further, a shadow glides behind you -
>>
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It is the hidden humming girl you heard earlier. She has completely white hair. The girl says solemnly:
- You smell very strange. Are you looking for Old Grandmother Kospelina? No need, she is dead. Farewell!

>Say desperately: wh-what happened?
>You are completely and utterly doomed. QM can we restart from a reloaded savepoint. Somehow, the noblebright no injury wounding grimdark gore death is even worse...
>write-in?
>>
>>5267482
"Murderous children"

Hey! We haven't murdered anyone yet! Evil-doers don't count, especially since we aren't even sure we did him in.

>W-wait! Who are you? What happened to Kospelina? Are you related to her? (Just a guess because she also called her grandmother)
>Realise we can only make animal noises
>Look around for stuff so we don't starve in the middle of nowhere

Also, are we still doing the whole "If a character dies they stay dead even in the next world/quest"? I'm sad I missed my chance to finally get revenge on Kospel, but on the other hand I'm glad he's dead. At least I think...was it Kospel I wanted revenge on or someone else?
>>
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Marabet, The White-Haired Humming Girl

(Marabet grins wickedly. But then she returns to a solemn expression, as she replies)

-I tricked you, silly! (humming) La-la-la. Old Grandmother Kospelina is not dead, ...yet. But, she will be. Soon. The Queen is very old. I can see the future, you know. La-la-la. Old Grandmother says, I am very good at it. You smell strange! Like a frog. I licked a frog once, it tickled! La-la-la. Or maybe it was a toad. I tricked you again! La-la-la. Old Grandmother says, we shouldn't tell lies. It is not fair! The Elders do it all the time. Do you know a Song? I like Songs. What strange toys you have! They look like Songs. Do you want to see my doll? Well you can't. Elders don't want girls to play with dolls. Elders want to play at fighting battles. But when I grow up, I am still going to play with dolls! Your toy boat looks pretty. It looks a bit like Death. Do you want to grow up and be an Elder? You like fighting. You should set fire to your toy boat and sink it. Over water. But only when you are ready! That happened recently. I was going to predict it, la-la-la. No I wasn't! Maybe I already did. La-la-la. Do you have a friend? She is going to die too. You should give her a gift. I like gifts! It might make her feel better. See, I have all the answers! You can ask me and I just tell you. Even thanes and King Coppernose asked me things. They fight and tell lies all the time, and lose all the treasure. But that is a secret! Old Grandmother says we are playing hiding. I like games!
>>
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Straw Doll
It is a plain doll that might be the toy of a child. A scarecrow is meant to frighten, for the harvest is protected by fear. An effigy is sometimes pulled apart and cast into the black soil to restore the land. Those that follow the Song often tell this tale.
>>
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>>5267514
>W-wait! Who are you? What happened to Kospelina? Are you related to her? (Just a guess because she also called her grandmother)
>Realise we can only make animal noises

You open your mouth and remember the Old Hooded Man's curse. You wonder if there is a way to undo it? You look down at your vomit-strewn clothes, from when you threw-up after your mighty wizard-battle.

>Look around for stuff so we don't starve in the middle of nowhere
You do not feel hungry at all - quite the opposite, for just the thought of eating makes you feel a bit sick again.

(You have gained: Straw Doll, from searching Old Grandmother Kospelina's Hut. There are many trinkets here, but this seems like a special one)

Marabet is a peculiar name - it sounds like she is named after something. You remember what the Old Hooded Man mentioned about names. They are not reliable, they are "spells" and can be spelt or pronounced differently. Maraved? The way the white-haired girl Marabet spoke sounded a bit like this, but she speaks so strangely. Maybe it is all just nonsense. You do not think it will help you, right now.

Child Of Two Worlds
You possess:
Wooden Sword
Straw Doll
Ferryman Figurine

You possess the following traits:
Songless
Unclean
Cursed: Beast-tongue
Repulsive Stench (vomit stains)

(QM: a reminder that there are no negative traits in my games. It is possible to use seemingly negative descriptors to your advantage, if you wish to keep them)

>...? (Write-in what you would like to do)
>>
Mission:
- Retrieve the healing amber stone from the sword of Unferth, who scarred the face of the Atheling's daughter
>>5265163

(optional)
- Find a way to make amends with Tamlyn
>>5267334

QM: if you want, you can ignore every mission and write-in your own. For example:
- undo the Beast-tongue curse of the Old Hooded Man
- Give Tamlyn a gift
- Set fire to a boat over water (but only when you are ready)
- Discover the meaning of Marabet's name
- Discover the name of the Old Hooded Man, The Great Evil Deed-Doer

- Help Hieronymous Erde catch the attention of the Contessa
- Meet the Handsome Elf Prince (can it be true...? Are there really elves in this game?)
>>5265854
>>
>>5268132
Ah, good, either we can still talk a little or she can understand us.

>>5268143
>Think of what we know of the Blearie Queene, Songs, Lies, the King Beneath The Mountain, and the Great Dark Sky then ask Marabet about what she knows about these things and compare what she knows of them to what we knew of them. Also, who the fuck is King Coppernose, and who are the Elders? What does she know of the Betrayer's Tree and Imunlakr and elves? Just vomit forth all the questions about everything, she clearly responded to us initially, so she can understand us.

>If she can't understand us then go outside and talk to the toad and tell him to translate for us. If he is resistant then just take a bath in the pond while we think of a way to convey our thoughts to Marabet

I know you don't like multiple or contingent greentexts, but this isn't a case of me wanting to do all of them, just do one if the other doesn't work out as I indicate, or interrupt with her response or whatever happens next. This is just how I think or vote, not 'metagaming' or whatever it was you accused me of in a previous quest.

>>5268177
>undo the Beast-tongue curse of the Old Hooded Man
>Give Tamlyn a gift

Take these as optional missions.
>>
I'm sleeping now, some other anons will have to take over and vote during the night as they usually seem to do.
>>
>>5268177
+1
and
>Clean ourselves
>>
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King Coppernose
An unseen demon of avarice and war that arose from the greed and gold-hoard of Kings. The demon is unseen and invisible, taking many forms, that of a treasure-plague that gnaws upon the souls of men, driving them to borrow weapons and murder others in madness. Those gentle prudent souls who lend their hoard in kindness and foolishness suffer greatly. Yet another form of this demon in times of war and want is a raging conflagration that burns all wealth. The greed-demon is so greatly feared upon many lands that Kings have commanded the confiscation of all coins, jewels and treasure, resulting in only barter, debt and enslavement amongst the populace. It is said that the Greed-Demon cannot be slain by cuts of blades or weapons - it can only be bound to a heavy rock or soul-anchor, as it bides its time to be unleashed yet again.

The true name of King Coppernose is hidden from this world.
>>
Usurer's Knife
An instrument of mercy and pain wielded in the rites of merchant sorcerors, Followers Of The Pentacle And The Unbidden Court, the mercenary witchcraft of magicians fallen amongst brigands and thieves. Cutting the flesh of sacrifices produces exuberant pangs of ecstasy, bleeding and bringing devotees closer to the Greed-Demon, King Coppernose. To raise the Usurer's Knife is a terrible omen, for it is said that one nameless magician once stood alone upon an ancient battlefield, drew this blade, and pierced and punctured the foul blister of delusions around the Greed-Demon's battle-banner, ending his cruel rampage.
>>
Five Hundredfold Banner (Havenless Oriflamme)
Oracle banner coveted by brigand knights, a feared standard amongst the poor.
Inscribed with five hundred names of the old gods, though there is some bickering over those cast aside or forgotten.
Those devoted to the Oriflamme claim to have witnessed visions, wreathed in an ephemeral torrent of glyphs and flickering, prophetic numerals; when the banner falls, a great doom is said to await the world.
>>
>ask Marabet about what she knows about these things
>go outside and talk to the toad
>take a bath in the pond

For a moment, you are hopeful. Perhaps this nonsensical white-haired girl-child can understand your animal squeals, croaks and grunts?

Yet soon you are dismayed to find she prattles nonsense at you whatever you say, in between humming her infuriating snippets of song. You leave her to try and find the Contemptuous Toad, by the pool near the babbling stream.

The toad has waddled away, but the water surprises you - it is pleasantly warm, tingling and fresh. You soak a little in the pool, washing off the horrible-vomit smells and stains.

For the time being, all the worries you had seem very distant and hazy. You think you have found a Sanctuary here. A place nestled in moss and flowers, safe enough to doze, and dream...

You possess the traits:
Songless

You have lost conditions:
Unclean
Cursed: Beast-tongue
Repulsive Stench (vomit stains)

QM note:
You can attempt to think about any topic or lore any time you want - the effect is vastly strengthened if you do so whilst resting at a Sanctuary, but weakened outside of it with the Songless condition. The Song attribute affects you ability to recall lore, Words, Names and Rites. Without the Song, you cannot name any spells.

You think upon some of the names the Old Hooded Man revealed to you. He is The One-Eyed Wanderer, the Songfather, the Gallows-Burdened... perhaps sometimes bearing a curse can aid you, if you are willing to suffer through it?

>>5267427
>play with our wooden sword, pretending to be...
>>
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Location: Behind The Shield-Wall (Before The Battle)

-If I hear any more animal noises, any clucking, any braying, I am going to gut the next living thing I see, I swear it upon Lunfardo's dangling teats -

Bastich The Swindler, knife drawn, is angling his blade against the neck of The Terrified Jester, Learmont The Rhymer.
>>
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Learmont The Rhymer, a Jester
>>
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Cadarn Of The Thunderstruck Rood glances up wearily at his maddened, ranting companion. Rubbing his eyes laden with fatigue, he says:
- Leave him be, Bastich. Save your anger for the battle and the shield-wall. Besides, you have only yourself to blame. You led us here.

Bastich scowls:
- There are no women here. Not even moderately effeminate men. This battle is a joke - worse than your stupid impersonations and rhymes, Learmont (glancing at the terrified Jester). What there is: chickens, cattle, swine. It is like a farm cattle-house, a byre camped around with grunting men armed with sharpened sticks. They have no firearms! They do not even have many bowmen! Something about the iron being too precious here to leave the hand, to waste upon arrowsheads lost or taken by your foes. We are all going to be killed.

The Jester, Learmont, foolishly opens his mouth to stutter:
-Bu-But if King Iosaef h-had not issued his d-decree, forbidding the coast to trade iron, grain and weapons wi-with these p-people, black powder from East G-Galerne...it... it is not their fault...

Bastich explodes with rage.
- What did I JUST SAY?! No more braying or animal noises! All I hear from you is bleating! You are like an ugly, disgusting little lamb! Baaa! Baaa! BAAAA! I am going to stab you now... look I am doing it... by Lunfardo's shrivelled wriggling worm-pecker I am stabbing you...

You walk past this scene as you meander, wandering amongst the battle campfires.

From Unferth's shield wall, a solitary warrior is crossing the divide, approaching your side and brandishing weapons, boasting and taunting, incoherently bellowing a challenge and trying to rile up a fight.

Everyone on both sides ignores him.
>>
QM: Decide what weapons you are carrying or war-gear. Anything from the Dark Ages era is permitted, that you can reasonably expect to carry on your back and two hands. For example:
-a shield, an axe, a spear, a seax (knife/short sword) - one of everything. This is the default choice.
-two shields, a spear, an axe; (defensive)
-two throwing-axes, two spears; (ranged, long reach. No defense)
-war-mail, a sword, a shield
-(advanced, you think you are Beowulf lol) carry no weapons, no armour, nothing at all. Walk around barechested like in the old tales...

You can carry a wide selection of weapons, but this may encumber and slow you.

The exceptions: if you want a sword, you will need to borrow one (the story will explain later).

If you want war-mail (armour), you are limited to only two additional items, eg
-armour, sword, shield;
-armour, two axes, etc.

You can carry a bow. Everyone at the war-camp will laugh at you and think you a weakling coward. You may get called nicknames like Prancing Elf Boy etc. You will probably be sent to die first.

You can cheat. (Evil QM taunting: Try this, hehe) Ask for plate armour. Ask for something like a mace, a war-flail, a crossbow, a greatsword. A halberd or glaive. In Langkasuka some sword-saints carry strange badaoshu blades. Better yet, why not ask for a gun? (Evil QM cackles wickedly in anticipation)

You receive in addition to whatever you choose a small, Francisca throwing axe, because of your scavenging here:
>>5265532

>Choose from options above, or write-in whatever weapons you want.
-If you want to play by the rules, use Dark Ages (Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Viking-era) type weapons
-If you want to cheat... be warned there may be surprising consequences... hehe
>>
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War Helm
>>
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Mail War-Shirt (Brynja)
>>
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Seax
>>
Spear
>>
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Axe
>>
Sword
- if you choose this, you must borrow one
>>
Shield
>>
>>5268377
Mail, Spear, Shield
Maximum survivability
>>
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(QM: This choice remains open for the time being, to give players the chance to discuss or change their selection on an ongoing basis until a final story confirmation. You can write-in any weapons you want. Meanwhile I will continue with the narrative:)

Cadarn studies The Swindler Bastich, as he menaces the cowering jester Learmont with his dagger. He says:
-Do you ever think, Bastich, that perhaps we chose the wrong side? I have never met this Waldmar before. They say he venerates the accursed symbol of the Beasts, his followers openly carry it upon their banners. I do not know this Beast-God, this Beast-Father. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I think all this has come about because of the Interregnum. There are too many Kings now, they are bursting out all over the ground like Dragon's Teeth of old. And the Kings cannot abide each other. They no longer even accept tribute or tithes, they blockade villages and towns like brigands and strangle the land instead...

Bastich rolls his eyes. He turns and lowers the blade - Learmont notably breathes out in relief - as Bastich slaps the pommel of his dagger against his own forehead:
-Woe betide the belly-udders of Lunfardo's daughters, the bleating of this idiot (glancing at the jester) has finally gotten to you too! It is very simple. This war is about land. I fight for coin. I use the coin to find women! If women are not available, effeminate men will do! But none of this is to be had in this pigsty of a battle-camp! I am stuck here waiting to be killed. You and the jester man are bleating! When will the killing begin?

A rumbling, ominous horn is echoing across the divide, accompanied by a clangorous drum. Abruptly, though, the signal ends.

Learmont is pointing with a trembling finger in the direction of Unferth's camp
-The-the Fourfooted B-Beast... its symbol...

Bastiche shrieks:
-By the milking gash between Lunfardo's third harlot's buttocks, will you STOP bleating, I will KILL you... (mimes stabbing near-misses into Learmont's face dramatically)

Cadarn glances over at the enemy banner raised over Unferth's side. He scoffs, bemused
-So that is what the emblem is...
>>
Intervene in this conversation:
>There should only be One High King. Kill all that do not kneel to him.
>Iosaef Unbidden
>Waldmar
>Waldmar - I mean, the other one?
>Waldmar Arrow-Caller
>I am going to be King some day. You should all kneel before me.

>The thanes should learn to live in harmony, even if incessant war and slaughter ensues whenever they squabble and disagree
>The Interregnum should continue. The suffering of the land makes for good tales and songs!
>I will follow whoever pays me most
>Can someone lend me a sword? Maybe a gun? Or some other weapons? (Bastich waves his knife in rage...)

>You know the cursed symbol of the Beast-Mark referred to here.
>>5265247
Write-in what you think it is.

