[Burichan] [Futaba] [Nice] [Pony]  -  [WT]  [Home] [Manage]
[Catalog View] :: [Graveyard] :: [Rules] :: [Quests] :: [Discussions] :: [Wiki]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]
Posting mode: Reply
Name
Email
Subject   (reply to 736903)
Message
File []
Password  (for post and file deletion)
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF
  • Maximum file size allowed is 10000 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • Currently 38780 unique user posts. View catalog

File 146890602622.png - (19.21KB , 750x600 , Fiend Quest Intro.png )
736903 No. 736903 ID: f9400c

Fiend Quest

Chapter 1: Pride and Envy



Story by Kaed
Art by Trout

Discussion Thread: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/101723.html
260 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 771049 ID: 64f807

>>771047
I like your thinking, but toes are more sensitive. Let's smash them and remove the fragmented bones.

Wait, no. Threats of violence are more effective than violence itself. Press him psychologically before crippling him.
>>
No. 771051 ID: 350a50

>>771049
Let's start with the toes for insurance and to make him know we're serious, break his facade of confidence. Then we threaten his tendons for greater effect, being a more difficult to repair and recover from form of damage.
>>
No. 773795 ID: f9400c
File 148502986334.png - (29.56KB , 750x600 , Burn.png )
773795

>>771044
>>771047
>>771049
>>771051

I gave the d'navian a toothy smile, shaking my head at him. I waved a claw towards him, and the tentacles around his legs slowly begin squeezing his feet to emphasize my point. "You don't seem to understand the position you are in, Vinter. You are trapped, you have no weapons, and I am skilled in interrogat-"

Vinter began to laugh. This was not the correct response to my threats, and it gave me pause. The d'navian grinned back at me, the smile somewhat mocking. "Oh, you don't understand. I'm not even trapped. You are." I felt something pulse in the air around him, and fire began spinning itself out of the air around him, clinging to my shadows, burning them. Fire on the mortal plane wasn't generally green, and it generally didn't burn through my shadows so quickly. I tried squeezing him unconcious, but my shadows didn't seem to be responding well to my orders, and were starting to lose cohesion. Vinter saw my surprised look, and his grin turned manic. "Magic's all you khal ever have, isn't it? You think it makes you better than everyone else. You're the one who's fucked, without it."
>>
No. 773796 ID: f9400c
File 148502987397.png - (24.34KB , 750x600 , Awfuck.png )
773796

Manarr took an alarmed step back and turned to me with a demanding glare, "What is he doing? Stop him, he's going to burn my manor down!"

I took a step back too, trying to determine what sort of magic it was. The flames spread across the shadows I had woven into tendrils, unraveling them into fading wisps like smoke. I heard the knife I had confiscated from him clatter to the floor as I lost my grip on it. Vinter heard it, and glanced towards the sound, then back to me, his grin widening. He winked at me.

The fire even spread back to me, and began burning through my clothing in a similar fashion. It finally occurred to me what this was, at that point. This wasn't a spell I hadn't seen, this was some form of hellfire. Close as it was to my corporeal form, I could smell the daemonic magic in its nature.

Vinter had a patron, just like Manarr and me. Some other daemon was in MY city, making plots that interfered with mine. And while I didn't spend much time with fire daemons, this one was probably about my standing, given their probably unique brand of green fire that was burning away all the substance my shadows. I don't like admitting countered this thoroughly, but I couldn't even hold together my false robes for much longer in this. I think it was burning away the magic I had invested in my shadows, and attempting to reinforce them revealed to me that it was also blocking me from making more.

"Manarr, we are going. He's going to break free in a moment."

Manarr just looked baffled and frightened, and scooted behind me, like I was some sort of shield. "Stop him, then!"

I bared my teeth in frustration, speaking over renewed laughing from the d'navian, who began to sink to the floor as his prison collapsed under its own weight, burying him in a mass of melting shadowstuff. He would probably be free entirely soon. "I... can't." The words tasted worse than chalk-late on my tongue, and I turned to the back door. We could still flee again. Or I could try taking on the d'navian without magic. Physical combat wasn't my strong point, but I probably was stronger than a mortal, if it came down to it.
>>
No. 773798 ID: 398fe1

>>773796
Stab him in his face.
>>
No. 773806 ID: fd5137

>>773796
magic fire or not, he's still currently entangled and disarmed, nab that knife and wound him. if you're successful and follow up with words to the tune of.
"No, I don't have just magic."
>>
No. 773809 ID: 350a50

>>773798
This. Once he's free, his luck is back in the game. We take him out while he has no chance, or we lose our chance.
>>
No. 773812 ID: 211d83

That's the problem with magic and mages that get to used to only using it. You get so reliant on it that when someone with a element that counters yours shows up you forget that you can just stab him in the face.

So stab his face before you loose the chance. You could have done it like 20 times already if you had not been so worried.
>>
No. 773827 ID: cdddb5

...If you get thrown back to hell you might want to look up a name- Graezzit....
Now, stabbing him SOUNDS like a great idea, but we need an answer to magic fire that burns especially well things that are magic. Which I'm pretty sure you qualify as.
Plus, there's nothing about the idea that answers this dude's magic luck, with which he's gonna just stab us if we try to engage in combat with him...
So. We COULD escalate again to try and spook him via dropping our disguise-it's probably about to fall apart and it's not like anyone else is around now, thanks to Greta getting the gaurds slaughtered. Minor problem with that, is this guy has a similarly powerful demon-I don't know what standard procedure is when two demons end up in conflict over their pawn's paths crossing, but...
Given your specialty, and what I think I know of this fellow...
We might be able to make a deal with this guy.
Let's face it, even if we DO dispose of him, it's not going to look great on Manar if he lives and all the people he invited to a party dies.
Gaurds are replacable, and the wife...Well, the missing eye might get her to be more reliant on you, since you solved the problem and she lost an eye.
And this fellow I'm sure doesn't wish to tango with a demon of your calibar, so depending on the terms of his deal, we might be able to befriend him, and thus offer a secondary source of power to accomplish his goals, which might give him some bargaining power against his current patron...Well, that's assuming a mortal seeking redemption isn't a thing that's a problem for all demons, not just the way you work.
>>
No. 773851 ID: e012fa

Now I feel my suggestions were ignored for the sake of a plot twist...

Is it too late to summon the eye daemon? Madness is probable a good counter measure to magical luck powered by confidence.
Don't forget to use your voice projection to convince Manarr to close his eyes.
>>
No. 773868 ID: 91ee5f

Aren't you mad? Think about it, another daemon is invading your territory. Doesn't that just piss you off? So what if you can't use your magic? You're still physically stronger than this mortal! So go over there, grab that knife or if he gets to it before you stomp your hoof down on his hand, and then wipe that smug look off his face by removing his head with either the knife or your bare hands! You can't let this pathetic mortal mock you like this! It doesn't matter if he has daemon help or not, you can't let him get away with mocking you like that! Kill him! Even if he does come back to life like Manarr did, you'll have taught him his lesson to never fuck with you!
>>
No. 773877 ID: 493b5f

It's still just you, him and Manarr in this room, right? And now for sure you want to kill him. which means he won't be able to talk.

Show him he's not just dealing with a mage. Drop your robes and show your daemon form. Grace him with a vision of your real magnificence to wipe the grin off his face and make him tremble, and use that chance, when his expectations shatter, to kill him. You being the last thing he sees is too good for him, but we all must make compromises now and then. You have bigger things to attend to, like another daemon intruding on your territory. Pride can't let that stand, can it?

There are opportunities here, though. With another daemon around to be worried about, Manarr and his household should become more amenable to your direction. The devil they know, you know? And that can be spun for advantage. By end of this you could have your hooks set deeper here than ever before. We might even allow Greta to be brought back after all - with another threat on the table, she might be played into letting you tie strings to her, and get you another, more competent pawn than her husband.

But that's for later. Tell Manarr to hold the door, and slaughter this fool.
>>
No. 774615 ID: f9400c
File 148535566275.png - (16.14KB , 750x600 , Enough.png )
774615

>>773851

I'm not calling any overt daemonic help until Manarr is surrendered control of our relationship. There is no reason to panic and unravel the trust he places on me before he has no way to stop it.

>>773868

If course I am angry. But I pride myself in my professionalism in difficult situations. Barring the occasional surprise, I maintain an aloof mindset. Any half-wit daemon can succumb to wrath and go on a rampage. I prefer my retribution to be cold, comprehensive, and precise. And right now, I was going to start by breaking one of his toys.

>>773806
>>773809
>>773812
>>773877

Yes.

"Manarr. Mind the door while I handle this." I let the burning robes and tentacles dissolve, leaving what shadows had not caught aflame behind as I strode towards the struggling d'navian. For once, Manarr did not question me. I guess even the terminally dull can pick up on cues.
>>
No. 774617 ID: f9400c
File 148535784933.png - (34.36KB , 1000x600 , Slamstab.png )
774617

The knife wasn't far off the path towards Vinter, and I scooped it up just as he managed to pull himself free of the melting mass of shadows. He looked annoyed at how much they were still clinging up him. "This is just obnoxious. I'm killing you first, ma-"

I grabbed hold of the front of his clothes and hauled him out of the shadow sludge. "You look like you need some help. Let me shake it off." Then I slammed him into the nearest wall a few times. It must have been cheap masonry, because it began to crack under the assault. I think Vinter did too, because I felt some crackling that seemed separate from the wall. It was hard to hear them, though, because Vinter started screaming. At some point, he lost whatever focus he was using to manifest the hellfire, and it went out. It was sort of fun. I wondered if the wall would crumble first, or him.

In a purely academic sense, of course.

Regrettably for the pursuit of academia, I noticed Manarr was shouting at me about the cost of replacing walls.

Vinter was shouting, too. "Stop! I surrender, I don't want to fight a d- AAAH!" Out of respect for the integrity of Manarr's estate and the tactical value of accepting surrender, I settled for driving the knife into Vinter's hand, pinning it to the stone. I debated twisting it, but that would probably just break more wall or the knife itself and free him.

"It's a bit late for that now, isn't it Vinter?"
>>
No. 774637 ID: fd5137

>>774617
Keep gentle pressure on his chest, don't want that demoralising pain he's in to get too far from his thoughts.

"Now let's try this again, you're going to answer my questions in the hopes I don't make your sternum touch your spine. And you'll be honest because you can just imagine what someone with my abilities and inclinations can do to liars, can't you?"

Hope he answers in the affirmative, you know, for the wall's sake.
>>
No. 774639 ID: 8ea4f0

He's got enchantments inscribed between his every neuron. Even if he wanted to squeal, there are more self-destruct protocols riddled throughout his body than you can disarm. All you'll get is a name, for arrogance.

