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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
Expand all images
>>
No. 736904 ID: f9400c
File 146890608513.png - (23.23KB , 750x600 , Fiend Select.png )
736904

This is a story of two unpleasant sorts. Dwelling down in the realms where sin is a laudable character trait to pursue.

Our story stars one of two exemplary individuals in the lower planes, both of high enough tiers to be distinct from the more numerous and easily classified fiends. They are both too powerful to be summoned by accident, but well known enough to be known and summoned by name.

Our first starring cast member is Aeseriq, a shadow daemon pride, who offers up a form of tainted crystalline boon to those mortals who feel they need more power than they have. They are a corrupter of mortals, and disdain traditional Faustian bargains. They know, they feel, that they can guide any mortal to end up in their custody, without an obfuscating contract to sign.


Our second 'protagonist' is Graezzit, a fire daemon of envy, possessed of a unique form of fire known as hexfire, which burns the immaterial more deeply than normal fires. They are a ruthless bargain-maker, with a strong understanding of what motivates the jealousy mortals and how to gain more from them than they expected in a contract.



Who shall be the star of this story?
>>
No. 736905 ID: a79844

Graezzit sounds good
>>
No. 736906 ID: b2d501

Graze
>>
No. 736908 ID: a6203e

Graezzit Looks more unhinged so that's where I'm placing my vote.

Can never go wrong with more crazy
>>
No. 736914 ID: 01134a

>>736904
Aeseriq
>>
No. 736916 ID: ffc055

>>736904
Aeseriq!
>>
No. 736917 ID: f3ca66

I choose random schmuck.
>>
No. 736923 ID: 15a025

Aeseriq!
>>
No. 736925 ID: 793fdd

I have a feeling the Green one would be more about working up from the bottom than the other. So I choose Graezzit.
>>
No. 736928 ID: f0e552

>>736904
holy shit it's a quest that has trout as a collaborator

Aeseriq!
>>
No. 736930 ID: 9e7153

>>736904
Graezzit
>>
No. 736931 ID: b7883c

Graezzit, because I want to see devil contracts done right for once. And by right, I mean things like multi-level-marketing or deliberately letting a mortal legitimately win every so often to inspire dozens of idiot copycats.
>>
No. 736935 ID: 1dd9bd

Graezzit
>>
No. 736936 ID: 5ce416

Look ar Graezzie's silly lil' grin. He looks like an amusing protagonist, plus there's nothing like a bit of arson, so this "hexfire" substance seems like a bucket of fun waiting to happen. So yes, my vote goes to Graezzit.
>>
No. 736937 ID: 73c49c

Graezzit got to blaze it
>>
No. 736989 ID: a6dc58

Aeseriq
>>
No. 736996 ID: f9400c

Man, I sure made a lot of typos and errors in that first post. Graezzit is supposed to be a daemon of ENVY, not greed, and I can see where I forgot to finish a sentence. Oh well. Best just do better in the future.
>>
No. 737032 ID: 2e2d71

>>736904
Aeseriq
>>
No. 737033 ID: 08ed3a

I'm going to be different and say, buddy up because your both the stars.
>>
No. 737034 ID: cb4760

Aeseriq- the best corruption is when you can have a person accept the consequences of their selfish actions.
>>
No. 737057 ID: ad6ef3

>>737034
oh man, that's a concept I can get behind, I too vote Aeseriq
>>
No. 737059 ID: 94d245

Aeseriq looks like a cool dude. Let's go with him.
>>
No. 737063 ID: db0da2

Aeseriq, because if we were forced to come up with contracts all the time this quest would inevitably get bogged down with assloads of psuedo-legal minutia and bullshit, if it didn't we would be doing it wrong. Also, >>737034
>>
No. 737093 ID: 91ee5f

Aeseriq
>>
No. 737140 ID: fd12a7

Has TG ever been into legal formalities or traditional thinking? Going Aeseriq here.
>>
No. 737141 ID: 286d17

>>736904

Aeseriq!
>>
No. 737175 ID: b7883c

(I already voted)
>legal formalities
We don't need to go full lawyer to get creative with contracts. Here's an example: they get power for a month and can keep it and their soul if they convince two other people to make a deal with us and name them as referrer (and if we are low on power to grant, we can just refuse to make deals with referred people until the time limit is up).
>>
No. 737178 ID: 398fe1

Aeseriq, because tgchan is a kind of slow corruption anyway.
>>
No. 737191 ID: db0da2

>>737175
Unholy pyramid schemes? I could get behind that. Except I still think that playing to people's pride and corrupting them without any trickery would be more interesting than waiting around for other people to do our job for us, so I'm sticking with Aeseriq.
>>
No. 737212 ID: f9400c
File 146899593104.png - (59.73KB , 750x600 , New Arrival.png )
737212

>>736914
>>736916
>>737034
>>737057
>>737063
>>737140


"- and I sure as hell know I never signed any pact with you for custody of my soul, so why the shit am I here?"

The most bothersome part of a new soul landing in my lair is the whining. Maybe one in a dozen at best has a grasp that the situation they find themselves in posthumously is of their own making, and even most of those actively resist the idea that the fun is, indeed over, and they have to accept consequences for their actions. This one would probably be one of the majority. I paused, taking a moment to flick a bit of ash ash off my shoulder, before replying in a relaxed, unconcerned tone.

"Naturally, you are correct. You are under no obligation to me to remain here, Manarr. You may leave any time you wish."

"Fine, I will! I'm probably scheduled to be resurrected in the morning, so I need to..." The soul trailed off as wriggled on the slab, struggling to rise, but after a half minute of squirming, he slumped, glaring down at his insubstantial body. I yawned pointedly, holding a claw claw emphasize the expression, earning a suspicious glare from the soul. "... Alright, what did you do, daemon?"

"Why, nothing. If you struggle under the weight of your own pride, that is hardly my fault, is it? Have you considered attempting humility?"

"... It's this crystal you gave me, making all this... sludgy crap... in my soul. So of course it's your fault!"

I shook my head, slowly, closing my eyes to lazy slits. "I did not make you kill all your rivals, and then their families, just to be sure. I never even suggested you do that, though I certainly approve of the course of action. That was all on you, as was someone finally stabbing you in your sleep."

The soul didn't seem to like what he was hearing, but instead of retorting angrily again, he paused, considering the statement for a long moment, licking his ethereal snout, before turning to look at me again. "... Alright. Can you help me out of this, though? Make, uhm, a deal? I mean, we're allies, aren't we? You're like, my daemonic patron, right?"

Ah. The bargaining attempt. This doesn't always come up, contrary to what one might believe, but it always presents me with a decision.

I don't owe him anything. He is trapped here of his own mistakes, ready to be harvested, should I wish. If I harvest him, he will be of no further use for anything, but I will receive a moderate bounty from what he has already accumulated by his actions.

Or, could ease the weight upon him, and allow him to be returned to his body, with only vague memories of his time here, still thinking I am his ally and benefactor. He will have the opportunity to sink even deeper into sin, no doubt motivated by his wounded pride that someone would dare to try and strike him down, creating a larger weight of sin on his soul when he finally dies again.

But he might also begin feeling regret, and seek redemption. If he does that, I will get nothing. It rarely happens when I gamble on releasing a soul, but I hate it when it does.
>>
No. 737215 ID: 398fe1

>>737212
How good is he at deception? Just ask him to convince you that he'll be worth your continued assistance.
>>
No. 737216 ID: 15a025

Let's spin to win! Bring this fool back and take a seat while we watch their further downfall.
>>
No. 737217 ID: b2d501

Just harvest the dark matter. Seriously, what do you expect from this leadheaded mook? Scarface?
>>
No. 737220 ID: 4e9864

>>737212
I'd like to see how creative he can get, and if he might turn even darker if shown the glimmer of hope that he can get out of this. Even if we don't end up offering him a bargain, and we just keep him here, if he tries to offer us something truly vile, that could only improve his bounty.

"You've certainly wrought great evil unto the world. Your soul is already rightfully mine, so you don't have that to bargain with. What would you offer me, then, to escape torment and live again?"
>>
No. 737244 ID: f0e552

>>737212
trout, try not to save the image as a compressed jpg. It's got artifacts galore on this one.
>>
No. 737246 ID: db0da2

>>737220
This line might work.
>>
No. 737247 ID: ad6ef3

>>737212
this fellow seems fairly unrepentant, and I assume most of the people you deal with who die in violence tend to be vengeful more than anything else.
>>
No. 737249 ID: f9400c

>>737244
This is probably because he had to send me the image file on his phone after finishing it, because his internet died part way through drawing. I don't think it's going to be typical of the quest.
>>
No. 737315 ID: 2e2d71

I feel like he's rather unlikely to seek redemption, and it should be within your means to manipulate him away from it should that even start to happen.

>"... Alright. Can you help me out of this, though? Make, uhm, a deal? I mean, we're allies, aren't we? You're like, my daemonic patron, right?"
Why yes, I could make a deal. The question, of course, is what you have left to offer me at this junction.
>>
No. 737321 ID: b7883c

Can you have selectively feed him info that he will remember? Giving him a few pointers in the direction of whoever killed him could give him someone to blame, which would do a lot to reduce his chances of regret.
>>
No. 737334 ID: 286d17

>>737212

I think exploitation is in order here. He killed his rivals families "just to make sure." That doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to turn pious.
>>
No. 737421 ID: f9400c
File 146908460903.png - (37.50KB , 750x600 , The Squeeze.png )
737421

>>737321
Not really, no. That's just one of the rules of afterlife everywhere, for sinners and saints alike. If you come back, you have to forget paradise, or damnation, as the case may be, beyond only the vaguest sense emphatic feelings.

>>737215
>>737216
>>737220

I can't resurrect him. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm powerful, and amazing. But reviving the dead is an act under the jurisdiction of divine beings. The mortals do a ritual, make an offering appropriate to the god they are appealing to, and if the petition is accepted - and it usually is, gods are notoriously unpicky about who they work with as long as you're bribing them sufficiently, no taste at all - they cast out a metaphysical line for the soul, and pull them back into their corpse, if they want to return.

But that won't work for Manarr here. He's trapped in my demesne, weighed down by the enhanced mass of his own pride. His family is rich, and they may attempt all the resurrection rituals they wish, but they will not reclaim his soul. What I can offer him is the chance to leave when they try. The recently revived do not remember their posthumous experience, like I said, but if he makes a deal with me, I can make sure he recalls it on a when he is alive again.

It's a decent idea though, I enjoy a good raking over the coals as much as any daemon. And I'm to squeeze him as hard as I can, why not push him as far as I can, and try for freedom from the underworld? He seems desperate enough that it might even work...

I leaned over the slab, giving Manarr's soul a toothy smile, tracing a claw lightly over the gemstone in his chest. The mortals all love it when I smile, and the soul immediately become anxious with joy. Well, I'm sure it's joyful terror, anyway. "Alright, Manarr. Let's make a deal. You want to see your son again, I'm sure. So, what can you offer me?"

Manarr's soul faltered, presented with the need to think of something that might entice the hungry looking daemon looming over him. "O-oh... you're not going to make a... oh. W-well... H-how about I sacrifice a few animals to you?"

I frowned, giving the soul a tragic look. "Oh, Manarr. Is that really the best you can do? Sacrificing a few goats? Don't you want to live again?"

Manarr's soul flinched slightly, and there was another long pause before he supplied, "A-alright. How about a person. I'll find a person and sacrifice them. I'm sure I can do it in secret."

I sighed, shaking my head and standing up. Maybe I needed to push a little harder. "If you can't take this seriously, there is no point in making the offer. Maybe eternal damnation appeals to you on a deeper level."

Manar licked his snout intangible snout again nervously, but didn't say anything. I turned to go, and he burst out suddenly. "Alright! How about a half dozen? I can probably round up a street gang somehow!" This was going nowhere, and I decided to try a different tactic. He could not be relied upon to think up anything useful. I pretended to ignore him and began walking away, murmuring audibly about whether my flaying knives are still sharpened. "Two dozen?!"

"Never mind, Manarr. I will return shortly, I have to get my tools. It's been a while since I had a guest.." I continued towards the exit of the room, humming softly to myself, making sure my hooves clacked as ominously loud as possible. I got three steps before he cracked, shrieking after me.

"What do you want from me, Aeseriq?1 Just tell me, I'll do anything! I don't deserve this! Please! Aren't you my advisor?! What do I have to do?!"

Finally. If he can't think of anything useful, then I'll make him give me control of the deal. A compact is always stronger when the mortal thinks letting me pick was their idea all along. I turned back smiling again, and put a claw to his nose. It was time for twisting the knife. "What you need to do for me, Manarr, is summon me again when you are returned to life." The soul looked relieved, and started to say something. but I clamped my claws around his snout, holding it shut as I continued, uninterrupted. "And when I arrive, you will arrange it so I may remain on the mortal world as long as I wish. You will surrender the right of dismissal to me, for that summoning."

The soul processed that for a moment before cringing. I released his jaws to let him get his whining session in. There was always whining before they made a decision on something like this. "I-I can't do that. A daemon of your level, if someone found out I summoned you and let you stay as long as you liked, I would be arrested! Maybe even executed..."

I flicked a claw, smiling down at the fallen soul as I conjured a gleaming gemstone, much like the one metaphysically implanted in his chest. "What good worrying about that now? It's certain damnation here, or possible prison up there. Is it really a hard choice? I'll be discreet and behave myself, I promise."

The soul continued to falter, and pleaded quietly, "Can't I give you something el-"

"No. You want this crystal and a chance at life again, you take the deal. It will be fine. Would I deceive my ally?" I gave him my most winning smile, if not my most genuine one.

Manarr wasn't buying it, and eyed me suspiciously for a long time, before finally looking away sullenly. "Fine. I'll do it. Just.. let me out of here."

"Best decision you've made, Manarr. I approve. I'd tell you to hold still now, but it doesn't look like you can move much now, does it?" The soul just rolled his eyes at the jibe, but soon became curious. "... Why do I need to hold still?"

---

As is probably clear, the prospect of escaping the underworld to wander freely in the mortal realm is an enticing prospect. I have a couple options here, since he won't consciously remember this conversation or agreement when he returns to life. I can either implant this crystal in his heart, or in his mind. Speaking in the metaphysical sense, of course, not physical, as he has no organs right now.

-If I place it in his heart, I will be able to tug on his desires and impulses in regards to convincing him to give me free reign when he does summon me. It will be subtle, and difficult for him to detect, but easier for him to resist. I won't be able to push him very hard, and it will take time and craftiness to lure him into doing what I want.

-If I place it in his mind, I will be able to assert direct control over his actions, forcing him to comply with the agreement against his will. This is a more tricky prospect, and will probably only work once before he and his family realizes he is compromised. I will need to plan and arrange a perfect time to seize command of him. But I only need one opportunity, if I do it right.
>>
No. 737429 ID: 4e9864

>>737421
What binds him to the deal if he goes back? Anything? Does anything stop him from deciding "hey, I'm back, screw this?". (Other than the prospect of what he'd face if he returns.)

Place it in his mind. That way, you can seize control in a critical moment, such as the point where he has second thoughts about giving you control of the summoning.
>>
No. 737430 ID: b2d501

Core his brain. You can't have him running off on you, and he is mentally disposed to murdertime anyway. If someone does detect you, you can order him to suicide bomb, and if you can find a nice quiet BOMB CHAIN, you can make the collateral damage even WORSE.
>>
No. 737431 ID: 73c49c

Might as well place it in his heart. To be able to pull on his impulses of pride, get him to think its a good idea to have a daemon in his basement helping him out.

If you can keep pulling on his heart strings when your in the mortal world you can use him further.
>>
No. 737435 ID: 398fe1

>>737421
>if he makes a deal with me, I can make sure he recalls it on a when he is alive again.
What happened to this part?
>>
No. 737436 ID: a6dc58

Personally, I think it depends on what summoning you entails. If it is a ritual that is short to enact, doesn't require a lot of exotic components, and is hard to stop once it gets rolling (either by being very fast or inevitable) then I think Mind is the way to go. If, on the other hand, it requires a lot of set up and accumulation of resources, I could see Heart being the more likely option. Ultimately I think I lean Mind though.
>>
No. 737439 ID: f9400c
737439

>>737435

Figures that one typo would slip past me despite reviewing it several times. It slipped through my notice during one of the revisions and should read:

>if he makes a deal with me, I can make sure he recalls it one way or another after he is alive again.
>>
No. 737453 ID: 398fe1

>>737439
Erm, well, I mean that doesn't seem to be true. We have to either manipulate his emotions to get him to do it indirectly, or take direct control.
Neither of those things involve him remembering the deal.
>>
No. 737483 ID: a22f87

heart

I mean we're not in a hurry, plus this would give us time to pack so to speak. Not to mention if we can control his heart we can push him even father into sin so even if this somehow turns out to be a bust we can still ripen his soul for the harvest. Plus you are an artist and the beauty of art is always in the fine details. Any brute can just force someone to do something but true art lies in those small subtle things that make the picture grand.
>>
No. 737484 ID: db0da2

Brain him, the looks on his family members' faces will make up for its lack of subtlety.
>>
No. 737498 ID: f9400c

>>737453

if this single word displeases your sense of semantics that much, you may pretend it says 'acts on' rather than 'recalls'. I give you special permission to do this, along with anyone else whose sense of immersion is demolished by this villainous sentence.
>>
No. 737502 ID: 3d2d5f

>>737421
Heart. You do rely on subtle manipulation, after all, getting the damned to happily pave their own road to hell.

"Now now, it's a fair trade, after all. One ticket out of hell deserves another."
>>
No. 737554 ID: ad6ef3

>>737421
Heart, we do want him to think he thought it up all on his lonesome after all
>>
No. 737560 ID: 91ee5f

Heart.
>>
No. 737579 ID: 286d17

>>737421

Doesn't it only need to work once? I'd say in the brain if it means a guaranteed summon. You certainly know how to manipulate though, so if for some reason that isn't true, the heart is a better option.
>>
No. 737811 ID: c5207e

Heart, we are a demon who prides ourself in manipulating the mortal into doing these things themself after all.
>>
No. 738024 ID: f9400c
File 146926415395.png - (36.37KB , 750x600 , Bye idiot.png )
738024

>>737429

Just this crystal I'm putting in him, really. For whatever stupid reason, the Powers That Be decided to give all mortals this obnoxious thing called 'free will', which basically amounts to 'having a lifelong pass to change one's nature and chosen path'. Naturally, part of free will includes the option of making deals with handsome and talented individuals like myself, even if it involves surrendering some of that free will in the process of the compact. The problem with this involves some complicated metaphysical theory, but being the brilliant entity I am, I will summarize for you:

This principal mostly applies to living mortals. A deceased soul is somewhat like the echo of the mortal when they were alive, the lingering remnants of them. The soul of a dead mortal is not, strictly speaking, mortal anymore, and decisions they make after they die do not have nearly as much impact on their fate - they made their choices in life, and now they spend a theoretical eternity dealing with the result. You can't really make a deal with a dead mortal, they've got a sort of spiritual stasis.

Manarr, however, spent a good deal of his life acting on my advice, accepting my gifts, and generally being an excellent pawn for me. So now, even though he is dead, I can continue to influence him in a limited way, even if I can't change the fundamental laws of life and death by making him consciously remember our conversations in the underworld.


>"Now now, it's a fair trade, after all. One ticket out of hell deserves another."

If only more mortals thought of things with this much consideration. It's like they think all of us want to bring destruction and chaos to the world, and are terrified we might do just that if they let us run amok. It's absolutely preposterous, and unfair profiling.

I mean, I'd bring about is a dark age of tyranny and oppression, where the strong revel in their own power and arrogance and descend into damnation. Is that so unreasonable?

>>737436

Summoning my austere self is a very involved ritual with many components, but it doesn't actually take more than maybe ten minutes to complete. I won't go into too much detail about it, but the key point is that unlike lesser brethren a daemon of my level can only be summoned by name with a specifically keyed ritual. Once I arrive, I remain in the mortal world until the summoner dies, or dismisses me. The second point is the crux of the issue, as it is difficult to accomplish many great tasks without the permission of a summoner, because they can cut your tie to the mortal realm at any time. For obvious reasons, killing them to try and prevent them manually dismissing you is counterproductive. I'm sure I can find some safe accommodations for Manarr once I have control of the dismissal, though.

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

>>737431
>>737554
>>737560
>>737560

"--AAAAUGH! WHY DOES IT HAVE TO GO IN THERE?"

I pulled my claw out of the soul's approximation of a chest, leaving the pact catalyst implanted inside. Unlike the other one on his chest it would be incorporeal and nearly undetectable once he rejoined with his body. "Manarr, you've whined more in the last ten minutes about everything than I've ever seen you since you first summoned me."