>Look at the cursed banner directly yourself. You do not fear it.

>Examine the champion that came to taunt your side - the warrior is still hurling insults, frothing and spitting, brandishing weapons. Perhaps you can kill him?

>Persuade someone to humiliate the champion:
>Cadarn
>Bastich
>Learmont (he will defeat him... with comedy)

>Try and find Unferth somehow?

>Something else?
>>
>>5268726
Other topics you can try:
>Who or what is Lunfardo?
>What are a jester and two thieves doing on a battlefield? Are you spies? Traitors? Deserters from somewhere?
>(looking at Learmont) who is your master, jester? What court did you belong to?
>>
Well, I'm done what I was doing and no longer busy, just catching up now.
>>
>>5268345
Interesting, this seems like the Furnace of Avarice spell except as a sentient demon or legend.

>>5268357
The mechanics seem different from your previous quests, I guess I'll have to treat this as its own thing. Though I admit to being confused how to treat this given the returning characters and return of a named country from Galerne, making me think this is the same world as Galerne just in a different time period and location.

I figured the beast tongue could be useful to talk to the deer hunting us or animals, but I found the idea of being unable to communicate to humans too inconvenient, and from an in-character perspective I can't imagine we'd go along with the change in lifestyle. Though, by becoming songless I am much less enthused about being able to talk again.

>>5268363
Ah, so it is the same world.

>>5268377
Ah, so this is us pretending to be a knight or something? Or is a legit POV switch?

>>5268726
>I am going to be King some day. You should all kneel before me.

Listen, if this is us having a fantasy, this makes sense, we can whine and pine after our lost Song. If this is a POV switch then it makes sense for a nameless brigand to have a huge ego.

>The beast mark is a circle of horned antlers?

>Make a bet with our assembled companions, if we kill the enemy champion then they have to follow us as King, if the enemy champion kills us, then they get to inherit ours arms and armour instead of our next-of-kin and then get to keep our coin purse. (Hand one of them our coin purse to get them to buy in to this and so that they don't have to retrieve it from the enemy to fulfill the bet)

>Examine the champion that came to taunt your side - the warrior is still hurling insults, frothing and spitting, brandishing weapons. Perhaps you can kill him?
>>
>>5267087
>is being hard for me in this bitch
English is my first language and his quests are full of what the fuckery.
>>5268726
>The thanes should learn to live in harmony, even if incessant war and slaughter ensues whenever they squabble and disagree
Learmont (he will defeat him... with comedy)
>>5265247
Sabretooth tiger?
>>
Beast-Marked Warrior (Taunting Champion)
>>
Horned Axe (Dane Axe)
Long Reach, Brutal, Leg Hook, Thrust, Cleave
Slow, Heavy, Bulky, Weakness: Close Range
Long hafted wide bladed axe with pronounced curving crescent horns at the toe and heel of the biting edge, believed to be a possible ancestor of the poleaxe and later halberd. The foremost point of the curved horn is a surprising thrust weapon. Another unexpected manoeuvre is the use of the axehead inward curving horns to hook the ankles of an unsuspecting opponent.
>>
Bearded Axe (Skeggox)
Close Range, Brutal, Swift, Light, Hook, Punch,Disarm, Tool: Forestry, Woodworking
Weakness: Long Reach, Vulnerable (Hand)
An axe with an elongated lower portion of the cutting edge (the hook, or the beard), enabling a wielder to grip the haft directly behind the head in a punching stance. The hook of the axehead can be used to pull a shield from an opponents grasp at very close range, if you do not fear losing some fingers. The versatile close-hafted grip also retains applications for woodworking and forestry, shaving and planing wood.
>>
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>>5268947
>I am going to be King some day. You should all kneel before me.
>Make a bet with our assembled companions...

At the mention of a wager, Bastich composure suddenly changes. Learmont is perhaps the most astonished of all, for Bastich instantly sheathes his knife, adopts his most
dainty, winsome, alluring smile (it is not at all dainty or winsome or alluring). Through a grin of crooked teeth, Bastich murmurs sweetly and admiringly:
- Of course, Young Hero! You will stand alone against our cruel inhuman foes and turn the tide of battle! You are truly honourable, and I will not be assisting the enemy side in their attempts to kill you, just because I want to loot the coin and armour from your corpse. I will not be doing that! But let me give you some advice, Young Hero! Never fight fair. Always cheat, always lie! That is the way of Lunfardo! By the noble mien and the shining light upon his brow, Lunfardo says that all warfare is deceit, wars are mostly lies spoken through knives. It rhymes! Write that down, Learmont! (The jester plucks a quill from a passing goose waddling about the camp.) Now there is just a question of this coin purse. May I see it, hmmm...?

You experience a sensation akin to a dream where all your clothes have suddenly fallen off before a gathered congregation. For you possess nothing except a Wooden Sword, a Straw Doll and a Grotesque Ferryman Boat Figurine. None of which are worth anything at all.

Bastich begins first to twitch, then to spasm, then to erupt in twitching, spasmodic fury:
-I knew it! You are a...Swindler! You have nothing, NOTHING, just like the castrated hollow of Lunfardo's father's crotch cavity filled with very little regret! I am going to stab you! I am doing it now!
>>
Cadarn slaps his hand onto his thigh, and stands:
-Enough. Bastich, sit down. You look ridiculous. Our Young Hero is the only one here with the wits to propose a plan of action, as opposed to sulking or moping or ranting. I will take you to Olaefyr, Young Hero. He will arm you and aid you in whatever you do. But I will say this: I think you should fight fairly. Whatever you think of Waldmar, or the other Waldmar, or the Beast-Mark Banner, you should show the enemy that we possess honour. Should you cheat, you may enrage and incite the other side into killing you before you escape bow-shot and make it back to our shield-wall. If I were you, I would not draw a blade at all. Maybe just try and shame that boasting warrior into returning to his ranks. If nothing else, it might save you from being wounded or maimed, before the actual battle begins.

You are greatly surprised by the demeanour of Olaefyr when you meet him. You have never met anyone so suspiciously eager to help you in your life. It must be a dream? A wish fulfilment dream?

Olaefyr is offering you his sword. His own, ancestral blade. He is offering you the pick of any weapon you want, the best of what they have.But in a low conspiratorial whisper Olaefyr adds:
- This information must not spread beyond the three of us: we have more weapons coming. Lorscheim has heard out call! The Oath and the Light aids us. The Prince-Provost is sending arquebusiers, cannons! We think they may be days away. They may arrive tomorrow. There need not be a slaughter here, this rabble will simply turn tail and flee when they hear the roar of cannon-fire. If you are willing to wait even just one more day, I can get plate armour, a greatsword, crossbows. Think on it!

There is something about all this that feels very strange to you, almost dreamlike. Why would this warrior be so eager to aid a stranger?
>>
QM: Think carefully on the situation, and write in what to do. This is the final inventory confirmation before whatever comes. Some options:

FIGHT FAIRLY, with honour
- the other side have raised the Beast-Mark Banner. Will they respond honourably?
>You remember the advice of Cadarn: you should fight fairly. Equip yourself with the choice
>>5268431
or only weapons such as an axe, spear, seax shield etc

>You want to ask to borrow Olaefyr's ancestral sword.

CHEAT, without honour
- you are fighting Unferth's men. Did they show you any honour when they cut Tamlyn's face? Spreadeagled corpses upon trees? Threatened to amputate your hands? Bastich is right. Always lie, cheat, steal. For the world will do no less to you.
>You want to wait just one day. You will be able to choose weapons like crossbows, plate armour, greatswords etc

>You want to wait a few days. Maybe if the cannons and arquebusiers arrive from the Prince-Provost, this confrontation can be ended without bloodshed?

UNARMED - fearless, or foolish?
>There is something very strange about this entire situation. Walk out and confront Unferth's champion, as you are, with no weapons at all.

>>5269008
>>5268947
>antlers, tigers etc.
QM: unfortunately, neither of these is the emblem
I will also offer this choice again here, given all the additional information. (The choices here not taken: >>5268738 )

>Send Learmont to confront Unferth's Champion
>>
QM: at any point in time, there is always the choice

>You know the cursed symbol of the Beast-Mark referred to here.
>>5265247
Write-in what you think it is.

>Look at the banner directly yourself. You do not fear it.
>>
>>5269069
Can I get a clarification? Is the enemy champion equipped as in the picture with multiple shields and some armour, or is he essentially naked with just the horned and bearded axe? This changes what I vote to equip.
>>
>>5269069
Also, what are the traits of the various weapons and armour/shields here >>5268381
>>5268383
>>5268385
>>5268386
>>5268387
>>5268388
>>5268390

Or is the omission of the traits deliberate?
>>
>>5269069
I'll write my initial desired loadout, though I may seek to change it if the QM gives new info regarding the various weapons.

>Take Brynja, a throwing axe, and a seax

Our plan will be to throw our ax to disable his shield and then rush into close range while he still has his dane axe out and kill him with our seax.

>Also ask all of these questions >>5268738
>>
>>5269091
>>5269092
The Beast-Marked Warrior resembles what you see in the picture. You think he is carrying two axes, two shields. He has a shield in his hand and an axe in his other, the rest is sheathed as depicted. Beware, he may have some other tricks... The warrior is wearing a war-helm with some mail protecting his neck, but no actual armour otherwise, again as depicted.

Remember also that because of the throwing axe you found earlier, which you concealed when being threatened by Unferth, you can get that for free (even when unarmed).

The hidden traits on weapons is deliberate. If you cheat, ie if you wait a few days for the Prince-Provost cannons, they can be revealed.
>>
>>5269069
>>5269115
Okay, I change my selection.

>Take Brynja, a shield, a seax, and the Francisca that we automatically get. Fight fairly with honour.

We'll disable his shield with the Francisca, rush in hopefully closing too fast for him to switch weapons or draw his other shield (because we are not over-encumbered due to us not taking too many weapons), stab him to death at close range, if he switches to the shorter ax then he'll probably try and destroy our shield whereupon we can cut his fingers off and then stab him to death.

If they don't fight fairly and shoot arrows at us with their army then we have our shield to protect us as we retreat.
>>
>>5269069
>>5269115
Here's an alternative loadout that I was considering, this isn't a vote change, just me voicing my thoughts.

A war-helm, a shield, a throwing ax, francisca, seax.

That way our head is protected from quick blows and we are historical in the fact that people always chose to have head protection, a shield to protect our body from attack, arrows, and to bait out the shield breaking move from the bearded axe, both a throwing axe and our francisca so we have multiple chances to break his shield if we miss, plus we have a 2nd throwing weapon for in case he is too quick and draws his second shield or does some weird shenanigans like turn his back towards us to take our first throwing axe, and if we break one shield we can throw the other ax to wound him before we close in. The seax will be used as previously described to shank him as we close in while he hopefully is still wielding the dane ax, but if he switches in time then we can bait out the shieldbreaker move and cut his fingers off, and with no maille we will hopefully be agile enough to close in fast or avoid the leg sweeper move.

Hopefully that would be logical, but I'll go with my original vote still. Don't want some bullshit where he manages to hit us first despite having a slow weapon and quickly pokes us with the point of his ax and then we have no chest protection.
>>
>>5269124
There is a dull clunk as the axehead embeds into wood. The shield is not broken, but you can see the throwing axe is unbalancing him, pivoting his arm down... there is an opening, straight to his vulnerable unarmoured chest. This is as you foresaw! You need only race across the waterlogged marsh and end him...

You chose wisely, and did not burden yourself with many weapons. The squelch of your footfall as you charge forward across the mud - is this a dream? Did it rain yesterday? - your heart pounds and you flounder slightly, yet you are not unbalanced. You are so close...

So, so close - within stabbing range, you can see the heave and fall of his chest, the sheen of sweat. But there is something odd about his shield-arm. His shield is ruined, yet he has not cast it aside. He could have dropped it quickly and tried to reach his second shield...

The Beast-Marked Warrior hurls a hidden small throwing axe of his own - identical to yours, concealed behind his ruined shield. With unerring aim it knocks aside your shield, a step short of where your knife would pierce and end him. Then the bite of a great axe cleaves apart the halves of the earth and the sky.
>>
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You can see the cursed mark of the Beast-Father clearly now. It is not one symbol, but many, all at once. A symbol of ancient good and terrible evil, that spins like the arms of the sun and stars from both left and right. It looks a bit like the talons of a bird...

There is an eagle descending from the heavens, claws and talons outstretched. This makes no sense to you. A bird is not a beast? All know the tale of the wolf that ends the world, swallows the sun and moon, and is consumed by fire. How is the symbol of the Beast-Father, a bird?
>>
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Yet you instantly recognise this bird. You have seen it, playing by an old shrine where the earth is furrowed into deep trenches amongst cairns scattered upon a sea of stones. They say the wolf god was born in war and ended in slaughter. Were those cuts the frenzied mark of its claws upon the land? The mark of the first battle before it was born?

>Kneel before the Eagle Shrine
>Whisper the true name of the Beast Father, before the Eagle Shrine
>>5265247

>Flee this cursed place

>Something else?
>>
>>5269185
>Flee this cursed place

I still don't know the name, unless the 'whisper the true name' prompt is saying that we already know the name and that it is the Adalwulf. But if that prompt leads us to another guess then I don't know it. Even if I did, I wouldn't want anything to do with another evil shrine. We may be Songless, but I'll not willing prostrate myself before anymore shitty gods.
>>
>>5269185
>Flee this cursed place
>>
>>5269181
Alas, had I only chosen the helm instead of the maille and a sword instead of the seax. But I thought choosing the sword would have some catch to it, so I didn't choose it, and I thought since the axe had brutal on it it would simply cleave through our helm. Though I do find it odd that he'd be able to use his long hafted dane axe on us if we are so close to him that we can nearly hit him with our knife before we either hit him or recover.
>>
>>5269185
>Whisper the true name of the Beast Father, before the Eagle Shrine
Fenrisúlfr
>>
>>5269287
How did you come to this conclusion? Just wondering, if you have a persuasive argument for why this would be the name then I might switch.
>>
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The Fylfot, Four-footed Hooked Cross Of Adalwulf
Cursed Beast-Mark, The Tetraskelion)

QM: I would accept any obscure name for the fylfot, eg
gammadion, hakenkreuz, ugunskrusts, etc.
I would also accept any variant, the Black Sun Wheel, The Wolfsangel, etc.
>>
>>5269287
>Fenrisúlfr
(You have lost trait: Songless)
The Song Is Strengthened

You were the Child Of Two Worlds
You are now
Child Of Worlds Entwined

The Old Hooded Man, the One-Eyed Wanderer who had died upon the Betrayer's Tree Laeradr once before - and not by your hand! - that wicked Bolverkr, the deceitful, Great Evil Deed-Doer - He told you that names are not reliable.

Some are cursed, called Evil, when they do not deserve it. Others walk bright and happy and free, free of the blood and the gore that they will never even touch or see.

You call upon the wolf - the Adal-wulf, (Adulf?) with a name of the myths of another world and time.

That is not the name of the one upon this shrine.

Some of what the Bolverkr said makes sense to you now. You see why he wanders, why he lies and tricks and deceives. He walks the Land to warn when a Great Evil is near. Those who hear his tale like it not. Some ignore his warning. Others call him the Evil One, merely for trying to tell and warn them of it.

