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929271 No. 929271 ID: 5a5548

THIS QUEST MAY OR MAY NOT CONTAIN: adult content, gay and lesbian content, gore, asphyxiation, nonconsensual immolation, necromantic life drain, vivisection by way of mideival weaponry, full on cannibalism through swarms of sapient insects, cube-based dissection, and vaginal fingering.

a girl entered the tavern about a half ago, beaming from ear to ear, and strapped for war.

"a mug of your finest, sir!" she said, "you're looking at the newest initiate of the Crawler's Guild!"

Select a Race:

GARGOYLES: stout of body, stout of soul. gargoyles are as unmoveable as the mountains.

MURDERSCRUBS: Death begins, death ends. Murderscrubs are masters of the fine art of killing.

FURIES: anger within, fury without. Furies burn with a righteous and uncontrolled rage.

ZENLINGS: fleet of foot, fleet of mind. Zenlings move like a cold breeze, and strike like a sandstorm.

LUDELINGS: perfection of self, perfection of the world. Ludelings walk like men, and think like wolves.
148 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 935145 ID: ad51b8

...fuck it, you can hate her later. She showed up and did what was asked of her. Plus now is probably the best time you'll ever have to learn more about her because despite your dislike for her kind I can tell after that little show you are at least a little curious about what she just did.

So might as well sit down and distract her by asking about her magic and maybe how she got involved with the crawlers.
No. 935146 ID: 44f6f3

Seconding this. And don't forget to thank her. Manners never hurt anyone, and people do like to know when their work is appreciated.
No. 935148 ID: b0b724

She'd have less to fear if she commented less on how well she knows her slaving practices and brought them up less to former victims of it.

Not that you could do anything. You're a rookie and she's clearly experienced. She did her work, free, and in fact at a cost to herself. Maybe get a drink of your own and toast her. See how that goes, maybe you can get her talking about why she's actually afraid, and why she'd come here if she's scared.
No. 935149 ID: 4854ef

Tell her you are not going to harm someone who has done good work, that much at least she's earned yes?
No. 935153 ID: afdebc

>if this Armada lived to adulthood, it certainly means she has proven herself to her kind
Raises some complicated moral questions. If there was no way to survive but to meet the tenants of a horrible or abusive background (at least long enough to gtfo), can you really blame someone for that?

>Emerald realizes she's looking for a weapon.
Given your own visceral reaction to her appearance, she's probably more than used to everyone hating her by reputation alone, and just about anyone being willing to attack her.

Definitely thank her, that and the drink is the least you can offer her for saving Dea. Especially since it seemed like she planned to heal and go without asking for anything in return, for people she expected to hate her.

Stand or sit somewhere where she can see you easily (since she's apparently leery you might attack her), put your back to the bar so you can glare at the rest of the room and watch her back. She did you a solid- a big one. No one gets to fuck with her before she leaves.
No. 935154 ID: b1b4f3

Ask her about the poem. Is that standard for an Armada healer?
No. 935169 ID: 094652

They saved your friend. Maybe they'll sacrifice a baby to the blood goddess in a month, but right now, you owe them an extra five rounds of smoothie.
No. 935170 ID: 7fb87a

looks like she's expecting the same sort of treatment you've been expecting of her.
No. 935191 ID: 977456

Give thanks for the heals, and consider paying for her drink. Then go hug Dea, whisper in her ear that she's her own person who deserves to choose her own path, and promise yourself that you'll talk to her in private about that "house trained" stuff. She seemed to get very submissive once she was being inspected by someone who knows their way around the slave trade.
No. 935203 ID: a9af05

She came here knowing that people would hate her. You should go over there and thank her for coming.
No. 935233 ID: 8346a9

>ma'am! y-yes ma'am
..what was that cinder said about her being sold off? looks like some of her 'training' was coming back.
that's creepy as fuck, poor Dea.

i bet Dea feels awfully conflicted right now. on the one hand, the armada helped. on the other hand, i bet this brings some bad memories.
she did mention she fucked armada before though. maybe she's over it. or maybe the fucking was during the capture. who knows.
better stick close to her and see how she's doing.
No. 935317 ID: 2202fb

It almost seems like she used to be a fairly stereotypical armada but then something happened that convinced her to steer away from that. Her deity may be responsible for that, especially if they aren't a typical armada deity.
No. 935756 ID: 5a5548
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Emerald embraces Dea as the Armada silently hunches over her drink. the Ludeling jumps at the sudden touch before she returns the embrace, wrapping her massive arm around Emerald's midsection affectionately.