"And you're more of a jerk now than I've ever seen you! It's almost like we're not really friends!"

"What a novel concept, Manarr." I shook my head sadly at his apparent obliviousness and stood up, heading for the exit of the chamber. It was hard to tell if he was in denial or just desperate to think if he pretends hard enough we were friends it would come true. Either way, I had to plan for when he inevitably summoned me again, and there was no further need to talk to the soul. I could gloat, sure, but what was the point of wasting time with taunts he wouldn't even remember? Save that for the climax, not the intermission.

"Yeah, well, I'm just saying, you're being a little mean today! You should think of how traumatized I've been, having just been murdered. I was thinking, maybe you cou- hey, where are you going?"

"I have more important things to do than talk with you right now, Manarr.

The soul frowned, looking put out at that. He struggled to rise again, but remained unable to do more than squirm slightly on the stone slab, pinned under the weight of his pride. He started to talk again, his voice becoming rambling and increasingly shrill. "O-oh. Well, I still can't move.. Can you at least fix me so I can walk around, before you leave? Isn't that part of what we agreed on just now? H-hey, maybe you can give me a tour of your-"

"No." I sealed the exit behind me, replacing it with solid rock and cutting off whatever further complaints he had. I had only a few hours before his family discovered his corpse, if they hadn't already, and hauled it off to perform a resurrection ritual. In that time, I could prepare for the coming conflict. Two possibilities occur to me.

-I could spend this time scrying on the mortal plane through my observation chamber, finding out more about the recent events, such as Manarr's killer, the state of his household with his recent death, along with anything else that might be important to manipulating him or forming a greater plan. This is something I can only easily do within my demesne, as nothing on the mortal plan can hide from my observation chamber. Once I am in the mortal world, I will not have all the tools of my personal demiplane at my disposal, and scrying will be much more limited, if I find a way to do it at all.

-I could instead head out to the underworld proper during this time, making some calling pacts with some lesser fiends. Calling is like summoning, only it's a privilege reserved to amazing daemons like myself. While I am summoned to the mortal plane, I can call upon others who I previously made a pact with to aid me. It will take a while to find some useful subordinates I could choose to potentially bribe, so this will take much of the time I have remaining, and most of what I find will probably be imp-level daemons.. However, if I don't make any pacts now, I will probably be on my own until I return, barring some unusual event. Not that I can't handle that, but a minion team saves time and effort in the long run.
>>
No. 738026 ID: b2d501

Hire an army of demon mercenaries. You can gobble all the intel you need from the socialite ^&*(s known as high society, but since you jabbed this douche in the heart, he could end up resisting you at a crucial point. It would likely result in a hairline fracture from your master plan, but you're not one to leave flaws to become downfalls. Get some minions, and make sure they can fix whatever problems the douche causes. Your hands will not be perfectly steady - they're his hands, after all.
>>
No. 738040 ID: a22f87

scry

information is power, plus you're already great at getting mortals to do your bidding, you could probably get a cult following you by the end of the week once you get out of here.
>>
No. 738041 ID: 4e9864

>>738024
Scry. If you're going to subtly influence Manarr, you're going to need all the information you can get about his family, his country, and his general environment.
>>
No. 738053 ID: a8d153

Get some minions. Scrying may be limited once we're there, but I'm betting a few good imps can make an effective spy team to make up for that short coming along with having other uses, such as menial tasks we're far too important to have to see to ourselves.
>>
No. 738078 ID: 90a2cb

Summon Minions
All the intel you need can be talked out if mr chatty.

Some minions are morw useful
>>
No. 738125 ID: 2e2d71

>>738024
Scry. You will need information to work with as soon as Manarr is up, but you won't need reinforcements until you get up, which won't happen till later, and only if you guide Manarr appropriately.
>>
No. 738160 ID: 076308

Imps are good spies, right?

Let's go with Minions.
>>
No. 738226 ID: 91ee5f

Minions.

Make sure you get their phone numbers so that you can call them when you need them! Then go home and pack your bags with all the stuff you're going to need. Tooth brush, some clothes, a brush for your fur, something to disguise you to make you look normal so that you don't freak out the mortals, etc.
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No. 740370 ID: f9400c
File 147027390936.png - (36.05KB , 750x600 , Calling Contracts.png )
740370

>>738078
>>738160
>>738226
>>738053
>>738226

Minions is an excellent idea, and even without scrying can always find out more by using my minions. I shall endeavor to find a suitable team for calling. Fortunately, among our own kind, we have a fairly standardized contracting process for recruitment. Daemons reserve most of their contractual screwery for mortals - bit of a waste of time to screw over someone who doesn't have a soul to lose, especially when they might live next door and get their bigger friends to come punch your essence into sludge.

At a basic level calling contracts are very simple: there is a contractual sealing payment in some form, then every time I call them I pay their prenegotiated service rate for however long I want them to work for me. Usually it is per diem rate, but some of the higher class daemons only work per hour. Once they are finished with the time you paid for, they go back home. If you call them again within a week, the rate is doubled, so it's a good idea to pay them for how long you want carefully the first time, too avoid the higher fees for repeatedly asking them for help in a short period.

Any any case, I've got some conjured contracts drafted up, so I'm going to head out now. I am sure I will find a few daemons willing to work for me, with an array of differing abilities and respective levels of power. What sorts of minions do you think will be most useful?
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No. 740372 ID: a22f87

well first off what exactly can you do? While I know you don't plan on doing everything it wouldn't hurt to get some minions to do the things you don't care for or simply find a pain to do yourself.

But in general I'd say someone who can blend into a crowd easily to gather information and to act as your voice in more demon hostile environments, someone who can fight reasonably well, and without know exactly what you can do maybe find a generalist to either help with things that might pop up and to act as a replacement for other minions incase we need some help but don't feel like paying extra because they de summoned themselves because their time was up.
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No. 740377 ID: b2d501

This guy is a warlord in noble's clothing. So bring some medium-level mooks with training in combat and assassination. Disguise them as mortals and have them enlist in the army. Over the course of your campaign, maneuver the demon forces into higher and higher ranks until they're right next to you when your host finally decides to throw a hissy fit. Then torture him with your guards until his body is yours.
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No. 740379 ID: 91ee5f

You should go find some minions that'll work well together, just in case of those rare times when you need more than one minion summoned at a time. It will be good to have minions that are friends with each other, so that they'll be more willing to work together instead of beating the shit out of each other.

It would also be good to get some minions that are friends with you. They'll be more willing to do things to help you out and they might be willing to give you the "friends and family" discount on their price, which will make it easier to summon them.

>>740372
So that's a spy and/or assassin, a fighter, and a jack of all trades (and master of none). That's a pretty good list of minions. I'll vote for what you said. I also want to add a tank and/or a healer.
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No. 740428 ID: f9400c
File 147028729740.png - (31.60KB , 750x600 , Minions.png )
740428

>well first off what exactly can you do?

I am a pride-aligned shadow daemon, and one of the best of the lot, if I do say so myself. Being the moderately high ranking fiend that I am, I have a wealth of souls at my disposal for power and status, which sounds like bragging - and it is, of course - but it is a key point to note that the power a daemon possesses and is able to manifest is at least partially dependent on the number of souls they possess. This lair of mine, including this dark throne room and harvesting chamber, is an extradimensional space within the underworld. Most daemons without sufficient power backing cannot make their own demiplane. However, I assume the question was directed in regards to abilities relevant to my stay in the mortal world.

Shadow is a complex element, and not as easily classified as the basic four, and even among simple elements like fire there is a large amount of variation. The aspects of shadow that I mainly embody are corruption and mockery. This can be a difficult concept for mortals to grasp, but the gemstones I offer mortals make them more of what they already are, in essence bolstering their own shadow to be more like a metaphysical duplicate of themselves, with the extra power generated from this mockery of self bolstering their own. The natural side effect of using this gift, of course, is the gradual corruption of their soul, which is eventually dragged down under the weight of its own sin into the underworld, guided to my realm by the gemstone. Harvesting this accumulated sin provides me with a more purified form of it than most other daemons can manage to acquire, and this is part of the reason why I am so comparatively wealthy. That is not actually very useful in a direct confrontation, however, and more of a long term tool unique to myself.

I am capable of shapechanging, but I prefer not to drastically alter my form too much, because diminishing my perfection too far is terrible. Usually if I am trying to 'blend in', I conceal my wings, gems, and second set of ears, then conjure a cloak to cover the rest. My combat magic primarily revolves around the manipulation of shadows. I can create illusions from shadows, manipulate the shape and form of them, and make them solid if need be. Though it is particularly taxing, I can also create a short-lived duplicate of someone with their own shadow, which mimics their own abilities within certain limitations - such as holy magic - and can be used to fight against their originators.

One other thing I feel should be brought up is I can subvert the shadow of someone who has been using my crystal gift long enough, making it possess and overtake their body. This renders them into an obedient minion, but also removes most of their intelligence and initiative, making them good for little more than being a basic soldier. I have not yet decided if I wish to do this to Manarr once I have what I need from him. It would be easier to keep him contained and out of trouble, but he would not be able to offer much else other than staying put somewhere and maintaining my summoning.

>>740377
That plan sounds nice, but it would involve paying a couple of moderately high-ranked daemons to stay on the mortal world for me for years, at least. That's not in my budget.

>>740379

Well, given these suggestions, and the unfortunate fact that few low-level daemons are non-specialized, and none of them are accepting contracts, I found a few minions that fit them as best as possible, and will list these in roughly ascending order of power and pricing.

Squiggit - One of the most minor forms of imp, Squiggit is the bottom rung among daemonic entities, and can barely be called one by only the most vague technicality. Squiggit does not have the strength to perform daemon magic, the metaphysical mass to have an elemental attunement, or the status to have a particular sin alignment. Their only ability is is being able to shapeshift into a variety of small animals, and in a pinch, to become a formless puddle of slime that is particularly difficult to kill and moderately useful for escaping. Fortunately, being a variety of small, innocuous animals is useful for spying purposes, and they are about as cheap a rate as one can get, and he was so happy that an amazing daemon like myself wanted him that he even agreed to forfeit the doubling clause after I stepped on him a few times.

Rate: 1 sin per day. (no doubling clause)

Fith - Schlussel imps are not common in the underworld, and while they are not particularly powerful enough to be considered more than major imps, they have enough distinct uses on the mortal plane that I decided to form a contract with Fith. Like many imps, schlussel imps can fly and turn invisible, but Fith's variety of imp has an attunement with keys rather than a particular element. They can 'smell' keys, are capable of disabling any keys they find and duplicating any key they have already seen. They can also open and seal any unwarded lock using their magical claws. The claws are moderately dangerous in combat, but like most of his kind, Fith finds far more enjoyment in rendering keys inoperable and watching their owners struggle to open the accompanying locks. I believe they are mildly wrath-aligned because of this.

Rate: 3 sin per day.

Kl'exis - The first non-imp in this list, Kl'exis is a traumknabber daemon, which is a form of minor daemon that does not properly exist on the material plane - outside of the underworld, they are incorporeal and nearly invisible to normal sight beyond a faint shimmer. They are, however, fairly useful because they can latch onto a sleeping mortal and force them to experience nightmares for several hours, while they feed on their terror and prevent them from waking up. They can also consume some of the mortals recent memories if directed, which makes them useful for removing witnesses of something awkward without leaving a corpse. While utterly useless in combat, they can detect most unshielded minds through solid walls and move through objects at will, along with being able to make already exhausted or sleepy mortals fall asleep. Kl'exis is always hungry due to rarely being summoned by mortals, and agreed to a stipulation that he will waive the doubling clause if calling him results in him getting to feed on a new mortal at least once every other day.

Rate: 12 sin per day. (special doubling clause)

Sathitrix - A full daemon this time, if only a basic one, Sathitrix is a yo'qqa daemon, a form of daemon attuned to insanity more than an actual element. A yo'qqa can teleport short distances, and has many eyes, that can see in all directions. More importantly, each eye can cause mortals who look into them to experience intense, kaleidoscopic visions that make it difficult for them to keep their bearings on their surroundings, understand direction, or focus on more mentally taxing tasks than clawing at their face and screaming. Yo'qqa daemons can render large numbers of weak-minded opponents incapacitated, and though they are physically weak, they still possess teeth and claws, and can tear apart victims rendered helpless by their separation from reality. Unfortunately, yo'qqa daemons cannot be mentioned without bringing up their issues with roses. Yes, as in the flowers. Roses are toxic to Yo'qqa daemons, causing them to become sick from the smell, and burn at their touch. The scent of roses breaks the insanity spell on their victims, too. This rather silly weakness somewhat undercuts their tactical utility, but as long as we use them nowhere near a garden, it should be fine.

Rate: 10 sin per hour.

Lyquaccik - Lyquaccik could be called somewhat a story of tragedy, if daemons could be said to feel sorry for each other. He is a powerful wrath daemon with both attunement to shadow and fire, but has never achieved a status of high daemon like myself due to his lack of patience and hair-trigger temper causing him to murder almost every mortal that summons him before he can make an actual compact with them for their soul. He has less than a hundred souls, and almost all of them were gained in situations like this, where another, more proficient daemon sold the soul to him in exchange for a calling contract. This has caused many daemons to laugh at him behind his back, a viewpoint that he is keenly aware of, and only serves to feed his own unsupportable rage. However, awful business sense with gaining souls aside, Lyquaccik is extremely potent in combat, both physically and magically, and capable of growing temporarily stronger the more opponents he defeats in a short time. He is expensive, but in a battle he can outmatch all of the other minions and myself combined.

Rate: 25 sin per hour.

---

Upon returning, I also noticed that Manarr was no longer in my demesne, and had returned to the mortal world. Now that he is inhabiting his body again, he will summon me shortly. This is a good time to plan my angle of attack. I chose subtle influence over him, rather than overt control, so I need a battle plan. That in mind, I will give you some basic information about the situation I am going into.

Manarr lives in a small mansion with his wife and single young adult son, along with a handful of servants (including, last I bothered to check, a cook, a butler, a gardener, two maids, and a tutor). They are not nobles, but more along the line of particularly wealthy merchants, in part due to my influence. At this time, Manarr trusts me implicitly as an advisor and benefactor, and his son follows his lead, but his wife does not care for me. She has seen no reason yet to openly accuse me of betrayal, but will more easily seize upon signs of it than her husband or child. The servants do not know I am a daemon, as I have thus far always concealed my nature from them when walking around the mansion, and I believe they think me a particularly spooky mage ally of their master. If you have further questions, ask, but I do not have forever to exposit, and my knowledge is somewhat limited, as I have only ever left the mansion once during a summoning - Manarr may trust me, but he does not want anyone knowing he is trafficking with me.
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No. 740450 ID: a22f87

hmm... if we can summon any of those minions at any time I just have to ask how much sin are you willing to spend?

Because what I'm thinking is since Manarr trust you completely and his son follows the same line of thought, the only person we need to watch out for is his wife.

That being said, I think at first once you're summoned you should use Manarr's resources to find out what you can of the world outside of his home and we can more actual plans from there. Feel free to mix in a minion or two as well to gather more info. If his wife becomes a problem we could probably summon a minion to kill her and blame it on something else and maybe try to "comfort" the grieving family and while doing so have them fall further into sin. But let's save murder for when it's needed.

But in short let Manarr keep his mind for now as we can probably use him and his resources to get a firm foothold in the mortal realm and you can always just make him a drooling idiot at any time and lock him away if he starts becoming a problem.
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No. 740456 ID: 91ee5f

That's a pretty good list of minions. I think you're good to go.

So, will you need to eat mortals' souls and/or sins in order in survive in the mortal world? Or can you eat mortal food? If so, just out of curiosity, what is your favorite mortal food?
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No. 740458 ID: 7e2e66

Useful information

Id set one of your lesser denons to keeping tabs on the wife after you arrive. Spying on her actions covertly will either give you warning if she starts prying or let you find something useful to blackmail her into good behavior.

As for your overall plan i agree, you don't know enough of the goings on outside Manarr's household or at least not told us.

I suggest using the merchant to get introductions to some actual Nobles with power and scout out better potential allies from there.
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No. 740459 ID: b2d501

> Squiggit
Two words: cuteness proximity. This guy will pay for himself in blackmail material; most of his targets will either try to hug him or try to kill him. Mortals are weird like that.

Hire him to get a good overview of everyone in the manor, and then have him focus on the kids.

> Fith
Having someone who can open all doors, secret or not, will be exquisitely useful - especially since the idiot using them will technically be in charge of whatever door he opens!

Hire this guy for a few days to grab a set of all the keys / ward locations in the house, to be placed in the master bedroom and duplicated thrice in case you lose a key ring or map. You can afford to pay him double in case you need a skeleton key.

>Kl'exis
Since you took the heart route, having this guy on your team will help you socially manipulate the other residents in the house, allowing you to dominate the social structure that is vital to your control of the idiot leader you possess.

If you can afford it, hire this guy for a few weeks. You'll need to manipulate everyone by that time to accept your host's psychotic views.

> Sathitrix
That weakness of his might be useful at preventing him from doing something you're going to regret. However, I don't think his current abilities are worth 10 sins an hour.

Maybe buy one of his markers, as a self-defense PMC.

> Lyquaccik
This will likely be a story of intrigue and ruthlessness. You don't need a giant @#$%ing demon butcher to deceive your enemies, and you can't afford him either.

If you get into a serious bind, call on him with the double price. Otherwise, keep him out of the game. Let someone else use his services.
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No. 740531 ID: 031add

Let's get Fith Kl'exis and Lyquaccik. Fith to get us into places we aren't supposed to be (and out of places we don't want to be). Kl'exis can be used to deal with any mistakes we might make, plus memory stealing and invisibility might get us some useful intel. Lastly Lyquaccik for when the shit inevitably hits the fan. That's a total of 40Sin/Hr not too heavy a price, you can throw the Squiggit in too if you want it's cheap enough.
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No. 740837 ID: f9400c
File 147054925490.png - (33.36KB , 750x650 , Summon.png )
740837

>if we can summon any of those minions at any time I just have to ask how much sin are you willing to spend?

Sin is a quantifiable resource in the underworld, and while it has a number of 'flavors', it is largely interchangeable in this situation. Like Manarr, I am considerably wealthy and akin to daemonic nobility. My store of sin is nearly three thousand in abstract 'units' of underworld currency at this time. I can comfortably see using a fourth of this with no issue, and another quarter more for the purpose of a prolonged campaign, but beyond that, I hesitate to begin gutting my wealth further without a very good reason. This is a significant buffer for spending, but can definitely be gone quickly enough if I am frivolous with some of the higher priced minions.

I also think it would be unwise to summon anything too overt until I have control of the summoning dismissal. Calling daemons into the household to spy on the family could also carry the risk of alerting them to my plans.

>>740456

No, daemons do not need to eat. But we can eat, and some daemons do like to chew up souls in their custody. Mostly, we consume small amounts of sin for pleasure rather than sustaenance. I myself occassionally snack on my own sin stores, which is particularly delicious, and no doubt the best tasting pride-flavored sin available in the underworld. Sin is too valuable to eat often, though, as it serves as a universal currency between daemons. Granted, the lesser daemons and imps rarely have the forethought to save it rather than devouring it immediately, but that is why they are imps and lesser daemons rather than high daemon nobility like myself.

As for mortal foods, I believe I can eat them, but in my experience they are distasteful. I believe the only mortal food I have ever eaten was some sort of brown substance a summoner gave me called 'chalk-late', and it was very unpleasant. I haven't paid much attention to their foods since. It is really more the purview of gluttony daemons, anyway.

>>740459

You seem to have some crucial misunderstandings about a lot of things, the nature of politics included. I certainly see no reason why anyone would want to hug a foul little imp, regardless of their shape, and Kl'exis cannot change the minds of people, only give them nightmares and remove recent events from their memory. However, repeated exposure to these nightmares can result in severe sleep deprivation symptoms, which may have its own benefits.

And if you think intrigue and ruthlessness rises above the realm of violence, then you are deluding yourself. Even the most skilled politicians sometimes have to gather all their enemies into one place to brutally murder them as an example. And should things start becoming unfeasible in this location for continued success of my plots, having everyone who knows about me except Manarr torn to shreds and all evidence of their corpses incinerated is of great benefit for moving on elsewhere without leaving potential problems behind to bother me later. Violence has it's place in intrigue, and I am not going to sideline it's potential to solve problems out of some sort of principle.

-------

>>740458

That being said, Manarr finally seems to have dragged his resuscitated carcass back into his summoning chamber, and is attempting to summon me. In the spirit of not making him think I am too eager see him, I will wait a few minut- No? Well, never mind, it doesn't sound like he'll notice anyway.