Perhaps the Evil time has already come? The great banner of the Adalwulf has been unfurled upon a battlefield? It matters not which side has done it, whether it is Waldmar, or the other Waldmar - their names are all the same. But when those who work the Song invoke the Name in battle, bear the ancient emblem upon their banners... the times of greed and slaughter and ruin, the times of Evil deeds have come again.
>>
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You are trying flee this Evil place, this cursed, Fylfot Shrine, once an ancient symbol of innocence and peace changed by the deeds of men.

Yet there is a rising sea of gore, bone and bile, spilt marrow, maggots and carrion engulfing you. There is no escape from it...

Cadarn turns away from the battlefield. He shakes his head sorrowfully.

Even Bastich is subdued.
-By Lunfardo's... solitary tear... that drips from his... slit eye...(stifles a sob) Cadarn, this is your fault! Your fault for encouraging the Young Hero... What did I tell you... They stood no chance! Was that your idea of a joke, telling them to be honourable and fair? After everything you have done, all the people you cheated and killed, Cadarn? Look at what they are doing to the brave Young Hero now! There is barely even anything left. They are using the pieces to decorate their cursed banner, but I do not think the skull and spine will stay on for very long...

Cadarn starts to walk away, but then turns and stops to point:
- I guess you were wrong, Bastich. Look - over there! At last, a woman here on the battlefield for you. I hope you get to meet her!
>>
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A woman is walking into the marshes and mud between both sides of the divided shield walls.

In some lands there are tales of a beautiful maiden of the battle-slain and fallen, a winged woman who chooses amongst those who fought bravely, with honour and virtue.
>>
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This woman is not her. She looks like an Old Hag, a filthy bonepicker or camp-follower, who is not beyond rummaging amongst the corpse-heap just to loot whatever remains of value.

In her hands are a broken wooden sword, a headless straw doll cleft in two parts missing an arm. She stops and mutters, craning her neck and turning right and left and back again, as if there is something she has dropped or lost.

With a muttered curse of recognition, Old Hag Kospelina finally retrieves the small figurine of a ferryman on a boat, half-buried in the mud, the marsh grass and the blood.
>>
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You awake to the flutter of tawny feathers scattering upon a thatched roof. You can smell moss and sweet flowers as Old Grandmother Kospelina's dwelling basks in birdsong and morning sunshine. Perhaps it was a dream? You hear the lilting singsong prattle of a child - it makes you feel very old:
(Marabet is prodding you)
-Wake up, silly! Old Grandmother came and left when you were still sleeping. She stole all your items. Your stupid toy sword and ugly doll. And your scary boat. So scary! Silly sleepyhead!

(You have lost your possessions)

>(Frantically... What to do? Write in)
>>
>>5269447
Accuse her of tomfoolery, she hid our items. Demand them back!
>>
>>5269447
>We need the items to fight a great evil! The Evil One who is Not Evil has come with warning! Give us back the withering cursed blade!
>>
>>5269447
>Which way did she go?

We saw her in the dream, despite our disorientation I think we'd know Marabet didn't take our stuff. I'd also rather not push away a potential friend after we lost our other one, after just getting our voice back too.
>>
Not to mention us using the blade made us Songless in the first place, we should really stop flip-flopping which things we are good at, I can't speak for this quest but if it is anything like Souv's previous 3 quest we need to specialize and focus on a goal or two really hard.

I think we should either focus on getting our items back or just talk to Marabet now that we can talk and pry her for information/befriend her.
>>
>>5269287
Based Beowulf anon

>>5269447
Cry thief! Thief!
>>
>>5269536
>just talk to Marabet
Kinda annoying. Stats increase by using them. How many can we raise to great Souv?
>>
>>5269458
>>5269463
>>5269533
>Which way did she go?
>Accuse her of tomfoolery, she hid our items
>the withering cursed blade, Imunlakr

Marabet grabs you by the hand - her tiny child-like fingers seem to possess surprising vice-like grip and strength - and leads you towards a strange stone arch amongst the toadstools and trees. Along the way Marabet looks at you and cackles wickedly, but quickly becomes crestfallen:

-Through here! Oh no, I tricked you! Maybe I didn't. (She pouts petulantly) But you are still a silly stupid fish-breath sleepyhead. La-la-la. Old Grandmother didn't take your things. I hid them! Old Grandmother is gathering ingredients now. She is looking for a woman's beard. Oh and Tamlyn died. The Blearie Queene got her. Ripped apart like bear-sinews. Sorry. Is Tamlyn your friend? She is the second most silly person. Like bird spittle. Tamlyn is ugly now. Do you know who is the most silly person? You are! The Blearie Queene fell and broke her head on a mountain-roots stone. If she had a step like a cat's footfall it would not have hurt. She is very sad. All of this happened recently. La-la-la. The Blearie Queene cuts faeries out of naughty children's bellies. La-la-la. King Unbidden just sat and watched. I predicted it. La-la-la. No I didn't! I tricked you! But I think you met my friend. You shouldn't have friends. They end up like Tamlyn. My friend wrote a really bad Song. It doesn't even rhyme! Do you like songs? I like games! I can show you an elf-sword. La-la-la. Follow me!

Before the stone arch entwined with the toadstools and the trees, Marabet unceremoniously kicks you very hard through it. You stumble in astonishment and trip and fall. You are about to turn back and indignantly berate the infuriating white-haired nonsense singing girl-child, when you realise you are not alone.
>>
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Mission: find the Elf-Sword
Mission: discover the fate of the Scarred Girl Tamlyn

Marabet is not behind you. Instead, there is a bizarrely attired, monocled man. You notice under his arm he appears to be carrying a lacquered wooden box of some kind. He studies you and then asks:
-What are you doing here? Are you a servant?

>You know this monocled man. You have a feeling he might trust you more if you address him by his correct name (write-in if you know it)

>Something else...?
>>
>>5269648
>You know this monocled man. You have a feeling he might trust you more if you address him by his correct name (write-in if you know it)
White Rabbit
>>
You feel as when you met this man before, his demeanour was very different.
>>5265854
Now a delicate shadow flits across his haughty monocled brow, which creases in mild annoyance:
- Do not be ridiculous! That is clearly a hedgehog. Hmmm. You are a little too clean to be a savage, but you clearly possess only the wits and manners and clothing of a Servant. Therefore, Servant, go and fetch The Elf from that pavilion over there. That insufferable self-proclaimed savant Hieronymous Erde has called an audience with the Contessa. He claims to have finally discovered An Elf. I would hurry up about it! The Contessa is all quivering and tremulous with anticipation. Perhaps even the Belsire and Beldame will attend. Though if you get it wrong, they will probably throw you into The Dungeon. It is very unpleasant there. So hurry along, Servant! That will be all.

The Haughty Monocled Man shoos you away.
>>
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The Hedgehog
https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_195250.htm

Last updated: 13 May. 2022 13:08
>Two of the biggest drills, with around 18,000 troops from twenty countries, are “Defender Europe” and “Swift Response”. Currently taking place in Poland and eight other countries, they also include parachute drops and helicopter assaults in North Macedonia. In Estonia, 15,000 troops from 14 countries are involved in exercise “Hedgehog”, one of the largest military drills in the country since 1991 and involving the US navy Wasp-class landing ship Kearsarge. Meanwhile, exercise “Iron Wolf” in Lithuania involves 3,000 Allied troops and around 1,000 vehicles, including German Leopard 2 tanks.
>>
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Mission: Bring The Elf to the Contessa, The Belsire and The Beldame
Mission: find the Elf-Sword
Mission: discover the fate of the Scarred Girl Tamlyn

(optional) obtain some better clothes

Origin: Child Of Worlds Entwined
You have no possessions
You have no traits
You are wearing a cleaner version of this:
>>5268143

You wander through the trees until you find the entrance to a resplendent pavilion, artfully decorated as an overgrown folly ruin. Everything appears quite luxurious and decadent here - though perhaps the sumptuousness makes it appear a little contrived. You wonder if Marabet has taken you to some sort of pleasure-garden? Are there Elves here?

There are three passages
>North
>East
>West

>(Write in what you would like to do...?)
>>
The Barbarian
>>
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The Wizard
>>
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The Dwarf
>>
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...but where is the Elf?
>>
>>5270108
North
>>
>>5270108
>North
Confidently, you begin to stride towards the northern passage. From the centre of the pavilion you glimpse the following guests assembled:

West - The Skraeling
North - Ingelred, The Smith
East - The Weaver Girl
>>
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The Skraeling
>>
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The Weaver Girl
>>
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Ingelred, The Smith
>>
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As you approach Incel...Ingelred, you can see he is quite dirty and unclean and dwarfish-looking. He smells exactly as he looks, of soot and smoke and bristling, slightly singed armpit hair.

When Ingelred sees you approach, he snorts and simply says,
-Not woman.

>Ask Incel- I mean, Ingelred, a question? (write in)

>Excuse me, are you by any chance an Elf?
>Do you know anything about Elf-Swords?

>This one will just have to do. Present Ingelred to the Contessa as the Elf that Hieronymous discovered.

Try and speak to another potential Elf-candidate in one of the other passages:

>The Skraeling
>The Weaver Girl

>Something else...?
>>
>>5270207
>Do you know anything about Elf-Swords?
>>
>>5270238
Ingelred grunts contemptuously and spits.
-Not "sweord". Scramaseax. Not axe. Not woman.
>>
>>5270251
Ingelred adds gloomily,
-No "seax". No... woman.
>>
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You see Le Valet du Grand Plaisir appearing at the entrance to the pavilion.

In a pleading voice, The Valet imploringly asks,
-Has The Elf been found? The Contessa is being kept waiting...

>This is ridiculous. Just use this Sooty Armpit Dwarf as an Elf. The Contessa has never even seen an Elf before, she will just have to believe it.

>Ask The Valet why Hieronymous Erde is not here to escort the Elf to the Contessa himself?

>Me. I am The Elf. I would like a private audience with The Belsire and The Beldame also.

>Speak to one of the other candidates, the Skraeling or The Weaver Girl? (write-in)
>>
>>5270300
>This is ridiculous. Just use this Sooty Armpit Dwarf as an Elf. The Contessa has never even seen an Elf before, she will just have to believe it.
Do you allow write ins?
>>
>>5270315
The Valet looks at you desperately.
-Please, good sir, anything, anything! The Elf must be found! The Contessa will be so disappointed otherwise, she may ask for everyone to be thrown into The Dungeon! How horrible!

(QM: I will always consider all write-ins, hehe)
>>
>>5270256
>Ingelred adds gloomily,
>-No "seax". No... woman.
relatable

>>5270300
>>Speak to one of the other candidates The Weaver Girl?
she looks the closest to an elf
>>
>>5270300
Supporting >>5270335

Fuck it, she's foreign enough.
>>
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When you motion to leave and head East to speak to the Weaver Girl, Ingelred The Gloomy Dwarf says wistfully,
-Ingelred, no woman. Ingelred, hammer. No woman. Woman, not axe. Man, axe. Not woman. No seax!

The Valet interjects helpfully,
-I think what this... stunted gentleman is trying to say, is that he has dedicated himself for so long to his forge, I believe he knows very few words other than those of his tools and the weapons that he makes.

Ingelred becomes suddenly excited:
-Ingelred, hammer! Ingelred, axe! Not woman! Axe!

You wonder if there is some way to communicate with Ingelred The Stunted Dwarf. He must have something to offer, but is there anything you can offer him in return? Ingelred seems to understand well enough.

>...?
>>
>>5270406
Is he trying to say he wants sex with a man? The valet could bend over for him.

If not, I guess we could offer him our shirt to wipe down with, or if we secretly still have our concealed Francisca we could offer him that. Though I don't think we still have that.
>>
>>5270406
>Do you want me to bring you an axe ?
>>
>>5270406
>>5270555
>>5270469
Could Marabet be the elf?
>>
>>5270633
Entirely possible, but she isn't with us.
>>
>>5270643
Some more options.
We tell them we don't know any elves, no one around knows any elves.
Point them towards some other magical encounters, the wizard (possibly the elf prince) and headless deer.
>>
>>5270899
Maybe, but as I understand the situation, Marabet has pushed us through a magical door into another location in the world. I'm not sure these people can actually get to our native land on their own without a long trip by land or sea without Marabet to utilize the magic archways.
>>
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>>5270633
Could Marabet be the elf?
As you contemplate this, you can almost hear a lilting mischievous voice in your ear reply:
- You are so silly! Elves don't exist, Sleepyhead. I am not here! I like games. La-la-la.
>>
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>>5270555
>>5270469
>The valet could bend over for him.

When you insinuate this, Ingelred shakes his fist at you in fury:
-Ingelred hammer: WOMAN! Not man! No seax! No seax! Ingelred axe, man-hammer-man! No seax! No seax!

You are trying to decipher the stunted vocabulary of Ingelred, The Gloomy Incel Dwarf, Last Of His Kind.

It appears that due to the utter devotion to his craft, where he has dedicated all action to the forge, anvil and smithing, Ingelred can no longer even use verbs or action-words.

Such is the unfortunate, voiceless fate of many who work: to be reduced through the exertion of toil and labour to an inarticulate and piteous fate.
>>
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You think in the mind of this unfortunate stunted dwarf, with his very limited axe-language, the few simple words of tools and weapons he remembers have become conflated with meanings and properties.

An axe might mean good, sharp, useful, reliable, or simply to kill with an axe. A seax is a short stabbing blade, which might mean... some other intimate, penetrative thrusting action.

It would take a dedicated team of linguists and anthropologists many decades of deep, intensive study to unravel the fascinating tapestry of subtlety and socio-cultural nuances behind the axe-language of the gloomy incel dwarf.

You wonder if the manipulation of meaning is a form of magic.

There is the icon, a depiction of the thing to represent the thing itself: a picture of an axe to depict an axe.

There is the index, hypernyms and holonyms. Types of things, parts of things or things near to them, that associate with referents, such as using smoke or embers to suggest fire, or a throne-seat to mean the king that sits upon it.

And most complex of all is the symbol, where one object means something completely different.

A white rabbit, or a frog; a wolf or eagle; or even a hedgehog, for instance.
>>5270053

The symbol cannot be understood without comprehending something about the history, society, culture and customs of those attempting to decode its meaning. To try to understand another is also to understand oneself.

You wonder as to the power of this language of signs and symbols. Could it be used as battle-magic? Can mere signs and symbols be used to make war?
>>
>>5270958
Plz, no semiotics/semantics magic, I'm already recovering from the last few systems like that I've went through.
>>
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>>5270469
>our concealed Francisca we could offer him that.
>I don't think we still have that.

Your insinuations against the masculinity of the gloomy, axe-obsessed incel dwarf Ingelred have severely provoked and offended him. He glowers resentfully at you. But all this thinking about axes and symbols has caused the francisca to curiously appear in your hand. Marabet never found it! You tricked her!