"hey." Emerald whispers, "are you alright?"

"yes ma'am." she nods, "my tummy hurts, but I feel better."

"hey... don't get hung up on what she was saying. you're not housetrained anymore. you're your own person now, ok?"

"yeah... I know. thank you Miss Emerald."

"not necessarily." the Armada mutters, evidently she heard the whispers from Emerald, "Housetraining is not simply training one for their life of slavery. it is a systematic process of psychological and physical conditioning rendering them broken and battered in mind, body, and soul. housetrainers enact undue cruelties upon their victims until all that remains is an obedient snivelling thrall. it is the first and most terrible death of the Beastling spirit before the yoke of servitude weighs upon and snaps their neck. once trained in such a way, the victim always carries it, like a tick."

Emerald looks back at the Armada, who shows no outward emotion. her composure has returned to her. she finishes her drink and digs a few coins out of her bodice.
No. 935758 ID: 5a5548
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"bartender. payment owed for the drink."

"it's on the house, little lady." Cinder replies.

"last time a bartender told me that it was not three days past when a gaggle of snipes came to collect my head for a tab unpaid."

Emerald places a few coins on the bar, "I'll pay it, then. I need to pay you for the healing."

"the Red Lady's tithe is paid in iron, not gold." the Armada replies shortly, placing the coins back in Emerald's palm firmly, "the Tithe was paid. I payed it. the Lady's thirst hath been slaked."

Emerald sighs, "well, how about I buy us a round of drinks instead? what's a drink or two between friend...ly acquaintances? or at least fellow Crawlers?"

"hrmm." she relents, letting Emerald place the money down, "I'll have an other of these; and please drink first, miss."

Dea scoots up next to the Armada on the other side, "uhm. thank you, ma'am. for healing me. I'd like to return the favor if- IF you'd have me... that is. that is, uhm... I'm spoken for tonight, but- but if you were interested in it I could perhaps..."

the gaze of the Armada doesn't shift from Cinder as he mixes her drink. she studies every movement he makes as she mutters in response, "I sleep not with Ludelings. my bed has aged ruts in it weighed down with corpses long since rotted away and any bed partners hence are likely to lay in them and rot so themselves. 'tis unjust a once free beast must yet be yoked and suffer at the hands of such a god damned bastard as I."

"oh." Dea replies sadly, "sorry, miss Armada."

"one musn't grieve the loss of my caress." she says, passing her drink the Emerald to sample, "my tastes are malefic. my heart blackened and sinful. my climax a pox upon thee."

Emerald laughs at the image of this woman cumming. she seems so self serious Emerald struggles to imagine her lying back and enjoying herself. she gives Emerald a puzzled look as she takes the glass back.

"my name's Emerald, by the way." Emerald takes a swig of her own drink, "what's yours?"

"I've not had one for a few months." she replies, "last recollection I believe I was under the name Harvess. assumed, of course."

"my name is Dea!" the Ludeling beams, "we're friends now, right, miss Harvess?"

"I'd advise against Ludelings seeking companionship from pale skinned Armada." Harvess replies cooly, "we are god damned bastards, all of us. unloved and unloveable. untrusted and untrustable. such lifestyles rarely produce good souls. rarer than paxgold art a southerner with pure intentions."

"how did you get in the Crawling business?" Emerald asks as the Armada takes a small sip of the drink, swirling it in her mouth a few times before swallowing.

"the Guild hall has beds, and lax rules regarding those who fill them. oft it is that my options are to stay curled in the hearthheat of the guildhall or huddled in the gutter with rain soaked vermin nipping upon my extremities. 'tis the lot in life for Armada. we are god damned bastards, all of us. hurting people is the only thing we excell at, and the Crawlers allow us such privilege and venerate us for such malefaction."

"though you don't hurt people. you're a healer."

"so certain? the Lady giveth many bounties. my blood is as potent a weapon as any. do not think to disarm me so easily with your labels."

"tell me about the Red Lady." Emerald says finally.

the Armada looks at her for a few seconds, studying her.

"are you perhaps familiar with Arsenal, the Father of Carnage?"

"aye." Emerald nods. she is well aware of the Daemon Prince Arsenal. the Armada were once a mortal race, like the Beastlings, the Kiramashi, the Zenlings, even the Gargoyles after their ascendence. it is said that a group of Daemon worshippers of that race performed a dark ritual to the Father of Carnage in exchange for immortality. the Armada are the bastard spawn of that eternally cursed race. they are doomed to spread misery and fear as their Daemonic Father wills it. they must sacrifice mortals to the Father of Carnage to pay something called the Soul Tithe. those regular sacrifices are what drive the Armada to pursue war and slaves so aggressively.