~~

It is a longstanding tradition among all varieties of fiends that one puts on a show when they manifest into the mortal plane for a summoning, setting the tone for their dealings with the rube who wants their powers. The thing that most mortals do not realize is that we become present in the summoning circle the moment that we leave the underworld. However, we are nothing but intangible essence on the mortal plane, invisible and undetectable outside of magical vision. We must then form a corporal shell for our essence to inhabit if we wish to interact with any material object. Our 'arrival' then, is mostly an elaborate performance of forming that shell in a way the summoner can perceive. Depending on the temperament and nature of the fiend, they might use a classic approach like appear in an explosion, pour in as a cloud of smoke, or even do something tacky like filling the room with the smell of sulfur while making a long, rude sound. I prefer a more subtle, refined approach. The shadows in the room lengthen and change direction, pulled towards the summoning circle, where they being to pool together into a darkening mass of inky darkness, and when the collected shadows have rendered the inside of the circle opaque and black, I rise slowly from the, amorphous at first, but quickly gaining definition. I open my eyes first, before manifesting my gemstones, then rise to a standing position, before pulling all the shadows in slowly to reveal my true form, surrounded by glowing purple mist. It is a performance I spent a long time perfecting, and while some daemons tell me it is overly ostentatious, their jealousy at my aptitude at with impressionable mortals is clear.

It does, however, somewhat leave me less than pleased when the mortals who summon me have seen it often enough that it fails to impress them anymore, or are so preoccupied with their mundane troubles that they don't even wait for my to finish. Manarr, for instance, was already whining shrilly at me the moment I started to emerge from the pool of shadows.

"Aeseriq! Oh gods, the worst thing happened last night! Someone killed me, they shoved a poisoned knife into my throat while I was sleeping, then held a pillow over my face until I died! Well, I didn't know it was poisoned until my family brought me back this morning, I just know it hurt a lot, so I really need your help figuring out who did it so I can get them back, and-"

I restrained my impulse to tell him to shut up as I finished my performance - it was the principle of the thing, after all, if I stopped doing the whole entrance people would begin asking me to hurry it up, and my credibility would suffer - then put on my best calming expression and tone, heading off his raving. I maintain a different, more indulgent and parental demeanor towards my clients on the mortal plane, as cold disdain rarely creates an approachable persona that summoners trust. "Manarr, relax. You are alive again now, and no lasting harm has been done to you."

Manarr threw up his arms, his voice reaching a new octave in shrillness that hurt my sensitive quadruple ears. Thankfully, I had the self control not to wince. It was bad enough he hadn't even bothered to change out of the ratty looking bedrobes he had been killed in, he seemed determined to offend every sense I had in my new corporeal body. "No lasting harm? I died, and this is emotionally scarring to me! I am not supposed to die, that is what my enemies do!"

I had an urge to point out that all mortals eventually die, but instead, I spread my arms slightly in a placating gesture, keeping my voice calm and steady as I directed his attention in a more useful direction. "Of course, Manarr. And certainly, your enemies will need to do some dying for this. So let us focus on that, rather than dwelling on the actual crime of daring to attack you. What do you know of their identity so far?

My summoner looked like he wanted to complain more, but he recognized the logic of this line of thinking, and took a deep breath, nodding. "You are right, Aeseriq, I must punish them. But we don't know anything about who did it. They left no clues on my bod-... in my room." He took a few more moments to calm down and collect his thoughts. "And it was probably a professional assassin, rather than one of my actual enemies, my wife say., So looking for the one who might not be the best idea anyway. I'd like to punish them too, though..."

Manarr looked up, licking his snout, and nodded. "So, I think I'd like you to stay here for a day or so and-"

I smoothly cut in, holding up a claw. There was no way I was going to let this moron control the conversation about how long I was going to stay on the mortal plane. "Manarr, this is a serious affair. Finding the culprit may take time. I recommend a more open-ended term of stay for me, and we can discuss when I leave later. I already have an idea for how to start..."

Becoming a merchant prince like Manarr isn't something a complete imbecile can manage, and thus he hesitated at the suggestion, frowning for a moment. He began to say something, but something changed in his eyes as my second gift began tugging at his emotions and desires. "... Yeah, okay. You're right, I should be taking this seriously, and using all the help I can get. I want you to stay a while and help me solve this. What was your idea?"

-----

Well, I actually have two ideas, but I am only going to present him with one of them. If I give him too much information to work with at a time like this, it will just slow things down.

-Resurrection involves a very expensive ritual, and even many wealthy families do not bother with it. I happen to know the state of this household's finances, and bringing back Manarr will have hurt them significantly enough that many other merchant houses would be unsurprised that they opted to hold a funeral instead, given that his son is old enough to begin taking over the family business anyway. If I convince him to hold a false funeral service, it will likely draw out his enemy. Their culture is one that respects the dead greatly, and I doubt that any of his rivals would fail to turn up for his funeral, if only to put on an unconvincing facade of sadness while they covertly gloat. Mortals can be more open with their emotions at funerals, and it may be a useful tool for gathering information about his rivals. Some spies among their ranks may overhear an interesting tidbit, after all.

-Alternatively, we could host a 'revival' party to rub his family's wealth in their faces, inviting all his friends and political enemies to witness his continued good health despite the assassination attempt. None of them would dare to abstain attendance, because that could be seen as a sign of guilt. Naturally, there will be food and intoxicants provided, which always makes mortals let their guard down. Perhaps some of them will have murmured conversations that might be overheard by something like a passing imp and later used to incriminate them. Naturally, we would also have to make a show of force at the same time and overtly hire more guards or something, to make sure that we clearly convey that a second assassination attempt would be unwise.
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No. 740845 ID: 69cd69

>>740837
> You suck at politics
@#$% you, you don't even pay me.

> Manarr is whining about the 'failed' assassination
Nice to finally meet the ungrateful baby-@#$%er. I'm thinking you should manipulate him into developing a 'theme', make him look insane but effective over time. Get that 'undead' look in him so when you execute him yourself his death will be even more hilarious.

> Expensive surgery, fake his death or flaunt his recovery
Ultimately, your heartless moron can't be trusted to take care of himself. He might have some defense skills from paranoia, but he's too weak willed to stay calm and use them effectively. Fake his death, keep him alive long enough to burn his empire (and the surrounding countryside) to the ground and build a murderindustry on the surviving sludge.
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No. 740848 ID: a22f87

I favor the funeral idea truth be told. Just have Squiggit and Fith attend in animal form and invisible respectably to try and finger out who might have killed our summoner. Then we can grab Kl'exis and have him feed on their memory if that actually lets him learn what he eats to see if we can't get some proof if you actually care about finding any.
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No. 740880 ID: 1dd9bd

>Arrival

Now that is an impressive arrival, using the shadows is one of my favourite methods of arriving as well. A damn effective one

>Menarr

Resurrection Party
Menarr is a useless wretch but throw a lavish party. Such an affair is liable to enrage his enemies more then a funeral.

A fake funeral may lead to gloating but a party is bound to anger people more and present multiple opourtunities for someone to try something and this time you are on hand to watch and learn.
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No. 740881 ID: 560989

>>740837
this is difficult; I think the funeral is more likely to have Manarr's enemies slip up and reveal themselves but gives his own family opportunities to make use of his 'death'
whereas the party secures him somewhat, but it will hit his funds for revelries and increased guard on top of the resurrection, also any guilty parties will be more on guard about giving themselves away.

I think you should go for the FAKE FUNERAL unless you think that his family has the ability and inclination to interfere with your plans.
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No. 740897 ID: 24100f

>believe the only mortal food I have ever eaten was some sort of brown substance a summoner gave me called 'chalk-late', and it was very unpleasant.
If one of the most appealing mortal foods was so unpleasant to you, I wouldn't hold out much hope for the rest.

Unless perhaps the spectrum is reversed? Although this might not be useful to experiment with- enjoying foods mortals consider terrible would just cost you social capital.

>>740837
You're a pride demon. The resurrection party, rubbing things in their faces, seems much more your style, and getting Manarr to wallow in vice will only improve his sin when he eventually dies and bequeaths his soul to you. Again.

...the advantage of the funeral is it puts Manarr under your thumb, though. He has to disappear, lay low, let other people run his business. It would simplify things when you need to make him disappear for good, locking him away to ensure your own stay on the mortal plane. It would allow you to take control, through the proxy of his son.

Long term speculation, but should this endeavor prove successful, are there ways to artificially extend a mortal's lifespan? We want Manarr to live a good long time, ensuring you enjoy a protracted stay in the mortal realm. (Even if that means he spends the last years of his life in some hellish life support system).
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No. 740912 ID: 91ee5f

>Aeseriq's elaborate arrival performance.
Whoo! Bravo! That was absolutely amazing! What an honor it is to see something like that! 8D

>Fake funeral or revival party?
Hmmmm, that's a tough one. I think I'll go with the revival party.
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No. 740958 ID: 9d3b88

Angry Failures with alcohol sound more likely to spill secrets than sober, overly smug gloaters. Plus if we keep note of who hired the assassin they might make another attempt we'll be prepared for since I assume assassinations are cheaper than revivals.
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No. 741104 ID: 031add

You should probably do the fake funeral it gives you an excuse to lock him up far away from harm. Play into his paranoia and make him distrust everyone but you if he only trust one person he'll trust that one all the more for it. Then we will start on the son make him like his father make him see you as an advisor if they wonder why you are doting on them feed them the lie that their rise to power makes you look good with association. The wife will have to go though don't bother with an "accident" if somebody were to look into it, it could cause problems wait until we find the assassin then kill her in some way that prevents a resurrection or just have her corpse disappear with a note left behind then when he is grieving give him the name of the assassin, he will be yours.
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No. 741123 ID: 726a91

I'd err towards a 'revival party', even if only because boasting at your survival of an assassination attempt is more prideful than pretending to be dead.
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No. 741203 ID: 286d17

I think the revival party more suits Manarr's demeanor. I'd be more believable assuming somehow the killer found out about the revival prior.
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No. 741453 ID: f9400c
File 147088427045.png - (25.59KB , 750x600 , Disguise.png )
741453

>>740912
>>740880
>>740958
>>741123
>>741203

Perhaps it is true, a revival party would be more plausible. After all, I don't know if any of the servants are secretly spies for his enemies. Someone might already know he is alive again. A celebration of his continued survival, for now, then.

I spread my arms, giving him a small, rough approximation of a smile. "Why Manarr, it is simple. You have survived their attempt, after a fashion. The only appropriate response to their attack on you is to rub this in their noses. Hold a grand party in honor of your continued health, and invite all your political opponents to attend.

Manarr hesitated and thought for a moment before frowning and looking uncertain about this plan. "Aeseriq, I'm not sure that is a good idea. Maybe I should lay low for a wh-"

I swung a claw down and interjected, cutting this line of thought before it could develop further. "If you go into hiding, they'll know that they won, Manarr. You can't even show weakness to an enemy, especially after they have wounded you. You face them head on, teeth bared, and challenge them to try again.

The idiot seemed to take to this idea, which was predictable, because I had spent a long time already grooming him to be proud and full of himself. I just needed to keep his mind of how scared dying made him and he'll go back to being an effective pawn. "Yes. Yes, you're right. I need to focus on showing them who is in charge, here. One... knife to the throat isn't going to stop Manarr!" He began to pace back and forth, gesticulating wildly.

You will need to plan, then. Hire more guards. Perhaps some extra servants to prepare the feast and entertainment. I am certain we can prepare an event they will remember..."

Manarr looked excited, and began heading towards the door, already mumbling what I assume were plans, but I wasn't listening to him anymore. He had been guided in the right direction, so it was time for me to don my disguise and began taking an active role in the mansion again. Concealing my wings, second ears, and hand gems was the simple part, since my corporeal body is already fairly morphic. But I decided I needed a new look for my cloak this time... something more fancy, suitable for my soon to be growing stature. I conjured robes from my shadows, shaping and changing their appearance around myself, making them solid and adding colors and details. I was so intent on the new shadow fabric design that I almost didn't hear Manarr calling me.

"Aeseriq come on, let's go talk to my wife, what are you doing?! We need to get the plans for the celebration worked out!"

Oh well.. maybe the robes could be a work in progress...

----

Still, I am not sure if going with Manarr right now is the most optimal idea. I am certain he, or more importantly, his more intelligent wife, can manage to plan the celebration without me, and yet...

-If I go with Manarr now, I will be able to have a hand in the proceedings from the start, and make sure everything goes as I want it. His wife does not like me, but if I am where she can see me, she will tolerate me and not become overly difficult. However, she does have a tendency to manufacture reasons why I should remain where she can see me, and I will not have a premium of time for my own plans. I could slip away later, but she is certain to notice and begin grilling me if I do it too often.

-Alternatively, I can remain away from her, and not become directly involved in the planning, giving Manarr some excuse to wander off by myself. This has the benefit of allowing me to begin investigating the mansion more closely. This could be especially helpful since while they are watching me, I cannot call any of my imps to the mortal world, much less give them tasks. That needs to be done in a secluded place with no witnesses. Manarr is stupid, but even he start figuring out something is off if I am bringing spies into his manor.
>>
No. 741481 ID: b2d501

Manarr's an idiot, but his wife can plan the party out. You need to take the initiative and summon some agents before she signals her agents to set up anti-demon wards and security cameras around the mansion.

Tell Manarr that it's been ages since you could stretch your wings, breathe fresh air, and rape a servant girl until she worships the gods as infinite cosmic horrors who will give whatever orders they want to her and identifies herself as a creation of the cosmic horrors to obey them without doubt or emotion.

When Manarr starts grinding gears about that last one, explain to him that the greatest pride comes from the three P's: posing, parental ancestors, and the past; making her believe in gods that are infinitely powerful and completely amoral, yet address her specifically to perform obscure and highly-consequential acts, will make her irredeemably prideful and completely obedient to a few subtle orders from a talking statue, yet capable of infiltrating the highest halls of power without triggering alarms in any praetorian inquisitor.

It's how your clan conquered the world.

(This is all lies, but it should shake Manarr up enough to realize you're not his butler because of how wimpy and fearful he is compared to your ruthlessness, giving you power over him.

If you're going to rape someone, DON'T. If you plan to make anyone believe this Cosmic Obedience bullshit, make sure they die quickly so the memory loss erases all of it.)
>>
No. 741524 ID: 031add

Stay away from the wife for now, tell him you are going to get started on hunting down the assassin. Even if he does see you summoning more demons your just gathering informants to track this guy down.
>>
No. 741528 ID: c94cbb

You could excuse yourself going off by saying that this is the perfect time for you to snoop around for any spies or information leaks in his household. The beginning of the party preparations is exactly when any agents or plants among his staff, or other residents or visitors, will be scrabbling to deliver their messages. Since you yourself didn't arrive by any normal means, they'll be caught off-guard by your sudden presence in the house, and you might be able to catch someone doing something that they shouldn't.

Besides, if you're to help him, you need to make yourself fully conversant with the situation around here. Who's who and does what and so forth, anything that's changed since the last time you were here. Once he and his wife have set up their plans for a celebration as it would normally go, you'll come by to give advice. Since you're trying to catch his enemies in secret, any changes you would need to make would have to be only subtle alterations to the plans he would normally make.

Better reiterate that point to him: don't try too hard to set up traps for your enemies, yet. Concentrate on the normal celebration planning and preparations for the next few hours. We'll get together then, and plan how to slip a secret knife into things.
>>
No. 741535 ID: ba506f

find a place to summon minions, I mean that's the whole reason we got the little bastards in the first place
>>
No. 741538 ID: 7e2e66

Avoid the wife for now, they can make party plans without you.

Start planning, get an imp into place. You need to get things moving before you end up surrounded by the wife and servants planning canape and tablecloth selections
>>
No. 742363 ID: 286d17

I think avoiding the wife is a good idea.
>>
No. 742634 ID: f9400c
File 147137623807.png - (19.47KB , 750x600 , Poof.png )
742634

>>741481
There are some acts of depravity reserved for daemons of other specialties. Daemons with much poorer taste than I have, and significantly less refined standards.

There has never been, and there will never be, any situation where I will feel that dirtying my pristine dark power by mixing it into mortal bloodlines is a ideal plan. The very concept of mingling my essence with a dirt grubbing, fluid-filled flesh sack is disgusting.

Let us never speak of it again.

>>741524
>>741528
>>741535
>>741538
>>742363

I finish putting on my robes and turn to Manarr, giving him a small smile from under the hood. His inability to see my face always seemed to unsettle him slightly, and this was good. I didn't want him getting to comfortable with me. "No, Manarr, I think you can handle planning this with your wife just fine. I have utmost confidence in your abilities. I think I will attempt to find out more about your attacker in the meantime. I have resources and perceptions you do not, after all."

Manarr hesitated a moment at the doorway as I approached, glancing behind him. "Aeseriq, you know Valora doesn't like you wandering the house unattended. She'll throw a fit if she finds o-"

I put a claw on his shoulder, gently but firmly pushing him aside. I could have thrown him across the room, of course, but that would not have been good for our relations. "Then there is no need to trouble her with that knowledge. Let her focus on arranging the party instead of me. I will be.. discreet, I promise. I left, walking through the blue and brown halls, and he stammered a few weak protests before sighing and running off to speak to his wife. Normally, he would have put up more of a protest, but I think this was the bargain we made influencing him again. He doesn't seem to be thinking as hard about my treading on his house rules right now. Or maybe it's his recent death, who knows how mortal minds work half the time?

There was a storeroom that served as a barrier between the back of the mansion grounds and the preparation area of the kitchen. They stored various foods in here, and took trash out through the back door. Conveniently, it was almost always vacant save around meal preparation times. I headed there, and open the door, slipping inside - fortunately, this door did not have a lock, just a latch.

Calling daemons, even small ones like imps, requires a significant effort. Not one that will necessarily exhaust me, since I am amazing and powerful, but enough that it takes me a minute of concentration and building power to invite them into the storeroom. The air exploded with two tiny pops and large clouds of purple smoke as I brought Squiggit and Fith into the mortal world. They would take a moment to form their corporeal bodies, but I could see they were being fairly quick about it. Squiggit can be summoned and dismissed as I wish, but Fith's expenses should be managed more carefully, and I need to decide how long I wish him to stay for this visit. I also need a plan for use of each. I have a few ideas, though..

---

Squiggit - Squiggit isn't the brightest thing, but he can follow basic instructions like covertly spying in on conversations and relaying them later. I think that my best options are having him spy on the servants and gather any information about what gossip they are spreading right now, or having him lurk near the front entrance and spy on any visitors that come by, and tell me later what they talk about.

Fith - Being a better imp by every stretch of the imagination, Fith can begin prying around in the house in places where people might not want him to be. I think the first mission I give him will break into someone people quarters and try to find any incriminating evidence or leads on this - for instance, perhaps his wife was somehow involved in this assassination. Alternatively, I could keep him with me while I begin prodding around on my own, as an extra set of eyes and lock-opener.
>>
No. 742669 ID: ba506f

Squiggit can see what the servants know, at the very least it would give us an idea on where to start.

As for Fith, I remember you saying he can copy any key he comes across? can he give those keys to us? I so have him spy on people as well and get as many key copies as he can. that why we can roam the halls with a bit more freedom.
>>
No. 742822 ID: 93ee43

Servants usually know quite a lot about what goes on in the house. I'd have him check on them first

As for Fith I'd keep him with you and start your own investigation. After all second hand info even through a minion is still second hand info.
>>
No. 743071 ID: b2d501

Fith will need a glamour to look like a set of keys.

Make Squiggit an annoying bluejay that constantly peeps and jumps up and down. As a cover story, claim that you found him lying in the doorframe and that you would have smashed his head in with the door if not for the shrill, jarring peeps he made as the door closed in, followed by an annoying series of peeps which gave you an idea. Then you injected him with magic and you're going to annoy the hell out of everyone with this bird, THEN kill it yourself. Slowly. In front of a megaphone. That is your evil plan. Yes.
>>
No. 744272 ID: f9400c
File 147210333382.png - (14.81KB , 750x600 , Inspection.png )
744272

>>742669
>>742822

The two imps were quick about manifesting their corporeal form, though interestingly enough, Squiggit was a little faster than Fith. This was either a result of Squiggit's general amorphous nature, or that Fith took more time to construct his form because he cared more. Probably both.

Squiggit, too, was the first one to speak, but this was clearly because Fith wanted to examine his surroundings before paying attention to me. "Oh splendiferous and mighty one, thank you for calling upon me! This imp humbly offers his meager services to your c-" I got the feeling grinding my hoof into the imp when we met back in the underworld had left more of an impression than expected. I let him ramble nonsensical praises for a little longer before interrupting him with a curt, "Shut up."