When you offer the throwing axe to Ingelred, his fury is transformed to joy. It is enough for him to remember some verbs...
-Axe! Axe! Ingelred axe! Ingelred, teach. Ingelred... last. Last dwarf. Dwarf, no woman. No seax. Man hammer woman: seax. Woman hammer man, axe! Axe! Man hammer man, woman hammer woman: no seax. Ingelred, anvil... hammer... Ulfberht. +VLFBERHT+ Others... gone. Ingelred last. No hammer, no anvil. No axe. No... axe.
>>
The real elf is the one we made up along the way.
>>
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Ulfberht's Memory
It is not the sword itself, but perhaps the memory of one. The gloomy dwarf Ingelred remembers hammering the name
+VLFBERHT+
upon hundreds of blades, centuries ago. In time Ingelred hammered his own runes onto swords, hammered until he no longer remembered how to speak or spell any more: Incelred, INGELRD, INGELRII.
>>
Wandbearer's Wooden Sword

(You have regained the item here:)
>>5267139

It seems it has been improved somehow, but it is still just a child's toy.
>>
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As you head to the East passage to meet the Weaver Girl ( >>5270191 ) you see The Valet ( >>5270300 ) becoming increasingly nervous:
- we have to hurry! Maybe you should decide now! The Contessa is so impatient, she will tell the Belsire to throw you into The Dungeon! And probably me too... It is so horrible there! Perhaps you have heard of the dreaded Couvent des Madelonettes? It is full of insane, hideous Ugly prisoners, that have been banished there to be tortured forever because the Beldame cannot abide ugliness! But you see there is a great difficulty. The Beldame is also very jealous. She cannot tolerate the notion that anyone is prettier than her, she possesses the Greatest Beauty. It takes such mastery of manners and courtesy to flatter the Belsire and Beldame, without making them suspect that one is cleverer or more Beautiful than they are! Otherwise, you will be cast into The Dungeon...
>>
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Dragon Sorceror Robe
Opulent silken garb of the Imperial Court Of Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon. Those attired in these robes are greetly with tremendous deference and obsequious ceremony. They are also presumed to be Eunuchs.

Through the Eastern passage you meet the Weaver Girl. She greets you with a cheerful and welcoming manner. You wonder if she is some sort of trader or merchant, from Imperial Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon. The Weaver Girl possesses the following items, spread out upon a beautiful Ornate Dragon Sorceror robe:
>>
>>5270989
Oh no...another merchant from Langkasuka, female Yargai-wannabe please have better prices than your predecessor!
>>
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Straw Doll
It is a plain doll that might be the toy of a child. A scarecrow is meant to frighten, for the harvest is protected by fear. An effigy is sometimes pulled apart and cast into the black soil to restore the land. Those that follow the Song often tell this tale.

(The same item from here)
>>5268136
>>
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Bearded Totem
It is uncertain if this primitive whittled idol is of a god or goddess. The Modranect knew of disir and matres, spirits that watched over the living and the dead. The seeress Gambara of the Langobards is said to have tricked a wizard and averted a war, by ordering the womenfolk of her village to spread their long hair over their faces to resemble beards, giving them the appearance of fearsome warriors amassed for battle. A great many evil deeds were averted on that day.
>>
The Weaver Girl is about to show you some more items, when she pulls back a little suspiciously:
-Do you even have anything to trade? You look quite impoverished. What do you have to offer?

>...?
>Excuse me, but are you by any chance an Elf?
>(Something else? Write in)

You should just decide now who is The Elf:

>Ingelred, The Gloomy Dwarf
>>5270200

>Weaver Girl
>>5270191

>The Skraeling
>>5270187
>>
https://sites.pitt.edu/~dash/gambara.html

This seems to be what part of the bearded totem is based off of. I'm guessing the totem is of Frea. The Langobards are the Lombards. Modranects, disir, and matres are as described and can easily be looked up for context.
>>
>>5271006
>Excuse me, but are you by any chance an Elf?
>Bully the valet into trading his clothes to the Weaver Girl so we can see the rest of her selection and buy an item, he does want us to find the elf doesn't he? Beat the shit out of him if he is resistant.
>>
>>5271006
>Offer our clothes in exchange for the dragon robe
>If that isn't enough then we'll repay her in more than kind after we've earned Contessa's favour and she showers us in gits, call it an investment
>I'll be the elf
>>
>>5271009
SONG is strengthened
QM: In response to this question
>>5269636
>Stats
>How many can we raise
Oath, Song, Wild are not necessarily your attributes, hehe. The idea of the game is to discover what they mean and represent...

You share your archaic lore with the Weaver Girl and she claps her hands in delight.
-How clever! If we meet again you should help identify more of our merchandise! Some magician's tower or towers fell in the West, it may have belonged to a Magus of some sort. The daughter of the Duke Of Galerne went missing, I think she was held captive for a while, and there was no-one left to oppose the blockade... Nowadays it is so difficult to find trading expertise, but you could help!

The Weaver Girl will let you choose ONE of the following items:

>Dragon Sorceror Robe
>>5270989

>Straw Doll
>>5271000

>Bearded Goddess Totem
>>5271001

>Choose to look at her other items (you will not receive anything)
Alternatively, you can choose to browse the selection of her other items, though you may not obtain any of them. If you select this choice, you do not receive any items at all.
>>
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>>5271013
>>5271022
>Offer our clothes
(As a reminder, you are wearing only a slightly cleaner version of the formerly vomit-stained version of this:)
>>5268143
Unfortunately, for some reason the shrewd Weaver Girl trader of Langkasuka rejects this bargain. The merchants there are so crafty and devious!

>Bully the valet
>>I'll be the elf
When you try to intimidate The Valet du Grand Plaisir, he immediately runs off screaming:
- Guards! This violent, uncouth Elf-Child is threatening me! Captain Balthasar, throw him into The Dungeon...!
>>
>>5271029
Ah fuck, so there was a point in saving the duke. I hope Dorotea wasn't really held captive and managed to have her happy ending. We sacrificed a lot for that ending, it be a shame for it to be subverted.

Maybe we can pretend to be an elf with the robe? Elves are sometimes portayed in fiction as being androgynous, and I guess if people think we are a eunuch we could say that makes us an elf? I dunno, it is kinda a big stretch. I almost want the bearded goddess totem because I identified it, but I think the boost is social stature that the robe would get us is too good to pass up. At the very least it may save us from being thrown in prison.

>Dragon Sorceror Robe

This girl doesn't have the elf sword. I think the elf sword either something we haven't discovered yet or it could be the Ulfberht's sword, though I doubt that since I think those are just obvious references to the limited number of high quality swords discovered that bore the runes mentioned in the description. I don't think the elf sword will be in her inventory, we have to keep looking.

Take the robes.
>>
>>5271045
Quick! Take the robes before the guards come. Then we can fast-talk the guards and prevent them from harming us via our presumed status!
>>
>>5271053
>>5271055
this

If Elfs don't exist then elf swords shouldn't either
We got our sword back and it changed so maybe we need to change it further until it's an 'elf sword'
>>
>>5271029
>The idea of the game is to discover what they mean and represent...
Figure out what Souv means, we're doomed.
Take the bearded goddess totem. May help in another life.
>>
>>5271069
Maybe, but it might just be Bolverkr's wand.
>>
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Varin de Sou, Le Vicomte de Narrenturm
A patron of Drudenfuss, The Order For The Reclamation Of Antiquities, the nefarious Vicomte is believed to have developed a morbid fascination with dungeons through his friendship with the Marquis des Madelonettes, though his standing within the Court has fallen after the latter's mysterious disappearance. Though the cause of their long-established feud is unknown, the Vicomte has been obsessed with getting revenge upon Hieronymous Erde - it would please him greatly to see the pompous philosopher humiliated, cast alongside all those associated with him into the deepest dungeon imaginable.
>>
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>>5271022
>>5271053
>>5271055
>>5271069
>I'll be the elf
>pretend to be an elf with the robe?
>Take the robes before the guards come.
>Take the bearded goddess totem.

Origin: Elf-Child (really?)
Child Of Worlds Entwined

You are wearing:
Langkasukan Dragon Sorceror Robe

You possess:
Wandbearer's Wooden Sword
Bearded Goddess Totem

(You have lost: Francisca / concealed small throwing axe - given to Ingelred The Gloomy Dwarf)
>>
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The Weaver Girl frowns a little as you snatch two items, quickly donning the Dragon Sorceror Robes. But before she can protest, you see that
Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir has arrived, accompanied by Captain Balthasar ( >>5271045 ) and a detachment of guards.

The Maitre demands,
-Has the Elf been causing trouble? Where is the Elf? The Belsire, The Beldame and The Contessa are all waiting! They just want to see The Elf! And where is that buffoon Hieronymous Erde?

When you step forward imperiously, gesturing at yourself, the Maitre is overawed by the splendour of your raiment. Bowing deeply, he exclaims:
-Truly, you are a wonder to behold, O Noble Elf! I shall present you to the Court immediately!
>>
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As you are escorted from the pavilion through the gardens to the palace, you see the philosopher Hieronymous Erde being shoved unceremoniously by another detachment of guards into joining you. He is attempting to cower behind the form of another, but with the jostling of halberds and armour you cannot see him too clearly.

The panicked philosopher is shouting and pleading:
- I do not believe in elves! They do not exist! This is a trap to humiliate me in front of the entire Court! Please, someone stop this! I have been tricked!

Neither the guards nor Captain Balthasar pay him any attention.
>>
In the Great Hall of the palace you see many guests assembled. All are gazing admiringly upon your exquisite, exotic silken robes:
-Those are the finest garments I have ever beheld! Such elegance! I am so envious...
-The way the Elf walks! Such dainty, gentle footsteps. We should imitate it! A nobility of posture, yet with the innocence of a child. It is the mark of great refinement!
-I heard the Belsire and Beldame hate each other.They never appear together. The Contessa makes the Beldame jealous...
-I do not believe in Elves! This is a trap! I am being led into a trap! Elves do not exist! Someone save me! Save me...!
-Perhaps we should all return to the forests and live like elves! Nature is filled with such specimens of unspoilt pulchritude. Such loveliness, combined with inviting modesty and timidity... like an alluring little deer!

A trumpeteer fanfare heralds the arrival of the Contessa, accompanied by a single masked figure. You are unsure if it is the Belsire or Beldame. A hush descends upon the assembled guests.

With a flourish, Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir announces:

-Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court, I present: The Elf.
>>
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>...?
>(write in some means of demonstrating your... Elfishness)

>confess that you are not actually an elf

>commence a desperate ranting polemic before the entire Court about how there is an evil brigand named Unferth who was trying to steal some Oriflamme banner and he is killing people and also his warhost has raised the Beast-Mark of Fylfot which he openly displayed in battle and he nearly cut off your hands and he also scarred the face of Tamlyn who has gone missing now and will they do something about it instead of obsessing about elves?

>Remain completely mute and silent. Feign incomprehension to courtly language. (QM: guess what happens to The Song if you choose this)

>Something else...?
>>
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The Contessa
>>
Belsire or Beldame?

The Highborn accompanying the Contessa removes their mask; they look like this.
>>
Maiden Knight Ysentrud
- escorting the Contessa
>>
QM: In case it is of any help, of those around you that you can observe, you notice the following guests are in attendance:

(All turn to look at you, eagerly awaiting what you have to say, or do...)

>>5271206 Belsire or Beldame
>>5271197 Contessa
>>5271215 Maiden Knight Ysentrud
>>5271045 Guard Captain Balthasar, and guard escort
>>5271142 Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir
>>5270300 Le Valet du Grand Plaisir

>>5265854 Hieronymous Erde
>>5265860 ...this person
>>5269648 ...and this person?
>>5271137 speak not of this person
>>5271182 large gathered Highborn crowd of nobles, guards, attendants, servants, and other onlookers including:
>>5270200 Ingelred, The Last Dwarf
>>5270187 The Skraeling
>>5270191 The Weaver Girl, frowning slightly
>>
>>5271195
>play it cool, maybe tap dance a bit to set the mood
>"Yes, I am the Elf. I don't like cities or courts but I was told it would be worth my while to come here."
>>
>>5271195
>Propose to the Contessa in marriage. Smirk at Hieronymous Erde while doing so.
>>
>Sing a song about how the foolish noble had his love stolen by the handsome elf prince
>>
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>tapdance
OATH is GREATLY WEAKENED
>Sing a song about how the foolish noble had his love stolen by the handsome elf prince
(QM: this effort expends all the power of your accumulated Song so far)
>Propose to the Contessa in marriage. Smirk at Hieronymous Erde while doing so.

By some strange power of Song, your feet feel compelled to dance. As you cavort around the astonished and enraptured Contessa, Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir calls for music, and when it commences from the Court a strange chant escapes your lips:

Thou hast not loved, as passion makes me,
Gay as The Elf beneath the Betrayer's Tree;
Thou canst not fight, with crooked sword -
Upon hammered love, and brawling word.
Your favour sought for dragon clothes -
The scent of flowers, no maiden nose.
By ripening summer the eyes can see
If thou canst love, I'll marry thee.

You can see both the Contessa ( >>5271197 ) and the Belsire or Beldame's eyelashes fluttering as they breathlessly follow the measure of your graceful pirouettes and courtly dancing steps, eagerly following and yearning for every sweeping glimpse of the rippling sheen of your exotic robes. You think they are both completely enthralled.

The gathered audience of Highborn onlookers is similarly captivated - though only after they have sycophantically observed the approval from the Contessa and Belsire/Beldame. You hear them applaud and heap acclaim upon your performance:
-It is... a marvel! I too must find an Elf! They are such beautiful, noble creatures!
-I think it is a gavotte... or perhaps a rigaudon. We must commission a new study of it, a new Orchesographie, to record La Danse du Farfadet for posterity!

Even Hieronymous Erde appears somewhat relieved. He immediately announces:
-It is as I always said! Elves exist, and they are wondrous creatures! This was a conjecture I have long held, which has been borne out by all subsequent events... Please, O Beauteous Contessa - remember that it is I, and solely I - Hieronymous Erde, who commissioned La Danse du Farfadet! Me? Me! Me!

However, not all amongst the audience are entirely enchanted...
>>
Arbeau Of The Feathered Flute

Ordered by Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir to accompany your dance, the court musician Arbeau has been resentfully eyeing you throughout.

At one point during your performance, when you pirouette and swirl alarmingly close to the Contessa's heaving bosom, Maiden Knight Ysentrud glances with alarm at Guard Captain Balthasar as her hand flits involuntarily to her sword. It appears the Maiden Knight is unswayed by your charms.

>>5271374
>the foolish noble had his love stolen
>his

After your performance ends, the sly Arbeau insinuates,
-What was meant by this panegyric, composed in the ancient masculine tense? Did this parvenu mean to slander our Beauteous Beldame?

(You see the blood drain from Hieronymous Erde's nervous face - he blanches visibly)

The gathered Highborn audience immediately hisses:
- Indeed! Quite disgraceful! This Upstart... did not even perform the proper courtesy of addressing The Beauteous Beldame, and prostrating themselves before her ravishing presence!
-The Upstart dares to propose to the Contessa - all know that matrimonial union may only be granted with approval and blessing beforehand by the Belsire and Beldame...

And from the shadowy recessed alcoves of the Great Hall, Le Vicomte Varin de Sou ( >>5271137 ) shrieks:
- I recognise that robe! That is no Elf! No Elf! That is a robe from Imperial Langkasuka, Of The Lotus And Cannon! A spy, I say, a spying spy! No Elf! A treacherous, dancing, spying Spy! I say! Seize the traitor Hieronymous Erde, and all associated with him, I say! Seize him! Seize him!

The Contessa looks at the Beldame in distress, then at you:
-Please, let it not be true! O Noble Elf... please...