"the Red Lady is a Daemon Prince. kin to the Father of Carnage." the Armada explains, "the 102nd circle is her domain, the Sanguine Gardens. her portfolio is the exaltation of holy sacriment, divine blood. it is through such exaltation and devotion to the sanguinary arts that I can borrow the Lady's blood. of course, as expected from a Prince of hell, the Lady will require reparations. the Tithe, paid in whole. many followers of the Lady will take the Tithe from others; either the patient, or perhaps bystanders. I expect no such payment. the Tithe is mine to pay and mine alone. these wrappings are proof of my debts paid to the Lady."

Emerald watches a certain fire in the Armada's eyes when she talks about the Daemon goddess she worships. she's not exactly happy, but she seems altogether more alive when she speaks about her patron.

"the debts owed by the Armada can never be payed in full. Arsenal can never accept enough from us god damned bastards. the Soul Tithe can never be paid. not fully. it is the fate of all Armada to one day be dragged down to hell to pay in earnest our sinful existance. the Lady, though, gives me hope that I can pay some debts before the desert sees fit to swallow me."
No. 935759 ID: e75a5f

Holy crap, someone needs a hug and a few hours of watching Bob Ross or something like that.
No. 935760 ID: ad51b8

So you're trying to make the most of what you got before your time is up. I can respect that if nothing else.

So how long have you been in the crawler business? You look like you've been around for at least awhile if your gear is anything to go by.
No. 935764 ID: 977456

She mentioned "housetrainers" breaking "souls". Was that a metaphor? Or... Well, if soul magic exists, then maybe soul repair or fortification is a thing that is not completely impossible/reprehensible.
In the mean-time, perhaps we could work on her mind. Maybe coach her to make demands of us while she is still submissive? If we can get her fighting back against her "masters" then it will probably stick more firmly than any number of compliments and denials.
No. 935769 ID: 094652

Does Harvess tolerate using the blood of the dying or the guilty, or is she committed to using only her blood?

How would Harvess feel about teaching other mortals blood magic with a strict ban on using the blood of others?

And of course, ask for her calling card. Having a healer for a friend will be useful, no matter their origins.
No. 935772 ID: b1b4f3

That's admirable. I'm guessing those Armada that serve the Red Lady are still in debt to Arsenal?
Why do Armada even try to pay the Soul Tithe if it can never be repaid? Does Arsenal send demons after those Armada that aren't paying it? Is she paying it? If she is, then I guess that would sour any potential friendship.

Her change in demeanor either means she's *more* relaxed, or that glimpse of vulnerability was a trick to make you let down your guard.
No. 935791 ID: 8eaf98

obtain friendship with depressed Armada! We must construct a group the unites the races! Starting with the hard(est?) races.
No. 935794 ID: afdebc

She's a lot more self effacing than I expected. She casually condemns herself, and her kind, and their actions.

Are debts transferable between demons, I wonder, or has she simply taken on multiple deals / debts?
No. 935823 ID: b1b4f3

Uh, I would hesitate to try and form a real friendship with the Armada lady. It might even be risky to recruit her as a healer for Crawling, because she could betray the party to sell them into slavery. On the other hand... are Armada even that sneaky and deceptive? She'd have to be a rather convincing actor to pull that off, and I expect Armada can just raid villages for slaves instead of doing long cons on Crawlers.
No. 935844 ID: b0b724

I don't know about the literal, but sins aren't made up for by the number of good acts you do. Chances are that's impossible, especially metaphorically. But if you do good for its own sake, there's a chance you'll be able to live with yourself and a chance that others will be glad you existed.

I think someone wise said that once.
No. 936905 ID: 5a5548
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the Soul Tithe is something Emerald is familiar with from living so close to the southern border. once a week, every week, at the apex of the midday sun a number of mortals must be sacrificed in the center of the Armistice capital temple. as she understands it, if the Tithe is not paid, Arsenal reaps the half immortal souls of the Armada instead. there can only be so many Armada souls, Emerald understands. Armada born without souls are called Immortals, and they are cursed. as far as she understands, eventually all of the Armadan souls will be reclaimed by Arsenal and only the forever cursed Immortals will remain. it would be tragic, save for the untold thousands of innocent people the Armada sacrifice to extend their own people's existence. Harvess may not have actively contributed to the Tithe, but it is certainly possible. she does have the mark of a slave taker, and the eventual fate of most slaves is the Tithe. Emerald briefly considers if she should try to befriend this Armada, but she does not entirely trust her. this could be a trick, Armada are known for their underhanded tactics.

