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File 155490900580.png - (832.80KB , 1500x1500 , 0000.png )
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.
Expand all images
No. 929274 ID: e51896

No. 929278 ID: 864e49

>"a mug of your finest, sir!"

GARGOYLE please.
No. 929279 ID: 1a6f80

No. 929280 ID: 90f3c0

No. 929281 ID: 2e3c0d

Goin' with Gargoyle.
No. 929290 ID: 417401

Sure, Gargoyle seems cool
No. 929296 ID: 891b91

I can't think of anything cheeky or clever to say so I will just select GARGOYLE
No. 929297 ID: a9af05

No. 929306 ID: c47c5d

No. 929310 ID: ad51b8

No. 929326 ID: 977456

Glowing skulls are always a blast, but fury won't win and I can't say no to those giant black eyes.
No. 929333 ID: 9876c4

ZWEIHANDER, er i mean Gargoyle
No. 929341 ID: 0eaed4

No. 929342 ID: 4deeaf

Not sure what was wrong with us playing a zenling, but

1) Ludeling
2) Zenling
No. 929370 ID: 2202fb

Thiccer Gargoyle.
No. 929396 ID: 5a5548
File 155497289724.png - (1.12MB , 2000x2000 , 0001.png )

the girl, a Gargoyle of 20 summers, dragged a Ludeling in with her. before long, the Gargoyle was completely sloshed, and clinging to her furry companion like a infant opossum.
No. 929397 ID: 5a5548
File 155497293889.png - (639.37KB , 2000x1815 , 0002.png )

"you should get a drink!" the Gargoyle beams, "I'll buy!"

"no thank you, Ma'am." the Ludeling mutters back.

"you're so beautiful!" the Gargoyle slurs, barely able to keep upright, "like an oil painting."

"th-thank you, Ma'am." she mutters.

"I mean... I'm not into girls! I'm just letting you know. if I were, I'd be in love with you. you're just GORGEOUS!"

"maybe you should slow down on the drinks, miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling says in her quiet, sonorous voice.

the Gargoyle smiles widely in response, "you're so nice. you're such a good friend."
No. 929398 ID: 5a5548
File 155497301692.png - (8.26MB , 6000x6000 , 0003.png )

the Ludeling just sighs as the Gargoyle slumps into her bussom.

"mnnnn... you're really soft..." the Gargoyle mutters happily, "what do you want to do next, partner?"

"uhm... I'm going to rent you a room in the inn, Ma'am." she replies patiently.

"I mean after that!" the Gargoyle giggles, "we're Crawlers! we get to take quests! what kind of quests do you want to do?"

"oh." the Ludeling replies, "I uhm... I was going to... uhm... I was going to go back to the guild and take some solo quests."

"w-whu?" the Gargoyle whimpers in response

the Gargoyle realizes that her new best friend is about to abandon her in a tavern.
No. 929399 ID: 080aaf

Convince her that the rewards and risks of group questing are larger and smaller respectively using your extensive vocabulary.
No. 929401 ID: c8452a

Weave a grand story of victory that's definitely really cool. Also tell her that you'll either stop or double down on complimenting her if one of those will help.
No. 929405 ID: ad51b8

"Oh come now, solo missions sound soooo boring and you can usually get better rewards in group missions anyways. well assuming you don't have some treasure hoarding prick in your party. So come ooooon, let's start off with a good group mission. In fact why not bring some more of your friends? We get to know more people, get more loot, what's not to love?"
No. 929406 ID: 2202fb

Get depressed and start bawling. Then get sent to bed, sober up and get hung over, and then realize how much of a fuck-up you are in life.
No. 929407 ID: 91ee5f

Try to resist the urge to motorboat the Ludeling.
No. 929412 ID: 2202fb

hol up, is that a fucking cricket bat under the counter?
No. 929414 ID: a9af05

Lewd the Ludeling
No. 929415 ID: a9af05

Or at least hug her so that her face is in between your boobs.
No. 929418 ID: 9876c4

Show us your ZWEIHANDER
Then, do something incredibly heterosexual.
No. 929421 ID: 2e3c0d

Scratch your new best friend behind the ears to keep her from leaving.
No. 929422 ID: b1b4f3

Ask her why she doesn't want to co-op with you.
No. 929423 ID: 417401

aww, she's concerned about you questing while drunk, best friend evar.
You should nap it off then you guys can team up after.
No. 929425 ID: 2202fb

idk, she seems more like a dual-wield, swordstaff, or (my personal preference) war scythe (does not look like a traditional scythe, plz look it up) type of individual.
No. 929428 ID: 9876c4

Polearms are minimally accceptable, esp when paired with cute blushes for not having a ZWEIHANDER.
No. 929436 ID: 2202fb

but it is a polearm with a giant cleaver on top!
No. 929483 ID: 719d94

"Would you still want to go do solo quests if I said I was into girls? 'cause I can do that if it means you'll stay teamed up with me!" but with additional drunken slurring and rambling as appropriate
No. 929601 ID: e51896

We might need to get her drunk too. Order more drinks.
No. 929616 ID: 5a5548
File 155516011349.png - (681.06KB , 2000x1708 , 0004.png )

"h-hey, wait!" the Gargoyle starts, "you know, we can group up! we can take on duo quests, or- or we could get a group together and take on some 4 man raids or..."

"...I'm worried that you might be overestimating yourself, miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling replies softly, "you should get some rest and join a rookie group tomorrow morning."

"we're both rookies!" the Gargoyle pleads, "we both did the entrance exam today!"

"...I'm not a rookie, ma'am. I'm level 10." she says, mournfully, "it just looked like you needed me to give you a hand during your exam, so I did. I'm sorry for making you believe we were contemporaries."

the Gargoyle starts the tear up, "I thought... I thought you just wanted to group with me because you thought I was a good partner."
No. 929617 ID: 5a5548
File 155516014224.png - (843.60KB , 2000x2000 , 0005.png )

the Ludeling sighs as the Gargoyle wipes her eyes on her furry cleavage, "please don't cry ma'am. you're just fine for a rookie. I'm just past that level of work, and you don't want to tag along to level 10 quests. they're... something else."

"you could take me under your wing!" the Gargoyle chokes out, "I could be your pupil! I... I could try to be into girls if you want me to!"

"uhm... I'm really flattered and uhm... you are very attractive, ma'am, but..."
No. 929618 ID: 5a5548
File 155516018295.png - (903.55KB , 2000x2000 , 0006.png )

the Gargoyle panics and takes hold behind the Ludeling's ear.

"hey, don't-! aa-aaaAAHH!" the Ludeling lets out a loud pleasured moan as the Gargoyle scratches behind her ears. soon after, the Ludeling leans forward and hugs the Gargoyle tightly around the chest. the Gargoyle feels her hot breath against her chest.

"mmm-mmMmmiss Gargoyle! pl-please!" the Ludeling gasps out in short bursts, muffled by the Gargoyle's ample breasts, "let me go! I'm gonna-!"

the Gargoyle moves her hands from behind her victim's ears and for a few seconds the Ludeling continues to wag her tail manically and pant, dampening the Gargoyle's shirt. the Ludeling pulls away from the Gargoyle, still red in the face and out of breath. the Ludeling stares into the Gargoyle's eyes for a while with a look that the Gargoyle believes she will soon regret. it's a look like a predator sizing up a meal.

