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A Guild of Heroes: Requiem

Chapter 5

Birdsie

The God-Emperor of Mankind
[AN: 1.9k words or 6.8 minutes reading time average]

Vote Tally


Winning Votes:
[X] West.
[X] Let fights stay the same.

*~*~*~*~*
Going west, Stonesnout, and Elmanthir waded through the valleys, heading towards the Tol jungle.

Their path was fairly uneventful. Rather than encounter monsters or animals, they seemed to be a solitary pair of brawler dwarf and human wizard, moving down the natural world. He wondered, perhaps, if Elmanthir, who accepted the path that Stonesnout proposed and led them onward like a natural compass, was purposefully using his divination to steer them away from danger.

Mulling over if such guidance was possible, Stonesnout began to question the wizard from time to time, about magic, and got some answers back.

Magic, apparently, came from a creature's soul. Not everything had a soul, but everything had the potential to have a soul.

Elmanthir used an anecdote to convey the idea: If space and time were a loom, then everything that existed within them was a weave. Souls were like needles, moving through this weave, and if equipped with string and trained in tailoring, they could add their own threads onto the weave. That was magic. However, a needle still needed thread with which to weave, and that's what the nebulous 'mana' was - the raw building block of existence itself, used to fuel spellwork.

Naturally, a mage's own threads weren't on the same level as the natural ones, hence why things like anti-magic existed. Anti-magic, Elmanthir likened to a pair of tiny scissors, which one could use to cut through lesser strings. In that sense, various levels of string existed, and various levels of string could be used depending on the caster's skill and the type of magic they cast; naturally, illusions would be easier to get rid of than conjurations.

He warned Stonesnout that, if he ever practiced magic, he should be careful to make sure he was indeed using tiny scissors, and not swinging around a razor blade. The consequences could be "disastrous."

Continuing his anecdote, he explained that souls are connected - not always, but often - to a mind. A mind was an interesting thing, far more than people thought it was, so much so that before he explained it, he decided to explain the body first.

Every being has a body, and within that body are organs, arteries, nerves. And sentients, naturally, have a brain in their skulls, as well, which governed the entire body. Within the brain lies a good part - maybe a half - of the mind.

Whenever someone thought of something, the brain would send those signals through to the rest of the mind. To the deeper, more subconscious parts of it. And from the mind, those signals went to the soul, which shaped them accordingly into magic.

Stonesnout... found himself slightly confused by the explanation, especially the part about brains, but the wizard helpfully clarified and remarked how curious the dwarf was, and how refreshing it was to educate someone who knew so little of the world they lived in.

In a way, it was better than debating advanced concepts with fellow wizards, or so Elmanthir thought.

Stonesnout, though he felt out of his depth, smiled at the wizard.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Trees up to thirty meters tall formed a mesh of leaves and branches that blocked out the sun and cast down an eerie twilight down onto the bushy forest understory. Moss, mushrooms, tiny plants, and herbs could be found in abundance almost every step, but little in the way of flowers. They did not see many animals, too; Stonesnout spotted a bunny earlier on the second day of travel, but nothing else.

"Are the forests in Albion usually this thick?" Stonesnout grumbled as the branches and leaves brushed uncomfortably against him, the sharper ones leaving white lines on his skin.

"You should see the Great Forest, lad. The trees in its depths are taller than the mountains that are your home," Elman replied, then stopped, and Stonesnout stopped behind him. Looking from the side, he saw that the bushes got even thicker in front of them, like a natural wall.

Elmanthir raised his staff and incanted, "Powers of absence and presence, bend in my eyes and tear all in space to pieces!"

A maelstrom of wind formed at the tip of Elmanthir's staff. The wizard jabbed it forward at the bushes and a distorted tube of slashing, cutting, shredding, and crushing winds shot out, obliterating the bushes and branches into tiny bits and sending them flying away into every direction. This cleared a path for at least another two-hundred meters.

They continued their march.

"How come you speak and magic happens? How does that work?" Stonesnout asked, still annoyed by the brushing of the branch remnants but not enough to squash his curiosity.

"Ah... that's a bit of a complicated question to answer. Well, simply put, I am using incantations to cast certain types of magic more easily. The wording is key."

"How so?"

"It's about the feelings you evoke. Each word has a different meaning and connotation in your mind, and putting them in a certain structure makes you think along certain channels. The end result is that you hypnotize yourself, and if you consciously desire for magic to happen at the same time, your soul will be able to direct it more easily and effectively... Here, let me show you."

They stopped again, and Elmanthir pointed his staff sideways, then said, "This is that same spell but without an incantation. I will simply desire for the same to happen, but it will be weaker without the self-hypnosis. Watch."

A bubble of slashing winds egressed at the staff tip. More unstable and smaller in size than before. Elmanthir jabbed the staff forward and the wind shot out; cutting and slashing, but ineffectually. The winds lacked sharpness, like a dull sword blade rather than the precise and fast shredding from before. On top of that, instead of being shot in a straight tube, the winds lacked cohesion, acting more like an indiscriminate blast with a general direction, and instead of going for what looked like hundreds of meters, they fizzled out just a dozen feet away.

"I lack the mentality and practice of a dedicated wind mage," Elmanthir said, "meaning that my wind spells are weak. I can try to cast them better with incantations, gestures, and other aids, but generally, my specialty is divination. Even without an incantation, I can tune out the bushes and trees as if they didn't exist, and see only animals and inanimate objects. For example, there is a bird's nest on that branch. See?"

He pointed up and Stonesnout followed his finger, nodding in confirmation. A small stack of sticks laid on a tree-branch, with eggs that are yet to hatch. A small jackdaw landed on the branch with twigs in her beak, which she added to the nest before hopping onto and into it, then setting herself there comfortably.

When Stonesnout looked down, he saw Elmanthir had already restarted his trod. "Hey, wait up!" He ran after the wizard.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

After their march through the jungle, the travelers finally made their way out to a thick, stone road. It was fenced with low stone walls with sentries attached to them, where rangers equipped with bows were stationed. Every twenty minutes, they would stumble upon a larger security post, acting also as a barrack, guarded by even up to a dozen of guards per booth with support from mages. And at two-hour intervals of road, one could often find a tavern or a tavern-and-stable where one can water and rest their steed.

Caravans; carriages and wagons of goods traveled in front of and behind them on both sides of the horizon, and so did various people, be it on foot, donkey, pony, horse, and they even saw an elf riding what Elmanthir identified to be a griffin.

And despite their freedom from the accursed branches, Stonesnout's thoughts lingered on the unpleasant forest.

"That forest sucked," Stonesnout grumbled, scratching the right and left sides of his abdomen lightly; he didn't want to pierce the skin, but the itch the nettle left him with was infernal. Damn forests...

Elmanthir, nonplussed, said, "Truly? I wonder where its mouth was!" The wizard grinned wryly.

"Ugh, you know what I meant by that."

"Cheer up, my companion, for we are about to arrive in Trost," Elmanthir said, his eyes narrowed, looking a little focused as he gazed forward. "There is a reason that a whole brand of beer has been named after that city. And you, my friend, will be free to sample it as much as you please."

The annoyed Stonesnout accepted those comforting words and allowed a small, peaceful smile to settle on his face. "That sounds nice. Besides, I've been rather curious about what human cities look like."