So get the name, and vaporize him.
>>
No. 774664 ID: 350a50

"Names, motivations. Quickly."
>>
No. 774708 ID: 493b5f

The question is, if he has hellfire powers, can we guess that his soul is already tight bound to this other demon? If there's a possibility of him switching over to us, there's an opportunity there.

I mean, you have to kill him now, no question. He's seen what you are. What you have to offer him is the choice between protracted and painful or quick and easy.

Or, if it is possible for him to still trade to you (he seems pretty prideful), you can offer him a choice between you getting him (and you being well-disposed toward him, if he answers your questions fully and truthfully) or him being returned to his own patron, who he clearly just failed.

On the other hand, maybe having that kind of conversation in front of Manarr would put thoughts in his head.
>>
No. 774797 ID: 8111b6

Is there a way to contact his patron? Perhaps you could just convince them that it's time to collect on this runt.

Alternatively, how do alliances tend to go among your kind? There might be a chance for mutual profit somewhere in this. ...but try to avoid involving the meat in this if possible.
>>
No. 774807 ID: 91ee5f

>>774617
>It must have been cheap masonry, because it began to crack under the assault.
No, no, no, it's not cheap. You're just physically stronger than mortals, who would be unable to break the masonry if they tried to do the same thing you're doing to Vinter. This just shows how physically superior you are to mortals!

>Vinter is surrendering.
Good, you've wiped that smug look off of his stupid face! You've got him right where you want him! Now, for the main event, getting the answers you're looking for!
>>
No. 774909 ID: 493b5f

Actually, now I think of it, Manarr is under a lot of pressure, and you've been saying no to him and commanding him and so on quite a bit. It might make him a little easier to keep control of if, once you're done with other concerns, you treat him to the killing blow. Maybe a bit of torture. You'd have to make sure this wretch is harmless first, of course: broken limbs, stripped of any hiding spots, making sure he can't regain his focus, et cetera.
>>
No. 785418 ID: f9400c
File 148881481160.png - (19.02KB , 750x600 , Regret.png )
785418

>>774797

Alliances outside of calling contracts with lesser daemons are a risky business. We will, inevitably, attempt to backstab the other at the first opportunity. Given this opponent is an unknown quantity who I have little working relationship with, I'm not keen on having to plan around him constantly. It is simpler to just treat him as an enemy than a potential, transitory ally.

>>774637
>>774664
>>774807

I kept the pressure against his probably cracked ribs, and from the short little gasping sound he made, it seemed to be helping motivate him to pay attention to me. I kept my tone terse and to the point for this. "I have questions. You are going to answer them. Every time you don't, or lie to me, I will make this worse. Understand?"

The weasel glanced at the knife in his right hand, and winced, raising his free hand in a pacifying guesture. "Okay, okay. Take that out of my hand and I'll talk, let's just calm-" I yanked out the knife from his right hand and slammed it into the one he had raised, pinning it to the wall. This illicited a fresh scream from my captive. "There. Any more requests, Vinter?"

The small, pained sound and shake of Vinters head was sufficient, so I pressed on. "Who sent you?"

Vinter took a shaky breath and replied, "No one, I'm not working for anyone! This is my own idea!"

Lie detection wasn't one of my mystical abilities, but this one seemed pretty obvious. 0"No. You have hellfire. Who gave it to you?" I grabbed hold of his chest and began pushing slowly. He immediately began squealing. "Stop! I made a deal with someone, but I'm not working for him! He just gave me it and let me use it how I wanted!"

Far be it for me to disillusion someone else's pawn to their role. There's undermining you opponent, and then there was just bad etiquette. "Who?"

The d'navian hesitated and looked up at me, clearly afraid to be giving that information away. Of course, he probably realized he was dealing with a similar individual now, and he was in a lot of pain that he probably knew I could make worse. "S-some daemon named Graezzit."

"Where are they?"

"I don't know, he- wait, stop! I really don't know! He finds me when I need him!" I relaxed the pressure I had been increasing, slightly. "Where did you meet him?"

The weasel began, "I was... was just knicking some stuff from a noble's house, okay? He was there in-!" Manarr came closer, interrupting Vinter impatiently. He seemed to have composed himself now that I had taken the danger out of the situation. Sometimes even he can manage to be moderately competent, I suppose. "Do we really need to know all this? I think he's told us enough to get on by. Let's just kill him, and go fix the mess. Greta might still be alive..."

I turned to consider Manarr, ignoring Vinter as he began babbling. "Uh, hold on. Let's not be hasty here, alright? Maybe I can work for you all, instead of that?" Manarr wanted his vengeance, and I probably needed to give him something today to make him feel like he was in control. But Vinter might still have useful information. I didn't think there was any chance at all Manarr would want him alive, much less working for him, so the choice was to let Manarr kill him, or keep him prisoner a bit longer. Either way, we needed to check on his wife before he went into apoplexy.
>>
No. 785419 ID: 65ec8d

This other daemon was in a noble's house? That noble must be the one who really has a proper relationship with this Graezzit, and the daemon just took the opportunity to recruit an extra pawn when the opportunity came up. It's... suspicious that Manarr interrupted you exactly when he was about to say who. You need to know which noble it was.

But that's all you need to know. One more question, a simple name for an answer. Then let him be killed.

Imprisoning him gives him too much opportunity for his luck to work in his favor, and you can't risk the knowledge of who and what you really are escaping.
>>
No. 785425 ID: e74216

You said it is always better to let Manarr think he made it to these kinds of conclusions on his own, right? Ask him if he's not curious who has a contract with a demon. A demon who, when presented with a thief in his master's home gave them a boon that they then used to try and kill him. Then raise your hand to slay the guy as if it doesn't matter one way or the other to you.
>>
No. 785547 ID: 350a50

>>785419
This.
>>
No. 785753 ID: cee89f

At the very least we need to know which noble house he found the demon in. It doesn't prove that the noble in question wanted Manaar dead, but it does point us A) towards the demon in question and B) gives us a pretty clear suspect.

After Greta's murder, Manaar will likely desire revenge against the house in question. Then we can find this Graezzit, determine how seriously we need to take him as a threat and hopefully get him out of our territory.

This is probably a silly question to ask but do demons on the mortal plane like this have any form of parley? A sort of white flag, 'stop shooting for a sec and let's talk' sorta thing? Graezzit is probably our enemy atm but it'd be nice to confirm it, at least.
>>
No. 786519 ID: 87a906

At the very least we need to find out which noble house has a demon of their own. This is our turf and some jackass going around give random mortals over the top powers will not do!
>>
No. 787293 ID: 904bad

Wait, didn't we want to corrupt Manarr even more? Not only let him kill him, give him pointers on how to make it even more painful. If he chickens out and cant do it, use his dead and his wife death to coax him into doing it.
>>
No. 797440 ID: f9400c
File 149287665349.png - (18.25KB , 750x600 , Chewout.png )
797440

>>785419
>>785425
>>785753
>>786519

No, there is nothing suspicious about his choice to interrupt the D'navian. He is currently being motivated solely by his desire to see his mate is alive, and this potentional plot against him is not fully registering in mind while he is distracted by his irrational lust. Mortal tendency to fixate on a single partner at the exclusion of more profitable and useful ventures is as old as mortals themselves.

That being said, he does need refocusing, and I stepped up to do it. "Manarr, stop it. Vinter has revealed very important information to us, and it bears further investigation. His death can be discussed afterwards."

Manarr, who had been starting for the door, stopped and turned back, glaring at me. "I don't care! Question them by yourself if you want to, I have to go-"

I sneered at the khal, pointing a claw at him. "You are going to walk alone through your manor, after barely escaping one assassin? I thought you didn't like dying, Manarr. Don't you want to know who sent this attack against you?"

My summoner immediately took a defensive stance against this, bristling visibly. "Yes, but I'll figure it out later. Just come with me, now. I'm not staying away from Greta any longer than I have to! If you're going to be useless, I can dismiss you at any time, you know! You are supposed to do as I say!"
>>
No. 797441 ID: f9400c
File 149287670243.png - (113.86KB , 728x582 , Bloody Knives.png )
797441

>>787293

No, Manarr is already corrupted enough by pride, and that's the problem I'm running into right now. He might actually have a little too much pride in himself for my own good. The main priority was, and remains still, to get him to surrender control of the summon to me. As long as he has his little khal claws on my tether to this world, he is technically in control, and can pull stupid stunts like this any time he likes. Fortunately, there are ways to take the wind out of his sails.

I gave Manarr a flat stare, presenting my best disgust that he was desperate enough to resort to such a self-destructive threat. "Alright, Manarr. We'll do it your way." I moved over, crouching next to the terrified and mutilated D'navian. "One chance, Vinter. Color of the house you robbed before meeting your daemon." I grabbed hold of the knife in his palm and began twisting it slowly.

The weasel stifled a moan and whimpered, "U-uhm, brown and red, I think? Please don't kill me. M-Maybe I could work for you instead?"

Useful information gleaned, I yanked the knife out of his wrist, standing up, and ignored his continued wails and babble. Then I turned and flipped the knife, offering the hilt to Manarr. The merchant stared at it. "What do I want with this? Just kill him, already!"

I gave him a small smirk. "But, Manarr. This is the one who may have killed your wife. I thought you would want the honor of ending him yourself. Here, I'll even hold him down." As I spoke, I wrapped the whimpering D'navian in some simple shadow bindings, holding his arms back.

Manarr seemed to like the idea. He'd never actually killed anyone - that was usually done indirectly, through me or some plot - but he was charged on emotions and still as easy to manipulate as ever. "Yes, okay. I want to do this." He took the knife and advanced on the weasel, who looked up at him in pained terror.
>>
No. 797443 ID: f9400c
File 149287775984.png - (15.57KB , 750x600 , Its everywhere.png )
797443

Manarr paused in front of the D'navian, hesitating. "So, uhm. How do I actually..."

I rolled my eyes, but did not intervene in what was sure to be a botched execution at this point. Perfect. "It's not difficult, Manarr. You take the pointy end - the one with all the blood - and stick it in the assassin. Try their neck, or their chest those are usually vital spots. Of course, if you can't manage, I could..."

The kahl bristled again, playing into the jibes as I expected. "I can kill someone if I want to! I don't need you to do everything for me, Aeseriq!" He lunged forward, plunging the knife into Vinter's neck, who squeaked a final "Wait-!" before flinching away from the stab. There was a splatter of blood on the area as he managed to hit a vital artery of someone whose blood pressure was already high from the stress of their predicament. Mortals sure are messy.