"you want to group up?" she pants, with a sultry smile across her face, "ok. get me something to drink and I'll teach you more than you'll ever want to learn, rookie."
No. 929619 ID: daa216

Get that woman that drink! Pronto!
No. 929620 ID: ad51b8

well she is level 10, get her that drink and see how the pros do things.
No. 929626 ID: 080aaf

I don't think she's talking about quests, but I don't think you care at this point.
No. 929627 ID: 3674e7

No, get her 2 drinks.
No. 929628 ID: a9af05

Do this!
No. 929630 ID: afdebc

You aren't going to regret this decision at all, nope.

Get the lewdling her drink.
No. 929641 ID: 91ee5f

No. 929669 ID: e51896

YES! we're gonna both get shit-faced tonight.

Make it wine to ensure the fun will begin.
No. 929689 ID: 719d94

wait, so we're a rookie, but are we also a, uh... "rookie"? I've got the feeling this information could definitely become relevant as soon as we finish seducing this impressively capable and generous lady we have stuffed in our cleavage.
No. 929807 ID: 977456

Get so drunk that you fall unconscious.
Wake up thinking that the ludest possible scenario is what happened.
No. 929810 ID: e51896

like going streaking with the Ludeling.
No. 929902 ID: 5a5548
File 155535906946.png - (1.17MB , 2000x2000 , 0007.png )

"you should get two." the Gargoyle says as flirtily as she can, "try to catch up with me."

"hey, Cinder." she says, nudging a passing Fury, "get me the usual. double on the drink."

he looks from the Ludeling to the Gargoyle a few times, "uh, you want the room too?"

"I said the usual, didn't I?" she smiles back.

he nods, "right. gimme a minute to get the drinks."

the Gargoyle tenses up as the Fury heads down into the cellar.

"t-the usual?"

"yes ma'am," the Ludeling replies, "a bed in the inn and a bottle of Sunshine. have you ever had Sunshine? it's fermented goodberries and holy water. it's fantastic, assuming you aren't a Daemon, of course."

the Gargoyle searches for the words for a few seconds, "how often do you buy a room in the inn and a bottle of wine that it's the usual?"

"Idunno" she shrugs, "a few times a week. I'll help a Rookie Crawler do their exam and come back here for a few drinks and a quick fuck. usually. sometimes they're not interested so I just take the drink upstairs and hop in bed."

"oh." the Gargoyle replies nervously, "this... isn't your first time?"

"no ma'am." she replies, "I was going to offer it to you during the exam but you looked really nervous so I decided against it. you really didn't strike me as the type to want sex with a stranger."

"well this is uh... this is my first time doing this."

"first time with a Ludeling or with a veteran Crawler?" the Ludeling asks, "my advice is to keep your hands clear of my mouth when things get going. Ludes get a bit toothy when we get excited."

"were you serious? when you said you'd take me under your wing?" the Gargoyle blurts out, "or are you just trying to get me into bed with you?"

the Ludeling looks thoughtful, "I'm not trying to get you into bed with me, Miss Gargoyle. if you don't want to fuck I'm not going to make you. I am serious when I say I'll try to teach you about Crawling. I've never trained anybody before, though. I might not be a good teacher."

the Gargoyle sighs shakily, "o-ok! I... thanks. for trying to teach me about Crawling. I really appreciate it!"

the Gargoyle's breath catches in her throat. the Ludeling's tail brushes against her torso playfully, tickling the bottom of her chin. the last bit of her drunken bravado evaporates and is replaced by blind panic. she has just agreed to have gay sex with a woman she met less than three hours ago in a bar in a town she has never been to before. she's not gay. she's not even really straight. she's a virgin, and she is completely terrified of getting naked in front of this woman.

"hey. Miss Gargoyle." the Ludeling smiles warmly, "relax. you should enjoy the night. celebrate, yeah? you passed your Crawler exam! you made a new friend. you're about to learn some new dance moves~."

the Ludeling punctuates her sentences with more caresses with her tail. the Gargoyle smiles back anxiously. her heart is beating out of her chest. she knows she's sweating bullets, shaking, probably looking like a fool in front of this lady. her superior. a veteran in her field. she's looking like an asshole in public and a Veteran Crawler is watching her and probably thinking about how embarrassing she is and it's only going to get worse when she sees her naked and spread out like a fat rack of pork. a fat rack of ugly rotten meat. a worthless hick blacksmith's daughter trying to walk with the authority of someone who people give a shit about. a farce. a fake.

"hey." the Ludeling leans in, looking into her eyes with great concern, "did I do something wrong, miss Gargoyle? you look like you're going to start crying."
No. 929907 ID: 719d94

"Oh, no, you're not doing anything wrong, I'm just nervous and fat. -stressed. Nervous and stressed."
No. 929910 ID: b1b4f3

Tell her the drink wore off. Ask her if you actually did well on your exam or if you only passed because of her. Is she actually interested in you, she's way out of your league and you're a virgin.
No. 929917 ID: 977456

Apply more PANIC!
No. 929918 ID: afdebc

>the last bit of her drunken bravado evaporates and is replaced by blind panic
Well obviously you need to replenish your drunken bravado. Luckily it comes in liquid form, and is readily available at your current location.

>"hey." the Ludeling leans in, looking into her eyes with great concern, "did I do something wrong, miss Gargoyle? you look like you're going to start crying."
Nonono, you didn't do anything wrong. You're not the worthless mess in way over her head.
No. 929923 ID: 9876c4

Get blackout drunk in the name of true romance.

She can't seduce you if you're 500 pounds of dead weight.
No. 929935 ID: a9af05

Tell her that she didn't do anything wrong. Just tell her that you're afraid you might disappoint her with you being a virgin and not being able to please her.
No. 929956 ID: 094652

Snap out of it.

You can wallow in self-pity AFTER you @#$% up. Being born at the bottom trying to work your way to the top is the exact opposite of @#$%ing up. Protagonist material, here.

For now, have a nice night and prepare for your first lesson. If you can survive a mid-level dungeon with a single veteran on your team, you're on the fast track.
No. 929966 ID: c8452a

The faster said the better
No. 929970 ID: 080aaf

Well, you want to do this. You're just not sure how. So, take another drink and get her advice. Double check which Crawler this is and that you won't burst into flames from a bottle of Sunshine. If it means something to her, doesn't even have to be a lot, that's good enough.
You'll need to trade names so you have something to shout in bed besides Miss and Gargoyle.
No. 929995 ID: 864e49

And terrified as all hell, but you are willing to go through with this you think.
No. 930011 ID: 2202fb

Feel really really betrayed, but also know that it is unfair to blame her, so then just feel really sad and run out crying.
No. 930018 ID: 823745

Be completely honest about your all the first time jitters, then offer to let her get hands on you to help with that and as payback for the EARS
and finally tell that voice in your head to quite down she called you very attractive remember >>929617
No. 930019 ID: 91ee5f

>I’m ugly
No, you’re not! She just told you that you were attractive!
No. 930507 ID: 5a5548
File 155576125207.png - (681.29KB , 2000x2000 , 0008.png )

"I-I just need a drink." the Gargoyle replies in a shaky voice.