It took another two hours before the vestiges of a community began to reveal themselves. Small hamlets, and a village, and in another two, they were staring at solid walls in the distance. They didn't look like stone bricks layered on top of each other, but a single, white-gray body of stone that has been carved, complete with battlements. Even over the walls, one could see the roofs and upper walls of large buildings, houses, manses, stores, churches, and other structures.

They walked downhill and made a short pause near the main gate, which was open, with guards situated at the sides. The traffic here was large, but surprisingly, there was no fee or document check near the entrance.

"Finally, Trost," said Elmanthir. "A scenic city, with excellent taverns, or so I hear. I don't have much business here, but I suppose we could stay here for a day or two."

Stonesnout nodded, his thoughts firmly latching onto the words 'excellent taverns' and his eyes a little glazed. He gulped, feeling a little unclean. He didn't really do much yet, but he couldn't help to ask, "My wage, Elman?"

"Ah, naturally. Here's your whole salary for the last f-" The wizard took out a satchel of coins and was about to hand it to Stonesnout when the latter ripped it out of the wizard's grasp and ran through the gate, screaming something about sightseeing, "-our days..."

Stonesnout rounded the corner into a small square and looked around. The buildings raised from brown and white wood, with clear frameworks and blue windows surrounded him. Busy people walked the streets, among then humans, but also elves and fellow dwarves; more rarely a gnome or halfling, and he was pretty sure he saw a lizardman or something similar moving far in the crowd. Surrounded by costermongers who yelled out the prices of miscellaneous minor products, foods, and doohickeys they sold, Stonesnout grinned.

He had eleven gold pieces and two silver pieces, which was, to put it succinctly: a lot of money. This was the daily expenditure of a noble. He could buy barrels of ale for this.

He understood the details of his contract, even if it was only in spoken word, but a part of him didn't believe Elmanthir was this rich until now.

Finally, pushing through the crowd, Elmanthir joined him, breathing heavily. "There you are...!" The wizard looked at the ecstatic dwarf and favored him with a sympathetic smile. Stonesnout grinned back at him.

"I just wanted to tell you to meet me at the northern city gate tomorrow at noon. Until then, enjoy yourself, Stonesnout," the wizard stated with a firm nod. "If you have need of me, I'll go and see what the local magic shop has to offer. Please, don't make too much trouble."

"I won't," Stonesnout said, a bit whiny, his grin not dissipating. Normally, he'd be annoyed, but this place offered too many possibilities to busy himself with being irritated.

Stonesnout...

Activities [11gp, 2sp to spend; take as many actions as you want, but be reasonable]
[] Go to the best tavern you can find and get drunk. [LOCKED; you will do that automatically]
[] Visit a general store and see what they have.
[] Ask one of the guards where the landmarks are and visit them.
[] Write-in.

@Noble Scion @Hanarei @Fyuri @Inheritance @Reinhardt @Rheynn @official clown business @Mr Hawke @Thatguynameded @Heisenberg @ZacksQuest
 
Last edited:

official clown business

Maple Syrup Elemental
Elmanthir: "Please, don't make too much trouble."
Readers: "let's get fuckin wasted WOOOOOOOOO"


[x] Visit a general store and see what they have. (if we can do blacksmiths or other stores and such too then that's also neat)
[x] Ask one of the guards where the landmarks are and...
[x] Go to the best tavern you can find and get drunk...
[x] ... then visit them.

I don't really have any more ideas at the moment, but I figured the tavern and landmarks would take up the majority of our time. So this is the best order to do all the stuff in, at least in my opinion.
As for whatever the hell else we have planned in the tavern, I hope Stonesnout ends up getting blackout drunk so the voices in his head don't hurt his judgment too much. The worst thing we could ever expect to see in the morning is Elman's disappointed face, and I'd like to avoid that face if possible.
 

Heisenberg

The One who Knocks
[AN: 1.9k words or 6.8 minutes reading time average]

Vote Tally


Winning Votes:
[X] West.
[X] Let fights stay the same.

*~*~*~*~*
Going west, Stonesnout, and Elmanthir waded through the valleys, heading towards the Tol jungle.

Their path was fairly uneventful. Rather than encounter monsters or animals, they seemed to be a solitary pair of brawler dwarf and human wizard, moving down the natural world. He wondered, perhaps, if Elmanthir, who accepted the path that Stonesnout proposed and led them onward like a natural compass, was purposefully using his divination to steer them away from danger.

Mulling over if such guidance was possible, Stonesnout began to question the wizard from time to time, about magic, and got some answers back.

Magic, apparently, came from a creature's soul. Not everything had a soul, but everything had the potential to have a soul.

Elmanthir used an anecdote to convey the idea: If space and time were a loom, then everything that existed within them was a weave. Souls were like needles, moving through this weave, and if equipped with string and trained in tailoring, they could add their own threads onto the weave. That was magic. However, a needle still needed thread with which to weave, and that's what the nebulous 'mana' was - the raw building block of existence itself, used to fuel spellwork.

Naturally, a mage's own threads weren't on the same level as the natural ones, hence why things like anti-magic existed. Anti-magic, Elmanthir likened to a pair of tiny scissors, which one could use to cut through lesser strings. In that sense, various levels of string existed, and various levels of string could be used depending on the caster's skill and the type of magic they cast; naturally, illusions would be easier to get rid of than conjurations.

He warned Stonesnout that, if he ever practiced magic, he should be careful to make sure he was indeed using tiny scissors, and not swinging around a razor blade. The consequences could be "disastrous."

Continuing his anecdote, he explained that souls are connected - not always, but often - to a mind. A mind was an interesting thing, far more than people thought it was, so much so that before he explained it, he decided to explain the body first.

Every being has a body, and within that body are organs, arteries, nerves. And sentients, naturally, have a brain in their skulls, as well, which governed the entire body. Within the brain lies a good part - maybe a half - of the mind.

Whenever someone thought of something, the brain would send those signals through to the rest of the mind. To the deeper, more subconscious parts of it. And from the mind, those signals went to the soul, which shaped them accordingly into magic.

Stonesnout... found himself slightly confused by the explanation, especially the part about brains, but the wizard helpfully clarified and remarked how curious the dwarf was, and how refreshing it was to educate someone who knew so little of the world they lived in.

In a way, it was better than debating advanced concepts with fellow wizards, or so Elmanthir thought.

Stonesnout, though he felt out of his depth, smiled at the wizard.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Trees up to thirty meters tall formed a mesh of leaves and branches that blocked out the sun and cast down an eerie twilight down onto the bushy forest understory. Moss, mushrooms, tiny plants, and herbs could be found in abundance almost every step, but little in the way of flowers. They did not see many animals, too; Stonesnout spotted a bunny earlier on the second day of travel, but nothing else.

"Are the forests in Albion usually this thick?" Stonesnout grumbled as the branches and leaves brushed uncomfortably against him, the sharper ones leaving white lines on his skin.

"You should see the Great Forest, lad. The trees in its depths are taller than the mountains that are your home," Elman replied, then stopped, and Stonesnout stopped behind him. Looking from the side, he saw that the bushes got even thicker in front of them, like a natural wall.

Elmanthir raised his staff and incanted, "Powers of absence and presence, bend in my eyes and tear all in space to pieces!"

A maelstrom of wind formed at the tip of Elmanthir's staff. The wizard jabbed it forward at the bushes and a distorted tube of slashing, cutting, shredding, and crushing winds shot out, obliterating the bushes and branches into tiny bits and sending them flying away into every direction. This cleared a path for at least another two-hundred meters.

