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Almost one full day ago, a party of a dozen Drow—subterranean elven outcasts—sallied forth from the oasis-city of Wevenore and into the deep-dark of their ancestral funerary-caves. Their objective was to reclaim them from a mysterious horror which had rallied the primitive, monkey-like ‘ghouls’ who picked at their dead into a terrifying and organized horde. Nobody knew quite who or what this mysterious adversary was, but those who had survived encounters with the feral beasts described some sort of ‘Ghoul Supreme’ egging the lesser creatures on.

At the elven militia’s head was no Drow noble, but reptilian foreigner of monstrous description: a lizardman called ‘Theral’ for his shining, coppery hide. Those elves who guarded the borders and patrolled the far reaches beyond the eyes of Wevenore’s nobility whispered tales of this dreadful being’s exploits.

They said that he had slain the Devourer, a great king-slayer of the westernmost caverns, and that he had subdued and subjugated the ancient and shapeless Shoggoth with his own two hands.

They said he spoke like an elven poet—that he could soothe the heart of any elfman or elfmaid with his rumbling polemics to peace, and stir any elf or animal to righteous fury with his fiery sermons to war. Even his charming half-breed knight was said to have such charm as to have courted a princess of House Yvonlace.

Rumour had it that he had conquered the greedy dwarves and stopped their damnable downward digging, humbling them and making them slaves of a new kobold kingdom in the Bloodrise mountain range.

They said that he was the heir of the Dragon Kings of old—mighty tyrants who once ruled the earth in a time before even elven records.

They said that he served the Gods of Evil, and that those who joined him in their worship would be permitted to march in his dark legions, to retake the surface-world and slaughter the traitor-elves.

Some—the impoverished and lowborn, the impatient and glory-hungry young warriors—spoke of him with undisguised awe.
Some—the nobles of Wevenore, the highborn mages, and especially those up-and-coming Princes Ascendant who saw his connections to House Yvonlace and the exiting Queen Myrymma as a threat—regarded him with less enthusiasm.

When he emerged from the funerary caves at the head of a triumphant procession, holding aloft the head of the slain Ghoul Supreme and proclaiming the caverns below purged of ghouls and lost souls alike by grace of the God of Death, none could deny that his visitation was IMPORTANT.

Whether that was for good or for ill… Well, that remained to be seen.
>>
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You are called many things. Since your journey began, you have accrued nicknames and titles. To the dark-skinned and famine-shortened elves of Wevenore, you are King Theral of Bloodrise, the Copper Dragon King. Your true name is a private thing, spoken rarely and only when absolutely necessary, as is the tradition of the Master Race who created you. To your masters—the Dark Gods Beyond and Blow, and their sacred Serpent Priesthood, you hold an even grander title, and a more transcendent duty.

You are THE DRAGONBORN ANTIPALADIN!

>LEVEL UP
>+1 Religion for your approach to Death and the Dark Gods, and your missionary zeal
>+1 Elementalism, for your reliance on earth and moon magic, and your deployment and taming of the lightning elemental

[ Updated statblock, portrait, and inventory are off to the side. For those of your just joining us, this quest and its (not-mandatory-reading-at-all precursor are at https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm ]

Well, alright. Maybe not EVERYONE is on board with your assumption of the role of regional despot… Or as self-appointed Dark Prophet of a new paradigm in the True Faith. Certainly, your immediately superior—the Chaplain of the northernmost base where your subversive agents and assassins gather to manipulate and destroy surface-scum society—hasn’t given any explicit blessing. The Gods who you BOTH serve, though, have blessed you and your mission repeatedly.

You have sacrificed to the Serpent Ascendant and earned his blessings. You have uncovered hidden mysteries and knowledge for the Baleful Beholder. By their blessings, you grow stronger and wiser each passing day, more and more like a True Dragon of old!

You have made treaty and alliance—even conjugal, to your mixed feelings—with the Lady of the rookery, called Mother of Dragons, and with the priestess-princess of her pet race of silk-spinning glowworms. In doing so, you have convinced the capricious deity not to abandon your people or your cause.

You have treated with, and made an ally of, DEATH HIMSELF.

(Even if that meant incurring repeated debts to him)

You’ve lost friends and allies along the way, but made many more. You have discovered your capacity to love, and be loved, and found the strength which comes from that. Your worldview has widened and expanded, and by this virtue you have forged the beginnings of a Dark Alliance to set the foundations of the earth to trembling!
>>
You remind yourself of these many triumphs to drive you forwards against persistent lethargy. Your accomplishments give you the strength to lift your horned head high and to push out your chest in spite of your splitting headache.

You are very, very hungover.

“Easy,” whispers Hamaraska the Lancer, the centipede-rider whom you have recently made a confidant of after your bonding experience in the grave-caverns of the ancient Drow. “You’re wobbling.”

“I can’t believe someone your size is so bad at holding his mushroom-wine!” sniggers Azonia the Duelist, curvy-but-deadly dual-wielder of swords; she is prone to such jabs, though you THINK they are mostly meant in good humour.

“You should not mock a priest of the Dark Gods,” Jhamrius warns; his is an early convert to the True Faith, cautious and loyal.

“I’m not a priest,” you groan, too weary to explain the caste system and liturgical particulars of your Master Race—masterful at many things, but NOT at metabolizing alcohol—in any great detail right now.

“Still, we all saw you TALK to that one down there—to DEATH!” enthusiastic Sengar chimes in cheerily.

“I didn’t,” Azonia scoffs.

“You’re dear to them, obviously,” Jhamrius concurs.

“Best not to piss them off by mocking you, right?” Sengar muses. “Gods are cruel things.”

You shake your head, but don’t have it in you to debate the nature of the Dark Divines further. Even that simple gesture—shaking your head-rattles your addled brain to the point of a dizzy spell. You stumble slightly, threaten to fall over entirely…

But for quiet Hamaraska, who leans against you to brace you.

What do you do?
>Support yourself, without Hamaraska’s help—for prophetic propriety and kingly dignity
>Thank Hamaraska, and accept their assistance in making your way
>Place an arm around Hamaraska, and savour the slim, soft-spoken elf’s closeness [+affection, +appetite]
>Write-in

“Where are we going, anyway?” Sengar asks.
>To your lodging in the poor quarters of Wevenore, where your Novice Fleshweaver can administer medical aid and expert biological analysis of the Ghoul Supreme
>To House Yvonlace, where Queen Myrymma reigns (for now, at least) and where your allies among the elven elite can be found, to collude and counsel
>To the most busy and bustling area of Wevenore, where you can proclaim your victory and the glory of your gods before all movers and shakers, and demand audience with those who aspire to kingship of this place
>Write-in
>>
>>5448284
>Support yourself, without Hamaraska’s help—for prophetic propriety and kingly dignity

>To your lodging in the poor quarters of Wevenore, where your Novice Fleshweaver can administer medical aid and expert biological analysis of the Ghoul Supreme
>>
>>5448284
>Thank Hamaraska, and accept their assistance in making your way

>To House Yvonlace, where Queen Myrymma reigns (for now, at least) and where your allies among the elven elite can be found, to collude and counsel

We literally did this shit to make her convert. Let's seal the deal.
>>
>>5448284
>Support yourself, without Hamaraska’s help—for prophetic propriety and kingly dignity
>To your lodging in the poor quarters of Wevenore, where your Novice Fleshweaver can administer medical aid and expert biological analysis of the Ghoul Supreme
And some meat crackers for this motherfucker of a hangover.
>>5448278
The new poster looks great, but second and fourth portrait remain my personal favorites.
>>
>>5448303
Supporting

A king stands alone and above his flock
>>
>>5448303
>>5448322
>>5448500
>>5448591
[Looks like we're leaning towards toughing it without aid, but we're tied on our destination. I'll check in later!]
>>
>>5448284
>>Support yourself, without Hamaraska’s help—for prophetic propriety and kingly dignity
>>To your lodging in the poor quarters of Wevenore, where your Novice Fleshweaver can administer medical aid and expert biological analysis of the Ghoul Supreme

Aw yeah, another DAQ thread. Let's go!
>>
>>5448284
>Place an arm around Hamaraska, and savour the slim, soft-spoken elf’s closeness [+affection, +appetite]
>To the most busy and bustling area of Wevenore, where you can proclaim your victory and the glory of your gods before all movers and shakers, and demand audience with those who aspire to kingship of this place
Would this be called… propheteering?
>>
>>5448284
>Support yourself, without Hamaraska’s help—for prophetic propriety and kingly dignity
>To House Yvonlace, where Queen Myrymma reigns (for now, at least) and where your allies among the elven elite can be found, to collude and counsel
>>
>>5448801
>>5448749
>>5448741
>>5448591
>>5448500
>>5448322
>>5448303
[Locked and writing!]
>>
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>>5448807
>he walks
spooky
>>
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>>5448807
>>5448807
You push off from Hamaraska, determined to support yourself without aid. The androgynous dark elf watches you with some concern. You gulp, swallowing air and saliva and willing yourself not to vomit.

“We are going back to the lowborn quarter,” you assert. “I have business with my Fleshweaver.”

“But Queen Myrymma will—” Sengar begins, then cuts himself off, thinking better of it.

Jhamrius shrugs, and notes: “She will hear of this regardless. All of Wevenore will., if they haven't already.”

Indeed, it is difficult not to notice the many eyes—mostly pale, bleached by generations below-ground in darkness—which watch you as you pass. Hushed voices whisper in elventongue as they marvel at your procession. Some of your entourage fall away from you as you go—the soldier-class of the Drow are primarily lower-ranking noble warriors, but still too highly-born for the shanty-town outskirts where you have made your temporary residence. Only the truly faithful stick by you…

(Well, and Azonia, for whatever reason.)

In the lowliest area of the so-called “Oasis of Crystal and Silk’, you find the crude assemblage of piled, loosely-affixed stonework and dried fungal stalks which passes for a home for your first local converts. There, in the domicile of a young family, your truest allies await: the Novice Fleshweaver, junior Serpent Priestess and prodigy of her craft, daughter of the Chaplain who all but raised you; the Degenerate half-human known as Oluwadamilare, a brave and bold battle-brother and former Reptilian Infiltrator; Ivno, kobold acolyte from the Bloodrise, a scout and surveyor known for prudent caution; Karz the Throat-singer, your beardless dwarven slave and arcane ‘apprentice’.

You manage not to puke until you have made it inside, and dismissed most of the remaining elves form your immediate presence to avoid embarrassment.

“You immature ignoramus,” the Novice chastises you, sighing and shaking her head as she watches you empty your stomach. “You may have the BRAIN of an ape, but you didn’t inherit their liver, OBVIOUSLY.”

“Watch your tongue,” you snap at her, glowering over the mushroom-cap ‘pot’ which your concerned hosts hastily provided you. “We are in mixed company.”

You and the Novice both glance back at Hamaraska, who hovers near the door, despite your instructions.

“The elf doesn’t understand True Speech,” the Novice counters dismissively. “None of the others who do are near enough to hear me, and if they did, I could simply pass it off as an allusion to the human blood used as a component in the Dragonborn ritual. Your secret is safe, oh Paranoid One.”
>>
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>>5448848
You groan and heave once more, but nod. The Novice Fleshweaver, alone of all your allies, knows the full truth of your origin: you are no creature of alchemist’s laboratory or Fleshweaver ritual-chamber, as with a true Dragonborn. Rather, you are a sort of competing project, the product of an unauthorized effort by your Degenerate mother to create a ‘Dragonborn’ of her own through fleshweaving, demonology, and forbidden cross-caste mating with your distantly dragon-descended father. Among your people, who have long served the Dark God of order and purity called Lawgiver and Persecutor of the Weak, such a genesis would bring great controversy and scandal to your mission.

“Well, at least you seem mostly unharmed apart from your self-inflicted poisoning,” the Novice notes, when your dry-heaving has stopped and her rather close examination of your other vitals has begun.

You two are left more or less alone for this, with the Novice unabashedly stripping away your armour to investigate your cuts, bruises, scrapes and punctures more closely. You two have known each other virtually all your lives—albeit not always on the friendliest of terms—and over the last year have gotten quite… Comfortable… Around one another’s bodies in a way that would generally be seen as UNCONVENTIONAL by your kind. Then again, the Novice Fleshweaver is no conventional female…

“Put the hemipenes away,” the Novice hisses quietly, her tail delivering a stinging slap to your inner thigh. “I am NOT ministering to THAT condition.”

You snort, but shift to hide this automatic response to the Serpent Priestess’ touch, ignoring the pangs of your <appetite> until the process is completed, your wounds sanitized and sealed by medicine and magic.

“I recommend rest,” the Novice sniffs, “if your overinflated ego can be brought to heel long enough for your WEAK flesh to heal properly.”

“You would not call me weak if you’d seen the carnage I wrought in the name of the True Faith,” you boast.

“You have pushed yourself too hard, Degenerateborn. What, are you overcompensating?”

“Are you worried?” you tease.

The Novice sniffs, and crosses her arms haughtily… But doesn’t reply.
>>
>>5448852
“I assume you want me to examine THAT?” she abruptly changes the topic, nodding towards the lolling tongue and empty eyes of the Ghoul Supreme’s decapitated head. “You said it was psionic? And… That our experiment, ‘Junior’, is of the same breed?”

She refers, of course, to the being which you mockingly named after your childhood bully and rival, ‘The Junior Novice’. This kobold-like, dogfaced, rat-tailed mammalian entity was purchased as a slave from a Silkscale merchant back home, and later used as grist for the Novice’s experiments with long-dead dragonblood. It made of him a mighty—if rather anxious—winged war-beast, and these early trials were instrumental in enabling your ever-mightier <Dragonshape> spell. Only recently did you encounter similar dogheaded entities among the ghouls of the Drow-realm, commanding smaller and lesser creatures.

“They’re at least related,” you confirm. “It would be good to know more of these dog-faced ghouls.”

“I have been preoccupied with the studies you ALREADY assigned me,” the Novice huffs. “Do you think I have no need for torpor? How many hands and heads do I have, when you look at me… Or is that a bad question to ask an alcohol-addled mammal-thing such as yourself?”

“I suppose I simply place great faith in you,” you say dryly. “Maybe I am accepting your OWN egotistical self-assessment too readily, NOVICE Fleshweaver?”

The Novice glares at you for a time. You meet her gaze, enervated in spite of your headache and churning guts. You must admit, if only to yourself, that you have missed this banter which has become ritual between you and the young Priestess.

“I will attend to your little projects, Oh Glorious Dragon King,” she sighs eventually. “Pick a primary focus, though. Even I cannot do everything at once.”

>Request her full attentions for yourself—to cure your hangover, speed your recovery, and ensure you are at full fighting force
>Have the Novice focus upon the Ghoul Supreme and Junior Novice; perhaps she can unlock further utility in that twisted chimera, and better understand the nature of the psychic dogman’s surprising might
>Check in on her study of the shoggoth-samples which survived your battle with the ancient horror; has she made any progress at understanding how to command and manipulate it
>Get a status report on the Drow children who were configured by divine magic before you left; have they changed further, reverted back? What is the full scope of their transfiguration?
>Write-in
>>
>>5448853
>Request her full attentions for yourself—to cure your hangover, speed your recovery, and ensure you are at full fighting force

We need to get out there to the Queen/male up-comer court to flex our accomplishment.
>>
>>5448853
>Request her full attentions for yourself—to cure your hangover, speed your recovery, and ensure you are at full fighting force
Everything else is on the second plane.
>>
>>5448853
>Check in on her study of the shoggoth-samples which survived your battle with the ancient horror; has she made any progress at understanding how to command and manipulate it
shoggy chan
>>
>>5448853
>Have the Novice focus upon the Ghoul Supreme and Junior Novice; perhaps she can unlock further utility in that twisted chimera, and better understand the nature of the psychic dogman’s surprising might
>>
>>5448853
>Have the Novice focus upon the Ghoul Supreme and Junior Novice; perhaps she can unlock further utility in that twisted chimera, and better understand the nature of the psychic dogman’s surprising might
>>
>>5448856
>>5448860
>>5448876
>>5448952
>>5448958
[It's a close one! I'll hold off on updating until tomorrow evening.]
>>
Can't wait for our battle wounds to lead to a defeat and having to sacrifice another companion just so we can survive ^^
>>
>>5449169
Novice herself said that we barley took an wounds, just some minor scrapes and bruises+ some exhaustion. We've fought through far worse before.

Were chilling unless that prince we insulted sends assassins after us or something.


>Have the Novice focus upon the Ghoul Supreme and Junior Novice; perhaps she can unlock further utility in that twisted chimera, and better understand the nature of the psychic dogman’s surprising might
>>
>>5449210
Oh my bad then
>>
>>5448853
>Check in on her study of the shoggoth-samples which survived your battle with the ancient horror; has she made any progress at understanding how to command and manipulate it
>>
>>5448853
>>5449118
I'll change my vote >>5448860 to
>Check in on her study of the shoggoth-samples which survived your battle with the ancient horror; has she made any progress at understanding how to command and manipulate it
>>
>>5448853
>Request her full attentions for yourself—to cure your hangover, speed your recovery, and ensure you are at full fighting force
Check out my wings!
>>
Can the Orb of Dragonkind allow us to turn into a Dragon?
>>
>>5448853
>Request her full attentions for yourself—to cure your hangover, speed your recovery, and ensure you are at full fighting force

This is the most pressing
>>
>>5449567
It isn't. See >>5449210.
>>
>>5449499
[...The wut? Do you mean your amulet?]
>>
>>5449567
>>5449279
>>5449270
>>5449257
>>5449210
>>5448958
>>5448952
>>5448876
>>5448856
“The sample will not keep indefinitely,” you note, and gesture to the Ghoul Supreme’s decapitated dome. “Focus upon that. Glean what you can. It may be useful for the advancement of our ‘Junior’.”

“Or your own advancement,” the Novice notes.

You look at her questioning, and she explains further:

“If what you say is correct, the so-called Ghoul Supreme wasn’t only a powerful telekinetic, but was capable of wielding that magic to essentially mimic others—geokinesis, near-necromancy, maybe more. Not only that, it was able to command lessers...”

“…Not unlike the Fearsome Presence of a dragon,” you acknowledge, though the comparison seems heretical.

“Just as with the draconic fleshweaving, what starts with our lab-rat can become a source of advancement for your own flawed nature,” the Novice cackles.

You’re not sure you like the phrasing, but her enthusiasm for the project has grown at least. You leave her to it, and take your recommended rest.

When you rouse, it is to discussion at the doorway.

“The Dragonborn sleeps,” you hear Oluwadamilare explaining in his practiced dark-elven. “He has fought hard, and must now rest.”

“Then let him sleep in comfortable quarters, with good food, and good music,” a friendly but unfamiliar voice replies.

One of the Queen’s other agents, representative of her House Yvonlace, come to collect you?

“The Dragonborn choice this place,” Olu asserts. “You may bring him this offer again when he is…”

The half-human archer trails off as you approach, and both eh and the elf at the doorway turn to you; the latter looks first at yoru mostly bare chest, and then up from there, as if startled at your sheer size.

The stranger is clad in unusually-fine silks for a Drow, even a highborn one, and these have been further accented with dyes and tastefully-incorporated swatches of surface-fabric adorned with complementary patterns. She appears feminine at a glance, with bright eyes which pair well with the attire. The cut is a clever one, too; you know next to nothing of frivolous fashion, let alone ELVEN eccentricities in the field, but it is clear to you that the cut is somewhat uncommon while still not being out-of-place among the local cultural milieu.

“I like your armour,” the elf-maid compliments you, before inquiring with some skepticism: “House Yvonlace made this?”

“I commissioned it from them,” you say. “They did good work. It has held up well in my campaign against the Ghoul Supreme.”

“So we heard!” the strange elf says, clapping her hands together and beaming. “But the aesthetic sense… Yes, I knew it must not be Yvonlace, but you! The Royal House of Tlintear understands the importance of such things. It’s not enough to gather wealth and wear it about with no thought. That is… Simplistic. Basic. Your taste is clearly advanced.”
>>
>>5450088
This flattery all reeks of a diplomatic entreaty. Tlintear… This is the house of one of the Princes-Ascendant, the male Drow nobles who hope to be King soon, when the ‘season’ changes in the alien calendar of gendered leadership which the Drow adhere to and Queen Myrymma of Yvonlace must step down.

“You’re here on behalf of Prince Minothel, then.”

The elven female nods. Your recall the Elf Queen’s assessment of the Prince of House Tlintear: high-born, well-connected, fairly smart. Apparently an aesthete, too. Not the Queen’s favoured Prince, though—that was Lahlabar. However, neither Lahlabar’s prince nor the other preeminent princeling, Corandiirn of House Sambra, deigned to attend your Ghoul Hunt or send a prominent representative, while Minothel of Tlintear…

“You should take the Prince up on the offer,” Azonia chimes in, blatantly and unashamedly eavesdropping while chewing on a tough -looking piece of dried meat. “He has the best parties, when he really wants to impress someone.”

You glance at her, and ask her: “So he is your patron, then?”

“He sent me to tag along on the hunt, yeah,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to try at a hunt for a while… But I have to admit, I didn’t really think the ‘Ghoul Supreme’ was real, or that a ghoul would ever put up such a decent fight!”

Well, her individualistic streak seems to fit an artistic house… And Azonia’s unusually bright eyes and streak of dyed hair certainly fits in with the colourful palette they favour. On the other hand, proudly-martial Azonia seems an odd fit in other ways for a prince considered less militarily-powerful than his rivals.

Do you take up House Tlintear on their offer?
>Yes—you might as well get to know them better, and hear them out
>No, this could hurt relations with the Queen’s house or draw the umbrage of the other Princes-Ascending… Better to visit Yvonlace, the House which invited you hear
>You actually have plans to visit House Lahlabar—it’s time to get to know the Queen’s favoured candidate for Kingship
>The first Prince to offer you an invitation (and allegedly the more capable) is Corandiirn—you will visit him first
>Maybe you should ask an impartial native… You know Sengar and Jhamrius are loyal to Yvonlace, but what does Hamaraska think?
>Write-in

[Specify also if there is anyone in particular you want to bring or not bring with you; if you don't have any strong preferences, I'll substitute what I think makes sense for the choice you make, and for the way the Dragonborn has behaved.]
>>
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>>5449662
Will these gathered in one place, like the altar of a Church of Chronology or something, give us enough Blutz Waves to transform into giant dragon mode?
>>
>>5450097
[The Dragonborn's desire to retain a size suitable for interacting normallyand carnally with fellow medium-sized creatures led him to mix the Potion of Dimunition into the Amulet of the Dragon. This limits his growth rate and maximum size.]
>>
>>5450089
>No, this could hurt relations with the Queen’s house or draw the umbrage of the other Princes-Ascending… Better to visit Yvonlace, the House which invited you hear
>Maybe you should ask an impartial native… You know Sengar and Jhamrius are loyal to Yvonlace, but what does Hamaraska think?

Convert her first!!! That's what we came here for..
>>
>>5450089
>Maybe you should ask an impartial native… You know Sengar and Jhamrius are loyal to Yvonlace, but what does Hamaraska think?
>>
>>5450089
>No, this could hurt relations with the Queen’s house or draw the umbrage of the other Princes-Ascending… Better to visit Yvonlace, the House which invited you here
Id rather we go turn in our quest and get some key figures worshipping the dark gods, we can go visit the other houses once business has been taken care of
>>
>>5450089
>Tell them you'll consider
He did send someone one the hunt and now wants to get in contact. No harm to hear him out once other things have been taken care of. Also aesthetics.
Unrelated, but kinda sad to see Azonia brushed aside.
>>
>>5450089
>Maybe you should ask an impartial native… You know Sengar and Jhamrius are loyal to Yvonlace, but what does Hamaraska think?
>Yes—you might as well get to know them better, and hear them out
I just want Hamaraska’s unbiased opinion on them before we visit. They did decide to help us out and flatter us after all.

>>5450180
>spoiler
We didn’t get a mini-sidequest with her. I’m sure she’ll receive some attention during our training montage together. Remember, we still need to learn how to duel wield both of our legendary swords.
>>
>>5450089
>Yes—you might as well get to know them better, and hear them out
Bring Hamaraska and Azonia with.
>>
>>5450089
>Yes—you might as well get to know them better, and hear them out

not sure why we have this phobia of ever talking to other drow
>>
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>>5450248
>>spoiler
Ik what I said came out weird, but the fact that she was a custom character made for the purpose of not being important and that votes avoid interacting with her while I don't wanna vote for her since that pathetic troglodyte called her a personal cumdump and shittalked her background just feels fucking bad. Custom character creation yet again a net negative. Ignore me RQM, just kill her off or something and let those low iq coomers fuck Hamarasaka's bug or get lanced or whatever the fuck.
>>
>>5450384
>calls others low iq coomers
>malding that we're not interacting with "big tiddy sword drow"
>>
>>5450089
>>Yes—you might as well get to know them better, and hear them out
>>
>>5450089
>No, this could hurt relations with the Queen’s house or draw the umbrage of the other Princes-Ascending… Better to visit Yvonlace, the House which invited you hear
>Maybe you should ask an impartial native… You know Sengar and Jhamrius are loyal to Yvonlace, but what does Hamaraska think?

Switching don’t like fashion guy
>>
>>5450384
So what I’m getting is that you’re mad that the character you created isn’t getting all the attention. Fag.
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Just kill her, I don't want to listen to those fucking niggers forever.
>>
Alright people, lessons from Reptilian Infiltrator Quest are simple. Ignore foxAnoning.
So, I want to train dual wielding with dual-wielding elf I picked. But I like the flow and feel MC is closest to the bug-drow. So let's not feed the troll, without killing our asset. Deal?
>>
>>5450384
>>5450548
>>5450554
>>5450575
[Vote to kill her yourself, cowards!]
JK, but no, I'm not going to kill Azonia OR give her inflated importance beyond what I have planned and what people vote for. I honestly feel like I've given her ample 'screentime', and making her the highest-ranked Drow in your hunting party was also a deliberate choice. I'm sorry if she seems undercharacterized so far.
>>
>>5450089
>Tell them you'll consider
>Talk to Azonia about them after

>>5450384
Jesus dude, Bug Lancer got more screentime because he jobbed and he had to bailed out his bug, then we had to focus on the mission. Just chill.
>>
>>5450851
>>5450545
>>5450534
>>5450359
>>5450302
>>5450248
>>5450180
>>5450175
>>5450162
[Locked... Sort of. Writing, anyway! Also doing laundry, may take a bit.]
>>
>>5450908
“I must confer,” you announce.

The ambassador from House Tlintear seems nonplussed, but rallies quickly, saying: “Of course! You must consult with your people.”

That’s not QUITE what you have in mind, though.

“You, Lancer, to me.”

Hamaraska looks up from where they are sharpening the implement by which you have assigned them their title. They gesture to themselves, as if to verify that it is, indeed, Hamaraska the Centipede Lancer you mean.

“I have a name,” the Lancer says, neutrally.

“Of course,” Azonia huffs.

The swordswoman rolls her eyes at your choice to consult with your new confidant, and leans against the wall.

“You, too, Duelist,” you address Azonia.

“…Wait, what?”

You step off to the side, the Tlintear delegate watching you as you go with an ever-more-confounded expression. Hamaraska and Azonia seem confused as well, for that matter. You address the latter first.

“I understand you want me to visit your patron house to win me to their side,” you frankly address the Duelist’s motives. “What I do not understand is why YOU are a part of their house.”

Azonia narrows her eyes, seeming to take umbrage with this.

“What? You don’t think I have the makings of a noble elf?” she growls.

“I have no way of knowing,” you shrug. “Is Tlintear not a weak house, though, in terms of military matters? Meanwhile, you…”

You trail off, an Hamaraska interjects: “You spent half of our victory celebration trying to fight King Theral.”

You glance at Hamaraska, who shrugs.

“You seemed melancholy,” the Lancer explains. “I… Intercepted.”

“The dragon’s a warrior, bug-lover,” Azonia sneers. “A bit of sparring would have done him good!”
>>
>>5450946
Azonia turns to you, placing her hands on her hips—on her blades’ hilts—and puffing out her considerable chest proudly in a display that admittedly draws your eyes downwards for a moment.

“THAT’S why I’m with Tlintear. I’ve done mercenary jobs for Yvonlace and others, and been to all their parties. Tlintear ahs the best balde-dancing.”

You recall the elegant and impressive display of finesse, grace, speed, and practiced precision which the Yvonlace blade-dancers put on before your welcome-feast with Queen Myrymma. When you describe your recollections, though, Azonia just laughs.

“Yeah, that’s how the traditionalist set do it. And Sambra… Sambra is all serious, grim-faced marching and slashing, stabbing and stomping. TLINTEAR knows what makes a GOOD blade-dance.”

“And that is…?” you press

Azonia’s amethyst eyes shine nearly as brightly as her vicious grin when she answers:

“Competition! Two dancers compete in a duel for points—in style AND lethality!”

You narrow your eyes. Azonia has shown admiration for your sword skills, has been standing up to you in increasingly direct and provocative ways… Attempted to challenge you to a sparring match while you two were drinking. Does she… Actually just want you to accept her prince’s offer for an excuse to challenge you to a duel?

“Lancer?” you ask Hamaraska. “What do you think of this house/ You are… Neutral, yes?”

“Without a patron,” Hamaraska agrees curtly. “Yes.”

You recall your longtime ally, The Bastard, casteless mercenary thug and assassin. The Centipede Lancer must play a comparable role, you gather, due to whatever defect caused the elf’s abandonment and ostracization. Despite the Lancer being miffed at this status, it is precisely why you value their input in this matter.

“Tlintear is… A good enough house to work for. I suspect that Prince Minothel would rule well enough, as king. Things would be stable.”

You sense a distinct lack of enthusiasm, however, and prod the Lancer for more.

“Those most comfortable with the current status quo are those with the most wealth and connections,” Hamaraska notes, non-judgemental in tone but clearly uncomfortable in body language. “They do not often seek to make dramatic movements. They sometimes stifle those that others make.”

Azonia laughs, and chimes in: “I should have known the fun-snuffer was a supporter of the Sambrans.”

Hamaraska shrugs non-committaly, and says: “They pay well enough. They do not meddle in how I do a job, or assign handlers. They choose allies wisely, enemies likewise… And move deliberately.”

You can see why this would appeal to the quiet, mostly mission-focused Lancer.
>>
>>5450949

“I don’t really have any interest in who wins the throne, though,” Hamaraska admits. “It’s far above our world…”

“Maybe yours,” Azonia laughs again, and nods to you. “You’re talking to a lizard king!”