"if you say so." the Ludeling replies, "if you don't want to fuck, it's ok."

"no! n-no, I do! I just... are you really interested in me?"

the Ludeling tilts her head confusedly.

"you said I was attractive, right? d-did you mean it or-"

"yes ma'am." the Ludeling replies evenly, "I am a Ludeling, though. we have pretty broad tastes. I've lain with every race and gender, and I don't really have much of a preference. well... I guess that's not totally true. I do tend to prefer Armadan women. they always have something to prove, so they really get into it, y'know. plus they got those tight, stringy bodies... you can just pick them up and put them where you want them."

"I can't really compete with that..." the Gargoyle mutters miserably.

"mmmmm... you really can't, but my attraction to Garoyles is different to my attraction to Armada. Gargoyle women are more mellow, they don't squirm around as much, and they're soft. overall, it's a more relaxed experience; really not comparable to the 'fight for your life' kind of sex one can expect from Armada. though, I can never tell if I'm making progress with Gargoyles. if you've tried getting one in the sack you'll know what I mean. Gargoyle orgasms are like a mouse sneezing under a blanket."

"heh heheh. you don't have to worry about that with me." the Gargoyle replies, "I gush like a pomegranite!"

that of course, was a lie. the Gargoyle actually had no idea what to expect. as any devout Guadian, the Gargoyle had abstained from physical or carnal pleasure. in truth, this is the first time she had even considered sex for pleasure as a possibility. the Gargoyle gasps as the Ludeling's tail slaps hard against her chest. a sly smile spreads across the Ludeling's face as she slides closer to the Gargoyle. soon, the Ludeling is pressed against the Gargoyle's side and leaning into her affectionately. the Gargoyle panics. she's not in any way prepared for this. she's still sweaty and dirty from the exam, and the soft, fragrant fur of the Ludeling sticks to her skin uncomfortably. the Ludeling rubs her head into the Gargoyle's neck and sighs contentedly.
No. 930508 ID: 5a5548
File 155576141048.png - (640.32KB , 2000x2000 , 0009.png )

"Miss Gargoyle. don't be so nervous." the Ludeling whispers sensually, lips against the Gargoyle's bare flesh "you are attractive to me, I promise."

"I'm sorry!" the Gargoyle blurts out, "I'm just... scared."

"don't be." the Ludeling replies, "I was mostly kidding about biting you during sex. I have that mostly under control."

"n-no! I'm scared because... I don't have any experience... in sex- with women! I uhm, I'm not going to be a good partner. you're going to be disappointing in me."

"sex with women is a lot like sex with men, except you do a lot more with your hands and there's less cleanup afterward." the Ludeling says, kissing the Gargoyle on the neck.

"I actually... don't have any experience with men, either..." the Gargoyle admits, "I'm... I'm a virgin."

"oh, ok!" the Ludeling says, softly gripping the Gargoyle's breast, "well, I can show you the ropes. I'm good at teaching that!"

"I'm sorry. I know it's going to awful, trying to do anything with me. I'm going to ruin it for you."

"uh." the Ludeling sighs, "you need to understand that you being a virgin does not make me want to fuck you less."

"two jugs of sunshine for the good lady." the Fury says, placing two ceramic jugs on the bar, along with what look like silver cups, "here ya go, Dea. I'll just put it on the tab."
No. 930509 ID: 5a5548
File 155576152679.png - (0.95MB , 2000x2000 , 0010.png )

the Ludeling pulls away and nods affectionately, "you're the best, Cid. I'll pay the tab off as soon as I can, I promise."

"yeah, yeah. I'm sure you can work it off somehow, eh?" he replies, mockingly stroking the air with his hand.

"I could. if you let me."

"pass. I'm sweeping up Ludeling hair half the night already." he huffs, "I got enough Dea in my life."

the Gargoyle takes the silver cup and begins filling it, hoping to win back some of her courage.

"hey, lass." the Fury says, "what's yer name, eh?"

"Emerald." she mutters out.

"yeah, Emerald. pace yourself on that stuff. you quaff down too much holy wine you're liable to meet Guad, eh?" he chuckles to himself, as he walks off to serve an other table.

"so, uhm... Dea?" the Gargoyle says after filling her cup, "how well did I do on my exam? do you think I would have passed it if you weren't helping me?"

the Ludeling looks forward thoughtfully and she takes a drink from the silver cup. she is quiet for a while.

"I dunno." she shrugs, "I wasn't paying much attention."

"w-what?" Emerald's breath catches, "you weren't paying attention? I thought you were like some kind of master Crawler! you didn't watch me or anything?"

"I'm sorry!" she replies, "you seemed fine! I'm not good at teaching people, I told you that! I'm good at Crawling and sex!"

Emerald sighs and starts gulping down her drink. it tastes like nothing she's ever had before. it has a slight tang to it on her tongue, but as soon as it makes contact with her mouth, a spreading feeling of... pure... goodness... envelopes her. as she swallows the first mouthful, she feels a warm contentment snake its way down her throat and settle in the center of her. a pulsing feeling of comfortable nostalgia radiates through her. it's as though she is sitting at the foot of her father's arm chair, listening to his fairy tales, enraptured. she can almost smell the iron and black powder from his forge.

"it's good, right?" Dea says, snapping Emerald out of her daydream.

"it's like nothing I've ever had..." she whispers back.

"yeah." Dea laughs, "everyone says that. we can bring the wine upstairs, if you want. I tend to enjoy my Sunshine privately."
No. 930523 ID: b1b4f3

Don't drink too much of it. Getting too drunk makes it harder to enjoy sex.
No. 930532 ID: 0fae41

Yeah, no need to worry about embarrassing yourself in public if it's just you and her.
No. 930541 ID: 91ee5f

Go upstairs with her.

This is true.
No. 930544 ID: afdebc

>"yeah." Dea laughs, "everyone says that. we can bring the wine upstairs, if you want. I tend to enjoy my Sunshine privately."