Manarr immediately backed away, pulling the knife out and cringing. "Aaugh! It's all over everything. Why did you make me do this, Aeseriq?" He dropped the knife, looking down at himself, and the bright red blood splattering his new expensive jacket and cloak. He was such an easy target to push around, I'm not sure why I put up with him being in charge this long. I should really make a move soon, instead of trying to uphold this entertaining but largely unhelpful status quo.

I gave him a surprised look, motioning behind him. "But, Manarr. You haven't finished the job. He's bleeding out, but he's not dead yet. You're supposed to keep stabbing him until you're sure. Go ahead, take your vengeance."

Manarr goggled at me in horror, looked down at his clothes, then back at the dying weasel. Then he shook his head and fled the room. "No that's okay you can finish it I need to go see Greta!" I trailed after him, meeting the eyes of the D'navian twitching weakly in a pool of his own blood. Making sure to be quiet enough that the escaping Manarr didn't hear, I murmured, "If you survive, I might have a better deal for you. Try not to die yet, and I'll come back later to discuss it with you." The D'navian tried to mumble something, but I left, pursuing Manarr.
>>
No. 797470 ID: 094652

So what are your options for all these dead bodies?
>>
No. 797530 ID: f9400c
File 149291161515.png - (136.69KB , 728x582 , Cleanup.png )
797530

>>797470

That depends on several factors. Chief among them is the actual status of their souls. I have a feeling most of them are not keen to move on to their final 'reward', given that the wealthy tend more towards damnation than the rest of mortal civilization. But a mass murder like this stirs up the mortal plane a bit, and someone might have noticed. Could be an eladrin here to escort someone, or a spiritual predator wanting some fresh prey chasing them away from their bodies. Could be nothing, too. It's also important to note that actually dealing with their loose souls is probably not something I should do while Manarr is in the room. Freelance pactmaking tends to make summoners really nervous, for some reason.

I mean, look at what happened with Vinter. I doubt this Graezzit asked for approval to make a pact with the D'navian, he probably just saw an opportunity to cause some chaos with a random thief and did it. Now look at all the dead nobility we have!

Speaking of which, as I walked into the dining hall, I was forcibly reminded that Vinter did not, in fact, finish off all the nobility except my summoner. Dennit, it seemed, had returned just in time to survey the carnage, and had managed to procure his own wine this time. At least, I assume it was his wine, because he was clearly drinking it and hadn't died yet. "-not really sure what to make of this, Manarr. Probably killed someone related to at least half the major houses in the city."

Manarr was busy trying to clumsily defend himself. I recognized the whining lilt to his voice that meant he was very upset and trying to duck the conversation. "Now, hold on, I didn't have anything to do with this-"

The spotty khal laughed, sloshing some of his wine on the floor lazily. "Whether you did it or not, there's a lot of dead people in your dining room. I'm either not drunk enough or too drunk to deal with..." He trailed off as he spotted me, and his eyes widened about the same time I realized I had never bothered to re-establish my disguise. Great. "Stars, is that a daemon? You're summoning daemons too, Manarr? Hold on... is that... yeah, I'd recognize that snout anywhere, you're that mage that was lurking around earlier, aren't you? Sir.. Sir Eck, or whatever." He started to laugh, a hiccupy, drunken sort of sound, and waved a hand at me. "Did you trip me, then? I would be mad, but considering the circum- hic - circumstances, I guess I should thank you, hahah!"

Manarr was busy cringing and edging towards Greta, who was definitely not moving, and didn't seem to be breathing, either. He was probably too emotionally compromised at the moment to be of any use, which meant it was my job to deal with the straggler. Dennit definitely couldn't be allowed to simply walk off and tell every bar he stumbled upon about this disaster, but I didn't particularly feel like killing him. He wasn't actively working against me, and more importantly, he was young, reasonably talented, plenty arrogant, and probably a ripe target for molding. However, I still had to deal with Manarr before I could take on full-time pacts with someone else.

So this left me with a choice of trying to make a move on Manarr, to try and get him to give me the reigns to my summon, while he was still vulnerable and not thinking straight - at the risk of letting Dennit escape - or making some move to secure Dennit for future use while Manarr was too distracted to listen to what I was doing. He would probably start clutching Greta's corpse and sobbing or whatever for a bit as it was, like that would somehow bring her back. Mortals always seem to do that first thing when they see a dead mate.
>>
No. 797534 ID: e0af5b

Dennit is the obvious choice.
>>
No. 797536 ID: eeb12b

"That was childish of me, but you manage to hurt my pride."
Get yourself glued to Dennit side. And flirt like hell. He does not leave this house without accepting a seemingly mutual beneficial agreement. And if he fail to convince you of his willingness to cooperate finish him.
>>
No. 797538 ID: c8b031

I don't suppose it's actually possible to quickly and cheaply resurrect someone if you take steps soon enough after their death? Like, grab their soul, stuff it back into their body, and regular healing magic will do to fix them up if said body's still warm? If that was the case, you could probably tell Manarr that you could fetch Greta's soul and do that right now, if you weren't unfortunately shackled to the material plane at the moment.

You'd probably have to actually get her soul and fix her up, though. You don't want to just instantly abandon all of Manarr's resources when there's another demon around, and you wouldn't be able to get an imitator into her body that could hold the ruse on such short notice.

Though theoretically, if you were confident enough in being able to woo Dennit, you could take him as a replacement for Manarr as soon as you were free... chancy, though.
>>
No. 797539 ID: 094652

Do things to Dennit that will BREAK MANARR'S MIND.

Act crazy, make Manarr think he's snapped from all this reputation-obliterating death. Summon more demons, make them do illusions like anime-girl Gnolls or exploding potato-chip birthday cakes or even puppeteer the corpses and make them declare their pursuit of equality for all races and cultures and then institute social welfare with their own money!

That last one ought to set his brain on fire.
>>
No. 797546 ID: cdddb5

I'm thinking we're probably going to need to see about dealing with the dead souls in the room one way or another. Therefore, there's little to lose by just adding another to the mix.
It's not going to be fun, having to put off not getting your no-banish card, but I'm thinking letting Dennit go is a terrible plan-he came here with motives we never did figure out, and I'm not 100% sure how exactly we DO turn this situation into 'lemme control if I stay or go.'
>>
No. 797547 ID: 398fe1

Don't be so quick to kill Dennet. A living witness could be very useful. If you can strike a binding agreement with him to ensure his secrecy on your true nature and get him to testify on Manarr's behalf, it would kill two birds with one stone.

Only issue is what he'd want in return. He finds you attractive, could you leverage that somehow?
>>
No. 797548 ID: 91ee5f

>>797547
>He finds you attractive, could you leverage that somehow?
That's probably only because he didn't know Aeseriq was a daemon when he was doing that. Then again, it's probably the alcohol that's talking right now. Or it could be a mix of both.

But, if it turns out that Dennit really does have a thing for Aeseriq, despite being a daemon, then I'll be very surprised!

Or maybe Aeseriq is secretly a lust daemon and is using his lusty charm to make Dennit attracted to him! XD
>>
No. 800441 ID: f9400c
File 149422427616.png - (135.09KB , 728x582 , Recruitment.png )
800441

>>797534
>>797536
>>797546
>>797548

There are a lot of things I can and will do, but flirting with a mud-spawned mortal is not one of them. I am not some sort of low-level incubus. However, Dennit was probably a valuable ally to have, so I left Manarr to fuss over his dead mate and walked across the room to the young noble. The khal took a step back away from me nervously, and I clasped a claw onto his shoulder and began leading him out of the room. "Come along, Dennit. Let us discuss your options, and give Manarr some space." He mumbled some things that sounded like he was trying to decline, but he was too drunk and mortal to get away from me.

Once we were in the hall outside, I spent a moment to call over my imp. He was still lurking around, somewhere, and I needed someone to watch the noble. Dennit looked up at me as I focused on distant minions, and attempted to smile, breaking the ice awkwardly. "So, hah.. you're, hic, a daemon, then. How's.. how's that working out for you? Do any cool.. uh.. daemon stuff lately?"

I turned back to him, letting a little disdain creep into my voice. But not too much "Dennit. I've existed for longer than your entire house had its name, and before your oldest known relative clawed their way into enough power to start a heritage. I did not pull you aside in my busy schedule to make small talk with you."

The khal stared up at me, opening and closing his mouth for a moment, while his intoxicated brain tried to think some sort of smooth, witty response. "I... uhm..."

I saved him the trouble by talking over him as if he hasn't started. "Which brings us to your options today, Dennit. I can see some promise in you-"

"Yeah, I'm prett-"

"-don't interrupt me."I tightened my claws into his shoulder and continued as he winced. "Which is why you have a difficult choice. I've got too much going on right now to leave a rogue noble to wander off and gossip about all this to everyone he meets. So I suppose I have to kill you and add you to the pile of other noble corpses we already have."

This seemed to finally break through his comfortable drunken haze and make him register he was in actual danger. Good. The khal looked down the hall, maybe trying to spot guards, or an escape route. I tightened my grip again, reminding him he was not going anywhere. "I- I'm against that, a-actually. You said there were.. were other options? You know, a-all that potential, and all.. you were just.. talking about..." He trailed off as I just fixed him with a cold, disinterested gaze.

When I thought he had decided to stop gibbering, I nodded. "I'm not playing for little favors, Dennit. Sign on with me, and you can gain more power than you probably ever dreamed of. You can even have a taste now." I raised a claw, palm up, and conjured a shadowgem there. Dennit stared at the glowing gem, fascinated, and reached for it briefly, before pausing. "U-uhm. What's the ca.. catch? Some ten mile contract for my hic soul?"

I snorted, baring my teeth slightly in much more pronounced disdain than before. "Contracts are passé and tacky. I am simply giving you a gift of power, and later, we will collaborate on what the best use of it will be."

The khal reached for the gem a little more, and hesitated again. "S-so.. I can just take it.. and go home?"

I raised a brow. "Go home? No, Dennit. You will stay in this manor. You can relax in one of the guest rooms, but you are to remain nearby until I have time to establish more clear working relationship with you. I leaned a little closer, cooling my voice a touch. "If you try and leave, I will assume you are trying to bail on our arrangement and take the first option on dealing with you. And I will know, Dennit. You will not sneak out on me."

That seemed to convince him, and he took the shadowgem hurriedly, hugging it to his chest. "Okay.. okay. Yeah, you got... got it. Staying riiight here. With my new magic p-purple crystal." I gave him a smile, finally, and released his shoulder, snapping a couple claws. My imp, which had been hovering invisibly nearby since about halfway through our discussion, popped into view, making Dennit jump and widen his eyes. "Yeah, boss?"

"Show Dennit here to a comfortable room. Make sure he doesn't forget what happens if he leaves it early."