They continued their march.

"How come you speak and magic happens? How does that work?" Stonesnout asked, still annoyed by the brushing of the branch remnants but not enough to squash his curiosity.

"Ah... that's a bit of a complicated question to answer. Well, simply put, I am using incantations to cast certain types of magic more easily. The wording is key."

"How so?"

"It's about the feelings you evoke. Each word has a different meaning and connotation in your mind, and putting them in a certain structure makes you think along certain channels. The end result is that you hypnotize yourself, and if you consciously desire for magic to happen at the same time, your soul will be able to direct it more easily and effectively... Here, let me show you."

They stopped again, and Elmanthir pointed his staff sideways, then said, "This is that same spell but without an incantation. I will simply desire for the same to happen, but it will be weaker without the self-hypnosis. Watch."

A bubble of slashing winds egressed at the staff tip. More unstable and smaller in size than before. Elmanthir jabbed the staff forward and the wind shot out; cutting and slashing, but ineffectually. The winds lacked sharpness, like a dull sword blade rather than the precise and fast shredding from before. On top of that, instead of being shot in a straight tube, the winds lacked cohesion, acting more like an indiscriminate blast with a general direction, and instead of going for what looked like hundreds of meters, they fizzled out just a dozen feet away.

"I lack the mentality and practice of a dedicated wind mage," Elmanthir said, "meaning that my wind spells are weak. I can try to cast them better with incantations, gestures, and other aids, but generally, my specialty is divination. Even without an incantation, I can tune out the bushes and trees as if they didn't exist, and see only animals and inanimate objects. For example, there is a bird's nest on that branch. See?"

He pointed up and Stonesnout followed his finger, nodding in confirmation. A small stack of sticks laid on a tree-branch, with eggs that are yet to hatch. A small jackdaw landed on the branch with twigs in her beak, which she added to the nest before hopping onto and into it, then setting herself there comfortably.

When Stonesnout looked down, he saw Elmanthir had already restarted his trod. "Hey, wait up!" He ran after the wizard.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

After their march through the jungle, the travelers finally made their way out to a thick, stone road. It was fenced with low stone walls with sentries attached to them, where rangers equipped with bows were stationed. Every twenty minutes, they would stumble upon a larger security post, acting also as a barrack, guarded by even up to a dozen of guards per booth with support from mages. And at two-hour intervals of road, one could often find a tavern or a tavern-and-stable where one can water and rest their steed.

Caravans; carriages and wagons of goods traveled in front of and behind them on both sides of the horizon, and so did various people, be it on foot, donkey, pony, horse, and they even saw an elf riding what Elmanthir identified to be a griffin.

And despite their freedom from the accursed branches, Stonesnout's thoughts lingered on the unpleasant forest.

"That forest sucked," Stonesnout grumbled, scratching the right and left sides of his abdomen lightly; he didn't want to pierce the skin, but the itch the nettle left him with was infernal. Damn forests...

Elmanthir, nonplussed, said, "Truly? I wonder where its mouth was!" The wizard grinned wryly.

"Ugh, you know what I meant by that."

"Cheer up, my companion, for we are about to arrive in Trost," Elmanthir said, his eyes narrowed, looking a little focused as he gazed forward. "There is a reason that a whole brand of beer has been named after that city. And you, my friend, will be free to sample it as much as you please."

The annoyed Stonesnout accepted those comforting words and allowed a small, peaceful smile to settle on his face. "That sounds nice. Besides, I've been rather curious about what human cities look like."

It took another two hours before the vestiges of a community began to reveal themselves. Small hamlets, and a village, and in another two, they were staring at solid walls in the distance. They didn't look like stone bricks layered on top of each other, but a single, white-gray body of stone that has been carved, complete with battlements. Even over the walls, one could see the roofs and upper walls of large buildings, houses, manses, stores, churches, and other structures.

They walked downhill and made a short pause near the main gate, which was open, with guards situated at the sides. The traffic here was large, but surprisingly, there was no fee or document check near the entrance.

"Finally, Trost," said Elmanthir. "A scenic city, with excellent taverns, or so I hear. I don't have much business here, but I suppose we could stay here for a day or two."

Stonesnout nodded, his thoughts firmly latching onto the words 'excellent taverns' and his eyes a little glazed. He gulped, feeling a little unclean. He didn't really do much yet, but he couldn't help to ask, "My wage, Elman?"

"Ah, naturally. Here's your whole salary for the last f-" The wizard took out a satchel of coins and was about to hand it to Stonesnout when the latter ripped it out of the wizard's grasp and ran through the gate, screaming something about sightseeing, "-our days..."

Stonesnout rounded the corner into a small square and looked around. The buildings raised from brown and white wood, with clear frameworks and blue windows surrounded him. Busy people walked the streets, among then humans, but also elves and fellow dwarves; more rarely a gnome or halfling, and he was pretty sure he saw a lizardman or something similar moving far in the crowd. Surrounded by costermongers who yelled out the prices of miscellaneous minor products, foods, and doohickeys they sold, Stonesnout grinned.

He had eleven gold pieces and two silver pieces, which was, to put it succinctly: a lot of money. This was the daily expenditure of a noble. He could buy barrels of ale for this.

He understood the details of his contract, even if it was only in spoken word, but a part of him didn't believe Elmanthir was this rich until now.

Finally, pushing through the crowd, Elmanthir joined him, breathing heavily. "There you are...!" The wizard looked at the ecstatic dwarf and favored him with a sympathetic smile. Stonesnout grinned back at him.

"I just wanted to tell you to meet me at the northern city gate tomorrow at noon. Until then, enjoy yourself, Stonesnout," the wizard stated with a firm nod. "If you have need of me, I'll go and see what the local magic shop has to offer. Please, don't make too much trouble."

"I won't," Stonesnout said, a bit whiny, his grin not dissipating. Normally, he'd be annoyed, but this place offered too many possibilities to busy himself with being irritated.

Stonesnout...

Activities [11gp, 2sp to spend; take as many actions as you want, but be reasonable]
[] Go to the best tavern you can find and get drunk. [LOCKED; you will do that automatically]
[] Visit a general store and see what they have.
[] Ask one of the guards where the landmarks are and visit them.
[] Write-in.

@Noble Scion @Hanarei @Fyuri @Inheritance @Reinhardt @Rheynn @official clown business @Mr Hawke @Thatguynameded @Heisenberg @ZacksQuest
[x] Visit a general store and see what they have.

I agree with official clown, why don't we try to find a blacksmith and see what's for sale?
And hey, why don't you visit a bookstore and find what it has to offer you.
You may find something interesting.

[x] Ask one of the guards where the landmarks are and visit them.

I don't know what to expect, but let's see what the city has to offer us for our coin of gold.

[x] Try to mingle, meet new people and make friends.

It'll go a long way in case you decide to visit this town again, or should you meet them in another place by chance.
 
Last edited:

Rheynn

Erratic Adventurer
Supporter
[x] Go to the best tavern you can find and get drunk. [LOCKED; you will do that automatically]
[x] Visit a BLACKSMITH and see what they have.
[x] Write-in: Go to the local cemetery and commune with the dead while drunk.
 