Let yourself be led upstairs, no way this can go wrong.
No. 930575 ID: 2202fb

This still ultimately seems like a mistake imo. Inebriation, emotion, and morals dont play nice with each other.
No. 930587 ID: 977456

Agreed. Anything that you can't remember was probably a mistake. Try recounting the tales of your heroism that she apparently missed.
No. 930617 ID: 5a5548
File 155583632210.png - (5.67MB , 4000x4000 , 0011.png )

"y-yeah!" the Gargoyle says roughly as she takes an other swig of the divine concoction.

the Ludeling grabs her arm and pulls her from the bar. the two of them snake through the tavern, weaving around tables and drunks, gripping the bottles of Sunshine tightly. Emerald staggers up the stairs, nearly tipping over. the Sunshine hit her like a brick, combined with the previous rounds of booze. Emerald's head spins and the room begins to ooze and soften around her. she feels like she is wrapped in a blanket of sunlight; warm and safe. the Ludeling says something, laughing sweetly, but Emerald can not or chooses not to hear it. she closes her eyes and lets the Ludeling hold her up as the two enter the room of the tavern.

the evening goes like that, Emerald takes small drinks from the silver cup as the night progresses, slowly but surely retreating into her own stupor. the last thing she remembers before shutting her eyes for good was the Ludeling above her looking down into her eyes. she really is very pretty, not at all what Emerald expected from a veteran Crawler. she expected a Crawler of that kind of experience to be scarred and brooding, but not Dea. Dea. Dea. DEEEEE-ah. it's such a pretty name. not like Emerald. Emerald is such a boring name. it fits. fits the boring person. a boring plain Gargoyle named Emerald. Emerald and Dea. she likes that. those names sound good together.

the warmth bleeds away eventually and the sensation of the Ludeling's caress is gone. did Dea stop? the Gargoyle doesn't feel like like opening her eyes to look. she just reaches out and hugs the Ludeling's warm furry body, cuddling her toned, exceptionally sexy form. the Ludeling sighs, saying something the Gargoyle can't understand, sadly. after a few seconds, the Gargoyle opens her eyes and smiles.

"hey, why'd you stop?" Emerald muttered, "I was just getting..."
No. 930618 ID: 5a5548
File 155583635002.png - (794.58KB , 2000x2092 , 0012.png )

the Gargoyle sits up, looking at the midday sun streaming into the window. she looks around the room confusedly. it was only midnight a few minutes ago, she thought. she sees her clothes folded neatly in a pile at the foot of the bed, and a rut formed in the mattress beside her where the Ludeling slept beside her.

"Dea?" the Gargoyle calls, "uhm... hey Dea where did you go?"

the room is silent, save for the muttering of daytime drinkers downstairs.
No. 930620 ID: 977456

Lesson 1: Trust nobody. Party-members always abandon you, always!
No. 930621 ID: daa216

Well we got a one night stand. Dress, bathe if possible and begin the adventure for real.
No. 930622 ID: 0fae41

Off to the guild to do some solo adventures, remember? Probably used your wallet to pay her tab.
No. 930624 ID: 91ee5f

Don’t panic just yet. She could be in the bathroom or she could be getting breakfast downstairs to bring up here.

There are a number of possibilities and her leaving you is one of them, but you should stay positive that it’s something else before you just assume she left you.
No. 930648 ID: b1b4f3

You dumbass you got super wasted and passed out.
No. 930652 ID: 094652

She folded your clothes nicely, so at least you're not a completely disposable hooker to her. Get dressed and look around, maybe she's busy eating breakfast.
No. 930655 ID: 4854ef

Such assumptions! Things happened, but you aren't sure. Just get your things for now, stretch, think about things.
No. 930660 ID: afdebc

She said she'd teach you, and you have no reason to doubt she's gonna bail on that yet. Could be just you slept late with all the booze and stuff.

Get up, get dressed, start looking around.
No. 930662 ID: 719d94

She probably wouldn't have left without a note. Look through the stuff lying around. At the very least she folded up your clothes neatly, which doesn't feel like "abandoning" behavior, so start by getting dressed and don't be surprised if you find a paper tucked in there somewhere.
No. 930663 ID: e51896

If you see her, try not to get overly attached. She needs her space.
No. 930739 ID: 5a5548
File 155595079552.png - (664.76KB , 2000x2000 , 0013.png )

Emerald resolves not to panic. she just needs to start her morning, get dressed and washed, rid herself of her hangover... actually, she doesn't have a hangover. not at all. she feels like she's had a night of studying and quiet

contemplation, not one of carousing and whoring. she does feel as though she's been rolling around in shite, though. her makeup feels cracked and caked upon her face, and nervous perspiration has slicked her skin all over her body.

the Ludeling probably realized how awful Emerald was and bailed. no, the Gargoyle needs to stop bashing herself. Dea is gone, for now. maybe she'll come back. she's... probably running errands! she's downstairs, getting food, or maybe

she's going to get some quests to bring Emerald along. yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Emerald looks at her folded clothes on the foot of the bed. the Ludeling washed them, or had someone wash them. maybe Dea left a note somewhere in

the pile? Emerald grabs her panties and lifts them up. sure enough, tucked under the frilly garment is a small piece of paper. it's probably instructions. oh! is Dea giving her an assignment? she's testing Emerald, the Gargoyle bets.

she tries not to get too excited, and unfolds the note carefully, studying the contents.
No. 930740 ID: 5a5548
File 155595081740.png - (1.46MB , 2000x2000 , 0014.png )

w-what the fuck is this?
No. 930741 ID: daa216

It looks like a recap of what last night was. You both drinking. You both boning. You passing out mid bone. Her going to fight monsters for pay but she will be thinking of you. Aw thats sweet. Should dress and head downstairs.
No. 930744 ID: a9af05

Looks like it probably says: both of you had drinks, started to have sex, you fell asleep on the middle of sex (embarrassing!), she went downstairs and gave Cinder, the Fury, some money (probably paying for your breakfast in advance), and then she went adventuring, where she'll be thinking of you the whole time. And I think the hearts might indicate that she's willing to try having sex with you again.

Maybe if you go downstairs and ask Cinder, he'll tell you where she went?
No. 930746 ID: 0fae41

Well, looks like you get to experience your first time twice. Get dressed and washed, and go out and get your own quests to conquer!
No. 930748 ID: b1b4f3

Well you didn't completely fuck up, at least she's not too mad at you. Next time don't drink such a strong beverage beforehand.

Get dressed, go down, go find some easy job you can do today to get your confidence up.
No. 930749 ID: 891b91

Aww, looks like you gave her a case of puppy love, which is appropriate given that she's a Ludeling. Also, it appears she's impressed by the size of your tits, considering that she went through the trouble to draw them on the note while not drawing hers at all. Better yet, it looks like she wants to see you again! Clearly you should chase after her, so head downstairs and see if you can find out where she went.

Maybe you could see about getting her a small gift, too. Nothing big, since that'd be weird and clingy, but just a little something as a token of your appreciation and to apologize for passing out on her last night. The question is, what would she like? We know she likes that Sunshine wine, but it seems like it might be a bit of an uncouth choice, especially considering that alcohol is what caused you to fall asleep early in the first place.
No. 930760 ID: afdebc

>actually, she doesn't have a hangover. not at all. she feels like she's had a night of studying and quiet
Either that Sunshine is magic, or Dea is. Further testing is needed!

Congrats, you found something you're better at than Dea: writing.

Cinder shows up in the story those pictures tell, so if you're not entirely sure what they mean, you could always ask him what Dea said.
No. 930808 ID: 094652

... She looked smarter when you had booze flowing through your chest.