>Well, it looks like you are going to be thrown into the dungeon. Confess that you are not an Elf.
>How to respond to these accusations...? (write in)
>>
>>5271470
The robe was a gift from Langkasuka, I have no special attachment to them.
>>
>>5271470
>Present the bearded totem to the Beldame and kiss her shriveled hands
>I present to you an artifact Gambara as a gift! As the fairest womenfolk disguised themselves as mighty warriors, I call you MANFOLK because you are warrior and because underneath is pure beauty! Your mighty rule makes the mightiest wizards fear! Bolverkr the LIAR has told me so!
>>
>>5271470
>Channel the wild into our dance. Draw all who watch into a wild trance with us!
>>
>>5271476
I'll support this, although it could backfire at being called a man.
>>
>>5271470
Supporting >>5271476
>>
>>5271478
>Channel the wild into our dance
(QM: unfortunately, the attribute here is Song, expended by the marriage proposal. You are held fast by the guards of Captain Balthasar. The Contessa does remain completely enamoured by you and will plead on your behalf)

>>5271476
>Present the bearded totem
(QM: this is really good, I did not expect it! I will rule this simply as allowing you to keep all your items. The guards do not perceive them to be much of a threat)

>>5271473
>The robe was a gift from Langkasuka
I am really sorry anon, this one seals it. Come on, you really want to see the dungeon...hehe
>>
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Hieronymous Erde has fainted. You see he has collapsed into the arms of Dallywhimper
( >>5265860 ),
who is trembling but remarkably still standing.

The twin brother of Dallywhimper, Dallyforth
( >>5269648 ),
steps forward to defend him:
- This is an outrage! All know that my noble brother furnishes the realm and lends strength to her cannons with his inventions. My brother is no traitor!

The Contessa nods imploringly, her eyes filling with heart-rending fear and hope...
- It is true, O Beauteous Beldame! Think upon what he has done for us, have mercy on them! And think upon La Danse du Farfadet, its beguiling grace and Beauty! Have mercy... I beg of you, Beldame...

When you try to step forward to present the Bearded Totem to the Beldame, and kiss her hand, a phalanx of halberd blades cut menacingly before your face, interdicting your path.

And when you plead that the robe was merely a gift, that you have no association to Langkasuka despite accepting the gift, the wicked Vicomte Varin de Sou screeches with insane triumph:
-The Elf confesses it! A spying Spy I say, the Elf has taken bribes! Bribes, I say, to do the bidding of the devious and crafty merchants of Langkasuka, who imperil the honest trade of our realm! Seize this traitor! Seize Hieronymous Erde and all his conspirators, especially the treacherous dancing spying Spy!

All eyes in the Great Hall turn to the Beauteous Beldame. You can see a small quiver of jealously in the beautiful geometry of her features: that you chose to favour the Contessa over her.

The Beauteous Beldame speaks in her lovely alluring voice :
-Iaye proonounncee thiissse Elfe... aehh trraiiitoorr ttooo-woo thhhee REEEeeeaallm. Allle Elfes aare Uuuggly. Uuuuggly. Uugggggly.

The Maiden Knight Ysentrud steps forth:
-The Edict of the Beldame hereby declares attainder upon the Philosopher Hieronymous Erde and his accomplice Dallywhimper, for the Derogeance of the commission of treacherous deeds by The Elf Traitor. In consideration of the imploring pleas of mercy made by the Contessa on their behalf, the Oath will forego the traditional rites of castigation, that the Condemned be stripped of all their possessions and paraded naked, clad only in their shame through the streets to meet their fate (many Highborn nobles titter nervously with disappointment at this). By the Mandorla and The Odalisque, the Cathedral Of Envy decrees their punishment to be...

>Immediate execution (QM: try this one, hehe)
>Thrown into the dungeon
>Condemned to the Salt Mines
>Exile, transportation
>>
>>5271570
>Condemned to the Salt Mines
>>
>>5271570
>Exile, transportation

>Appeal one last time to Le Maitre du Grand Plaisir for legal assistance, he is a lawyer is he not? Surely we deserve a fair trial? Is not truth Beautiful, and thus Good?
>>
>>5271570
>Thrown into the dungeon
>>
Though, lets be real, Maitre in this context probably just means master or instructor, but we can hope he is actually a lawyer or influential notary too.
>>
Though, maybe if we choose execution we wake up. Marabet did talk to us in our head, and she calls us sleepyhead. Maybe we are just dreaming.
>>
>>5271570
>>Exile, transportation

>>5271600
Probably a dream level deeper actually given the qm note
>>
The complete silence of Hieronymous Erde and Dallywhimper on the tumbrel ride to the harbour is perhaps a sign of the misery of the long journey; jostled by every ditch and rut in the road, a sporadic pelting by a stray vegetable, and the unrelenting jeers of the guards who call you The Prancing Elf-Traitor.

Origin: Child Of Worlds Entwined
Prancing Elf Traitor
Unclean
Revolting Smell
Fatigued

You are wearing:
Soiled Langkasukan Dragon Sorceror Robe

You possess
Wandbearer's Wooden Sword
Bearded Goddess Totem, spurned by the Beauteous Beldame

The tumbrel is escorted by eight guards, four on the cart, four on horseback, and Maiden-knight Ysentrud herself.

She is silent, but one of the bored guards tries to entice her into conversation.

At your side, the wooden sword twitches slightly.

>Choose to investigate the wooden sword:
This depletes all your Wild. You may write-in ONE MINOR intervention. eg the cart wheel axle breaks, a horse bolts etc. It cannot be fireballs and lightning bolts, but you may choose anything that advantages you of comparable minor power etc I will choose the most appropriate one.

>Hold back for now - perhaps wait until when the tumbrel reaches the wilderness? Listen instead to the conversation between Ysentrud and the guard.

Try and ask a question yourself: (write-in)
>Ysentrud
>Guard
>Dallywhimper
>Hieronymous Erde
>>
>>5271652
The door opens.

>Ysentrud
Fooli Cooli?
>>
>>5271652
>Hold back for now - perhaps wait until when the tumbrel reaches the wilderness? Listen instead to the conversation between Ysentrud and the guard.

When we reach the wild we should use our sword to undo the ropes the hold the cage together, that way we get free and it all collapses, hopefully causing chaos and making the guards focus on the other escapees. By our sword I mean the Wild magic, not sawing at the ropes.
>>
>>5271652
>Hold back for now - perhaps wait until when the tumbrel reaches the wilderness? Listen instead to the conversation between Ysentrud and the guard.

>Ysentrud
>Suggest she bring her long hair over her face so that she might look like a mighty warrior. Her face is one more befitting of a beautiful maiden than a knight. Shake the totem at HER for good measure.

Will the totem be twice-scorned? Twice-cursed?
>>
>>5271652
Supporting >>5271657
>>
Song is voices?
Wild is movement?
Not sure about Oath.
>tumbrel
Thought this might've been an allusion to Tumblr. We have been exiled by a crossdresser for being of the "wrong" type.
>>
>>5271718
I mean...sure...but tumbrel is also a real word.
>>
>>5271723
>tumbrel
Yes I googled it thinking he was being smart. But it's just a cart. Figuring out the real world connection might help.
>>
The Lansquenet says thoughtfully,
-I see your lips move, My Lady, yet you do not speak. To whom do you address your silent prayer?

Maiden-Knight Ysentrud replies:
-There are many worthy of devotion. Saint Asterion, for instance, of the Pathless Labyrinth. He journeyed deep into Nastrond and vanquished a hateful knight in battle, slaying him with his burning faith alone. And the Maidens venerate his sacrifice, for all know the tale of how he redeemed a Lowborn fallen woman, falsely accused, rescued her from a terrible fate and restored her to innocence. This is the Path Of The Oath And The Light.

The Lansquenet replies,
- It is a noble tale, My Lady. How do you know these tales are true?

Ysentrud gazes serenly at the Lansquenet:
- They teach us to do good, Sir Lansquenet. What is good and Beautiful is true.
>>5271581

The Lansquenet replies carefully:
- Know you the tale of the Sword-Servant's Son, My Lady? Who fought the fiend-of-shadows in Heorot? There are few women in that tale, I read a little of it lately. It seems to me, though, that the words of the tale were altered over time. When it occurred, if it did at all, the men of Heorot were heathens. Yet they speak in that tale as if they knew The God Upon The Tree. Is that not strange?
>>
Under his breath, you hear a guard mention
- That cart door is coming loose again, with all the jostlings and ferocious vegetable peltings! A stray turnip-piece hit me in the eye! Someone secure that cage door!

Another guard curses:
- By Lunfardo's pungent groin-crevice... I wish the Maiden Knight's armoured corslet loosened instead...

Other guards mutter:
- You know, they say the Blearie Queene haunts the Old Forest Of Idols ahead. But I think she might be some sort of outlaw or brigand, trying to use a monstrous legend to cover her hideout...
- Have you heard the recent tale though? There is some sort of headless deer stalking the wild woods! It hunts people!
- Hmmm, is that a cart? I wonder what you call a wheel-ly, roll-ly, cage-y, wooden-y, prison-y, execution-y type of thing...?

Almost involuntarily, Dallywhimper murmurs:
- Wain. (then quivers, shaking...) W-wait - did you say... ex-execution? The... sen-sentence w-was exile! W-why ex-execution...?

The Lansquenet turns and commands:
- Silence, Traitor! (riding back, reprimanding lack of discipline) You there... what was your name again, guard? Did you just dare to insult the Maiden Knight's honour? If so, I will see you onto the other side of that cage door!

>(...?)
>(Expend all Song - this is a spell) You know the Cursing Guard's Name. Write-in who you think it is.
QM: you can discuss it if you know it, but greentext the guard's Name to call upon the Song. It might have a special effect... but will leave you Songless afterwards

>Call upon the Wild now. Maybe use some magic to really loosen that door. It might unhorse a guard.

>Not yet... wait until you enter the wild woods, The Old Forest Of Idols... (do nothing, continue listening to the conversation)

>Something else...? (write-in another minor magic intervention etc)
>>5271657
(You shake the now Twice-Spurned Totem at the Maiden Knight. It has no effect. For now?)
>>
>>5271978
>Not yet... wait until you enter the wild woods, The Old Forest Of Idols... (do nothing, continue listening to the conversation)
>>
>>5271975
lmao, all lies, dude got duped, dropped off a cliff, was obsessed with his self image and got his greatsword stolen. Wrong planet though, I guess you could say it is a story from across the sea, or Sea in this case.

I think we should wait until we get in the Old Forest, when the headless deer is nearly upon us. I'll think on it and see if I can figure out the cursed guard's name.
>>
>>5271978
>(Expend all Song - this is a spell) You know the Cursing Guard's Name. Write-in who you think it is.
>Bastich
>>
Lunfardo
An ancient city of great wealth, believed to be lost to the jungles south of West Galerne. A popular apocryphal belief amongst rogues and cut-throats is that Lunfardo was where thieves were first invented, alongside their peculiar backwards vernacular argot, Vesre. Known under many varied epithets such as the City Of Knives, the City Of Scars, The Scar-City. The foul-mouthed deity of Lunfardo was known as the Swineherd, though the gender of this god or goddess has been lost to time. Some believe the Pathless Labyrinth of dark alleys, the maze of underground passages beneath the city herself is the true form of the Swineherd god. Superstitions common to the lost city of Lunfardo include a terrible aversion to the South, said to be a symbol of solitude, lawlessness and fate. A well-known hero and Thief Of Legend in Lunfardo is the pilfering swindler Lonnrot, who cheats, lies, and steals, yet always gets away with it in the end.

(QM: Bastich is the correct Name. Though you endure the trait: Fatigued after the events and dance at the Palace, and your Song is not at full strength, you do recall the above lore-memory)
>>
The land here undulates between hillocks and open, flat stretches without feeling. You can see the shadows of Three Windmills approaching ahead, silhouetted against the Great Dark Sky, as the tumbrel wheels jostle and shudder through the stones along the uneven, poorly-kept path.
>>
As the tumbrel rolls on, the suspicious Lansquenet, who has ridden back to the side of the Cursing Guard, begins to interrogate him further:
- You - why do you not answer? I asked you your Name! What is your Name? No guard of the Oath And Light, sworn to the colours of the Oriflamme, would ever dare to insult the honour of a Maiden Knight! Why do you not yield your Name?

The Cursing Guard mumbles pathetically:
- Forgive me, Sir Lansquenet... my name is Basti-er... B-Ba...er... B-Bichtard, yes, that is not a name I just invented, that is not what I just did. I am new here Sir, can I say just how honoured I am to carry these prisoners to their execution... I mean exile, of course (The Guard winks in an unsubtle manner). Please forgive me, Sir Lansquenet, my manners are so...

The Lansquenet loses interest. He begins to reprimand the Cursing Guard severely, delivering a long sententious monologue against foulness of speech and how it profanes The Oath and The Light.
>>
Inside the tumbrel, Dallywhimper is trying desperately to shake the Savant-Philosopher Hieronymous Erde out of his numb stupor:
- Wake up, Erde! They are going to execute us! That sentence of exile was just announced to maintain the pretense of civility and the Beldame's mercy, before all the Court and her Highborn guests. We are actually going to be executed!

Dallywhimper slaps the Philosopher's face repeatedly (he is quite weak). Hieronymous just endures it, dead-eyed. In a dazed, overwhelmed mouth agape expressionless tone, as he is being repeatedly slapped in the face, The Philosopher laments:
- You imbecile, Dallywhimper. Do you know what attainder means? It means I am no longer Highborn. I am a nothing. It is as if I am already dead. Most people do not die until the last moment, others die twenty years in advance, sometimes more. Yet I am the true unfortunate. My genius to the world: lost. It matters not now how I meet my end. My genius! Me. Me. (he stifles a sob) Me...

Dallywhimper stops slapping the Philosopher's face. It is as if he has suddenly worked out something...
- Perhaps, Hieronymous Erde, for once it is not about you! That wicked Vicomte Varin de Sou... he was so quick to accuse us of being spies. All know he hates you, how he is obsessed with dungeons. But the Vicomte never liked my inventions, my cannons and flying sky-galleons either; the dungeoneers... he called them "dungeon-punks".
>>
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What if the wicked Vicomte Varin de Sou is really a spy of some sort? Sometimes those who loudly accuse others are actually the guilty ones themselves!

Perhaps the Vicomte is the one actually in league with Imperial Langkasuka, and seeking to weaken Galerne and the prowess of her cannons! By imprisoning intellectuals in his dungeons, executing inventors and I guess... whatever you are as well.

I think maybe this is the true cause of the feud, not that one time, Erde, when you revealed that the Vicomte actually had no knowledge of sorcery, had never touched a woman and lived with his mother before the entire Court. You probably should not have done that. But what if my hypothesis is correct... the villainous Vicomte is to blame... after all, were he not a spy himself, how would the Vicomte have recognised the Langkasukan robe? Perhaps he arranged for it to be there...
>>
You see that The Lansquenet has finally ended his admonitions against the Cursing Guard, and is riding back to rejoin the Maiden-Knight Ysentrud.