“Dragon King,” you correct.

“If you mean to ask if I think Prince Minothel will be a good host, or how his party will be…” Hamaraska trails off, then shrugs. “Probably a good host to someone like you, and probably loud and… Overly social… As parties go.”

You nod slowly, and ask both elves about the possibility of a diplomatic incident if you agree.

“Unlikely, though I would bet the Queen and other Princes will have questions for you… More questions, if you don’t make plans to meet each of them.”

This is Hamaraska’s response. Azonia’s is bolder.

“Who cares? The Queen’s on her way out, an Minothel’s the next king for sure. And even if he isn’t… You’re not a Drow. You get to make your own rules! I mean, what, you don’t think all this god-crap is already getting the elves in power antsy?”

Ah, yes, ‘god-crap’. The main objective behind your plumbing of the funerary caves and conquering of the ghouls was to create an opportunity for Queen Myrymma and her household to convert, formally and publicly, to the True Faith. You probably SHOULD see about getting her to make good on that… Though maybe this Minothel, or another princeling, might be more willing to accept the Dark Gods in exchange for your official backing, as the liberator of elven souls and sanctuary and a powerful ally offering surface-born abundance?

“Look, enough of this back and forth!” Azonia protests, drawing her blades. “Theral! You, me, right here and now. If I win, you come to a fun party. IF I lose, you… Do whatever.”

Hamaraska sighs quietly.

What do you do?
>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
>Agree, but modify the terms of the challenge or bet (how?)
>Dismiss Azonia’s absurd challenge—you’re going to see the Queen
>Decline the duel—you’ve already decided to visit Prince Minothel of Tlintear, anyway

[If we get another tie, I'm rolling for it.]
>>
>>5450952
>Dismiss Azonia’s absurd challenge—you’re going to see the Queen

Fuck that stupid bitch
>>
>>5450952
>>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
>>
>>5450952
>Dismiss Azonia’s absurd challenge—you’re going to see the Queen

Why duel a worthless coomsock?
>>
>>5450952
>Dismiss Azonia’s absurd challenge—you’re going to see the Queen
We just wanted her opinion on houses, this fucking sperg isnt selling me on Tlintear, "They dance good" okay that didnt answer shit and now she wants to fight so we go to a party? Just go turn in our quest and get the current queen to convert so we get some passive follower gain through Yvonlace while shes still in power, we can worry about allying other houses and drow diplomacy after we have an established foothold outside of being a band of strange travellers brought back by a scrupulous drow princess worshipping "evil" gods
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>>5450952
>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
I don’t mind settling this by a duel, and maybe she has pointers about duel wielding.
>>
>>5450949
>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
>>
>>5448278
Are dragons good or evil ?
https://strawpoll.com/polls/NoZrLKDQGn3
>>
>>5450952
>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
damn she's based
cutting through the indecision and choice paralysis of anons
too bad we're gonna win and go right back to waffling
>>
>>5451235
[If this option wins, it assumes a victory means you'll go see the Queen instead.]
>>
>>5451435
even more based than I thought
azonia might just graduate from personal cumdump at this rate
>>
>>5450952
>Agree—go if you lose, don’t go if you win; it could be fun, and a good way to make up your mind
>>
>5450952
>Decline the duel—you’ve already decided to visit Prince Minothel of Tlintear, anyway
>>
>>5451552
>>5451513
>>5451235
>>5451183
>>5451121
>>5451104
>>5451068
>>5451067
>>5451013
[Locked and writing!]
>>
Rolled 14, 6, 4, 5, 15 = 44 (5d20)

>>5451776
You meet Azonia’s fierce gaze, neither fearful nor angry—just excited. It reminds you of a year ago, when you first set forth on this quest for glory. It reminds you of how you felt brawling with the Pit Guard, of your first true battle against the Devourer…

Before the struggles, the injuries, the lost friends and lovers.

“Alright,” you acquiesce. “You may be right, Duelist. It COULD be fun.”

Azonia’s grin returns, and she winks cheekily at Hamaraska, who shakes their head slightly but said nothing else.

“At least one of us knows how to have a good time,” Azonia cracks.

“Wait! Stop!” cries the other present representative of House Tlintear, seeing you and Azonia plot your paces between two impoverished elven shack-houses.

“It is okay,” you assure the panicked diplomat. “It is a friendly bout.”

“Don’t think that means I’ll go easy on you,” Azonia jeers, twirling her blades once and assuming a battle-stance.

You have seen Azonia fight. At a glance it is frantic, flailing. Fast, but imprecise. But that is at a GLANCE. You observed her more carefully than most, being a disciple of the sword yourself. She exerts no wasted energy, presents no openings, when she is wielding her dual swords like a shield—she deflects blows, rebounds projectiles, holds advancing enemies at bay. She only lunges or extends when she senses a weakness, an opening… Then, she punishes it brutally, with strength which her frame belies.

“You are good,” you admit, drawing your first blade—the elvencraft sword you requisitioned back at the northern forward base, well-made but otherwise unremarkable.

The choice draws many awed and irate expressions from the gather crowd, though; it is leaf-embossed, dark green and gold… A surface-elf weapon, made by the hated foes of the Drow.

“Spoils of war?” Azonia asks.

“Something like that,” you say.

She nods approvingly, and lightly taps her blades together.

“Mine too,” she admits. “Human. Every Drow knows our steel is shit.”

“You make up for it in skill,” you note.

“Flatterer.”

The two of you begin your slow circle, she with two blades and you—as you generally opt to face your foes—with one, gripped in two hands.

“I’m twice, maybe three times, your size.” You tilt your head. “You have seen what I can do. You are going to lose.”

“We’ll see,” your foe snaps.

“Why do you want this fight so badly?”

“Why did you face the Devourer and Shoggoth? Or the Ghoul Supreme?”

You say nothing. Is it glory, then? The conquest of a great and terrible monster? Racial pride, personal pride? Well, pride goes before a fall, they say…

[5d20. Normal DC = 13/15/17. +2 for Azonia's skill. -1 for Sword Mastery. +1 for injury. Exhaustion penalties negated because you got healed by Novice. Final DC: 15 to stalemate/17 to gain advantage/19 to crush]
>>
>>5451783
You step forward; Azonia steps forward. You step back, then again; she steps forward, lunges towards you. You rattle with laughter—she is so easily baited! You have the reach and strength advantage. You are a Dark Prophet, a Hexblade, a Dragonborn Antipaladin and ‘Lizard King’! This elf is just a little pest, albeit a spirited once whom you could come to appreciate. The Dueslist is done for…

>15

You miss. She dodges at the last minute, ducking the swing and hopping sideways. She doesn’t overcommit—she taps your arm-guard, tagging you gently. You bring your sword up in a slashing arc; she hops back.

“Come on, come on!” she says, waving you closer. “Maintaining distance is a strangely weak choice for such a champion! You are going to disappoint our audience!”

The Duelist is right. Unavoidably, there are dark, sharp-eared faces peering over one another to catch a glimpse of this spectacle. You have created quite the reputation—following even—and now they have turned out to see their Antipaladin at—

“Grah!”

Stinging pain across your cheek breaks your reverie. Having distracted you, Aoznia the Duelist scores a hit. You reach up to wipe you face, and look down at a hand covered in blood.

“Shallow, easily healed,” the Duelist condescendingly reassures you. “I haven’t spoiled your good looks. Or bad looks? I’m not a lizard, so I can’t—WOAH!”

The Duelist got cocky, and distracted HERSELF. You charge her shoulder first, hurling her to the ground with a sudden charge. With a roar, you lift your sword high and bring it down—not to slay her, obviously, but to make it obvious that you could have…

If only she didn’t with a single flick of the wrist at the LAST second, smack your blade aside. The Duelist swing her legs to trip you—failed, but you stumble a little—and when you look back at her she has rolled out of harm’s wat and back to her feet.

“If this was a real fight,” you note, “you would be dead. I would have responded with fire, or earth-magic.”

“If this was a real fight,” the Duelist grunts, breathing heavily and sweating a little despite her calm demeanour, “that slash on your cheek would have been across your throat, dragon.”

It’s a stalemate. What do you do to increase your odds?
>Draw your dagger—dual-wield to beat a dual-wielder, and maybe learn a little something by testing her techniques
>Cheat a little—well, in spirit, for you never actually AGREED on ground rule—and use a spell [which one? Specify]
>Switch swords to the shoggoth-sword, and by magic word make it a greatsword for maximum power
>Draw the Sword of Endymion, for proper shock, awe, and confusion—for Azonia, for your audience, for the Princes-Ascending
>Banter a little, ask Azonia more about her motives—for being part of House Tlintear, for challenging you, for joining your hunt and following you…
>Distract her with some flattery and flirtation [seduction check]
>Write-in
>>
>>5451799
>Switch swords to the shoggoth-sword, and by magic word make it a greatsword for maximum power
if she has 2 swords we need enough sword to outweigh both of them
>>
>>5451799
>Switch swords to the shoggoth-sword, and by magic word make it a greatsword for maximum power
>>
>>5451799
>Draw the Sword of Endymion, for proper shock, awe, and confusion—for Azonia, for your audience, for the Princes-Ascending
>>
>>5451799
>Draw your dagger—dual-wield to beat a dual-wielder, and maybe learn a little something by testing her techniques
Need to LEARN!
>Distract her with some flattery and flirtation [seduction check]
See if we can actually make her job for a laugh.
>>
>>5451799
>>Switch swords to the shoggoth-sword, and by magic word make it a greatsword for maximum power
>>
>>5451799
>Draw your dagger—dual-wield to beat a dual-wielder, and maybe learn a little something by testing her techniques

>Cheat a little—well, in spirit, for you never actually AGREED on ground rule—and use a spell [which one? Specify]
>-Guidance

Uses guidance to aim our blows should be the most subtle means we have to break this deadlock.
>>
>>5451799
>Switch swords to the shoggoth-sword, and by magic word make it a greatsword for maximum power

Stupid coom bait whore
>>
>>5451799
>Draw your dagger—dual-wield to beat a dual-wielder, and maybe learn a little something by testing her techniques
>Banter a little, ask Azonia more about her motives—for being part of House Tlintear, for challenging you, for joining your hunt and following you…
>>
>>5452362
>>5452185
>>5452156
>>5451971
>>5451940
>>5451849
>>5451840
>>5451804
[Vote locked!]
>>
Rolled 20, 3, 5, 10, 1 = 39 (5d20)

>>5452529
You sheathe your mundane sword, and decide to up the ante a little. If you can’t match the nimble Drow Duelist for speed, then you will best her with strength—and the shoggoth-sword will help you do it.

“Funny you should mention the Shoggoth…” you begin.

“Oh come on!” Azonia the Duelist protests. “That’s not fair!”

“Selecting the most suitable weapon for the job at hand isn’t fair in your culture?” you ask, feigning innocence.

You hum the tune taught to you by the Throat-Singer and, focusing you mana, will the horrific half-living implement to expend, expand, warp and grow, into a jagged and wicked weapon to dwarf your other blades; it is so large that you MUST wield it with two ahnds, even at your size.

“THAT’S what isn’t fair,” Azonia whines.

“It is just a very large sword, now. Can you not match an opponent like the Lancer, either, astride a great insect and wielding a polearm?”

Azonia grits her teeth in annoyance.

“Fine,” she says. “But I’m through going easy on you.”

“I thought yous aid you weren’t, anyway?” you ask.

She’s panting, sweating… It has taken everything the little Duelist has to match your own athleticism. She’s bluffing. This is where it ends. You begin to circle again, unwilling to advance and squander your reach advantage. Azonia does the same, knowing that to charge in is folly…

But eventually, a move must be made, and it is the Duelist who makes it.

DCs +1 for the extended fight due to stalemate; you're in worse condition than Azonia is, between your hangover and your remaining injuries.
>>
>>5452553
>1

What you DIDN’T expect was the Duelist to throw one of her blades. You raise your sword to deflect it, and succeed… But this puts you in a bad position to protect against her follow-up gambit. As you bat the hurled shortsword aside, Azonia charges forwards with a shriek of a war-cry, leaning forward to keep her profile low. She’s going to gut you!... or, well, at least land a blow that WOULD, if you were truly fighting to kill.

It would be enough to win the duel, anyway.

You can’t bring your blade into position fast enough to dodge. To kick forward would be folly—you’d be off-balance. She’d topple you and strike a different killing blow. If this is a game, then you are strategically boxed-in, without any counter-play which is both feasible and which will not set you up for another sort of defeat.

Well, that’s what you WOULD say, if you were an elf, a human, or a dwarf, or even a ghoul. Lucky for you, you’re not.

As such, you simply swing your spade-tipped tail around, to smack the Drow squarely in her surprised face.
>>
>>5452565
>20

Azonia is skilled, and strong, and ALTOGETEHR too fast for your liking as her opponent. You have to admit it: she may be the better combatant in terms of raw melee ability, between the two of you. You remind yourself, facing this tiny-but-deadly opponent, that size and strength to not mean everything. After all, did YOU not defeat the Devourer and Shoggoth, as the Duelist pointed out? Were THEY not larger than you? What Azonia lacks, though, is the experience of battling a wide variety of anatomies. The tail catches her completely off-guard, in a way that none of your own race would ever be so easily surprised. Unable to slow herself, her own force is added to the impact of your casual twisting motion, knocking her flat onto her back and bloodying her nose.

“You slimy son of a—EEP!”

You cut the Drow’s slanderous cursing short by slamming your shoggoth-sword down into the stone beside her head with enough force to crack the surface, sending a spray of dust and gravel into her face. She coughs, and squints her eyes against it. She is unable to hide the frightened flinch which accompanies this near-death experience.

“…I yield.”

A mix of cheers and groans—but mostly cheers—goes up. It seems the poor elves of Wevenore are, by and large, happy enough to see someone so flummox a prince’s pet soldier, even a strange foreign champion such as you. Your reputation among them grows.

It looks as if you’ll be visiting the Queen first.

Azonia avoids your eyes, and everyone else’s. She starts to help herself up, and to wipe the blood from her face… But she is clearly still disoriented, maybe even concussed.

What do you do?
>Help her up, and then depart—your business here is concluded
>Compliment Azonia’s efforts, and her skill with the blade—maybe she could give you lessons sometime?
>Mock Azonia, and leave her where she lies—let this be a lesson in humility
>Pressure Azonia to convert—publicly, vocally, before a crowd and a representative of her own house—to the True Faith
>Slay Azonia—she’s too cheeky by half, and she annoys you
>Write-in

Who will you bring to the meeting with Myrymma of Yvonlace?
>The Throat-singer
>Ivno the Kobold
>Olu the Archer
>Hamaraska the Lancer
>Someone else?
>Nobody—this will be a private meeting of leaders
>>
>>5452566
>Help her up, and then depart—your business here is concluded

>Olu the Archer
>The Throat-singer

I want to get throat singer a teacher here
>>
>>5452566
>Compliment Azonia’s efforts, and her skill with the blade—maybe she could give you lessons sometime?

>Olu
>>
>>5452566
>Help her up, and then depart—your business here is concluded

>Olu the Archer
>The Throat-singer

Don’t get lessons from the whore I would kill her if it got support
>>
>>5452566
>Help her up, and compliment her skill with the blade—maybe she could give you lessons sometime?
Someone wanted dual wielding, but I'm open to killing her.
>Olu the Archer
Tell him to stay behind the door so nobody will eavesdrop on us.
>>
>>5452566
>Compliment Azonia’s efforts, and her skill with the blade—maybe she could give you lessons sometime?
>Pressure Azonia to convert—publicly, vocally, before a crowd and a representative of her own house—to the True Faith

>The Throat-singer
>Hamaraska the Lancer
I didn’t know anons here had a snuff fetish.
>>
>>5452566
>Compliment Azonia’s efforts, and her skill with the blade—maybe she could give you lessons sometime?
>Convert her

>Olu and Lancer
>>
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>>5452777
>I didn’t know anons here had a snuff fetish.
[Clearly not MUCH of one. 0 votes to off her, only two half-hearted non-votes!]
Frankly, I'm shocked at this level of animosity for a big-titty elf tomboy, but who can ever truly know the heart of Anonymous?

>>5453100
>>5452777
>>5452739
>>5452588
>>5452581
>>5452576
[Locked and writing!]
>>
>>5453435
You offer your hand to the defeated Duelist. She sighs, saddened by the need of such assistance, but accepts.

“Thank you,” she grumbles.

It’s more acceptance, less suspicion, and altogether more gratitude than you would have expected from a thusly-beaten rival of your own race, who would surely be plotting venomously-vindictive vengeance against a foreign interloper who so showed them up. Mammalian softness, you suppose… Though you can’t say you mind the change. It is nice not to have to convince a conquered foe of your benevolence, for a change.

“Your skill is remarkable,” you generously proffer, buoyed by the Duelist’s own good grace. “If I were closer to your size, you could well have beaten me.

“Flattery again?” the Duelist chuckles, a bit bitterly. “I don’t need pity, dragon.”

“It’s true,” you assert. “I might even appreciate lessons. I’ve toyed with the idea of dual-wielding blades.”

It is, too—you aren’t widened, having taken a more defensive posture, but Azonia had no need to wear you down—any blow she landed might well have ended the fight.

“You form IS a little sloppy,” she teases.

You glower. It was enough to beat HER, after all. She just grins cheekily and shrugs. You let the jab pass—wounded pride, lashing out.

“Come and find me at Prince Minothel’s party?” the Duelist suggests.

You shake your head. A dela is a deal, and your decision is made: you set out for the Queen of Elves, at her stony citadel-complex near to the shores of the ink-black oasis in the centre of Wevenore. There, beneath the glow of the enchanted crystals atop their fungal lampposts strung with messenger-spiders’ threads, striding along the bleak banks of the subterranean lake, you truly feel as if you are in ‘The Oasis of Crystal and Silk’.

You bring Oluwadamilare, faithful archer, and Karz Throat-singer. The former could hardly be dissuaded, in all honesty—having made a lover of Princess Jazkarmel, one of the nieces (you think?) of the sitting queen, he is ever eager to see her. Karz Throat-singer, your dwarven bard-slave, is quiet… But not without visible interest. He tuts quietly at the primitive stonework, but marvels at the elven magic—magic that, after all, has more in common with his bardcraft than traditional dwarven forms of spellworking.
>>
>>5453474
“You not need me?” Ivno asked when you informed him he would not be joining you this time, looking both relieved and crestfallen at once, somehow; a talent of kobolds.

“I don’t suspect House Yvonlace would dare beatray me now,” you said brusquely. “However, I need a loyal warrior with a cautious inclination here… To supervise and protect the Novice and our assets.”

“Y-yes, King Theral!” he says, bowing his head low.

You hesitated, then. You have let the elves call you this… But are you really ready to accept this even among your own servants? Names aren’t traditional among the Master Race, who prefer titles. Then again, it means ‘Copper’ in dark elventongue… Maybe it’s appropriate. But then… Is the title o ‘king’ truly yours? Or is the title, and the name, just a diplomatic posture to wield against mammals—a tool?

In the end, you…
>Accepted this name and title as yours in truth
>Told the kobold that just ‘Theral’ will do
>Asserted that you are the Dragonborn Antipaladin; the rest is stagecraft
>Write-in
>>
>>5453477
“King Theral arrives!”

You are thus announced among elves, whatever your true feelings about the matter. You turn your mind from nomenclature to matters of state and spirit—the conversion of the Queen of Elves. Your second visit ahs less fanfare than your initial one, though you are still offered food and drink; you accept the former, and politely decline the latter in favour of water, still nursing a lingering regret in your skull and stomach from the night prior. After the dinner, Olu and Jazkarmel join you—and Karz, also, though he speaks no elven. The Queen awaits you in the same fountain-garden courtyard where you met her previous; the same butterfly or moth creatures flits about as before, and you wave them away.

“I have slain your ‘Ghoul Supreme’,” you note.

“Yes,” acknowledges Queen Myrymma, “And we thank you…”

You tilt your head at her ambivalent tone.

“Is something wrong?” you ask.

“You made quite the show of your… Piety, Theral.”

“The Dark Gods guided me, strengthened me, and made my victory possible,” you state plainly. “One does not invoke their wrath by denying them their due.”

“Ah, the capriciousness of gods… Who you now wish me to pledge allegiance to?”

You nods. Olu nudges Jazkarmel with his elbow, a wide smile upon his lips. The Princess… Seems less enthused, looking worriedly to her monarch.

“The implications for my house’s political futures are not ideal,” she admits.

Your muscles tighten a little.

“I went on this quest to prove the worthiness of myself and my faith,” you say levelly. “There was an UNDERSTANDING that this would prove the merit of the Dark Gods.”

“Yes,” Queen Myrymma admits, “but what do you truly GAIN from such a thing? I will gladly convert…”

She doesn’t SOUND glad of it, you note.

“…But then, when I step down, the King who follows will surely renounce such… Religiosity.”

You snort, and cross your arms… But consider her words.

What do you propose?
>Bid Queen Myrymma to convert quietly, and slowly spread the faith to her house and her allies—a classic Reptilian subversion campaign
>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
>Frankly, the whole damned elven system of ‘seasonal’ rule befuddles you with its backwardness and periodic instability—Myrymma will convert, and then you will arrange for a civil war and coup to keep her in power
>You’ve had enough of elven politicking, and have been away from Bloodrise too long; announce that you will be offering sanctuary to any who announce their conversion to the Dark Gods, and offer all these converts a place in the Bloodrise
>Write-in
>>
>>5453480
>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
>>
>>5453480
>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
Im interested if maybe him and Hamaraska might get along, idk though drow culture might have bug breeder racism
>>
>>5453480
>Told the kobold that just ‘Theral’ will do- he is one of your inner circle, an advisor and a loyal, hard-won friend, of sorts; but your Kingship is real

>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
>>
>>5453501
>>5453548
Forgot a vote, friends:
>>5453477
>>
>>5453560
Ah my b
>>5453477
>Told the kobold that just ‘Theral’ will do- he is one of your inner circle, an advisor and a loyal, hard-won friend, of sorts; but your Kingship is real
Anon above worded it good, I was gonna make a comment about Ivno being a lesser race so he should address us as such but itd be out of character to act like this when weve been showing the "Bloodrise Kingdom" is far more inclusive than the reptilian supremacy
>>
>Accepted this name and title as yours in truth
That will please serpent god

>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
>>
>>5453477
>Asserted that you are the Dragonborn Antipaladin; the rest is stagecraft
>>5453480
>Bid Queen Myrymma to convert quietly, and slowly spread the faith to her house and her allies—a classic Reptilian subversion campaign
>Visit House Tlintear and Sombra, they seemed more supportive of your campaign in the name of Dark Gods
Why do we even insist on trying to keep this heretic in the loop, again? We shouldn't care about their politics and pick the most favorable outcome to our religious campaign.
>>
>>5453841
Because heretic is current Queen, aunt of the drow with the strongest bond with us.
She is at the head of one of the biggest family, so subversion need is ingrained in our culture.
However, there might be a need to create an embassady and send other castes to do the work.
>>
>>5453477
I’m fine with all three desu, though referring to ourselves by our original title most of the time would be alright.

>>5453480
>Bid Queen Myrymma to convert quietly, and slowly spread the faith to her house and her allies—a classic Reptilian subversion campaign
>Call upon Myrymma to arrange a meeting with that prince whom she preferred—the dragonfly-breeder, of House Lahlabar, that you might impress upon HIM to convert as well, and discuss how best to win him the crown
>Later visit House Tlintear and Sombra, they seemed more supportive of your campaign in the name of Dark Gods
Ideally we should be spreading the Pantheon as far as we can in this society.
>>
>>5454027
>>5453841
>>5453825
>>5453771
>>5453556
>>5453548
>>5453501
[Locked, writing!]
>>
>>5454076

“Then we will have to ensure that the king who follows is himself a convert,” you decide. “I think it is time that you introduced me to the Prince of House Lahlabar.”

The Queen of Elves and Princess Jazkarmel exchange a glance. It lasts only a moment, and then the Queen nods, and bows her head – the first time this dignified elder stateswoman has shown you such deference. You feel a thrill of victory, of dominion.

“I will follow your faith,” she submits. “I will pay tribute to your… Dark Gods… And even proclaim so publicly, if indeed you can convert Prince Solinsyr, and secure his rise.”

You sense it is more of a political calculation than a conversion born of spiritual reawakening, but so be it—the Dark Gods do not offer favours freely, nor to they demand devotion without ulterior motive. Altruism, generosity, loyalty for its own sake? This is the ethos of Gods of Light, a false kindness born of weakness, to be held in contempt… Traditionally-speaking, at least. You have your own, more complicated, thoughts on that to sift through later.

Right now, you occupy yourself gathering what intel you can on House Lahlabar. Jazkarmel proves most useful for this.

“It is traditional for a house which produces queens to ally closely with a house that produces kings,” Jazkarmel explains. “Yvonlace was tied like this to Tlintear, once, but the two… Parted company. Since then, Queen Myrymma has moved us closer to Lhalabar, as the season for a king approached.”

“Why did your house break ties with Tlintear?” you ask.

Jazkarmel shrugs expansively, as if she does not know… But after a moment, she sighs.

“The new Prince, Minothel, found a better partner for his house. A more prominent house. A more… Agreeable elfmaid to be his Queen-Consort.”

“More prominent than that of the Queen of Elves?” you ask.

Jazkarmel goes on to explain that her house, Yvonlace, has produced relatively few queens in the history of the Drow. Queen-Consorts, yes, married to ruling kings… But not queens in their own right. The first instance was considered a short and disappointing reign, with many struggles. The present instance…

“Many of the other houses believe Queen Myrymma is too cautious, too traditional, and too isolationist. We who protect the outskirts and borders of our territory have seen the fat, rich dwarves, and traitors, and even your kind now… We sometimes bring back spoils. Even simple steel tools are like treasures in Wevenore, but our numbers are few. The Queen fears reprisals if we grow too bold. Other houses resent how poor we are, and would raid or expand.”

You tilt your head.

“Given the alliance you and I struck… I gather you feel similarly?”
>>
>>5454135
Jazkarmel smirks, eyes twinkling, and she gently raps at your chest with the back of her knuckles in a playful blow.

“I KNOW you are not trying o get me to commit treason against my own house matron, Theral.”

You shrug off the question casually. Theral… King Theral, to those who owe you such respect… The name is sitting more naturally with you, even the title. You could get used to this pseudonym.

Jazkarmel’s followers, Sengar and Jhamrius, also offer their own insights into the philosphies and capabilities of Lahlabar.

“Lahlabar’s never produced a king,” Sengar notes. “They’re eligible, they just… Produce King-Consorts, mostly. They have a reputation for being quiet, polite, agreeable.”

“Wise counsel is the currency of Lahlabar,” Jhamrius tells you. “Their King-Consorts have been major players in… Shake-ups.”

“’Shake-ups’ means… What?” you ask. “Elftongue is not my first language.”

“Coups,” Jhamrius admits. “Changes in leadership. Changes in structure. Lahlabar might not have ever ruled on their own, but they’re an old line—from before we were driven down into the darkness. They have been playing politics since the first kingdom of elves, they say. They are never far from major events. Only in the last few seasons did they go quiet and move away from the centre of things.”

And what of this Prince, Solinsyr?

“He seems… Distant,” Jazkarmel notes. “Kind of boring. Quiet. But he’s always watching, thinking. When he speaks or commits to an action, it’s usually a big move. But he doesn’t move FAST. He was the last Prince-Ascending to jump into the campaign to become king, even with Queen Myrymma egging him on.”

“His dragonflies are beautiful,” Sengar gushes. “I’m not a bug-breeder or anything… But You have to admire those things. They way they flit and fly… And they can tackle a drake or bat like a mage’s mana-bolt, and leave just as little trace! Even snatch fish from the oasis mid-leap, without even leaving a ripple or making a sound!”

“He trades the eggs of the best dragonflies to other houses to buy favours, and maintain relationships,” Jhamrius elaborates. “Apart from that, his house has a reputation these days for being… Removed. High-minded, above squabbles. They lend material aid, but rarely elves. They’re seen as aloof.”
>>
>>5454136
“What does their Prince value?” you try to ascertain.

“He never makes a move without a proper plan,” Jazkarmel suggests. “Bring him a well thought-out proposal, and make sure there are no flaws that he can pick at, or he won’t go for it.”

“Who knows?” Sengar says. “Royal elves are in their own world… Apart from Jazkarmel, I don’t know any that are approachable. I don’t understand any of them. Maybe some rare pet or magic item? Something pretty, or artsy?”

Jhamrius considers carefully, eventually suggesting: “They play a long game, I think. They don’t care about day-to-day politics. Maybe something big-picture?”

You consider all this as you, your Throat-singer, and your Archer follow Jazkarmel, Jhamrius, Sengar, and a small collection of Yvonlace-allied diplomats and scouts through the ‘streets’ of Wevenore—wide boulevards between clusters of walled-off houses. Here, away from the more disorganized-and-open city planning of the poorer places, it seems each noble-house and its servants almost forms its own little villa or village—a complex of semi-independent households, communicating with others but only directly interacting when trade or defences require it. The exception seems to be rapport-building delegations like the one you have been inserted into—groups of elves, bearing gifts and led by professional, noble-born diplomats, arriving at an arranged time to attend feasts and present proposals.

House Lahlabar is one such cluster, smaller than most but better defended and defensively situated. The complex is seated upon a rocky outcropping above a trailing tributary-lake branching off from Wevenore’s main oasis. Here, the mysterious tides of the underground lake move more slowly, protected from the more dramatic waves of the lake proper; so, too, is the high bluff where the main domicile of Prince Solinsyr defensively situated, with one way in and out by land, but a small flotilla of rowboats moored in the little bay.

You are expected, of course. It took several days for the Queen to arrange this meeting, while you were making your own preparations. They grayish Lahlabar Drow—chalky and light of skin, at least for their subrace, and with pale and palcid eyes—welcome you respectfully, with few words.

“Princess Jazkarmel.”

“King Theral of Bloodrise.”

“Welcome.”

“Come in.”

“Your gifts are most generous.”
>>
>>5454137
Your elves companions brought food, drink, small tokens of gold and jewels, steel pots and pans—some from the very dwarves they helped you usurp in Bloodrise, by the look of it. For your part, you brought another offering…

>The captured shoggoth-fragment, frozen with your ring, which the Novice and Throat-singer have carefully kept dormant
>The Sword of Endymion—to be presented in private, as a ‘signing bonus’ for conversion and a means to legitimize the Prince’s ascent beyond his rivals’ reproach
>The Junior Novice—a rare breed of creature indeed, now further augmented by the Novice Fleshweaver’s researches into the Ghoul Supreme
>The demon of envy which you stole from the false Dragonwrought who once ruled bloodrise—a powerful and useful creature, albeit dangerous
>A pledge of your own allegiance, and an offer to serve as champion to him in the leadership trials ahead
>Something else?
>>
>>5454139
>>The captured shoggoth-fragment, frozen with your ring, which the Novice and Throat-singer have carefully kept dormant.