Chapter 6

Birdsie

The God-Emperor of Mankind
[AN: Due to the "all over the place" nature of the votes, I decided to accept only options for which two or more people have voted. Two of you voted for a bar-fight while drunk, without any specifications. Reap the consequences! 2.9k words or 10.5 minutes of reading time average. Due to the nature of events, I decided to put off the "While Drunk" activities, for reasons you will see.]

Vote Tally


Winning Votes:
[X] Go to the best tavern you can find and get drunk.
[X] Visit a general store and see what they have.
[X] Visit a blacksmith.
[X] Visit the landmarks.
[X] Bar fight while drunk.

*~*~*~*~*
Looking around the various stores of Trost, Stonesnout found a bunch of things that were rare in Kag-Leihwaz, and a strange absence of things he was used to. Small oddities like clocks and mirrors that were fairly common in his hometown were in short supply, but things like fruit and parchment were almost grossly common here. And he'd actually held off on visiting haberdasheries.

Notably, a lot of fruit could be bought for just a few coppers or less. It was... impressive. He wouldn't run out of good food this way for a while. And indeed, Stonesnout allowed himself a small snack in the form of an apple.

Juicy and filling.

Eating the remnants of his meal, he walked to the blacksmith, curious how the local craft compared to his home.

Stonesnout was never much of a craftsman. Once, for a few weeks, he worked as a blacksmith's assistant but was fired when the blacksmith found a better one. He was used to changing jobs, so it didn't mean much.

Walking into the building, he watched a man sitting by the furnace and taking out a chunk of red-white steel, wearing protective gloves and using tongs.

Stonesnout commented, "It needs a bit more heat unless you're forging mithril."

The blacksmith gazed back, not pulling off his gloves as he asked, "Is that so? This is cold steel, though."

"Like the one that kills fairies?" Stonesnout asked, approaching the counter.

"Yes," the blacksmith said, dipping the cold steel back into the blazing fire.

"I've never worked it then. I was an assistant for some time, so I picked up a trick or two, but that's beyond me."

"Same." The blacksmith pulled off his gloves and goggles, lying them down on the counter. "This is the first time I got such a weird request. Anyway, how can I help?"

"Oh, sorry. What weapons do you sell?"

The blacksmith gestured all around the shop. "Everything your gaze touches is for sale."

"Even that piece?" Stonesnout asked, pointing at a weirdly-shaped weapon in a display case.

"That's a blunderbuss," the blacksmith clarified, then sheepishly scratched his head. "And it's not mine; my great uncle made it. It's a bit of smithing and a bit of tinkering. You feed it powder and it shoots out with a loud bang, killing anything it's pointed at if they're in range, which is shorter than a bow or a normal pistol, however its power is excellent. Though, I'm a bit iffy about selling it, since it's something of a heirloom. I'd consider for maybe, at least three-hundred gold pieces."

Stonesnout whistled, both at the price and the explanation. "Way out of my price range, maybe one day."

Other Objects [Buy? 11gp, 8sp left - please, vote by plan and discuss; if votes are inconclusive or all over the place, Stonesnout will buy nothing]

Simple Melee WeaponsCostWeight
Dagger1 gp1 lb.
Handaxe2 gp2 lb.
Light Hammer3 sp2 lb.
Mace4 gp4 lb.
Spear2 gp3 lb.
Simple Ranged WeaponsCostWeight
Crossbow, Light8 gp5 lb.
Dart4 cp¼ lb.
Shortbow9 gp2 lb.
Sling1 sp
Martial Melee WeaponsCostWeight
Battleaxe10 gp4 lb.
Flail10 gp2 lb.
Glaive15 gp6 lb.
Greataxe20 gp7 lb.
Greatsword35 gp6 lb.
Halberd20 gp6 lb.
Longsword15 gp3 lb.
Maul10 gp10 lb.
Morningstar15 gp4 lb.
Shortsword10 gp2 lb.
Warhammer15 gp2 lb.
Martial Ranged WeaponsCostWeight
Crossbow, Hand75 gp3 lb.
Crossbow, Heavy50 gp18 lb.
Longbow50 gp2 lb.
AmmunitionCostWeight
Arrows (20)8 sp1 lb.
Crossbow Bolts (20)7 sp1 ½ lb.
Sling Bullets (20)7 cp1 ½ lb.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Compelled to tour the city, Stonesnout asked a guard for directions to the landmarks and received the overall lay of the land and started touring.

There were quite a few things to see, including an art gallery with free admittance, which he visited.

Stonesnout never had a refined palate for art. After all, he never grew up in social circles where art was significant.

The art gallery was a large building with marble columns and long steps, reminding him somewhat of a temple. Walking in, he started looking at the paintings and sculptures displayed everywhere. Most were from deceased artists or painted by old elves when they were youths. At least that's what the dates suggested; Stonesnout was taught to speak and read Common, and though he'd never expected the script to come into much use, it did right now.

One piece, in particular, caught his eye, titled 'Motsognir's Fall,' and painted in 942 by an artist with a very dwarf-sounding name.

Motsognir was a dwarven king, and Stonesnout was confident that he was related to the current king Tunwyr. Motsognir was famous for supporting Fairfax's independence and allying with the city-state, before being killed by a demon named Malbutorius who 'hated dwarves.' That's all he could remember from history lessons, anyway.

As Stonesnout went out and down a street in the direction of the tavern, he passed by a tent colored in white and blue stripes and a hand reached out and touched his shoulder. He flinched and reflexively hopped back, spinning on the balls of his feet. A middle-aged woman stood there with a shawl on her head and blue-cyan robes with small images of yellow stars on them.

"Hello, young dwarf," she said softly with an alluring tone. "You interest me."

"Interest you? Sorry, I don't follow." Stonesnout glared at her suspiciously.

"I am a fortune-teller. Please, forgive my curiosity, but do you have non-dwarf parent? I may be mistaken, but your soul speaks for you. One of your parents is an outsider."

"Is there something in my soul?" Stonesnout asked, and the fortune-teller smiled and invited him in. After sitting down, she took out a crystal globe and placed it on the table.

"There is a sort of taint in your soul. One of your parents must have been something quite literally out of this world," she replied calmly, setting up the ball to be arranged more precisely on its little, purple cushion.

"Will this cost anything?" Stonesnout asked a bit sheepishly.

She looked at him and favored him with a smile. "No; I will do this free of charge. You interest me. Please, show me your palm."

Stonesnout nodded and reached out with his hand. The fortune-teller took it in her own and started to read from it, squinting at times, as if she saw something strange or hard to define. With a sense of finality, she raised her eyebrow and said, "You will live very, very long - that's rather obvious."

"I will?"

"That's not all. There is a second something in you. Not quite a different mind, not quite someone else. It is you, but altered, in all but soul."

"What?" Stonesnout felt confused like he was listening to Elmanthir's explanation of magic again.

"You feel it when fighting? Something that feels different?" she half-stated, half-asked. After Stonesnout nodded, she continued, "That something is what I'm talking about. It's inside of you, and comes out when called. It feels almost like a lurking predator. So far, it seems it hasn't done anything except swipe a claw from its darkness, but has never come out in full. You should be very careful when exercising this power."

Stonesnout, again, didn't feel like he was following, but he thought he got some meaning out of the words. Did he have something in his soul? He wondered, for a moment, if he could use an incantation to bring it out.

"Also, don't pick any fights today," she stated bluntly and off-topic.

"What? Why?"