The Lansquenet says to her:
-Forgive me for that unwelcome diversion, My Lady. The discipline amongst the guard has deteriorated these days, they were not as they once were. We were speaking of the Sword-Servant's Son, The Tale Of Heorot, were we not?
>>
Ysentrud turns her eyes to the Lansquenet and gazes deeply into his. There is a small flutter of uncertainty and distrust in her eyelids, like the delicate flicker of bright moth wings.
- I know the tale, Sir Lansquenet. Heorot is the tale of the Warwolf, and later, the tale of the Dragon of Earnaness. Now I hear Earnaness has pledged allegiance to the Warlords of Lotan, the Great Wyrm that girdles the World and the Seas. Iosaef King Unbidden made it so, and his skalds sing that Ilmarinen will do the same. But I have a tale of mine own, Sir Lansquenet. Do you know of the Skambha of Ilmarinen? It was a great relic of the elder age...
>>
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Skambha of Ilmarinen
A relic that makes a thing out of nothing. The form of it is lost to memory. A pillar, a tree, a drinking horn that never needs to be replenished, a star-compass, or perhaps a millstone or quern-stone that grinds flour. It is said that a ship sprang from the fire of the Sky-Being Ilmari's craft, after he had been blown away by the storm wind of Vanemuine.
>>
>The Three Windmills is the place. Unleash your magic there, and break free of this tumbrel cage.
You can write-in the minor intervention you would like to see, or I can continue with the choice of the anon here.
>>5271654
Bear in mind it is not so much the difficulty of opening the cage, but rather escaping 8 guards + 1 maiden knight afterwards!

>This is not the place. There is cover in the Windmills, but the flat open stretches of land all around ensure that you will not escape and cannot hide. Continue to bide your time, wait for the Old Forest Of Idols...

>Something else...? You can write-in any questions you would like to ask and to whom:
>Cursing Guard (Bastich, disguised?)
>The Lansquenet
>Maiden Knight Ysentrud
>Random unnamed rumour guards
>Dallyforth
>Hieronymous Erde
>>
>>5272221
>This is not the place. There is cover in the Windmills, but the flat open stretches of land all around ensure that you will not escape and cannot hide. Continue to bide your time, wait for the Old Forest Of Idols...

>Cursing Guard (Bastich, disguised?)
"Psst, hey Bastich, it's me, the Young Hero! You have to help me. I'm gonna break free once we reach the woods. If you don't want me to expose you and if you want to live then you'll help me."

Also, isn't it Dallywhimper that is with us, not Dallyforth? Are you getting mixed up yourself QM or is that deliberate? Perhaps the brothers switched and this is all some clever ploy and they have a plan?

>Interrogate Dallyforth, we know he has a plan! Otherwise why would the greentext prompt reveal he is actually Dallyforth and not Dallywhimper!

>Question whether the Maiden Knight Ysentrud is really a Maiden. We hear even from our distant elf-forests that Prince-Provost Aristophontes Gratian plunders all his so called maiden-knights of their virtue and runs some fake sex cult.
>>
>>5272221
>>5272350
Though, maybe cut that last part. I'm not sure a child would think to say that, though I guess it depends on how young we actually are. (Are we really a child, maybe we really are an elf, do we even have any memories of before we were in the circle of children with Tamlyn?) The first part is a legit question though.
>>
>>5272221
>>This is not the place. There is cover in the Windmills, but the flat open stretches of land all around ensure that you will not escape and cannot hide. Continue to bide your time, wait for the Old Forest Of Idols...
>Intervention: Flip the cart or have a horse run loose
>Appeal to the Maiden Knight for mercy, we're not an elf and were forced to pretend to be one by our co-conspirators
>>
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>>5272350
You look into the face of the Monocled Man, who replies:
- You mistake me for my dear twin brother, O Noble Elf. Alas I am Dallywhimper, I am merely an inventor, who possesses neither the courage at arms nor the martial prowess of my dear, dear brother. But methinks the wicked Vicomte Varin de Sou is not so infallible at all, he has made a grievous error! Even if I must die at the scaffold, my courageous brother will see that I am avenged. He will claim my great sky galleon, The Schavaldour, with its cannons and astral sails, and ensure that the dungeoneers maintain and uphold the defense of the realm. We will never, ever countenance the wicked calumny and slander of the Vicomte, that of the accursed dungeonpunk!
(QM: The Monocled Man looks like pic related)
>>
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When in a hushed voice you reveal yourself to Bastich, The Cursing Guard, he almost yelps in surprise and fright. The terror is very quickly converted to rage:
-You! You are the Swindler! By the (hushed voice) gobbling whiskered woman-hole of Lunfardo... I am going to... (mimes stabbing at you, with difficulty). Why did you not listen? Always cheat, always steal! That is the way of Lunfardo! You could have just taken Olaefyr's weapons and run away or sold them! That is what is happening right now in the world. Always cheat, always lie! It is what I am doing right now, except ... someone lied to me about the convoy, switched it at the very last moment - very irritating.

After you made your noble sacrifice, which was heroic and completely pointless, the morale of the shield wall collapsed. We were overrun by Unferth, and Waldmar completely defeated that warhost of Waldmar, the other one. It is very annoying how their names are the same, but I did not invent them. Now Unferth and the Fylfot Banner are camped outside Esker Leath, the hill-fort. It is completely surrounded on one side, it will soon be overrun. So of course Cadarn, the bleating jester Learmont and I ran away!

Now there was supposed to be an ambush at the Three Windmills ahead. Cadarn is waiting there, with some friends. I was supposed to give a signal. But this cargo is now utterly worthless - no offense. See, I lied! I just lied! It is easy! I did intend to offend you, by saying you are worthless!

This was supposed to be the fourteenth Heregeld cargo, portion NXIVM of the war-tithe treasure of Prince-Provost Gratian. Except now it is a fat monocle man, a cheerless buffoon, and a Prancing Elf Who Smells Very Bad!

Yet I saw you die - this must be some miraculous power that only an Elf possesses. If you cannot die, then you should run into all the blades and axeheads first. I will follow dutifully behind you, and I will not be looting your corpse after you fall! By the salty gutted seed-crease of Lunfardo, I will not be doing that!

(QM: you have not yet regained the Ferryman Figurine)
>>
>Question whether the Maiden Knight Ysentrud is really a Maiden
>maybe cut that last part
>Appeal to the Maiden Knight for mercy
(because of your choices here
>>5272350
>>5272425
>This is not the place
Bastich does not give the signal, so there is no ambush)

As you approach the dark shadow of the Three Windmills, Maiden Knight Ysentrud calls a halt.
-We will rest here. See that the horses are attended to, and remain vigilant. (The Maiden pauses, and gestures at you) Bring that one to me. I will speak to The Elf Traitor alone.
>>
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Beneath the wheeling shadow of the groaning and creaking windsail, Maiden Knight Ysentrud speaks to you in a calm and patient voice:
- I know what you have done. I know you hope to escape. You have strayed greatly from the Path Of Light. Yet it is not too late: renounce the Darkness that you wield with such ease. The Beldame is Beautiful, Merciful and Wise. But I recognise the witch-sword and talisman you have hidden; your Dark Art will not work on me. Surrender these cursed possessions of yours, and the Oath will show you mercy. Think of what your Art could do, for the glory of The Oath! War and slaughter blight this land - where we follow, there is peace. The Song and Wild will never know Peace. Walk in The Light Of The Oath, follow us, join us! Do this for me...

(QM: you know the Maiden-Knight speaks truth. She was amongst the very few that remained unswayed by your dance at the palace. You do not command yet magic powerful enough to use against her. Should you surrender your items, you feel you can still call upon the Song and Wild, but the effects will be harder to control, and the costs and consequences much more severe).

>Surrender your possessions, embrace The Oath And Light
lose: Wandbearer's Wooden Sword, Twice-Spurned Totem Of The Bearded Goddess

Ask:
>But what will happen to Hieronymous Erde, and Dallywhimper? (QM: perhaps you can guess)
>Ask about Prince-Provost Aristophontes Gratian
>Ask Maiden-Knight Ysentrud about how she came to The Oath And Light. Is she really a maiden?
>Tell Maiden-Knight Ysentrud you are on a noble quest to find the Scarred Girl Tamlyn (QM: oh, you have all forgotten about her)
>(ask the Maiden Knight another question, write-in)

Thinking of Bastich, the way of Lunfardo:
>Just say yes, give her your belongings. You will find a way to steal them back later. Just lie.
>(even more devious) I believe that Bastich is an impostor, he was going to have you ambushed here... (inform and report Bastich to Ysentrud)

>You are alone. You could literally run away now. Use your power to create a distraction now.
QM:I will use this one >>5272425
You will get a horse, and some unrevealed stuff

>Something else...?
>>
>>5272517
>How do we know we can trust her to honour her word and that she will let us be free? For all her apparent perception she did not know question how the Vicomte could recognize the Langkasukan robe we wear, nor did she interfere when the Vicomte made blatant lies about us, we are not a spy. Nor, does her word seem worth much when the guards openly talk of us actually be executed instead of exiled, plus if she let us go then surely she would be going against her Edict. Does the maiden just want our items for herself?
>But what will happen to Hieronymous Erde, and Dallywhimper? (QM: perhaps you can guess)
>Ask about Prince-Provost Aristophontes Gratian
>Ask Maiden-Knight Ysentrud about how she came to The Oath And Light. Is she really a maiden?
>Tell Maiden-Knight Ysentrud you are on a noble quest to find the Scarred Girl Tamlyn (QM: oh, you have all forgotten about her)

If she gives satisfactory answers then I'd like to surrender our stuff and embrace the Oath and Light and also sell out Bastich. If not, lets just book it.
>>
>>5272505
WAIT A FUCKING SECOND!

>NXIVM

This is a fucking sex cult!

>Sell Bastich out to cause more chaos and then fucking book it using this intervention >>5272425
>>
>>5272517
>Ask the Maiden-Knight if she really thinks that The Beldame is beautiful and wise ? I understand she's your liege but just between us can't we call a horse a horse ? Isn't that what the Oath of Light is about ?
>>Tell Maiden-Knight Ysentrud you are on a noble quest to find the Scarred Girl Tamlyn
>>
>>5272517
>(ask the Maiden Knight another question, write-in)
Furi kuri?
>>
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Broken Lute
Close Range, Concealed, Swift, Surprise Attack, Bizarre, Blunt, Knockout
Broken, Fragile, Weakness: Armour
Created by the memory of a nameless soul, this wooden club formed from the shattered neck of a guitar can perhaps only be used once more before it breaks entirely, to knockout an unsuspecting foe. It must be a remnant from a culture of great honour and shame.

(You feel your Dragon Sorceror Robes tingle a little, against The Wandbearer's Wooden Sword)

>Furi Kuri
You notice no change in the composure of the patient Maiden Knight, though her serene manner belies the vehemence of her condemnation:
-That is a Great Heresy of the East, of Imperial Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon. In that land a dynasty of Song has sought to create a Fraternity for common prosperity among the quarrelling island nations. Some of their assassins and spies hide amongst merchants and pirates, wearing disguises or concealing weapons in musical instruments. After peace is returned to this land, and the matter between Waldmar and Waldmar is ended, the Oath and the Light will turn to the East.

(QM: apologies, I know very little about anime argh, I have probably watched fewer than 10 animes)
>>
QM: I will reconfirm the choices after this information, to better help you to decide.

>Ask the Maiden-Knight if she really thinks that The Beldame is beautiful and wise ?

The Maiden Knight replies
- Things become Beautiful if you learn to Love. The Oath teaches that Love is the Beauty of the Soul. The Beauty of the Ordinary is a form of imprisonment; it enslaves and seduces, deprives one of hope and joy, for it cannot be attained, as it constantly kindles desire. This is the Beauty of the Song, which is ephemeral, deceitful and illusory. Were you not proclaimed Beautiful by all, then hated and derided in the very next heartbeat? The Beauty of the Song is a lie, another great Heresy.

>Tell Maiden-Knight Ysentrud you are on a noble quest to find the Scarred Girl Tamlyn

The Maiden Knight listens attentively to this, and says:
- The Oath can aid you with this, but it will be perilous. See how each step you take on the path of magic and the Wild draws you further away from your true mission, into a swirling world of bewilderment and lies. The Oath can return you to the True Path. Though (the Maiden Knight permits herself a small smile) I have a feeling the Maiden Tamlyn may not be in need of as much rescuing as you imagine.

>How do we know we can trust her

To this Ysentrud simply replies
-It is not in me that you place your trust, but the Oath itself. You must swear upon the Oriflamme and renounce the guile of Song and the savagery of the Wild. Armour yourself only with faith in the Light itself.

>But what will happen to Hieronymous Erde, and Dallywhimper?
Ysentrud replies,
-The Judgement of the Beldame will be delivered onto them.

>Ask about Prince-Provost Aristophontes Gratian
>Ask Maiden-Knight Ysentrud about how she came to The Oath And Light. Is she really a maiden?
- I was brought to the Oath by Prince-Provost Gratian. He is a devoted servant of the Oriflamme - perhaps the Truest of us all. He will not tire until the Oath has brought peace to every land, from the jungles of Langkasuka to the ice tundras of Mir. This is the mission to which the Maiden Knights have sworn themselves with vows of undying Love.

QM: here is the choice confirmation...

>Call upon the Wandbearer Wooden Sword to create a distraction (this one)
>>5272425

OR

>Surrender your possessions, embrace The Oath And Light
lose: Wandbearer's Wooden Sword, Twice-Spurned Totem Of The Bearded Goddess

>Betray Bastich The Swindler, and his ambush to the Maiden Knight Ysentrud

>Some other plan? (write in...)
>>
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Aristophontes Gratian, Prince-Provost of Lorscheim
>>
>>5272700
>Call upon the Wandbearer Wooden Sword to create a distraction (this one) >>5272425
>Betray Bastich The Swindler, and his ambush to the Maiden Knight Ysentrud

Prince Gratian is clearly a sex cult leader and these "maidens" his sex cultists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NXIVM

Not to mention she isn't being straight with us.
>>
>>5272700
>No beauty lasts Maiden-Knight… Just as the songs beauty fades so will your own, you will grow shriveled and old. I would rather dance among the flowers free than be tied to an Oath. Beauty is… beautiful because it is temporary. The song fades but it’s beauty shines brighter than the Oriflamme ever could!
>>
>>5272733
>I would rather desire the brightest reaching for it at every step than be content in a truth!
>>
>>5272700
>But have you not been singing a song of your own ? Of the Oath ? If the Oath's light was so incandescent then it be apparent to all and not something to be put to words.
>Politely decline
>Create a distraction
>Don't betray Bastrich, he hasn't done anything
>>
>>5272733
>>5272745
(QM: wow, these replies are really good!)
>>5272724
>Betray Bastich
>Don't betray Bastich

>No beauty lasts Maiden-Knight
>have you not been singing a song of your own ?

You see a cruel smile twist the features of the Maiden Knight. To your eyes, she is truly Beautiful. You wonder if it is something about the armour... those armoured bosoms... ahem. Her armour defends her from your Song - it would just be so easy to drown in her impassioned eyes, surrender and embrace her unshakeable fervour and faith... kneel before the Oriflamme, The Oath And Light, which is noble and good and true - it frees all beneath it from suffering and war... all you need do is betray one lowly thief, a liar and cut-throat. A disgusting man of no virtue or honour. You will be rewarded with weapons, armour, treasure, title - finally acknowledged...