The Sword Endymion is too much, it a priceless artifact. This prince hasn't even given any commitment and refused to send any soldiers to our Dogbold psychic hunt.

The junior novice is needed for Novice long term dragon studies. And the demon of envy is a hostile to us and is presumably what taught Hapo's his necromancy.

Thus a shoggoth fragment is the safest option to give away. espically we told the novice to mothball that line of research and focus on studding the dogbold psychic head.
>>
>>5454139
>Some of the considerable riches of the Ghoul Supreme
Not in favor of giving him the shoggoth-fragment, especially since we can still research it to get a relationship bonus with the Shog-sword. Plus, didn’t the Ghoul Supreme sit on a treasure hoard? Why wouldn’t we take the lot of it?
>>
>>5454139
>The captured shoggoth-fragment, frozen with your ring, which the Novice and Throat-singer have carefully kept dormant
We need to bust that fucking demon also
>>
>>5454139
Actually, fuck it. I'll support
>Some of the considerable riches of the Ghoul Supreme
>>
>>5454139
>The demon of envy which you stole from the false Dragonwrought who once ruled bloodrise—a powerful and useful creature, albeit dangerous

I think the Lahlabar are more suitable for this sort of creature than us. From what they've been described as they are cautious and calculating, the perfect type to make use of something like this. It'd turn what's just a dead, dangerous weight for us right now, into a beneficial gift. Destroying the demon ring would also come with it's own complications so it'd really be easier to give it to someone else.
>>
>>5454139
>The demon of envy which you stole from the false Dragonwrought who once ruled bloodrise—a powerful and useful creature, albeit dangerous

We researching everything else I want more Shoggoth shit. If this not gonna win, then.

>The Lightning Elemental.
>>
>>5454572
>The Lightning Elemental.
>>5454319
>Some of the considerable riches of the Ghoul Supreme
[Both neat ideas I hadn't given much thought, but very viable suggestions in their own way! Leaving this vote open, since we have three tied votes.]
>>
>>5454139
>Some of the considerable riches of the Ghoul Supreme

>>5454572
>Giving away a Lightning Elemental that the Drow can’t control
>>
>>5454139
>Some of the considerable riches of the Ghoul Supreme
>>
>>5454870
>>5454749
>>5454679
>>5454572
>>5454405
>>5454324
>>5454319
>>5454173
[Locked and writing!]
>>
Rolled 7, 9, 13, 2 = 31 (4d20)

>>5454892
You wait until dinner is served to present your gift. The Lahlabar feast is eyeless cave-fish, primarily, fresh-caught and flavourful but subterranean standards. It is a far cry from what you have experienced surface-side, consuming kobold-caught venison and goat, but you reappreciate it after days of preserved rations, insects , half-digestible mushrooms, and ghoul-flesh.

“Your food is well-appreciated,” you compliment. “I bring my own gift I turn.”

Prince Solinsyr watches you impassively from the other side of the table, expression betraying no surprise, delight, or disappointment—nothing. You long for a tail to watch, a neck-frill-SOEMTHING which can betray his emotion! Mammals’ facial expression normally substitute, now that you are more familiar… Btu not this one. His gray, smooth, green-eyed countenance is like stone set with pale jade, unmoving. It has been a struggle to interpret his brief utterances all this time; his quiet, scarcely-more-expressive representatives have spoken for him.

Still, you have made your declaration. Now, you must make your move. You clap your hands. This is your moment of truth—when your Yvonlace hosts send servant after servant into the hall, carrying the reclaimed grave-goods of thousand years’ worth of elven nobles into this hall. One by one, they enter and lay their bounty—YOUR bounty—at the feet of this Prince of Elves.

“The Ghoul Supreme horded all this,” you note. “it is mine by right of conquest.. But to my mind, it is more rightfully yours. I offer it to the King of Wevenore, long may he reign!”
>>
>>5454901
The Drow who have accompanied you—and your Archer and Throat-singer, too—applaud. Prince Solinsyr, however… His face creases, for the first time since you met the quiet elfman.

“All the other houses who donated these grave-goods across the eons… If they see me wear or trade in these necklaces, bracelets, arms and armours… Do you not think they will recognize them?”

“…Pardon?”

“They will want them returned, from whence they came,” Solinsyr sighs. “They will not let me, or you, claim credit for them.”

>13
Would have failed outright, but I lowered the DC for a clever write-in

Your tail lashes the ground involuntarily, before you can stop it. You suppress a snarl and plume of smoke, gulping the acrid expulsion back into your firelung. This is not what you expected.

“I retrieved them. They would have been lost, without my intervention.”

“But the rival houses will not frame it that way. If I keep these things, they will say, ‘look how Solinsyr take ours generous donations for his own!’”

“Then you could generously return them to the funeral-caves?” you suggest.

“Then they will say ‘thank you for placing OUR donations back where WE left them,’” Prince Solinsyr explains calmly. “Next, they will ask ‘what have YOU offered?’”

You aren’t sure how to respond. Solinsyr seems to understand your misgivings, and so continues:

“I am not ungrateful, King Theral. I just do not see how this will win me the kingship. This is what Queen Myrymma said you were here to discuss.”

“The endorsement of one who retrieved these treasures is not enough?” you ask, hopefully.

“No.”

It is a response as it is direct.

“I have made major gains, recuperated my house’s flagging reputation,” Solsinsyr states, “but the race is between Minothel and Corandiirn. I am a spoiler, at best. This offering is… Generous, and appreciated… But it will not make me a king.”

You consider the prince’s words. Was this entire excursion a waste, then? Why does Myrymma even favour this princeling, then?

The rest of the meal takes place in awkward silence.

What will you do?
>Leave, then, to make your offer to a house with a better chance of success [which one?]
>Suggest that Solinsyr leverage his position as spoiler and returner-of-wealth to help prop up and manipulate one of the other princes
>Attend a private meeting with Solinsyr, to learn what the Prince’s reasons are for even striving for leadership, and how his policies differ from the other candidates
>Pitch populism as a solution—a peasant uprising, rallied by yours truly, bolstered by the Dark Gods!
>Offer military aid to a Lahalabar coup, if he will seize power by force
>More clever write-ins
>>
>>5454917
>Suggest that Solinsyr leverage his position as spoiler and returner-of-wealth to help prop up and manipulate one of the other princes

Here's my "clever write in" attempt
>This is a way to legitimate your claim.
>Dark gods granted me the victory. And they pointed me toward you, their favorites among the candidates.
>After all, Your family already have the Rookery's mother embrace as your successful mating of dragonfly proves.
>The Beholder sees you as a key piece of the board
>And the ascending serpent see your potential to raise as a dragon
>Even death approves you, as proves the fact your family lead the restitution rites for your ancesters.
>>
>>5454917
>Is the framing of the rival houses THAT powerful to blatantly ignore the truth behind the Ghoul Supreme's spoils. Is your influence so weak that you cannot make the gain of immense wealth and artifacts a positive? You have received an exceedingly generous gift, do not think of how it may be discounted, but how to best utilize it for your house.
>From what I understand Queen Myrymma's rule will be extended at least for a season thanks to my support. Are you saying there is nothing that could be done that in that time to strengthen your claim to the throne? Your house is an ancient one, there is a prestige in that, one that deserves the seat of king.
>Tell me how I can make you king, not of the barriers to it. I promise you it is within my power. Just tell me how.


I honestly think this guy is being too cautious, he has only told us why he CAN'T be king. He hasn't told us why he CAN. He needs the mentality of the dragon right now to seize the throne, they've done it for other people why is it so far out of the realm of possibility for them to do it themselves? Just tell him to stop being a pussy and tell us what we can do.
>>
>>5454917
>Attend a private meeting with Solinsyr, to learn what the Prince’s reasons are for even striving for leadership, and how his policies differ from the other candidates
>>
>>5454917
>Is the framing of the rival houses THAT powerful to blatantly ignore the truth behind the Ghoul Supreme's spoils. Is your influence so weak that you cannot make the gain of immense wealth and artifacts a positive? You have received an exceedingly generous gift, do not think of how it may be discounted, but how to best utilize it for your house.
>From what I understand Queen Myrymma's rule will be extended at least for a season thanks to my support. Are you saying there is nothing that could be done that in that time to strengthen your claim to the throne? Your house is an ancient one, there is a prestige in that, one that deserves the seat of king.
What a pussy. No wonder this house hasn't been playing the politics with how far up their collective ass their heads are.
On a side note, if he's this cold and calculated, shouldn't we be looking for a different candidate? Like someone more easy to influence?
>>
>>5455326
The simps who are obsessed with house yvolnce, utterly refuse to consider other candidate.

We outright insulted House Sambra(for literally no reason), and declined meeting with House Tlintear.

The Myrymma’ simps, refuse to even entertain or hear out the other house which aren't tied to her cause.
>>
>>5454917
>Is the framing of the rival houses THAT powerful to blatantly ignore the truth behind the Ghoul Supreme's spoils. Is your influence so weak that you cannot make the gain of immense wealth and artifacts a positive? You have received an exceedingly generous gift, do not think of how it may be discounted, but how to best utilize it for your house.
>From what I understand Queen Myrymma's rule will be extended at least for a season thanks to my support. Are you saying there is nothing that could be done that in that time to strengthen your claim to the throne? Your house is an ancient one, there is a prestige in that, one that deserves the seat of king.
>Tell me how I can make you king, not of the barriers to it. I promise you it is within my power. Just tell me how.
>>
>>5455381
Why not go against what the simps say? This is looking more and more like we're going to just get played by Myrymma and her narcissistic friends, especially if we keep boasting about winning them the elections. What kinda approach even is this.
Also don't think we ever said that we'll NEVER see Minothel. Matter of fact, if these elves are on a losing position and so thirsty to get back in power, there's nothing weird about reconsidering and seeing the Prince given their state... and what Myrymma thinks of dark gods, if we need public reasons.
These damn names are confusing as hell.
>>
The way I see it is that houses in advantageous positions would never convert. They have more to lose than to gain from doing it. We need someone desperate to really put them in our pocket.
>>
>>5455509
And you know it without speaking to them once and you're willing to bet everything on our ability to beat those houses who are in advantageous position instead of joining them?
>>
File: Cheat Sheet.pdf (99 KB, PDF)
99 KB
99 KB PDF
>>5455489
I hope this helps a little
>>
>>5455537
Seduction? More like cucking cause it's Olu who got Yvonlace pussy but we're doing all the fucking work.
It does, thx. Is this all the houses? Do you keep tabs like these on all quest info?
>>
>>5455546
>More like cucking
[Theral never made a move, so Jaz assumed you were uninterested. Olu is a pretty cool dude and helped slay a big monster, plus he's a quick language study and has more in common with mammals and can hold his liquor better, so when you sent him there for a month or two, they got on well. You could have made a move to win her back or angled for a threesome, really but never did.]

>Yvonlace pussy
[Jaz DID find you a sexy hairstylist who was willing to bang you, though. You turned her down.]

>Is this all the houses?
[All the ones I bothered to name, because they have princes aiming for kingship (or a sitting queen)]

>Do you keep tabs like these on all quest info?
[Nope, made this one up on the spot.]

>>5454954
>>5454992
>>5455206
>>5455326
>>5455468
[Seems the general thrust is people want to give Solinsyr a tough-love pep-talk and ask him what he brings to the table. I'll start writing!]
>>
>>5455556
>>5454954
>>5454992
>>5455206
>>5455326
>>5455468
You sigh. Caution and prudence are fine traits, but this elf has an overabundance of them. Fortune favours the bold and resourceful—especially those bold enough to seize and take advantage of resources. Here you are, dumping ancestral treasure practically in his lap, and this Solinsyr can only lament the ways it could be used against him? No wonder this house hasn't been keeping up with current politics with such a tendency to defensive overthinking in lieu of action!

Luckily, you are here to fix all that.

“Enough!” you snap, slamming a fist on the table for emphasis.

All eyes are instantly on you, in many cases wider. Jazkarmel practically chokes on her mushroom-wine, though whether it is a gasp or a snort of laughter which she stifles, you cannot be sure. Olu and the Throat-singer watch with interest though (to your knowledge, at least) the latte has only a weak command of the local tongue at best.

The prince tents his fingers and arches an elegant elven eyebrow, waiting for you to continue.

“You need to stop letting your rivals frame the narrative,” you all-but-command. “Is your influence TRULY so weak that you cannot make the gain of immense wealth and artifacts a positive? There is NOTHING that could be done that in that time to strengthen your claim to the throne?”

“I did not say THAT,” Pricne Solinsyr notes.

You wait, but the prince says nothing further. Perhaps he awaits a more robust counter-point to his earlier concerns? Bah, must you do EVERYTHING around here?

“You have received an exceedingly generous gift. Do not think of how it may be discounted, but how to best utilize it to emphasize the strength of your house. For instance, your house is an ancient one, yes? There is a prestige in that, one that deserves the seat of king. One could say that THIS is what the Dark Gods—they who granted me the victory over the Ghoul Supreme—saw in you. They pointed me toward you, their favorites among the candidates.”

“Yes, I had heard you were… Religious.”

You resist the urge to hiss at the way he says the last word. Such condescension from someone so passive, who you generously came here to help!

“Why would the Gods of Evil be a boon to me?” he asks.

“Ask Yvonlace’s Queen and Princess, not me,” you say. “They have seen for themselves the power of the True Faith.”

The prince now looks to Jazkarmel with the same inquisitorial expression. She sets down her wine, and with a small sigh of resignation, nods.

“King Theral is right,” she admits. “I have seen for myself how his gods empower him. My scouts have followed the counsel of this lizardman and his gods, and it has brought us considerable victories—land, wealth, and more.”

She leans forwards, and adds quietly: “Theral even counts Death as an ally. It could mean protection for our souls, against demons and the traitor-gods, no matter where we go!”
>>
>>5455578
“Pretty promises from fickle entities,” Solinsyr blandly replies. “They promise us everything and anything, until we displease them, or they simply lose interest.”

Now, the Prince turns to you.

“Gods are capricious. I don’t trust them… But I trust Queen Myrymma, and she seems to trust you enough to follow these evil gods. What I don’t understand is why they—and you—have so much interest in me and my house… Or even in my race. What is your PURPSOE in all this?”

“The Dark Gods help those who help themselves” you recite, translating the familiar aphorism from your native language. “I seek to forge a new empire… A dark alliance… In the Bloodrise. To do that, we need numbers, resources… Allies.”

“Hence why you need the DROW,” Solinsyr notes. “But then, wouldn’t ANY King do? Why help Myrymma, or me? Do you see us in our current condition and think us handy tools to use for your own ends?”

You hesitate for a moment. He’s… Not THAT far off-the-mark, honestly. There’s more to it, of course: your pre-existing relationship with Yvonlace’s rulers made their favoured candidate an easy ‘in’. But… It’s true that a house in a weaker position has less to lose from conversion, and more to gain from your support. You’re not about to say that aloud, though.

“Well, ARE you?” you say instead. "Myrymma tells me I should want you to be king. With the help of the Dark Gods, it IS within my power, if you only tell me what must be done."

You meet the elf's stony expression with steely focus to match.

"So tell me... As a tool or, better yet, an ALLY... What is it that makes you worthy? And what must be done, to remove the barriers before you?"

Solinsyr sets down his fish and wipes his hands upon a silken napkin provided by a servant. He stands, and beckons to you to follow him. Ambitions and strategies best discussed in private, then?

You glance back to the others—to Olu and Karz, and the elves of Yvonlace. Your Archer looks at you questioningly, wondering if he should accompany you.

Should he?

>No, you do not fear this prince—your companions can continue their meal
>Yes, you do not trust this cagey elf—bring Olu the Archer
>Actually, why not the best of both world? Bring Karz, who can render aid and bear witness, but who does not understand much elven
>This is a matter of elven politics—Jazkarmel of Yvonlace would honestly be more useful, and you trust her well enough at this point
>You keep no secrets from these friends—you would rather speak here, among your allies
>Write-in
>>
>>5455585
>No, you do not fear this prince—your companions can continue their meal
>>
>>5455585
>This is a matter of elven politics—Jazkarmel of Yvonlace would honestly be more useful, and you trust her well enough at this point
We need an insider to make sense of all this elven nonsense. Clearly dysfunctional politics is the reason why the elves keep failing so hard. Maybe they do need a populous revolution.
>>
>>5455556
Theral never had enough time to make a move, and by the time we finished with our mission, Olu already took his shot first.
>spoiler
Tbh, we could probably still arrange it, given Olu’s a total bro.
>>
>>5455585
>This is a matter of elven politics—Jazkarmel of Yvonlace would honestly be more useful, and you trust her well enough at this point
It’s funny how anons keep cucking themselves by choice. The Dragonborn is turning into a Drow simp at this rate.
>>
>>5455585
>This is a matter of elven politics—Jazkarmel of Yvonlace would honestly be more useful, and you trust her well enough at this point
>>
>>5455585
>Actually, why not the best of both world? Bring Karz, who can render aid and bear witness, but who does not understand much elven

>>5455647
we had the time, I remember turning down multiple flirt vote options. we had glowie actively pursuing us back then.
>>
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>>5455836
>glowie
Who still loves and misses her king

>>5455836
>>5455745
>>5455667
>>5455632
>>5455594
[Jazkarmel it is! Posting.]
>>
>>5455866
>>5455866
You shake your head slightly at the Archer’s unspoken inquiry. No, to sort through this elven nonsense, you need a no-nonsense elf.

“Jazkarmel,” you call out to your oldest friend and ally among the Drow. “Would you attend with us?”

Jazkarmel looks up from her food, mouth still full. She covers her lips as she gulps the fish-morsel down, but by the uncomfortable look on her face, she may have eaten too quickly. She glances at Olu the Archer, then back to you and Prince Solinsyr, who seems just as surprised by this request of yours. Neither elven noble objects, though.

You follow Solinsyr from the muted meal to a sort of stony, half-carved rampart which oversees the Lahlabar bay. Here, the light of Wevenore’s magic lights shine across the water, like low-hanging stars in a moonless night; Lahlabar’s fortress sues scant lighting, which only afford a better view. Despite this, and despite having grown up in far darker and more cramped confines than this, you can’t help but find the expansive underground oasis and its false stars a poor substitute for the limitless horizons and sprawling, varied vistas of a surface night. Having only dwelt in Bloodrise for a matter fo months, you are surprised to find yourself so homesick for it.

To take your mind off of the ennui, you slow down to allow jazkamrel to catch up to you.

“I must ask,” you begin, “are your people’s politics always so…”

Jazkarmel laughs her crystalline laugh at your fumbled fall into silence, as you struggle to think of a polite synonym in True Speech or dark elventongue for ‘dysfunctional’.

“A season of rule lasts many, many decades,” she answers. “You simply see us at a… Transitional stage.”

You nod, not altogether convinced.

“What do you know of the Prince’s policies?” you ask. “Why DOES your queen favour this elf above others?”

You had thought it was because he was easier to control, but the solemn fatalist has been too stubborn and taciturn for THIS to be the case.

Jazkarmel’s smile rapidly scrunches up into a frown at that.

“Well, that might be because…”

“Because I agreed to take Jazkarmel of Yvonlace as a Queen-Consort if I assume the throne, and thus raise and maintain the profile of both our houses.”

Your eyes snap to the Prince at this, then flit back to Jazkarmel, who has that same look of indigestion on her face again.

“Wait,” you say, “what?"
>>
>>5455885

Solinsyr is staring down in a small, artificial pond, surrounded by an ankle-high wall. Inside it, strange and swift-moving silvery fish flit about.

“Technically, any princess of the house would do,” he says. “However, while Yvonlace produces a fair few talented MALE mages, Jazkarmel is the only female of appropriate age who is so skilled. Being a mage myself, our children would be at quite an advantage as magic-users go.”

Your mind drifts to Oluwadamilare, back at the dinner. You shake it off. There are more important matters to discuss.

“So you are a mage,” you repeat. “This is why the Queen favours you, then?”

“Not just any mage,” Solinsyr replies. “My family is descended from the royal priests who served the line of our kings since we once sat among our traitorous surface-kin in the High Eleven Council a millennium ago. We are skilled masters of light magic, illusion… And more.”

He sighs.

“Or we were.”

He waves his hand, and the pool before him shines brightly, before the water settles down to a dimmer glow. You per into it, and see that he has enchanted an array of crystals among the rocks at the pool’s bottom. This, in turn, gives greater clarity to the ;fish’—in fact, great salmon-sized insect nymphs.

“I breed these dragonflies, as you have probably heard,” the prince explains.

He reaches into a pocket of his black robes to extract a remnant of his dinner, and throws it in. The nymphs all sense the disturbance of the surface and practically leap at the chunk of cave-fish, some cresting out of the water; even in their juvenile form, their bodies are effervescent and iridescent, shiny like an oil slick.

“I breed them for colour,” Solinsyr continues his strange segue. “For size, strength, health and vitality. I gift the eggs to those who I wish to impress… But they do not know how to breed them as I do. They do not have the knack, the dedication. Their colours become muddled or muted, just like the basal, wild cave-dragonflies from which I derived my breed. Maintaining a unique trait requires concerted effort, and careful planning.”

You tilt your head.

“You are saying that your house lost its special magical aptitudes because you did not practice… Selective breeding?”

Solinsyr nods. You scratch your chin, thinking on this with mixed emotions. It sounds as if the same eugenic sentiment which contributed to some of your Master Race’s modern problems are, ironically, a societal force which this prince laments the loss of among the elves of House Lahlabar. It is an interesting insight… But not exactly why you followed him here.
>>
>>5455888
“You think that breeding back a powerful dynasty of magic-users will help your house… And Yvonlace… Retain prominence among the Drow,” you infer. “However, that won’t help you become King here and now.”

“No,” Solinsyr acknowledges, dimming the illusory light and turning his full attention back to you. “To do that, I will need to either discredit my more-respected rivals… Or win people to my way of thinking.”

“And what way is that?” you ask.

“Settle in,” Jazkarmel sighs, leaning against the wall and running her fingers through her hair. “He can go on for DAYS about this.”

Solinsyr looked a little miffed, his calm expression shifting to visible irritation for the first time since you arrived. He returns to his neutral state not long after, though, and shrugs.

“I shall keep it short,” he acquiesces. “Each of the four preeminent houses at this time has its own attitude towards the place of Wevenore and the Drow Kingdom in this world. Minothel of Tlintear would keep things as they are, save for raiding or trading with the surface a bit more frequently; he desires their luxuries, to pacify the population, but he does not want much else to change, which only makes sense. As you have seen, though, this is not without its… Problems.”

Political disorganization and rampant poverty chiefmost among them, you silently note.

“Corandiirn and the Sambrans have seized upon these problems. He would tear down our traditional structures and instead unite the Drow against the surface-foes most aggressively. He wishes to expand, to preserve our race and culture by aggressively pushing out and up to the surface to seize resources.”

“And to maintain his own power through courting the poor and the military,” Jazkarmel interjects. “The grasping little rat would never give that kind of authority up once he had it.”

Solinsyr doesn’t agree with this speculation, nor does he challenge it. Instead, he continues:

“Jazkarmel’s house—the Queen’s house—is of the more traditional school—protect Wevenore, keep outsiders away, maintain our secrecy, stage only small raids.”

It’s a policy you know well—it is actually quite similar to that of the Master Race, give or take some careful subversion. You suppose your aggressive friendliness and repeated utility forced them to adjust course… or perhaps Jazkarmel does not see entirely eye-to-eye with her house’s matron? She DOES seem an unconventional sort of princess, down to not even using the title often when interacting with her warriors or with your people.

“You still haven’t told me YOUR policy,” you press Solinsyr.
>>
>>5455891
The prince nods, and at last he does: “I don’t wish to wallow in our current state, simply redecorating a fallen kingdom with stolen tapestries. I also don’t want total war on all the races of the surface—it is SUICIDE. You have seen their numbers, their wealth. You know what I speak of.”

You refrain from saying anything but… yes, you understand the sentiment.

“I wish to… NORMALIZE us, as a people. To come out of the shadows.”

This gives you a sickening start.

“PEACE with the surface-dwellers?!”

“Would that be so bad?”

You don’t even dignify that with a response. Eventually, sensing your automatic disgust, Solinsyr sighs and shakes his head.

“No, not peace. Not exactly. It’s not as if I want… TRAITORS… In our oasis, or am so naïve as to think we could walk among the other elves again. Nor do I want to! But… We cannot fight them all, and we cannot live forever as a people apart from the world. Why do we hide like this? Deny ourselves the basic amenities which could improve our lives? I have never been to the surface, but every time we get a scrap of their wealth I see innovation and change… But how do WE change? Minothel would satisfy himself to have MORE of those scraps. Corandiirn would annihilate that innovation in a tide of blood, without even learning from it.”

“Yvonlace would just shut our eyes and cover our ears,” Jazkarmel admits. “If The Queen had been in charge of my troops more directly, we never would have helped you take territory in Bloodrise, Dragonborn… We’d have tried to kill you, and sealed off the entrance to Wevenore if we failed to hide away from you lizardmen.
>>
>>5455892

“I merely wish to be one more nation—proud, strong, independent, but most importantly MODERN—among the others in this world. And if the others loathe us and seek to destroy us… Well, that is what we must cultivate magic to guard against.”

For the first time, speaking on this subject, you hear passion in the prince’s grey face, true excitement in his pale green eyes.

What do you think of his dream?
>Yes… To be a true nation, a proper empire… Not some shadowy, hidden culture of conspiracy and compromise dwelling in private paucity… That is what YOU want, too
>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right
>‘Normalization’ still sounds too much like ‘peace’ for your liking; all surface scum must be enslaved or destroyed, for the Dark Gods and to avenge your ancestors!
>You have a few notes... [write-in]

How do you propose to help win support for House Lahlabar, given what you now know?
>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)
>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?
>It seems to you that the easiest way to strength Solinsyr’s claim is the find or manufacture dirt on his rivals, and to bring them low—perhaps even approach them and challenge them directly?
>House Lahlabar is a bust—a disappointment—and you think you’re done here
>Write-in

Sorry for the long one; just wanted to communicate the general political situation and give you anons a full enough understanding to make these pretty key decisions
>>
>>5455894
>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right

For him it’s cool but we stay hidden

>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)

Make some bullshit about his ancient house is tied to them
>>
>>5455894
>>Yes… To be a true nation, a proper empire… Not some shadowy, hidden culture of conspiracy and compromise dwelling in private paucity… That is what YOU want, too

>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)
>>
>>5455894
>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right
>‘Normalization’ still sounds too much like ‘peace’; all surface scum must be enslaved or destroyed, for the Dark Gods and to avenge your ancestors!
All for strengthening the elves but this goes against the reptilian mission.
>It seems to you that the easiest way to strength Solinsyr’s claim is the find or manufacture dirt on his rivals, and to bring them low—perhaps even approach them and challenge them directly?
>>5455556
>essay on cucking and hair stylists
Woah there, I was joking. Forgot about that whore, ignoring her was very based.
>>5455866
Gross.
>>
>>5455894
Im a little retarded so im gonna wait for a few other anons to hop in before I make choices, someone who can word things better will word things better and I can edit upon, I will say not a huge fan of Olu getting cucked by this mouthy femboy our emo black friends mormon aunt wants her to fuck, I hope we can visit the other houses first before we make a decision on who we back
>>
>>5455894
>I’ll need to think on it further

>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)
>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?
Charm everyone. Spread the Faith to the far reaches of the Drow!
>>
>>5455894
>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right
>‘Normalization’ still sounds too much like ‘peace’ for your liking; all surface scum must be enslaved or destroyed, for the Dark Gods and to avenge your ancestors!

But maybe keep these thoughts to ourself for now…

The Drow will be a vassal state in our mighty Empire in the end anyway

>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)
>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?

Faith for the proles - power and riches for the minor nobility
>>
>>5455894
>It’s… interesting. Maybe they can be the face of Bloodrise while the Reptilians rule from the shadows.
>Rally the rabble, continuing to proselytize the poor while tying Solinsyr’s house to the missionary message which you were already spreading (and threatening House Sambra’s base)
>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?
>>
>>5456000
>I will say not a huge fan of Olu getting cucked by this mouthy femboy our emo black friends mormon aunt wants her to fuck, I hope we can visit the other houses first before we make a decision on who we back
Agreed
>>
>>5455894
>Yes… To be a true nation, a proper empire… Not some shadowy, hidden culture of conspiracy and compromise dwelling in private paucity… That is what YOU want, too

based elfbro

>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?
>>
>>5455894
>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right

>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?

This is perfect. We need more soldiers and the lesser houses can provide those.
>>
>>5455894
>>It’s a fool’s errand—The New Age of Darkness must not be rushed, and shadows mean safety until such time as the stars are right

>House Lahlabar is a bust—a disappointment—and you think you’re done here
Or
>The element of caste and eugenic elitism has inbuilt appeal to the nobility, you would wager… Maybe it’s time to begin a charm offensive aimed at lesser noble houses, offering surface bounties and spreading the word of the seized Bloodrise territory?
>>
>>5456109
Support
>>
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>>5455992
>essay
[My much appreciated player, it was five sentences. You've seen how wordy I am. This is no essay to me.]

>>5456847
>>5456627
>>5456453
>>5456368
>>5456109
>>5456043
>>5456035
>>5455992
>>5455965
>>5455945

[Writing! The vote is locked.]
>>
>>5456950
“You Drow can do what you want,” you shrug. “Its certainly… Interesting. But I will not be joining you in this foolishness.”

The Lahlbar Prince’s nostrils flare, his eyebrows raise. Perhaps you were too frank. You admit it: the persistent thought of this elf marrying your companion’s favoured mate is an irksome one, and his general demeanour… Well, perhaps you let your personal biases get the best of you.

“My elven is still imperfect,” you half-apologize. “I meant no offense. You have my support, of course. Only… My race will not join you in the light, to become obvious targets of the surface-dwellers and their gods. For aeons, my race has dwelt in darkness. This was not cowardice—this was commanded, and wisely so. You said yourself that we cannot wage open war on those above and hope to win… But nor can we expose ourselves and expect anything but open war.”