The imp bared its tiny teeth in glee. "Yeah, okay. Commere, you. Fresh meat, heh heh..." It fluttered away down the hallway, Dennit trailing after it. He glanced back at me nervously a few times, and I kept my eyes on him until he was out of sight, before turning and moving back into the dining room.


Manarr was still weeping over his mate, and probably still hadn't noticed I was gone yet. It was time to deal with that. I already had an idea on how to do that, and get what I wanted at the same time. I decided I was going to offer him something he wanted, and claim that I needed my full power to do it - something, conveniently, that would in this situation happen to require surrendering the controls of my summoning tether.

But mortal motivations relating to lust, or, I suppose in this case, that mortal concept, love (ugh), are not always my strong point. I was not sure whether to offer him the opportunity to revive Greta - something I can't do, but I can certainly lie to a bereaved and desperate fool about, assuming he buys it - or offer to give him some grand vengeance against the house that, indirectly or not, caused her death by summoning another daemon lord into the city. At least, that is how I intend to spin the story for my benefit.
>>
No. 800442 ID: 3ce125

>>800441
Do you even have to spin things? You want to get back at the bastard that came into YOUR domain and interfered with YOUR plans. He wants revenge, so do you. So tell him if he lets you use your full power, you will get him what you both want.

>can't revive people
You uh, said you could grab onto lingering souls and broker a contract with them to bring them back into the world of the living? Is her soul not lingering? Are there NO lingering souls here?
>>
No. 800462 ID: d69df4

Didn't he come back from the grave? Couldn't the same arrangements be made for his wife?
But firstly, we must deal with these threats so that we stop with the revolving-door afterlife.
>>
No. 800834 ID: f9400c
File 149439565260.png - (115.22KB , 728x582 , Mourning.png )
800834

>Didn't he come back from the grave? Couldn't the same arrangements be made for his wife?

Yes. The offering to a divine being to revive the dead is expensive, and-

>You uh, said you could grab onto lingering souls and broker a contract with them to bring them back into the world of the living? Is her soul not lingering? Are there NO lingering souls here?

I see there is some confusion about the nature of mortality and my ability to influence it, so I'll use a metaphor. Mortals like metaphors, as it helps them wrap their tiny, limited minds around complex, existential concepts. Imagine that every mortal is a vase. A crude, ugly, and flawed vase, that requires ornamentation to even stand out. The vase is their body, and liquid inside the vase is their soul. If this metaphorical vessel is damaged enough, it can no longer hold the hold the soul in it. You could put the soul back in again all you like, but it would leak back out once more. It requires the aid of divine power to repair this vessel sufficiently to contain the soul properly again. I am not divine, and cannot perform healing like that.

If we strain the metaphor a little further, what I could do is spackle the vase back together with enough tar - daemonic magic, in this case - so it won't leak. But before I could choose where to put them, they would have to agree to allow me to hold their soul-water in a a beautiful purple crystal.. decanter.. which is the metaphor here for one of my shadowgems. That would mean agreeing to let me be a custodian of their soul, which is difficult if they do not trust me or are not desperate enough. But even then, abandoning the increasingly tired vase metaphor for now, the body would still be dead, and the demonic corruption holding their body and soul together would be obvious to even the most casual observer. They also would continue to rot over time, since preserving flesh is not one of my talents.

This is all ancillary to the main issue, which is that after being put into their body, my direct control over them is tied the level of corruption they have inflicted on themselves. I do not run a charity or discount umbramantic resurrection service, and have no interest in investing the amount of power and effort it would take to make their rotting corpses shuffle around without them being under my direct control. Loose ends and rogue elements need to be kept to a minimum in order to keep a tidy plan going. I do, however, intend to collect as many of those noble's souls for later exploitation. Some of them are probably afraid of their final judgement, and will leap on the chance to not receive it. If they have not passed on, I will make them such an offer when I am finished dealing with this.

>>800442

Yes, you're probably right. Why would I even bother appealing to his affections? I'm no eladrin, I'm a daemon of pride, and I'll stick to my strengths. It's barely even a lie so much as a misleading offer. I'll get the vengeance he wants, even if he isn't involved in it.

I walked across the room, stopping to stand over the bereaved khal, attempting to conceal my impatience. Poorly. "Manarr, how long are you going to carry on with that? You overcame death yourself not even a day ago, this is just being overly dramatic. Just have her brought back in the morning, we need to-"

Manarr just hugged the corpse even righter, clenching his eyes shut and moaned, "I can't..."

I stared at him, folding my arms after a few moments of non-elaboration. "You can't what, Manarr?"

He shook his head, sniffling. "We can't afford another revival. Greta was na-nagging me about it earlier, when you were g-gone. We'll.. bankrupt the estate. Especially a-after all this." He waved a hand at the dining room in general, presumably referring to both the expenses of the feast. For a moment, I wondered where all the servants had gone. This manor was practically servant-less now. I decided I could go find out what that was about later.

The finances issue was news to me, though. But, Greta had always managed all the house expenses, being the brains of this particular operation. I wouldn't miss her sticking her nose into everything, though, I was sure of that. So this was a blessing in disguise, for me. I looked around the room full of corpses, then back to Manarr, before putting a claw on his shoulder. "Manarr. If you can't bring her back, then the best option is to seek vengeance for it. Make the ones responsible for this suffer as much as you have."

Manarr shook his head again, smearing the weasel blood on his hands over his mate as he stroked her head. "Greta would insist we spend our time on damage control first. That's where the money has to go, I can't spend it all on-"

I squeezed his shoulder, making him turn and look at me, blinking slightly in question. "You don't need to spend anything, Manarr. I can handle this retribution myself."

The khal looked confused, and opened his mouth slightly. "How-"

I grinned, showing him all my teeth. "You think a D'navian with some hellfire and knives was dangerous? It's usually good for me to keep a light touch on mortal affairs, but if they are using a daemon lord too, then I need to shut that down quickly. I think now is the time to use my full power, Manarr."

Manarr frowned, looking down at Greta, then back up at me. "Why didn't you before, then? Greta might have-"

I spread my arms, holding up a claw to forestall him. "It's part of how you summoned me, Manarr. While you hold onto the tether for this summoning, I can't access the full extent of my power. You should know this, you are the one that read the book on summoning theory." I knew for a fact that Manarr hadn't studied more than he needed to be safe when he was planning to call me. A scholar, he is not.

But what else had I been grooming him for all this time but to arrogantly ignore his own flaws? "Well, yes, but.."

I spread my wings and arms, motioning to the room around me. "Manarr! Look at what has happened around you. This destruction upon your home. Yourself. Upon Greta. There is a debt that needs to be paid, and it is time for you to turn the matter over to me. Make the decision, and settle this debt once and for all."

The right nudge at the right time, against the subconscious desire I implanted while he was dead seemed to finally break through his doubts. He hesitated for a moment, before his expression became one of resolve. "Yeah. Let's do this, Aeseriq. I'll give you what you need to destroy them."

Finally. There were bigger plans to be made, but I could hardly walk out into the street in my full magnificence and declare myself a new tyrant king. I needed a pawn to use as a public face. Once Manarr was out of the way, his son was all that would be left of the House Manarr.


The only big question left was whether to stay with it and use young Gevalt, who would soon discover he lost both parents in a tragic mass murder in his absence - his father's corpse was never even found, how dreadful - and become head of the Manarr estate.

Or I could bail on on what may be a sinking ship without or withotu my help, and set off to a more uncertain horizon by taking Dennit as my pawn instead. He has more potential and talent, perhaps, but he doesn't have his own estate to use as a headquarters.

And I'm not going to split my attention between two mortals for this. While I might come back later and manipulate the spare, I'd prefer to devote my full attention to molding one mortal. I can't keep my eyes on two places at once, and both of them will need serious guidance to suit my needs.
>>
No. 800850 ID: d69df4

I...Well, as hard as it would be to top that vengance story you've got with House Manaar, you're Pride, or at least Pride-based, so I'm thinking it'd be better to go with the guy that lets you cultivate pride in him, instead of someone who'd always have a mixture of pride and wrath. Not to mention, what does that son do once his own revenge is had?
>>
No. 800858 ID: 395c02

>>800834
If Dennit has more potential then that's probably the better long-term choice.
>>
No. 800864 ID: d9d492

>>800834
Stick with Gevalt. You've got immediate motivation for him with getting revenge for his parents and you need to follow up this business about another daemon anyway.

Dennit looks like someone better to leave to his own devices. You can reel him in later. Why he might even come to convince himself that he's gotten one over a daemon lord. What a prideful thing to do.
>>
No. 800870 ID: ba56e6

Whereas if we chose the son, Dennit would be a loose end to clean up... if we left the son, he would instead be a backup plan in case Dennit bit the dust.

Dennet seems like the better choice here, in terms of resource management.
>>
No. 800880 ID: 48237d

Gevalt isn't even aware of your presence, Dennit knows too much. Go with Dennit, take advantage of Manarr's unresolved lose ends and keep your presence a secret.
>>
No. 800903 ID: 094652

Drive Manarr mad, let his son take over by force. If you kill him, it will leave a trail. If you drive him mad with guilt, he'll be too focused on himself to pin the blame on you. Really, why do you even need his pathetic soul at this point?

Send letters to the boy, giving him tips on how to run an empire. If he begs for help, then switch pawns and REALLY take hold of this estate, finances and all.
>>
No. 800908 ID: 8dfe96

Stick with Gevalt
You are established here and it sounds like you will have to rebuild the power and finances of the house. Easier to do then starting fresh.

Leave a body though
Mortals get all wound up if they can't bury their parents and say goodbye properly and that is a HUGE distraction you do not want.
>>
No. 800953 ID: 981e77

Stick with Dennit, but keep an eye on Gevalt's actions. If you can subtly guide him towards a path that benefits you, then do so. Giving him advice and resources through the mail as a secret benefactor might be the best way to go about this. Dennit is the one who needs your direct attention, though.
>>
No. 801007 ID: 91ee5f

You do realize that if you go with Dennit, you're going to need a new "mortal" disguise, since Gevalt would recognize you in the "mortal" form you've been using this whole time.
>>
No. 801038 ID: 3e1d26

Dennit knows that Manarr is still alive so if he suddenly disappears and you suddenly start being friendly with him he's going to put two and two together and figure out that you betrayed Manarr and then he wont trust you.

And well Gevalt will be angry at you for not saving his parents; you are a familiar face, someone he has known, someone his father trusted, someone to give emotional support, the only "family" he has left and this may cement a bond with you. This bond, if you can get it going, coupled with his emotional state and need for revenge will make him easier to manipulate.
Just remember that mortals say and do stupid stuff when they're emotional.
>>
No. 801197 ID: cee89f

>>800834
Stick with Gevalt. Gevalt's house is sinking, but it's still a House. He'll be more useful as an initial base of power. Dennit was sent to this party as an insult, that does not inspire confidence in his abilities.