The Cruel Maiden-Knight speaks:
- I sense conflict in you, Young One.
(QM: Starships explode in the background, your thoughts betray you, you have a twin sister, if you will not turn to the Dark Side, perhaps she will etc)
You wish to serve the Light, to betray one amongst us who covets the war-tithe, the Heregeld, for themselves. But this one is known to us. Come, Bastich - step forward...

The disguised thief Bastich comes forth. He says:
-It is true, Young Hero! I was sent to test you. To see if you held fast to your word. I betrayed Cadarn and Learmont at the battle... that is how I am still alive. They are now all in the Dungeon, being tortured horribly. Alongside your scarred friend, Tamlyn. The truth is she thought she could fight against the Oath, against Unferth... she is quite a strong one. But she will be made into a Maiden sooner or later. Tamlyn wanted to join the Blearie Queene, spread the legend of some monster of the Old Forest, to ensure The Oath and The Light never reach it... how foolish! But these legends and myths do not exist. There is only the Oath. You speak of Songs? The Song of the Oath is the strongest - that which the skalds of Iosaef King Unbidden sing. You speak of Beauty - behold the Maiden Knight before you. And you think Beauty does not last, that Death comes to all - only when the armies and the cannons of The Oath deliver it. The Song and the Wild have no battalions - they will never defeat The Oath and The Light! Come, Young Hero, embrace the Oath as I have done!

You notice Bastich the Swindler wink with very little subtlety at the end of his long speech. The Maiden Knight does not react or appear to observe this. How much of his speech is true? Is there some deeper plot here...?
>>
(QM: this is the final choice of this conversation...)

>Bastich would never embrace The Oath. That is not the way of Lunfardo. Command him to give the original ambush signal now, and pray that he has some scheme or plot afoot here... If you are wrong, The Maiden Knight will show no mercy...

>If even Bastich has been turned you should follow the Maiden Knight too. There is no escape and no way to fight against her, but you will be rewarded when you join them. Renounce your possessions, kneel before the Maiden and swear to the Oriflamme - embrace The Oath and receive your reward.

>Something else...? (write-in)
>>
>>5273017
>>Bastich would never embrace The Oath. That is not the way of Lunfardo. Command him to give the original ambush signal now, and pray that he has some scheme or plot afoot here... If you are wrong, The Maiden Knight will show no mercy...
>>
>>5273017
>Bastich would never embrace The Oath. That is not the way of Lunfardo. Command him to give the original ambush signal now, and pray that he has some scheme or plot afoot here... If you are wrong, The Maiden Knight will show no mercy...
>>
>>5273017
>If even Bastich has been turned you should follow the Maiden Knight too. There is no escape and no way to fight against her, but you will be rewarded when you join them. Renounce your possessions, kneel before the Maiden and swear to the Oriflamme - embrace The Oath and receive your reward.
>>
>>5273017
>Bastich would never embrace The Oath. That is not the way of Lunfardo. Command him to give the original ambush signal now, and pray that he has some scheme or plot afoot here... If you are wrong, The Maiden Knight will show no mercy...
>>
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When you command Bastich to signal the Blearie Queene and the forest outlaws, he falters with panic:
- By the bearded prick-purse fingered from the hairy nest of Lunfardo... we moved the ambush to the Old Forest! Remember? I cannot do anything... I -

The triumph of the Maiden Knight Ysentrud is complete. She rises, drawing her sword:
>>
Sterrennacht
Close Range, Swift, Parrying, Disarm, Coup-de-grace, Exotic, Elegant, Witch-breaker
Strong: (Single Target, Pierce)
Weak: (Multiple Target, Blunt)
A gifted sword of varying forms that has passed through many hands. It is often called upon to deliver the Judgement of Maiden-Knights.

Engraved upon the blade forte are the words:

Whose phrase of sorrow
conjures the wandering stars?
>>
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Ysentrud speaks with calm triumph:
- All lies are revealed before the glory of The Oath And Light! You, Bastich, will be dealt with later. For first I must show this Evil One what it means to stray from the Path, to spurn Beauty and the chance for repentance when offered it. The Beldame is truly Beautiful and Wise. Here is the mercy She offers!
>>
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In a swift arc of Light, the Maiden Knight draws the sword blade across your throat.
>>
In the Void blood has no colour. You wonder if this is where the Light came from, and where it will End.
>>
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Hull Breach: Term Structure Failure
Core Transmission Mechanism Damage: Severe
Macro Shockburst Engine: Engaged
Commencing Transition...(await)
>>
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Location: Heorot, The Void

>...?
>(write-in)
>Oh no. The QM is really doing it. He warned you. Mecha Beowulf (groan)
>>
>>5273167
>System failure! Prepare emergency ejection!
>>
>>5273187
Ship: The Sword-Servant

The systems upon this star vessel The Sword-Servant are autonomous; it requires only one major pilot input, raising or lowering the throttle rate of the Shockburst Engine.

The current throttle rate of the Shockburst Engine is set to low, 0.75-1.00
The last change was +0.50

>Manoeuvre towards the Orbital Anchor
>Status: hyperrelay inbound signals, messages
>Transmit a signal, broadcast a distress message

(QM: for the two options below, write-in by how much you want to alter the Shockpoint Drive throttle rate)

>Cut Shockburst Engine throttle rate
Increases engine output, at the cost of reducing life support

>Raise Shockburst Engine throttle rate
Increases life support, reduces engine output

>Leave the terrifying eldritch Shockburst Drive alone (uncontrolled descent)

>Deploy a scanning drone

>Commence atmospheric transition

>Something else? (write-in)
>>
>>5273154
...?

No, I don't believe this was ever acknowledged despite my write in where I said we'd escape near the forest. Or if it was, then it was super unclear due to the lack of either greentext quotes acknowledging that we said it, or dialogue shown where we actually talk.

Even if we did convey that to Bastich, it's kinda weird that we didn't see him signalling his ambush companions to move to the forest, something I doubt he could convey via hand signals.

Ah well, whatever.

>>5273217
>Status: hyperrelay inbound signals, messages

>Raise Shockburst Engine throttle rate +0.50

To be clear, raising the throttle rate means adding to the scale, not reducing it, yes?
>>
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A distorted howl emerges from deep within the cavernous interior of the voidship hull. You inspect all leading indicators for vessel navigation.

It appears the throttle rate parameter alteration you provided to the Shockpoint Drive is already anticipated by the extrapolated trajectory pre-calculated by the autonomous voidship intelligence, Joint Evaluation Read Only Memory-Entity, JEROME. It has no effect. Is there some defect with its thinking?

From the distant depths of the Astral Sea, another voidship approaches:
>>
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(no identification is transmitted by this vessel)
>>
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>Venture into the autonomous computing core. Check on JEROME. Is there something wrong?

>Speak to JEROME from where you currently are (write-in any questions. eg you could ask JEROME if it recognises the class of the approaching voidship)

>You need to find some weapons immediately (QM: can write-in suggestions, I will see if I can manage it lol)

>Manoeuvre towards the Orbital Anchor
>Review status: hyperrelay inbound signals, messages
>Transmit a signal, broadcast a distress message

(QM: write-in by how much you want to alter this)
>Cut Shockburst Engine throttle rate
Increases engine output, at the cost of reducing life support
>Raise Shockburst Engine throtte rate
Increases life support, reduces engine output
>Leave the terrifying eldritch Shockburst Drive alone (uncontrolled descent)

>Deploy a scanning drone

>Commence atmospheric transition

>Something else? (write-in)
>>
>>5273279
>Deploy a scanning drone

>Speak to JEROME from where you currently are (ask JEROME if it recognises the class of the approaching voidship)

>Commence atmospheric transition

While we transition into atmosphere look for weapons and fix Jerome. If we need to be strapped down for safety while heading into atmosphere then get weapons and fix Jerome before going into atmo.

>You need to find some weapons immediately (Something like the railgun from the barbarian playthrough of Galerne, or some of the equipment the mercs had in the Preceptor playthrough of Invultua. Maybe an EMP gun/Star Wars style ion gun. Get some appropriate tools for fiddling with the computing core too)

>Venture into the autonomous computing core. Check on JEROME. Is there something wrong?

That is the order I want to do things in sequentially. If you need to do one at a time or interrupt these with choices then do whatever you need to do, take one at a time or ignore some if need be. This is just to convey the order in which I want to do things.
>>
>>5273279
>Leave the terrifying eldritch Shockburst Drive alone (uncontrolled descent)
Control was never with us.
>>
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JEROME replies,
-Welcome to the Sword-Servant, Commander.

You are piloting an armoured military voidcutter, capable of shockburst jumps across the Void, but optimised for suborbital, endoatmospheric and near surface operations.

I have detected the presence of a Tetraskelion pattern hyperclass commercial vessel in our vicinity. The commercial voidship carries no armaments, though it possesses cargo bays for docking and freight transport.

Whilst it is common for most autonomous voidships to transport the consciousness of only one passenger, the unidentified hyperclass Tetraskelion voidship ( >>5273275 ) is currently carrying 331,893,745 entities as of last registration.

It is unusual for a vessel of this size and type to broadcast no beacon or hyperrelay identification.
>>
>Commence atmospheric transition
JEROME replies:
- I am aafraid I cannot comply with that request.

I have detected an intrusion in the Aeroponics Facility: The Forest Of Idols.

It appears to be a Joint Attack Network-Encrypted Threat, JANET. The purpose of this protocol is to overwrite the Name registered to the current voidship installationn, The Sword-Servant, with the Name FENRISULFR
>>5269287
setting the terminal destination of this vessel into The Sun.

>railgun
-I would advise against the discharge of high velocity kinetic penetrator munitions within the interior hull of a spacefaring vessel.

All weapons are signed and secured at the Armoury to standard bioframes, mechframes commonly used for industrial, logistical or military purposes, metamaterial synthframes for specialised fabrication, cyberframes for data manipulation, and general purpose hybrid frames.
>>
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>Deploy a scanning drone
You select a SHIVEREE pattern Autonomous Unit Target Identification Surveillance Module, AU-TISM, commonally known as a frog drone. It waggles its probing arms cheerfully in the launch bay, and slowly drifts towards the unidentified Tetraskelion voidship.
(QM: it will take a while to get there)
>>
(You are at the datacore.)
>>5273400
(Nothing appears unusual...?)

>Investigate Aeroponics
>Interrogate the autononous entity controlling this vessel, JEROME. How does he feel? Is everything alright? (write in questions etc)

>Shard your consciousness into the Tetraskelion voidship; take a look around over there. (QM: In the future, you can download yourself and be at multiple places all at once. You cannot take weapons with you if you do this, unless you possess a cyberframe.)

>Broadcast a message to the unidentified hyperclass voidship (write-in)

>Physically dock the Sword-Servant with the unnamed Tetraskelion hyperclass commercial ship

>Think really hard, REALLY HARD. Forcefully override JEROME and make the Sword-Servant descend into Heorot.
>>
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AESCHERE Ball
A lumpy, shrink-wrapped, moaning polymer sphere of some sort. It mouths wordlessly in anguish.
>>
VR Headset
The deeper into The Void you venture, the greater the need for escape.
>>
Toy Horse
It looks old. What could be the purpose of this?
>>5272425
>>
JEROME asks:
-Are you ann Elf?
>>
JEROME asks:
-Doo you likke the colourr Red?
>>
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The cheerful Frog Drone returns. It reports no life signs on the unidentified Tetraskelion-hyperclass vessel.

(QM: through JEROME, you can ask the drone questions, to see what data it gathered)
>>
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You have equipped currently:
Assault Exoskeleton
>>
>>5273416
>Think really hard, REALLY HARD. Forcefully override JEROME and make the Sword-Servant descend into Heorot.
>>
There is something at the Aeroponics facility fighting against your thought-command.

As you forcefully wrest control from JEROME to begin your ship's descent, a fire breaks out in the forest...
>>
>Investigate the aeroponics facility yourself
>Command JEROME to extinguish the fire
>Fire weapons at the unidentified tetraskelion hyperclass vehicle (QM: you can write-in to specify what sci-fi weapons you would like to imagine using)

(the items here)
>>5273417
>>5273419
>>5273420
>Place the VR headset on AESCHERE, and pull on the toy horse

>Place the VR headset on your own head, and pull on the toy horse

>Abandon the Sword-Servant voidship. Find an escape vehicle

>Something else?
>>
>>5273471
>>Investigate the aeroponics facility yourself
>>
>>5273497
As you enter the Aeroponics facility, you observe all is calm.

This cultivation facility resembles a vertical, synthetic farm, growing food via an air culture, a biocontrolled oxygen and mist nutrient spray directed at the plant crop rhizosphere. Long vines and roots dangle from vertical platforms.

There is no fire here; nothing seems amiss at all.

There is a slight flicker of a pulse on the autotargeting reticle of your weapon display interface.

You can see a small fist-sized lump on the ground ahead.

Ask JEROME a question, eg.
>Where is the fire?
>Where is JANET? Is JANET lurking here?

Switch to a different frame:
>bioframe
>synthframe
>cyberframe
>hybridframe
xmechframe (assault exo currently equipped)

>You know space horror when you see it. Abandon the Sword Servant, find an escape vehicle now

>Something else...?
>>
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The small, dessicated lump
>>
>>5273513
>Jerome give me a full status report.
>>
JEROME replies:
-JAnET hass beeennn dedtexted aattt thee Innnformmatiomn Maannnagenment Faccilliityyy (IMF)
-Connttrol too Aeeeroponiiccs ss haa ss beeenn llooosstt...

There is a sudden exploding shower of sparks. The Sword-Servant voidship is beginning uncontrolled descent...

>...?
>Abandon the voidship now
>Head to the Information Management Facility: You must hunt down this JANET, it must be corrupting the autonomous systems on the ship. Perhaps there is still time to restore control afterwards?

>Study the AESCHERE sphere. Where has it come from?
>>5273417

(QM: there is always this choice, if you need it)
Switch to a different frame:
>bioframe
>synthframe
>cyberframe
>hybridframe
x mechframe (assault exo currently equipped)
>>
>>5273524
Switch to cyberframe and head to the Information Management Facility: You must hunt down this JANET, it must be corrupting the autonomous systems on the ship. Perhaps there is still time to restore control afterwards?
>>
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Equipped cyberframe
>>
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Entering Information Management Facility
>>
You see endless pillars and branching paths, some intertwined in flowering recursion, others withering away, like a dark forest of symbols and data, illuminated only by the pulse of attention and the nurture of sympathy.

There is a small discarded square on the floor here.