"Fighting people can have bad consequences," she said, with a mysterious smile.

"Pfft. Me? Fighting people? Please. I don't pick fights," he mumbled as he wrested his hand from her, then stormed out, rubbing it and heading in the direction of the tavern.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The beer of Trost, named after the town itself, was at least as good as the local scenery. It wasn't watery, and wasn't acidic, and lacked the yeast of lager. As soon as it reached Stonesnout's lips, the clear sensation of bitter hop filled his mouth and danced on his tongue, before he swallowed it and felt refreshed.

Some would argue he's had too much and he's drunk.

"Leave me and my friends alone!" said a casual patron, somewhere between being offended and nervous.

"I want to have a--" he burped mid-sentence "--bar fight. Come on! Bring 'em up and let's have a scuff!" He raised his fists and mock-punched the air a few times, hopping on his feet.

"No fighting!" the barkeep yelled. A man with a beard and a mustache. "Get out of my tavern!"

"You sure about that?!" Stonesnout asked, spitting on the ground. He approached the counter and reached out to grab the barkeep's collar, but was instead hit in the nose, which made him recoil and move a step back.

"Oh, you bastard!" Stonesnout mumbled, feeling a raw sensation in his nose. Blood came out in a thick stream of red.

Stonesnout jumped over the counter and the barkeep picked up a saber mounted at the wall to defend himself.

Stonesnout's eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed as he growled. The barkeep thrust his sword. Stonesnout tried to avoid, but he wasn't quick enough, somehow. The sword left a wide gash on his left cheek, chipping off a bit of his left eat.

Stonesnout genuinely screamed. Not yelled, not growled, not grunted. Screamed. For what had to be the second or third time in his life, he screamed in utter pain, and still, he could tell much of the pain was drowned out in the alcohol he consumed.

He started stepping back and the barkeep stood, rooted in his spot, in what had to be a trained stance. A retired soldier?

Stonesnout touched his left cheek gently and felt a burn. He could almost dip his finger into the wound, feel that the incision left a wide gap running along his cheek. Judging by the degree of the cut, Stonesnout's skin didn't make the blade stop or even slow down in the slightest, and it cut unnaturally deep. Unnaturally much. And how did the man manage to strike so quickly? Stonesnout had been drunk and easily fought off armed dwarves before. Was this something all humans had?

Stonesnout's eyes pivoted up in fear. The sword was magical, or the man. Maybe both.

The barkeep pointed his saber at the door and sourly said, "Out."

Stonesnout growled.

How dare he?! After doing that?! Stonesnout lashed out, grabbing a clay pitcher of something and curveballing it from a safe distance. The barkeep casually cut it, splashing beer all over his chest. Stonesnout felt a flash of fear, but didn't yield.

He stepped back, but the saber came swinging at him just as the barkeep walked into striking range. Stonesnout jumped back without care for falling to the ground to avoid the fast attack, and he hit the floor.

The saber was relentless and came from above in a wide arc. Stonesnout picked up a tray and used it as a shield for his face. He felt as the barkeep struck it, and Stonesnout's hands were sore just from the vibrations.

He didn't wait. He backed up instantly, the barkeep standing over him and moving his hand back, preparing a thrust. Stonesnout chucked the tray at him to buy himself another second, as he stood up and tried to run.

But instead, something blunt caught him in the back, with enough force to almost make his eyes come out of their sockets and making his throat release a choking noise. Stonesnout flew into a table, smashing it to bits as he laid in the two halved remnants. He realized, as he laid there, spitting out bits of blood and feeling his spine give and fail, that the barkeep threw the same damn tray back at him. Stonesnout slowly stood, making the patron who previously sat at the table back up.

Even with the ringing in his ears, he heard a mocking voice ask, "Didn't you want a bar-fight?" It was the damn barkeep!
hateHateHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHIMHATEHIMHATEHIMdESTrooY hiM dESTroYHImHATeHiMhATEhaTEHatEHAte HatEEE HIIM THE HUMAN STRUCK YOU HATE HATE HATE
Stonesnout growled in rage and picked up one half of the table by the leg, spun and threw it with all the might in his arms.

In response, he saw the barkeep re-arrange his pose. He put one leg in front of the other and swung the sword sideways, repelling the table and altering its trajectory to fly out the window - the latter by accident.

Stonesnout felt it enter his bloodstream. The adrenaline, dulled by alcohol; the fire, dulled by bits of worry; and the something else, dulled by nothing. He didn't blink as his scleras turned almost pitch-black and his irises became a burning ring of crimson red, giving them a bloodied appearance. Veins of black ichor appeared on his face, starting at the eyes and spreading through the cheeks, and as they did, his face turned darker. His muscles bulged through his clothing, and the crank in his spine faded away.

He was about to let the unsuspecting barkeep have a taste of the good shit.

At that moment, a woman in white robes stood up from a corner seat, and chanted, "Be gone, shadows. Thou of the unseeable. Fade back into oblivion, if of darkness. Be returned to the immaterial."

Stonesnout dropped to his knees, grasping his heart in pain. It surged through his entire body, pulsing in waves, each wave hitting him like a charging rhino. The pain was mind-numbingly bad, to the point where he couldn't think about anything else. It seared every bit of his flesh, pushing down his nerves like a chain of blades burning his insides.

The black veins fled within, his eyes returned to their normal coloration, and his muscles became normal again. The pain stopped and became numbness and tiredness; his stamina exhausted, his energy gone. He wasn't even drunk anymore. He just wanted to rest at this point.

The white-robed woman came up to Stonesnout and offered a hand, asking, "Have you been possessed? I've exorcized the fiend, so it can't control your body anymore."

Possessed...? What...? Is that the rage he always felt...? But he couldn't have been possessed... It was just him... So a demon...

Stonesnout, instead of replying, lost consciousness and slumped over.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Stonesnout's eyes opened sluggishly. The first thing he felt was a dull throbbing in the inside of his head. Like a bad hangover.

He closed his eyes again and laid there for a moment, just to breathe and rest. More mentally, than physically.

He finally moved his head and looked around. He was in a bed, in a small room with light brown walls, a white ceiling, and wooden floor. There was a nightstand next to his bed with a glass of water and a pitcher of thereof, and next to it was a window. Opposite of the window, on the other side of the room, was a wardrobe and a cupboard.

Stonesnout moved in an attempt to get out of bed, but he quickly found one of his hands was cuffed to the bed.

"Drat."

He was stuck.

With nothing else to do, Stonesnout took the glass of water and helped himself. Then, he poured another and helped himself again, before realizing he should stop before he got the nature's call. A bladder's needs cannot be denied.

In a stunning feat of awkward timing, the door opened and in walked a quartet of Elmanthir, city guard, barkeep, and white-robed woman.

"Oh, dear," Elman said instantly, his voice soft, but his expression showing displease. "Just what did you get yourself into?"

Stonesnout smiled, rather sheepishly. As he opened his mouth to speak, Elmanthir interrupted, "Rhetorical question, I already know." Stonesnout closed his mouth, while Elmanthir pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Son, we would like to ask you some questions," the guard said in a strict voice. "Do you have any connections to bizarre cults? Organizations? Weird groups of people, perhaps?"

Stonesnout shrugged. "Besides that wizard, I don't have any connections to speak of."

"We believe what led you to, as the witnesses testified here, 'looking for a fight,' had to be demonic possession."