But yeah, time to go to work. For coin and cleavage!
No. 930812 ID: 2202fb

And with what sort of weapon shall we cleave?
No. 930821 ID: 9876c4

I believe I have made my feelings known on this.
No. 930836 ID: 4854ef

She might not have had a formal education.. Or it's really hard to write with gigantic pawhands. Either way she can still be quite smart.
No. 930843 ID: 2202fb

As did I.
No. 931360 ID: 5a5548
File 155642831379.png - (921.66KB , 2000x2000 , 0015.png )

Emerald smiles as the message of the note conveys itself to her. it's nothing more than charcoal scratches upon a wrinkled paper, but she can feel the care and love Dea must have put into it. she tucks the paper into her coat pocket and slips her panties on before walking into the wash room. the last night's makeup comes off easily enough, thankfully. Emerald applies a new layer quickly. she would normally apply the full face, it's a big day, afterall; but she sticks to the eye shadow. Dea may have her doing physical training today, and she'd be mortified if her meticulous facial art was marred under the judgemental eyes of the public.

Emerald tiptoes down to the first floor of the bar. there are only a couple day drinkers silently lubricating their sinful souls in solitude. Cinder sees her sneaking her way to the bar and grunts a greeting.

"you're not dead afterall, eh?" he says, bemusedly batting about a butterfly knife.

"yeah. I'm sorry if I made a scene last night." Emerald replies politely, as she takes a seat at the bar, "did the Ludeling I was with say where she went while I was asleep?"

"Dea's off on a quest right now." he snorts, "told me to ask you to wait for her if you woke up before she got back."

"well... I'm waiting." Emerald smirks. Cinder grunts grimly. she sits at the bar, tapping her talons to keep the silence at bay; it doesn't work.

Emerald coughs, "so... do you and Dea know each other?"

he grunts affirmatively, "been a regular for the last few years."

"you two must be pretty friendly, then, huh?"

"sure." he grunts cooly, clearly not caring to converse further.
No. 931361 ID: 5a5548
File 155642837436.png - (869.25KB , 2000x2090 , 0016.png )

Emerald pouts in response. he doesn't seem to be interested in small talk, so she just gets to the point.

"I'd like to get her something. a present. something nice, to thank her for being so nice to me and to apologize for last night." Emerald trails off, she doesn't need to tell this guy any details from last night, "I'd like to thank her, at least. do you know what kind of stuff she might like?"

"you know much about Ludeling customs?" he says, ignoring the question.

"uh... not really?" Emerald shrugs, "they live in tribes and mostly get by hunting and selling excess animal product, right?"

"that's pretty reductionist." Cinder replies, "their tribal structure is complicated and steeped in centuries of politics. Dea Silverlude. the last name is important there. normally she'd be a Blacklude, and that would mean she'd be a trapper, but the white streaks in her undercoat make her a Silverlude, which means she's a spiritual advisor. she'd be the one in the tribe that communes with the ghosts of the plants and animals and ask them to give themselves to the tribe. she'd also be the one to advise the Chieftain on matters of the arcane and religious. it's a pretty interesting field of study, Ludeling society."

Emerald nods, confusedly. she's not sure where Cinder is going with this, but she lets him continue.

"anyway, Ludelings don't have a strong grasp of the concept of ownership. they don't normally give gifts to show appreciation. they show appreciation through, you know... physical favors."

"oh... I'm not exactly... the best at physical favors." Emerald shrinks as she speaks.

"yeah, I figured." he says, smugly, "well, there is one thing you could give her. Ludelings DO exchange gifts sometimes; of course, those aren't so much gifts as much as dowry."

Emerald blinks, confusedly, "what do you mean?"

"well, if you hand Dea a little bauble, and she accepts it, that makes you two legally mates; in Ludeling law, that is."

"like a marriage?"

"sort of." he nods, "until the end of the next mating season, at least. you'd be looking at about a year of you and Dea in holy matrimony. I'd suggest clearing your schedule that year, by the way. Ludelings are pretty high maintenance."

he says the last part in a way that makes Emerald blush at the suggestion, then he reaches under the bar.
No. 931362 ID: 5a5548
File 155642840662.png - (444.34KB , 2000x1588 , 0017.png )

"here." he says, "if you're really wanting to go through with that plan, give her this."

"what's that?" Emerald stares confusedly at the little white statuette.

"ceramic elephant." Cinder replies, "I got it off a Sefvling caravan a year or two back."

"...why do you have this thing under your bar?"

"Dea told me a few years back how much she loved the little bone dolls she used to play with as a pup, before she got snatched up by Armadan traders and sold off. she missed all the little bits of her old tribal life that got taken from her. I looked around for a while to find some authentic Ludeling figures, but most wild Ludeling tribes stay the hell away from the cities these days. this thing was made by a Sefvling potter trying to make mass produced Ludeling toys for the northern tribes. it turns out the ceramic lasts longer than bone, and costs less to produce. anyway, he had thought the southern tribes would be interested, but as I said, they were nowhere to be found and so he had a lot of backfill. I bought this piece on the cheap. some fine ivory beer steins, too. real high quality shit."
No. 931374 ID: 094652

Can you do a Lv. 1 sidequest while you wait?

- Kill giant rats in someone's basement (and steal their stuff)
- Scavenge the woods for mushrooms with a team of hunters
- Unearth a conspiracy to destroy the world for use as raw materials for the metaverse to feed their starving bdaobgises
- Bouncy Dance in public and ask for donations
No. 931381 ID: 91ee5f

You shouldn’t give that to Dea. She’s nice and all that, but I don’t think you should be married to her. In fact, you shouldn’t be married to anyone anytime soon!

You should wait a few more years before you even consider marrying anyone!
No. 931384 ID: 0fae41

Keep it and save it until after a few missions (and sleepless nights) with her to spring it. You're very thankful for the relationship advice, though.
Maybe drink something less alcoholic to pass the time.
No. 931388 ID: 719d94

Yeah, let's file marriage, even on a temporary basis, firmly under "to be considered for later" rather than jumping straight to giving gifts that imply things you don't necessarily mean. Right now you've got a different relationship with Dea, and you need to figure out how you actually feel about that before you skip half a dozen steps.

While you're waiting, though, you can probably do some light exercise or something. Don't want to wear yourself out for whatever Dea has planned, but that doesn't mean you want to just sit around either. You've got a crawler-ly figure to maintain. Maybe some stretches, kata, or something.
No. 931421 ID: b1b4f3

Do not marry the ludeling. You don't know her well enough yet to commit to a whole year. Maybe after you've known her for a couple months at least? Or a few days?
You'll just have her if you can make it up to her some other way. Maybe you can help her with paperwork or chores or grooming? OH! What about food as a gift? There's no way that counts as a dowry, since it's destroyed upon consumption. Alternatively you could pay for a service, like a massage or some form of entertainment. Also a gift that could not be considered a dowry.

...it occurs to me that the bartender bought this intending to give it to Dea, but it's more than a bauble isn't it? This is a very well thought out gift. He must like her a lot. Except now he's willing to have you give it to her instead? Ask him why he would do that.
No. 931422 ID: 58b4f3

You might as well eat breakfast while you're waiting for Dea. You have money to pay for food, right?
No. 931444 ID: afdebc

"So... if you know about Ludeling customs... why'd you get this for her? You wanted her to have it, but didn't want to be her mate, so you saved it for someone else to give?"