Prince Solinsyr sighs quietly, and turns back to his pond, staring into it with a dark expression.

“Maybe,” he acknowledge quietly.

Jazkarmel comes to your rescue, resting a hand on your arm and gently guiding you back a step while she strides forwards.

“We aren’t here to discuss distant dreams, are we?” she asks with a small smile. “Dragonborn… Ah, sorry, Theral… You say you can make Solinsyr king! All the rest comes later, right?”

“Right,” you and Solinsyr agree at once.

You lay out your plan. As you see it, this must be two-pronged: faith for the underclass, power and riches for the noble-born. You were never destined for the role of Reptilian Infiltrator, but you know something of the theory of their craft, and you now apply it to the dark elves: you will continue to grow your following among the lower classes, spreading your message (and the transformative gifts of the Mother Goddess), while simultaneously attempting to win the nobles with a steady stream of generous gifts and the promise of more to some.

“This will draw the ire of Sambra AND Tlintear,” the prince notes.

“As if they don’t already dislike your running?” Jazkarmel asks.

“They were focused on each other,” Solinsyr laments. “Now, they’ll focus on me.”

“Good,” you state. “Thus is the fate of the victor, the KING: all eyes on him, always.”

The Prince accepts your suggestions. You exit his private dragonfly-breeding chamber, all three of you, and discuss the specifics as you stride the scenic walkway once more. However, the prince turns a corner into a different chamber than that where your companions await your return.

“I must retire,” he says. “You have given me much to think about… Much to plan. I will meet with you tomorrow, King Theral?”
>>
>>5456969

You shrug, and nod, and exchange courtesies. You will be staying here tonight, of course—to traverse all of Wevenore again after such a long day would be doable, but tiring, and if you’re just returning tomorrow then it seems unnecessary. You and any entourage you would share it with have been given a small but comfortable guest-chamber, well-decorated in a fashion spartan for elves but luxurious for the altogether-less-coddled Master Race. Jazkarmel and her Yvonlace elves, likewise, have a space to call their own.

Even as your two groups part, you can see Jazkarmel and your Archer exchange meaningful glances—Olu’s cheerfully naïve, lustful and maybe even full of something like love, but the princess’ subtly more troubled.

Her gaze flits to yours, fearful. Whatever se and your loyal follower have… It is a spell you could sunder with a word.

Should you?

>Tell Oluwadamilare that his elf is promised to the prince of this place
>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
>Make the breaking of this marital arrangement a condition of your aid
>Stay silent—couplings to secure power and build alliance are the natural way of YOUR race, after all, when any sort of committed mate-pairing occurs AT ALL
>Blackmail Jazkarmel into doing something for you, to keep your silence [sexual favours? spycraft against her house? something else?]
>Write-in
>>
>>5456972
>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions

don't be hurting our boi
>>
>>5456972
>>Tell Oluwadamilare that his elf is promised to the prince of this place
>>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
Why don't we all talk about this openly like adults.
>>
>>5456972
>Tell Oluwadamilare that his elf is promised to the prince of this place
>>
>>5456972
>Tell Oluwadamilare that his elf is promised to the prince of this place
>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
>>5456986
>19-20yo talking to an elf that's been around for many decades like "an adult"
top kek
>>
>>5457131
[In fairness, your bardic mage-apprentice is technically 40-45 years old.]
>>
>>5456972
>>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
>>
>>5457133
Yes and
>>
>>5456972
>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
>Stay silent
Depending on her intentions, this is a golden opportunity to gain the loyalty of one of Drow’s inner circle. We should get more information before deciding on our plan.

>>5456976
I think the more likely scenario is the Prince getting cucked by Olu desu.
>>
>>5457196
How is the prince getting cucked by Olu if we eventually have leave the place and Jazkarmel with him?
>>
>>5456976
Supporting this

Don’t hurt our loyal boi
>>
>>5456972
>Confront Jazkarmel about this betrothal, and ascertain her true feelings and intentions
>Make the breaking of this marital arrangement a condition of your aid
>>
>>5457996
>>5457784
>>5457196
>>5457136
>>5457131
>>5457120
>>5456986
>>5456976
Try as you might to ignore it, the thought of Jazkarmel breaking the heart of your loyal battle-brother troubles you. You consider bringing it up with Olu directly, to warn the Archer of what woe may wait ahead… But you shy away from this after some thought. Your understanding is incomplete, and there is only one way to easily rectify this knowledge-gap: a direct confrontation with the elfmaid at the heart of this.

Jazkarmel looks surprised when she opens the door to her chamber and sees you standing there. She, as with many mammals, seems to keep a separate suite of sleeping attire—though, in her case, it seems little more than a well-worn, loosely-fitted fur cloak to half-hide an otherwise naked darkness. You ignore a pang of <appetite> to meet her eyes, which quickly turn from confusion to guilt when you explain the purpose for your late visitation:

“I wish to speak with you about the Archer.”

Jazkarmel dismisses her servants and stations her guards—Jhamrius and Sengar, naturally—outside the door, and ideally out of easy eavesdropping range. Only then does she invite you into her chamber.

“You mean you wish to speak about the terms of alliance between my house and this one, right?”

You nod. Jazkarmel sighs, and slumps forwards.

“Does Oluwadamilare know?” she asks, quietly.

“Not if YOU have not told him,” you answer, a touch accusatorily.

“I… Haven’t told him,” she admits.

“That is deceptive,” you state plainly.

Jazkarmel presses her thumbs to her forehead, leaning against them as she rubs her temples.

“It… Isn’t like that, Theral.”

“Explain to me what it is like, then,” you command. “What are you intentions with my Archer?”

Jazkarmel laughs, and though it is as pretty a sound as ever, it is tinged with anxiety this time.

“You sound like his father,” she teases. “You know he’s older than you, right? And I’m at least twice HIS age?”

You shrug.

“Yes, and…?”

She senses you are in no mood for playful banter, and her expression and tone return to due seriousness once more.

“My ‘intentions’ with Olu were just… A good time.” Jazkarmel smirks a little. “And it was! But… Admittedly, we got a little closer than just sex. He’s handsome, and tall, and strong… But he’s also clever, and brave, and JUST the right amount of crazy to keep things interesting.”

She sighs wistfully.

“Do you love him?”

Jazkarmel looks up with some surprise.

“I… Thought you lizardmen didn’t really go in for that?” she asks.

“You are evading my question, elf.”

“I… Don’t know,” she admits. “Maybe.”

“Do you love Prince Solinsyr?” you press.

Jazkarmel laughs uproariously at that, before covering her mouth to muffle the explosive outburst.

“Haha, ha… No, no, I don’t think so, Theral. No.”
>>
>>5458172
You tilt your head, awaiting further elaboration, and Jazkarmel rolls her eyes.

“Come on,” she says. “I know a little about your castes and clans from Olu. We’re not so different, in this way: marriage or ‘mating rights’ aren’t about LOVE. Maybe for peasants with nothing to gain or lose, but when you’re part of an important family… A noble house… It’s about politics.”

She’s not WRONG, of course. Marriage is an alien concept to your race, though the concept of exclusive breeding rights to a socially or genetically-desirable female is not—and, mammalian sentimentality aside, the two concepts have a lot in common. In fact… Well, it’s the ultimate destiny of the Novice Fleshweaver as well, isn’t it? When the time comes, and her heat it upon her, it’s not as if her Chaplain father would ever permit an unauthorized breeding with an experimental hybrid like yourself. She’ll be bred to worthy bloodlines of Serpent Priests to secure familial bonds amongst the spiritual elite. Maybe that niggling knowledge is part of why you feel such empathy for Olu’s plight?

“I honestly thought I would never have to marry Solinsyr,” Jazkarmel admits, breaking the silence which has settled while you quietly consider her words. “It’s contingent on him actually becoming king, and over the last ten years that has seemed like a pretty long shot. But now…”

She looks at your square on.

“With you here, helping him… I’ve seen you work miracles, Theral. Win wars I never thought we’d stand a chance at winning. Slay LEGENDS. If you’re helping him…”

She looks away again.

“I mean, it’s not like Queen Myrymma would ever have tolerated me and Olu being…”

She slumps forward.

“I guess everyone has to grow up sometime,” she laments. “Mother always said I was immature and irresponsible, just thinking I could fight and fuck forever, and never get old and settle down. But… Okay. I’ll tell Olu tomorrow. Then… We’ll win Solinsyr his crown, and I’ll… Do my duty.”

She looks up at you for validation, almost appearing desperate.

“That’s the smart thing to do, right?”

What do you say? As you have come to understand your own heart, you are increasingly committed to a path of 'love' (as you understand the concept)... But can you really put it before practicalities like political power?

>Agree that she should prioritize politics and familial loyalty
>Tell her she should trust in love, and follow her heart
>Declare that you will intervene with her behalf—with the Prince AND the Queen—to ensure the happiness of your friends
>Call out her duplicity and immaturity—she isn’t GOOD ENOUGH for Olu!
>Let them sort it out—it’s none of your concern, in the end
>Write-in
>>
>>5458174
>Tell her she should trust in love, and follow her heart
>Declare that you will intervene with her behalf—with the Prince AND the Queen—to ensure the happiness of your friends
Yeah this shit ain't right. Reptilians are already dead inside and obedient, but these are mammals with feelings that don't align with this cancer (as much as I'd like to support the powerful mage bloodline). Maybe it's time for this Prince Saltysyr to learn how to get bitches the natural way.
>>
>>5458278
Supportin'
>>
>>5458280
We can also argue that Jazkamel is not a good mate for his magical talent to shine like dragonfly's vivid color
>>
>>5458281
Well I don't think they just made that up, they must have their reasons to think her genetics are good for magic.
>>
>>5458174
>Tell her she should trust in love, and follow her heart
>Declare that you will intervene with her behalf—with the Prince AND the Queen—to ensure the happiness of your friends
The sacrifices we make to our bro Olu. I guess this’ll convince them to arrange that threesome though.
>>
>>5458174
>Tell her she should trust in love, and follow her heart

I'm sure the prince can find another high power mage waifu
>>
>>5458385
what threesome
jazkarmel doesn't have 4 holes
>>
>>5458955
Ah, but you're forgetting we have a novice fleshweaver in our employment.
>>
>>5458972
Do you even know what a threesome is
>>
>>5458955
>>5458972
[While the likelihood of group sex is lesser than it would have been before the two developed feelings and before Theral was scarred by banging an eldritch horror goddess, I will note that Degenerates who would blow their human civer as an Infiltrator the moment they drop their pants are culled at birth. Olu is, outwardly, just a normal human dude with some easily-hidden scaly patches and golden eyes.]
>>
>>5459023
>Olu is, outwardly, just a normal human dude with some easily-hidden scaly patches and golden eyes.
Oh, right. This still leaves us behind (her) if we want the most optimized experience, however. Shitposting aside, I hope this coombrained idea never comes to life.
>Theral
Nooo, fuck that gay-ass soulless drow pseudonym, it's Dragonborn or whatever Ismena would've wanted :c
>>
>>5458278
Eh, I’ll support it.
>>
>>5459020
I don't think you understand what I meant when I said we have a novice Flesh Weaver

The implication is that Jaz can be given 4 holes in case the emphasis on fleshweaver above still wasn't enough

Doesn't look like we'll need to go down that route anyway
>>
>>5458174
>Call out her duplicity and immaturity—she isn’t GOOD ENOUGH for Olu!
lol
>Tell her she should trust in love, and follow her heart
It’s ultimately your life, but a piece of advice from an 18 year old? We live in a dangerous world, and you should take care to cherish the things you have now before they’re gone.

>>5459160
Do you main Slaanesh on table top anon?
>>
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>>5459050
We held a vote, and growing comfortable with the pseudonym won.
Besides, 'Ismena' wasn't even her real name, and yet here we are.
>>5458278
>>5458280
>>5458385
>>5458914
>>5459075
>>5459213
[Locked and writing!]
>>
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>>5459242
“Do you really want the advice of someone less than half your age?” you ask Jazkarmel, echoing her earlier ribbing.

She laughs again, but there isn’t much humour in it. She’s genuinely unsure how to proceed—unsure enough to accept advice from a near-juvenile. You suppose your accelerated growth in stature as a result of the Novice’s amulet and the Dark Gods’ favour has gone a long way towards making you seem more ‘properly adult’ in her eyes. A member of the Master Race is typically physically mature (if not necessarily mentally or sexually) by their twelfth year, so if Jazkarmel is truly immature for her kind… Well, you suppose you MAY well have surpassed her in the year you have known each other!

“My opinion… Is that you should follow your heart.”

You note no small surprise on the elf’s part at your unconventional answer. Still, you do not change course.

“My people… They are shaped by countless millennia of conditioning to be as they are. It is in their nature. Not so for you and your kind, Princess. Love… It is a powerful force. You should not throw it aside easily.”

Jazkarmel looks at you strangely, and chews her lip nervously.

“But my house… Our missions, for BOTH our people… They hinge on this.”

You shrug.

“Maybe, maybe not. I will speak with the Prince of Lahlabar… The Queen as well, if it comes to it. They would be fools to reject my assistance simply because they must find another elf-mage to mate with the new King of Elves.”

Jazkarmel shakes her head.

“I wouldn’t have thought a lizard… A dragon… Would care this much about a little fling between a half-human and a Drow.”

“You are… Not unimportant.” You say, stumbling just short of calling them ‘friends’ out loud. “We live in a dangerous world, and you should take care to cherish the things you have now before they’re gone.”

Jazkarmel nods at your wise words, and smiles more brightly than she ahs since Solinsyr called upon you two to speak with him in his dragonfly-chamber.

“Love might not be in the nature of other lizards, Theral… But it is in yours.”

To your startlement, the Princess takes your hand in hers and impulsively kisses you upon yoru cheek. You flinch and hiss at the unexpected touch… But it doesn’t feel bad.

“Thank you,” she whispers into your ear, and stands to leave.

“Wait, this is YOUR chamber,” you say, still disoriented. “Where are you going?”

The Yvonlace Princess looks at you with a mischievous gleam in her ruby eyes, and simply says: “To see Olu.”

...Ah.
>>
Rolled 8, 17, 15, 5, 12, 7, 1, 4, 16, 5 = 90 (10d20)

>>5459258
The next few days are spent on more serious matters—or are they?—such as planning and enacting your two-pronged strategy to install Solinsyr as the new King of Elves. If he notices the closeness of his promised mate to your Degenerate companion, he does not care or comment; you suspect that he is too focused upon his campaign to pay them much heed. Once you have formulated your approach, the two part ways anyway: Oluwadamialre the Archer is, as ever, your stalwart armed accompaniment as you travel Wevenore preaching your dark gospel to the elven peasantry; Jazkarmel, meanwhile, accompanies the Prince in petitioning the lesser noble houses.

[4d20 Religion, 4d20 Diplomacy, 2d20 mystery dice]
>>
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>>5459260
Your strategy for the common-folk is simple: you brandish your shoggoth-sword, lift high the head of the ghoul supreme, and recount again and again—with Karz’s musical accompaniment and Olu’s infiltration-born knack for mammalian manipulation. You mime the battles, recite the stories like psalms, and leave every crowd of hollow, dark elven faced filled with hope and joy as you promise that such strength and glory awaits any who will follow the Dark Gods… And, of course, stand with House Yvonlace and their preferred candidate, Prince Solinsyr of Lahlabar.

>17

You end every such theatrical presentation with a group prayer. Increasingly, the elves bow their heads and join you in thanking the Mother of Dragons from protecting their children, and to the Serpent Ascendant for offering them a path to redemption through personal aspiration. You end the tour flocked by supplicants, who bring what pitiful alms their poor households can spare to leave before the resanctified funerary caves of their ancestors… And to offer their gratitude to the Gods of Death for safeguarding their souls.

This society may be far from a democracy, but the elite would have to be fools to ignore the rising tide of support for you, and thus for Solinsyr’s kingship.

Alas, it doesn’t seem that the Prince-Ascendant and his Yvonlace ‘fiancé’ have had the same fortunes. Over the next week, you met with them several times, and correspond regularly through their servants, and the reports are always the same: unfruitful. Your strategy was a good one, you thought, and you still believe it to be so: you three conspired to distribute the spoils of the ghoulish horde to the minor noble-houses. These would be treated as gifts from House Lahlabar, that they might recommit them to the funeral caves for the social clout or horde them as they like… But always know their providence.

>1

Instead, they are flatly rejected, time and time again—turned away, occasionally with sharp accusations of betraying their race and culture to ‘evil gods’ and ‘monsters’.

“it’s Minothel, from Tlintear,” Solinsyr snarls one day, uncharacteristically furious. “I smell his stench.”

“More of a fragrant perfume, really,” Jazkarmel jokes, provoking a snort from Olu across the table.

“A sweet and sickly scent,” Solinsyr agrees, “like putrefaction. Like poisoned wine. He’s heard you’re backing me, and shoring up his base of support.”

It makes sense. You see few representatives of Tlinetar in the slums, but Sambrans—black or white-clad, solemn-faced, purposeful in movement—routinely watch from a distance as you pick off Corandiirn of Sambar’s own supporters. You wonder when or if THAT house will make its move…

>15

…But you do not wonder for long.
>>
>>5459285
One day, you are awoken from light torpor by the painful tingle and adrenaline rush of your <Danger Sense>. You spring from where you half-lay in shallowest slumber and draw your assassin’s dagger, casting dark-adapted eyes about to find the culprit.

Only to hear the Novice scream in fury and fear from the next room.

“No!”

You are at her side in moments.

It is not fast enough.

Your Fleshweaver clutches a seeping gash in her robes with one hand, mutters incantations and traces sigils in the air with the other. The wound is already sealing shut, and after a moment’s panic you realize it is shallow.

Not so for the dead elf—one of your hosts, the adult female of the house—who lays facedown on the ground, life pouring out of her opened throat, while her scale-speckled, goddess-touched offspring stare in terror , held in their father’s arms.

“Who did this?!” you roar. “Where is the slinking coward?!”

One of the tiny elf-spawn points to the offending party. She did not escape, though by her position near to the hovel’s sad excuse for a window, she likely tried. Unfortunately for the elf-maid, clad in finely-embroidered black silks, the Junior Novice was also present.

>6

She is rather savaged—hand on one side of the room, mangled but still clutching a knife, while the rest of her whimpers and twitches before your dogfaced, dragonspliced slave, who whines with excitement and anxiety through a maw caked in blood.

His eyes are glowing. By the looks of things, it is psychic pressure which now holds the killer in place.

“Who sent you?” you demand, taking up station beside the Juniro Novice.

The assassin croaks, shudders, and fails to answer.

“S-Sambra,” the adult male of the household says. “That’s a knife from House Sambra.”

The home-invader is bleeding out, barely stable and rapidly deteriorating. The deadly agent of Prince Corandiirn of Sambra—the Assassin Prince—has paid for her offence with her life, or will soon.

But the one who sent her… How shall HE pay?

>This means war—take your forces and march on House Sambra, to raze that den of murderers to the ground
>It is time to take Corandiirn up on his earlier invitation to visit him—and to ‘discuss’ recompense for this insult
>Join your allies—especially the Queen—to demand formal elven justcie for this crime
>Forget it—this is to be expected, and this sad attempt only shows how desperate your candidates rivals are becoming
>Send your own counter-assassins, for TWO can play at this game
>Write-in
>>
>>5459286
>It is time to take Corandiirn up on his earlier invitation to visit him—and to ‘discuss’ recompense for this insult
honestly I'm surprised it took this long
>>
>>5459286
>Use magic to create a deadly series of earthquakes at House Sambra under the cover of night.
>Deny any involvement and claim it was a natural disaster.
>>
>>5459427
+1
>It is time to take Corandiirn up on his earlier invitation to visit him—and to ‘discuss’ recompense for this insult
>Join your allies—especially the Queen—to demand formal elven justcie for this crime
We should make a other plays at revenge just so the earthquake claims seem legit.
>>
>>5459286
>Join your allies—especially the Queen—to demand formal elven justcie for this crime
Drag this shit public and
>Use magic to create a deadly series of earthquakes at House Sambra under the cover of night.
>Deny any involvement and claim it was a natural disaster.
>>5459242
Votes don't control my mind and we knew her as Ismena from the start, just like we knew Dragonborn as Dragonborn. I just hate that name until further notice.
>>
>>5459504
>Votes don't control my mind
[Fair, but they DO control Theral's, which is why he's started to think of himself as 'Theral'.]
>>
>>5459286
>It is time to take Corandiirn up on his earlier invitation to visit him—and to ‘discuss’ recompense for this insult

Let's not be hasty. Could easily be a false flag.
>>
>>5459861
Shit tier name
>>
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>>5459943
>picrel

>>5459902
>>5459504
>>5459501
>>5459427
>>5459312
[I'm going to finish watching Black Adam, and then post. Looks like we're leaning towards filing a report and then (secretly) collapsing an estate.]
>>
>>5459951
>>5459902
>>5459504
>>5459501
>>5459427
>>5459312
Sambra… SAMBRA. Of course this was an inevitable collision course—Corandiirn, this unseen prince of House Sambra, relies upon the support to the soldiery and the poorest Drow to make his claim to the throne. In preaching the True Faith and the ascent of Solinsyr, you have threatened his power. In a way, you’re surprised it took him so long to strike.

Still, an irksome uncertainty troubles you, like an itch in the back of your mind. You take up this ‘Sambran dagger’ and turn it over and over in your hands, then look past it to the one who once wielded it.

“Was it Prince Corandiirn who sent you?” you demand in elventongue.

“N-mn-“

“No?” you press. “Yes? ANSWER, elf!”

What emerges is a death-rattle, and the killer is no more.

You check the condition of your companions—most especially the Novice. She pushes you away with a flustered hiss.

“You are too close,” she snaps. “Touching too much. Get your claws out of my robes, Dege—Dragonborn.”

“Theral will do,” you sniff. “And I am just making sure you are okay.”

“Sure,” she teases, her hiss turning to a rattle. “You have spent too long among mammals, ‘Theral’. You were holding me rather tight. Sentimental fool.”

She sighs, and glances towards the Junior Novice.

“I am alright,” she says.

Junior shakes off whatever psychic trance he was gripped by, wiping blood from his maw with the back of one paw and approaching you with bowed head—as if in supplication. You pat the strange hybrid slave-thing. Meanwhile, both you and your Novice Fleshweaver turn your attentions to the wailing elf-spawn and their hollow-eyed father, still staring at his dead mate. You feel… Something… Looking at their display of grief.

“My test subjects all survived, too, thank the Dark Gods Below and Beyond.”

The Novice’s tone is cheerful. Whatever you feel, looking at the corpse of one host and the shattered family, it isn’t something the Serpent Priestess is troubled by.

Oluwadamilare is there, of course, and Ivno. Both are quick to secure the area, checking for other assassins and keeping the other elves who come to investigate at bay.

“What will we do now?” Olu the Archer eventually asks.

“I think,” you say, “that House Sambra’s second invitation has managed to be rather more persuasive than the first. Let us take them up on it.”
>>
>>5460033
You leave the Junior Novice with his namesake, to protect the Fleshweaver and your temporary base of operations. Together with the others of your party-proper—Karz Throat-singer, Olu the Archer, Ivno of Bloodrise—you march upon House Sambra. The lightning elemental, which seems quite dormant much of the time since its taming, takes it upon itself to trail after you on THIS particular journey… As if it senses your killing intent.

Ivno, in his prudence, has made a rudimentary map of the city, most-especially highlighting the complexes of each notable noble-house, and routes in and out of Wevenore. Clever little kobold… You knew you kept him around for something.

You also bring Hamaraska and their centipede—cultural interpreters, of a sort.

“This was a sloppy attempt,” the dark-eyed Lancer comments. “Why target your mage? Why not you, directly? And why only one assassin?”

You consider the elf’s words. A false flag attack is a possibility… Though by who, then? Maybe your arrival will shed some light.

It isn’t much longer before you arrive at the complex that Ivno has identified as that of House Sambra. It is well-fortified, walled off from prying eyes. If it has glimmering crystal-lamps or beautiful treasures such as the grotto of Yvonlace or the dragonfly-pool of Lahlabar, they are hidden. Only watchtowers and the squinting eyes of stationed archers allude to any inhabitants within the private residence of this would-be king.

“Stop right there!”

The command comes from one of a pair of stationed, black-clad elves—a pair of females—each wielding a crudely-constructed polearm made from some surfacer-made steel axehead attached to a pole of silk-bound wood. They would be effective enough, you suppose, to frighten or maim an intrusive peasant. The daggers on their hips are probably more practical in an actual fight.

They are no match for you and yours.

“Step aside,” you order them. “I am King Theral of Bloodrise, and I am here to accept your master’s invitation.”

“Indeed?”

You look past the guards to the source of this new voice: a long-faced, especially long-eared elf with bluish-black skin and pale gray eyes, wearing a loosely-fitted grey robe over the usual leather-and-chitin armour typical of a Drow scout. Upon his brow is the only sign of his station: a rather fine work of silvery-metal, fashioned into a sort of pendant-dangling tiara or diadem.
>>
>>5460034
“Prince Corandiirn, I presume?”

“Yes,” he acknowledges. “You know, it is quite unnecessary to announce yourself. There are no other ten-foot-fall lizardmen in my city. Everyone knows who you are… And what you have been up to.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes,” Prince Corandiir says. “Leading my people astray… Undermining me for your puppet-governor… Weakening us for takeover.”

You say nothing.

“Then you don’t deny it,” Corandiirn notes.

“You insult me from behind your guards,” you note. “You spy on me, too. What happened to the gracious nobleman who asked me to pay him a visit?”

“You work with my enemies to defeat me,” Prince Corandiirn sneers. “You are not visitor. You’re an invader, and an enemy.”

“So the invitation is rescinded, then,” you surmise.

“Yes.”

What do you do?
>Ask if that’s also why he sent an assassin to kill you and your followers—make him admit it, or else explain it!
>Present him with the dagger of the assassin, and demand apology and recompense in the name of the Queen—your friend and ally
>Challenge this martial princeling to a duel before his followers, to settle matters
>Cool off a little and offer to reconsider your alliance with Lahlabar... Maybe... If he will allow you inside and explain why you ought to favour him instead
>Turn and leave… And collapse the complex once you are out-of-sight with an <Earth Tremor>
>Write-in
>>
>>5460036
>Cool off a little and offer to reconsider your alliance with Lahlabar... Maybe... If he will allow you inside and explain why you ought to favour him instead

fuck, I mixed up names
didn't mean to come here
>>
>>5460036
>Cool off a little and offer to reconsider your alliance with Lahlabar... Maybe... If he will allow you inside and explain why you ought to favour him instead
>>
>>5460052
[Wait, where did you mean to go??]
>>
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>>5460052
imagine mixing up the names after some retard (me) got us a drow household cheat sheet
>>
>>5460063
was that the pdf?
i don't open strange pdfs
it shoulda been a jpg

>>5460057
I wanted to go to [PLACE] to talk to [PERSON]
now that I look back the wording doesn't line up and I shoulda known something was up, my B
>>
>>5460036
>Cool off a little and offer to reconsider your alliance with Lahlabar... Maybe... If he will allow you inside and explain why you ought to favour him instead
Bring up the assassination attempt and the dagger at the appropriate (you fucked up) moment.

>>5460052
lol
>>
>>5460036
>Ask if that’s also why he sent an assassin to kill you and your followers—make him admit it, or else explain it!
>>
>>5460070
It was sent by RQM. Paranoid much?
>>
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>>5460413
Yeah, just trust the reptoids! Don't be a bigot, anon!
>>
>>5460036
>Challenge this martial princeling to a duel before his followers, to settle matters

I like Lahlabar, despite a stupid name that sound like a fantasy karaoke rip-off, the La-La-Bar
>>
>>5460036
>Challenge this martial princeling to a duel before his followers, to settle matters
Hold my beer.
>>
>>5460036
>Ask if that’s also why he sent an assassin to kill you and your followers—make him admit it, or else explain it!
>>
>Cool off a little and offer to reconsider your alliance with Lahlabar... Maybe... If he will allow you inside and explain why you ought to favour him instead
>>
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>>5461472
>>5461183
>>5460596
>>5460458
>>5460200
>>5460129
>>5460053
>>5460052
[Writing!]
>>
>>5461493
You huff, frustrated at how this is going. In truth, you’d come here expecting a bold clash—maybe bloodshed. Even now, a part of you yearns to slit this impetuous assassin-elf’s throat and to bring his shoddy ‘fortress’ to the same ruin which ahs befallen many a Blackmantle dwarf in your burgeoning Bloodrise kingdom…

But the better, more logical and coldblooded aspect of your nature cools and tempers your hot mammalian temper, reminding you that politics must NEVER be so personal. Or, at least, only after when the blood has been thoroughly squeezed from your victims by dark diplomacy.

“I do not NEED to be your enemy,” you note. “Yvonlace is my original benefactor, of course… But my alliance with Lahlabar is less set-in-stone. It is YOUR actions that made us enemies.”

The Sambram Prince’s brow furrows. He says nothing, but you sense… What? Concern? Regret? Confusion?

“Perhaps there are matters best discussed in private?” you suggest.

The Archer and Lancer are both surprised. The latter seems pleasantly so; the latter, more worriedly. Neither speaks out against you.

The Prince draws a deep breath through narrow nostrils, then exhales and nods.

“But you leave your forces outside. No enemy marches an army into my gate.”

“That is outrageous,” you snap. “You want me to enter the den of a feared clan of Drow assassins ALONE?”

“By your reputation, you’ll be fine,” he says, smirking darkly despite his level tone. “But fine. Bring one vassal, and one vassal only.”

You gnash your teeth, lash your tail, but bring yourself under control. You need to think this through. It is POSSIBLE that Corandiirn was NOT the one who sent the killer… And even if he did, well, he could still be useful. If you deem him useless, this could be an ideal chance to assassinate the assassins, avenging the attack against your followers and eliminating one major threat to the ascent of Lahlabar’s prince.

Still… He IS a cheeky little monkey. It’s difficult not to take umbrage, even with your growing tolerance and understanding for mammals. You may not be AS committed to the sole primacy of pure-blooded Reptilians as you once were, but you still have your pride as a member of the Master Race—no, as a DRAGON!