"Oh. Uhm. Yeah!"

"I, uh... no bad blood between us, right?" Elmanthir asked of the barkeep, who scoffed.

"So much for a diviner," the barkeep said, in a jabbing tone. Did they know each other? "You can't even determine that your follower is possessed by a demon! Get a grip, Elmanthir, and pay for my furniture."

"I will."

"Good." The barkeep crossed his arms.

"Well, now that it is confirmed that demonic possession was the cause, the jurisdiction of this case goes from the city guard to the Church of the Twelve Gods," the guard said, taking out a key and unlocking the manacle on Stonesnout's hand.

The white-robed woman stepped forward, and he finally got a better look at her. She was plain-looking, with long, wavy auburn hair and brown eyes. She looked to the others and said, "And as the representative of the Twelve Gods: Hann, Janalax, Bahamut, Jilonok, Corellon, Moradin, Mystra, Pelor, Kelemvor, Hednorak, Vorterix, and Agria, I deem the accused to be relieved of all charges, and pass the blame onto the outsider who took control of their actions."

"Excellent," Elmanthir said with a rough voice, grabbing Stonesnout by the collar. He nodded most respectfully to the woman and the barkeep, saying, "Lady Wayward, George; if you'll excuse me and my companion?" It wasn't really a question.

Elmanthir dragged Stonesnout out of what looked to be a local temple, all the way to the streets, then into a dark alley, where he let go of Stonesnout's collar. The dwarf looked up at the wizard, who looked like he was holding back boiling shame in his chest.

Finally, Elmanthir exasperatedly asked, "What is wrong with you, Stonesnout!? Were you trying to get arrested on purpose?! I told you, I... I asked you not to make too much trouble, and now I've had to keep up a lie for you. I've had to use my authority to unjustly free you for something you did for, for what, for fun? I lied; I spat in the face of the law and gods because of you!"

"Through omission," Stonesnout argued, though he knew the wizard wouldn't like that response.

"Even so!" the old man yelled in rage, holding back wizardly wrath. He paced back and forth, three or four steps at a time, looking at Stonesnout as he yelled, in a lecturing tone,"Are you mad? Has the freedom from the mountains rotted through your brain, making you seek blood everywhere you go? Have you forgotten the great strength fate granted you, causing you to throw tables at a man who was just protecting his business? Has your mind been afflicted with drunkardry that cannot be overcome even by the power of common sense?"

He paused for a moment, seemed to swallow, then breathed out in exasperation. Looking at him, Stonesnout had the impression the wizard was hurt that his trust was betrayed so easily. With a sense of finality and slightly calmer, Elmanthir said, "I've all but made up my mind to find another guide. Do you have anything to say? Any words to change that could change that?"

Defend Yourself
[] Write-in.

@Noble Scion @Hanarei @Fyuri @Inheritance @Reinhardt @Rheynn @official clown business @Mr Hawke @Thatguynameded @Heisenberg @ZacksQuest
 
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Rheynn

Erratic Adventurer
Supporter
[x] Buy Maul
[x] Buy Dagger
[x] Buy Sling
[x] Buy Sling Bullets (we can discuss how many sets of 20)

Reasons: His freakish strength give me reason enough for the 10 pound Maul. Also, imagine him going Naruto Jinchuriki Mode with the Demon and unleashing THAT strength on TOP of his own, with a TEN POUND MAUL. Also the Dagger would serve useful in the chance that someone closes the Maul's distance. The Sling can come in handy for distractions, killing small game for food/to sell, etc.

[x] "I will do my best to quit drinking. I can see that it brings out the evil in me. About that evil: I would request of you to help me learn to control it, and utilize it."
 

Birdsie

The God-Emperor of Mankind
Reasons: His freakish strength give me reason enough for the 10 pound Maul. Also, imagine him going Naruto Jinchuriki Mode with the Demon and unleashing THAT strength on TOP of his own, with a TEN POUND MAUL. Also the Dagger would serve useful in the chance that someone closes the Maul's distance.
Keep in mind the Maul is a martial weapon, meaning it requires training to use well.
 

Rheynn

Erratic Adventurer
Supporter
He has insane strength, he'll get used to it over time. The Dagger can be used in important times on the side, until he grasps (pun intended) the Maul well.
 

official clown business

Maple Syrup Elemental
First thing that should be addressed is the weapons, and I'm going to try my best and disregard the latest scene for this one.
[x] Buy Dagger
[x] Buy Handaxe
[x] Buy Sling
[x] Buy Sling Bullets (20)
Total Spent: 3 gp, 1 sp, 7 cp

@Rheynn
Since we don't have a lot of money to spend and our skills revolve around street smarts rather than real combat training, I am highly against buying something like a 10 pound maul. It may look strong, and I don't doubt our abilities to swing it well... but the disadvantages of the weapon, even with the proper training, will be fatal against foes who, well, aren't other street dwarves. Foes who are capable of finessing their way around a dangerous, but predictable swing.
Go ahead, try and convince me, but we all know that even if Stonesnout is a strong guy, we are still quite far away from our final destination, and investing almost the entire budget into a weapon like this is a risk of deadly proportions.

Our fists and improvised techniques came in handy back then, but they surely won't be handy against someone worth their salt in a fight. To that end, we definitely will elect to purchase the dagger and sling. Both of them are fairly easy to conceal, and it's always useful to have a little extra help when things get bad.

You might be thinking: why a handaxe?
It's just a small blade attached to a wooden handle. Simple, but don't be deceived so quickly. You can put a lot more force through that axe than you might expect, while not having to suffer the issues of size, weight, and length that a larger weapon might have. We could get something bigger... but that's a priority for later, when we have the means to better acquaint ourselves with more complicated weaponry. For now, you can trust in the handaxe's ability to hack, slash, and crush its way through anything that doesn't know how to deal with an angry dwarf. No training required.
_____

Alright now I need to think about the apology. It's a lot to take in, that we got into a bar fight and all. If we don't figure out something good, Elmanthir's angry face will haunt us forever.

I'm currently leaning towards Heisenberg's write-in.
 
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Heisenberg

The One who Knocks
[x] Handaxe.
[x] Dagger.
[x] Sling.
[x] Sling bullets.

All of these are useful weapons to have in a fight and they are somewhat simple to figure out anyway. The only weapon which would require extensive training is the sling, which takes years of practice to get good at. All of them are good tools to use as well, for the handaxe can be used to cut open tough meat, chop wood, and punt things into place while the dagger can be used to slice softer things. These weapons don't require much in the way of maintenance, so you won't have to care much about these too often. They'll be your ideal starting weapons. You aren't some sort of trained soldier that's supposed to get into fights all day, but you're a traveler and guide for crying out loud. Don't get into fights that you can't win, especially ones you haven't prepared for! And when you get into one, you better do so with good reason.

[x] The evil within speech: "I'll drop drinking, go cold turkey even, as I can see that it just brings out the worst in me. But man, I beg you, you can't just leave me with this evil that lurks inside me. It has to be removed or at least controlled and I can't do it alone without your help. Now that we know its there, we can find out how to deal with it, I'm just sorry it had to be revealed this way. These things are never easy to deal with, but I want to confront this so I can follow the path of righteousness. Even if it isn't your job, I beg you once more to help me. You don't have to think of paying me anymore, no more gold, I don't deserve it. Any of it at all. I just need help, I just need someone that can help me control the evil that lurks inside me, because I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life."
 