Maybe think about it, but it seems a little soon to formally cement yourself as her mate. Like, get to know her when you're not nervous about exams and drunk before you make a long term commitment.

Also Dea seems to have a lot of one night stands- it's not clear she would want to be tied down or not.
No. 932108 ID: 5a5548
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"that's sweet." Emerald smirks, "I didn't realize you felt that way about her."

The bartender scoffs, "I don't. I might feel that way for her arse, but as far as I'm concerned she's just a pretty face with a loud mouth. The dowry's just in case I felt like getting myself a personal fuck-puppy for a year, eh?"

Emerald laughs politely at that last line, "you're full of shit, sir."

The bartender furrows his brow frustratedly, "oh yeah? You're so certain of that?"

"You talked to her, learned her story, studied her people's customs, seeked a sefvling trader- not a common sight this far south- and bought a high quality gift for her; Aaaaand you keep it under the bar table day and night, in case you need it, huh?"

He grunts shortly. "Whatever. So I'm in love with the fleabag. Fucking Sherlock."

"best sleuth in my burg." She grins, then perks a brow, puzzled, "but, you're handing this to me. That's... An interesting way to go about wooing the lady."

He shrugs, sighing, "look, I'm an old man. Dea is young, she's got a few years of running about left in her. A few years from now, when she's a bit older, she'll get her dowries. I'll have her swimming in them. Until then... Well, I'd just be holding her down."

Emerald puts the ceramic elephant back in Cinder's hand, "you should hold on to it. I think I might end up holding her down myself."

he flashes a genuine smile, for only a second, "I doubt anyone could hold her for long, not Dea."
No. 932110 ID: 5a5548
File 155714391723.png - (974.31KB , 2000x2000 , 0019.png )

Emerald leaves the old barkeep to his nostalgia and returns to her room. there, she puts on her adventuring gear. the chainmail hauberk, overcoat, and various weapons her father left her before she set off. the longsword, Drakkunmesser, is quite heavy, but she had grown accustomed to its weight. the blade is made from Bluesteel, a metal that holds its edge uncannily well. the two swords on her hip are much lighter. one is made from Chasmiron, a metal which is softer and lighter than steel, but has strange properties, it strikes Daemons and Devils truly and sends them careening back to hell all the sooner. the other blade, her father told her was made from an alloy called Fellsilvar, which he spent a great deal of his wealth obtaining from a Sefvling merchant. the blade can slice cleanly through ghosts, specters, and other such spirits. the arsenal she has lain out before her could be sold for a small fortune. her father, afterall, was quite the craftsman in his time. Drakkunmesser itself was originally a commission from the king of the county east of her home village, and she is certain if the king had lived long enough to pay for the blade, it would have been a price measured in tonnes of gold, not grams.
No. 932111 ID: 5a5548
File 155714394376.png - (706.61KB , 2000x2000 , 0020.png )

she hears the doors of the tavern open and quickly attaches the rest of her gear before bounding down the stairs.

"hey, Dea?" Emerald takes the last few steps quickly, beaming, "I'm ready to get to wo- w-"

Emerald's breath catches in her throat.
No. 932112 ID: 5a5548
File 155714398148.png - (397.46KB , 2000x2000 , 0021.png )

"h-hey there... Miss Emerald..." Dea says through great effort, each ragged breath bringing a look of agony upon her face, "you look... great..."
No. 932113 ID: 0fae41

You look worse than I did this morning. Why'd you go to the bar before a doctor?
No. 932114 ID: 5f3f48

"Oh no! What happened?! Wait no, medical attention first, story time later, c'mon."

Get that lewdling patched up! Need some potions or bandages or to get her to the local doctor.
No. 932115 ID: 094652

"You need medical attention or those scars and wounds will congeal! Come on, I'll help you pay for medical."
No. 932117 ID: 91ee5f

I wonder if she came here because Cinder's food and/or booze has healing properties? Because if that’s why she came here instead of going to a healer, then maybe that means it’s cheaper for her to come here instead of the healer, where it’s a lot more expensive.
No. 932127 ID: 062b08

Is that a missing arm i'm seeing?

Anyways, medical attention.... IMMEDIATELY
No. 932128 ID: a9af05

Try not to panic. Remember, she's a professional, so she knows what she's doing when she came here instead of going to a healer.
No. 932145 ID: ad51b8

... ask her if she would like another drink right now because not to be mean or anything but god damn she looks like she could use a drink right now... and maybe a doctor... and about a week of rest.
No. 932263 ID: e51896

we gotta take her to get medical attention.
No. 932269 ID: ea82cb

She's already here, so just get some cloths and start making makeshift bandages for now. She's not worrying so you shouldn't either.
No. 932272 ID: 4854ef

Get her a drink, I doubt she'd come to a bar just to chat.
No. 934056 ID: 5a5548
File 155886771570.png - (864.74KB , 2000x2000 , 0022.png )

"OH GAUD!" Emerald rushes to the Ludeling and looks over her wounds, "what happened to you? are you arlight? what am I saying, of course you're not alright!"

"I'm fine... I'm fine." the Ludeling groans, "I just... need to sit down... for a while..."

"you're not fine at all." Emerald scolds, "you're going to bleed out if we don't get your arm stitched up! that's not to mention whatever is bleeding under your tunic. oh Gaud, it's completely soaked."

she smiles and shrugs, "I know. I've got a litle while... before blood loss gets me... the expedition leader... is looking for a new healer... right now."

"oh-oh?" Emerald lets her shoulders droop, "ok. well, how long until he gets back?"

"I dunno." she mutters, "an hour... or two?"

"an ho- Dea you can't just sit here bleeding for two hours!"

"yeah." Cinder says, putting a bottle of Sunshine on the bar, "you'll ruin that barstool."

he has that same look on his face Emerald saw last night. the sarcastic, know-it-all smirk; but only now she realizes the effort he is putting into it. he's just as worried as she is for the Ludeling, but for whatever reason, he refuses to show it.

"wouldn't be the first time... I've ruined your furniture." she laughs, then doubles over into a howl of pain.

"nfff... yeah, I was worried about that." she squeaks, "I got a bit of rib... stuck through my lung."
No. 934057 ID: 5a5548
File 155886775931.png - (1.18MB , 2000x2000 , 0023.png )

"we're not waiting for the expedition leader." Emerald says, sticking her breast out commandingly, "you're a high level Crawler. you have to have some kind of contingency, right? if you need help?"

"uhm... I have this." Dea produces a small light blue gemstone. Emerald takes it and looks at it confusedly.

"it's a Ghost Lattice." she starts pouring the Sunshine into a glass painfully, "Crawlers use it... to talk to each other. whisper into it... then knock it."

she mimes tapping it on the countertop.

"huh..." Emerald taps it against the counter incredulously. immediately the room is filled with the howls of ghosts, parroting the words of Crawlers in the area, all of them speaking into the Lattice in a dull roar of mindless small talk. Emerald taps it against the bar a second time and the howling ceases. she sighs, relieved, then puts the small stone up to her lips. the thing smells... off. it doesn't smell bad, but it smells like something that should not exist. it simultaneously smells mildy sweet, like fresh flowers, and overpoweringly sanitary. she ignores the weirdness of the stone and whispers.