"how long have you been a Crawler? your gear is quite impressive!" Emerald says, trying to bait more out of the Armada now that she seems in more of a mood for conversation.

"I assure you my equipment is nothing more than the tools of a peasant. gifted to me from my company comander in the hopes I would turn them to the throats of peasants my junior." she says, lying.

"huh." Emerald replies, "well you see, those blades are Pax Electrum. I've seen that alloy a few times before. it's Paxgold and Fellsilvar melded together with Daemon magic, right? my Dad used to tell me all about it. the Armada used to use it in their weapons because it can conduct electricity. the thing is, the alloy is so expensive to produce that it fell out of favor about a century ago and production of it ceased in any sort of official capacity, so I'm guessing those weapons are antiques, right? I wouldn't call those 'peasant tools.'"

"miss Emerald. I'm sure she just purchased the uhm... Pax Elect-y something blades recently. the weapons themselves may have just had iron or bronze heads originally." Dia says, trying to clear the air. the Armada exhales shakily and nods quietly in agreement. Emerald eyes her suspiciously. she knows Harvess is lying about those weapons of hers, but she's not sure why, and she's not got any reason to push any further.

"yeah, that makes sense." she relents, "so then, how long have you been Crawling, then?"

"I've been a guest of the Guildhalls for three years under the next full moon." she replies.

"you must be pretty high level then."

"nay." she shakes her head, "I've no interest in the business, I fear. I've not gone on any true adventures. it is my blood most Crawlers care for, not my company; and so I heal those in need of it when such needs arise, but I shan't accompany them to the caves and dungeons they are so eager to leave me for. 'tis for the best, of course. rarely it comes to pass a Crawler with any patience for a god damned bastard such as I walks through the threshold of the guild entrance."

"can I ask about your blood magic? would you be willing to teach it?"

"there was a time when that was my singular purpose." she replies, "I was the Parson Prima of the 102nd choir, under Company Commander Kazztek Kain. 'twas my duty to teach the hymns of the Red Lady to the children of my choir, and to direct their voices toward the wellbeing of our countrymen, and the slaughter of our enemies. children rarely have the blood to pay the Tithe for what we forced them to sing. oft we drained the slaves and prisoners to give them more blood to work with, but sometimes there was no blood to bleed. of course, the Tithe must be paid, and so it was paid."

she trails off for a few seconds. Emerald thinks to change the conversation from child soldiers and prisoners of war.

"well it was good to meet y-"

"I have little interest in teaching the Sanguine hymns. no good comes from it but the small deeds I choose to do with it. anyone else is likely to attempt to use it for ill or evil intent, and likely to be very successful, 'till the lady comes to collect and they find themselves unprepared to pay. such is justice, I suppose, but my talents lie in healing, not in teaching morality."

she digs her Ghost Lattice out of her bodice and sighs as it blinks insistently, "it appears I am needed elsewhere. I am thankful for the drinks, 'twas the first polite conversation I've shared in a fortnight it feels."

she gathers her things and begins to get up to leave.

"uhm. miss Harvess, ma'am." Dea says, "would you be interested in joining a party? my friend here-"

"Dea!" Emerald hisses, "we've got a healer already. it was good meeting you, Harvess. I hope to see you around the guild."

"...yes, of course." she mutters, "may the Lady be kind."

as the Armada leaves the tavern, Dea perks a brow, "did you find a healer already? o-or were you just lying to her?"

"what was I supposed to say?" Emerald retorts, "she just spent the last ten minutes telling us about how awful her life is. I'm not just going to kick her out the door like that... but I can't have an Armada adventruing with me- with- with the amount of experience she has. you heard her, she's never been on a real Crawl before."

"neither have you."

"that's not the point! she's never been on a Crawl, but she has a set of blades worth as much as a house? and she's from the Armada army? AND she was the squad leader of a bunch of kids that kill people using OTHER people's blood! and you're saying I should just let her handle the job of keeping me and you alive in a dungeon?"

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." Dea mutters.

"no. no I'm sorry." Emerald sighs, "I just... I've got a lot of history with Armada. I'm not comfortable with keeping one so close to me... but that doesn't mean I should be such an asshole to you. you've got a lot of history with them, too."

she nods, "she seemed really nice. most of the Armada I meet from the guild are really nice and sometimes they want to talk and eat and drink with me instead of just having sex... and I like to do that instead of just the sex part sometimes."