The two imps were given their first tasks and an initial payment of a week each, with Squiggit turning himself into a scuttling insect of some sort and slipping under the door to go spy on the servants, while Fith considered what I wanted him to do. "How many rooms we talking about searching here, boss? This a big place?"

I waved a claw dismissively, turning towards the exit from the storage room. "Just worry about the upstairs room. Look for anything that might be relevant to an assassination attempt. Then, come meet me when you've sifted through the rooms as best you can. Note every key you find, and stay invisible." The imp shrugged, fading from basic sight - that is, mortal vision. I could easily still see him. Only a mortal specifically geared or enspelled to see through such a glamour could find him. The imp easily unlocked the door for me before he left, and I headed outside.

As it transpired, I picked this storage shed attached to the mansion proper not only because it was secluded, but because it was right next to Manarr's bedroom. A floor lower, of course, but nevertheless, all I had to do was turn left and look up, and there was his bedroom windows. They weren't broken, which meant someone had probably used a stealthy or magical way to get inside. There was a rubbish heap infested with a particularly brightly colored specimen of local vermin sleeping inside, but it wasn't nearly large enough to have been used as a ramp. Theoretically, though, there might be some useful evidence inside, if I could be bothered to.. rummage through it. Maybe keeping an imp with me would have been a good idea.

Alternatively, an examination of the windows and walls beneath might yield some clues, and involve less garbage diving. Where to start, though?
>>
No. 744278 ID: 7a0fae

Using magic would mean that the killer's best bet was to teleport into the room. Disabling the wards at the control box on the ground floor would have been the killer's best bet.

Using the windows would require the killer to work by initiative: they would need to open the window without leaving any indents or fingerprints without making a glint or a sound while also disabling any wards around the house.

Since the windows seem stable, I don't think the killer got in that way. Check the ground floor, if you can find a ward control panel, that's an extra bonus for YOU.
>>
No. 744291 ID: ba506f

>examination of the windows and walls beneath might yield some clues
no need to dirty your hands with trash. Also start near the servant's quarters. If one of Manarr's hired hands betrayed him, it would make since that they might also give an in for Manarr's assassin.
>>
No. 744544 ID: 8c8d69

An assasin who can get inside a place like this isn't going to use the bedroom window.

I suspect you're wasting your time. A servants entrance, the roof into the attic are more likely routes of egress.

Outside is protected but there will be weaker spots then Manarr's bedroom.
Check the roof
Check the servants entrances
Chdck which ground floor windows are customarily left open
>>
No. 745111 ID: 91ee5f

>>744544
This.

Also, watch your step. WATCH YOUR--
Aw, gross. You just stepped in something! >_<
>>
No. 745438 ID: f9400c
File 147266512047.png - (25.24KB , 750x600 , Window Shopping.png )
745438

>>744278

Teleportation is difficult for mortals. Their disgusting, fluid filled flesh sacks they call bodies are resistant far more anchored to the world than our pure essences, and it takes powerful magic and a lot of knowledge to accomplish. Also, teleportation into a room you can't see is a good way to fuse yourself into an object, surprise attacks don't usually go well unless you've scoped the place out first. Usually teleportation is reserved for higher mages, and if one of them came to kill Manarr, they would have incinerated his body rather than just shoved a knife in his neck. He wouldn't come back from that.

However...

>>744291
>>744544

... That is not to say a magical entry is out of the question. It would be much easier to bypass the window through simpler means. Changing it's composition, or phasing the window slightly out of sync with the rest of the wall. In either case, it would be easy to just climb through the window, and that's magic that mortals can buy, rather than learn. Since I like to be thorough, I will check the windows anyway. After all, I do not need wings reach them - I can simply project my shadows out and pull myself upwards.

>>745111

... It will come off. Anyway. The roofing sounds like it wishes to protest, but Manarr can afford to fix it, if he ever notices.

"...Who's steppin on my spot now...?

Either way, the windows seem... undamaged. There is a certain tang in the air, though. I think obfuscating magic was used in tandem to whatever process got them inside. It's been very well cleaned up, and I don't think a mortal could even detect this. I, however, am much more than that, and can smell the leftovers.

".. What're you doin up there..? Ignorin' me, sure, okay.."

That doesn't tell me how they got in, though. Whatever magic was used to breach the room is lost under the mystical equivalent of a bleach wipedown. There's little chance I can track down whoever did this now. I will have to utilize an alternate route to learn more.

".. Everyone stompin' 'round on my trash, lookin' in windows, all hours of th' day.. "

>A servants entrance, the roof into the attic are more likely routes of egress.

I suppose I could go examine the servant's quarters and lower windows, too. Even if they cleaned their passage away, the traces will let me know where else they breached. It's not like I have any other leads.

".. am I suppos'd to get any sleep? What's so great 'bout that window anyway? Too many people peeking in it lately.."
>>
No. 745460 ID: dd4df2

>>745438

... oh hey, a lead. Speak to the witness about other recent voyeurs.
>>
No. 745470 ID: ba506f

below you, in the trash. There's a thing. Normally I wouldn't care but he let it sleep that he saw someone else brake in. See what it knows... and also what the fuck it is and why Manarr let's it live in his trash?
>>
No. 745474 ID: dfdb1e

Even if you can't identify the type of magic used, knowing the locations this assassin used magic will be useful to recreate their path and make assumptions about the kind of magic they could have used in those situations.
More important: Witness. Maybe Manarr neglected to point out someone in the propriety say the invader, but even his incompetence have limits. This individual may not comprehend the importance of his information.

From what we gathered so far we can imagine that the assassin: killed Manarr with a poisoned knife, is rumored to be a hired professional, uses magic and is competent enough to clean their own trail. So far we can suppose it was either a collaborations or the work of someone who didn't want to leave clues pointing to a magic user. Presumable they knew what they were doing, so why didn't they guaranty Manarr body would be incapable of resurrecting? If the intention was to keep him dead the poison was either inefficient of redundant. Maybe the people responsible expected his resurrection.
>>
No. 745484 ID: 93ee43

Hmm investigate that voice that is annoying you

Sounds like they may well have seen someone poking around Menarr's window before
>>
No. 745490 ID: 91ee5f

>>745438
>The roofing sounds like it wishes to protest
Jeez, lose some weight, fatty!

>"What's so great 'bout that window anyway? Too many people peeking in it lately.."
Hmm, sounds like we've got a witness. Time to interrogate them for info.
>>
No. 745522 ID: d396cd

Oh good, one of the ever present dregs of society sound like they may have seen something. Ask who else has been peering through this window.
>>
No. 747265 ID: f9400c
File 147351844018.png - (18.56KB , 750x600 , Interrogation.png )
747265

>Jeez, lose some weight, fatty!

. . .

>>745460
>>745484
>>745522
>>745470

That is a kobold, and calling them dregs of society is stretching the metaphor a bit too much. Kobolds are more like the mold that forms on the outside of society because it was left unwashed too long. Small, frail, physically weak, and generally not very bright, their only benefits are their ability to eat nearly anything - including garbage that has been poisoned in failed attempts to kill them - and breed at a rate unmatched by any other race. Some actually contributing (and very wrong) members of society think they make good pets, and occasionally there are drives to capture or purge the kobold vermin from the city, but much like mold, if you miss a single spot, it comes back again.

This one lives in the rubbish heap in Manarr's manor. I do not think he 'allows' it to live there so much as the rubbish heap is an aspect of his estate he barely pays attention to, having servants to deal with such mundane matters. I doubt he would approve of it, just as I doubt that the servants are ignoring the creature. It has probably been chased away from the rubbish heap several times, and sneaks back in as soon as their backs are turned. No doubt the garbage of a manor like this makes an appealing eating and shelter spot. I doubt interrogating it would be worth the time, but it's my only lead.

Either way, I lowered myself back to the ground and violated the kobold's garbage shelter with the shadow claw I had already formed, because I'm not touching something that burrows into rotten food with my own claws, and dragged him out of the rubbish heap. The process was tedious and noisy, because the kobold protested and shrieked the entire time, carving tiny furrows in the soil with its claws. The ordeal stirred up the rubbish even more, releasing fetid smells that drove me farther away, where my sensitive nose would not be assaulted as much, kobold captive in tow.

"Oi, what're y'doing?! Leggo o' me, y' eggsucking, dickless, shitlicking purple fuckw-"

Needless to say, the insults became steadily more colorful, and of course, what followed was a brief period of intense and cathartic violent on my part, which I will spare you the details of. When that was finished, we had reached an understanding, and he was much more contrite and polite, within the limits of his tiny cognitive abilities, at least. He dangled in the air by his tail, trembling with joy at my presence, and giving me a shaky smile to indicate how happy he was to be speaking with me.

"I'm v-very sorry yer p-purpleness, what c-c'n I do fer yeh? Please don't do that to my tail again."

"You mentioned a few minutes ago that someone else was peeking through the window. Tell me everything about them."

"O-oh, that, o'course, oh m-migh'tee creature. It were a big folk, all d-dressed n' black. Real long n'skinny, y'know, t-the ones what wit th' long tails?"

This is part of the reason why interrogating a kobold is usually a waste of time. They exist outside of society, being bottom feeders, and rarely pay enough attention to civilized society to even know what the different species are called. That, or they are too dim to be able to remember such designations. "You can do better than that, I'm sure. Describe them more. Did they have a fur color? What was the black clothing like?" I smiled back at him, showing him all my teeth. The kobold flinched and made a sound oddly reminiscent to a trodden imp.

"O-oh... uhm... it were covering most'v their body, but I t-think they were gray? 'R maybe white? L-looked kind of like y-yer clothes, but m-more black, wit that bit over yer face, too..? An' less flowin, cept at th' back.."

I considered the rambling testimony, and after conjuring a few small shadow images for the kobold to point at rather than attempting to describe it further verbally - sometimes my brilliance astounds even myself - I determined that whoever they had been, they had been wearing black, fullbody clothing, with a hood and a billowing cape, and that they had been a d'navian, one of the exceedingly frustrating weaselfolk that exist as a minority in most cities. The clothing sounded so glaringly, generically assassin-like that it made me question whether they were actually a member of the assassin's guild, though. Being professional assassins, they generally did not swoop around with black cowls and flowing capes, announcing to everyone who saw them of their profession - how are they supposed to kill anyone if you can immediately identify them as a dangerous individual? Either this person was an exceedingly dramatic or cocky member of their guild, or it was someone outside the guild, with a flair for drama that made them feel like dressing as a stereotypical assassin would send some kind of message.

That left me with a couple choices, then. I would only have time for one of them, though, before needing to return to the manor. It would take a good portion of the day, and if I am missing for his banquet in the evening, he will be very upset. Keeping Manarr complacent and happy is important, at this stage of the plan, unfortunately.

-I could visit the assassins guild an inquire about this. They are very stiff and secretive, but most everyone knows how to contact them if they want to. I doubt they will tell me who hired the assassin, but they will tell me if it was one of theirs, because they do not like freelance competitors in their cities. Particularly if they dress up like that before going killing. If it is one of theirs, I will have confirmed an outside party arranged Manarr's death.

-I could go visit the d'navian section of the city and ask there directly. They tend to be a close-knit group, protective of each other, and since most everyone else in the city hates them, that means they always stay together. They will probably know who did this murder, but it will be difficult to get that information out of them, as they do not generally sell each other out to outsiders. I might be able to find some useful information, though. D'navians are exceedingly irritating individuals, but with perseverance, they can be helpful.
>>
No. 747282 ID: dfdb1e

Since the guild have no problem claiming or denying responsibility for their crimes they are the best use of our time. Knowing the relation between the assassin and Manarr's enemies will help probe information when we meet them.
If the assassin belong to the guild the crime itself is irrelevant except for the possibility of client specifications. Our options are determine who have motives and resources and who seen to have expended those.
If the assassin doesn't belong to the guild than there should be an association between them and Manarr's enemies. The guild presence makes it difficult for other professionals to contact clients, so at minimum there is a bound of trust.
A visit to the d'navian could be our best chance to identify the assassin, but it's only useful if they aren't guild professionals. If we fail to collect enough information during the banquet this visit may be worth doing tomorrow.
>>
No. 747302 ID: 398fe1

>>747265
You've already established it's not a guild assassin, which means you should go talk to the D'navians.
>>
No. 747305 ID: dfdb1e

>>747302
If we are going to talk to the D'navians we should shapeshift to look like one, bypassing their prejudice and using their unity against them.
>>
No. 747314 ID: 4ea396

>>747305
We're already sullying our majestic form enough by hiding it under a cloak. We shant add more insult by warping our form to match that of some lowly mortals. Finding out whether or not an outsider of the guild did it doesn't seem all that useful honestly. We should take the somewhat harder route of finding the assassins actual identity.
>>
No. 747372 ID: 094652

If you interact with either group, they'll profile you. Get a simple disguise set up, use one of Manarr's servants - it's likely they'll do an investigation of their own. You can expect them to suck but they'll keep the heat off the real investigators like yourself.

Go for the assassin's guild. They're professional, you'll want to hire their services later on, and you're too badass for them to kill. The district will likely take every vowel you speak as an insult and develop a heavy grudge if you so much as mutilate a beggar on their streets, so that's a bad idea. Plus, it's possible that the assassin used their own disguise and chose a minority to pin the blame on the smallest voices in the lower class. Again. Shortsighted ass@#$%, they think that they can start a war for profit, and five generations later their great-great-grandkids are paying the price, hedonistically profiting from the slaughter, or mindlessly sacrificing themselves for a grudge war that their ancestors instigated for their hedonistic benefit.
>>
No. 747738 ID: f9400c
File 147370982737.png - (22.47KB , 750x600 , Wagons.png )
747738

>>747305
>>747314

Yes, that is quite out of the question. I already feel like I am sullying myself enough by taking away my half ears and wings, which are some of my best features. Aside from the gemstones, and my eyes. And not to forget my magnificent tail, which I have to hide away already. And one mustn't forget my hooves, I have the best hooves conceivable. And also my...

Oh, let's just end the rambling, it's pretty obvious I'm perfectly majestic in every way.

>>747302
>>747372

Finding the main D'navian... colony... was difficult. At one point, as I understand, all of their kind were nomadic, and while some of them still are, a good number of them have moved into proper cities. They never really left the nomadic lifestyle behind, though, and the vast majority of these city D'navians live out of gaudy carts and travel around the city as they wish. Which is often, because no one wants them around because they are vexatious individuals as a whole. In fact, people in the city dislike them so much that it was difficult to locate them at all - no one really cares to keep track of them beyond being relieved that they are far away from them, and since they have no permanent addresses, it took me some time to find someone who could refer me in the general direction. But, I am here now, and I should select a plan for approaching them.

D'navians have a long history that I don't care to recount, mostly because it's not important. But what is important, is unlike most of the inhabitants of the city, they have little to no aptitude for weaving magic, a flaw that is counteracted by them being the most naturally magical mortal race that I know of. Every one of them has a sort of probability altering aura around themselves that alters events, physics, and in rare cases causality on varying levels based on their self-perception. This makes them much more likely to succeed at whatever stupid scheme they have come up with, which feeds their own arrogance about their skills in an incredibly irritating loop of smug self-assurance. They have a very shaky cultural understanding of the concept of personal property too, which is why almost everyone hates them so much. Attempts at D'navian population purges are usually horrible failures due to their natural luck - usually the only way to feasibly kill a D'navian is to make them feel depression or self-loathing - so most people are forced to just try and make them go somewhere else by being as unwelcoming as possible.

Charismatic: The least risky route, but also the least likely to succeed. It is entirely possible that with enough sweet talking and social graces, one of them might release a helpful tidbit for me, even if by accident. They may be protective of their own, but D'navians enjoy talking about themselves a lot, and that includes any member of their race that you let them babble about.

Aggressive: D'navians can be cagey, evasive creatures, and trying to pry information out of them gently can be an ordeal. Fear is a powerful motivator for loosening tongues, and while their race has some rather vexatious ingrained characteristics that might make catching them difficult, I am confident that with the element of surprise and some preceding subterfuge to lead one away, I could accomplish this. At least, I'm fairly certain no mortal, even a D'navian, could defeat me singlehandedly in a surprise attack. Should they manage to escape through one of their preposterous and improbable events, though, it would definitely put a damper in further negotiations.

Bribery: The D'navians are a proud people, and enjoy pretty things, which makes them perfect candidates to receive my shadow gems. I could provide them with these as gifts, which would probably do wonders for how much they are willing to open up to me, but this plan has several important issues with it. First of all, I would be unable to explain the origin of the gemstones, as there are not supposed to be daemons walking around in the city, especially ones as powerful as I am. Second, even if I manage to move them away from that topic, they are a very boastful people, and if I can't explain why they should keep the gems secret, someone eventually is bound to see these gems, or be sold them, which greatly increases the likelihood that someone who CAN identify daemonic magic will find out about them. This might cause issues down the line for my plans.
>>
No. 747747 ID: dfdb1e

Sooner or latter you will need to convince mortals to make use of your gems, may as well start with those.
Their handling of your gifts is a concern. They have to be aware of the forbidden nature of those items. Perhaps you could use your illusions to intermediate a deal between the ambitious individual and a "daemon" you summon.
Start friendly, negotiating petty mortal treasures like jewelry and commercial deals in exchange for general information on their illicit deals. Having the excuse of commercial interests you may be able to identify the most cooperative one and arrange some private meeting.
>>
No. 747750 ID: 8d65de

Show them how big and bad you are boss no one cares if these puny thing die and they my talk truthfully if they are in danger. (pain works better then death)
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No. 747853 ID: 93ee43

Gems is the most sensible route to take

These weasel people sound like the sorts who aren't going to take your gems to the Local Jewel-smith who has dinner with the city magistrate who is friends with the toff of a mage.

They will sell them on the black market
No questions asks
No probing depths considered

You portray yourself (through your majestic acting skills and a new outfit) as one of their low life scum trying to get rid of the gems quickly!

You take a lower price then what they are really worth to help back up your "wanting to get rid of them story" not stupidly low but enough.

And then they will be liable to talk
especially if say you were to ask if they knew anyone who could help make someone "Following you" disappear.
>>
No. 747926 ID: 988b32

>>747853
Also, if you're going to sell them at half price, you may as well program the gems to explode in the user's face if they target you. In case they end up in the hands of your rivals, of course.
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No. 749003 ID: f9400c
File 147452304551.png - (26.77KB , 750x600 , Picking.png )
749003

>>747750
I'm not really here to make waves right now, and I've already gotten any recent desire to maim mortals out of my system after disposing of that kobold. There is no need to make a publicly violent presentation, especially given the unique nature of the people I would be aggressing.

>>747747
>>747853
>>747853
>>747926

Reward without risk is generally low, it is true. I might as well push my stakes in when I can, and I'm sure someone finding one of my gemstones won't immediately ruin everything. I entered the D'navian encampment, where I was immediately greeted with friendly interest. I imagine visitors are not common enough that they can afford to brush one off.

One of them in a green neckwrap and teal robes approached me first, spreading his arms slightly as he beamed at me. My shady looking robes did not seem to phase him in the slightest, fortunately. "Warmest greetings to you, friend traveler! Welcome to our carousing grounds, we have many entertainments and valuable treasures to peruse!"

Another in plainer orange and yellow robes climbed out from under a tent, holding a chest in his hands, and picking up the pitch barely a second after the first one finished talking. It felt almost choreographed, but maybe this was just eagerness. "Yes, many treasures, friend traveler! What catches your fancy? Jewelry, beads, precious stones, perhaps? I have many things that will interest you!"

At this point, I seemed to be drawing a small crowd, though they did not press so close that it felt aggressive. Others hung back, simply calling out to me, holding up their wares, ranging from fabrics to intoxicants, in advertisement. I shook my head and raised a claw, heading off further offers. "I do not seek treasures today, or food and drink. I am actually looking for information."

The tone of the gathering immediately changed, with a number of the peripheral D'navians melting away, but the two directly addressing me barely faltered, still smiling brightly at me. The one in orange and yellow closed the chest of shiny baubles he had been opening with a snap, but continued the pitch unperturbed. "Knowledge is a treasure too, friend traveler! For the right price, you can learn many things. What do you wish to learn?"
>>
No. 749006 ID: f056b5

>>749003
There is a pickpocket behind you. You can expect this from the general positive attitude that the distractions are giving you.

Sit on his face. Then, while you are farting, throw some gems near your butt. Then make a joke about being so rich you fart diamonds but your wife forced you to have a salad this morning so you're doing emeralds. Stuff like that. Then start passing money around, acting like a friend to the community. It's costly, but you can draw attention to a creepy persona while the real spies (which you can hire later) rob their houses blind.