That doesn't mean Dennit will be useless, though. Sure, he's not worth the trouble to be your personal face, but a spy, on the other hand... he could be that just fine. Give him just a taste of your power, enough to make him eager to help you. Then take a page out of Graezzit's book and let the drunkard do whatever he likes to earn more of your power/favor.
>>
No. 802426 ID: f9400c
File 149499458454.png - (15.25KB , 750x600 , Final Deal.png )
802426

>>800858
>>800908

I see there is conflict even now among the mortal souls. No matter - I will have to figure that out later, in any case. I have much to do before I choose a new 'patron'. I watched Manarr fumble through whatever incantations he could remember to pass the reins of this summoning to me, and fortunately, even someone as mentally limited as he was understood the importance of memorizing them well. Energy slowly swelled around him as he finished, and he held out his hand, putting his best grim, serious expression on as he made his formal proclamation. "I, head of House Manarr, grant the daemon Aerseriq full dominion over this calling, that he may take vengeance on our foes." I considered that, decided the idiot had made it an open-ended enough compact to not fuss over it, and took his hand in my claw. The surge of magic passing between us made the air ripple, and I collected all the loose, subtle strings of control the khal had freed up, crafting them together into something more stylish around my wrist. As the spell faded, I let go of Manarr, lifting my arm to examine the runes.

Manarr frowned at the runes, tilting his head. "How come they never do that for me?"

I didn't look up from my runic contemplation, but answered distractedly. "Because you haven't really learned any finesse, Manarr. You're largely talentless with magic."

The khal gave me an annoyed look, folding his arms. "This isn't really the time to be rude, Aeseriq. I'm good enough at it to summon you, after all."

I decided to keep the tethering spell concealed for not, and willed the runes into invisibility. There was an offhand chance someone might recognize that I was an unbound daemon and become very upset. I sighed, turning to address his defensive complaint/ "No, Manarr. Reading how to summon me from a book is not the same as having talent. Talent is more than copying what someone else put to paper. Almost any khal can learn written magic and perform it by rote. You have to understand the fundamental nature of the forces you are working with to understand how to improve it."

Manarr made an upset sound, looking down at Greta's body pointedly, as if to remind me she was dead. As if I could forget. "Aeseriq... I'm not really in the mood for a lecture right now. Maybe some other day, but right now, I think-"

I interrupted him, talking over his whining in my most bored tone of voice. "That's really the problem, though. You don't think, Manarr. You're a long string of impulsive, self-absorbed decisions, and you've been that way long before I met you."

The khal started to become upset, taking a step closer and growling. "Well, maybe you should have mentioned that sooner, if you thought I needed to improve on it. But, hey, my wife just died, if you forgot, and I am not in the mood for-."

I waved a claw dismissively, still not raising my voice as I cut over him. "Your moods aren't important, and neither is Greta. There is something much more important to talk about now."

Manarr finally snapped, stepping forward and bellowing in my face. "WHAT NOW?!"

I just grinned, grabbing the front of his silly, blue shirt, and lifted him up into the air by it. "Oh. My sudden, inevitable betrayal, of course."
>>
No. 802431 ID: 094652

Do the Bane thing!
>>
No. 802438 ID: 96acb6

>>802426
Grab the assassin's dagger, kill him with it and lay him down next to his wife.
>>
No. 802444 ID: f9400c
File 149499692185.png - (21.36KB , 750x600 , Sudden Inevitable Betrayal.png )
802444

>>802438

As entertaining as that might be, I need him alive. Even if I control whether I can be dismissed or not, his life is tethering me here - Manarr dying means I am banished from the mortal realm. I just don't need him to question me, or really even talk much. Fortunately, I already had a plan for that.

----

Manarr yelped as he was lifted into the air, swatting at my arm. "Aeseriq, stop it! This isn't funny!"

I reached up with my other arm, and grabbed hold of one of his shoulders to stabilize the khal, then tore open the front of his shirt, exposing his chest and the shadowgem he had embedded in it. "Really, Manarr, if you had any intelligence to speak of, you might have foreseen this possibility and worked to avoid it. But then, I've spent years cultivating your pride and recklessness, so I can't give you all the credit for this. Maybe a quarter, at best."

The merchant squirmed, trying to push me off him ineffectively. I might not be a premier in physical combat, but the day an untrained khal can overpower me is the day I call myself an imp. He gave up after a few moments, clenching his fists "Damn you, Aeseriq! I get it, you want something from me, and I can't dismiss you now. What?!"

I placed a claw on the shadowgem on his chest, activating the magic inside I'd kept in reserve for just this happy occasion. Shadow began to swirl around his limbs,
growing thicker and more visible. I started to gloat, then stopped, shaking my head. "Normally, I would love to spend a while explaining my grand plans to you, Manarr. I could probably even spend a few minutes right now just expanding on what I'm going to do to you personally." I threw him to the floor, and he landed on his rear with a yelp. "Regrettably, my time is currently very valuable, and I have a lot of things to do. None of them involve talking further with you, and in the grand scheme of things, wasting my valuable words on someone who will not remember them is meaningless."

Manarr writhed on the floor, trying to claw away the shadows wrapping around him, but found the process counterproductive, as it just spread further anywhere he touched. He looked up at me pleadingly as I walked away. "Aeseriq, why are you doing this? I t-though we were friends?" That made me pause a moment, just to give him a flat stare. "A-alright, allies, then! Doesn't that mean anything?!"

I rolled my eyes, ignoring his increasingly muffled wails as I walked across the room to the head of the dining table. Manarr would keep, and I'd handle him when I returned. Now, it was time for a trip to the spirit realm. I gathered magic and shadows around myself, preparing to punch through the barrier.
>>
No. 802457 ID: f9400c
File 149500133795.png - (51.33KB , 750x1200 , Spirit Shift.png )
802457

>You uh, said you could grab onto lingering souls and broker a contract with them to bring them back into the world of the living? Are there NO lingering souls here?

The world shifted as I pierced the veil between worlds, reversing the metaphysical angle at which I was inhabiting the material world. It was difficult for living mortals to travel here, as soul has trouble leaving their flesh behind. I, of course, am being without a glorified sack of meat holding me down, and simply manifested a new body on the other side that was more in tune with existence on the spirit world. It wasn't too much different on this side - the spirit world largely reflected the material world, though it tended to not include things such as buildings, and misunderstand complex concepts like furniture into simpler concepts like rocks or trees. Colors also weren't as strong here, if they occurred at all. I look terrible in tones of gray, though, so I forced my superior color scheme upon the spirit world to make sure I was noticeable.

As it turned out, there were a few souls left, but irritatingly, something else had shown up before me. The tacky little spirit guide was standing on this world's dining table analogue, trying to convince the few souls still left to accompany it.

-not dead, I must be having some sort of out of body experience! There is no way I died at that half-baked, common-born merchant's dinner party! Leave me alone!

"Now listen, my poor lost souls. I do not come to harm you, but merely to bring yo- oh stars and heavens, what is that doing here?!" The small, rabbit-shaped spirit began to dance about on the tabletop anxiously, keeping what it probably thought was a safe distance from me. "You can't be here, you are not allowed!"

... then are we all here? I mean, I can see my body over there. And yours, over there...

I gave the spirit guide a withering look, flicking a wrist at it, and it went bouncing a few feet across the stone table as the lash of shadows swatted it away. "Skitter off, phasma. I've got business with these souls, and your voice is annoying."

-and look at that great big ugly daemon monster, it stands out too much. What a poorly constructed illusion. Anyone can see it's supposed to hold our focus.

The little spirit rabbit turned and fled, wailing in it's high-pitched voice. "I'm telling, I'm telling! Daemons are not allowed in-" The phasma's voice became a squeal, then a tiny, short squeak as I wrapped it in a mass of shadows and crushed it into a mote of spiritual residue. It wasn't dead, never having been alive, but it would be a while before it could recollect itself enough to run off and tell anyone important I had been here.

"-killed the little rabbit, now it's going to drag us off to the underworld, I guess.

That finished, I turned my attention to the collection of souls in the vicinity. Just being in the spirit world wasn't necessarily enough to communicate with spirits. Phasmas were naturally able to do it, being intended as guides, but normally, recently liberated souls were a little out of touch with their surroundings. They had been mumbling their arguments to themselves, and while they had obviously noticed me, I needed more than that. So, put I in a little more effort to make them talk to me, snaring them all with a bit of my own magic and dragging them into focus. The spirit world around me rippled from the straight, some colors bleeding into it.

"-not sure what Manarr thinks he's doing here, but- I do- o-oh." The nearest soul looked down at its translucent hands, seeming to notice himself for the first time, then at the corpses around them. His eyes widened, and he began to scream. "Aaaah! I'm dead! WHY AM I DEAD?"

I smiled toothily at him, as the others began to come to and recognize their own post-mortality. "Not many get a chance to go back to the world of the living after they die, my departed nobles. But it could be yours. Would you like to make a deal?"
>>
No. 802474 ID: 094652

Offer them NEW bodies in exchange for their obedience. Bodies of any gender, immortal, capable of infinite growth. Then totally screw them over with half-life golem bodies and mind-rape them into baby-eating mass-murderers under your command.

Except for Greta. You finally get to lay the smackdown you've always wanted her to suffer. Punch her in the boobs until they concave. Then throw her to the rape demons.
>>
No. 802501 ID: c98503

>>802457
I am not under the impression that any of these remaining souls are Greta's.

Actually, that's not a sign of a problem, is it?

Anyway I guess give these guys your pitch and see who bites?
>>
No. 802505 ID: 173b46

>>802474
This sounds like a horrible idea.
>>
No. 802511 ID: d79f26

you are here for an exchange, they are dead now, but you can change that.
>>
No. 802608 ID: 76a89a

Looks like even with recently dead spirit confusion, Greta's smart enough to get out while the getting's good. Pity, you could have offered to keep her and Manarr together. Any guesses to where she'll have ended up?

Anyway, alright, so if I'm understanding correctly, what you can offer them is 1) reanimation as a demonic zombie, 2) a delay on the trip to their afterlife, 3) some sort of service you could perform for them in the realm of the living. That last one is theoretically pretty flexible; you can't truly resurrect them, but you could promise to secure it from someone who can, and once they come back they'd still be yours. It's expensive, but if, say, they have families rich enough to do it but who are uncertain about whether they would choose to, you could try persuade them. Or promise to try.

Aside from the value of their souls in and of themselves, these people probably have valuable information as well. You could ask them for answers in exchange for minor services. Unfinished business and that sort of thing.