"you think someone could reverse 'housetraining'?" Emerald asks after a few seconds, "Harvess said it was permanent, but that can't be true. it's not magic. at least, I've never heard it being magical. it's just psychological conditioning."

"I don't know. I've never heard of anyone trying to break the training." Dea says.

"well... maybe if you just tried to be more dominant? what if you started trying to give me orders? or- or Cinder? or that Expedition leader of yours?"

"I don't think that's a good idea." she mutters, "Ludelings that don't do what they're told don't go to Elysium Fields. my Mom is there waiting for me. I couldn't do that to her."

"that's... that could have just been something they told you so you wouldn't rebel against them." Emerald says, "the Wild Ludelings up north don't do what they're told. they made the King of the Sefvlings give them the Taiga when they needed new hunting lands."

"the Free brothers and sisters all go to Elysium." Dea replies, "they don't have to do what they're told because they are already good Ludelings, but if you have the collar on, you have to prove to the old Bitches and Studs that you deserve to join them in the Fields."

"you're already a good Ludeling." Emerald sighs, "you're the best. trust me."
No. 936906 ID: 5a5548
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"if I were a good Ludeling then I wouldn't have the collar. I would have gotten away from the Slavers, or someone would have rescued me, or- or... or I would have died before they put the collar on me."

"ok. ok, fine." Emerald says, trying to calm Dea down, who is now starting to look rather haggard, "I'll drop it for now. we should look into a way to get you back in the good graces of your uhm... bitches, though. for now, what should I be doing?"

Dea tilts her head confusedly.

"uhm... you're supposed to be teaching me about Crawling. what should I be doing right now?"

"oh. OH I FORGOT!" Dea barks, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to blow you off! I was going to teach you but the quest ran on too long and I got hurt and then the Armada lady kissed me and said nice things to me so I forgot about everything! I'm really sorry miss Emerald!"

she grabs a sheet of paper and scribbles on it with a stick of charcoal muttering apologies the whole time.

"it's ok, Dea. it's... what are you doing?"

"you need to get a party together. I have to go back to the Expedition leader soon and he wants me to buy a new sword because his old one broke while we were on the adventure so I can't come with you but I have to give you some notes. notes are good for adventurers because they help you remember important things. I write notes all the time because I forget things a lot."

she hands Emerald the note. it's... well it speaks for itself. Emerald supposes this is to mean she should look for a thief, a warrior, a mage, and a healer.

"uhm. Dea, I'm already handy with a blade. I don't think we'll need an extra warrior."

"you're the Expedition leader." dea replies, "you have a lot to do already. you keep the party together and focused, you take the quests and represent the party to the quest givers, you negotiate the prices, provision the supplies, divvy up the loot, and make the calls in battle that may be the difference between one or more of the party members living or dying. you can't spread yourself too thin. you might be a good fighter, but your job as the expedition leader is to be a good manager."

Emerald nods, gulping hard. she was really hoping Dea was going to tell her she needed to join a preexisting party and let someone else be the leader. she was honestly hoping Dea would be the leader.

"you'll do fine. find yourself a party, get yourselves some equipment, and I'll be there at the guildhall once I'm done with my adventure, and we can all get to know each other. it will be a lot of fun, I promise!" Dea hugs Emerald tightly, sighing happily. Emerald returns the hug, still rather nervous about this whole deal, but she trusts Dea. if Dea thinks she's able to do lead a Crawler expedition, then she will simply have to.

Emerald needs to find:
A Rogue
A Warrior
A Speller
A Healer

which should she look for first?
No. 936910 ID: 0fae41

A Speller. Good spelling is important!
No. 936913 ID: 094652

Look for a healer while the hiring pool is still fresh. However, try to find hybrid classes so everyone can compensate in the event of an emergency. Here's a priority list:
1) Cleric (Healer)
2) Sorceress (Spellcaster/Rogue)
3) Paladin (Warrior/Healer)
4) Ranger (Rogue/Healer)
No. 936915 ID: ad51b8

A Speller

start with the magic people first as I'm guessing they're harder to come across then we can work down the list.