Make them think you're a loon with too much money, then throw the low quality gems left and right while looking for information. They'll be too blinded by the cash symbols in their eyes to realize that you're giving them scraps and they're giving leads on important shadow leaders in town while keeping your profile so tainted with comedy that they won't be able to report your actions without causing laughter throughout the room. If they DO mug you, just make sure your minions hold on to the more valuable gems, so they frisk you and realize you're throwing scrap.

For now, first thing you want to ask is where to buy something for a feast you're planning. Gold embroidery for the napkins, rare animals for the main course, soldier's daggers for the cutlery... (Basically, you want to find the local weapon stores, the good stuff, specifically so you know where the assassins buy their things. Since this is a tight community, you can expect them to do business with regular merchants. Then you can place a demon nearby to spy on the proceedings.)
>>
No. 749012 ID: 91ee5f

They're only being nice because they saw your fancy robe and though, "Oooh, rich person! Time to con some money out of him!"

I guess, even though your robe is incomplete (as you've called it), it's enough to let everyone know that you're an important person!
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No. 749039 ID: dfdb1e

Let's not brag about riches or do fart jokes. There is no doubt your appearance and attitude already emanate a dignifying aura denouncing your importance, you don't need to hammer the idea any further. Besides, I don't believe you established possessing excessive amounts of mundane treasures to back any claim.
I suggest you start by hiring them for illicit services. Since you already declared information to be what you seek, spies are what you seek. Obviously that subject can't be talked openly, but few hints should suffice to grant a private meeting with someone willing to assist.
And try to avoid harming the pickpocket when you puss him aside. That kind of disrespect can't be tolerated, but injuring members of the community won't be view favorable by the people you seek cooperation.
>>
No. 749041 ID: a49576

>>749003
Seeing as he can't actually steal anything of yours, reprimand the pickpocket without looking.
put out the feelers for if they already know anything, perhaps mention Manarr is alive and watch how that is reacted to, flash gems and announce that a loose tongue nets them some shinies.
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No. 749043 ID: 20978c

You know if one of your gems found its way into such a large chest of baubles he might have trouble recalling where he got it by the time anyone noticed it.

Handle the pick-pocket currently sneaking up on you and tell him you are looking for someone. Tell them only that they did good work up at Manarr's residence but stay quiet about the actual work. They'll be more likely to help you if they think you are there to hire the assassin.
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No. 749127 ID: f9400c
File 147457483895.png - (267.69KB , 728x582 , Pocketless.png )
749127

>fart on them
>fart jokes

I neither possess the disgusting meat-body functions you speak of, nor do I have any desire at all to emulate them. Let us not bring such nonsense up again.

>>749012
>>749041
>>749043

Yes, I'm aware of the pickpocket attempt, but as I have no pockets to pick, I have largely been ignoring him. No sense in punishing fruitless, non-harmful ambition in a young mortal, or instilling any fear of myself in him, just yet. Let him fumble awkwardly at my robes if he wishes to. Still, maybe you are right about the bauble collector. I gave him a small smile, broadly indicating the camp in general with a claw. "I happen to have approved of some of the work one of your companions did In the manor of the merchant Manarr, and wanted to know if I could inquire who that was, so I could speak with them."

The smiles fade away somewhat at the attempt to gain information through vague questioning, and I get the sense they are more shrewd and cautious than they pretend to be. They begin asking awkward questions in turn, still seeming rehearsed in their timing.

"You don't know his name?"
"What did he look like?"
"What 'work' did he do at this manor?"
"Who is this Manarr?"

I shook my head, trying to withdraw the conversation away from questions I could not answer. "Sorry, I have little information about him other than that he was D'navian. Manarr did not see much of him during his visit to the manor. I was hoping to learn more about him than you actually wish to know right now. Do you know who might be familiar with who visited Manarr recently?"

The smiles did not return, and they shrugged their shoulders, the blue and green clothed d'navian pointing toward a purple tent near the center of the camp. "Go talk to our matron elder. She knows a lot about where everyone is, and where they've been."

I attempted to pry a little more information out of them and some of the other D'navians, and even conjured a few shiny gemstones from shadows to try and entice them to talk, but it quickly became clear I was being collectively stonewalled by them. Their communal unity had led them to decide to shunt me and my questions off to this elder, so evidently I was going to need to speak to her. I made my way to the purple tent, but I would need a better plan than to try and ask vague questions in the hope they would fill in the blanks. Their 'matron elder' was probably one of the most intelligent and shrewd of their community.
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No. 749159 ID: dfdb1e

It's probable wise to make any deal pretending to be a middle man. Let's hope she has many ambitious that can be explored.

Let's recap: A D'navian was see sneaking through the window. They description doesn't match guided professional. There were signs of use of magic and an attempt to conceal it. Their race aren't talented magicians, so this individual is either a rare exception or they were accompany by an associate unidentified.
Ask about a burglar with recent dealings with a magician. The D'navian is of interest to you, but your target is probable the mage.
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No. 749292 ID: 50880e

>>749159
That's a good point, but is complicated by this luck ability they have.

Unless there are magic items they could have used to enter then conceal the magical tampering, it's entirely possible they had an accomplice or were judt being used as a fall guy.
Or something improbable led to a similar situation happening. bleh, you were right about exceedingly frustrating.
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No. 749760 ID: f9400c
File 147485767736.png - (167.70KB , 728x582 , Temptation.png )
749760

>>749159
>>749292

Yes, exceedingly frustrating is the best way to put dealing with the D'navians. Irregardless of that, however, deal with them I must. I entered the purple tent, which was dimly lit, and saw it was set up to perform fortune telling nonsense. Seeing the future wasn't impossible, but it was far more likely that the elder here simply used these props - such as candles and a glass sphere - to provide a suitably mystical scenario for conning fools out of their wealth. Sure enough, I had scarcely entered the tent when a solemn voice drifted out of the back of the tent.

"Welcome, traveler. I have been expecting your arrival for some time, it is good to finally see you in the physical world. Please, sit down and-"

"I am here to get information about the past, not the future. But we could also discuss your future in the meantime, madame elder." I saw no reason to let her get into her stride and make this meeting more faux-mystical than it needed to be. I had plenty of real magic, and knew the difference.

The elder came out from behind the tent flap that probably led to her living quarters and cocked an eyebrow. "It is rude to interrupt your elders, child. But I already knew you were looking for someone. Why do you want to know this information?"

I sat down in the chair on the other of the table as she did, and gave her a toothy smile. The vague approach wasn't working, so I tried a more direct one. "One of your people visited a manor in the High Merchant district last night, and I am trying to find out who it was. It would benefit you greatly to help me find out who, madame elder.

She leaned back into her chair, giving me a searching look. She noted the robes, and lingered on the shadowy place where my eyes were hidden. When she spoke again, it was in a much more business-like voice. "Benefit me how, stranger? We protect our own, and whatever you think we owe you, we do not betray-"

I raised a claw, heading her off again with another interruption. "I ask for no betrayal, madame elder, or claim any debt owed for the young D'navian's visit to our manor. I am simply here to offer a gift in exchange for information on how to find them. They did good work, and I would like to inquire more about their services.

The elder narrowed her eyes, considering my words, but did not lower her guard. She folded her arms, giving me a mistrustful look, but prompted, "... What gift do you think will be worth this information, stranger?"

I smiled again, reaching into my left sleeve, and congealed a shadowcrystal in there, which flickered to life as I pulled it out, filling the tent with a soft glow. They were always brightest when fresh, and I had a sense this would only increase the allure of the offer. "I offer you a gift of wealth and power, madame elder, in exchange for meager information."

The D'navian elder leaned forward, looking into the brilliant gemstone, but her expression was suspicious now, even though I could tell she was intrigued. Ambition was a thing I could sense, and everyone got at last a little bit when presented with power. "A magic gem? What is it? And what's the catch, youngster?" Her tone suggested that she was convinced there was some caveat behind this gift, and I knew to not try and reassure her that there was none - she would simply assume I was lying and refuse the gift.

"It is a charm, madame elder. Holding it will increase the natural protection one of your people have. I do not pretend possessing it is without risks, but they mainly come in the desirability of the crystal. They are difficult to acquire for.. most people.. and I would not recommend allowing a mage to know that your people have it. Or most anyone else." If I could instill a desire to keep the gemstone secret, it would be less likely to be sold to our found by someone who could identify its source.

She stared down at the crystal, thinking about the offer, then glanced back up at me. "You will forgive me if I find this offer suspiciously good. If this crystal is so rare, why are you giving me it?"

I flashed my teeth in a grin at the question, letting the light from my crystal glint off them. "Acquiring them is an issue for most people, but not an issue for me. I have a monopoly on the acquisition of these gemstones, madame elder. This gift would be far more valuable to you than myself."

The elder still seemed reluctant, but she was slowly giving into the appeal of the offer. "And... what if I don't point you in the right direction? Will you come back, demanding I return this 'gift'?"

"Tell me what you can, and the crystal is yours. No further obligation to me, madame elder."

This finally seemed to be enough, and she took the glowing gemstone, clasping it in both hands. She stared into the crystal for a long time, and I waited patiently, feeling the silent struggle between ambition and caution warring inside her. After a minute, she looked up, remembering I was there. "Ah.. alright, child. I will tell you what I know, but then you need to go." Seeing no disagreement from me, she continued after a pause, "There were only two of us that have been unaccounted for long enough to have been visiting the manors High Merchant district. Young Trellain went to visit the Magus District a week ago, and Vinter went there after him. They have had a rivalry going for some time, so I assume some sort of contest was involved with them. We have not heard from them since..."

With some prompting, I gained rough descriptions of both of them - Trellain was pale brown with a white patch around one eye, and Vinter was reddish brown with a cream colored frontside. She wasn't sure what they would be wearing now, as she had not seen them leave, and the D'navian community shared clothing. As I departed, she mentioned that she would like it if I could remind them to check in when I saw them, to which I declined to reply to.
______

This information puts me in the general direction of the culprit, hopefully, but neither of these individuals seems likely to have suddenly taken up assassination after visiting the mages district. It is possible they pilfered something that could have allowed them to break into Manarr's manor, but that doesn't give a real motive for doing so, or a reason why a magus would help them to do so. I was reasonably sure that the culprit was already involved in the assassination business, but the elder gave no indication that she thought the 'visit' I mentioned involved murder. She seemed more pre-disposed to assume a theft had occurred, as is normal for why people accuse D'navians of wrongdoing. I suppose it is possible that their assassin work is unknown to the majority of the D'navians, if unlikely.

Either way, I've spent too much time here, and I need to return to Manarr. He will need to be re-assured that he is at the center of my universe after being ditched for so long, and receive my acknowledgement that I will be watching at the party. I am beginning to wonder if the party was a bad idea, the connection between his assassination and rivals now seems more tenuous than I originally thought. I doubt it can be cancelled now, but I should probably come up with some better ideas to unravel this mystery than just checking all his rivals to see how smug or absent they are to the party.
>>
No. 749761 ID: 2f3033

You have TWO patsies. That gives you enough time to falsely accuse one of them, heating things up. Whether or not this is a good move is something you can figure out.

You also have developed a connection between your hooded persona and the D'navian community. They will likely try to sell you cheap trinkets at an exorbitant cost

And if you DO find something in their usually-hidden wares that is worth much more than a bauble, you can buy it from them at a fair price without anyone serious knowing what you did. So basically, this is a black market dealership for you - lots of expensive items, and if you can correctly identify the ones that are worth what their overinflated prices say they are, they won't just blab about what you bought because they think it's just trash.
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No. 749811 ID: ab2758

This determines that one or more mages, who frequent the Magus District, assisted one or two D'navians at a crime. Be involved with an assassination of this caliber is very high risk for a talented mage's career, so presumable there were personal reasons to participate.
Presumable this mage hired the D'navian and is either closely associated with Manarr's enemy or is themself the enemy. Those two profiles should be the focus of your investigation during the party.
You probable can elaborate better what kind of role this mage had to leave the detected evidence. Were they there? Could that effect be achieved with potions or enchantments?

Extrapolating the what we know:
Trellain went to the Magus District on his own. He could have previous contact with the mages, but presumable the visit happened because he wanted something from them, I imagine either employment or apprenticeship. Vinter followed possible seeking the same thing. In this scenario they could both participated on the crime together, get assigned to two different activities (if true expect other similar crime somewhere else), or got different contacts among the mages and only one got anything to do with the assassination.
It's also possible that they were coerced to commit a crime this mage wasn't willing to do on their own. In this case they could had the same motivations at first or felt threatened. In this scenario they acted for their safety or the safety of each other, so I imagine one of them been a hostage.
This mage could be one of Manarr's enemies, been a scholar and possible a businessman who felt wronged by Manarr actions. Maybe they're a close relative of this wronged rival, or maybe their relation is of patronage.
All of those possibilities assume the motivation was to harm Manarr, but maybe there were some other reason. Manarr certainly isn't the smartest, so assuming he also isn't all that discreet it's possible our mage identified daemonic influence and target him to get to you. Maybe they are experimenting, to see what would happen with the resurrection attempt. Maybe they knew and wanted to demonstrate, discrediting the family. Maybe they did for moral reason, eliminating a focus of daemonic influence on the world.
We can also consider the petty possibility that the murder were committed so the rich family would hire them for the resurrection. I imagine there are legal repercussions that make this an unworthy risk, so it's unlikely but worth consideration.
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No. 749818 ID: 91ee5f

>>749760
>Either way, I've spent too much time here, and I need to return to Manarr. He will need to be re-assured that he is at the center of my universe after being ditched for so long, and receive my acknowledgement that I will be watching at the party.
Another reason to get back is his wife. She already doesn't like you, so better get back before she has anymore excuses to get rid of you.

>>749811
You forgot to mention the fact that it could be one of Manarr's family members that hired one or both of the D'navians. Possible reasons could be:

1. A family member thinks they can run the family business better, but they want to get Manarr permanently out of the way.

2. A family member found out about Aeseriq and wanted to kill Manarr for bringing shame to the family name for making a deal with Aeseriq.
>>
No. 749825 ID: a49576

Of the two, Trellain seems more likely to be the one the kobold saw, who claimed the intruder was grey or white, but in full-body clothing the patch around his eye might have thrown our little witness off somewhat.
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No. 750331 ID: f9400c
File 147519198581.png - (10.04KB , 750x600 , Informant.png )
750331

>>749825

That is possible, but the kobold can be considered an unreliable witness at best. He had difficulty enough describing the species, maybe color recognition in the dark from ten feet away is a little weak too.

>>749811
>>749818

This is a lot of speculation, and hopefully I will be able to get to the bottom of it all. I do think it unlikely family killed Manarr off, since they promptly spent money they would have inherited from him on a resurrection. Mages are a little harder to place, motive-wise. The magic skilled Khal can sometimes go a little mad with their power, so it's not impossible this was some sort of casual murder for inane reasons.

---

In any case, I headed back to the manor, as I had several imps who needed interrogation. I slipped back inside from the servants entrance and found a guest bedroom that was rarely used before telepathically sending a call to Fith. He was likely to be the one with the most useful information, given that the servants were less likely to be culprits given recent information. He arrived within several minutes, slipping through the door and landing on the floor in front of me. He remained invisible, but as before, I could easily spot him with my superior eyes. He gave a lazy salute and greeted me in our native tongue. "Welcome back, boss. I managed to peek into all the rooms, wasn't much of interest. Just financial shit and all that.

I gave a small shrug, not worried about that. "It is not important. I doubt they were involved, and if they were, leaving a paper trail would be sloppy.

Fith shrugged back, picking at a tooth. Had he eaten something recently? No accounting for taste in imps, I suppose... "Whatever. But since you've been missing all afternoon, you should know that broad is right livi-
>>
No. 750335 ID: f9400c
File 147519300525.png - (14.30KB , 750x600 , Slam.png )
750335

The imp cut off as someone began to jostle the handle of the door. I heard a key click into the lock, and had enough time to stand up and turn towards the door before it slammed open, revealing Manarr's wife. She looked upset about something. I wonder what it was.

Greta's eyes immediately spotted me and placed a glare in my direction. Fortunately, the invisible imp just sprouted wings and silently flew off to be out of the crossfire, unnoticed. "Aeseriq, you skulking daemonic shit! Where the hell have you been all afternoon?! I've been trying to find you for hours, ever since Manarr said he summoned you?"

I stared placidly across the room at her, folding my claws inside my sleeves. There was no fondness lost between us, but it couldn't hurt trying to be diplomatic. "Hello, Greta. That is a lovely dress you have selected. Blue is-"

"Shut up, daemon! Where the fuck have you been? We called for you several times!"

I simply smiled blandly and spread my arms. "I had errands to run, and tasks to perform for Mana-

"Bullshit!" She got in close to me, and though she was shorter than me, I could tell she was trying to intimidate me. It wasn't working. "Manarr didn't tell you to go anywhere, you just left to 'look into things'. What are you up to? I heard voices in some weird language, who were you talking to?"

I put on my best bemused expression, looking around the room. The invisible imp was flying out the door, unseen to anyone but me, and I did not acknowledge the wave and mocking thumbs up it gave me. "As you can see, there is no one here but me, Greta. I was reciting a spell in my native language."
>>
No. 750337 ID: f9400c
File 147519487944.png - (18.71KB , 750x600 , Coat Check.png )
750337

Unsurprisingly, this explanation was not enough to calm her down. She shoved me aside, moving to the closet in the back of the room, and yanked it open, looking inside. The closet was free of hiding conspirators, shockingly enough.

I moved closer, spreading my arms in an expression of peaceful intent, while she glared at the various coat hangers and shelves inside the closet. "Greta, what do you want from me? I am alone in here, and I was missing this afternoon because I was investigating Manarr's murde-

"More bullshit." She looked back over her shoulder at me, but continued to face the inside of the closet. "Aeseriq, you can lie all you want, I know what I heard. You are up to something, and I am going to find out what."

I was actually starting to get a little annoyed at this pointless conversation, but I kept my temper in check. "Greta, I am here to assist Manarr, that is all I-

Yet again, she interrupted me, turning to jab a finger at my chest. "Manarr doesn't need your fucking help, you scum-sucking shadow fiend! I've been telling him to get rid of you for years, I don't know why he thinks you are his friend!"

"Manarr relies on my counsel and powers for many things, Gret-"

"Fuck off! You're probably the reason why he was killed, someone found out about you! If you had any decency, you'd lea-"

"You're looking in the wrong department, Greta. If you want decency, call an eladrin." I sniffed disdainfully, examining my claws.

"If I knew how, I would! Maybe they would chase you off and get rid of you for good!"

"Really, Greta. Do you honestly want a battle between a daemon and eladrin taking place in your husband's manor? Things get messy when holy magic starts flying around."

She threw up her arms in exasperation, and I could tell she had lost her steam in the argument finally. "Ugh. I still think you're up to something, but I have to much to do right now to give a fuck about it. I'm watching you, Aeseriq."

"Of course. Was there any particular reason you were looking for me?"

She snorted and started for the door. "Me? No. But Manarr wants to talk to you, the guests are supposed to arrive less than two hours, and he wants your help again." She slammed the door after herself as she left, probably forgetting I was still in here. She had probably also forgotten I could smell that she was still loitering nearby, hoping to catch me doing something. Either way, I had to go find Manarr, and with Greta breathing down my neck, getting any time with the imps was going to be unfeasible.
>>
No. 750338 ID: 5900b7

It amuse me to no end that most of what you said is actually true... this time.

As I understand she is the brain of the family, so informing her some details of your investigations shouldn't cause problems. Learn that you took the initiative to help solve their problems, got pretty decent directions in your search and probable was spotted by enough people for her to later confirm your explanation should help improve her trust in you.
Of course you will spare her the details (some more than others) but you can safely inform her we are looking for a D'navian invader with the guidance of a mage. Maybe she will even be able to help in the search and will understand that Manarr make a too direct use of this information threatening the discretion needed.
>>
No. 750342 ID: 91ee5f

>I do think it unlikely family killed Manarr off, since they promptly spent money they would have inherited from him on a resurrection.
They could be playing the long game, believing that anything spent can be earned back through the family business and is therefore worth the sacrifice of being spent.

>The wife finally appears.
.....ok, I've got no subtle way to say this, so I'm just going to come right out and say it. *ahem*

HOLY SHIT, LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT WOMAN'S TITS!!!!!

There, I said it. And now I ask, were they always that big or did she get enhancements to make them bigger? Anyways, after meeting both Manarr and Greta, I'd say Greta's tits is what got Manarr to want to marry her and Manarr's money is what got Greta to want to marry him. But if they both legitimately fell in love with each other, then I'll honestly be very surprised.

If you were a weaker daemon, I'm pretty sure you would be very afraid of that woman's wrath.....which is why it's a good thing you're not that weak.

Maybe you should remind her that if she's as worried about her husband as she claims, then instead of harassing you, she should be helping to find who the killer was because the investigation would be moving much faster if she actually did something helpful.