I take it the until-recently disbelieving one is the one looking at his hands, the depressed-looking one is the one who seemed to be vaguely almost aware he was dead before, and the woman hasn't said or done anything? Hmm... is that Lady Denth, the one who was stabbed? If not, I'm not sure who these people are.
>>
No. 802697 ID: 8dfe96

They are all powerful nobles

Bring them back, bind them to your cause the more angry pissed off Nobles you have on your side the easier things will be

Especially if you continue with your usual flare of subtle and clever.
>>
No. 803835 ID: f09f13

Ask them which can give the most power in the mortal realm. Take them and convince them to be entertained into a "soul-preserving" crystal as they are prideful, and most deliciously powerful. Take the one who claims the second most power, and attempt to find a way for them to grant you advantages in the mortal world. The rest, convince of them saving their souls before the final judgement, so as thou may aborst their souls into the crystals, or leave them to their fate in the abyss. They are but pitiful creatures after all
>>
No. 807392 ID: f9400c
File 149724116508.png - (26.96KB , 750x600 , New Bargains.png )
807392

>>802501

I was inclined to agree, but as I turned to the remaining spirit, I found she had lost her stunned expression and was glaring at me. Then she started to shout. "Aeseriq! You wretched daemon, what have you done with my husband?!" I paused, staring at her, then began to laugh.

"What are you laughing about!? This isn't a joke!"

"Hahahah... oh, Greta. I guess you were more vain than I thought. Is that how you really look?"

She looked down at the dumpy body her shade presented, and hugged herself, glancing to the side in embarrassment. "I... shut up. It's common for noblewomen to have cosmetic transmutation. S-stop trying to change the subject." Fortunately, she was now flustered enough that I could focus on the others, who seemed to have calmed down enough to just watch me warily from a safe distance.

"Listen, you're all that's left of that party, now. You're dead, yes. But this doesn't need to be the end for you. I'm here to give you an opportunity to still influence the mortal world.". I raised a claw, conjuring three shadow gems into the air above it. "Come and work with me, and you need not worry about passing on to your, ah.. reward."

The two spirits on the right side of the table glanced at each other, then one of them move closer, eyeing the gems. "... What's the catch? This sounds a little too easy."

I smirked at him, waving to the dull surroundings. "All of you made decisions in your life that put you where you are. No one rises to your power without the expense of others. The fact that you are in particular still here means you have regrets and concerns left over." I spread my arms, motioning to one of the nearby, faded corpses. "You can simply allow yourself to pass on, but then you will have to spend eternity with the consequences of your life. If you are confident some sort of 'paradise' awaits you, feel free to decline my offer."

Greta narrowed her eyes at me, but the other two looked uncomfortably at their bodies. "I thought as much." I flicked my claws, and a gemstone floated over to each of the spirits, hovering expectantly in front of them. "Giving your spirit over into my custody will help you avoid that until you can return to life again. You will have to assist me while I caretake your spirits, but only for as long as it takes for your family to recover your bodies and perform a revivification ritual."

I folded my arms, giving them a toothy grin as everyone but Greta stared nervously at the shadowgems I was offering them. "Make your decision then, I don't have all day. Touch the gemstone, and you are agreeing to allow me custody of your spirit until you return to life again."

After another long moment of hesitation, the pointy-eared spirit wrapped his hands around his gemstone, and the floppy eared one followed suit a moment later. Both their souls were pulled inside and stored inside my shadowgems, out of reach of any spirit guides now. It was a little hard to tell their identities outside their bodies, but I believe the pointy eared one was the brother of the head of House Trakh, a family heavy in the fabric and textile industry. He was also one that bored me to near insanity earlier with discussion about flaxweed market values. Maybe I would punish them for that later, but petty vengeance could wait. The floppy eared one was unfamiliar to me, possibly someone new in the area.

Greta still hadn't spoken all this time, or taken my gemstone, but she did now, her voice deep with suspicion. "What are you up to, Aeseriq? Did my husband tell you to do this?"

I collected the filled shadowgems, giving her a sidelong look, letting my smile fade into seriousness. "Greta, you and I both know that your house cannot afford to have you revived. You barely could afford to bring Manarr back. And he wanted you back, very much. At least this way, you'll be able to see each other again, until a more permanent solution can be made. Do you really want to leave him all alone? How well will he fare without you?"

Greta looked down, and I could tell my jab had hurt her. Turned out Manarr being a sentimental sack of dung was something at least slightly mutual. "No, you're right. He won't survive this without me. The nobility will eat him alive." She took the gemstone, and surrendered herself to me too.

It's too bad I forgot to tell her what I did to her husband first. I feel like it would have affected her decision somewhat.

Oh well. It was time to get back to the mortal world, and I collected Greta, leaving the gray plane of stone and corpses for the more vibrant dining room full of blood and corpses.
>>
No. 807395 ID: 3ce125

>>807392
So are you just never going to let them be resurrected?
>>
No. 807408 ID: 094652

Alright, three rare-tier gems. What are you planning to socket them into? Actually, does the nature of the soul determine the properties of the effects, or are the gems just pure power?

Look over your options and be sure to make Manarr watch.
>>
No. 807560 ID: f9400c
File 149732193032.png - (21.94KB , 750x600 , Corpse Pile.png )
807560

>>807408

There are no 'properties' to the gemstones beyond having the spirits inside, and that of their natural properties as a shadowgem. And they're not going to be 'socketed' into anything, unless I need a 'daemonic zombie', as one of you so colorfully put it before. Though, I admit I've never tried putting an occupied shadowgem into a weapon or object. Might be worth looking into some time, when I'm not cleaning up a giant mess of dead mortals.

>>807395

Not unless it benefits me somehow, no. In fact, right now I think it would be best to make sure their respective bodies are not found. Minimizing the accidental loss of any further assets is critical at this point of transition between mortal pawns. As such, when I returned to the material world, I set about arranging things. What had been Manarr was roughly where I left him, staring listlessly ahead amongst the scattered ruins of blue dress robes. It turned to look at me, opening its mouth and making a rasping sound, before dazedly reaching up to touch its throat with a claw. "Yeah, don't bother. Not having to hear your annoying voice anymore is definitely one of the high points of this arrangement. I snapped a couple claws together, pointing at the nearest dead noble, and gave the bonds I had wrapped around the wraith's soul a tug to get its attention. "Gather up all the bodies in a pile for me. That one and that one in particular, I want set aside.

As I pointed out the bodies of the two nobles whose spirits I had for emphasis, the wraith stood up and began to silently go to work. Already, Manarr had become a more effective partner - immediate compliance, no backtalk or whining about Greta's body. I couldn't keep calling him that, though. His old name would have to be replaced with something else. Last time I did that, someone overheard their name at the wrong time and figured out what happened to their mysteriously missing brother. Undermined the whole operation and I had to start over.

As a case in point, the three spirits I had recently obtained began getting chatty, asking all sorts of inconvenient questions.

"Wait, why are you having my body set aside?"
"What are you going to do with the others..."
"Aeseriq, where is my husband? I don't see him in here."


I rolled my eyes, pulling the shadowgems in closer, and cupped my claws around them. "I'm very busy, and this isn't the time to give you all a lengthy exposition about what you missed. So, I'm just going to put you all to sleep. Don't worry, when I need you again, you'll be the first to know."

"Hey, no, I want to know what's going on!"
"Aeseriq! Don't you dare, where is Mana-


The spirits quieted down as I sent them into a state of listless fugue. They weren't really asleep, but they had been so disassociated with their own sense of self that they wouldn't recognize anything as something they knew. It was a fairly common - if generic - way of tormenting the prideful damned, actually - make them forget what they were for a time, so that when they came back, they would realize what it was like to actually be nothing. More importantly for this situation, they wouldn't bother me or remember me doing anything particularly ominous to their bodies. Or their husbands.

I put the shadowgems away and out of sight, within my own corporeal form, and turned back to the wraith, who had just about finished stacking corpses. It seemed to be hesitating slightly at putting Greta's corpse on, too. "A shred of efficiency at last, and you're ruining it. Yes, that one too. No, don't give me that look. There you go. I'm going to have them burned later, so don't bother getting attached. Now, make sure those two-" I pointed at the two I had set aside, "-Get put in the old family crypt. They can be the first to use that useless thing Greta made you spend all that money on."

The Manarr-wraith dragged them away, but paused at the door to glance back once to look at Greta's corpse. "What did I say?! Go." I yanked hard at his spirit again, and the wraith's eyes went flat. It walked away out of sight, going back to its assigned task. That was going to get frustrating if it kept up.

I looked over the room, and decided that now was a good time to re-evaluate the previously stalemated decision on selecting a pawn - to go with Dennit, or with Manarr's son. Gevalt was seeming less viable, given I'd literally have his father nearby as a near-mindless servant the whole time, but if his own wife didn't recognize him at first glance, his son, who knew a whole lot less about his father's compact with me, probably would not unless I slipped up somehow.
>>
No. 807562 ID: 015058

Can you jam Manarr and Greta in the same soul gem? Sure they would think it was great at first because they were reconnected and such.

But after awhile they would get on each others nerves and they could never leave each other and would be constantly yelling at each other.

As for pawns I would say Dennit.
>>
No. 807563 ID: 00a1f6

>>807560
Go with Dennit. Be a "mysterious benefactor" for Gevalt. Manipulate him through gifts and letters instead of directly. It's much more subtle than anything we've seen you do so far.
>>
No. 807569 ID: 094652

>>807562
Yeah, this. Break the last vestiges of Manarr's sanity by shattering his loyalty to family, and he'll stop being so useless.

And call him Waluweegeebob. Pronounce fast so it sounds like a voodoo chant.

Go with Dennit, this house is ruined. If Gevalt can somehow pull it out of the muck, you have two hole cards to play.
>>
No. 807571 ID: 91ee5f

>>807560
Don't stick around with Gevalt. I mean, you yourself saw how much trouble your new Manarr toy was having with his wife's corpse. And if he reacted like that with Greta, imagine how much he'll be struggling to obey you when he's constantly around his son!

Let's abandon the sinking ship of Manarr and his family and go with Dennit!
>>
No. 807572 ID: 3ce125

I feel like you should reunite Greta and Manarr somehow. Greta is going to be extremely uncooperative, more than the Manarr-wraith's hesitation. She could even manage to sabotage you somehow! Would having two souls in the wraith make it stronger?
>>
No. 807574 ID: 91ee5f

>>807571
Also, your corporeal form's ribs are showing. Which for mortals usually signifies starvation. So keep your robes on and don't let any mortals see that, otherwise some foolish kindhearted mortal will try shoving their shitty mortal food in your face because they'll think you need to eat something or else you'll starve to death!
>>
No. 810222 ID: f9400c
File 149837324274.png - (22.30KB , 750x600 , Minion-in-waiting.png )
810222

>>807562
>>807572

Putting Manarr's soul inside a gemstone, even one with Greta in it, would require the soul vacating his body, which while mean he would be dead. I feel I should remind you that Manarr being alive is actually what is keeping me in the mortal realm. He might not have been very bright, but he read his summoning book enough to implement that fail-safe when he brought me here. Him dying would completely ruin all plans I have going right now.