What will you do?
>Bring Oluwadamialre the Archer, your stalwart friend, and best warrior
>Bring Ivno, cautious and watchful little servant that he is
>Bring Hamaraska, for they know dark elven culture, and House Sambra better than most
>Bring Karz, whose magic can bolster your own
>Bring the lightning elemental, to annihilate all these elves the moment they step out of line
>Reject the invitation, and announce this rejection with a <Moonblast> and an <Earth Tremor>
>Reject the invitation, and promptly leave this place to discuss retribution with the Queen of Elves and Prince of Lahlabar
>Write-in

Sorry for a short post, but I thought this was a decision worth voting on
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Oluwadamialre the Archer, your stalwart friend, and best warrior
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Ivno, cautious and watchful little servant that he is
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Hamaraska, for they know dark elven culture, and House Sambra better than most
Political thighs important.
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Hamaraska, for they know dark elven culture, and House Sambra better than most
Bring our elf whisperer. We can calmly explain why their politics are ridiculous.
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Oluwadamialre the Archer, your stalwart friend, and best warrior
>>
>>5461550
>>5461645
>>5461910
>>5461911
>>5462090
[I see we have a tie! I'll check in later, and update then.]
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Hamaraska, for they know dark elven culture, and House Sambra better than most

He’s a bro
>>
>>5461537
>Bring Hamaraska, for they know dark elven culture, and House Sambra better than most
>>
>>5462302
More importantly, she has thick thighs.
>>
>>5462314
>>5462302
>>5462090
>>5461911
>>5461910
>>5461645
>>5461550
“Lancer, to me,” you command Hamaraska. “The rest of you, wait for me here.”

“But—”

You shoot a glance at Olu the Archer, who shuts he mouth immediately and lowers his head in a small bow.

“Yes, Superior One,” he says in True Speech.

You know that the Archer’s protest was out of a desire to accompany you, rendering support moral and martial, so you simply nod in acknowledgement of Olu’s submission. Hamaraska the Lancer moves with quiet anxiety to your side; Honemdyn the Centipede is not permitted inside, and the separation clearly causes both parties some distress, but the lancer obliges you nevertheless.

“Why me?” the especially-dark dark elf asks in whisper, as you follow the Prince of House Sambra and his armed escort to a sort of meeting-chamber.

“I need a… Cultural interpreter,” you explain. “You’ve proven a help in the past, and you know your race better than any of my people. I need someone who can explain the… Idiosyncrasies of your local politics.”

Hamaraska nods, looking as if they’d like to say something else… but they do not. Soon enough, the chance has passed you both by, for you are ordered—ordered! YOU!! by mammals!—to seat yourselves across a long table.

“Hardwood,” you note, running a talon delicately across the reddish-brown, lacquered surface. “From above. I had been led to believe House Sambra considered such exotic imports an affront to Drow culture”

“Only the frivolous sort of imports favoured by… Certain others,” Pricne Corandiirn corrects you. “And the dangerous foreign IDEAS which YOU come bearing.”

You exhale through your nose and glance to Hamaraska. THIS is their favoured Prince-Ascendant? They shrugs their shoulders, but sensing your need for an ice-breaker, they try their best.

“If I may speak, as… The Dragon King’s, um, cultural interpreter?”

Prince Corandiirn shoots them a harsh look, and gestures for the androgynous mercenary to continue.

“Prince Theral is no invader or enemy,” Hamaraska speaks on your behalf. “Like House Sambra, he speaks for the dispossessed and ignored among us. I think you even share… Foreign policy goals.”

“Oh?” Corandiirn demands sharply. “Such as?”

Hamaraska flounders, unused to speaking at such length, and looks desperately to you. You clear your throat, and explain what you and the soldiers of House Yvonlace have achieved in Bloodrise: the conquest of several dwarven castle-cities, two of which were generously donated to the Drow to facilitate defence and trade.

“I understand you wish to expand the holdings of the Drow, if you become King of Elves,” you say. “I would be happy to aid in this. As my Dark Alliance grows, there will be ample territory and wealth for all.”

“All who follow YOUR lead and YOUR gods, yes? As part of YOUR pet alliance?”
>>
>>5462516
Corandiirn is quick to continue, before you can even reply.

“You have used your association with your gods to ANNEX our sacred spaces under guise of aid. You woo the poor an uneducated with cheap parlour tricks, and tell them that Lahlabar’s weak prince is their best hope of prosperity. And they BELIEVE you!”

“I bring them hope,” you say, as calmly as you can manage.

“If I may interject?” Hamaraska asks nervously.

“You may NOT,” Corandiirn of Sambra nearly shouts, and Hamaraska falls silent, clenching their hands to fists in their lap beneath the table.

“Tell me, Theral of Bloodrise,” Corandiirn asks, leaning back and narrowing his eyes. “Do you think that your flock of fools would still heed your words if they knew about the MUTATION of your first followers—how you are warping elven CHILDREN into abominations?”

He refers, of course, to the spawn of your Drow hosts in the slums-those who, touched by the magic of the Mother of Dragons, have begun to grow sharp nails and teeth, sprouted bronze scales across their skin, and even small horns amidst their white hair.

“And how would you know of that?” you counter angrily, unable to contain yourself. “Did you learn of this while your murdering assassin was slitting their mother’s throat, Corandiirn of House Sambra?”

“I have no idea what you’re—”

You draw the dagger which you took off of the assassin. Corandiirn’s men rise, drawing their own blades, but you do not strike; rather, with all your strength, you plunge the blade into the tabletop so that it stands, the house symbol upon the hilt of this killer’s blade standing proud and tall for all to see.

The Sambran guards look to their prince, waiting for a command. Hamaraska draws their own concealed knife below the table, and—to your surprise—their other hand grips at your knee with fear, as if seeking comfort or support.
>>
Rolled 9, 18, 7 = 34 (3d20)

>>5462521

Neither of you makes a move, or says a word.

“Nothing to say for yourself?” you hiss.

“If I denied involvement,” Corandiirn asks, through gritted teeth. “Would you believe me?”

“Only if you can explain why the killer had a weapon which EVERYONE in Wevenore apparently knows belongs to YOUR assassins.”

“Anyone can steal a knife and hire a sellsword,” Prince Corandiirn says.

“So you were not involved?” you press. “How did you discover the state of the… Of my followers’ children?”

Corandiirn says nothing, though his smooth, ever-youthful elven forehead wrinkles with intense concentration. Formulating a cover story? Trying to work out a conspiracy against you both? You cannot say.

“We can work out who is to blame,” you speak again, “but first, tell me why I should prefer YOU to Prince Solinsyr in the first place, since you seem to resent my support for him.”

Corandiirn draws a long breath, and turns his eyes from the blade in the table and back to you.

“I suppose it depends on whether you want the Drow to be strong and free, or to be your puppet on the surface.” The Prince of House Sambra meets your eyes, expression devoid of fear. “I would expand our domain but preserve our culture, our independence, and keep out the influences of… Outsiders, traitors, false deities. I suppose Solinsyr would allow your god-worship to infect our people for the chance to play at peace with our ancestral enemies.”

He looks now to Hamaraska, who sits upright with a start.

“Which is it that You think is better for the Drow, elf?”

Hamaraska looks between the two of you nervously…

Leadership roll; no bonus die for seduction, because you haven't voted to flirt with Hamaraska.
>>
>>5462524
>18

…But the Lancer’s eyes settle on yorus, and a certainty sets in. They turn back to the Prince, and speak their peace.

“The Dark Gods are real,” they say. “Whether they have the best interests of the Drow at heart… I don’t know. I’m just a mercenary, not a… A priest or diplomat. But Theral…”

They look back to you, with a deep respect.

“King Theral is a friend, and ally. He cares. I believe it.”

Corandiirn stews in silence for a moment, considering Hamaraska’s words.

“Well then,” he says. “King Theral, I will make a deal with you. Stop getting in my way-in fact, tell your sycophants to support me like they SHOULD… Or, at least, leave my people to develop in our own way. Stop trying to convert us. Stop trying to interfere in our politics. When I become king… I will help your ‘Dark Alliance’, so long as it benefits both your kind and mine.”

The Prince of House Sambra—certainly a stronger and more confident personality than Solinsyr of Lahlabar, albeit more unruly—looks you dead in the eyes as he removes the knife from the table, and hands it to one of his guards.

“No assassin will ever trouble you again, carrying one of MY blades or anyone else’s. Of that, you have my word.”

How do you reply?
>Accept this proposal
>Reject this proposal, and move to leave
>Modify this proposal with your own conditions [what do you want? what do you offer?]
>Fuck this haughty elven asshole—use earth magic to bring this complex down on his and his guards, like you originally planned
>Write-in
>>
>>5462541
>Modify this proposal with your own conditions
Apologize to Hamarasaka and tell us whether the dagger was stolen or not.
>Propose next meeting on more neutral grounds when we both have calmed down
Or continue this one? Idk.
Maybe we can learn his personal reasons for hating the Dark Gods and find a way to convince him the military benefits are worth following the Serpent Ascendant. And if that doesn't work, then well, explain the necessity for following proper Death rituals to send the spirits to the afterlife or they'll risk more ghoul problems and point out the fact that Death has also abandoned his siblings and is hated by them so he's chill and has no ego.

Eh, starting these fucking politics with the drow was a mistake. What even was our original goal here again?
>>
>>5462571
>What even was our original goal here again?
[Ensuring the Drow stay on-side so that you have an ally in Bloodrise and don't have another enemy in the Underdark. The Dark Gods also appreciate the extra followers, and I assume their military aid in dealing with the dual threats of Necromancer and Green Knight were hoped for. Individual players may have had other purposes in mind?]
>>
>>5462541
>Reject this proposal, and move to leave
sorry bro but the conversion is a must for us and also Solinsyr is way less of a hassle.
>>
>>5462541
>Reject this proposal, and move to leave

This guys seems assertive and ambitious. That’s not good for us, we need a weaker candidate.
>>
>>5462541
>Reject this proposal, and move to leave

My dawg Olu would be pissed
>>
>>5462541
>Would you be willing to compromise on the spreading of the True Faith?
I don’t mind a strong ally, or respecting Drow culture, but the True Faith is where I draw the line. If he can’t compromise on that, I can’t in good faith support his House. And if we cannot ensure that assassins won’t harm us…
>Prepare to bring this complex down on him and his house afterwards.
>Visit Prince Minothel after
Maybe we can woo the party Prince to our cause instead.
>>
>>5462541
>Reject this proposal, and move to leave
My favorite is for now dragonfly guy.
>>
>>5462541
>Reject his proposal, and move to leave
Not gonna lie I regret sticking our noses in drow politics, I say we go meet the last prince and then after building up a bit more following we do a public proclaimation about who we support, and if we wanna get a surefire result of our pick just give em Endymion and itll definitely get some good attention, maybe spin a lie about how the dark gods sent us to present the kingsblade to the true king, if we have a good enough following our word is already what theyll follow, but the sword will cement our pick
>>
>>5462625
>>5462687
>>5462805
>>5462888
>>5462930
You know what? We should've actually unironically went with Tlintear and bought them with riches. Their faggot of a prince would keep drow in stagnation while importing surface-items and we wouldn't have to worry about either their military growing too strong or some mage fuck wanting to return to surface and live peacefully with the scum that drove our species underground. Then we could leave this bullshit all behind and de-drow the dragon quest (while trying to keep Jazkarmel/Centilancer with us, of course).
>>
>>5462541
>Modify this proposal with your own conditions [what do you want? what do you offer?]
>>Would you be willing to compromise on the spreading of the True Faith?
>>
>>5462571
>>5462629
>>5462687
>>5462737
>>5462805
>>5462888
>>5462930
>>5463105
You lean back, considering the Prince’s words. More and more, you feel this negotiation was a mistake—maybe ALL this Drow diplomacy. This Prince of Sambra is willful and, while that is not a bad thing in a king, it is a bad thing in a vassal… Which is, indeed, what you hope the Drow of Wevenore will one day become.

“I cannot compromise on the preaching of the True Faith—”

“’True Faith’?” the Prince mocks.

You narrow your eyes.

“—and you have been quite rude to my companion, and uncooperative. I would require… concessions… In exchange for my support.”

This sets the Prince off.

“My CONCESSION, lizardman, is that I offer you my protection now, and my tolerance when I am king.”

You push back your chair and stand, and Hamaraska belatedly follows suit… Once their knife is sheathed.

“IF you become king,” you correct him, a little smugly. “Emphasis on ‘if’.”

The prince doesn’t rise, though his guard-elves grow more alert at your movement. They need not—you turn away.

“We are leaving, then.”

“Yes,” the Prince agrees.

As you are escorted out, the atmosphere is tense. Many strangely-hued elven eyes watch you depart, with a mix of fascination and hostility. Save for Hamaraska, you are alone in a hostile camp.

“I’m sorry,” Hamaraska whispers. “I wasn’t much use.”

“It is not your fault,” you sigh. “The Prince and I simply have contrary objectives. We cannot bridge this divide without compromising my mission.”

The Lancer is silent for a time, then asks, “What is your mission, Theral?”

You raise an eyebrow at this familiarity—your pseudonym, with no title?—but acknowledge that Hamaraska isn’t ACTUALLY your follower or subject. Rather, they tagged along and followed your lead as… Well, a friend. A ‘drinking buddy’ is the dwarven term, you believe.

“To make your people strong, safe, and prosperous,” you answer, truthful by technicality and lying only by omission. “To ensure friendship between our races.”

As you exit the complex, you further explain your philosophy of community—inclusive, cooperative, brutally destructive to the enemy within and without—and the Lancer listens quietly. Eventually, they nod.

“I am with you,” they say.

You feel a strange warmth in your chest, even as you are disappointed with your failure at converting the assassin-prince to your way of thinking. You have made ONE stalwart ally, at least.
>>
>>5463247
The guards at the Sambran complex gate slam their polearms’ butts with a rude finality as you return once more to your other allies.

“How did it go?” the Archer asks.

He sees your expression, and grins.

“So, it is war then, Dragonborn?”

You glance over your shoulder at the complex, and…
>Issue the order to attack, beginning with an <Earth Tremor> to soften them up
>Leave… To return when their guard is lower, to collapse this castle as you once planned
>Let the Sambrans live, but travel next to negotiate with Minothel of Tlintear—let you turn their other rival to your cause!
>Focus on your work among the commoners—return to your base to evangelize your new followers and follow-up on the Novice’s experiments
>Dismiss these silly political games altogether—you have done your part for Lahlabar and Yvonlace, and now you shall make preparations to leave Wevenore and return to Bloodrise now
>Write-in

>>5462571
>>5462930
>>5462976
[My apologies if the arc is dragging. I hope you're still mostly enjoying yourselves! I may have gotten a bit too granular with the political maneuvering angle. If people would prefer to gloss over the remainder of that, pick one of the last two option or write-in something else you'd like to do while in Wevenore while the political jockeying is occurring, and we'll skip to the final stage of the king's appointment]
>>
>>5463249
>Focus on your work among the commoners—return to your base to evangelize your new followers and follow-up on the Novice’s experiments

>Discuss a pre-emotive attack on the Sambrans with the Dragonfly prince and our other eleven allies

I’m in favour of simply destroying their rivals, but we should probably check with them first.

Do more conversion in the meantime, while weaving in the fact that misfortune may come to those who don’t follow the Dark Gods…will tie in nicely when we attack those who have ‘affronted’ the Gods
>>
>>5463249
>Let the Sambrans live, but travel next to negotiate with Minothel of Tlintear—let you turn their other rival to your cause!
I’m fine with killing them, but maybe Minothel would like to help us dunk on them too?
>>
>>5463249
>Let the Sambrans live, but travel next to negotiate with Minothel of Tlintear—let you turn their other rival to your cause!
Or just
>Dismiss these silly political games altogether—you have done your part for Lahlabar and Yvonlace, and now you shall make preparations to leave Wevenore and return to Bloodrise now
RQM can you explain why would we even attack this guy head-on? Open act of aggression seems like a political suicide, nothing else. Did I forget something about drow politics?
>>
>>5463333
Nice quads!

I’d be in favor of earthquaking the place into oblivion. Like, mass assassinate the assassins. I just want Minothel to openly attack them and take the blame for it instead.
>>
>>5463333
>RQM can you explain why would we even attack this guy head-on? Open act of aggression seems like a political suicide, nothing else. Did I forget something about drow politics?
[You could probably use your connection with the Queen and the assassination attempt as justification, or just leave the city (or try to overthrow its leadership) if that failed. It may or may not WORK, but you're not obligated to play the MC as shrewd -- you can be impulsive, vengeful, or bloodthirsty as you desire.]
>>
>>5463249
>Focus on your work among the commoners—return to your base to evangelize your new followers and follow-up on the Novice’s experiments
>>
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>>5463343
>be as impulsive, vengeful or bloodthirsty as you desire
Wha. You overestimated how much we care for this guy and his shit. Dragonborn and Thickthighs lmaoing at him on their way to get fucked up on hallucinogenic cave snail beer and wake up both naked in a fountain. That would actually be more entertaining than this politics shit.
>start a conflict and fail
>try overthrowing the entire government and fail
>refuse to elaborate
>leave
Weirdly specific. All in all kinda feels like you're a bit pushy with this aggression.
>>5463341
Oh fug, an omen. What could it mean???
>>
>>5463410
>Dragonborn and Thickthighs lmaoing at him on their way to get fucked up on hallucinogenic cave snail beer and wake up both naked in a fountain.
That would actually be funny.
>Oh fug, an omen. What could it mean???
THE QUADS!!!
>>
>>5463410
for the record, I'm >>5463333
>>
>>5463410
>you're a bit pushy with this aggression
[I mean, the vote was initially pretty even between conforntation and destroying the complex while making it look like an accident, so I wrote Theral as being angry. You can vite how you like, anon. The MC's mood will shift to accomodate.]
>>
>>5463437
Yeah I guess, it seems we moved on from it rather quickly. If I keep calling him Dragonborn, will he shift to accomodate that too?
>>
>>5463446
No, we held a vote. He's a/the Dragonborn, and always will be, but that was only ever a descriptor/title anyway, and he has come to identify at least somewhat with the name 'Theral' among friends. It still isn't he true name, so feel free to think of it as a nickname.
>>
>>5463249
>Leave… To return when their guard is lower, to collapse this castle as you once planned

>Focus on your work among the commoners—return to your base to evangelize your new followers and follow-up on the Novice’s experiments
>>
>>5463449
Well I have nothing against dragonborn having a name, just find it very unfortunate it's elven in origin. Anyway, will we get some lootbox for quads? I don't remember whether it was a quad or penta that got Ismena the access to Akashic Record lol.
>>
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>>5463458
[You'll get a bit of divine fortune on your next roll.]
>>
>>5463254
>>5463318
>>5463333
>>5463419
>>5463457
“…No,” you sigh. “Not yet.”

With your initial rage abated, you find you’ve lost your taste for carnage—or, at least, the lingering desire to flex your magical muscle against this malcontent has dwindled, and common sense has prevailed. Still, your irritation lingers—not just with House Sambra, but with Wevenore’s complicated politics in general.

“Let us return to our hosts’ home.”

And so you do, your motley crew trailing behind you. You return to the slums, and immediately set elven converts and long-time allies alike to fortifying and guarding the site while you get up-to-speed on what you have missed while you have been convening with the not-yet-King of Elves and his rivals.

“I have run every variety of test which this SADLY substandard equipment can facilitate,” the Novice Fleshweaver explains, sneaking in a pointed complaint to shore up her credibility for what comes next.

“And?” you ask tiredly.

“The transformed elves are unchanged, utterly.”

You tilt your head, awaiting a more intelligible explanation.

“OBVIOUSLY they are physically transformed,” the Novice clarifies. “But their blood… It is not. This condition is not one of the body but… The soul.”

You look to the two elven children who cower against one wall, covered by thin robes.

“So a magical effect, like my <Dragonshape>?” you ask. “Is it temporary?”

The Novice nods, then shakes her head instead.

“Not quite,” she says. “It is… A blessing, or a curse. The magic behind it is powerful, permanent… Maybe something you could dismiss with a powerful enough counterspell, but… This spell is woven of strong stuff. I’ll admit it: not even I could shatter the enchantment.”

You refrain from pointing out that casting and breaking curses isn’t exactly the Novice’s specialty, so ‘even her’ being unable to resolve it doesn’t mean ALL that much. It’s not an argument you have the energy for right now. Besides… You know the origin is divine. It is no surprise that it is a powerful and difficult-to -negate enchantment. What IS surprising is what the Novice Fleshweaver tells you next:

“It is spreading.”

“Like a contagion?” you ask urgently.

How might the elves perceive this, if it becomes an epidemic of dragon-like transmogrification.

“Not… Quite” the Novice explains.

The ‘infection’ doesn’t spread like a traditional disease, along vectors of contact. Rather, it seems to effect only very young children, and only those of a small subset of your new converts: those who, upon close conversation, seem the most convinced by your arguments and anecdotes that they should follow the Dark Gods.
>>
>>5463600
“Your ‘Lady of the Rookery’ works in mysterious ways,” Hamaraska the Lancer comments, as the two of you indulge in a measured intake of the local inebriant-brew.

“They all do!” You lament, intoxicated to the point of unwise openness. “I did not REQUEST this, but now…”

You trail off, staring down into your mushroom-cap ‘mug’. The Junior Novice and Hondemdyn the Centipede join the two of you, serving as sober sentries and companions to idly pet or stroke when the mood strikes—a surprisingly-calming activity.

“Prince Corandiirn already knows of this. He will surely recognize the spread of the… Phenomenon. He will use it against us.”

“It’s lucky that only the children of the most loyal followers are affected,” Hamaraska comments, sipping their drink. “Their parents swaddle them like bugbears, keep them indoors… Await further instructions.”

It is true: through further preaching, you have made clear the need to keep this ‘blessing’ a secret from the elven authorities. It is a testament to your subversive influence upon the lower class and the basest mercenaries that word has not yet spread through overt, public channels. Still, you know better than most than even a secret stigma an emerge and compromise one’s image.

“The Winter Ball is in only another week,” Hamaraska comments. “Then, a new King will be selected, to ascend in springtime. You could try to keep it secret until then?”

You mull over the idea. There is something to be said for heading off the discovery at the allegorical pass—of getting ahead of this development before it undermines your message. But then again… That means further embroiling yourself in local politics.

What will you do?
>Keep quiet about this matter for now, until the next king is chosen
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel
>Make a public declaration of this ahead of the Ball, and let the affected proudly display their glorious bronze scales as proof of divine favour
>Write-in
>>
>>5463601
You and your elven companion drink in silence for a time—Hamaraska comfortable with quiet, and you deep in thought.

“Have you thought upon… Who you will bring to the ball?”

You look up, distracted from your daunting decisions of faith and politics by this unexpected and… Somewhat SILLY question.

“What?” you ask. “Oh, I had given no thought to it. All of my entourage, I suppose.”

The Lancer shakes their head in quiet rebuke, and clarifies: “Your partner. To dance with, at the Changing of Seasons dance.”

“Wait,” you say, “The what?”

The Lancer explains that, at each such festival, it is Drow tradition—dating back from ancient days wen their pantheon included a fertility goddess, but since carried over as a secular ceremony—to invite another to dance with each attending dignitary in a manner meant to invoke a plentiful spring. This time, this ‘plentiful spring’ is both literal, as in the next few months, AND symbolic of the reign of the King of Elves for the next decades-long term.

It is, of course, a bunch of decadent and silly mammalian hogwash. But, well, it IS tradition.

“So?” Hamaraska presses, with surprising insistence and obvious interest. “Is it that mage of yours, then? The snake-necked one?”

How do you respond?
>The Novice Fleshweaver is to be your partner… If you can convince her to attend such a function. Does she know how to dance? Do… Oh Gods, do YOU?
>You will not be dancing. You are a foreigner and a member of a different species. They can’t possibly expect you to engage in such irrelevant idiocy.
>Actually… The Lancer seems to know something of this. Maybe the thigh-thighed centipede-rider can attend as your escort, and provide you lessons to avoid making a fool of yourself?
>You wouldn’t mind a less-combative ‘rematch’ with Azonia the Duelist… Your thoughts have drifted to her fine figure from time to time.
>Write-in

Do you have any other subjects you wish to discuss with your entourage in the lead up to the Winter Ball and selection of the King of Elves?
>Write-in [a good time for any clarifications or setting questions you have, or to make plans with your other companions relating to any side-objectives]
>>
>>5463602
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel
>You wouldn’t mind a less-combative ‘rematch’ with Azonia the Duelist… Your thoughts have drifted to her fine figure from time to time.
Nothing comes to mind for the write in at the minute.
>>
>>5463602
>The Novice Fleshweaver is to be your partner… If you can convince her to attend such a function. Does she know how to dance? Do… Oh Gods, do YOU?
>>
>>5463602
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel

>The Novice Fleshweaver is to be your partner… If you can convince her to attend such a function. Does she know how to dance? Do… Oh Gods, do YOU?
If she refuse, make her full jealous with Azonia
>>
>>5463601
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel
I can't believe thus shit happened cause some idiots wanted to shag eldrich horror dragon mommy.
>>5463602
>You will not be dancing. You are a foreigner and a member of a different species. They can’t possibly expect you to engage in such irrelevant idiocy.
We're not elves, why would we care? Have some INDIVIDUALITY for once.
>Visit Tlintear
If possible? Reason: >>5462976
>>
>>5463601
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel
>You wouldn’t mind a less-combative ‘rematch’ with Azonia the Duelist… Your thoughts have drifted to her fine figure from time to time.
>Visit Tlintear
>Have Hamaraska give us dancing lessons
I honestly think Novice would prefer her experiments over this, but I’m not opposed to dancing with her either. Wouldn’t mind bonding with Hama a bit either.
>>
>>5464063
Well duh, she's a sociopathic, reptilian narcissist who humiliated the MC all her life and doesn't have need for the emotional mammal bullshit. If anything, she hates it.
>>
>>5463601
>Discuss the transformation of the converts with Prince Solinsyr and Princess Jazkarmel

leaning towards announcing it

>The Novice Fleshweaver is to be your partner… If you can convince her to attend such a function. Does she know how to dance? Do… Oh Gods, do YOU?
if we can't get her, Hamaraska
>>
>>5463803
Supporting this
>>
>>5464063
Support
I like the Novice, but she’s more of a nerdy tsundere than a party goer. If she’s wants to come though, I would appreciate it.
>>
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>>5464535
>>5464296
>>5464195
>>5464063
>>5463864
>>5463803
>>5463770
>>5463617
[Locked and writing!]
>>
>>5464664
You briefly consider inviting Hamaraska the Lancer t be your dancing partner, if only because you don’t actually have any idea how to dance, but… No. You have some notion of the symbolism regarding this dance, among the gender-obsessed dark elves of Wevenore, at this time of transition of power from a female sovereign to a male one. In your studies of surface-scum culture, you have learned how the mammals use dances as a sort of courtship or mating ritual. You require a female partner, and Hamaraska…

The Lancer is…

“King Theral,” Hamaraska the Lancer says, “you are staring.”

Well, you’re not really sure what Hamaraska’s sex is, and you fear broaching the subject will lead to some confusing elven non-explanation that only befuddle you further.

“I may need lessons,” you say instead. “My tutelage did not include dance.”

“A sad oversight,” Hamaraska notes dryly.

“Was that irony? A joke, from the quiet Drow knight?”

“I joke often,” The Lancer replies. “You just never catch them. They go over your head, tall as you are.”

You both laugh quietly. This is, you reflect, one of your easier friendships—like Olu the Archer, this Drow is a battle-brother (or battle-sister? Battle-SOMETHING), and they respect you, but they are not ASSIGNED to you, not SUBSERVIENT. They plainly admire you, defer to you, but it is without the soft compulsion of the Fearsome Presence, or the chattel relationship which dominates relations with the Throat-singer (or Davora before him). Unlike the Novice you have no difficult history, and the elf’s jokes lack the inherent sharpness of the young Fleshweaver’s; among your race, even allies, there is always the jockeying for social dominance and the assertion of power dynamics.

“Very well,” the Lancer sighs, setting down their now-emptied wine-cup and slowly standing with a slight wobble.

“Huh?” you ask, distracted by your intoxicant-aided introspection.

The Drow beckons to you with both hands.

“Rise,” the Lancer says, with mock-formality. “We dance!”

And so you do—clumsily, uncoordinated from a lack of familiarity and from the drink, stepping on each other’s feet and struggling to adjust for your difference in size. You find yourself not humiliated for your lack of skill or grace, however; the Drow laughs, but not AT you. You join the strange little dark elf in laughter at your mutual ineptitude.

(You’re only a little distracted by the way certain steps bring you bodies close together, and the Lancer’s strong, thick thighs you rest against you.)

“A few more attempts, and you may just get it,” Hamaraska muses, rather charitably by your estimation. “Music would help.”

You tilt your head at the notion. Music for pleasure, for dancing, is also quite the alien concept to you… But you suppose it could help with timing the steps of the strange Drow waltz.

“So, who will you invite?” the Lancer presses.

“…Hm.”
>>
>>5464704
The next day, you focus on more important and urgent matters, which can be put off no longer: the matter of the ‘blessed children’ and their faux-draconic mutation. You cannot hide this forever—perhaps not for long at all—and so you bring it to your allies, Solinsyr and Jazkarmel.

“Wait,” Jazkarmel says, eyes widening. “WHAT?”

Solinsyr lowers his hands into his head, face a veritable death-mask, and stares down at the table between you three (and Olu). All other servants have been dismissed, to afford you privacy.

“It’s over,” The Prince of Lahlabar laments. “We are done. I am UNdone! The Winter Ball is when each nobleborn candidate formally issues their challenge and makes their case for kingship, or else steps back and nominates another.”

“You are so defeatist,” your Archer scoffs, unconcerned with showing deference to a mammalian potentate as he would a Reptilian superior. “We have made substantial gains among the common folk and warrior-class.”

“The LEAST influential in selecting a King of Elves? Who get one nomination between the entirety of them?” he demands, glaring across the table at Oluwadamilare. “And how MUCH less will they be trusted and respected, once they are revealed to be contaminated by alien, DIVINE influence?”

“Then make them see it as a positive thing,” Olu argues back, increasingly confident in these meetings. “Can you do NOTHING without King Theral’s help? We have run your campaign for you, succeeded in stealing away support from your rival, and you cannot think of a way to turn a DIRECT intervention by the Holy Mother into a boon?”

“Listen here, you half-breed CREATURE—”

“No wonder you fail in every attempt to court the nobility.”

Jazkarmel reaches out, placing a hand gently upon each of the bickering males, and thus bringing some measure of calm to them both—albeit stoking a secondary tension, by the way they look between her and one another with a smouldering dislike.