>The party.
Oh yeah. I had completely forgotten about that. You're not going to like what I have to say about that. You're going to have to consume the mortal food in order to keep up the appearance of being mortal. It's going to taste terrible for you.....sorry about that.
>>
No. 750359 ID: 661e76

Does she inject cocaine straight into her tits? She was so angry she forgot to rant about her disgusting husband.

Little wonder Manarr hates his wife so much. But does she hate him, or is he too necessary as her meatshield in politics to even think about divorce?

Can't wait to meet the kids. I'd be surprised if they weren't spoiled, corrupt, and utterly traumatized by everything their parents threw at them. I think you should kick one in the head.

I think you should kick one in the head NOW.
>>
No. 750405 ID: a886eb

Let Manarr know you got a lead on the assassin and you had to leave to pursue it right away. Apologise for not thinking to notify him: you didn't want to make things more difficult with his wife.
>>
No. 750406 ID: 3725ee

>>750337
well she's certainly spirited, could be an issue when actively hounding you.

still, if you have any methods of nonverbal communication with your minions it will probably be best to use that when in the house, I doubt the spell chanting excuse will hold for long
>>
No. 750942 ID: f9400c
File 147552996001.png - (21.08KB , 750x600 , Stress.png )
750942

>tits

I don't really see what relevant the size of her frontal fat sacks are. Do they have some sort of significance in virility? They have only had one child, so that seems unlikely. Actually, I don't really care enough to think hard about this, and suspect this sudden fixation is a mortal foible of some kind.

>You're going to have to consume the mortal food in order to keep up the appearance of being mortal

Ugh, don't even joke about that. If I can't find a reason to excuse myself from eating their foul mortal sludge, I am a failure as a daemon.

>>750406

Telepathy is not one of my talents, though some daemons do have it. I can send messages through shadows, but it is a little difficult to do so without some sort of strong bond allowing me to locate which shadow to sent the message through. The calling contract is significant enough of a bond - as is my bond with Manarr - to send the imps messages, but they lack the ability to reply this way. I am able to tell them to come to me, like I did in the guest bedroom before, or give them instructions from a distance, but that is the limit of my long-distance communication skills.

>>750338
>>750342
>>750405

Manarr and Greta's relationship is moderately codependent, as far as I can tell. Manarr is just talented and charismatic enough to get by as a merchant, but he is immature, impulsive, and has no head for planning. He happened to stumble on a few lucky deals that kept him afloat long enough to still be moderately wealthy when he met Greta. She is a much more intelligent individual, and managed to stabilize his finances enough that he is no longer at risk of collapse, and he ended up wealthy enough to afford this small manor. This, of course, led him to think that everything was fine and that he should reach for even more prestige and wealth, which is how I came into the picture.

As I entered the room, I could see that leaving Manarr alone with his wife to plan a party had some consequences. Manarr is clearly strained now, and his desk is covered in half-finished invitations. It looked like Greta had left him to his own devices a while ago to try and find me. One never leaves Manarr to his own devices if one expects him to plan something large, he becomes overwhelmed and starts to break down. "Manarr, I see you have been busy while I w-"

He looked up from his work, giving me a frustrated glare. "Aeseriq, you've been gone all day, you were supposed to help me plan this! Where have you been?!"

I pulled back my hood, releasing some of the changes I had made to my corporeal vessel, particularly letting my second ears show up again, along with my forehead gemstone. It felt much less stifling to have them out. "I told you I was going to go investigate your murder, Manarr. And I did.

Manarr began pulling at one of his ears, a nervous tick that did nothing to make him look more presentable for the upcoming party. "You didn't say you could be gone for hours and hours, though, I needed your help! I've got over a dozen people coming to this party, and I had to make sure I ordered the right amount of hors d'oeuvres and wine, and then.." He began ruffling through the papers on his desk, and I let him drone on his his whiny voice, keenly aware that Greta was glaring at me from the doorway, waiting for a chance to pounce on me. She wouldn't interrupt her husband when he was trying to talk, but I knew full well if I gave her a chance, she'd seize on the opportunity to cut me off and begin her own tirade. Dealing with the two of them had become practically formulaic for me at this point.

After several minutes of complaining, Manarr seemed to realize he was just staring blankly at the table and moving papers around, and he broke off his list of grievances with planning the party in my absence, looking back up at me. "... So it would have been really nice if you had been here to help out, Aeseriq. Greta helped, but I could have used your insight, too. Did you.. actually find out anything about my... about the murder?"

"Yes, actually. It seems to have been done by a D'navian, and they had some magical assistance in the matter."

Greta seemed to immediately realize how difficult that made the matter, and began cursing under her breath, but Manarr just looked confused. "A... D'navian? I don't have any enemies among them, why would they..."

I decided not to point out that he didn't know who his enemies were among D'navians yet, because it would become even more stressed, and he needed to look less frayed than this when the party happened. "Manarr, I doubt they did it of their own initiative, and some of the evidence I found suggests that they didn't do it on behalf of their community, either. They might just be an individual agent who happens to be D'navian."

"Oh.. yeah, okay. But if a magus was helping them, that might narrow down who the culprit is, too."

"It might, but anyone can hire a talented magus if they want, Manarr. You have plenty of wealthy rivals who aren't mages themselves."

Greta cut in here, looking at Manarr instead of me for once. "We should fire any D'navian servants we have, Manarr. I know that trash likes to help each other out, and this was probably done with some inside assistance. We can't afford to have any of them around the manor anymore."

Manarr frowned, thinking about this before replying, "I'm not sure we have many of them. I think the kitchen garbage boy might be D'navian? It's been a while since I paid attention to that. And maybe irritating the D'navians more would be a bad idea... Aeseriq, what do you think about this?"

Well, given the tiebreaker vote, I have to decide the fate of a garbage boy and whatever else. I don't care about any of the D'navians on staff, but I do care if them being here puts my plans at further risk. Then again, firing all the D'navians indiscriminately would probably in sense their community, and possibly whoever the assassin was, bringing even more trouble. So, determining which is the greater risk is the crux of this decision.
>>
No. 750952 ID: a6dc58

This is a bit longwinded but...

You could disguise the fact that you were firing the D'navians specifically under a general hiring and firing of several individuals. It might be somewhat disruptive to the running of the house, but such a thing is easily justified by the assassination. You could make it seem like you think the assassination was an inside job, and justify the restructuring that way, which has the added benefit of concealing your true motives.

That said, firing any dedicated and loyal staff can have notable repercussions for the family business. Few people desire to work for an organization that repays loyalty with arbitrary expulsion, and word will likely spread. Perhaps you should first find out more information about who you would be firing. Low-level peripheral employees that haven't been with the family long is a low impact judgement, but anyone closer to sensitive information, important duties, or management can be problematic.

The key here, is that my understand is your ultimate objective is not actually to find Mnnarr's murderer but to make Mnarr a suitable tool for your plans. Based on how things were said, you have the opportunity to have Mnarr look up to your judgement and mollify Greta by agreeing with Greta in a manner that elaborates things she did not think out. Agreeing with Mnarr might alienate Greta and he doesn't sound sure enough of his position to take it as flattery.
>>
No. 750953 ID: 233260

Tell him to not fire them until you have a chance to question or spy on them.

Better to have them here and thinking that he is ignorant to there involvement than kick them all out and let someone know you are on to them.

Plus you can use them to pass on bad info if it does turn out one of them was involved.
>>
No. 750954 ID: 726a91

Keep them, and selectively feed them (different!) false information. See who acts on that information, and which piece of information they act on. That way you can identify which (if any) of the D'navian servants are under the employ of someone else, and who they are under the employ of.
>>
No. 750965 ID: 5900b7

If there were any assistance from the house staff it had to be at best indirect since the assassin used the roof window as an entrance. I suspect an informant would be more likely communicating with the client than this likely inexperience killer.
I'm not sure if firing one random d'navian would be enough to anger their community, but doing so is probable pointless. If he is involved he wasn't brave enough to bring the responsible inside, so it's safe to assume he won't have the initiative to attack on his own. Instead of firing him, alerting the enemy of our suspicion, we should keep a close eye on him to hopefully identifying his contacts, if there is any. Honest there is very little reason to take this suspicion seriously, but we can work around that anyway.
>>
No. 750973 ID: 91ee5f

>I don't really see what relevant the size of her frontal fat sacks are.
Petty mortals fall in love based on the size of them and nothing else. Doesn't pettiness count as a sin that you can feed off of?

>Ugh, don't even joke about that.
I'm not, I'm being serious.

>She is a much more intelligent individual, and managed to stabilize his finances enough that he is no longer at risk of collapse, and he ended up wealthy enough to afford this small manor.
Hey I was right, she is the brains of the family.
>This, of course, led him to think that everything was fine and that he should reach for even more prestige and wealth, which is how I came into the picture.
Oh, now that's funny! I wonder how Greta would react if she found out that the reason you're here is because of her boosting Manarr's ego? It's all her fault you're here! XD

>Greta helped, but I could have used your insight, too.
And he said that in front of Greta? That's basically slapping her in the face! He trusts a daemon over his wife! I mean, yeah, that's good for you because if he relies on you that much, then manipulating him is that much easier. I'm just saying, he's lucky she didn't slap him for that.

But, seriously, how exactly did he expect you to help in planning a party? Uh, not that I doubt your party planning skills or anything, Aeseriq! I'm just saying, it's probably best to mention that, "The party needed to have a woman's touch and, seeing as I'm not a woman, Greta was better suited for the job. I'm good at many things, planning parties isn't one of those things." At least say that, so that there's not some weird party planning competition between you and Greta. Maybe Greta will actually be flattered if you're saying her opinion is more valuable than yours.
>>
No. 750977 ID: 398fe1

>>750942
Instead of getting rid of them, why don't we interrogate the D'navian servants? If any of them helped the assassin they'd have valuable information. If they did not, then they can remain on staff, surely?
>>
No. 750980 ID: 93ee43

Do not fire the Garbage Boy
If anything that community is your big lead still regardless of not getting far with the Elder.

if you piss them off and track down the assassin they'll run for the enclave and if they are pissed off they won't help you.

The elder is yours now anyway or at least she will be.

I think the best lead you have now is to focus on the party and see how the idiots rivals react to him being alive and around.

God they are a whiny pair....
>>
No. 750988 ID: 094652

Just annoy everyone. If the three of you act increasingly weird, any servants who have conflicting loyalties would consider abandoning ship. Of course, that would still leave the rubes. You could set up a public competition for jobs to fill the gaps, see what happens.
>>
No. 751136 ID: 3725ee

>>750942
Let's not upset the community of lucky weasel-things, especially since we could use this to our advantage.

If Greta is right and there WAS inside assistance from one of the D'navian servants, that's an excellent lead, especially after the party.
You can have them lightly monitored, it's quite likely that if one of them was an inside helper for the assassin that they will approach or be approached by whoever asked for their help in the first place once it becomes widely known Manarr is alive and well, and if not then you're no worse off than before and don't gain the ire of the rest of their community.
>>
No. 751146 ID: ceb7cb
751146

Don't fire them immediately, but every employee skirts a few rules they'd usually be allowed to get away with. Just keep a closer eye out and let a few go. Perhaps, you could find that this trashboy was being a little too lax in his efforts to chase out the kobold living in your trash pile?
>>
No. 753352 ID: f9400c
File 147668826436.png - (172.88KB , 728x582 , Couch.png )
753352

>Doesn't pettiness count as a sin that you can feed off of?

Pettiness isn't really a sin in and of itself, no.. though it can be related to other sins that matter. Even people with good intentions can be petty.

>I wonder how Greta would react if she found out that the reason you're here is because of her boosting Manarr's ego? It's all her fault you're here!

Given her intellect, I'm sure she is at least cursorily aware of the problem. I don't always understand these meatsack emotions, but I understand self-serving motivations well enough, and she's at most half as intelligent as me. Maybe.

If she becomes too much of a problem, I'll see about arranging her death or exile. Manarr will be a lot easier to manipulate with her gone. Maybe it's something that I should consider doing preemptively. But not right now.

>Maybe Greta will actually be flattered if you're saying her opinion is more valuable than yours.

If I thought making Manarr trust his wife more than me was in any way an idea I could get behind, I might consider it. But it is not, and their marital tension because of it might technically be my fault, but I don't care enough about their happiness to try and resolve it by undermining myself.

>>750977
>>750953
>>751136
>>751146
>>750980

I spread my arms, looking towards Greta, and she immediately tensed up, sensing the direction of my reply. "I'm going to go with Manarr here. We don't have time to get replacements with a dinner party coming up, and there might be some greater politi-"

Greta stepped forward, jabbing a finger at my chest. I didn't much care for it, or being touched in general, but I had the self control not to smack her arm away. "Politics? With fucking D'navians? Who gives a shit about what they think if we fire some of them? They're a bunch of vagabond scum and-"

"Greta, I think I may have to call your impartiality into question, here. We don't even know if these D'navians were involved-"

"Involved? Of course the shifty weasels were involved! They're always involved!"

Manarr timidly spoke up, clearly worried about drawing attention to himself right now. "Greta, dear, maybe he's right, you seem a little upset right now and I don't think-"

"One of them killed you, Manarr, how can you trust any of them?!"

Manarr fliched slightly at the rebuke, but managed to keep himself together. Was he actually afraid of his wife? Maybe I really should get rid of her soon... "Well, I know, but I just think that maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions with our staff..."

At this point, I broke in on their dysfunctional argument to add, "You know, we could at least question them, they might know something that comes out under pressure."

Manarr seemed to like that idea, and started to say something along the tune of, "Yes, let's do that!", but Greta had reached her limit at being rebuffed. She threw up her arms with a disgusted sound, and turned, storming off. "Fine, you listen to the fucking daemon instead of your wife! Don't even bother coming into the bedroom tonight, though!"

That took care of Greta, but now Manarr seemed really upset. He stood up, as if he intended to run after her, but I put a claw on his shoulder "Manarr, do you really have time to worry about your sleeping arrangements right now? We don't have a lot of time left before this dinner party."

He glanced back at me, coming to a halt and wavering at the doorway. "But she is really upset, Aeseriq. I should-"

"She is always going to be upset that you disagree with her, Manarr. Focus on the long run, and apologize later. Right now, you need to get those D'navians in here for questioning."

The merchant slumped slightly, but nodded. "Yes.. you're right, Aeseriq. I'll go get them. I guess.. I guess the guest bedroom won't be so bad.."
>>
No. 753359 ID: 5900b7

When we find the responsible there may be an opportunity to kill Greta without risking accusations. If you blame Manarr's enemies for her murderer and turns out their motivation is incompatible him and his son may suspect you, but if the criminals are the sort of people we can make deals with or our dealing with them involve the assassin guild it will be easy to plan her death and blame someone else. The priority her isn't give Manarr his revenge but prevent him to die again, if this goal can be fulfilled by less direct manner we can direct him to a escape goat.

How should we approach this d'navian? We could interrogate two more servants to disguise the fact that we suspect him for his race.
What kind of information should we prioritize? Since I don't actually suspect him as much I would prefer focusing on him been or knowing who is an informant. If he is guilt the complicity accusations may scary him and prevent our invisible eye to follow his contact. Should we mention the names of our suspect? I don't know if that would be beneficial or detrimental, but would help the d'navian community to understand the crime they fail to realize you were alluding to.
>>
No. 753368 ID: f9400c
File 147669404564.png - (19.02KB , 750x600 , Interrogation.png )
753368

>>753359

If one of them is an informant, they will know that we are looking for them. Attempting to disguise the reason we are calling them in isn't going to fool them into talking. A more strong-armed approach seems feasible to me. Most D'navians don't get jobs at manors, and I doubt they would knowingly get caught up in something that could cost them their job. It might be possible to get them to crack if I press them hard enough.
_______

It didn't take very long to get the D'navians up to the office. A few missives later and the first one arrived, dressed in the house colors and looking nervous at being called up to their employer's office. I doubt he had ever actually had a conversation with Manarr - this was a more of a houseboy than anything else, and if Manarr had ever spoken to him before, it was just to give an order. The garbage boy was even more terrified, given his lower position. When he arrived, he had a certain aroma and air of scruffiness to him. There were things that stank worse than him in the underworld, but Manarr had been living a sort of pampered lifestyle for the last few years. He soon made an excuse to go attend to other matters, covering his nose.

I leaned back against the wall, folding my arms and giving them my best penetrating look, given that they couldn't see my eyes. "Now that I have both of you here, I wish for you to answer a few questions."

The garbage boy seemed to nervous for speech right now, but the serving boy nervously asked, "Sir, have we done something wr-"

I interrupted him smoothly, keeping the cool tone to my voice. It was never good to let someone get too comfortable during an interrogation. "That is what we are going to determine, isn't it? Recent events have called into question both of your loyalty to the household."

The garbage boy timidly ventured a reply at this point. "U-uhm, I just do my job, and take out buckets of trash, was there some problem with my work?"

I glanced at him, leaning forward. He leaned back away from me as far as he could. "Well, since you asked, why was there a kobold squatting in the rubbish heap? Isn't it part of your duties to keep that tidy?"

The garbage boy looked terrified, and struggled to put together a sentence a few times, before finally managing, "W-well, I chased it away a few times, b-but it kept coming back, s-so I just thought, m-maybe it wasn't hurting a-anything?"

I made my voice disdainful, and turned away from him. "That's a poor excuse for negligence." "But I have a question for both of you. And I want you to think carefully about your answer, because lying to me could cost you more than your jobs. And I will know if you do, being a mage."

This was a bluff, of course, but I doubted D'navian lower class workers could tell a real mage from someone dressed like one, or knew much about magic. They both flinched slightly, and the serving boy began wringing his hands in his lap. I let them stew for a moment before asking my first question.

"We have reason to believe another D'navian recently visited the property. Have either of you seen him, or spoken to him?" I watched both of them closely as I spoke - I might not have lie detection abilities, but I can still spot guilt when it shows on someone's face. Nothing but continued nervous fear from either of them, though.

"No, sir. I haven't seen any others."
"No, my f-family doesn't visit me w-when I'm working here.."

I leaned closer again, scowling. "Are you sure about that?"

They both nodded, the garbage boy nervously darting glances at the door like he wanted to bolt. The serving boy had enough mental fortitude to keep my gaze, though. At this point, I was beginning to question whether they knew anything. It was possible they were lying to me, but if I pushed them hard enough - pain, for instance, is a good motivator to tell secrets - they might open up. But it might just end with me torturing a couple of unrelated D'navians, which would do little to endear our household to their families, and thus the rest of their kind. Even worse, I would end up wasting my valuable time on an unproductive lead. So, I had a choice to make, in either letting them go, or raking them across the maybe not so metaphorical coals.
>>
No. 753369 ID: 094652

Normally I'd suggest you core her brain with so many demonic possessions that she falls unconscious in her still living skull and never wakes up for the rest of her life, but it's possible she got magic implants to humiliate and distract the locals.

Ask Manarr if he wants you to turn his wife into a demon motel or just butcher her alive and feast on the... uh... fat. Be sure to touch upon it as if it were a sick joke; you are a demon after all.
>>
No. 753371 ID: 094652

>>753368
And as for Dull and Duller over here, start reminiscing about the other souls you slowly ripped apart for batteries. Don't give out any names, just talk about it as if you were an archmage-class self-taught renegade serial killer on employ from the Mafiya-Yakuza-Triad.
>>
No. 753378 ID: 5900b7

The matriarch is an ideal candidate for your patronage but she isn't indispensable. If you have any reason to believe torturing kids will help the investigations go ahead, but I remain unconvinced of their complicity.
But don't take my reluctance to resource to torture as an acceptance of their version of the events. It's a little suspicious that, wile the though you could possible detect lies, this kid was planing his escape.
Can't you cast some shadows to scary children? Seal the door and window with darkness and make some tricks that will move in the corner of their vision. Since the fear for each other safety should provide additional motivation don't separate them. If one of them give you any reason to press even further you can go as far as to reveal yourself as the magnificent deamon that you are! ...maybe that isn't the best idea.
You can also invoke authority. Pity that you didn't bother to learn the matriarch name, but revealing you talked to her should provide some sense of permissibility. At that point you can quote your suspects, and make it clear that they acted without her knowledge.
Beside all that, there are other questions to be made to the servants and they are a good starting point. Even if they are trying to protect their kind they should be sufficiently scary to denounce misbehavior from other servants.
>>
No. 753396 ID: 851cb4

I'd say let them go for now. We don't have enough to risk the loss of time. Plus, we can always call them up for more questioning if we learn something more solid to implicate either of them.
>>
No. 753399 ID: 91ee5f

>>753368
Don't torture them physically, torture them physiologically.

