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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
310 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
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".
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