“WE have struggled because of Prince Minothel of Tlintear,” suggests Jazkarmel. “He has obviously been courting his own base, and pretty effectively. He has the connections which Solinsyr—and I—lack. And whatever treasures we bring… Well, Minothel can claim them and distribute them as King of Elves, and he has a reputation for being a very generous friend.”
>>
>>5464706
“Generous with information, too, when it suits him,” Solinsyr notes, looking up sharply. “You said Tlintear sent an elfmaid… A soldier, yes?—to aid you in the battle against the ghouls? And that she stayed with you in that… HOVEL of yours, King Theral?”

You process the question.

“The Duelist, called Azonia?” you ask. “You think she spied the first affected children, and passed this intelligence along to her house’s master? That he then passed it to House Sambra to… What? Encourage an attack? Pit us against one another, distract us?”

Solinsyr says nothing, but you see Jazkarmel’s face shift to concern. Even Olu the Archer grimaces.

“We were infiltrated,” your Degenerate ally groans. “I should have seen the signs…”

You don’t know if you’re more outraged or impressed. A deadly swordswoman AND a skilled spy? Clever girl…

You recall those fierce, sparkling purple eyes, glaring at you defiantly, excitedly, during your dance-of-blades.

…Hm.
>>
>>5464725
“You want me to WHAT?” the Novice balks.

Having concluded your meeting with the elven Prince and Princess, you bring your formal invitation to the Novice Fleshweaver:

“I have been practicing the steps of this… Ritual performance of agility, stamina, and dexterity… And I think I am ready. I require a partner, however, ideally of similar physical and social stature.”

“So you are selecting me for this IDIOTIC spectacle because I am… Tall, and a Serpent Priestess?”

“Yes.”

“And NOT because you wish you place your filthy, grasping ape-paws all over me?” the Novice sneers, rattling with mocking laughter.

“…No,” you say.

It is not wholly truthful, and the Novice Fleshweaver plainly does not believe you. She turns away from you, her tail lashing in… Irritation? Embarrassment?

“I… Will NOT denigrate myself by dancing with this primitive, pointy-eared, warm-blooded little… Gah!”

You hold back your amusement. It IS embarrassment! You’ve flustered the Fleshweaver!

“You know…” you muse with faux-innocence, “I COULD just order you to attend.”

“And I COULD be persuaded to consider a coup against my FALSE ‘Copper Dragon King of Bloodrise’,” she hisses back, hunching over her tray of scale and horn samples taken from the many divinely-touched elf-children.

You tap your chin.

“Or maybe,” you speculate out loud, “I could invite that Duelist…”

The Novice whirls around, wide-eyed, almost frantic.

“The one who INFILTRATED us?!” she demands. “The one who continually ASSAULTS you?”

“I wouldn’t mind a less COMBATIVE sort of ‘rematch’,” you note.

The Novice stares daggers.

“Are you really so swayed by your monkey-brained obsession with swollen and bloated mammary glands that you would risk further… ENGAGEMENT… With this duplicitous THING?”

You tilt your head.

“Were her glands especially large?” you feign ignorance, deliberately unconvincing. “I did not notice.”

The Novice hisses furiously, tail now whipping the ground as if to punish the stone beneath her feet.

...Hm...

“Are you jealous?” you tease.

“AS IF!” the Novice practically roars. “FINE! I will attend this ENORMOUS waste of my time, abandoning my CRITICAL research just as our enemies CLSOE IN AROUND US. Is THAT what you want to hear, you, you…”

“I graciously accept your pathetic pleas to join me in this dance, Chaplain’s Daughter,” you say calmly.

The Novice stares in mortified fury.

“GET OUT GET OUT GET OOOOUUUT!” she wails.
>>
>>5464733
You leave, openly laughing, ignoring the confused stares of the elves (and Karz Throat-singer).

There is only a little time left before the Winter Ball now. What will you do to prepare politically?
>Request an audience with Prince Minothel of Tlintear, to confront him about his spy and his intentions
>Approach Corandiir of Sambra with your suspicions, and seek his support against manipulative Minothel
>Act covertly to attack one or both rival houses, bringing them low and potentially slaying their incumbent Prince before the Winter Ball
>Issue an overt challenge to one or both rival houses, accusing them of plotting the assassination of foreign diplomats invited by the Queen of Elves
>Leave these desperate Drow princelings be—they cannot defeat you by even these means, try as they might
>Write-in

What will you do with the counsel of your advisors, in regard to the god-touched, bronze-scaled children?
>Keep them hidden, avoiding the scandal of this transformed ‘monstrous’ children
>Display their condition—their BLESSING—proudly and openly, and take full credit
>Pray to the Mother of Dragons to reverse this, and to take back her strange ‘gift’
>Write-in

What else will you do with your time?
>Continue dance practice with Hamaraska—and bring the Novice too, and the Throat-singer for musical accompaniment
>Arrange a private meeting with Azonia, to discuss her activities against you
>Seek a tailor to prepare you something less… MARTIAL… to wear to the ball, and maybe something for the Novice as well
>Nothing—you wish to get this event over with and return home
>Write-in
>>
>>5464735
>Request an audience with Prince Minothel of Tlintear, to confront him about his spy and his intentions

I did want to meet the guy at least once
Corandiir didn't go too hot but maybe he'll be different.

>Display their condition—their BLESSING—proudly and openly, and take full credit

>Continue dance practice with Hamaraska—and bring the Novice too, and the Throat-singer for musical accompaniment

not healthy to be in a stuffy lab all day
she'll turn into another Henzler at this rate

>Seek a tailor to prepare you something less… MARTIAL… to wear to the ball, and maybe something for the Novice as well

maybe we could fit in time to say not cool bro to Azonia real quick, but sussing out drow isn't something I think we can do. sure didn't go well with the prince.
>>
>>5464749
Was voting, but realized it was exact same; so +1
>>
>>5464735
>Leave these desperate Drow princelings be—they cannot defeat you by even these means, try as they might
>Pray to the Mother of Dragons to reverse this, and to take back her strange ‘gift’
>Nothing—you wish to get this event over with and return home
>>5464733
actual cancer
>>
>>5464735
>Target the few Lesser Noble Houses that support the Sambrans with promises of wealth and EXPANSION. Perhaps they are easier prey than the one's who follower Minothel.

Minothel's noble lackeys are pretty entrenched with him so might as well keep trying to suck away at the Sambran's base. They got to have a few nobles who support them.

>Display their condition—their BLESSING—proudly and openly, and take full credit

>Continue dance practice with Hamaraska—and bring the Novice too, and the Throat-singer for musical accompaniment
>>
>>5464735
>Request an audience with Prince Minothel of Tlintear, to confront him about his spy and his intentions
>Keep them hidden, avoiding the scandal of this transformed ‘monstrous’ children
>Continue dance practice with Hamaraska—and bring the Novice too, and the Throat-singer for musical accompaniment
>Arrange a private meeting with Azonia, to discuss her activities against you
Dude, sick spycraft, but totally uncool bruh.
>>
>>5464735
>Request an audience with Prince Minothel of Tlintear, to confront him about his spy and his intentions
>Target the few Lesser Noble Houses that support the Sambrans with promises of wealth and EXPANSION. Perhaps they are easier prey than the one's who follower Minothel.

>Continue dance practice with Hamaraska—and bring the Novice too, and the Throat-singer for musical accompaniment
>>
>>5464749
Supporting this
>>
>>5464996
+1, with a seek tailor
I just don't know if creating a scandal at this moment is smart.
>>
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>>5465689
>>5465413
>>5465400
>>5464996
>>5464906
>>5464894
>>5464815
>>5464749
[Locked!]
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>>5465765
Having tormented your childhood tormenter sufficiently, and secured a ‘plus-one’ for the upcoming Winter Ball, you set about making the two of you presentable to mixed company at such a function. This vital diplomatic exercise requires multiples steps, each integral to your over all plan, to execute.

“You are ENJOYING this,” the Novice sulks. “Is it my suffering you delight in, Dragonborn, or are you simply going native, surrounded by your fellow primates?”

You hiss at the Novice to shush herself, though none of your present company is likely to understand her. You have gathered together in the home of one of your expanding flock of followers—one of the parents of the scaled children—and commanded the new acolytes to attest to their faith by vacating their hut for use as a space of dance tutelage. Accompanying you are your tutor (the Lancer) and your bard (the Throat-singer, of course).

Both remain studiously stone-faced at the bickering of you two dancers. Hamaraska smiles only slightly at the clumsiness with which you begin your movements together, slowly moving to the tune of the Throat-singer’s curious, tremulous tune.

“This… Is not exactly like what you’ll experience at the Ball,” the elf notes in their Dark Elven. “This music is quite unusual. Can your bard play string instruments?”

You translate, and Karz sighs and shakes his head.

“I can sort of play the bagpipes,” he volunteers in Northern Common-tongue, the only language you and he share.

You translate.

“The what?”

More translation ensues.

“Ah,” Hamaraska replies. “Uh, no, I don’t think that will help. This is a waltz, not a jig.”

“Gods damn you, Dragonborn, can you not teach your servants PROPER speech?!” the Novice demands in True Speech.

“You speak Northern Common-tongue,” you note.

“The music already grates on my ears. Why should the words as well?”

You can see the real source of her annoyance: you are mastering the steps much faster than her. She is embarrassed to be floundering so visibly in front of her lesser. Perhaps it is your earlier (Albeit drunken and half-serious) practice with the Lancer. Maybe it’s your aptitude for athleticism—dancing I not SO different from the practice of swordplay, as far as footwork is concerned, if you can adjust your mindset. Maybe… It’s your mammalian heritage?

>+1 Dance
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>>5465785
“It could be the clothes,” the Lancer suggests. “You’re both tripping on her robe.”

The Novice was also complaining about being ‘stabbed and jabbed by that accursed armour’. Perhaps it is time for the second step of your clever plan to make a great impression upon the attendees of the ball…

“You want me to let these elves… FONDLE me?” the Novice cringes.

“I did not say ‘fondle’,” you correct. “Simply… Measure you for your clothing.”

“I am wearing the robes of the Order of Fleshweavers, a prestigious and auspicious attire!” the young Serpent Priestess boasts.

“Well, of a Novice Fleshweaver,” you note. “You know, you could stand to have a change of clothing every now and then, to wash and mend your old robes.”

“I have spares,” she hisses, “and I’ll not take fashion advice from a meathead who sleeps in his armour.”

However, at your continued needling insistence, she does allow the elves to size her up, just as you do. You cede to the judgement of Jazkarmel and the royal tailors as to what the garb should look like, providing only a key design philosophy…
>It should be comfortable and flowy
>It should be striking and bold
>It should be fearsome and imposing
>It should be sensual (especially the Novice’s)
>Write-in

[Continuing post, don't vote yet.]
>>
Rolled 19, 1, 13, 3, 12 = 48 (5d20)

>>5465787
While the tailors are working on your requested garments, preparing for your ‘coming out party’ (an elven aphorism for one’s first formal public appearance, apparently), you stage a rather significant ‘coming out’ of your own. You have decided to reveal, publicly and openly, the transformation of your followers! After all, keeping them shrouded in secrecy threatens to make your actions appear illicit, subversive. Which… Well, you ARE subverting the Drow, but it is for their own good, and your followers recognize this!

There is nothing to hide or obfuscate here, after all: the Mother Goddess has given these elves a GIFT, decorated them with shimmering glory.

You use your expanding network among the dark elves to spread to word of a grand announcement. Then, with the proud parents—proud, but somewhat nervous, you notice—you lead a procession through the streets, from the slums to the higher-places closer to the central oasis at the core of Wevenore. There, along the shore, you command those in your cult with the aptitude of illuminating magics to ignite and amplify the glow of local crystal lanterns.

“As you know,” you announce to the gathering, curious crowd of locals, “I come to your city to bring strength, glory, and the blessings of the Dark Gods. They have liberated your ancestors and protected your sacred places from the malevolent attentions of ghouls and demons. Their fond attentions are not limited to your death, though: they also care for you, as they would care for their own children, in life!”

It is at this point that the blessed ones, heretofore enshrouded in concealing robes of roughly-woven silk, cast down their concealing cloaks to reveal themselves to the shocked and startled crowd. Illuminated proudly in the glow of a dozen mage-augmented crystals, they shine—just as you shine—with glorious copper armour, and all their other divine augmentations.

Horns point proudly to the sky. Spiked chins turn upwards with pride, or at least the best facsimile the poor elf-waifs can manage when they are so used to hiding away from the eyes of their betters; they are more comfortable evading such attention than commanding it. Their nails are blackened, sharpened, elongated; their eyes are shining green. They all look taller, more muscular, than any other elves you have seen of the same age. Their hair and teeth—albeit SHARP teeth, now—look healthier.

“Behold!” you bellow, with all your prophet’s zeal brought here from the Bloodrise. “Your lowliest offspring, raised up and made marvelous, by the bounty of the Mother of Dragons—made into true DROW-DRAGONS!”

You came up with the name yourself. The alliteration is nice, you think. You realize it sounds somewhat better in True Speech, though. You find yourself sharing somewhat in the anxiety of the young elves, as you await the reaction.

DC 15/17/19; Diplomacy, with a bonus for religion.
>>
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>>5465790
>1
Among the crowd, a few Drow retch, or jeer, or cry out in disgust and anger…

>19
But many, MANY more whisper in what you quickly begin to understand as awe. The naysayers are quickly drowned out by cheers and shouts of praise for the Dark Gods. At first, most come from the proud parents, and from those other converts who long for such blessings to be bestowed upon their own families. However, this mood spreads out, ripples through even the more socially-advantaged dark elves. The young ones display their improved physical prowess in feats of strength, agility, in sparring matches and—yes—in dance.

A few turn away in incredulous fury and shove their way out of the audience… But far more push for the privilege to see your supplicants’ sparkling-skinned spawn up close, and even to touch them and examine them in wonder.

As the revelatory event draws more and more Drow in, you begin to preach the wonders of the Lady of the Rookery who brought this gift, and relate to an expanded, more upwardly-mobile throng than ever has attended your sermons before of the great feats which the Serpent Ascendant has inspired you to perform. You tell these soldiers, merchants, noble-employed mages, and skilled craftspeople the hidden secrets of the Master of the Insightful Eye, and the peace and soul-security which comes with the proper rites which you render to Death Incarnate.

In the wake of the event, even some members of the lower nobility seem eager to request your presence and hear what you have to say about the future of their race… As followers of your gods, members of your alliance.

Buoyed by this success, you decide it is time to pay a long-overdue visit to the last of the three Princes-Ascendant: Minothel, of Tlintear.
>>
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>>5465796

The Tlintear House is well-situated along a major trade-road threw the city. Nestled comfortably in a nest of plenty. Along the route, you pass many Drow merchants plying stolen surface-wares battered by travel, old artefacts with lingering lustre that look as if they have seen better centuries, and the best artisan sculpture and crystal decoration which the dark elves seem capable of manufacturing in their current sorry condition. So too do you see clutches of eggs, and adult insects of unusual size purported to be their parent—pets and helpers for the nobility. Among them spiders and glittering hard-shelled beetles seem most popular. Between the captured cloth and cultivated carapaces, this is the most colour which your eyes have ever glimpsed in Wevenore…

Until you see Tlintear’s compelx itself.

Every wall—outside and, once you are announced and invited, inside—is replete with the hanging banners of which bear the black bird-sigil of the house. The symbols is a later addition, sewn over the crests of surface nations and their own nobility, or over spools of fascinatingly-patterned cloth from across the world above. It is, honestly, a little tacky… But it is ostentatious and a clear display of wealth. Even more than the Queen’s own palace, this place is well-lit, breaking up the darkness of these deep reaches to better show off this phantasmagorical gallery in something other than the grayscale of Darkvision.

You can see why so many of those in attendance are so jubilant. Many are intoxicated, true, but others sober in body if not in spirit. Olu and Ivno, accompanying you, keep their hands on their weapons and their eyes ever vigilant for threats, but none offer you other than curious looks or boisterous salutations as you stride into the large, open ‘courtyard’ of the festively-decorated complex.

You ignore them all. You are here for two elves alone: the Prince, and his little spy.

You find the latter first… or rather, Azonia the Duelist finds YOU.

“The dragon sees fit to come visit at last!”

You turn to face the familiar voice, and find… Not exactly what you expected. Gone is the armour, the gauntlets, and greaves. Instead, the Duelist is clad in a richly-if-gaudily decorated black-and-green robe, bound at the waist by a single long tassel tied in a complicated knot. It’s technically a less-revealing outfit than her combat attire in terms of skin on display, but contrasts her gemlike eyes rather beautifully…

And her chest-bindings are gone, too. By the Dark Gods Beyond and Below… They’re each larger than her HEAD!
>>
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>>5465812
“…Dragon?” Azonia waves, and you shift your gaze upwards.

“I… Notice you had no swords on your person.”

“Well, not NO swords,” she says, with a smirk of sinister excitement. “But they’re less obvious. You don’t need to be on guard in Tlintear territory, you know! You ought to tell your, uh, ‘men’ that.”

“It is natural to be wary around spies and infiltrators,” the Archer shoots back.

Azonia the Duelist has the good grace to look embarrassed, but shrugs.

“Orders are orders,” she says. “Besides, from what I hear, you aren’t exactly keeping your scaley situation a secret anymore. Word has already spread all over Wevenore, you know!”

You tilt your head, and say nothing.

“Oh, come on!” she rolls her eyes. “Are you seriously MAD at me for doing my job?”

How do you reply?
>Yes, and you demand an audience with the Prince who ordered this invasion of your privacy--IMMEDIATELY
>No, but you’re disappointed, and you don’t want to see her around anymore
>No, you’re actually impressed… Maybe enough to see if she’d rather work for you?
>If she wants to make this up to you, she could tell you what she knows about a recent assassination attempt…
>If she wants to make it up to you, you could use a dance partner for this little gala [seduction]
>Write-in
>>
>>5465787
>It should be striking and bold

>>5465790
>drow-dragons
uh, drowgons?

>If she wants to make this up to you, she could tell you what she knows about a recent assassination attempt…
it doesn't really make sense to be mad at her, but hey if we can get info out of it we can fake being mad
>>
>>5465818
>drowgons
[That's pretty good! I was just referencing these dudes: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Drow-dragon]
>>
>>5465817
>No, but you’re disappointed, and you don’t want to see her around anymore

She was only made because an anon was horny. Get rid of her.
>>
>>5465817
>No, you’re actually impressed… Maybe enough to see if she’d rather work for you?
I feel it will be another consensual vote.
>>
>>5465817
>Yes, and you demand an audience with the Prince who ordered this invasion of your privacy--IMMEDIATELY
We SHOULD have killed her in that duel.
>>5465892
I was trying to give my character a chance of being picked, which all of the coomers here fell for. I'm not the one who can't go a thread without putting a dick inside a literal insect, a dream monster or losing shit over 'tsundewe weptilian waifu'.
>>
>>5465817
>It should be sensual (especially the Novice’s)
>No, you’re actually impressed… Maybe enough to see if she’d rather work for you?
>If she wants to make this up to you, she could tell you what she knows about a recent assassination attempt…
Say we’re impressed after we get the info, she needs to prove her chops first.
>>
>>5465892
>>5465932
>>5465995
[Don't forget: the vote for attire is likely going to affect things like how I write the MC's personality and behaviour. If that matters to you, you may wish to vote for that, too.]
>>
Am >>5465932

>>5466124
Ok, Adding
>It should be sensual (especially the Novice’s)
Still want to get my hemitherals into Novice.
>>
>>5465817
>It should be striking and bold
>No, but you’re disappointed, and you don’t want to see her around anymore
>>
>>5465817
>It should be striking and bold
For us

>It should be sensual
For the Novice

>If she wants to make this up to you, she could tell you what she knows about a recent assassination attempt…
Let’s pump her…for information
>>
>>5465787
>It should be comfortable and flowy
Comf
>>
>>5465817
>It should be sensual (especially the Novice’s)
>No, you’re actually impressed… Maybe enough to see if she’d rather work for you?
>If she wants to make it up to you, you could use a dance partner for this little gala [seduction]
>>
>>5465787
>>5465785
>It should be comfortable and flowy

The novice was tripping over her previous work outfit. Judging by that we should go with the easiest outfit for her.

>If she wants to make this up to you, she could tell you what she knows about a recent assassination attempt…
>>
>>5465787
>It should be sensual (especially the Novice’s)
>Make the Dragonborn’s striking and bold as well

>>5465817
>No, you’re actually impressed… Maybe enough to see if she’d rather work for you?
>If she wants to make it up to you, you could use a dance partner for this little gala [seduction]
Why not test out those new dancing skills…(by stepping on her toes).
>>
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Rolled 19, 9, 9 = 37 (3d20)

>>5466711
>>5466607
>>5466504
>>5466382
>>5466358
>>5466342
>>5466129
>>5466026
>>5465995
>>5465932
>>5465892
>>5465818
You take a moment to carefully consider your feelings on the matter and realize that, while you ARE upset, the initial spike of adrenaline and anger ahs long since faded.

“No, not mad,” you confess. “more… Impressed than angry.”

Ivno and Olu both look at you with surprise and even concern, but with a gesture and a look they fall back a step.

“I could see my way towards employing such skills for myself.”

Azonia the Duelist is now the surprised and concerned one, looking about as if for spies now surveying HER.

“What is the matter, Duelist?” you ask her. “You are one of the city’s mercenary soldiers, yes? From a lesser noble house?”

“What? How did you—?"

“I have connections in high places,” you interrupt her by way of explanation. “As you well know.”

She pouts slightly.

“I anticipated meeting you here, you know,” you say. “You are not of Minothel’s House, you only frequent it. Your won house is in a clientistic relationship with Tlintear, but not an EXCLUSIVE arrangement, not an especially close one… Except for you. You take many jobs from them, speak up in their favour, treat their house as your own, strive for status and belonging ithin it. Why? Why Tlintear?”

Azonia the Duelist sighs in defeat, more willing to admit a loss on the field of spycraft than swordplay.

“The parties, the fashion…” she smiles a grim little smile, eyes narrowing. “The surface-steel, the opportunities. And, like I said, they know how to perform a proper sword-dance. They know the value of mastering an art.”

You nod slowly.

“So treasures from the surface, excitement, the opportunity for combat and to improve your skills through concerted effort… Have you heard the good word of the Serpent Ascendant?”

She groans, and moves to turn away, but you stop her.

“Imagine joining MY forces in fights against great beasts like the Ghoul Supreme… Or Shoggoth… RO Devourer… And doing this on the surface, where wine and foe-blood flow like water, and every slain adversary leaves you with your pick of colourfully-dyed fabric for expert Dwarven craftsmen to stitch the finest of tabards and gowns for you.”

She pauses in her retreat, and looks over her shoulder at you through narrowed eye.

“The price?” she asks, characteristically straight and to the point.

“Tell me what you know about the assassin who came to my followers’ home, to injure my Fleshweaver and kill my elf.”

[Leadership check]
>>
>>5466796
>19
Azonia’s resolve wavers, but loyalty once purchased can ever be bought by a higher bidder. This Prince Minothel of Tlintear, this ‘generous friend’, would do well to remember that.

“Come,” she whispers, and beckons you. “We shouldn’t speak like this, in the open.”

“Wandering away together won’t be just as suspicious?” you ask.

Azonia the Duelist grips you hand and pulls you along with her surprising strength.

“Don’t be stupid, dragon,” she says nonchalantly. “They’ll just think we’re fucking.”

You aren’t exactly sure how to reply, and before you can formulate a response, the two of you are alone in an empty room—well, empty once Azonia bullies the servant-elves from it, demanding privacy. Only when they are gone does she drop the exaggerated bedroom eyes and faux-drunken mannerisms and cross her arms beneath her chest, leaning against a wall and sighing deeply.

“I didn’t know anything about that,” she says.

“You DID not—past tense—but now DO?”

She laughs, a harsh but boisterous single bark of laughter—unusually crude for an elf, even an elf like Azonia.

“You’re too damn clever, dragon.” She looks away. “Yeah, your storming of House Sambra made good gossip around here. It wasn’t hard to figure out your motive when I snooped around.”

“Prince Corandiirn seemed… Offput by the news. Maybe surprised.”

Azonia says nothing, but fidgets as if suddenly uncomfortable in her fine and flowing attire.

“Who sent the assassin?” you press.

“How should -I- know?!” the Duelist snaps defensively. “I’m not a member of this house! Just because the Prince and some elfmaid fool around a few times, doesn’t mean he spills his state-level secrets during the pillow-talk, you know?”

You narrow your eyes.

“So you suspect it was Prince Minothel of Tlintear?”

She stares at you, gulps, and goes quiet.

“Why?” you demand.

“I… Don’t know. Maybe to try and get you two to take each other out? To draw heat on Solinsyr and away from him? Or… Maybe it wasn’t him? Maybe it WAS Corandiirn, and all Minothel did was light the fire under him by telling him about your little secret with the mutant children? Maybe the ‘assassin’ was just there to verify, got caught, panicked, lost their cool?”

She lowers her voice to a whisper, and adds: "He toasted to 'the fall of upstarts and false kings' when the gossip began that you had entered the Sambran complex."
>>
>>5466809

Regardless, it means that the Party-Prince is responsible… Directly, or maybe indirectly. At least, Azonia strongly suspects it, just as Solinsyr did.

How will you respond to this?
>Command Azonia take you to the Prince of Tlintear immediately, to confront him directly
>Return to the ballroom to wreak carnage with your men
>You have what you need—leave this silly place
>Return to the party, to enjoy yourself and plan your next move
>Write-in

Will you honour your agreement with Azonia?
>Yes, she has kept her word and you will honour yours—she is to join your forces
>No, it was a bluff for intel, and you never had any real intent to employ her
>No, and expose her double-dealing publicly to ruin her reputation
>Ha! No, off with her head—thus always to weak-willed and flighty traitors!
>Write-in
>>
>>5466810
>Return to the party, to enjoy yourself and plan your next move

If anything we should subtly mention to some attendees at the party that we have proof that Solinsyr was behind the attack. Word will filter back to him.

Keep our enemies on the wrong foot…

>Yes, she has kept her word and you will honour yours—she is to join your forces
A good fighter is a good fighter. The forge of conquest always needs more fuel
>>
>>5466879
>Solinsyr
Minothel, you mean?

Solinsyr = your candidate, grey-skinned sulky magic dragoonfly fellow interested in normalizing relations and expanding

Corandiirn = surly assassin, military expansionist and cultural protectionist

Minothel = well-connected, well-heeled aesthete and party-animal, possible schemer and manipulator
>>
>>5466810
>Return to the ballroom to wreak carnage with your men
>No, and expose her double-dealing publicly to ruin her reputation
or
>Ha! No, off with her head—thus always to weak-willed and flighty traitors!
>>5466879
We don't need her at all. We're fully decked out and this cunt's skills are mogged by our abilities like everybody else's.
>>
>>5466810
>Return to the party, to enjoy yourself and plan your next move
Tempted to just win this Princeship and leave, then have our Thief cause a war between Corandiirn and Minothel. That way, they’ll be busy killing each other instead of us.
>Yes, she has kept her word and you will honour yours—she is to join your forces
We’ll stay in the room for a couple more minutes, no one will believe that we’re such a quick shot.

>>5467021
Four words. Duel. Wielding. Legendary. Swords. I ain’t giving up on that dream.
>>
>>5467057
Anon, we can train OURSELVES. This quest's mechanics are literally use a thing=get skill with thing. And yes, we can become legendary without her help. Just, please get rid of her.
>>
>>5466810
>Return to the party, to enjoy yourself and plan your next move
If Minothel thinks we're blaming Corandiirn for the assassin, he shouldn't move further against us.

>Yes, she has kept her word and you will honour yours—she is to join your forces
>>
>>5467068
Your tears are making my meal more palatable
>>5467057
Supporting
>>
>>5467068
[A tutor makes it easier. You may have noticed progression has slowed now that you're higher level.]
>>
>>5467275
What did I ever do to you
>>
>>5467376
Seeing you cry because we won't kill off a character you don't like is just as funny as seeing >>5465995 cry because we're not voting to spend every waking moment with her.
>>
>>5466810
>You have what you need—leave this silly place
>No, it was a bluff for intel, and you never had any real intent to employ her
>>
>>5466810
>Return to the party, to enjoy yourself and plan your next move
>Yes, she has kept her word and you will honour yours—she is to join your forces
>Ask her if she’d like to be our dance partner for this gala
>>
>>5467488
Support
>>
File: posting soon.png (9 KB, 539x154)
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>>5467704
>>5467488
>>5467435
>>5467275
>>5467250
>>5467057
>>5467021
>>5466879
[Locked!]
>>
Rolled 4, 6, 16, 1, 2, 2 = 31 (6d20)

>>5467867
You wait for a spell longer in the room, alone with the Duelist, while you mull over your options. After all, if your cover for this rendezvous is a sexual liaison, it would be plainly unrealistic for you to return for at least another ten minutes or so.

“That’s what they all say,” Azonia snorts with laughter at your explanation.

You try not to take offence. After all, the two of you will be working together. The Duellists seems excited at the prospect—not necessarily of working as a member of your host, specifically, but of seeing the surface and all the threats and possibilities which populate it.

“I still remember the one time I saw it on a raid,” she wistfully recalls. “Some humans were building too close to our tunnel entrances, so we had to make them think it was… Haunted, or cursed, or dangerous. It was night… No moon, no sun, but the stars…”

She sighs happily.

“Yeah, I think I’m going to like this just fine, Dragon.”

“Well then, you can begin by serving me here and now.”

The elf’s face goes carefully blank at this proposition, save for raised eyebrows.

“Look,” she says, “I’m sure you’re a strapping fellow among other lizards, Dragon, but I’m not that kind of elfmaid.”

You clarify that you MEANT that you needed a dance partner for this little soiree.

“Oh!” she says, with a smirk and a shrug. “Well, that’s different. Try to keep up! I burn through a LOT of dance partners.”

This at first seems odd to you because, as you have experienced, elven dance involves a fair amount of close personal contact and, well… Azonia is a beautiful creature whose build necessitates a certain amount of pectoral ‘squish’ to accommodate certain dance-moves. However, as the two of you rejoin the party, the reason for her frequent change of partner becomes apparent.

Well, you suppose she DID all but warn you, nearly a week ago, that she liked her dances ‘competitive’.

The form of dance popular in house Tlintear is accompanied by much faster music than you expected. In practice with the Lancer, and then the Novice Fleshweaver, the music was nonexistent or slow and tremulous; here, it is lively frantic, forceful. Azonia the Duelist matches the energy in a way few here do. It is natural that you lead—you are larger and taller by far—and yet she steals this right away from you at every pace-change, challenging you to take it back. Her style of dance is not clumsy or awkward, but skilled a graceful in the way that a sword-fight is, or a wrestling match between expert grapplers. Somehow, without breaking any of the ‘rules’ of this ritualized form of dance as you understand them, she turns this cooperative activity into a battle of bodies and wills—a test of strength, speed, coordination, and stamina.