I know you don't care much about love, but this is one of those times you should care about love. If they love their families, then describing in great detail what will happen to them should get these two to cooperate. Sure, you don't actually know who their families are, but they don't know that. I'm sure they'll want to protect their families from you and confess.....if they know anything.
>>
No. 753859 ID: f9400c
File 147689500604.png - (22.76KB , 750x600 , intimidate.png )
753859

>Don't torture them physically, torture them physiologically.

I'm assuming you meant 'psychologically', but your feeble mortal mind confused the word you wished to use. It's alright - being an inherently flawed and inferior individual, you can't expect perfection like myself.

>It's a little suspicious that, wile the though you could possible detect lies, this kid was planing his escape.

I'm more inclined to think of that as a fear response than sign of hidden agendas. I don't think he is very intelligent - he takes out garbage. It's not a high bar to reach in life.

>>753378
>>753396
>>753399

That being said, I have to agree that questioning them further at this point would probably be fruitless, and a waste of my time. However, simply letting them walk away would possibly open the door for later issues. It is far better to instill fear in ones servants than complacency.

So, I stood up off the wall, leaning in closer to them. "While you don't seem to be lying to me, I want to make it clear to both of you that any contact or sighting of an outside D'navian should be immediately reported. Don't talk to them, and especially don't conspire with them."

The serving boy leaned back nervously, giving me an awkward, nervous smile. "Why would we do that? We just work here, sir..."

>Can't you cast some shadows to scary scare children?

I gave them a wide, toothy grin, and spread my arms. "Why, because I'd love someone to practice my magic on." I let my shadows expand out under my cloak, forming into dangerous looking shapes with eyes and teeth - elementary shadowcrafting, really, but enough to spook some young D'navians.

The garbage boy stood up, backing away from me. "L-look, we didn't do anything, w-we don't w-want-"

"Then get back to work!" I snarled at them, making the shadows lunge across the room at them. They fled the room immediately, making terrified squeaking noises. I didn't make the shadows chase them farther than the door, and they didn't look back. Hopefully, they would remember me if the assassin came around the manor again and asked for help.

With Manarr gone, and the office empty, I finally had some time to plan by myself. With the imminent dinner party - less than an hour remaining - it fell to prepare. The imps could wait until everyone was in a drunken stupor to talk to - I was not going to risk another altercation when Greta was swooping around.

As you may recall, I expressed the earlier desire to rethink my disguise - gold-lined purple is passable, but at a dinner party, everyone will be trying to outdo each other with their fashion statements. While I am by default superior to all of them, it would not hurt to add a bit more complexity to my garb, if only because any mages at the dinner party will begin wondering why I don't seem to be participating in the contest. This may cause them to begin talking to me, and aside from having to deal with tedious neophyte, under a century old magus thoughts on magic, they may asking questions about my affiliations that might be difficult to answer. I am, therefore, open to suggestions on how to improve it.
>>
No. 753872 ID: 102115

>>753859
It's risky but you could always dress in an imitation of that exaggerated assassins's outfit Manarr's assailant wore, see if it provokes any telling reactions during the party.
>>
No. 753908 ID: 91ee5f

>>753859
>I'm assuming you meant 'psychologically', but your feeble mortal mind confused the word you wished to use. It's alright - being an inherently flawed and inferior individual, you can't expect perfection like myself.
Damn you autocorrect! >.<
>>
No. 753910 ID: 93ee43

You are a demon of unlimited resources right?

Spike up that costume entirely, dump the purple robe with gold and make it the most outlandishly expensive looking thing in the room.

If you look like the most amazing, fantastical awesome mage in the room people will want to talk to you.

It'll increase Mnnar's standing and may draw out people to talk to you and jokey around you.

Sashes, jewels, sequins and robes spun of metallic fibres. Go to town and be the centre of the party.
>>
No. 753944 ID: 91ee5f

>>753910
Wait! I know Aeseriq deserves to be the best dressed at the party, but don't you think that's too much? If he wears all of that, then everyone will want to talk to him and I'm pretty sure he said he doesn't want to talk to anyone. He needs to dress up just enough that he fits in and doesn't stand out so much that everyone wants to talk to him.
>>
No. 754005 ID: 8d65de

Make it fancy but not as fancy as Manarrs it would just give Greta more to whine about. Boss you should try not draw that much attention to your self do to who might be at the party but you should still dress fancy.
>>
No. 755104 ID: f9400c
File 147734512188.png - (20.57KB , 750x600 , Party.png )
755104

>>753872
>>753910
>>753944
>>754005

I don't think dressing as an garish assassin would be a good idea for trying to blend in, but I think I will add a cape to the robes, at least. And they could do with a bit more color variety and design. Fortunately, I already know the best color design template that is physically possible in this visible light spectrum.

By the time I finished enhancing my outfit to something both less garish and more appealing - with the aid of a mirror - I realized that the party was about to start. Since Manarr had not burst into the room telling me to hurry, I assumed he was already there, busy awaiting the guests, and I headed to the dining hall myself.

A formal dinner party in the current society of this city is a three phase ordeal. First, after all the guests arrive and are greeted personally by the host there is a period of socialization. The guests mingle and small bite sized food items are distributed, along with small, fancy glasses of drink. Gossip is exchanged and the upper crust of society forms into little cliques depending on their current alliances or business interests, with occasional wanderers who oscillate between different groups to make sure that everyone notices them.

Once the social period is over, everyone is seated in places that were predetermined by the host. There is a whole tedious affair regarding the positioning of the party guests in proximity to the host, with care not to place allies or enemies too far away to be insulting or show fear. I guarantee Greta handled the entire seating arrangement, but beyond that I also have no interest in pondering it too deeply. Manarr will then give a speech followed by a toast, while the food is being served.

After the toast, the mortals will begin consuming the food, trying not to appear too hungry or interested in it, for fear of seeming desperate or gluttonous or any other number of things that only upper class mortals care about regarding their public images. Then, everyone stops eating once the feast formally ends, and they depart, sometimes offering gifts. Not all of the gifts are actually compliments, and some art intended as insults. I doubt they would give Manarr anything openly dangerous in front of all the other guests, though, so I have written out a trap as a low probability.

So it was that I found myself standing stoically at a table, back to the wall. I had been given something sort of liquid in a tiny, fancy glass by one of the servants, but I had no intention of drinking or eating any mortal comestibles at this party, so I just held it there in my hand, ignoring the offending liquid. Nearby, a couple of merchants talked loudly about their insipid affairs, dragging me unwillingly into their conversation by my excellent hearing.

".. and the profits this quarter have gone up by about a third in my south-end trade office."

"Yes, I was surprised at the increased market value of flaxenweed fabric this season. I do not have much of an investment in it, but I wonder if it is too late to get into the market now."

"Well, better sooner than later. You may not get as much out of fabric sales as the rest of us that started in it, but unless the market bubble pops in the next couple weeks, there's still time to make a deal."

"I assume that the wholesalers are having trouble keeping up with the demand already, though, so..."


This was the most quiet, secluded part of the room, and it was probably because of these two talking. While I am an immortal personification of sin above concern for mortal affair, I found myself longing for death.

Their deaths, not mine, of course.

I needed a better plan than lurking in this corner, though, because a brutal double murder of two merchants by way of intensely bored, impatient daemon would cause issues in my future plans.
>>
No. 755109 ID: 5900b7

I don't know, the fabric stock market sound fascinating! We may not have capital to benefit from the continuo grow but we could arrange some deals with the main investors to cause a crisis. All we would need to do is convince them to sell their actions simultaneously for a self fulfillment prophesy of decay and spice the problem by either saturating the market or reducing the demand (damaging some fabrics, for example).

Jokes aside, we have inconspicuous spies to hear the gossip, there is little reason for you to stay in corner wishing to be elsewhere. But you know that already: if you though your presence wasn't necessary you wouldn't be here. Find someone less boring, and hopefully well informed, and socialize. That way you will have opportunities to press for pertinent information and maybe find candidates for your patronage.
>>
No. 755283 ID: 094652

Annoy the HELL out of them. Gobble the entire appetizer tray that they were eyeing to hoard but couldn't nom in public. Act drunk and spread rumors about your rivals. Summon some of your minions and tie some shoelaces.
>>
No. 755356 ID: 5042bf

I see two options. Move nearer to where the hosts are and see what comes up.

Or the one more pro-active where you must engage with the mages. Mayby use racism as a way to get information by scoffing at who has been stupid enough to deal with D'navians recently.
>>
No. 755468 ID: 93ee43

Move closer to Manarr and Greta, anything important that said is going to be directed at them.

Probably as veiled barbs or insinuated threats. You're imps will be watching people the little people. You need to pay attention to the big players.

Also drink the drink!
You will draw attention to yourself if you just stand there not drinking it. OR eating, you are going to have to eat at the banquet too.

Otherwise your plans will fail, everyone will know something weird is up with you if you don't eat.
>>
No. 755470 ID: 91ee5f

>>755468
Agree with all of this.
>>
No. 755506 ID: f9400c
File 147750308816.png - (25.29KB , 750x600 , Socialize.png )
755506

>Drink and eat

Ugh. No one is keeping track of what I'm eating right now, so I'm going to put that off as long as possible. I may be forced to pretend to eat at the actual dinner, but right now I feel comfortable in my ability to put this unpleasant experience under consideration as a future problem.

>>755109
>>755356
>>755468
>>755470

I suppose keeping an eye on Manarr is a good idea. I abandoned the fabric market conversation gladly, making my way towards the crowds. It didn't take long to spot Manarr, as he was at the center of the activity - at least he was capable of being a host, despite his other limitations. My path to him was interrupted, however, as a different khal accosted me. I could tell this one was nobility from his garb and hairstyle - I didn't recognize them, but the shades of orange indicated he was from the family of one of Manarr's business rivals, Jattin. Given his obvious mild intoxication and young age, they were probably an impulsive child or nephew sent as a subtle insult. At some point, they would probably cause a scene that would embarrass Manarr. This might or might have been planned extensively beforehand with Jattin.

I might be overthinking this, though. Maybe he was just trying to indulge himself - for some reasons, not every action mortals take is part of some grander scheme spanning many hours or years of planning.

He stepped in front of me, sloshing some of his wine as he swayed slight. "Heeey, you. I don't r.. recognize you. What're those colors? Don't recognize your guild."

I stopped, considering pushing past him, but decided just talking to him would be less disruptive. "I am not with any guild in this town. I am visiting from afar at-"

He winked at me, swirling his wine glass. "Oh, sure. From afar, that's the ticket. I mean, I guess you're a mage or something, yeah?"

"Something li-"

The khal interrupted me again, grinning and pointing up at me. "C'ept mages don't usually h-hic... hide their identity, do they?"

He was starting get annoyingly perceptive. I started to speak, but he raised a hand, continuing his monologue. "No, no. Come on, I'm not gonna out you, but let's g.. get real here. I'm lookin' right up your hood, and I can't see your face. S'obvious yer hiding it with magic. So tell me what's goin' on, eh?"

I shook my head slowly, suppressing a sigh. "I'm afraid that's business between myself and Manarr. I am here at his invitation, for advisory purposes. Now, if I could g-"
>>
No. 755507 ID: f9400c
File 147750309381.png - (23.29KB , 750x600 , Rude.png )
755507

Before I could excuse myself, another khal inserted himself in the conversation, carrying a handful of tiny cakes or breads. This one was one I knew personally, and he was a merchant like Manarr. My pawn might have his share of mental faculty limitations, but he was not nearly as irritating as Vheel. The merchant joined the conversation without invitation or preamble, and immediately launched into a string of inane gossip. With swallowing the food in his mouth.

"Manarr? Gosh, disshu hear bout whut happenth?" He swallowed, mercifully, but not before getting crumbs all over my robes. I seethed silently with the effort of repressed violent annoyance. "Yeah, I heard someone attacked him this morning! Someone broke into this mansion and stole a bunch from his vault, then assaulted him when they were leaving! Have you heard anything about that?"

It was obvious that he was looking for more details on this distorted rumor he had heard about Manarr's murder. At least it didn't involve Manarr dying and being raised. It might come out eventually, but it would be best if for the party, at least, not many people knew about it except the presumed culprits.

The young nobleman took a drink from his wine glass, trying to insert as much nonchalance in the gesture as possible. "Oh, I heard something like that. That's probably why Manarr hired this 'secret' mage here, to investigate. Why don't you ask him more about it, I'm sure he's filled in on all the sordid details." The noble winked at me, turning and starting to walk away. "In any case, I have other people to talk to. I'm sure you can entertain yourselves without Dennit here."

Vheel immediately began bombarding me with more questions and crumbs, and I did not want to talk to him. I needed to think of a way to shake him off without throwing him across the room, which was seeming more and more feasible and acceptable by the moment.

It really was a smooth retaliatory snub by Dennit, though. Sometimes I wish I worked with more nobles. They just understand politics better.
>>
No. 755512 ID: 094652

You're a pride demon.

HUMILIATE THEM.
>>
No. 755513 ID: 4569ad

Feed this guy a few juicy lies that sound good, and let that rumor mill spin on. Then excuse yourself and ask Manarr about this Dennit fellow. For someone who appears quite the lush he seems a little too good at these social mind games. I can't even tell if he kept interrupting you because he's rude, or if he didn't want to give you the chance to lead the conversation.
>>
No. 755538 ID: 5900b7

Assuming everything you noticed is true (why wouldn't it be?) this Jattin is young, ambitious, indiscrete, smart and he annoys you. He is perfect! Let's keep him.
Can you imagine: our contact inside a rival family, the insignificant relative that gain a meteoric ascension between their ranks causing conflict that, with the right influence, may be resolved in the most sinful manner. And since his presence is an offense, he isn't curious about the recent gossip, he was quick to read you as an investigator and decided to disrupt said job, his family is current the main suspect in the "reading the party reaction" plan. Contacting the assassins behind Manarr's back is a valid way to solve this problem.
I say you should stuck behind this young man, probe his ambitions with indirect questions, and find a way to tantalize him. As a bonus you may be taking away his opportunity of causing a scene.

About Vheel: You didn't told us you had other contacts in this region. Who is he? How do you know him? Does he recognize you?
In any case he isn't useful right now. Tell him he has been misinformed about you and you are not the person to ask those questions. Also offer him an appointment at a later date is he is interested in your services. By leaving all relevant information vague I doubt he will wish to waste time with undetermined services that may cost a lot and doesn't have any immediately usefulness, making said waste of time unappealing enough to end the conversation.
>>
No. 755562 ID: 8d65de

>>755538 Well he has the right idea boss.
>>
No. 755736 ID: 93ee43

I'd say we just fond a new lead to investigate. I have a nasty suspicion that young Jattin noble knows more then he is letting on.

Spin some rumours for mr annoying then follow him and maybe press a bit longer.
>>
No. 756225 ID: f9400c
File 147789953877.png - (23.31KB , 750x600 , Huffpuff.png )
756225

>About Vheel: You didn't told us you had other contacts in this region. Who is he? How do you know him? Does he recognize you?

I make a point of knowing my summoner's political enemies in most situations involving long-term manipulation. It would be frankly irresponsible of me to know know who are potential assets and enemies should problems arise. That being said, my actual contact with them has been limited - I have seen many of them but very rarely participated in actual conversations with them. I doubt that Vheel is going to remember the stranger lurking in an alleyway watching him while he walked through a marketplace months back, if he even noticed me at all. Not to mention the other times that I personally gathered information on his behavior and activities.

As for who he is, Vheel is a prominent spice merchant with many vices - most of which involve food and intoxicants - and little skill in social circles. He is outside my usual sphere of interest, and were he at all predisposed to daemon summoning, I would expect him to find a gluttony daemon and overindulge even further than he already does. But he doesn't, and he hasn't, so I do not even get to associate him with the vague amusement of occasionally meeting an fellow daemon near to - but still below, of course - my level to converse with about how dumb our summoners are. Everything about him is just obnoxious, and I have no desire to further feed his wish to talk to me.

>>755512

On the other hand, few mortals are completely without a sense of pride, and I knew a few points about his that were still sore. I restrained my disgust at him spewing food all over my robes and brushed it off, giving him a small, fake smile. "No, but I heard a much more amusing story about the Zephyr. Sunken by pirates, wasn't it? Dreadful fortune, I'd say."

The merchant froze, choking slightly on his mouthful of food. His bulging eyes made me hope for a moment he might suffocated, but managed to cough his throat clear. I smoothly continued as he hadn't reacted at all. "I hope whoever was storing goods on that ship managed to salvage some of it. Imagine, all that wealth, carried off by pirates, or laying on the sea floor. Maybe someone should mount a recovery expedition."

I smiled again, leaving him to splutter angrily after me. It was, of course, a well known 'secret' that the Zephyr had been carrying a large amount of Vheel's wealth in trade goods when it had been attacked and sunken on route to Behne. Being a spice merchant, his goods did not fare well after being submerged in salt water, and the entire affair was a dreadful loss to his business interests.

It was good to remind Vheel about it. Convincing Manarr to secretly hire privateers to sink the trade galleon was turning out to benefit my interests too.

>>755513
>>755562
>>755736

No, Jattin is an aging, arrogant noble with a hand in the precious metals industry, of supposedly impeccable heritage that can be traced back to some old king or other I can't be bothered to remember the name of. Dennit, however, is probably related to him, and can be described with the words you used there. I know names aren't as fundamentally tied to mortals as they are to us daemons, but try to keep track of them.

Having shaken off the spice merchant, I quickly caught up with Dennit. He wasn't really hurrying, so it was not a difficult task. I put a claw on his shoulder, stalling his leisurely retreat. "Hold on a moment... Dennit, was it? I think we should talk."

He stopped, glancing back at me with a smug sort of look, like he had been expecting me to run after him, and took another drink from his wine glass. I decided to let his satisfaction at feeling he had manipulated me slide, and not be baited by it. "Oh, you do? I was under the impression you didn't want to talk. Perhaps my charm has captivated you?"

I rolled my eyes behind my obscuring hood, and kept my claw on his shoulder, tightening it slightly. "Or maybe I have a job to do, and want to ask you a few questions."

He beamed at me, spreading his arms, and downed the rest of his wine, managing to placing the empty wine glass deftly on a passing servant tray without looking. "Oh my, am I to be interrogated, then? My uncle will surely be surprised to know I was dragged into a back room for questioning after being invited to a formal dinner party."

I let go of his shoulder, shaking my head slightly, but he kept going. "Will there be a rack involved, or are you just going to be rough with me? I've never been accosted by an inquisitorial professional, I'm not sure how to prepare for-"

I raised an arm, baring my teeth slightly in annoyance. How he could be so exasperatingly flippant in the same breath they used to namedrop their political allies was either a result of his confidence or inebriated state. Possibly both. "Enough. You've already made your point, Dennit. But why are you here?"

The noble reached the neck of his garment and pulled out a pale blue envelope, waving it around carelessly. "But you know that, don't you? I'm here on behalf of House Jattin, at my uncle's request! Surely you knew that from my choice of house colors, investigator!"

"Obviously, but-"

"Ah ah! Obviously you want to know my ulterior motives, and what kind of plans I have. Well, that's not the sort of thing we should be talking about with a spice merchant hanging over your shoulder, should we?"

I didn't need to look behind me to tell Vheel was still fuming and glaring at me. I could still hear him angrily chewing on his little bread cake things. "Do you wish to talk somewhere else, then? Where?"

The noble looked around the hall, raising an eyebrow and winking at me. "You know the place better than me, I'm sure. Don't you have a more private place to talk?"

It was at this point that I caught a whiff of magic in the air. Almost all khal have some degree of magical affinity, though the noble families are a bit better at it than most. Khal magic had a certain smell to it, though - at least, that's the best analogue I can come up with, since they don't have the same set of senses as I do. I've never heard of a khal noticing another's magic without actively seeing be used it or using their own to detect it, though. Either way, Dennit was doing something, and it was subtle enough that I hadn't detected it until he began actively using it against me. It was some sort of low level persuasion-based aura, probably designed to make other khal more likely to trust him, along with a hint of emotion calming. Not being khal, I felt no extra affinity for him. But I had to decide whether to play along with whatever his game was, or call him out on it.