Also think your red "friend" might be one of those immortals you were talking about?
No. 936927 ID: 977456

>Ludelings that don't do what they're told don't go to Elysium Fields
>I was going to teach you
>Expedition leader soon and he wants me to buy a new sword because his old one broke while we were on the adventure so I can't come with you
Ouch. I can't help but think that a good ludeling would hold the commitments it makes above the orders it is given, but I'm no expert in the matter. It does feel like two steps back on the Free Dea project. There must be SOME limits to what she is supposed to obey. Contradictory orders are a thing...
No. 936931 ID: 787abc

Potential healer just left not too long ago. Call Harvess back and say there was a change of circumstances. Seems like she's trying to find some sort of redemption or absolution through the healer gig, may as well be with you. She's already shown good results, all things considered, plus her gear and militant background suggest that she probably won't need as much babysitting as the usual squishy caster type. One would assume anyone with military history knows how to keep themselves out of trouble at least a little better than their civilian contemporaries.
No. 936934 ID: b1b4f3

Hey you should apologize to Dea for passing out last night. Does she want to try again later?
No. 936952 ID: 5a5548
File 156129605242.png - (907.46KB , 2000x2000 , 0041.png )

that Armada. Emerald supposes she could be an Immortal. it would explain where she got so much Pax Electrum. if she's an Immortal it's possible she was alive when the stuff was getting produced in bulk. if she is an Immortal, though, that's plenty of reason for Emerald to stay the hell away from her. Immortals serve the high priesthood directly, from birth until they finally go mad and are sent to wander the desert for eternity. Harvess was certainly not mad, which means if she's an Immortal, she's an agent of the Temple.

Emerald flicks Dea's ears playfully, "hey, Dea. I'm sorry I fell asleep during the fun last nihgt. I guess that Sunshine was a bit too heavy for me."

"hmm?" Dea's ears flutter away from Emerald's fingers, "oh. oh we didn't do anything last night. I didn't know if it was going to be ok with you. you were really drunk. I just tucked you in and we cuddled for a while."

"oh Gaud." Emerald groans, "I must have ruined your whole night!"

"oh no it was great!" Dea smiles, "you kept telling me how happy you were and how much you like me. it was really cute! you uhm... you also told me some stuff about your dad... but mostly it was the first thing!"

"I don't remember any of that." Emerald mutters as she places her palm against Dea's cheek, "well... maybe we can try for round two sometime later? I'll uh... try not to get so drunk this time."

"Okay!" Dea beams as Emerald caresses her, "I'd like that! you're a really good friend, miss Emerald! usually people stop talking to me after we have sex."

feel free to continue voting. the previous party member votes are still counted
No. 936953 ID: ad51b8

>which means if she's an Immortal, she's an agent of the Temple.
or an immortal that went rouge... or did go crazy and some how wound back up sane again. But yeah, either way, if you run across her again I suggest trying to stay on her good side... or at least don't try and piss her off without a good reason. And by good reason I mean more then just what she is.
No. 936955 ID: b0b724

Aw, I can't imagine ever wanting to stop talking to Dea.

The Armada was very strange. Mysterious, even. What was she hiding? There's only one way to find out, and that's to get her to trust you. And the only way to do that is to keep her around, to work with her. It's a bad idea, you take her on and it'll be much more difficult to hire anyone else.

Try to hire Harvess. Risk and reward often go hand in hand, and she's so interesting besides that.
No. 936992 ID: 977456

I... would like to know more about Dea's party. It is probably nothing, party members go on fetch quests all the time, and crawlers tend to be an independent lot, but she was left alone in ill-health and the whole "fetch me a sword before you drop dead" thing seems like a low-commitment relationship. And if there is one armada around then there might be more, or just slavers in general, and I am sure they would offer coinage for a ludeling. We need to check up the local Crawler scene anyway for potential recruits, so it isn't out of the way.
Glance around for prospective crawlers while spying on Dea.
No. 937015 ID: b0b724

It's clearly not nothing, but we'd have to be prepared if we're planning to poach Dea for our team or something. Having an almost full team and a spot for her ready would probably be best. Assuming teammate poaching isn't a bannable offense or something.

So I guess to add on to my other comment, ask Dea what her role is, so we can keep it in mind.
No. 937042 ID: afdebc

>usually people stop talking to me after we have sex
Well that just seems rude.

>who find
Well, you're a manager/warrior, Dea seems like a warrior, and if you're desperate enough, the Armada is a healer.