"looking for a healer on short notice. emergency."

she taps the stone and the cacophony starts up again for a few seconds, until one voice overpowers the others.

"healer here. tell me where you are and I'll be there immediately."

Emerald gasps excitedly, "ah! the Ashen Virgin tavern. please be by as soon as you can. I can pay very well."

"no payment necessary." the ghost responds, "I know where you are. if I am not accosted on the way, I shall arrive within ten minutes."

"thank you!" Emerald beams, "you have no idea how much this means to me! thank you so much!"
No. 934058 ID: 5a5548
File 155886780551.png - (767.09KB , 2000x2000 , 0024.png )

there is no response. the healer likely tapped their stone right after sending their last message, Emerald reasoned. well. she looks back at Dea. ten minutes is still a long time for someone with that much blood loss and a pierced lung. Emerald needs to think of something.

the only clean cloth she has available to her are the clean clothes on her back. without giving it a second thought, Emerald pulls the coat and hauberk off and lets them crash to the ground in a heap.

"what are you doing?" Dea says, confusedly.

"you need bandages." Emerald says, unbuttoning her shirt.

"oh. Oh! no you don't need to-" Dea tries to stand from the stool but her grip on the bar gives out and she slumps back down, defeated.

"I just washed that..." she mutters pathetically as Emerald wraps it tightly around her arm. the fabric soaks through in seconds.
No. 934059 ID: 5a5548
File 155886785339.png - (587.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0025.png )

Emerald sits beside the Ludeling, trying to comfort her, as each minute waiting for the healer stretches on to agonizing eternities. Cinder, not wishing to run that kind of establishment, gifts Emerald with a top that certainly does not fit her Gaudian physique. it presses uncomfortably against her chest. just another niggle to add to the pile, she thinks. Dea smiles at her with great effort, hoping to lift her spirits. why would Emerald need her spirits lifted? Dea is the one bleeding out, Emerald should be the one comforting her, and she's sat here angry over a scratchy shirt 'gainst her nipples like some kind of done up church trollop. no, stop feeling sorry for yourself, she thinks, there are more important things to worry about right now. not that worrying about Dea is going to fix anything. Emerald could worry herself sick and it'd do just as much as farting into the wind to help the Ludeling.

"are you mad at me?" Dea mutters.

"what? of course not!" Emerald snaps out of her mind as the Ludeling whimpers, boring into her with her golden hued eyes.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get beat up like this." she pleads, "the healer, she got hit with a necrosiphon early on and I had to take the hits. the expedition leader needed me to take the hits..."

she trails off, looking pitiful. Emerald sighs. "it's not your fault. just stay calm. the healer's due any second."
No. 934060 ID: 5a5548
File 155886791988.png - (917.27KB , 2000x2023 , 0026.png )

after a few more minutes sat in tense quiet, the front door of the tavern creaks open. Emerald looks over anxiously to the figure standing in the doorway. her hopes are dashed at the sight. the gangly, bone white figure stares expressionlessly forward, like a corpse sat up and stuffed to stand as a grisly trophy room curio. she is one of the southernfolk. an Armada. a Daemon laying slave taker, and a war criminal at that. gripped in one of her hands is the haft of a Bleakscythe, more a weapon designed for sadism than war. Emerald saw many such mechanical weapons of the slave takers brought back by the haunted-faced soldiers of her homeburg. the Armada's dead eyes scan over the bar, the patrons doing as best the can to avoid her malicious gaze. Emerald glares back as their gazes meet. the two of them stare each other down in silence for what must be several seconds, before Cinder speaks up.

"excuse me, ma'am. I'm sorry, but Armada aren't allowed in the city. there's a bar just outside the gate that-"

"I was told a healer was needed here." she does not so much interrupt Cinder, as it seems she was unaware he was talking at all. she speaks directly to Emerald, unblinkingly staring into her eyes. her tone is flat and dead as her skin, but with a certain smugness that to Emerald sounds as though she is daring her to speak her mind. the Armada knows Emerald is no friend of her kind and she wants to revel in the hatred between their peoples.
No. 934063 ID: 0fae41

"Over here, quickly. Punctured lung, et cetera."
So, what's the catch?
No. 934066 ID: 91ee5f

>the Armada knows Emerald is no friend of her kind and she wants to revel in the hatred between their peoples.
Don’t give her that satisfaction.

Just ignore the fact that she’s and Armada and focus only on the fact that she’s a healer! Tell her that she’s needed over here and point to Dea.
No. 934067 ID: 094652

"Cinder, I don't want Dea to bleed out in your bar. Madame, how much will this cost in all currencies and metaphysics? Thank you."
No. 934070 ID: 58b4f3

Just because there is tension between your races, that doesn't mean that you need to be hostile to her.

Don't forget that she's the medic, so if you drive her away, Dea isn't going to get the treatment she needs.
No. 934075 ID: b1b4f3

Put aside all bad blood, for the good of your friend.
No. 934077 ID: ad51b8

sigh and wave her over and point to Dea. This isn't about you and her, this is about getting a healer for Dea. Any bad blood can wait tell after Dea is patch up and I say just ignore any attempt she may give to start something and do try not to start anything yourself. After all, business before pleasure and all that. Healing first, then you can bitch at each other.
No. 934099 ID: 4854ef

Bite back any comments, your friend already thinks you might be mad at her right now and you don't want any bad blood to be thought of because of her.
No. 934107 ID: afdebc

>an Armada. a Daemon laying slave taker, and a war criminal at that
How can you tell she lays with demons and has committed war crimes just by looking at her? Do you recognize her personally? If you're just going off her race, and can't assume every Armada is guilty of the same sins. (For example, as a matter of simple practicality, you can't be guilty of war crimes without being involved in a war, which not ever member of a species will have been. Not everyone involved in a war will be guilty of war crimes. Etc).

And honestly, even if she is a terrible person and guilty of everything you fear she could be? That doesn't matter right now because you need her. Get Dea patched up now, save the moral indignation for later.

>Armada aren't allowed in the city
>I was told a healer was needed here.
"A healer is needed here." *gesture at Dea* "Your patient."