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Chapter 7 / Special Vote

Birdsie

The God-Emperor of Mankind
[AN: I've received some complaints that I update too often, and therefore don't give enough time to read, let alone react to the story. Thus, this update will have a special vote regarding this issue.

On another matter, writing in third-person omniscient has always been interesting; it's really tough to portray the protagonist's thinking and form a connection without it sounding cheesy this way.

Also, this update will be preceded by a RECAP for people who haven't caught up due to the aforementioned issue.

Recap length: 511 words, or 1.9 minutes of reading.
Update length: 1.3k words, or 4.7 minutes of reading.
Intermission length: 258 words, or >1 minute of reading.
Total length: 2k words, or 7.9 minutes of reading.]

Vote Tally


Winning Votes:
[X] Arms
-[X] Handaxe.
-[X] Dagger.
-[X] Sling.
-[X] Sling bullets.
[X] The evil within speech: "I'll drop drinking, go cold turkey even, as I can see that it just brings out the worst in me. But man, I beg you, you can't just leave me with this evil that lurks inside me. It has to be removed or at least controlled and I can't do it alone without your help. Now that we know its there, we can find out how to deal with it, I'm just sorry it had to be revealed this way. These things are never easy to deal with, but I want to confront this so I can follow the path of righteousness. Even if it isn't your job, I beg you once more to help me. You don't have to think of paying me anymore, no more gold, I don't deserve it. Any of it at all. I just need help, I just need someone that can help me control the evil that lurks inside me, because I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life."


*~*~*~*~*​

Special Vote: Update Frequency?
[] As is [once every ~24h; daily updates]
[] Lower frequency [once every ~48h]
[] Lower frequency [once every ~72h]
[] Lower frequency [once every ~168h; weekly updates]

The Story So Far [Recap]

Stonesnout is a lonely dwarf, living a difficult life in the underground city of Kag-Leihwaz. He swaps job as often as socks and deals with semi-consistent racial bias from the other dwarves in the city, and deals with his problems by drinking and fighting them head on using his enhanced aptitude granted to him by his non-dwarven parentage.

One night, after a particularly mean fight, he goes back home only to find a wizard waiting for him. The wizard introduces himself as Elmanthir and proposes a deal: Stonesnout will travel with him as a companion and guide, and in exchange, the wizard will pay him a hefty salary, pay for his meals and travel expenses, and consider recommending him to the Guild of Heroes, where Elmanthir has the rank of master.

The wizard and dwarf meet the next day at the local tavern, where they have a pleasant conversation about philosophy. After Stonesnout asks why the wizard won't just teleport to wherever he needs to go, Elmanthir repels him by saying that'd make things boring, and that life would be meaningless for a creature that can do anything. It is by challenging ourselves as people that we can grow and keep life interesting. Stonesnout doesn't understand this argument entirely and goes to the bathroom. Upon coming out, Stonesnout is ambushed by the people he defeated yesterday who came back - with friends and weapons.

He confronts the racist dwarves in an epic fight brawl and defeats them all with barely a dagger-nick on his arm and some bruised knuckles. Soon after, the guard arrives and the wizard soothes them. He and Stonesnout leave promptly after and go up, outside the cave system of Kag-Leihwaz to the surface, from where they travel west.

On their way to the city of Trost, Elmanthir teaches Stonesnout about the "three things" that make up the metaphysical universe: the body, the mind, and the soul. If the universe is a weave, then souls are like needles, and mana is like the threads of existence. Thusly, to weave magic, one needs to control one's soul, and to do that, one needs to use the mind connected to it. Ergo, magic can be accomplished by hypnotizing oneself with incantations and gestures, or, with enough experience, by simply thinking.

The two arrive in Trost, where Stonesnout travels to an art museum and finds out from a gypsy that there is something rabid within him. Later that same afternoon, he starts a fight with the bartender and owner of the local tavern and almost loses. He taps into his inner power and almost unleashes something demonic, but a nearby priestess (Lady Wayward) casts a miracle, thinking she has exorcized a demon while in reality she simply stunned Stonesnout and caused him to fall unconscious.

Stonesnout wakes up later, with a guard, the bar owner (George), Elmanthir, and Lady Wayward coming into his room. He lies that he was possessed, and is soon absolved of his sins and let go.

Elmanthir drags him into a dark alleyway and confronts him about this.

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -
Stonesnout nervously lowered his gaze, his eyes searching across his field of view. He stared at a specific brick on the opposite wall, then on a small stone in the brick road, then at a small blade of grass between said bricks, as he tried to calm himself.

But he couldn't help it. His heart kept beating, in the thought that he'd be left here, on the surface, without money, without a home. In retrospect, he pretty much abandoned his house just to come here, just to travel, to get money, and to have a chance. And the wizard offered all these things to him, and was betrayed for his troubles. Stonesnout realized what he did and following the realization, he took a deep breath.

"I'll stop drinking," he said, and the wizard indicated for him to continue. Stonesnout met his gaze and continued. "Go cold turkey, even, as I can see that it brings out the worst in me."

Elmanthir's frown dissipated into something like neutrality, but not certainty.

"I beg you. You can't just leave me with this evil that lurks in me. It has to be removed, or, o-or," he stuttered, "at least controlled!" He held his hands to either side.

The wizard straightened his back but remained silent, thoughtful.

"I can't do it alone without your help. Now that we know it's there, we can find out how to deal with it, I'm just sorry it had to be revealed this way. These things are never easy to deal with, but I want to confront this so I can stop being 'the drunk.' I've always been that. And nothing more. Just an amusing fool that people can stare and prod with their fingers. I want to follow the path of righteousness. Even if isn't your job, I beg you once more to help me. You don't have to think of paying me; no more gold, I don't deserve it. Any of it all... I just need help."

Before he could continue, Elmanthir smiled. He straightened his back and gave Stonesnout a kind look. "You've convinced me. Upon joining the Guild, I've oathed to never abandon a soul in need of assistance." Then, he frowned. "But we'll have to deal with your eagerness for combat. For now, I'll suspend my vacation."

"Suspend your vacation?" Stonesnout asked. "I thought we were going to Fairfax?"

"Yes, but Stonesnout, the destination doesn't matter any more than the journey. I could've teleported to Fairfax if pressed for time, but I didn't; for the same reasons I explained to you back in that bar."

Stonesnout nodded hesitantly. Having overwhelming power makes things meaningless, was it? Therefore, using magic to accomplish tasks that can be accomplished mundanely spoils you and makes life less interesting. It is in challenging oneself that one finds meaning.

Stonesnout found that he was starting to understand the wizard's logic, and ahead of time, he asked, "So we'll be teleporting? But where do you want to take me?"

"To my tower, for some research, if you don't mind," Elmanthir stated.

"I'll go."

The wizard grinned and held out his hand. Stonesnout grabbed onto it, and the wizard incanted, "Collectives of space, gather and bend like a ray in the skies. Take us across your tapestry to the image within me. And to that end, may your aims never err. With lidless gaze and having deciphered the placements of the heavenly spheres, I order you to bend the cards of space and take us across the three-forked river."

There was a pop sound and a bright flash of light that blinded Stonesnout's vision for a split second. He felt weightless; his insides jumping up and lurching back down as if he jumped from a height, all the while he lost any feeling of balance, and simultaneously felt as if he had been forcefully shoved through a tight, unbending tube, his body accelerating to ten thousand mach and somehow not being obliterated by the fearsome velocity. After his temporary blindness passed, space itself seemed to be discolored and covered in dark ink for barely a second, before the inside of something like a house revealed itself.