So even if you need all 4, let's start by trying to cover a discipline you don't have an option for at all yet. Speller.
No. 937078 ID: 5a5548
File 156138398524.png - (1.01MB , 2000x2000 , 0042.png )

Emerald raises her concerns to Dea, but Dea assures her she's going to be fine. she's been Crawling for years, and she's in no danger of getting snagged by a slaver or hamstringed by her Expedition Leader. she explains that the Guild keeps the Crawlers safe, discounting the inherent danger in trudging through dank dungeons. she's not a snipe, afterall. she has a Ghost Lattice if she needs to call for help, and the Guildhall has a bunch of Leyline readers ready to track her down if she gets nabbed. Emerald feels a little bit better. it makes sense that so many Ludelings that escape from Armistice end up Crawling, she supposes. there's a certain security in it. Dea also assures her that the hard part of the adventure is over and they just need to finish off the Nightwitch before she raises an army of swamp zombies, which she assure Emerald is the easy part.

Emerald relents. Dea is sure she'll be alright, and Emerald just has to trust she knows what she's talking about. Emerald asks her about the party members she needs to collect, and Dea explains the four roles in detail for her. Emerald keeps her descriptions memorized. she asks what role Dea would play in the party. Dea explains she's too high level to really fit into a rookie party, but if she were to call herself anything, she supposes she would be a Rogue. she says when she first joined the guild she got snagged by a high level party because her fuckbuddy was the Expedition Leader and somehow she managed to survive long enough to rank up in the guild. she tells Emerald that the different roles get kind of muddy when you start to rank up in the guild and people tend to study the areas they have a deficit in. high level Crawlers usually learn some form of Sorcery or Hymn because high level threats require arcane solutions and the mortality rate for high level Crawls is high. she smiles saying she's always wanted to learn how to Ghosttalk like her ancestral bitches but she's never had the time.

Dea realizes the time as more patrons begin to fill in the bar.

"Oh darn it!" she yelps, "I really need to go, I'm sorry! I'm really sorry, I promise I'll be back soon and we'll get all kinds of teaching done and it will be great and we can fuck too if there's time."

Dea hands her a Ghost Lattice and gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, "I'll see you again soon, ok? if you need to get ahold of me just tap the stone and whisper my name. I'll be listening, ok?"

Emerald nods, nervously. "yeah. yeah I know. I'm not worried. I'll see you soon."

Dea begins to leave the bar, waving at Cinder as she goes.

"oh. Dea." Emerald says as Dea turns to the door, "um... that Armada. do you really trust her?"

she furrows her brow, thoughtfully. she stares down pensively for a good few seconds before replying. "I do."

"well then, I'll try to trust her, too." Emerald sighs.

"hey, that's the spirit!" Dea says, her ears jumping happily, "we're all Crawlers! that means we're all friends!"

Emerald wanders around town for a while, rolling the Ghost Lattice around in her knuckles. it took Cinder a while to wash her shirt. he did it for free, though. Emerald was pretty sure he was too embarrassed to ask for his shirt back, so she now has an incredibly small Fury shirt in her possession. the occasional rattle of her scabbards and the low twinkling crinkle of her chainmail feels rather therapeutic right now. it's something she can expect, and something she can effect, if she really wanted to. dealing with that Armada has really dredged up some shitty memories. she hopes that will subside eventually, especially if she's really considering partying up. she can't spend this whole adventure moping around. she's the Expedition Leader, probably. unless someone else decides to do it. maybe she could find a Speller or a Fighter with a big ego that will demand the reins of the adventure and tell Emerald to shut up and do her job. Gaud, what she wouldn't give to have someone tell her what to do. Emerald is good at swinging the Drakkunmesser. she's no good at telling other people what to do.

the shadows on the ground begin to creep ever further. if she doesn't get a move on, Emerald's not going to have time to find anyone. she swallows her pride and taps the Lattice against a cobblestone wall, whispering the name Harvess into it.

"um. Harvess? it's Emerald. the Gargoyle from earlier. from the bar. my other Healer bailed on me. would you be interested in coming along on a Crawl? Dea will be there, too, and some other Crawlers. it will all be Crawlers, if you were worried about that. they won't be uh- well... I don't think you'll have to worry about anybody being unkind. just let me know if you're interested, ok? this message is getting long, so I'll just leave it at that. ok. uh... bye?"

she taps the stone a second time. real smooth. she sounded like she was recruiting for a children's Gausenbaum pageant. a natural born leader, she is. Emerald lets out a gruff laugh. Dad used to call her the High Priestess of Bullies when she was a Goyling. she had her own little gang of toddlers she would boss around and lord over as the oldest and meanest in her prayer circle. she kind of longs for that talent into adulthood.

her thoughts are interrupted. the Ghost lattice blinks insistently. she knocks it quickly.