>>807574

That should not be a problem momentarily, if everything goes well.

>>807563
>>807571

Since Gevalt seemed a bad idea, generally speaking, to stay with, I made my way to the guest bedroom Dennit was staying in. When I entered, I found him pacing the room nervously, and he yelped and fell back onto the bed, the imp snickering at him from one of bedposts. This might have had to do with me coming in from under the door as a cloud of shadows. But it is always good to make impressions on new potentials.

"Aah! Y-you're back!" He clasped his hands nervously on his lap and tried to compose himself into a more dignified position. I could smell some magic in the room, and he seemed less drunk. Perhaps the two were related, some kind of sobriety spell? "What do you want from me, then?"

I folded me arms, considering the kahl. He started to fidget slightly under my gaze. "I have some plants, Dennit. And as of very recently, I am in need of a new patron."

He bit his lip for a moment, considering that. "Oh. So, you want my help with some plot?"

I just gave him a flat look, then continued as if he had not spoken. "As you may also be aware, I do not tend to blend in well with your community. In the past, I would hide myself under robes..."

Dennit seemed to think he should be encouraging to the scary daemon in the room with him, and commented, "It's a very good disguise, Sir Eque! I had no idea you were a daemon unt-"

I cut over him this time, only raising my voice slightly. ".. But I will not be doing that anymore. A cheap disguise might have worked when people only saw me in a crowd on rare occasions, but given what will almost certainly be increased visibility in the future, I think that maintaining a physical form constantly will be a poor choice."

He struggled over that few a few moments, then shrugged his shoulders. "Uhm, I don't really get it. You want to turn into a ghost?"

I nodded slowly, unsurprising. "Then I will help you understand, Dennit. As my new patron, you will give me a vessel to reside in. You have two choices, really. You can either be the vessel, or hold the vessel."

The kahl coughed, scooting back on the bed slightly. "I'm, uh. Against being a. Vessel. I think. It doesn't sound very... good."

I smiled toothily at him. "Not at all, Dennit. As my vessel, in exchange for allowing me to reside in your body, and surrendering a little control to me, you would gain great power. Your paltry charms and cantrips would be much more effective with the power of a daemon lord backing them."

For some reason, the idea still managed to make Dennit look nervous. "Uhhm. What's the alternative?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "I could instead conceal myself in a vessel, such as a piece of jewelry. You would wear that from then on. The aid I could give you would be limited, because we would not be sharing a vessel. And it would be something you could never take off."

The noble considered that for a moment, then asked, "Why not? What happens if I take it off?"

I stared at him for a moment. "Bad things."

Dennit patted the bed thoughtfully for a few moments, then asked, almost hopefully, "What would happen if I decided I'd rather do neither of those things?"

I gave him another meaningful stare, and blinked once, slowly. "Very bad things."
>>
No. 810223 ID: f9400c
File 149837325152.png - (40.97KB , 301x410 , Choices.png )
810223

You are now Dennit.

There is a very scary daemon in the room with you, asking you to make what sounds like a very permanent commitment! You've been a lot of things in your life - handsome, flirtatious, good with people. But commitment is always something you've had trouble with. Why would you tie yourself down when there's a whole world of people and things out there to sample?

But it sounds like he wants to either possess you or give you some kind of insane cursed item that you can never take off. And maybe he'll do something awful to you if you refuse to cooperate? You don't really want to be eaten by a hundred vicious imps or have your throat torn out!

You just wanted to have fun at a silly minor merchant price's party that your uncle told you to go to. Maybe meet a cute new mage and take him somewhere private later, except he wasn't a mage, was he, he was some horrible hell-monster who wants your body.

... And not in the good way!

Why does everything awful have to happen to you? Aside from the whole everyone else being poisoned or stabbed to death, that is.

You're glad you missed out on that.

But what are you going to do?! The daemon looks like he's getting impatient for an answer!
>>
No. 810225 ID: 81cfad

At what point does "get possessed by a demon and surrender part of your brain to him" sound like a good idea?

Go with a bracer. It's practical for defense, and if your arm is ripped off you're probably dead anyway.
>>
No. 810226 ID: 91ee5f

>>810223
Ask the very scary daemon if he'd allow you to find someone else for him to reside in? After all, wouldn't he rather reside in a body that wasn't scrawny and weak, like yours is?
>>
No. 810230 ID: 2b0a30

>>810223
Cursed item sounds like the lesser of two awful, awful evils.
Of if you think your soul is still clean enough, you may instead kill yourself to avoid it becoming demon chow.
>>
No. 810232 ID: ba56e6

>>810225
This.
>>
No. 810238 ID: 3ce125

>>810222
Okay so you can't shove Manarr in a gemstone. What if you gave his wraith his wife's gemstone?

>>810223
I'm guessing if you get possessed your mind will be very quickly twisted by his magic. Go with the cursed item, that gives you a small chance of escape. If you can find a better vessel for him, you might be able to get him to switch over.
>>
No. 810246 ID: 8345e8

It's a demon Denit
Come on remember your lessons

It can't do anything to your soul unless you agree. Sure it can threaten you but hell do the unexpected.

Leap out a window, suffer a few bruises and run for the town guard. A demon just murdered everyone in Manarr's house that'll go do well with your social standing when you alert everyone to its presence.

Fuck being possessed by it or wearing a cursed piece of jewellery. Take the leap of faith and make a break for it!

You don't want to be stuck in this things power ever.
>>
No. 810466 ID: d69df4

Well Dennit, if you believe you,be lived a good life, if you have faith that you would be able rise to heaven after a no doubt painful demise...Then take the very bad things offer. It will suck but he won't be able to change where you end up in the end...
On the contrary...You're not bad with magic, aren't you? And with this guy's mojo behind yours you could wield some pretty impressive magic. One way or the other, your power will get a boost in return for working with this guy.
>>
No. 810631 ID: 7b6983

Go with the vessel option. Ask him if you'll be able to transfer him to another vessel if you come across a more suitable subject.

Alternatively, try to flirt with him to avoid decision making altogether.
>>
No. 822590 ID: f9400c
File 150269529244.png - (17.05KB , 750x600 , Seductive.png )
822590

>>810230
>Leap out a window, suffer a few bruises and run for the town guard

There's no windows in this room. I checked when I came in, it was one of the first things. So, unless the daemon is going to let me run past him for the door without grabbing me, I think that's out.

>>810631

Y-yeah, sure. Daemons probably can be distracted by the right things. Maybe I can move the conversation away from possessing me and into more familiar territory. He's probably not the worst thing I've seduced, ha ha yeah!

I'm going to die.

I nervously smiled up at the demon, stretching out my arms slowly, then put them down at my sides. I attempted my best relaxed voice, and it only broke once, to my credit. "Well, if you want my body that much, maybe we can talk about that. I h-heard daemons are all about sinning, right? I'm sure I can be bad enough for the both of us.."

The demon continued to coldly, silently glare at me, unimpressed. Perhaps I needed to take things up a notch. I started to pull my shirt up. Fun fact - it looks ornate, but it's actually just one piece that is easy to slip out of. You never know when you might need to undress quickly, alright? "I mean, you seem pretty wound up right now, right? All that... stuff you're probably plotting has to have you stressed." I finished slipping off the top, and gave the daemon a somewhat more confident grin, putting one hand behind my head. "I mean, who spends all their time doing.. uhm, evil murder plots.. or whatever, right? You should enjoy yourself once and a while."

Shit maybe I should have asked what his plans were first, this is really weak.
>>
No. 822591 ID: 91ee5f

>>822590
Keep going, I think it's working!

Now take off your pants, bend over, and prepare your butt for a giant daemon cock to penetrate it!
>>
No. 822593 ID: 91ee5f

>>822591
And if that fails and he ends up possessing your body, then there's only one thing left to do!

Whenever he's not in control, you need to start eating unhealthy foods so that you'll eventually become fat and unappealing to him, which will make him leave your fatass body in search of a different body!

Sure, your attractive body is going to take a hit, but you've gotta make some sacrifices in order to get him out of your body. Besides, getting fat is preferable to having him as a roommate in your body, right?
>>
No. 822594 ID: 3ce125

>>822590
No no, play to his ego. You can tell he has one. Tell him he must be planning something bigger than whatever Manarr had in his little mind. Maybe he can convince you to join him? I'm sure there's something he could do to persuade you. Something really impressive, unlike anything you've had before.
>>
No. 822648 ID: f9400c
File 150272811940.png - (16.21KB , 750x600 , nowlistenhere.png )
822648

>>822594

I guess that's a good point. If he had any ability to relax, neither of us would probably be here. Besides, he's still just glaring at me like he wants me to shut up. I changed tactics to something a little more ego-stroking.

"Now, I think that someone clearly as brilliant as you must have bigger plans that whatever is going on here with Manarr, right? Perhaps we can talk about what you plan to do-" The daemon lunged forward, grabbing me by the neck and lifting me up so we were nose to now. Shit. Maybe I should have started with more basic flattery? "Did I mention p-purple and dark gray are very flatteri-"

"Shut. Up." The daemon squeezed my neck as it spoke, and I obliged it, glad that I had enough self-control to keep myself from doing anything embarrassing. It seemed like it wanted to talk, so I let the horrible underworld monster do so. Also, it was hard to breathe, much less talk. It raised a claw in front of my face, like it some kind of nanny scolding me.

"We're not doing this game right now, Dennit. I have no interest in you other than as a vessel for my further plans, or as a loose end to tie up. I have a lot to do before this evening is over. I gave you two very simple, clear options. The daemon relaxed its grip on my throat enough to indicate it was giving me permission to talk again. Yipee. "You're going to pick one of them right now, or you can join the other khal who mysteriously choked to death this evening. Do I make myself clear?"

The prospect of being thrown on a pile with someone like that fat loser Vheel did not strike me as a legacy worthy of my talents, and to actual hell with the suggestions that I let him kill me to 'save my soul' or some nonsense. I tried talking, and in my first attempt it came out as a squeak that was definitely due to being choked, not because I was terrified. Honest. "I t-think I would prefer a magic bracer, please, mister daemon sir." The daemon dropped me, and I landed on my feet with reflexes that came from my good breeding, rubbing at my throat. The thing actually seemed disappointed I hadn't let it invade my body. How stupid did it think I am?