Stonesnout dropped to the now-wooden floor and started feeling bile rise in his throat.

He breathed in and out.

"Don't hold it in," Elmanthir said. "If you have to vomit, vomit."

Stonesnout thought, breathed, felt the bile lower, and shook his head slowly. "No, I'm just a bit disoriented after... that. What the hell was that? That felt like... like..."

"Weird, right?" Elmanthir smiled sympathetically.

"Weird is one word for it. I'm not sure how to describe that sensation."

"Yes, well. There are more pleasant ways to teleport, but I'm not experienced enough to use the spell on that level."

"What's with the weird incantation?" Stonesnout said accusingly. He stood up, slowly, almost tripping. His head swayed drunkenly left and right until he stabilized it with one hand and looked at Elmanthir. "Three-forked river? What the hell's that supposed to refer to?"

"Three-dimensional space," the wizard said. "My master once compared space to a river in a long anecdote where he explained space-time to me. I couldn't quite get that idea out of my subconscious since then."

Stonesnout breathed in and looked around.

A dark wooden floor, mahogany? A rotund ceiling with a single modest chandelier with candles. There was a bookcase by the small window to the right, with books in various colors, mostly blue and red. There was a desk in front of them, with an inkwell, a quill, and several pieces of parchment. To the left was a staircase, leading both up and down.

The other chambers in the tower were a small kitchenette and dining room, a bathroom and bedroom, a guest bedroom, an alchemical laboratory, a study, a living room, a scrying room, an attic, a basement, and a foyer at the ground floor. Apparently, this entire tower was a part of Fort Black, which was the headquarters of the Guild of Heroes.

Looking out the window, Stonesnout found himself staring at a picturesque castle architecture.

The first word that pressed onto one's mouth was 'huge,' and another was 'beautiful.' The fortress wasn't as much a fortress, as it was a fortified city of its own.

It was built a long time ago, judging by the central hub, which had an old, sturdy citadel in its middle; its walls slightly slanted inward, with small circular windows and built from giant, chiseled blocks of white stone. Blue-white banners of the guild seal hung at its sides, covering dozens of meters in width and up to five times that in length. Said citadel had four, smaller wings in the form of arms going out of the middle of each wall, forming a kind of thick cross, with a tower for each arm, and a single central tower in the middle. The towers, unlike the citadel itself, were slender and tall, with blue, pointed roofs.

Around it were smaller buildings, sections of walls separating 'zones' of space, with courtyards where Stonesnout could see people walking around, roughly appearing to be the size of ants at this distance. He saw what looked like people sparring, fighting training dummies, and even a magic circle lighting up only for a wolf to form in it, which someone then fought off with a spear. In one of the sections of the walls, there appeared to be a wholly dedicated gauntlet area, with a long track full of obstacles and - he was pretty sure - even traps.

He saw, attached to a wall, what looked like a storehouse with an armory.

Stonesnout stepped away from the window and asked Elmanthir what came next. The wizard gave him a smile. "Just rest for today. I'll set up my tools, and we can get started tomorrow."

Activities
[] Read books. (What kind?)
[] Try to call upon your magical strength without invoking rage.
[] Offer to help Elmanthir however you can.
[] Ask if you can go around the facility and tour it; promise to not get in trouble.
[] Write-in.

***
Intermission

"Hey, you two," Aaron approached Marius and Darius. The half-elven twins stopped in their tracks and turned to look at the novice, who recently graduated from being an initiate. As a pair of apprentices, they were considered 'a rank' above him. "I know you're going to the main hall, buuut..."

"But?" said Marius, or Darius, for the twins couldn't be made out. Both of them lifted their eyebrows.

He looked at them in a calculatedly calculating manner. "The voices in my head say there's a rumor that you might pay for certain information."

"What kind of information?" said Darius.

"Certain information," said Aaron.

"Oh, that kind," said Marius. "Yeah, under certain circumstances."

"What kind of certain circumstances?"

"Certain ones! Is no party listening to this conversation?"

"What do you know, Aaron?" said Darius.

"Old Man Elman came back today. Word has it that he brought a 'black-bearded dwarf.' Short beard, taller than a dwarf should be. Skin doesn't have as many wrinkles, and has a red tint."

"Mmmeh," said Darius, looking to Marius, who stroked his robe meditatively, over his inside pocket. "Is it a boy-dwarf, or a girl-dwarf?"

"How am I supposed to know? Their males and females both have beards. Looked like a boy-dwarf, though. Not old; maybe around your age."

The twins looked at each other and grinned devilishly. Darius dug a piece of gold out of his pocket, put it on his hand, and flung it with his thumb at Aaron, who caught it in his hand and gave them a knowing grin. The trio nodded to each other, then walked their separate ways.


@Noble Scion @Hanarei @Fyuri @Inheritance @Reinhardt @Rheynn @official clown business @Mr Hawke @Thatguynameded @Heisenberg @ZacksQuest
 

official clown business

Maple Syrup Elemental
Update Frequency?
[x]
Lower frequency [once every ~72h].

Yeah, you're right, the updates are lightning fast for a quest roleplay and this complaint has even been voiced in the other quest as well. Beforehand (and going by what Idea said as well), the typical standard was within the range of once or twice a week.

With this quest in particular, it's a bigger deal. Lots of reading. And usually more thinking. It's a lot to take in, and few people have the luxury of having enough free time to vote within a day or even two. Time to take it down a notch.

Activities
[x]
Offer to help Elmanthir however you can.

After that scene we caused way back there, I think this is the least we can do to make it up to Elman. Then we should definitely relax afterwards.

[x] Read books. (Related to combat and the basics of magic.)

I'm agreeing with Heisenberg and that's basically it. The other options are a hard sell though.
 
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Heisenberg

The One who Knocks
[x] Lower frequency [once every ~72h].

I'm okay with this, keep it up Birdsie!

[x] Read books. (Related to combat and the basics of magic.)

We had our asses handed to us by a man who knew how to fight. And before we could use our special ability we got knocked out by some cleric. If we want to make a real difference in a fight, we can't always call on our demon to turn the tide of battle. We have to learn some tricks of our own and we'll get better at it as we practice more with time. Try out the new techniques you've learned after reading every new chapter. And if you're feeling bold you may want to spar with a few guys too, but don't get into any too intense fights or you'll awaken the demon.

[x] Offer to help Elmanthir however you can.

Elman's already done quite a lot for you and he's even bringing your sorry ass to the Guild Hall to help you even more. Why don't you do something nice for him if you've got the chance? Don't make his heart weary, make it a little happier with each passing day. He's basically the closest guy you've got to family.

[x] Call upon your magical strength without invoking rage. . . but only with Elmanthir's help.

At the end of the day, you're still stuck with your problem. Why don't you ask Elmanthir for his help in channeling your energy into something more positive? That way, you won't have to be such a grump all the time. It probably won't work, since you've lived in a crap life and don't know any better, but hell you gotta try, man!
 

Fyuri

積ん読
Administrator
Supporter
[X] Lower frequency [once every ~72h]

Read books. - Something for a recovering alcoholic and anger management. Good places to start on his mission for self improvement.
 

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