"Emerald. busy." the Ghost says boredly. Emerald sighs. part in frustration, part in relief. she tried. nothing she can do but try to find a healer elswh-

"have a patient. serious case. will be free soon. will return to the guildhall. perhaps discuss terms then? keep Lattice near. will contact soon."

huh. well that's... probably the outcome she should have been hoping for. she pockets the stone, sighing. she supposes she'll need to look for some Crawlers while she waits for Harvess. first thing's first. she needs to find a Speller. she tries to remember what Dea told her about Spellers.
No. 937079 ID: 5a5548
File 156138417504.png - (796.47KB , 2000x1748 , 0043.png )

"Spellers! they're really cute! they can read, usually! I've seen some of them write, too! Crawling is a job that puts you in the direct way of a lot of weird things that don't make sense. stuff that you can't really figure out. that's Spellery! floating rocks that shoot lasers! skeleton snakes that bite you and make you forget your locker combination! one time I saw a guy who could piss six feet straight up in the air and not get wet! the world is full of magic and Spellers are the people that study it. when you are looking to recruit a Speller, you want to look for someone with experience. it can be a college education, or an apprenticeship with a master Sorceror, or even experience in Spell duels! the more they know, and the more they can identify, the better off your expeditions will be! consider their skill set. there are loads of disciplines of magic! maybe more than we have names for! definitely more than I have names for!"

right. find someone with experience. Emerald guesses she should just go down to the Guildhall and see about finding a Speller.

she enters the Guildhall. the main hall is a massive wooden room flanked with oak log pillars. at each side of the central path is a long table. sitting at the tables are the many Crawlers of the guild. Emerald has been here a few times before but she really didn't take the time to look around. she was busy worrying herself sick about the exam. now that she has the time to sit and appreciate the scenery, she takes a few moments to take it all in. the guildhall is certainly centuries old. the wood is weathered and darkened by the passing of countless Crawlers before her. the low murmuring din of aimless conversation makes Emerald nostalgic for the cafeteria hall of her Burg's cathedral. she feels as though she could sit by anyone and simply become part of the dialogue. there is an atmosphere of camaraderie that flavors the air around her.

she walks down the way to the other end of the hall. there is a sturdy wooden desk in front of a large set of shelves filled with parchments and scrolls. several men rifle through the papers, handing them around silently, sometimes foisting them into the waiting arms of an impatient Crawler. sitting atop the desk, upon a small leather cushion is a Ludeling pup. a young looking boy, who sees Emerald approach and perks up, happily wagging his tail.

"OH! Hi! Hello! welcome to the Crawler guild!" he speaks in a voice that is much too excited and he runs out of breath before he finishes. he takes a few breaths and slows his tail before resuming, more calm, but still clearly very happy to see her.

"welcome to the Guild, ma'am! are you here to put in a request or are you taking a quest as a Crawler?"
No. 937086 ID: 7fb87a

Hold onto your professionalism with both hands so you do not use them to pet the receptionist for the rest of the day.

"I am here to form my first expedition"
No. 937088 ID: 787abc

That's the goodest of boys right there, give the little guy a headpat. Also see if there's maybe any sort of info packets or listings available to look through instead of just tossing a LFG into the ether, as it were.
No. 937091 ID: b1b4f3

Don't headpat the Lude, he'll get the wrong idea.
Tell him you're forming a group to take a quest, and you're looking for a Speller at the moment.
No. 937096 ID: 977456

I am perfectly willing to believe that Ludelings can read... but that one? Eh, stranger things.

Take a look around the room and try to guess what the newer crawlers' professions are. A good leader has good judgement!
No. 937099 ID: b0b724

"And the first step is finding a Speller. Is there an official form for that or a way to identify those looking for a party?"

Or as close to that as you can get. Remember, the key to speaking with authority is to act as a character that has the authority you need! It's all acting, until eventually it isn't. You had the talent for it once, it'll feel natural again with time.
No. 937111 ID: ad51b8

building a team and hoping to start by finding a speller.
No. 937127 ID: f9b5d6

"I'm an entry-level looking for an expedition to join. You know, 16-party team, extremely low payout, gain an understanding of the layout of these meat grinders so we know how to prepare for them in actual runs."

Pet the Lude! Pet the Lude!
No. 937396 ID: 8eaf98

FULLY on board with operation pet the exited lude. except for the part where that is probably wrong. =/
No. 937554 ID: 9c15a7

Don't pet this lude, save your pets for the lude you just left she needs them more.
No. 937562 ID: 0fae41

Pets aren't a zero sum game. Just be sure to wash your hands before and after.
Looking for Spellers counts as the former, right?
No. 937601 ID: 977456

They're good ludes Saggestion.
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