Rolling, 4d20 for your stamina and 2d20 for your dance skill
>>
>>5467884
oh god we're terrible
she should teach us dance before dual wielding
>>
>>5467884
>>5467893
>16
>2
You manage to keep up with the little dark elf’s pace, but not without tripping, nearly stumbling into a faceplant or bumping into another dancer or table once or twice. When it is all over, you have to struggle a little to catch your breath, while Azonia adjusts her dress back up from where it has slipped down. You were so focused on not making a fool of yourself that you couldn’t even appreciate the bounce and jiggle of her impressive chest… And still, your partner has danced circles around you. Your own fumbling inexperience has accentuated her practiced skill and natural talent.

“Well, I think I believe you about your stamina now,” the Duelist laughs. “But you REALLY need to improve before you bring that weak dancing to the Winter Ball. Have you considered lessons, maybe?”

You silently seethe, happy that mammals are so poor at reading Reptilian expressions.

The Duelist leaves together refreshments. Your Archer and Ivno the Kobold, meanwhile, return to your side.

“What happened in that room?” Olu asks, poorly hiding his concern behind his amusement.

“Have what we need?” Ivno asks. “Am thinking we should go-go?”

You explain, in brief and in your native True Speech, what transpired, and your suspicions.

Olu the Archer quietly rages, face calm but posture belying tension within.

“The sneaking scum!” he hisses. “We should assassinate this dog, for the sake of irony alone!”

“Thinking VERY-very much that we should go-NOW-go,” Ivno whines. “We are surrounded by allies of enemy, yes?”

The Duelist returns, holding a small platter with a smattering of bite-sized shellfish and mushrooms, and a small goblet of rather watery-looking wine. She quickly catches the mood among your little huddled of Reptilians, and her self-satisfied amusement dissipates ever-so-slightly.

“What’s going on?” she asks.
>>
>>5467897

Suddenly, the music stops. You all turn to face the bard’s new silence, just in time for a new tune to begin—something rising, resplendent, celebratory.

“Prince Minothel of Tlintear,” cries a high-voiced elf, “now approaches!”

And so he does. Stop a rising ramp, a figure emerges from an arched stone entryway into some hidden hall. There he is: Minothel, prince of this place. He has long hair, dyed golden and fading to blue. HE wears a golden, ruby-studded crown more magnificent (and perhaps a touch tacky) than any you have seen the other potentates or even the QUEEN wear. His attire is a surprisingly-simple blue-black robe, but he accents it with many bangles, rings, a necklace, and a gold-buckled belt, while a sash of blue an-and-white tartan fabric is draped around his shoulders and across his chest. His robe is open otherwise, exposing a not-unimpressive musculature and a thin coating of… Some sort of glittering oil, perhaps flecked with gold dust?

A cheer goes up, as do a dozen toasts. Goblets and cups are raised to the sky, and then quaffed, as the prince descends to the dance-floor and is handed a drink of his own to reciprocate.

What will you do?
>Sneak out while the elves are distracted
>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
>Publicly confront the prince with your suspicions and accusations
>Strike down this pompous buffoon for his crimes against your cult, and against fashion
>Write-in
>>
>>5467898
>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
if we sneak out he'll know that we know, you know?
>>
>>5467376
You didnt nurse my flaccid penis using your tongue as well as your lips, just your lips, very disappointed you didnt make me nut, oh well
>>5467898
>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
>>
>>5467898
>Strike down this pompous buffoon for his crimes against your cult, and against fashion
>>
>>5467898
>>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.
>>
>>5467898
>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
>Get more dancing lessons later
That dancing duo of nat 2 are foreboding.
>>
>>5467898
>Join the toast, and schmooze the prince with false flattery
To the fall of false-Princes, amirite?
>>
>>5468664
>>5468112
>>5468028
>>5467992
>>5467986
>>5467907
You are hesitant to leave. After all, departing without a formal meeting would be MORE conspicuous, wouldn’t it? You don’t exactly blend in, so word will reach the Prince of House Tlintear that you were here, and speaking with his soldier-spy and bedmate. If he’s half the schemer you suspect he is, he’ll quickly deduce what you were here for, and what you learned.

Besides, a True Dragon does not flee a rival’s presence in fear—he projects a Fearsome Presence!

As the other elves toast, so do you.

“To the Prince!” says one elf.

“To Tlintear, always glorious and bright!” shouts another.

“To Prince Minothel’s health!”

“And wealth!”

“And wine!”

Laughter fills the room at this trifecta, but falls silent when you bellow your toast:

“And to the rise of a worthy Prince-Ascending, and the fall of false ones!”

There are nervous chuckles and scandalized murmurs. All eyes are on you now, not on the dramatic entrance of the local patron. MInothel’s gaze settles on you, too, and he finishes his drink and then passes the goblet tohis wine-bearing servant, who follows him as he half-strides half-glides towards you. He stops to exchange words, smiles, and touches with a few supplicants—too social, or too wise, to snub them. You wait.

“What are you doing?!” Azonia asks in harsh whisper.

You ignore her, locking eyes with this rival ruler. He has no Presence, not like you or the late Ghoul Supreme, but he certainly has something… Unique. An air, an aura… An inbuilt charisma that seems to project a little, to put one at ease. He flashes a flawlessly-white smile betwixt dark lips, and greets you at last.

“King Theral of Bloodrise,” he acknowledges. “A pleasure to see Azonia was able to secure you attendance after all. I trust that she has been showing you a good time?”

Azonia stuffs an hors d'oeuvre into her mouth and looks away, radiating embarrassment. You wonder if, beneath that inky black she is blushing?

“She’s been a very good host,” you reply. “Very helpful. I look forward to working with her further.”

Minothel smirks a little, with a graceful laugh and a knowing look in his eye, and says: “That was quite the toast! I hope that I was the worthy one?”

You tilt your head, and say nothing.

The prince doesn’t frown, but his smirk fades at the edges into a less-authentic smile.

“What do you mean by working with Azonia? Is it another monster-slaying expedition for our visiting hero-king?”

You shrug.

“Maybe. She’s in my employ, so the next time a monster rears its head, I suppose I’ll invite her along.”
>>
>>5468911
Minothel’s expression doesn’t change, but his eyes flit to the Duelist, who looks as if she’s about to choke on her food.

“Is that right?” he asks. “My, she MUST have made quite the impression! Well, she DOES know how to handle a sword…”

Azonia coughs, and seems to shrink.

“Was it only her, ah, unique allure that brought you here?” Tlintear’s Prince asks.

How do you respond?
>I came to seek the truth about a recent assassination attempt—perhaps you can enlighten me?
>I’m also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future… Maybe allies like yourself?
>I came to demand you surrender and submission, on behalf of Prince Solinsyr
>Actually, I came to avenge my fallen follower with a duel… En garde!
>Write-in
>>
>>5468914
>I’m also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future… Maybe allies like yourself?
Aye, that she does! Her skills in duel wielding have been quite HANDY! Har har har…

This will hopefully alleviate any suspicions that we came to trouble him, and instead was… encouraged by Azonia to court this would-be-king. We can use Azonia as our double agent, feeding him false info while making it seem like he has some influence over us.
>>
>>5468914
>I’m also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future… Maybe allies like yourself?
>>
>>5468914
>I came to seek the truth about a recent assassination attempt—perhaps you can enlighten me?

Fuck this guy - why are we even contemplating an alliance with him

>>5468936
>Azonia as our double agent
We’ve just told him that she’s working for us now anon, I think that ship has sailed
>>
>>5469293
>We’ve just told him that she’s working for us now anon, I think that ship has sailed
He already knew
>>
>>5468914
>I’m also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future… Maybe allies like yourself?
>>
>>5469296
how
>>
>>5469310
You're in his house and he's good at spying
>>
File: Spoiler Image (137 KB, 655x468)
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>>5469313
>>
>>5468914
>I’m also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future… Maybe allies like yourself?
>>
>>5468936
>>5469073
>>5469293
>>5469309
>>5469386
“The Duelist was a secondary consideration, actually.”

Azonia looks a little miffed at that, then seems to realize this means the focus has been taken off of her betrayal of allegiances. She sighs in open relief, and goes back to stuffing her face. Where does all that food disappear to, in that little body?

Returning your own focus to more important matters, you turn to Prince Minothel.

“I am also seeking worthy allies—allies who can share in my vision of the future.”

“Oh?” he asks, expression pleasant but bland, betraying no suspicion or excitement. This elf is a difficult one to read. You decide to press on,

“Maybe allies like yourself?”

The sparkling prince smiles widely, laughing with apparent amusement or delight. With a wave of his arm, he gestures to the mingling, dancing elves, many stealing glances at your little conference.

“Well, as you can see, I am always happy to make new friends!”

He narrows his eyes ever so slightly as he turns back to you, though his smile doesn’t fall.

“Though I’m surprised YOU wish to be friends, King Theral.”

You expect a follow-up, an explanation for his surprise. None comes. He seems to be expecting a reply from you.

Uhh…

>You mean because I support Solinsyr of Lahlabar for the kingship? That is… Negotiable.
> You mean because I support Solinsyr of Lahlabar for the kingship? That hasn’t changed. He will be king… But he will have need of loyal and well-connected allies, and would gladly reward them…
>You mean because you sent assassins to attack my entourage and frame your rival? Yes, I WOULD like to talk about that, and our professional relationship moving forward.
>You mean because you have rutted with Azonia the Duelist? I have no special attachment of THAT sort to her…
>Just play dumb and stay silent—force HIM to fill in the gap and make his case.
>Maybe we should talk about this somewhere private… [where you can intimidate or accost him if need be]
>Write-in
>>
>>5469877
> You mean because I support Solinsyr of Lahlabar for the kingship? That hasn’t changed. He will be king… But he will have need of loyal and well-connected allies, and would gladly reward them…
>>
>>5469877
>You mean because I support Solinsyr of Lahlabar for the kingship? That is… Negotiable.
This guy here won't try to make drow reconnect with surface, he won't try to fuck Jazkarmel and he isn't a political cripple. That's good.
>>
>>5469877
>Just play dumb and stay silent—force HIM to fill in the gap and make his case.

Silence has its own power - especially when used against one who is used to filling it
>>
>>5469877
>Just play dumb and stay silent—force HIM to fill in the gap and make his case.
A pointed eyebrow is all we need. We don’t need to explain his assumptions for him.

Heh, it turns out Azonia is that type of elfmaid. Women and their silly protestations of virtue.
>>
>>5469898
>>5469995
>>5470038
>>5470047
[Given the tie, I'll wait until tomorrow to post again.]
>>
>>5470478
Wait, it’s a tie?
>>
>>5470601
[Well, not a tie EXACTLY, but close enough. Half voting to stay silent, half voting to discuss Solinsyr and Lahlabar but torn on how to approach it. Given we only have 4 of approximately 10 voters and no clear lead, I'm hitting the whiskey and watching anime and Doctor Chris Raynor videos.]
>>
> You mean because I support Solinsyr of Lahlabar for the kingship? That hasn’t changed. He will be king… But he will have need of loyal and well-connected allies, and would gladly reward them…

Am >>5449257
>>
>>5469877
>Just play dumb and stay silent—force HIM to fill in the gap and make his case.
They cant read reptiles so for all he knows we are clueless
>>
>>5471070
>>5470761
>>5470047
>>5470038
>>5469995
>>5469898
You remain silent. These foolish mammals can’t read the body language or facial expressions of your kind very easily, and you well know the power of silence… Especially for a creature like this Prince of Tlintear, quite conversational and accustomed to chatter-field festivities like this.

The silence lingers for a bit. Your allies glance at each other worriedly. You think you see Minothel of Tlintear sweat a little, marring his thin coating of sparkling oil.

“Well, I suppose you see the value in an ally who can get things done within the current system,” he speculates aloud. “The others want to upend it, tear it down, risk everything we’ve built here in Wevenore. And for what?”

He grins and spreads his arms wide.

“Look at all this around you! Good food, music, and what surface-luxury we cannot produce here we can still obtain! The old ways aren’t broken, so why angst over fixing them?”

You continue to maintain your neutral silence. This time, you don’t need to wait long.

“I mean, Solinsyr is a nice fellow, but the time of the Gray Elves of Lahlabar is long-passed, and… Well, you’ve been working with the elfman. You’ve seen how he is. Gloomy, quiet, drab… Does he even HAVE a plan for if by SOME long-shot he were to become the King of Elves?”

Your host laughs. You do not—you merely tilt your head.

“I’ve heard rumours,” Minothel intimates in a stage-whisper, designed to be overheard by anyone paying close attention, “that he means to establish a surface settlement to enter into TRADE and DIPLOAMCY with the traitors and humans. Doesn’t that seem… Counterproductive to you, King Theral? I mean, that’s where YOU’RE building YOUR empire, isn’t it?”

“There are two Drow forts there already,” you note, speaking for the first time. “Yvonlace-led scouts helped conquer them.”

“Yes, well… Isolated trading forts are all well and good!” Minothel laughs easily, and runs his fingers over his fabrics. “I’m not xenophobic. There are many beautiful things from the surface. But as I said, and as you can see, we have no need to go there…”

He looks to you with narrowed eyes, as if trying to glimpse your spirit, your mind, your intentions.

“When it’s all yours, we’ll happily trade with you for it. As King, I can ensure that, and… Stay out of yoru way, oh Dragon King.”

Hm. It’s not a BAD offer. It certainly affords you more direct control over the revelation (or lack thereof) of the deep-dwelling civilizations to the surface-scum. Prince Solinsyr, your current favoured candidate, wants to come out to the world above, and to open formal ties—something you have deep misgivings about as far as your own Master Race goes. The upside seemed to be that the Drow could perhaps serve as a public face behind which your own people could remain hidden…
>>
>>5471146
Wait, is that how King Minothel would use YOU and YOUR race, then? A conquering force to secure territory, with whom he then trades and barters from the shadows? This cheeky, pointy-eared cave-monkey…

(Though you GUESS it could work, with some tweaks, maybe?)

The Prince finally stops prattling on. He awaits your response. You’ve been quiet for quite some time.

What will you do?
>You like this plan… You will convince him that he would be better off serving as a Prince under a figurehead king, and that he will not suffer for surface-luxuries in such a position if he backs Solinsyr [Diplomacy]
>You will NOT be manipulated by this cloying socialite into betraying your friends or risking your people for elven riches—COMMAND Minothel to step down and abandon his pursuit of the throne [Intimidation]
>Actually… Despite his ulterior motives, you prefer this plan—a plan that keeps Wevenore contained, and out of your way—and you will support it, and back Minothel as king at the Winter Ball and in the lead-up
>Ask or demand something else [what?]
>Forget this fop—tell him ‘no deal’, warn him to leave your people be, and leave this place
>Write-in
>>
>>5471147
>Actually… Despite his ulterior motives, you prefer this plan—a plan that keeps Wevenore contained, and out of your way—and you will support it, and back Minothel as king at the Winter Ball and in the lead-up
yeah I like this plan best of all
assassin forgiven my dude
forgiven on the condition that you help make betraying Solinsyr less awkward for me
>>
>>5471147
>>You will NOT be manipulated by this cloying socialite into betraying your friends or risking your people for elven riches—COMMAND Minothel to step down and abandon his pursuit of the throne [Intimidation]
Although I'd prefer using diplomacy than intimidation, this is what align most with what I want for Theral.
I like ladybug prince
>>
>>5471147
>You like this plan… You will convince him that he would be better off serving as a Prince under a figurehead king, and that he will not suffer for surface-luxuries in such a position if he backs Solinsyr [Diplomacy]
>>
>>5471291
[Write-ins are permitted.]
>>
>>5471147
Changing >>5471305 to
>Actually… Despite his ulterior motives, you prefer this plan—a plan that keeps Wevenore contained, and out of your way—and you will support it, and back Minothel as king at the Winter Ball and in the lead-up
I'm dumb and misread the other one.
>>
>>5471147
>You like this plan… You will convince him that he would be better off serving as a Prince under a figurehead king, and that he will not suffer for surface-luxuries in such a position if he backs Solinsyr [Diplomacy]
You can just be that nagging thorn in his side, whispering the truth of the surface. That way we aren’t betraying our promise, but neither does this ‘King’ achieve his goal of peace with the surface.
>>
>>5471147
>You like this plan… You will convince him that he would be better off serving as a Prince under a figurehead king, and that he will not suffer for surface-luxuries in such a position if he backs Solinsyr [Diplomacy]
>>
Rolled 8, 9, 13, 12 = 42 (4d20)

>>5471436
>>5471381
>>5471374
>>5471291
>>5471230
“Your plan is a good one,” you acknowledge.

Well, it IS… If not exactly for the reasons Minothel thinks it is. You don’t necessarily like the idea of acting as mask, sword, or shield for a secret elven empire, which you suspect is what he has in mind, but any plan that keeps the Drow contained so they cannot grow beyond you before you can establish power is one you can back. It’s certainly less risky, for the Great Conspiracy and your personal power, than Solinsyr’s notion of ‘normalization’.

“I am glad you see reason,” Prince Minothel smiles, then quickly amends: “Which I knew you would.”

“Right,” you say, unconvinced; if Minothel DID stage the assassination attempt, then this Prince of Tlintear clearly suspects you to be a dupable brute.

“I look forward to hearing your bronze-flecked blessed paupers singing the gospel of KING MINOTHEL from now on!” he laughs, and has his servant offer you—and each member of your retinue in attendance—a surface-crafted goblet from which to imbibe.

You accept the wine, but before you or your crew quaff, you amend this elf’s flawed understanding.

“Actually, I think it is best that YOU begin to convert your followers to the support of Solinsyr of Lahlabar.”

Prince Minothel stops short of drinking, his goblet at his lips but not quite tipped back.

“Wait,” he says, “what?”

“Oh, and you should probably convert formally to the worship of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond,” you note calmly. “To solidify this new alliance.”
>>
>>5471860
Minothel laughs at first, and begins to drink. You do not immediate join him—nor do Olu nor Ivno, though Azonia does before she recognizes the renewed sense of tension in the meeting. Only then does the Prince of Tlintear seem to realize you are serious.

“You can’t expect me to do those things,” he says, as if explaining the situation to a child, dullard, or drunkard… Or, well, a brute.

“I do,” you affirm. “Let Solinsyr play the role of figurehead, while you operate behind the scenes, as you have so far. Hasn’t it served you well? And if King Solinsyr enacts his plans, and they fall apart… You can be the nagging thorn in his side, the one saying ‘I told you so’, reaping social and material benefits with no political risk.”

>13

The Prince narrows his eyes and, without looking away from you, hands his servant his goblet.

“You misjudge me, King Theral,” he says, a little tersely. “You speak as if, as long as there aren’t any consequences for ME, I don’t care about what happens to my people, or my house, or Wevenore.”

You shrug slightly, attempting to smooth things over by explaining: “I have great influence over Pricne Solinsyr. I can dissuade him from his policy, if it so bothers you. I have my own misgivings.”

“And you think I have no issue with a foreign power… A LIZARDMAN… Having such ‘influence’ over the King of Elves for decades—a century, even?”

“Why should you, if you get what you want either way?” you ask, a little confused at the harshness slipping through Minothel’s polite façade, the anger at the edge of his eyes despite his smile.

“What I want,” Minothel clarifies quickly, “is what is my due: the ascent of my household, the growth of Wevenore’s wealth without sacrificing its safety and security.”

“I can give you that,” you try to assure him, a little caught off-guard by this foppish noble’s resolve, “but I cannot betray my promise to my allies. It would be… Awkward.”

“I have promises to keep, too, King Theral,” the elf prince replies. “I have promised them they back a Pricne-Ascendant, a King of Elves. Not a quitter. Not a puppet.”

You fall silent.

“Surely you understand?” he asks gently, smiling again.

Everyone waits to see how you will respond.

>You do understand, as a fellow aspirant to Kingship, and you respect it… But you cannot back him over Solinsyr [Back Solinsyr, leave]
>You did misjudge Minothel… And you know, you’d rather have Solinsyr as an enemy than him [Back Minothel, stay]
>He will back down or you will destroy him, with all the Dark Gods as your witness [Intimidation, failure may provoke combat]
>Then it is war! [Initiate combat, please also choose a spell or weapon]
>Write-in
>>
>>5471873
>>He will back down or you will destroy him, with all the Dark Gods as your witness [Intimidation, failure may provoke combat]

Something something, don't be a gardener in a battlefield.
>>
>>5471873
>You did misjudge Minothel… And you know, you’d rather have Solinsyr as an enemy than him [Back Minothel, stay]
These elves will rule for decades if not centuries and I don't trust Solinsyr to keep to his word of not mingling with surface (even in secrecy) long after we're gone. This guy wanting to stay underground and buy spoils of war off of us nicely aligns with our plans for the surface, on the other hand.
>>
>>5471873
>You do understand, as a fellow aspirant to Kingship, and you respect it… But you cannot back him over Solinsyr [Back Solinsyr, leave]
>He will back down or you will destroy him, with all the Dark Gods as your witness [Intimidation, failure may provoke combat]
I do understand, and that is why I’m sorry.

If he ain’t gonna allow our religion to spread or us our due influence (we killed multiple monsters on their behalf, and gave the prime real estate), then I’m afraid we can’t be friends right now. Maybe after this contest is over, we can reevaluate our friendship.
>>
>>5471873
>You did misjudge Minothel… And you know, you’d rather have Solinsyr as an enemy than him [Back Minothel, stay]
>>
>>5471873
>>You did misjudge Minothel… And you know, you’d rather have Solinsyr as an enemy than him [Back Minothel, stay]

Solinsyr a weak shit, the chaplin literally plans on assaulting hawksong once the dragonborn project is completed.

Surface diplomacy would mess around with that.
>>
>>5471873
QM, before you tally the votes - could you please just expand on what backing Minothel would mean for us given our political situation

Surely it would piss off the Queen and Princess (our allies) - but how badly

I just want to ensure that anons are making this decision with full awareness of the political ramifications…
>>
>>5472445
[I doubt the current Queen (soon to be former) would ever trust you again. Jazkarmel would have mixed feelings. Solinsyr and his house would hate your guts for generations.]

[Conversely, if you can convince Minothel to allow you to continue soreaidng your religion, he IS the more well-liked and well-connected prince. You just don't have the same inroads with him.]

[Since you succeeded in undercutting Corandiirn's support but not kuch of Minothel's, he's also the principle obstacle to Solinsyr's victory.]
>>
>>5471873
>You do understand, as a fellow aspirant to Kingship, and you respect it… But you cannot back him over Solinsyr [Back Solinsyr, leave]
>>
>>5471873
>He will back down or you will destroy him, with all the Dark Gods as your witness [Intimidation, failure may provoke combat]

This fucker hurt the novice and he’s too powerful to fully control
>>
>>5471873
>You do understand, as a fellow aspirant to Kingship, and you respect it… But you cannot back him over Solinsyr [Back Solinsyr, leave]
Eh, he’s just a more of a schemer, I’d never trust him to actually keep his word with us or spread the Faith to his people, which are dealbreakers in my book.
>>
>>5471873
>You do understand, as a fellow aspirant to Kingship, and you respect it… But you cannot back him over Solinsyr [Back Solinsyr, leave]
>He will back down or you will destroy him, with all the Dark Gods as your witness [Intimidation, failure may provoke combat]

>>5471436
Last vote
>>
>>5471986
>>5471891
>>5472815
>>5472616
Uh... You guys do know we are in Minothel base, if we end up starting something we will be surrounded and we only have two people with us. ivno and olru as back up.
>>
Rolled 20, 3 = 23 (2d20)

>>5472815
>>5472624
>>5472616
>>5472612
>>5472349
>>5472233
>>5471986
>>5471907
>>5471891
You came here to gauge the mettle of your nominee’s rival. Having done so, you find yourself… Impressed. You can’t deny it: the aristocrat you’d hoped to roll over has proven himself more capable and impressive than you expected. He has, dare you admit it, the park of a Dragon somewhere deep in him…

But all the more reason you cannot trust him, then.

“I do understand,” you respond. “That is why I am sorry to say I cannot support you.”

This elf is a schemer. If he is stronger than Solinsyr, it is only because his ambitions stretch further. You do not trust Solinsyr fully, but you trust in your ability to keep him under your thumb. But this Minothel? No, he will always wriggle free to pursue his own personal projects. If your two visions of the future ever clash… Well, you uderstand that this one is without any particular sense of obligation to an agreement. Worse, he’s cunning enough to get away with it!

Prince Minothel exhales, a slow, clam release of tension, then shrugs. He seems surprisingly understanding.

“Very well,” he says, with an easy smile. “Thank you for visiting, King Theral. I am sue you are busy… Campaigning… And I will detain you no longer.”

“Actually, I am not ready to leave just yet?”

“Oh?” Prince Minothel laughs, flashing a grin. “You’ve grown fond of my amenities in spite of our differences, then?”

“No,” you clarify, “I cannot leave while you remain an obstacle to the true King of Elves… Solinsyr of Lahlabar.”

A hush slowly radiates out from you as you finish the sentence. First Azonia and Minothel fall silent, the former staring at you with shock and horror while the latter regards you impassively. The eavesdroppers fall quiet next, whispering a summary of what has transpired to their neighbours, who fall silent in kind.

“You must relinquish your claim to the throne,” you state simply, “or be destroyed.”

[Intimidation, DC 15/17]
>>
>>5473115
Almost immediately, a dozen blades are drawn from every side. These elves maybe be decadent partygoers… But they are still Drow. These are people of the Underdark. No thin sheathe of surface clothing can hide their edge. No amount of make-up or glitter can cover their scars, mask their strength. Nobody in Wevenore comes to a gala, even one in the well-protected abode of their favourite wealthy princeling, without weaponry.

“You are surrounded,” Prince Minothel growls softly.

Olu and Ivno both step forward, drawing daggers and bow respectively. The Arcehr ire one arrow smoothly, a warning shot over their heads; when ne Drow steps forward and readies to throw a balde, he stops short, for Ivno already has his own knives at the elf’s gut and groin.

“He is not alone, Prince.”

To your surprise, it is Azonia the Duelist who next speaks. She reaches behind her, to the bow which holds her robe on, and rips from that fabric two brutal-looking butcher-blades, knives lengthy enough to qualify as shortswords proper. Her robes fall away, exposing only greyish, knotted-silk undergarments which utterly fail to disguise the mountainous heft of her breasts… Or the coiled, flexing ripples of muscle across her arms, abdomen, and legs. It is enough to hold the mob—whose many members have had the displeasure of fighting this deadly dervish—at bay.

You look around and, to your surprise… You are not afraid. You see the glint of killing intent in two dozen, three dozen eyes… The gleam of steel and polished flint beneath the glow of the luminous mage-torch crystals… And you feel no anxiety.

“I am an Antipaladin of the Dark Gods,” you retort, speaking loudly enough for all in the hall to hear. “My retinue and I may be outnumbered. This is true. But tell me… In all your numbers, all working together, do you think you elves could have slain the Devourer?”

There are grumbles of discontent, but quiet, and as your gaze drifts over them, many fall silent.

“What about the Shoggoth? Who among you gathered to end that enemy? How many of you do you think it would take? Would the Drow in this room be enough to defeat that ancient enemy?”

You draw your shogooth sword and hold it aloft in its truncated form. With a hum and a manipulation of magical energy, you will it to lengthen, broaden, grow. Its myriad, shifting eyes open across its body staring with frantic incomprehension in every direction. The Drow shrink away from its gaze.

“I slew them both!” you roar. “In the name of the Dark Gods, with their strength and my own, I felled monsters who your armies lived and died in fear of… And the Shoggoth, I slew ALONE! With my allies here, I crushed the Devourer! And when Prince Minothel and Prince Corandiirn BOTH left your ancestors and grave-goods to be picked clean by ghouls, it was we, here, who did the good work of the Dark Gods and ENDED them!”
>>
>>5473131
The murmuring begins again—not angry now, but reverent in that faintly-fearful way which every King of Darkness knows and loves. If you cannot be loved, you will be feared… And better than feared, respected.

“Every enemy placed in my path, no matter how old, or terrible, or infamous… I end.”

You lower your sword slowly, so its point is placed before Minothel—Prince Minothel, still unarmed, suddenly alone in his own home, amidst his own guards and supplicants, all of whom have fallen back like a retreating Wevenore sub-tide revealing a flopping, helpless cave-fish.

“Tell me,” you ask him then, “will you be the next enemy to stand in my path, Minothel of House Tlintear?”

To his credit, the party-prince does not quake, quaver, or beg. He does not break, or cry, or whimper. He does not plead, or run…

>20

But he does KNEEL.

“No,” he whispers.

“Who is to be King of Elves, in this next season of leadership?” you hiss.

Silence reigns.

“ANSWER.”

Now, only now, Minothel shakes. Fear, or rage… Well, you can’t be sure. But certainly, it is not defiance.

“Hail Solinsyr,” he speaks, barely above a breath but now loud enough for all to hear.

You swing your sword up, and rest the abominable implement upon your shoulder as you survey a conquered foe, brought low and humiliated before all his people. You’re almost sorry it came to this. He could have been a friend, an ally… But after this?

“That is correct.”
>>
>>5473140
You turn on heel and, without a word, your followers—the Duelist included, tying her dress about her waist like a loincloth in a mockery of modesty—follow.

Nobody follows you to your temporary home amongst the poor Drow of Wevenore—no new followers, nor any bearing blades of retribution. They watch you go in silence. Nor do those with you speak any words, of congratulations or concern… Not until Azonia.

“Damn,” she says, and then whistles. “I don’t know if I chose really right or REALLY wrong, Dragon.”

You don’t bother to answer her, nor do you explain what occurred to any of your other supplicants once you arrive. You retreat to what little privacy you can find here, to pray, meditate, and calm your nerves as the adrenaline dissipates. To your surprise, calm returns quickly… And then the surging sense of triumph. Your enemies stood as legions against you, surrounding you, in their own home… And they bowed and crumbled like trees before a hurricane, like ants swept up in a flood!