It began doing some kind of magic.. thing.. that seemed to involve gathering shadows together between its claws. "My name is Aeseriq, so you may as well call me that, since we will be working toget-"

I decided to take a chance, here. I held up a hand, shaking my head. "Hold on a moment, Aeseriq. That's not how this works."

The daemon paused in forming what I assumed was going to be some sort of bracer thing made of shadows, or whatever. It raised an eyebrow coolly in my direction. "Excuse me?"

I stood up, folding my arms stubbornly, and tried to keep my legs from shaking. "I know about daemons. This isn't a pact, this is extortion."

The daemon sighed impatiently, baring his teeth again. "Yes, Dennit. That's why I was threatening to strangle you."

I waved a hand impatiently. "And if you want me to work with you - or for you, I suppose - are you going to have your claws at my throat every minute of every day? Can you keep that up?"

Aeseriq seemed to consider that, narrowing his eyes while he continued forming what was looking more and more like a bracer after all. It made its voice all quiet and serious, which was kind of scary. "Do you want to die now, instead?"

I wavered for a moment, biting my tongue for a moment nervously, then shook my head. "W-well, no. You're missing the point. If you want my cooperation, and for me not to just betray you at the most opportune moment, you have to give me something in return that I want. You know, beyond vague promises of indistinct magic powers. That's a how a pact works, right?"

The daemon seemed to consider that seriously, then moved closer to loom over me menacingly. "You're not my only option, Dennit. You are disposable."

That was pretty menacing, actually, but I managed to weather it's irritation. "Yeah? Are any of them as good as I am, though? You must be hard up for choices if you were working with that idiot, Manarr."

That definitely seemed to strike a chord with the daemon, who made a frustrated sound, glaring down at me. A few times, it twitched a claw, like it wanted to go forward with strangling me after all, but finally it said carefully, "What do you want from me, Dennit?"

Okay, now this was going somewhere. I grinned up at him, considering my options. I had to pick something that wouldn't insult or anger it enough to decide to take chances with whoever the second-stringers were. After a moment, I came up with several choices.

-I could expand on his original, more vague offer of Magical Power, by making him agree to actually teach me what he knows about the magical arts. He's a daemon, so he probably knows a whole bunch of stuff I'd never find out about otherwise. Maybe someone it even doesn't require me to sacrifice virgins or whatever.

-I could insist that he give me Protection while I worked for and/or served him. I wasn't super thrilled by being called disposable, but if I got him into a pact that required him to at least make some attempts to defend me, maybe I wouldn't bite it the moment some hero or whatever inevitably jumped in to foil his plans. This might annoy him a little, but I feel like I can convince him that it's in his best interests to keep me alive anyway, since he clearly needs a public face for his mysterious plot.

-It seemed a little bold, but I could also try to illicit some sort of Service out of him. Obviously, if I try to just lock him into being my servant, he'll probably kill me, but maybe I can make him agree to some kind of terms like having to perform one task for me every [negotiable time period]. I'm sure he'll have all sorts of stipulations, but I'd still have a powerful daemon at my beck and call.. sort of. I feel like this might be appealing to him, because he doesn't have to make any active effort to do something for me outside of performing these services.
>>
No. 822652 ID: 9fb5f4

You want to make yourself in disposable
Protection and a requirement to keep you alive is what you really want to be aiming for.

He needs you, you got to make sure you stay that way.
After all he must have needed Mnnarr and well lord knows what he has done to him now.
>>
No. 822653 ID: 63c90e

>>822648
Boy, get you some protection.
>>
No. 822683 ID: 91ee5f

>>822648
You can probably get away with asking for both Protection and Magical Power if you choose your words carefully!

What you want from him should be mostly Protection, but if you ask him to teach you 1 or 2 spells from Magical Power, then you can at least be able to protect yourself and he won't have to always waste his valuable time protecting you!
>>
No. 822942 ID: bf8f3f

And also see if you can get some demon dick while you're bargaining.
>>
No. 878018 ID: 497b5f
File 152329182615.png - (197.54KB , 1000x800 , Accessorize.png )
878018

>>822652
>>822653
>>822683

"I want to be protected. You're not allowed to harm me, and you have to make sure nothing else harms me either."

The daemon scowled at me, shaking its head firmly, raising a clawed hand to me. "No. That's too open ended. You could cut yourself on a piece of paper and declare the contract breached. If you want protection, the most I am willing to give you is protecting your life if something is going to kill you while I'm watching."

I frowned, thinking that over in my head, and said, "But that means that you can still let people beat me to within an inch of my life before you are obligated to stop them." The daemon did not reply, just stared at me with his glowing purple eyes, and I took that to mean he was not disagreeing with me. "Fine, if that's all your going to do to protect me, then I also want you to teach me about... whatever daemonic magic secrets... you know."

The daemon looked annoyed, and he started to say something that was probably going to be a refusal, so I hurriedly added, "You already said you were alright with giving me magic. This isn't too different, is it."

The daemon looked like it had swallowed something unpleasant, then suddenly stopped scowling and smiled, raising his claws, and began gathering shadows between them. The smile made me nervous. "I will offer you instruction in magic no less than nine hours in a week, and no more than four days a month in total. I believe this is a standard apprenticeship compact among khal. If that is what you want, you may be my apprentice, in the same way as your own people. In exchange, you will serve my wishes and guard my secrets from discovery." A bracelet of gold began forming itself between the daemon's claws, along with several glowing pinkish purple gemstones, which spun themselves out of the air and set themselves into the bracelet.

The daemon offered the jeweled bracelet to me, dangling from one of it's claws.
"If this is acceptable to you, put the bracelet on, Dennit." It still had that amused smile on its snout, which worried me, but try as I might, I couldn't think of what loophole it had probably found that I was missing. "Being strangled instead remains on the table, if you're still hesitant."

With a sigh I pulled back on my shirt and took the bracelet. It was just wide enough to fit over my wrist, and when I slid it over my hand, it shrank itself, fitting snugly around my wrist in a way that I was pretty sure meant I wasn't going to be taking it off unless it was physically broken or I cut my hand off. That was too be expected, really.

I hadn't been expecting it to start spilling out shadows that wrapped up my arm and began covering my whole body, though. "H-hey! What are you-" But it ended before I finished speaking, and I blinked down at myself, tugging at my sleeve and frowning. All my clothing had been changed. It was no longer the orange shades of my uncle's house, but rather some pale shades of purple that did not match any house in the city. And I knew all of them. "What is..."

The daemon half closed it's eyes, folding it's arms and and looked incredibly pleased with itself. Damn it. "A standard khal apprenticeship contract also involves becoming an honorary member of the House of your master, Dennit. It's perfectly standard to have an apprentice wear your House colors while they are still in training."

I threw up my arms in frustration. "But 'pale, weird daemonic purple' is not the colors of any house in the city! Who am I supposed to tell my uncle I have apprenticed with?!"

The daemon turned away and began walking out of the room. "That is not a problem that I need to worry about, is it? I never agreed to help you come up with excuses to your family - guarding my secrets, including my existence and identity, is your part of the compact. Now come with me, Dennit. We are leaving this ruined manor."
>>
No. 878022 ID: 75f586

Hrrm. So I’m willing to bet this guy’s going to lay claim to the Mannar holdings as best he can, and no doubt become something of a new house, so we don’t need to worry overmuch about the colors. The bigger problem might be explaining things to your uncle but hey, standard apprenticeship right? I bet Aersiq could show off some unique tricks even if you can’t after even a few lessons right?
>>
No. 878058 ID: 497b5f
File 152331070365.png - (102.46KB , 1200x800 , Aeser Road.png )
878058

>>878022

I followed the daemon out of the room, glancing back at the imp as I went. It stared back at me with glowing eyes, but didn't follow, instead vanishing with a flicker. "Are you going to take over this manor, then? Create a fake house for me to be apprenticed in?"

The daemon looked down at me disdainfully, as if I was something particularly dense, and replied, "Dennit, I just said we're leaving the manor. Why would I go to the trouble of making a bargain with you to have magical bracelet I can conceal myself in if I planned to make public appearances as the owner of a house? Also, Manarr has a son, who is going to be inheriting this manor very soon."

I started to reply, but a creepy, shadowy beast slipped into view, hunched over and leaking wisps of smoke-like darkness. I hadn't heard it walking up behind us, but it fell into step beside the daemon. "U-uh... what is that?" The creature turned it's glowing slit pupils towards me, but said nothing.

The daemon looked down at the creature smiled slightly. "It is a shadow minion I recently recruited. Pay it no mind, it exists primarily to serve as muscle, should I need it."

"I... see. It's... a little.. conspicuous. Am I supposed to hide it too?"

"Yes."

"How?"

"Figure it out yourself."

I stepped forward, tugging on the sleeve covering my bracelet. "... Look, mister scary daemon guy. My family is going to ask a lot of questions about tonight, and you're putting a lot on me. Maybe you can cut me some slack here?"

The daemon rolled his eyes raising a palm and replying in a sort of sneering fashion. More so than usual, anyway. "Dennit, you are vastly overthinking the intelligence and analytical nature of your people. Few khal are going to press very deeply into an apprenticeship of a minor noble in a major house, least of all your family, who do not even particularly care for you." The daemon motioned to the manor around them in general as they walked, his expression bored. "All the attention is going to be on the murder, which was clearly poison related. You don't have the ambition to poison an entire party, and most of your family probably knows it. Stop whining at me and use your mildly clever sack of flesh you call a mind and solve your own family problems. I don't care how, pretend I'm one of your city's secret societies, I know they exist."

Well, put into perspective like that, I supposed he had a point. An insulting and very condescending point, but still. I had time time to think on who to tell my family I was apprenticed to. Should claim it was to an exotic, foreign house no one was likely to have heard of, or claim that it was some sort of secret order that had recently formed? Both had their benefits and downsides.

If it was a foreign house, I'd have to make up a name. I probably wouldn't have to if I claimed it was a secret order, but then my uncle would press me on what the tenets of the order were, so he knew what I was doing with them. There might be other options, too.

Whatever I did, I had a lot of work ahead of me, and probably trouble too. Nothing I ever read said that working with daemons turned out well.

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

END OF CHAPTER 1

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

This is the end of the first chapter of this quest, but chapter 2's opening artwork is half finished, and will be posted very soon. Suggestions can still be placed here, and will be taken into account for later chapters. I will close this thread and have it archived as completed once the second chapter has started.
>>
No. 878062 ID: 31a0a4

>>878058
>I probably wouldn't have to if I claimed it was a secret order, but then my uncle would press me on what the tenets of the order were, so he knew what I was doing with them

"The first tenant of the secret order is you don't talk about the secret order. They cast a spell on me so i can't speak more about it than that".
260 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. [Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]

Delete post []
Password