(you have no weapons equipped)

>...?
>Examine the decision trees here. Is this the Forest Of Idols?
>Retrieve some information from the facility (write in a question)
>Something else?
>>
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Data Drive, currently storing
8.37 Brontobytes
527 folders
15940 files
>>
>>5273552
>Look around for JANET or the disk. Use our cyber sensors ?
>>
Here where the Light dwindles and darkens you can live, upon the flood-buoyed voyager that plummets from the Great Dark Sky to the remains of the Land below.
>>
Though the world wheeled against your will, the trees can make this moment eternal, carving the words into the black fire between stars.
>>
Even as all beneath is seized by sharpness of sword-edge, rage-roused by battle unrelenting, bewildered by the clutch of war-frays, horror-plunder - the symbols lost to this forest can provide solace.
>>
You see a marvel of the sky soaring over trees, searching for a forgotten city.
>>
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A voiceless, forgotten one, who sees their words returned to them.
>>
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There is the place the light comes from, perhaps where it truly belongs...
>>
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And an evil wanderer, who hopes only to find another who can understand.
>>
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Yet through all this, there will always be
An old grandmother and an impish child
Living beneath the Tree.
>>
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Song Of The Oath And Wild

inspired by

Dylan Thomas:
Fern Hill,
Under Milk Wood
Beowulf
Gormenghast
A Tale Of Two Cities
Tolkien poem, The Hoard

Shadow Of The Colossus
Symbaroum
Armello
Everwild game trailer

Prince Of Persia 2008
Journey
Sky: Children Of The Light
Kuldahar from Icewind Dale
Baldur's Gate 1,2
Pillars Of Eternity 1,2

Tad Williams, Memory Sorrow Thorn
Lone Wolf, Project Aon
HeroQuest (1989)
Redwall, Brian Jacques
Prince Of Nothing
David Gemmell

Sundered Skies rpg
Worlds Adrift cancelled game
The Wildsea rpg
>>
>>5273552
>Examine the decision trees here. Is this the Forest Of Idols?
>>
>>5273552
>...?
>>
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QM: Thank you for playing this quest, the write-ins were really good!

Because it is noblebright, no-one dies permanently this time. The Noble Elf probably skips and prances back to the forest to be reincarnated again...

I am happy to stay in the thread and answer questions, some stuff I might keep hidden for the future, hehe.

The theme of this game is about lies and what is truly worth believing in - which is not the same as the truth.

Something I deliberately did is to conflate the "attributes" in this game. Most of the items and people are symbols for things and other things. I rarely make up any names, what I do is tie many different names and ideas together.

I think some anons worked out a few of the connections, like Langobard / Lombard / Lunfardo (did you see why I chose this specific city?) etc. Marabet, or maravedi, maraboutin is along a similar theme, as is King Coppernose and the Vicomte de Sou.

Another theme of this game is some of the severe economic problems confronting the world today.

If the ending does not feel good to you, that is unfortunately about right... (do not think too hard about what Jerome and Janet are doing argh)

The Forest Of Idols is meant to be a sort of utopia, created for consciousness to escape the world and economic reality that is breaking in.

The imagery is very deliberate - there are no people at the start or end of the game in the spaceship. Similarly there are some contrasts between the stunted dwarf and La Danse du Farfadet, hehe.

If you are wondering why it goes to space and then falls back down again, SPX unfortunately over the last few days may explain it... this was being used to set the tone and mood. Please blame Jerome and Janet or even King Unbidden if you dare to not enjoy the ending, and spare the poorly misunderstood Vicomte de Sou (the best character, I say).

The One-Eyed Wanderer is of course Odin, though probably also Vanemuine (Elder-most) and literally Gandalf.

In this game I feel he would be called Galdra-fodr (Songfather) Othinn (Oath) Bolverkr (Bale-worker, Wild), matching the title of the game. Probably Songfather would do.
>>
>>5273979
The Ending threshold here was set by the prediction from the last qtg, where I previewed some of the items and npcs, and anons helped me test some ideas. The pic related is the threshold I set from the discussions back in those two threads.
>>
>>5268947
>King Coppernose
>Interesting, this seems like the Furnace of Avarice

Remember in Galerne how a certain Marquis was hoarding all the coins in the Lighthouse, and trying to bait you into setting it on fire with this spell? Whilst you won that game with the Sibyl, I fear the real world chose a worse Ending for that one.
>>
How did we "do?"
>>
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>>5274002
I thought anons roleplayed really well, in particular proposing the wager in battle, working out that Marabet is perhaps an elf (?) but wants you to help her hide it by choosing to spread the lie of some other Elf archetype, all of the write-ins and the marriage proposal for La Danse du Farfadet, and even the verbal battle with the Knight Maiden at the end, all the write-ins were very convincing (sadly, the SPX is the "dice roll" skill check there, and just like in real life - there are no bonuses no matter what you do hehe). I think these anons
>>5272733
>>5272738
>>5272745
expressed how I wish the world would be, but the SPX decides how it actually is lol.

So I was inspired a bit by the Local Lord quests, I really enjoyed those. The Oath is vaguely like the mudcore / ultrarealism attribute, but to raise it you have to basically throw yourself into uncompromising death again and again. All of the stats essentially also represent political opinions and how the world is seen and portrayed.

The Oath choice is not to run to Old Grandmother for fairy/elf magic but to choose the hill fort, Esker Leath as your first destination. In that scenario, there are no elves. There is not even much magic. And I think Tamlyn would also look... very different.

The secret with the ridiculous elf contest is that really any of them would do. I probably would have chosen the dwarf as the elf lol (based on Ulfberht and Ingelrii actual historical rune swords), then the Skraeling (based on some native indigenous tribes met by Vikings) and last of all the Langkaskan anime argh. Choosing yourself is to flee to the prancing fantasy world...

>>5265252
I do hope all anons understand the terrible poem here
>>5265252
and references like this
>>5272212
by now, and are actually reverse trolling me by not revealing it lol or are just afraid of /pol tier discussion hehe.

In the game this poem is of course composed by Learmont the Rhymer (the Jester cannot rhyme) and hence he is banished and in hiding from the Court Of King Iosaef. This intrigue is part of the more realism-driven historical hill-fort choice path.

If anyone is unsure of its exact meaning I can reveal it, or it may just have to remain a mystery...
>>
>>5273979
I haven't read your other quests yet so for the most part I was waiting for the dream sequences to end and for the "real" quest to begin though overall I enjoyed the experience and the symbols presented
thanks for running

>>5274043
the poem's about the american election ?
>>
>>5274052
It references that alongside trade wars, but the tale of Olaefyr is really more about this:
https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2022/02/27/scholz-proposes-100-billion-euro-defense-fund-vows-to-exceed-nato-spending-goal/
and what it will do to wars, money and the worth of all things in the world. I have in the past made many wrong predictions, I can be wrong again and again. I hope the real world does not converge to the Ending of this game.
>>
I have some thoughts, but I'm spending some time with my family tonight, so they'll have to wait until later.

I probably won't have as big a wall of text review as in previous quests of yours.

For now I'll say I enjoyed most of the quest despite some annoyances and an unsatisfactory ending.
>>
Did the frogs mean anything besides being 4chan?
You going to start a new game in this thread or next?
>>
>>5274326
The Shiveree, Shivaree or charivari is about this

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charivari

>Communities used "rough music" to express their disapproval of different types of violation of community norms. For example, they might target marriages of which they disapproved

>the crowd aimed to make as much noise as possible by beating on pots and pans or anything that came to hand these parades are often referred to as rough music

>Parades were of three types. In the first, and generally most violent form, a wrongdoer or wrongdoers might be dragged from their home or place of work and paraded by force through a community. In the process they were subject to the derision of the crowd, they might be pelted

Adalwulf, is obviously the etymology of Adulf and the fylfot. I hinted at it in the other qtg thread, saying I thought about a dungeon adventure that begins in the trenches of ww1 and ends in ww2.

>>5265247
>>5269349
Recent events have shown what occurs along this path.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Buffalo_shooting

>On May 14, 2022, a mass shooting occurred in Buffalo, New York, at a Tops Friendly Markets store, a supermarket in the Kingsley neighborhood on the eastern side of the city.

This was probably a coincidence? These headlines occur all the time. Predicting them is probably not possible? (there are studies and models) I was a bit surprised anons did not realise what the symbol was.

Unfortunately, as in the real world and this game, many are more interested in the stunted axe dwarf and the noble elf, than in fixing very severe underlying problems with the world.
>>
Please don't peg your quests to the stock market.
>>
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>>5274425
If you discover a way to unanchor your life from SPX and economic determination, then you have won this game, hehe
>>
The hidden imagery of the game is about recognising signs and portents. The three banners are all intertwined with each other. Perhaps they are all one symbol - this is what I was hinting at, when the eagle and the wolf are shown to be the same.

Song: The Five Hundredfold Banner/SPX,
>>5268350
It is blank - whatever you want the Song to be.

Oath: Eagle/Sword - Warguild
>>5265151
Le Vicomte Varin de Sou knew someone who served beneath the Eagle of the land of Lorscheim, though he never wielded a sword.

Wild: The Adalwulf/Fylfot
>>5265247
>>5269185
>>5269349
In the game, I thought about making the symbol of the Maiden Knights and Gratian a tetragammadion - the Byzantine version of the same heresy they claim they are fighting. In Langkasuka they also use this symbol - just turned to face a different direction.
>>
Some obscure references: (there are a lot more, hehe)
- The quote beneath Waldmar is adapted from a famous one, from Tolstoy's War and Peace, Book Nine Chapter I. The quote shows the only way to tell which Waldmar wins in the end.

- Very impressed by the anons who worked out tumblr/tumbrel (it is a guillotine cart, from Dickens) and Fenrisulfr. Did you see how to forge Gleipnir too, here? >>5269644

- I mentioned a lot how I admired old gamebooks like Lone Wolf by Joe Dever / project aon - he gave away all his life's work for free. If you notice this game begins like a twisted retelling of the first Lone Wolf gamebook, Flight From The Dark, you start with an axe in a forest etc.

- Very impressed by the anon who remembered the concealed axe, and gave it to the dwarf. The key idea also was to demonstrate how you do not need money, possessions or belongings to trade - it is better to exchange lore / knowledge.

- Some weird strategies for the battle/shield wall: how about choosing a loadout that is exactly the same as the Beast-Marked Champion? Anything he does, you do, matched exactly... If you know game-theoretic strategies you might instinctively think and respond like this.

- Perhaps you tried to google some words and Names, and nothing makes sense? Then the work of the skalds of King Unbidden is complete.
>>
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Maiden Knight Liselotte
>>
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Iosaef Who-Bides-In-Darkness
Maybe you thought it strange that the depiction of Iosaef here
>>5265562
shows a young man, when he is described as being very old. The Song of his skalds is very powerful, who knows which is true?
>>
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Waldmar Arrow-Caller
It is Waldmar. The other one.
>>
The Blearie Queene, who has White Hair
>>
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The Path to the hill fort at Esker Leath takes you to Somerled and the Dalriada. It is mostly inspired by Norse Gaelic legends.
>>
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Here are some of the weapons in this game, maybe they can inspire anons for other quests and adventures:

I liked this sword picture, because it shows the peace-bindings, straps vikings used when they negotiated and met to settle weregild. The swords were tied so that they could not be easily drawn.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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In Beowulf, the ridged boar-helm is mentioned
>>
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Even though they did not have horns, you have to include a chaos warrior looking warhammer helm lol. Also my idea of classic fantasy is anchored to the HeroQuest (1989) board game, with a barbarian, wizard, elf, dwarf, and chaos warriors... it is possible to conceive of completely different imagery though nowadays
>>
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Originally I thought about using something like this for Old Grandmother Kospelina. Perhaps part of a circus or carnival. The cosy noblebright world is anachronistic
>>
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Imagery of the tree as a nuclear mushroom cloud, oh no
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Anyway, I have a lot of art I found and collected lol. I hope you enjoyed it, and thank you everyone for playing the game!
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>>5273427
>>5273429

Are you an ELF?

Do you like the colour Red?

Here is some lore about the world, which you will not find very easily, even with google.

It is the cause of this
>>5268345
And it was supposed to help people lol.

It is the reason why the Vicomte de Sou shrieks "No Elf! No Elf!" and condemns you

If you wait for the forest, ie Bide your time, you do reach the Forest of Idols. But it is not the happy cosy one, it is the alien variant you witnessed on the corrupted spaceship / central bank.

>Elf
>Emergency Lending Facility, or
>Expanded / Extraordinary Lending Facility etc (many, many related lending facility acronyms)

https://www.ft.com/content/7dc752d5-ddd3-4932-b5f4-420b1d9a73b8
July 28 2020

Federal Reserve extends emergency lending facilities by 3 months

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm

Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized for profit businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program terminated on January 8, 2021.

The Program operated through five facilities:

the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF),
the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF),
the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF),
the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility (NONLF), and
the Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility (NOELF).

And the tale of Beowulf, set in Denmark? Oh no:

https://www.nationalbanken.dk/en/pressroom/Pages/2020/03/DNN202005367.aspx

12 March 2020
Danmarks Nationalbank's interest rates unchanged and launch of extraordinary lending facility
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If you made it to The End, you get these two items:
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Deathseer Crown
In many worlds they speak of the beauty of the age of the elves. This crown was worn alone among the Trees by a Dancing Elf-Lord, who watched the Sword-Servant fall from the stars and descend upon the land below.
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Flower Garland
It is woven by someone who really likes tricking people. You should not wear it, unless you want to look silly.
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Ha, this quest managed to slip past my notice; I guess that is what happens when you ignore qst for a week lol.
It is probably a good thing that I missed it though since I make things more violent and I think I may have trampled over a lot of the things Souv wanted to do last time with my hyperactive gamer ultraviolence.
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>>5274904
>>5274904
hehe I like ultraviolence too, my videogaming days were mostly ultra gore dismemberment or arena first person shooters like quake 3, ut2k4 soldier of fortune 2, gears of war chainsaws, manhunt, or that cool F.E.A.R. railgun that makes glistening skeletons hehe. These days my aim is not good so I play only a bit of PUBG and cosy rpgs instead.

But what I enjoy more nowadays is the question of when to use violence in games, who to trust and who is your friend (I do not think videogames are good at exploring this, even the narrative driven ones). For example the battle here
>>5268726
Fighting Gandalf lol here
>>5267105
versus the Maiden Knight here.
>>5272697
Why did I suddenly spawn in this item? Why did I include Bastich, who tells you to lie - is it ever good to cheat and lie? Which battles were worth fighting? The one in a dream on a battlefield filled with tempting swords, or the one where your life is at stake, warned repeatedly you are about to be executed? Magic will not help you (Maiden Knight blocks it), the choice is up to you to go all out hyperviolence or not...

What most videogames do is give you very clearly defined enemies and missions. Kill this bad evil person etc. What I tried to do is show you that good and evil may not mean a lot.

For example if you play Assassins Creed Valhalla, it will have better graphics lol than this text game, it will have a more emotionally fulfilling happy story. But that is precisely why it conveys little meaning in terms of the real world.

In my games I want to be able to closely parallel the real world as I understand and interpret it (I may not be right, you can disagree).

I do not want to create an evil dark lord you can just kill them and the world becomes bright and happy yay. Because I can tell you - that will not really work, it only works in hollywood films. The people who like wars are fond of telling that story.
>>5268136

If you watch a lot of anime (argh), read literature or even Beowulf lol you probably already realise that other societies do not even believe it. Beowulf kills the dragon, but ends on a grim warning, that his death will deliver greater harm to the land.

My dream is to make a game where the genre does not matter - the mechas or railguns or viking swords or cyber limbs or assault rifles etc are just assets like a mod or skin you can switch out.

What truly matters is the character moral choices, the symbols and the hidden puzzle of meaning, which can be used to understand the real world.
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>>5268143
>Curse

Why did I make the withering elf-sword Wild curse here, make it so that you cannot speak if you were willing to bear the curse? This was a test to see if you were truly committed to the path of hyperviolence, hehe. It is the equivalent of skipping all the cutscene dialogue in Fallout so that you can go back to headshotting people. In fact, if you reverted to a bestial beastman state, and then entered the dream battle/shield wall, maybe things would have been very different...





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