Sumaarize injuries you're aware of, stand by to act as a second set of hands if the healer needs help, and otherwise stay out of her way.
No. 934151 ID: ea82cb

"Huh, makes more sense than I'd expect. But we don't have time to play at being enemies, please come here." Then tell her what you know is wrong IF she asks.
No. 934202 ID: 977456

>How can you tell she lays with demons and has committed war crimes just by looking at her?
There is a race with floating? flaming skulls for heads, some biological weirdness is possible. Maybe they are like butterflies, there is some sort of caterpillar thing, demon laying and war crimes are like a chrysalis, and then an armada comes out! Or they might just execute everyone who tries to leave their homeland, and castrate+banish everyone with over a dozen counts of war crime who also has a history of demon laying, so that those are the only ones that exist in the wider world. It could be religious... instead of birthday candles they have sacrificial prisoners of war. By the time they have any independence they already have a healthy count of war crimes under their belt and have spent so much time dancing naked in demonic fires that their eyes glow from the hellfires in their brain. Remember: life always finds a way... to be terrible!
'course, she might be reformed? She's a healer! You can't do anything naughty with healing!
No. 934209 ID: 44f6f3

Fix now, be racist later. Got a little more to worry about than standing on your cultural presuppositions right now.
No. 934252 ID: ea82cb

It's hardly racist. A generalization maybe, but the Armada apparently keep slaves on the whole, and this one's weapon is designed for torture.
No. 935133 ID: 5a5548
File 155999603865.png - (0.97MB , 2000x2000 , 0027.png )

Emerald can only assume the Armada is as much a monster as her kin simply due to the fact that she is standing here right now. the nation of Armistice is a cruel and horrible place, and its people are made to match. an Armada is expected by their peers to be brutal, merciless, and unerringly vile. if this Armada lived to adulthood, it certainly means she has proven herself to her kind, and that certainly means she is no friend to Emerald, or Dea, or anyone. Emerald reasons, however, that right now is not the time to air her grievances with the Armada. she keeps a suspicious eye upon her, but she will let the Armada work, as long as she doesn't try anything weird.

"yeah." Emerald grumbles, "over here. it's an emergency."

"yes. an emergency. you mentioned that earlier." the Armada replies, still staring at her as she approaches the bar, dragging the edge of the Bleakscythe on the smooth stone floor as the rest of the patrons stare at the unwelcome guest, "this is the one? the Lude?"

Emerald blinks incredulously, "y-YES! of course she's the one needing healing! she's got a pierced lung, there's a deep gash on her arm, and probably a lot of other injuries I can't see."
No. 935134 ID: 5a5548
File 155999611038.png - (846.62KB , 2000x2000 , 0028.png )

"hrmm." she replies, turning her back the Emerald and leaning over Dea. she studies her up and down quietly for a few moments while pulling the gauze down from her face. her face is a mix of soft white skin and tough scar tissue. the marks around her mouth especially seem to be purposeful. Emerald was told once that Armada scar themselves to mark important occasions. the Armada leans in close to the Ludeling.

"Lude." she whispers, "what's your blood type? the Red Lady would like to know."

"uhm." Dea pouts, "I don't know, ma'am. I'm sor-"
No. 935135 ID: 5a5548
File 155999615556.png - (888.59KB , 2000x2000 , 0029.png )

"-MMFF!" Dea is caught off guard as the Armada grabs her and kisses her roughly. after a couple of seconds, Dea leans into it, her ears fluttering happily.
No. 935136 ID: 5a5548
File 155999619183.png - (791.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0030.png )

"h-HEY!" Emerald grabs the Armada's shoulder and pulls her away, "what are you doing?!"

"A-negative. my favorite. a bit sugary, though." the Armada wipes her bottom lip and sucks the blood from her index finger, making a sickly pleasured sound as she does, "the Red Lady should be amicable."

"was that necessary?" Emerald accuses.

"no." the Armada says, removing her hood and showing her naked back to the bar, "I do enjoy it, though. it is important to find simple pleasures in one's work."
No. 935137 ID: 5a5548
File 155999623941.png - (937.12KB , 2000x2000 , 0031.png )

Emerald studies her bare back as she continues to look over Dea's wounds. she has a brand of a jackal on her shoulder. Emerald recognizes that brand. she belongs to the house of Akhunkhet. they're slave traders, if Emerald remembers correctly. they have a reputation for eating their own stock. Emerald physically bites down upon her tongue as she watches the Armada continue to leer fetishistically at Dea.

"if you have not received favor from the Red Lady, it is important for me to mention that her blessings may be high in caloric content." she says as she sets her weapons on the bar, "under normal circumstances I would recommend refraining from eating or drinking for 6 hours prior to healing, but we don't have much time before you expire, so I will instead say you should expect to vomit between 1 and 3 hours from now, Lude."

"oh. ok..." Dea replies, then flinches, "ma'am! y-yes ma'am."

"hrmm..." the Armada rubs her chin thoughtfully, "house trained. poorly."

"I'm sorry, ma'am." Dea mutters.
No. 935138 ID: 5a5548
File 155999628996.png - (882.29KB , 2000x2096 , 0032.png )

"hrmm." the Armada produces a small, sharp blade from under her bandages.

"h-hey! hold on!" Emerald speaks up, "what are you planning on doing with that?"

"the Red Lady needs tithe." she replies cooly, "she is a generous master, but not one to forget a debt."
No. 935139 ID: 5a5548
File 155999633245.png - (666.03KB , 2000x2000 , 0033.png )

Emerald starts to inquire futher but the Armada cuts her off.
No. 935140 ID: 5a5548
File 155999636390.png - (951.26KB , 2000x2000 , 0034.png )

"Red Lady, Red Lady, bringest me thy blood.
for mine sap leaks free from tainted wood
forgive mine scars, forgive mine sins.
forgive my foes, forgive my kin.
I seekest peace, I seekest silence
I wish for quiet, my spirit's violence.
Red Lady, Red Lady, bringest me thy heart.
as you have mine, in whole and in part."

the Armada sings the poem out calmly as her blood sprays out wildly. Emerald is caught off guard by the Armada's singing voice. she expected that a healer would be a good singer, but she still found herself captivated by the woman's performance. an ominous glow emanates from the blood dripping from her hand. bits of her blood swirl around above her palm and congeal into a strange and horrible sigil.
No. 935141 ID: 5a5548
File 155999641020.png - (747.99KB , 2000x2000 , 0035.png )

the Armada places her hand, slick with blood, around Dea's cheek. after a few seconds, the bruising vanishes. her cuts begin to seal up, and the color returns to her face. the Armada runs her hand down Dea's side and to her shoulder, each spot healing over after a few seconds of contact with the glowing blood. she pulls away her shaking hand. Dea is simply slathered in blood, but free of injury.

"that was amazing!" Emerald gasps out, despite herself, "erm... I've not seen healing magic of that kind before. it's quite unique."

"hrmm." the Armada replies shortly, dressing her wound, "if that's all, I'll be on my way. Armada aren't allowed in the city."
No. 935142 ID: 5a5548
File 155999652163.png - (546.38KB , 2000x2163 , 0036.png )

"toss that." Cinder says, "you're welcome here. have a drink, lass."

she stares at cinder silently for several seconds, then glances back at Emerald, fear in her eyes. she looks her up and down quickly. Emerald realizes she's looking for a weapon. she nods to Cinder as she shrinks down into a barstool, her weapons close.

"something with orange juice." she mutters shakily, "and I would like you to drink it first, sir."

he takes a swig of the drink before setting it gently on the bar. she stares at it fearfully, glancing around the barroom at the day drinkers, now fully aware of her audience.
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
File 156051417428.png - (717.10KB , 2000x2000 , 0037.png )

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
File 156051429266.png - (620.21KB , 2000x2000 , 0038.png )

"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
File 156127098399.png - (1.48MB , 2000x2000 , 0040.png )

"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
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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
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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
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"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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