The Winter Ball is coming quickly now—only another few days. After that, well… You have been away from Bloodrise for some time. It is long overdue that you returned home. But for now?
>You practice dancing as you have before—with the Novice, slow and steady
>You practice dance with Azonia the Duelist—fast, frantic, aggressive, impressive
>You spend some time taking in elven culture—their song, their literature, and their magic—with Karz Throat-singer
>You maintain a vigil—a guard against your ever-growing mass of enemies—with Ivno
>You hold consultations with the Jazkarmel and the Lahlabar Prince, to strategize for the Ball ahead
>You go with Olu the Archer to speak with Queen Myrymma about the impossible engagement of Solinsyr and Jazkarmel, and why it must be broken off
>Write-in
[Choose two, max, please.]
>>
>>5473142
>You spend some time taking in elven culture—their song, their literature, and their magic—with Karz Throat-singer

More magic is always good, we kept the moon-sword so we can continue down the path of moon magic.

>You hold consultations with the Jazkarmel and the Lahlabar Prince, to strategize for the Ball ahead

Minothel probably has something up his sleeve time for planning.
>>
>>5473142
thank the dark gods for that 20

>You practice dancing as you have before—with the Novice, slow and steady

>You hold consultations with the Jazkarmel and the Lahlabar Prince, to strategize for the Ball ahead
since we're committed now
>>
>You practice dancing as you have before—with the Novice, slow and steady
>Ask for Azonia's dancing tutelage
>>
>>5473142
>>5473218 +1
>>
>>5473142
>You practice dancing as you have before—with the Novice, slow and steady
>You practice dance with Azonia the Duelist—fast, frantic, aggressive, impressive
I don’t want to flub the most important dance in centuries, that duo nat 2s are foreboding.
>>
>>5473183
Supporting this
>>
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>>5473338
>>5473319
>>5473280
>>5473218
>>5473183
>>5473162
[Seems dancing with your childhood() sweetheart (???) is popular, but we're tied on other matters. I'll leave the vote open until closer to bedtime!]
>>
>>5473142
>You hold consultations with the Jazkarmel and the Lahlabar Prince, to strategize for the Ball ahead
>>
>>5473142
>You practice dancing as you have before—with the Novice, slow and steady
>You practice dance with Azonia the Duelist—fast, frantic, aggressive, impressive
It’s the impressive bit that finally swayed me.
>>
>>5474410
>>5474420
>still a tie
[Oof. I'll wait another fifteen/twenty minutes, then roll for it. No non-backlinked 1posts to break tie, please.]
>>
>>5474420
>>5474410
>>5473338
>>5473319
>>5473280
>>5473218
>>5473183
>>5473162
When you tell your principal allies—you candidate and the elfmaid he doesn’t YET know he is not actually going to wed—they react with mixed emotions.

“Minothel’s bowed out, Corandiirn is done for,” Jazkarmel tallies up your victories. “It’s over!”

“Is it?”

You both look to pensive, sullen Solinsyr of Lahlabar.

“What do you mean?” Jazkarmel needles his, exasperated. “You’re always like this! A commander needs to know when to accept a victory, too! She—or he—can’t waste his time fighting ghosts in the far darkness forever, chasing every tumbling tumbling stoen down every tunnel.”

“A single stone can precipitate a cave-in that—”

“It was a METAPHOR, Solinsyr!”

“Mine too,” the Lahlabar Pricne says, no less grim, then turns to you. “They won’t let this just… Happen. Corandiirn is a… A hound, a war-dog. He smells blood, he runs prey down, he kills.”

“I have slaughtered many a dog-head,” you note calmly. “One more is no trouble.”

“Minothel… You humiliated. He may not move against me directly, but eh will seek to undermine me—US—in other ways.”

“Then crush him, imprison him, bribe him… You will be King of Elves. Do whatever you see fit.”

“It’s the burden of the victor to maintain his position,” Jazkarmel notes, more gently, and touches his arm to offer comfort, drawing his eyes.

“Very well,” Solinsyr sighs. “Perhaps I am being a pessimist. This is… Kingship seemed a long-shot, until you arrived.”

He looks to you again, and JUST about manages a smile.

“Thank you, King Theral.”
>>
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>>5474487
With business handled for the moment, it is time for pleasure! Or, well… Another sort of business, honestly, but the outward frivolity of this ‘dance class’ is a pleasant diversion after all this (at least no longer thankless) politicking and proselytizing.

“Why is SHE here?”

The withering snarl comes from the Novice Fleshweaver, and refers (of course) to Azonia the Duelist.

“You would not ask that if you had seen her dance,” you note.

“I misspoke,” the Novice jeers. “I know what YOU see in her, One in Eternal Rut. I suppose, given your habit of collecting ‘pets’ such as that kobold and dwarf of yours, I can even understand why you welcomed an actual SPY back into our fold. But why is she HERE.”

“I told you,” you reiterate slowly, “for her dancing ability.”

“You know, it’s considered rude to talk about someone in a language they can’t understand,” the Duelist interjects, arms crossed.

“Quiet!” the Novice hisses in her heavily-accented Dark Elven. “Not asssk for you ssspeak, ssscum!”

“You’re embarrassed, aren’t you?” you ask in True Speech.

The Novice’s eyes widen, and she lowers her head slightly to hide her obvious discomfort, pulling her hood over her face. It’s… Kind of cute.

“Think,” you say. “We are… Not excellent dancers. This will be a major political event. Many eyes will be on us. We must represent the Master Race’s many physical and intellectual virtues, and do so well. The Duelist can help with this!”

The Novice huffs haughtily, but ceases her complaining.

The Duelist grabs your claw in her small hand’s iron grip and wrenches your attention away from your oldest ‘companion’.

“Enough! I’m not here to listen to you two snakes hiss sweet nothings all day!” she protests.

She grabs your hands and puts them on her hips. You blink, a little startled, and you hear the Novice choke.

“This is not like our previous—”

“It’s a WALTZ, Dragon,” the Duelist admonishes you with no small amusement at your clear confusion. “Not some Tlintear revel."

For a moment, you are concerned that this warrior-woman may prove an unsuitable teacher for such a refined variety of dance. Perhaps the Lancer would have been better? As she snaps her fingers to signal the Throat-singer to begin his thrumming, though, and her ample chest comes to rest against your stomach, your concerns are abated by the distraction. As the actual dance begins—The Duleist forcing you to lead, even as her power, speed, and precise footwork guides you, and her harsh barks of command correct your errors—you find yourself surprised by the efficacy of her tutelage.
>>
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>>5474506

The Novice looks like she just ate a bad batch of bug-meat, however. You speculate if it’s jealousy of some sort—and maybe it is—but honestly her expression turns even more acrimonious when the Duelist seizes her and begins to do the same, shouting the command sat you to translate for the Novice’s benefit even as she roughly manoeuvres the much taller Reptilian female around the makeshift dance-floor.

You each take turns dancing with one another, as Karz’s thrumming continues unabated, reverberating throughout the cavern. Each time you and the Novice make a mistake, the Duelist shoves you apart and takes one of you in her harsh, firm embrace, guiding you through your mistake and through to a clearer understanding of the necessary movements. Slowly but surely—more slowly for the Novice, more surely for you—you begin to get it. The dance speeds up, the moves grow flashier and more impressive, but as you establish a rhythm and rapport with your newest recruit, you REALLY begin to grasp the flow of it.

>+1 Dance

“You’re really starting to get it,” Azonia murmurs softly, with some admiration, as you engage in one round of a rather intimate waltz. “Good to see you can do more than throw your weight around, after all.”

“I have an… Adequate teacher.”

The Duelist laughs her barking laugh, and trips you deliberately, only to deftly, swing youa round and lift you back up with momentum.

“Easy now,” she says. “You’re a fast learner, but you’ll need another CENTURY to beat me.”

The dark elf smirks.

“Two or three centuries for your girlfriend.”

The Novice Fleshweaver stands off to the side, turned away, tail tapping the stone impatiently. She’s improved, but not much, and is plainly feeling humiliated by her performance and, yes… Maybe a little envious, you’d wager. However… She’s not in heat, and romance is utterly unknown to pure-blooded members of the Master Race. Not for the first time, you wonder if you—with your growing understanding of love and friendship, affection and community, can ever really understand the mindset of the purebloods… Or if they, if SHE, can truly understand you.

This is the longest you've been among mammals who weren't enslaved to your will and part of it feels... Natural.


“The Fleshweaver is…”

>Not your ‘girlfriend’, and you wouldn’t mind learning a few other ‘moves’ in private [seduction attempt, lowers Novice affection]
>A valued colleague, and smart beyond her years—she’ll grasp this, if you have to give her private tutelage everyday until the Ball
>Deeply important to you… And, if only in Dark Elven that she can’t understand, you must admit that it was for sentimental reasons that you chose her to be your ‘date’ to the ball [raises Novice affection, approaching the threshold for <TRUE LOVE>]
>>
>>5474508
>A valued colleague, and smart beyond her years—she’ll grasp this, if you have to give her private tutelage everyday until the Ball
>>
>>5474508
>Deeply important to you… And, if only in Dark Elven that she can’t understand, you must admit that it was for sentimental reasons that you chose her to be your ‘date’ to the ball [raises Novice affection, approaching the threshold for <TRUE LOVE>]
>>
>>5474508
>A valued colleague, and smart beyond her years—she’ll grasp this, if you have to give her private tutelage everyday until the Ball
but will support
>Not your ‘girlfriend’ [lowers Novice affection]
>>
>Deeply important to you… And, if only in Dark Elven that she can’t understand, you must admit that it was for sentimental reasons that you chose her to be your ‘date’ to the ball [raises Novice affection, approaching the threshold for <TRUE LOVE>]
We CAN mate outside of Rut as Ismena proved.
She is a fleshweaver. So she can selfweave for permanent rut, without ovulation.
Massive profits.
Backlink : >>5449257
>>
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>>5474564
>So she can selfweave for permanent rut, without ovulation.
>>
>>5474564
>We CAN mate outside of Rut as Ismena proved.
[The Infiltrator called Ismena was a half-human. If you mean Roth... She achieved that by using a lust demon to ensorcel him. But yes, there are ways!]
>She is a fleshweaver. So she can selfweave for permanent rut, without ovulation.
[It's called estrous for a female... But I suppose. But WOULD she do so?]
>>
>>5474508
>Deeply important to you… And, if only in Dark Elven that she can’t understand, you must admit that it was for sentimental reasons that you chose her to be your ‘date’ to the ball [raises Novice affection, approaching the threshold for <TRUE LOVE>]
>>
>>5474508
>A valued colleague, and smart beyond her years—she’ll grasp this, if you have to give her private tutelage everyday until the Ball
>You wouldn’t mind learning a few other ‘moves’ in private though [seduction attempt]
Happy Thanksgiving!
>>
>>5474842
no fuck the drow
>>
>>5474508
>Deeply important to you… And, if only in Dark Elven that she can’t understand, you must admit that it was for sentimental reasons that you chose her to be your ‘date’ to the ball [raises Novice affection, approaching the threshold for <TRUE LOVE>]

We all know it’s true
>>
>>5474912
>>5474842
>>5474756
>>5474564
>>5474550
>>5474541
>>5474519

Your gaze flits briefly to the Novice, who is busying herself heckling the half-comprehending Karz Throat-singer, who wisely stares straight ahead and does not react to her provocations. This makes you recall countless such instances of taunting and mockery between the two of you over the years, beginning as her one-sided bullying until it graduated into your current back-and-forth, a sort of call-and-response that by now has taken on an almost jocular, playful dimension. Strangely, the thought makes yoru three-chambered heart feel… Warm.

In the end, you guess it doesn’t matter how she feels about you, you know how you feel about her.

“’Girlfriend’ does not translate to the Reptilian tongue,” you explain to the Duelist. “But… Yes. There is no other being I would rather dance with.”

You raise your voice a little, and switch briefly to the True Speech, adding: “Even if she IS a terrible dancer!”

The Novice Fleshweaver stop[s harassing your slave-apprentice long enough to glower at you, retorting: “I suppose some of us excel in matters of actual IMPORT and INTELELCT, rather than pointless mammalian FLAILING!”

The warm feeling within grows.

You take a break from the dance, suggesting that the Duelist do likewise. Reading the room, the dark elf takes the opportunity to go grab some refreshments; you sent the Throat-singer with her, leaving you and the Novice Fleshweaver alone.
>>
>>5474950

“Hey! What are you—”

You pull the Novice to you, and while she protests, and her tail lashes your legs, she puts up no greater struggle. Her head rears back on her elongated, Serpent Priestess neck, but she allows you to pull her body to yours.

“I thought you were granting us a reprieve from this farce?” she grumbles.

In truth, while the Duelist has been a boon to you—and her ‘distractions’ welcome—you recognize that is has been less so for the Novice. Her focus has been on your and your tutor, rather than her own movements and body. Being a scholar, she lacks a warrior’s kinesthetic sense.

“Focus on my body,” you say, meeting her eyes. “Follow it with yours.”

You begin to slowly lead her through the steps. She continues to fumble, but as the Duelist corrected you, you now correct your Novice Fleshweaver.

“This is pointless,” she hisses, sounding almost hopeless. “What sick thrill drives you to continue to humiliate me so, Degenerateborn?”

“There is no audience,” you remind her. “There is no judgement. Just you… And me.”

She falls silent, averting her gaze… But, with gradually-increasing surety, clinging close to you as if she were afraid to fall to her doom, she begins to mirror your movements.

“Ah,” she says, beginning to understand. “This is not so difficult, after all. I suppose it makes sense: if apes can do it, why should I not be able to, as a vastly superior being?”

You rattle with laughter at this.

“I suppose my help is unneeded, then?” you mock. “You are ready to dance this dance alone?”

“Don’t be absurd,” she scoffs. “It REQUIRES a partner, and you are… Adequate.”

You reflect on how her words mirror your own jest to the Drow Duelist. Or… Perhaps, over all these years, you have come to mirror her own style of speaking, in some way? You did grow up together, develop together…

“What?” the Novice asks, sounding annoyed. “Did I make some error again? Why are you looking at me like that?”

Maybe… Maybe you aren’t so different after all.
>>
>>5474956
As the next few days pass, you force the Fleshweaver to take breaks from her researches to participate in lessons, with the Duelist, with the Lancer… And alone. She protests every time, but is always dutiful in her attendance—despite, of course, affirming her utter lack of respect for your nominal personal authority over her. Every time, she reiterates how much she resents this imposition. Every day, she improves a little, taking evident pride in this gradual improvement.

“I am NOT wearing that, though!”

The Novice practically retches when she sees the clothing which the tailors have prepared for you both. Both are form-fitting, revealing affairs, though… To different degrees. Yours is practically a body-sock padded with strategic faux-armour (including the inevitable codpiece) and embellishments of filigree, while hers is clearly an exercise in elven designers struggling to convey femininity for an entity with no breasts and of an unfamiliar built; they settled on a low cut at the back, practically down to her tail, and a flow of fabric emphasizing the considerable REAR assets of your dance-partner, as well as exposing much of her legs with strategic slits. It offers no hood to hide her face behind, but rather a wide, cobra-like frill to accentuate her face and graceful neck, and thus balance the design.

“You must,” you assert, trying to hide your amusement and excitement.

“Do not FORGET who is of the better breeding here, ‘Dragonborn’,” she snarls.

However, inevitably, you whittle down her resistance with a combination of personal teasing and logical appeals. She relents, you part company to change, and when you return…
>>
>>5474977
“This is the worst,” the Novice complains.

You don’t immediately respond, because you are too busy silently appreciating the artistry of elves—even in this dim and dingy realm, with limited materials.

“I hate this,” the Novice laments, her voice a whine, tugging at the clinging fabric. “How is this more practical than my robe?”

“Freedom of movement for your limbs,” you remind her.

“Because they are EXPOSED!” she almost wails.

“Yes,” you say, your inability to hide the lustful <appetite> from your voice earning you a hateful glare.

The Winter Ball itself is clearly a rather significant affair. Even the peasantry who make up the bulk of the shifting crowds around your temporary residence wear their whitest greys, while evergreen-emerald and winter grey-blue flourishes are added to the attire of the soldiers and higher-born who you see in Wevenore’s streets. The attire is strongly gendered, too—while some still wear the neutral robes, many elves project a more obvious masculinity or femininity, mirroring the stylized distinction between your outfit and the Novice’s in their own ways.

This is doubly the case when your royal escorts arrive, accompanied by their retinues: Solinsyr is wearing a strange sort of head-wrapping pinned in place with a sapphire-and-silver emblem, and is shrouded in a priestly snow-white robe with armoured bracers and greaves, a surface-steel sword in the gem-speckled scabbard at his side. On his arm is Princess Jazkarmel—for once, properly looking the part in her elegant silk gown and with her white hair meticulously braided and studded with what look to be diamonds; she has no magic staff or other weapon on her, but intimates that she can still cast spells—albeit with less potency or directionality—without its aid.

“What it loses in practicality, it makes up for in other ways,” Olu the Archer notes, with a cheeky grin.

You swear you see the black-skinned elf blush slightly. You DEIFNITELY register the flared nostrils and knotted eyebrows of her fiancé; so too does Olu, who clears his throat and says no more.

“I hope you don’t plan to bring ALL this rabble?” Solinsyr asks you, his voice betraying a nervousness that you just might. “The Winter Ball which WE attend is a fairly exclusive affair.”

Who else will you bring?
>The Duelist
>The Lancer
>Ivno
>Olu
>Karz
>The Junior Novice
>Someone else
[Pick no more than two]

Sorry for the mid-post delay, someone parked in my roomie's spot and we had to get it sorted
>>
>>5474978
>The Duelist
>The Lancer
Literally the only ones that can realistically assist us in this cultural event.
>>
>>5474978
>The Deulist
>Olu
Its still important we have another reptilian with us I feel as a "bodyguard" We are fully capable I realize but this is still an ambassador event for our peoples and its good to have another account of what happened, plus Olu can keep an eye on Jhaz
>>5467986
Backlink
>>
>>5474978
>The Duelist
>The Lancer
imagine bringing the junior novice lmao
also I see Ivno, Olu, and Karz are on name status and probably have been for a while, but Hamaraska and Azonia have yet to reach that coveted position
>>
>>5474978
>>5475208
actually >>5475100
is right, drop Hamaraska for Olu
>>
>>5474978
>Olu
>The Junior Novice
>>
>>5474978
>>The Duelist
>Olu

Listen Prince. We get you Kinghood. But you will only be married on paper to Jaz.
>>
>>5474978
>The Lancer
>Olu

Imagine bringing the junior novice, haha
>>
>>5474978
>The Duelist
>The Lancer
I’d rather not get Olu and Jaz distracted by each other.
>>
>>5474978
I’ll change I’d rather bring the lancer than that whore

>The Lancer
>Olu
>>
>>5475920
>>5475917
>>5475435
>>5475356
>>5475210
>>5475100
>>5475019
After all the aid she has rendered, you cannot do otherwise than bring Azonia the Duelist. Besides, as a member of minor nobility herself,, she is well-equipped with the etiquette needed for the social warfare ahead. She’s certainly a more obvious choice than the lower-born, outcast Lancer, who you would otherwise be inclined to bring. You explain this rationale to Hamaraska (not that you’re OBLIGED to explain yourself to them), and the androgynous elf seems to understand.

“It’s not like I have any clothes for it, anyway,” the Lancer notes.

You get the feeling they’re still a little disappointed.

Your other choice, Olu the Archer, is altogether more enthusiastic. So too is Jazkarmel, which you suppose explains the half-human’s own excitement. Prince Solinsyr. Of course, is less so… But he has the tact to not voice this irritation aloud, or to second-guess your choice. It’s not up for negotiation, so that’s wise of him… But it does leave the question of how to properly dress him for the event.

“Hmm,” the Duelist hums aloud, sizing him up. “He’s a tall one, but I think we can make something work.”

“Hey!” he hisses. “Hands to yourself, spy!”

In spite of his continued animosity towards the Duelist, Azonia still drags the Archer away for a change of clothes. While they are attending to this, you provide your other troops their instructions in their absence. You instruct that they should defer to Ivno, and inform Hamaraska the Lancer on the feeding and care of the Junior Novice, who is on a strict diet and requires small supplementary injections of an alchemical concoction created by the Novice to prevent organ failure in his current state.

“It’sss temporary,” the Novice explains defensively. “Until I can perfect him in a proper Fleshweaving chamber.”

Her Dark Elven has improved quite a bit alongside her dancing, you note.

The Duelist and Archer return shortly, the former in a wrap dress of ostentatious blue and green fabric tied off at the waist with a white bow (now doubt strategically hiding a blade or two, as before). Olu the Archer’s own attire is… Interesting. It seems to be a robe augmented with his usual leather armour, more akin to Jazkarmel’s attire than Solinsyr’s or yours, though the material and checkered pattern lead you to believe that it is actually repurposed from one of Azonia’s dresses. It reveals his bare chest, studded with greenish scales where a pure-blooded human might have body-hair; by all indications, it actually CANNOT be closed, too small to allow him much movement. It has JUST about been styled so as to look like a fashion choice, though.

“He’ll get some leeway,” the Duelist notes. “He’s foreign. Plus, surface-leather armour of that quality is showy enough.”

“I think it looks pretty nice,” Jazkarmel notes, to the silent ire of her actual date.
>>
>>5476304

Your group makes its way through the streets of Wevenore, spartan of most decorations save for those on the people. As you approach the wealthier areas of the Drow capital, though, streamers of fresh, clean silk are wrapped around the structures, or draping down from them in apparent imitation of snow or icicles hanging from above (you remember these with no fondness from your last, harsh winter in the captured Blackmantle fort in the Bloodrise). In the home of Queen Myrymma, where the TRUE festivities are to be held, this is further accented by magical ambience: every crystal lantern has been modified by some elven illusion to appear faintly bluish, lending an eerie and seasonal touch to proceedings.

The actual ceremony is surprisingly informal, even among these social elites. Great mushroom caps and rare, pilfered pillows and blankets from the world above serve as floor-level seating around stone tables. There, flesh of newts and of lesser drakes, crustaceans and cave-fish, and even some of the greasy and questionably-appetizing ghoul-flesh are laid out with ample wine and water. Each table is dimly lit by its own small crystal as well. Those in attendance are like your own company: well-heeled, highly-born elves and their bodyguards, warriors, and servants. You recognize some faces from your campaigning, or else from Minothel’s party. Minothel is there as well, of course, though he stiffens and averts his gaze when you enter. Corandiirn’s party has arrived as well, uniquely dour in dress and expression—he and his company wear darker grey accents in lieu of the blues, greens, and off-whites more popular here, though he also has a gorget studded with blue-green stones.

You watch the rival houses closely for any sinister intent or action—something made more difficult than it should be by the insistence of nearly every minor elven noble in attendance finding excuses to come and visit at the table, and thus to catch a glimpse of the Dragon King and his strange snake-mage in-person. Eventually, though, the music of the bards—humming and soft singing, accompanied by a queer string-instrument—ceases. As if heeding a signal, the other tables cease their visitations, and the servants cease doling out food for a time.

“What is happening?” Olu the Archer whispers to Jazkarmel.

“It is time for the speeches of intent,” the Duelist replies, earning a sidelong sneer from the Archer for the interruption. “You know, the Queen’s intent to step down, and the intent of the Princes-Ascending to take her place.”

“Then what?” you ask, feeling a rising tide of tension in the air.

“Then every other noble house, and the most prominent non-noble guilds and military companies, and the representative of the lower-born, all state their intent of who they will nominate.”
>>
>>5476305

Queen Myrymma of Yvonlace—decked out in a purely-white attire but with her hair tied up and pinned in place with a pin crested by diamonds and emeralds, with a single great sapphire at the centre—stands and takes a central place in the hall. Your table falls silent as the others, and turns to her.

“Elves of Wevenore,” she speaks, high and beauteous voice carrying well (augmented by some illusion spell, no doubt), “I welcome you to this Winter Ball, and thank you all for attendance. While we are long lost to the world above, the changing of the seasons remains a sacred thing—worth observing, worth commemorating, worth emulating. As seasons change, so do we. As the great cycle of birth, growth, decline, death, and rebirth continues evermore, so shall we…. We Drow of Wevenore, we TRUE and LOYAL elves.”

“Wevenore Everlasting!”

“Wevenore Eternal!”

“Wevenore Evermore!”

The cries go up from the crowd, accompanied by applause. Only when the Queen of Elves hodls up her hand do they fall silent.

“Wevenore will last forever, but no elf here will live to see its end,” she continues. “It is natural and good that, as the seasons change and we change, leadership must change also. I have been honoured to preside over you as Queen of Elves for this long Autumnal reign, keeping us safe, preparing us for the days ahead. It has not always been easy, for the Drow are always beset by traitors and enemies from the outside, but my house’s borderguards have kept them at bay…”

She looks to Jazkarmel and to a few other female elves in attendance of similar features, who stand and raise their fists with a cry of ‘Wevenore Evermore! Yvonlace Evermore!’, before the Queen carries on.

“…And with the help of our most honoured guest, King Theral of Bloodrise, we have destroyed our most pernicious and immediate foes, and made great gains to prepare for the vagaries of the Winter to come.”

You blink, then hastily rise. The Duelist elbows you, and you clear your throat and raise your fist, saying…
> “Wevenore Evermore!”
> “Yvonlace Evermore!”
> “Lahlabar Evermore!”
> “Bloodrise Ever-Rising!”
> “Hail the Dark Gods Beyond and Below!”
>Write-in
>>
Oh, and I have a party of my own to attend after work tomorrow, so I may not get to update until Sunday.
>>
>>5476306
> “Lahlabar Evermore!”
>>
> “Lahlabar Evermore!”
>>
>>5476306
> “Hail the Dark Gods Beyond and Below!”
Otherwise put me down for whoever the others pick. Honestly tempted to shout out Bloodrise, just to give our allies a heart attack.
>>
>>5476306
>> “Hail the Dark Gods Beyond and Below!”
>>
>>5476306
>Write-in
>-"For Wevenore and the Dark Gods!"

We should split the difference between a toast to wevenore and the dark gods. If we hail just dark gods we will look too foreign, but if we don't hail the dark gods at all we won't be properly representing our message.
>>
>>5476306
> “Wevenore Evermore!”

don't hamfist the dark gods in everywhere guys
being too desperate with the evangelizing will just make us look desperate
>>
>>5476306
> “Wevenore Evermore!”
>>
>>5476306
> “Wevenore Evermore!”

I'll switch, don't fuck this up guys. Play it safe we're in a good position.
>>
>>5477108
>>5477596
We already have a know following amongst the dark elves, and we revealed the ones the lady of the rookery blessed. So i doubt publicly hailing the dark gods would result in some kind of pollical catastrophe.
>>
>>5477778
A known following amongst poor dark elves. This place is filled with nobles who we’ve had much less success with converting, nobles about to vote who they want for king. Why jeopardize our position?
>>
Will be posting after my VtM game ends. Vote locked!
>>
>>5477596
>>5477183
>>5477108
>>5476914
>>5476855
>>5476584
>>5476407

You were prescient enough to consult with your Lahlabar and Yvonlace allies before this soiree, so you know that this is not yet the time to make your allegiances officially clear—though no noble worth their title could fail to notice your public advocacy for Solinsyr’s ascent. You consider commemorating your empire and your Dark Gods instead, but wonder if that might come across as… Cloying, even weak. No, your candidate WILL ascend, and bring your True Faith to the fore of this elven culture under your indirect stewardship. Wevenore’s eternal success will be YORU eternal success, for they will be as a part of your Dark Alliance. Thus, it is sufficient to call back the neutral, inoffensive:

“Wevenor Evermore!”

It makes no particular statement, but gets a few nods and quiet applause of approval, simply for your support of the elves’ home. For now, that will do.

The Queen continues her speech with thanks and accolades covering a century of rule, of favours-for-favours, alliances, buried grudges and happy unions, triumphs celebrated and failures endured.

“…But, as all seasons, must end, so must this. It is my intent, solemn and of my own free will, to pass the Throne of the Elves to another.”

Somberly, without fanfare, she steps back, and sits down… Amongst her people, the other nobles and prominent Drow of Wevenore. Then, in lieu of the departed queen, silence reigns instead for a time.

You feel the mood change almost instantly, first subtly, then with growing tension. Eyes flit about, meaningful glances are exchanges. Tables begin to whisper. Hands are on blades. You begin tor each for your own, but Jazkarmel reaches out and places a hand on Olu’s to prevent him doing so, and so you follow their lead.

“What is going on?” you demand, in hushed tones.

The Duelist answers, explaining: “The first elf to speak up must nominate another, besides themselves… So neither rival prince wants to. And it’s public, so nobody who’s anybody wants to speak up and offer their nomination to a loser… So the FIRST elf to speak up has to really think about who everyone Else will nominate, and who will win, so they aren’t remembered by the winner as that disloyal idiot whose house backed his opponent.”

The Archer nods, listening to this, and then looks to jazkarmel and Solinsyr, and finally to you.

“Could the Dragonborn speak up, then…?”
>>
>>5478249
Solinsyr’s eyes widen, and Jazkarmel practically chokes on her wine.

“It is… Unheard of!”

“The vote wouldn’t count,” Jazkarmel explains, wiping a dribble of her beverage from her red lips. “You’re just guests.”

“But it IS true,” the Duelist interrupts, musing aloud, “that ANYONE can be the first one to state intent. It won’t be a vote cast among the others, but it will break the stalemate.”

“He ISN’T an ELF,” Solinsyr snarls at her, knuckles white. “It’s… Improper!”

You see a few preeminent elves send messengers between tables, servants whispering back and forth to one another as they coordinate and strategize. A few elves begin to stand, apparently readying to speak up in favour of a candidate, anticipating the way in which the wind is blowing.

“You’re right,” you hear the Duelist argue with your chosen elf-prince, “he ISN’T an elf, so who cares? What’s he got to lose? These dumb rules don’t ACTUALLY apply to lizardmen.”

What will you do?
>Stand tall and declare your support for Lahlabar’s Pricne Solinsyr, breaking the stalemate and potentially influencing other voters—for good or ill
>Send someone [who?] to apply pressure to Minothel, to stand up and formally declare HIS support for Solinsyr, so as to undermine any who would nominate him
>Stride to Corandiirn’s table, to pressure Him to stand down and declare his support—Minothel has already been humiliated in his own home, and if you stymie THIS Pricne, you will have no opposition
>Stay silent and seated, and wait—you have done enough, and do not want to risk wielding overt influence at these proceedings
>Write-in
>>
>>5478250
>Stay silent and seated, and wait—you have done enough, and do not want to risk wielding overt influence at these proceedings
We eroded Corandiirn's support and humiliated Minothel, we should be a shoe in and not need to shake things up.

Tempting to send Azonia over to prod Minothel to nominate Solinsyr though.



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