I don't think he would be attempting this against me, as someone whom he thinks is a professional mage, unless he had a plan. I'm all for encouraging deadly arrogance in the younger generation of mortals, but not if I think it will impede my future works. This plan might result an interesting revelation about his motives, or just be to lure me away from being able to protect Manarr. I'm fairly certain no one is going to make an attempt openly at this party, but mortals can be unpredictable and carelessly arrogant at any age.
>>
No. 756238 ID: 5900b7

I know he is arrogant, but to participate in a murder attempt at the mercy of the a mage? Think about it: he doesn't know you are a summon, from his perspective he would be alone with an unidentified mage at the time the owner of the house is killed in a room full of people. How would he expect to escape this situation?
Maybe there is an alternative explanation for his eagerness to go with you to a private room under the influence of his magical charm. Have you considered this may be the excuse he was looking for to look around the house? A very manageable scenario considering how easily you can perceive his magic and overpower him if necessary.
>>
No. 756266 ID: 4569ad

It's possible he's just a distraction. Get us to take him out of the room, so the real culprit can get the job done while the investigator is out of the room. We probably shouldn't leave the room, but he is too valuable of a lead to let go if he is meant as a distraction. We need to find a quiet corner still in the room.

Also, I love the look on Vheel's face. He looks like he wants to deck you, but social grace has left him standing there stewing in his own impotent rage instead.
>>
No. 756345 ID: 91ee5f

>Gluttony daemon.
Sure it would be nice to talk to a daemon, but think about it. The entire time you're talking to that daemon, they'll be stuffing their face and constantly spitting food crumbs all over you, which'll be even worse than what Vheel did to you! Plus, the gluttony daemon will constantly be telling you, "This is so good! Here, you should try some!" no matter how many times you say, "No!" So, to be honest, I really hope you don't find one of those guys to talk with.
>>
No. 756612 ID: 93ee43

Do not leave the room

It's too obvious a trap,
he's away in another room talking with you, a perfect alibi when Manarr keels over choking from poison YOU could have cured....

It's too risky
Expose his use of magic on you and then leave him and let's go see the other guests and keep an eye on the old summoner
>>
No. 757434 ID: f9400c
File 147859195587.png - (17.63KB , 750x600 , Press.png )
757434

>>756345

Bah, you are probably right. It would be difficult to get along with anyone who cannot match my austere standards. Still, I would find some amusement in knowing Vheel's damnation was assured.

>>756238
>>756266
>>756612

Very well, there is no reason to indulge his desires to think he has seduced me into doing what he wishes. However, I think that some subtlety, at least, is required here. Rather than call him out on the spot, I led him away from the main crowds, before casually but firmly guiding him into a wall in one of the corners, trapping him there without actually manhandling him - assaulting nobility caused more problems than it helped, unless no one was around to witness it.

He smirked up at me, folding his arms. "Hey, slow down there. I know I'm handsome, but there's a certain formality involved in romance, my friend. At least introduce yourself first~!"

I bared my teeth at him, which in my experience seemed to be body language even the khal nobility understood. "Enough. We both know what you're trying here, how about you cut that aura and stop trying to entice me."

Dennit chuckled, but didn't stop smirking up at me. "You're not much for subtlety, are you? I guess you must come from common stock, to be so direct with your accusations. So let me fill you in on something." The noble took another glass of wine from a servant he had motioned over, swirling it in the glass. "If you want to back up a claim against me like that, you'll need more than a vague testimony that I tried to.. what was it you said.. entice you?"

"I don't need to make any claim against you, Dennit. I just wanted you to know that I've seen you, and will be keeping an eye on you for the rest of the party. Don't try anything."
>>
No. 757435 ID: f9400c
File 147859202670.png - (18.38KB , 750x600 , Time.png )
757435

Dennit continued to look unperturbed by my threats, but even if I was scaring him, he was probably too well bred to let it show. Instead of answering, he took another drink of wine, before drawling, "If you say so, nameless mage. But perhaps you might back away from me now. Your assertive stance is starting to draw eyes."

I turned back slightly, and saw several nearby people had noticed our conversation, and were starting to whisper among each other. Dennit gave me a wink, and turned his charm spell onto an obnoxiously powerful level, perhaps trying to catch me off guard. "You could always kiss me, if you're looking for a graceful excuse for being so aggressive. You wouldn't be the first to be drawn in by my stunni-"

Thankfully, his entertainingly arrogant monologue was interrupted by the chime of a bell several times, that echoed through the dining hall. That meant the social period had ended, and people were to be shown to their assigned seats to prepare for the meal. Dennit looked startled by the interruption, and his spell faltered. I gave him a smirk and backed away, leaving the noble leaning back against the wall. For the first time, he looked a little put out, probably because he had lost control of his cocky facade.

Maybe he had an interest in me beyond trying to lure me away from Manarr as a trap, but understanding mortal minds was a difficult prospect under most circumstances. Maybe he simply wanted to see if he could compete with a mage in a battle of wills? If so, he picked a poor target to play against.
>>
No. 757451 ID: 398fe1

>>757435
Or maybe he actually wanted to charm you, and get some sloppy makeouts in before dinner.
>>
No. 757461 ID: 34c437

He may have picked a poor target but by the way you acted he probable consider himself victorious in this petty competition. There is one thing he is right about: You do lack subtlety.
We can deal with Dennit latter. If nothing else he is an exceedingly prideful specimen. We just need to figure a way to integrate the tension you two develop in our strategy of recruitment.
For now you can play body guard for Manarr.
>>
No. 757470 ID: 93ee43

That was a little aggressive and people will be talking about you now. That isn't a good way to remain in the background.

Manarr and dinner will be the dangerous moment. If anyone is to poison him again it'll be then. So be extra vigilant and check what Manarr is eating.
>>
No. 757494 ID: 91ee5f

It seems like he was only trying to flirt with you. Apparently, he thought seducing the big mysterious mage would be something worth bragging about.

Maybe you can use this? If you kiss him, can you put him under your influence? Then you can manipulate him into-no, wait, you're not a lust daemon, never mind.

But I think you should still do something to him. When he walks away, could you subtly use your shadows to trip him? If you can get him to spill his drink on someone that is more important than him, it'll humiliate him. Or you could just have him fall into the food as it's being served, then everyone will be upset at him for ruining all the food and starving them.
>>
No. 757505 ID: 350a50

>>757494
Yeah, subtly trip him as he leaves, at the worst possible time.
>>
No. 757892 ID: f9400c
File 147889758911.png - (26.64KB , 750x600 , Trip.png )
757892

>>757451
>>757494

That would be something extremely unlikely to happen without a powerful strategic reason, but I suppose I will take it as a compliment that even while disguised, my intense personal appeal has caught the attention of an impulsive young noble.

>>757461
>>757470
>>757505

Subtle isn't as effective when telling someone they need to stop doing something, unfortunately. The decision was made to out his charm aura, and as he had already begun spreading a rumor that I was some sort of investigator or bodyguard, a little assertiveness should not be amiss. I headed to the main dining area, where little glasses of wine were already being passed out to all the guests, and Manarr was standing, talking to the general crowd. It wasn't hard to spot where my seat was, and the terrible fake name was almost certainly his idea, because Greta would have come up with something less silly. Greta, of course, glared at me from across the table as I sat, having not forgotten our earlier argument. Let her glare.

I smelled a bit of magic around Manarr as he begun quietly preparing something, and recognized a mnemonic spell he used whenever he was going to make a speech. His wife usually wrote his speeches, or at the very least, helped him plan them, then he used this spell to recall it so it looked like he was making the speech up on the spot. I would not be surprised if it was a common tactic among anyone in khal society with enough magic talent who needs to make a speech. Right now, he was just talking to the guests as they arrived and sat down at their assigned seats.

"And let me say, it's good to see so many of you turn up on short notice. I guess all the snacks and wine-" He broke off at a yelp from behind him, as Dennit stumbled over his own feet and definitely not his shadow rising up and tripping him while everyone could see. The timing of this fall was, of course, entirely coincidental and not premeditated by some nefarious third party. "Ha hah! It looks like young Dennit has been enjoying the wine a little bit too much, perhaps! I hope those weren't your best clothes, Dennit!" The rest of the guests all laughed as the young noble got back to his feet again, his orange robes now stained with wine. It wasn't a friendly sort of laugh - they all enjoyed seeing Dennit humiliate himself, and it would probably become local gossip about how Jattin's nephew had embarrassed him before the next morning.

A terrible shame for him. If only he hadn't drunken so much wine at the party. For some reason, as he scurried out of the dining hall to lingering chuckles and jeers, probably to get a change of clothing, Greta looked even more annoyed with me. Perhaps she had heard of my earlier encounter with Dennit and drawn some awful, completely false and scandalous conclusions about his fall.

Either way, she didn't say anything, and Manarr looked about ready to begin his speech. The guests save our recent absentee were all seated now, and waiting for him to begin.
>>
No. 757894 ID: 094652

And now, we wait.

If no assassins show up, get one of your demons to honk Greta. Or something silly.
>>
No. 757899 ID: 209c3d

Wow, Greta is staring daggers at you. You know, where we come from the right hand of the host is a more enviable position than the left. Is it the same or opposite for Khal society?
>>
No. 757901 ID: 91ee5f

>>757892
Oh, my. I wonder how that happened? It must've been the wine. It is certainly an amusing sight! Hee hee hee!

>Greta's stare.
Just shrug your shoulders like you're nonverbally saying, "I've got no idea how that happened." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

>Plates.
Uh oh. Looks like you're going to have to eat stuff in order to look "normal" in front of the guests.

>Aeseriq's name card.
How do you know that wasn't Greta's idea? She could've done it because she knows it bugs you on how bad that fake name is.

Speaking of name cards, is there a reason Manarr's name card is glowing? Or does it just have blue around the edges to signify that he's important to everyone else?
>>
No. 757904 ID: 398fe1

>>757892
I don't suppose there's any way you can guard against poison? Someone could have laced his glass with poison earlier, or his plate or silverware.
>>
No. 757913 ID: 350a50

Watch the guests' expressions closely during the speech to get a read on their reactions.
>>
No. 758996 ID: 93ee43

Humiliating him like that may have been a bad idea. He will be even more pissed off with you now and liable to make a move against you. Which is a distraction.

Again you really need to focus on the food, if someone is going to strike it will be with poison now.
>>
No. 759018 ID: 34c437

Let's hope something happen, otherwise you will be listening to Manarr's speech for no reason.
Can you identify poison as easily as you detect magic?

Now that you had your petty revenge, do you know how will you approach Dennit for your immoral offer? If you try to apologize he may think you are disingenuous, if you double down the rivalry dynamic he may be less receptive after the last incident.
>>
No. 759086 ID: 350a50

>>758996
When it becomes personal, they're more likely to make an irrational decision and slip up.

It was also very (hypocritically) satisfying.
>>
No. 759782 ID: f9400c
File 147949097406.png - (210.04KB , 728x582 , Speech.png )
759782

>>757899

Traditionally, ones spouse or heir sits to the left, but Manarr's son isn't at the party, so it was Greta's place. A trusted friend or ally is placed to the right.

>Manarr's name card

It's just decorated a little better because he is the host. Gives him a bit of extra significance on the arrangements.

>eat stuff

The food won't come until after the speech, fortunately. I shall begin steeling myself for the ordeal.

>>758996
>>759086

Dennit has no particular reason to suspect me of tripping him. It's possible he might deduce someone did it intentionally, and decide I was responsible, but that seems unlikely. I'm not worried about it, either way.

>>757904

I can't detect poison in and of itself, no - some poisons have a distinct smell, but a lot more are designed to be odorless for entirely logical reasons. Unless it's magical poison, and I don't smell any of that. That doesn't mean it's not poisoned, though how they could have poisoned his wine glass that was just brought out minutes ago or a bottle of wine that was unsealed until it began being served is uncertain. Not impossible, but uncertain.

>>757913

As this was a reasonable course of action, I tuned out Manarr's speech, which was currently mentioning the prosperity of his house or something, looking at the guests without turning towards them. It was a useful trick, possible because I could see through my own shadow-robes, and they could not see where my eyes were looking in return. Almost all of the ten present guests them were looking at Manarr as he talked, waiting patiently for the speech to finish, so they could have the toast and begin eating. Some of them were interested, others were bored. Vheel, greedy as he was, had already drunk the wine he was provided, and was looking anywhere else but at Manarr. He began tugging awkwardly at the collar of his shirt, as if trying to loosen it, looking increasingly uncomfortable about something, and tapping a finger against the table. The tablecloth muffled the noise to the point where only person to his right, Lady Denth, turned away from their host to give him a polite, concerned smile. It was very peculiar behavior, but Vheel wasn't very good at being subtle. Maybe this was his attempt at a poker face in the hopes that no one would notice he had breached protocol by drinking his wine before the end of the speech. It could also have other meanings, I'm not always a good read at mortal emotions.
>>
No. 759814 ID: 91ee5f

>>759782
>Vheel
Wow, the fat guy drank his wine before he was supposed to. At least he's waiting for Manarr to finish before swallowing. He's probably just hoping no one other than Lady Denth noticed his mistake.

Aeseriq, don't forget you also have to drink the wine at the end of Manarr's speech.

Does anyone else in the crowd stand out to you?
>>
No. 759897 ID: 34c437

As impolite as he was for drinking during the speech, not even Vheel would be so disrespectful of social protocols to drool and call attention to himself at a moment like this. No, he is feeling ill. Obviously he doesn't fear for his life, if he were he would do more than just tapping his finger, but his concerns are growing.
It could be that in his fast consumption of the liquid he simply choked, but at moments like this it's justifiable a little paranoid. If his wine were poisoned the culprit either target all guests or sent the poison to the wrong person.
Vheel well-being isn't our concerns, so let's opt for discretion this time. Pass a message to Greta under the table: "Vheel is choking. Wine may be poisoned."
>>
No. 759900 ID: 66014d

> Vheel drank the wine, looked away, tugging his shirt
HE'S SIGNALING! THERE'S AN ASSASSIN!!!
>>
No. 759909 ID: 91ee5f

>>759897
>>759900
Before we jump to conclusions like that, how about looking around the room and not just the people at the tables? Maybe even looking above Manarr to see if someone is hiding up there?
>>
No. 759915 ID: 5042bf

He's signaling that he is dying. Either he's choking on a canape or someone poisoned everyone's glasses. Mouth blood or spilled wine, either way he needs that mortal air thing.

Let's not let hosts allies die however annoying when in presence of everyone. Walk over, ask if he's choking. If yes try in order: 1. Bend him over slap back 2. grab him behind below chest and pull. 3. Open mouth pull tongue see if canape is found. 4. Don't show too much enjoyment. Grab knife and place fingers slightly behind the point as stoppers. Stab cartilage under the throat lump. Shove tea spoon handle sideways in the wound. Done.

Last one can even save in case of poisoning if the lungs are not paralyzed. Do it, no targeting what is yours under this roof.
>>
No. 759916 ID: f9400c
File 147950753496.png - (24.53KB , 750x600 , Smack.png )
759916

>>759897
>>759909

The speech Manarr was giving tended towards the longwinded, so I had time to survey the room for other threats. There was nowhere for an assassin to hide other than on the ceiling itself, and while certain spells could accomplish that, I didn't see anyone up there. I turned my gaze back to the room in general, and saw nothing else suspicious. Everyone was looking at Manarr, like before.

"... an era of excellent prosperity ahead of all of us, if..."

I tuned out the speech again, and looked back to Vheel. His distress was more plainly visible now, and he had started lightly rubbing a finger against his throat, his attempt at a casual expression becoming strained. Lady Denth's polite smile faltered as she began to suspect something was wrong, and opened her mouth to say something.

"... and so, a toast to all of us, for the future!"

There wasn't time left, and Manarr was already raising his glass and ending the speech. I sent a hissing whisper into both Manarr and his wife through their shadows, which sounded roughly like I was talking to them from right next to their ear. "Stop." Greta dropped her glass of wine in alarm, less from the warning and more from it having startled her, having my voice suddenly in her ear, and Manarr hesitated. The rest of the guests downed their wine without noticing the issue. All three of us could immediately could tell something was wrong, and, seeing Manarr hadn't dropped his wine glass I helpfully stood up and smacked the cup out of Manarr's hand, just in case.
>>
No. 759921 ID: f9400c
File 147950792397.png - (20.62KB , 750x600 , Gag.png )
759921

It was one of the more quiet mass murders I'd seen. Usually there are screams, or at least moans of shock and pain. I've worked with tyrants who put their competitors or political opponents to death at dinner parties, it was a classic move for a reason. I only wish I could take credit for providing the idea to Manarr. Whoever had arranged this had wanted it to be fast and not cause enough uproar to alert the guards in place outside the dining area. Whatever poison was used, it had quickly sealed their throats shut, and most of them were unable to make more than a soft wheeze. Most of the noise came from them knocking aside plates and glasses or toppling chairs, which itself was muffled by the lush carpeting. The guests showed an array of reactions to suddenly suffocating, and I found it interesting that the nobility showed far less restraint when they were in danger than the merchants did. The duke of Vethin stood up, hugging his chest, and trying to cough or vomit up the wine in a silent struggle before slumping to the floor. Vheel, ironically, was the last one to go, and had stood up, trying to say something to Manarr, before sliding back down into his chair and faceplanting into his plate.

In the end, it was just us three at the head of the table and Lady Denth, who looked around at the bodies with a kind of shellshocked expression and shakily put down her wine glass, with the delicacy of someone expecting it to explode. Then she turned a terrified glance up at her hosts, and then to the nearest exit, keenly aware of her status as the only survivor of what looked like a mass political assassination. She seemed too terrified to stand up and make a run for it yet, but she would probably make a break for the door if anyone made a sudden move. I wasn't concerned about her health or mental well-being, obviously, but I had an strong intuition if she escaped she would probably level charges against us for grand murder. Everyone sat frozen, waiting for someone to act.
>>
No. 759927 ID: cdddb5

"Given that I just had to smack Manarr's glass out of his hand lest he fall prey to this poison, I think our innocence in this foul manner is ironclad. More concerning is the fact that someone clearly has planned to murder many nobles at this party and will be no doubt displeased at our survival, Lady Denth."
Is that Dennit fellow at the table or did he leave earlier for some reason?
>>
No. 759936 ID: 398fe1

>>759921
Tell Denth to stop, stop her yourself if she tries to escape. Shouldn't be hard for you. You can either convince her that everyone here was supposed to die, or you can force her to drink the poisoned wine so that she can't cause any trouble for you.

Find out who brought in the wine, and the glasses, to find out who had access to them. Also figure out what poison it was. Is there an alchemist on staff?
>>
No. 759943 ID: 384d90

"Looks like we noticed it at the same time. I guess we can thank Vheel for unwittingly saving our lives."
>>
No. 759953 ID: 66014d

Whoever did this is probably watching.

Make them watch YOU. As in, you the inhuman murder monster who is hiding behind a hood and can change their appearance at will.

"... NICE. I wonder who's playing the long game. Graze-It? Bus-Stallion? Well in any case, all our regular rivals are dead and the wimp is at our mercy for a deep butt-@#$%ing, so we're ready to step it up. Greta, would you be a dear and tit@#$% all the dead douchebags lying there on the table? Manarr, you may begin petty gloating at surviving death again. Miss Denth, kindly stay in one place or I will personally collect the remaining wine and force-feed it to starving orphans, then leave you stuck in the same room as they claw their way at you. Meanwhile, I will check on the servants and make sure none of the innocent ones die. It just costs so much to consign their souls to the eldritch void so that when our usual rivals - oh I'm sorry, our usual coliseum betting friends - reconstruct them they get a shambling mass of various diseases, both in tentacles and in thoughts."

Then, just to let it sink in, pretend to take a sip of wine.
>>
No. 759954 ID: 34c437

Lady Denth won't be going anywhere. If you must restrain her movement, but don't waste too much time. By her reaction we have little reason to suspect her, so let Greta and Manarr checking her side of the events. Just make sure they will lock themselves in a room with a trusted bodyguard, one of your summons if you think it's necessary.
The assassin can be an employer, an infiltrator or one of the absents guests. We can interrogate the workers later, if it's one of them or an infiltrator your spies will be effective in locate anyone sneaking around.
For now you should focus on the absent guests. Check with Greta what guests besides Dennit weren't present for the speech. Proceed to locate and secure them in private rooms, leaving Dennit for last because he at least have an excuse for his absence.
>>
No. 759957 ID: 350a50

Huh, by tripping Dennit and making him leave we accidentally saved his life.

>>759943
This.
>>
No. 759960 ID: 91ee5f

The fact that all of the wine from before everyone sat down wasn't poisoned and now all of the wine suddenly is poisoned makes me think the assassin either wanted everyone dead or didn't want to risk poisoning one random drink and hoped that was Manarr's drink.

Aeseriq, do you think you could identify the poison if you tasted the drink? Wait, now that I think about it, would you die if you drank poison or would it not effect you?

Also, maybe since you saved her life, Greta will stop watching you all the time? Which will give you some much needed "breathing room" so that you can do things, like have secret meetings with your imps and not get interrupted.

Now that I think about it, does everyone's soul belong to you now? I mean, you are the closest daemon to all of them and I'm sure no one in the Underworld would mind if you took them all for yourself, right?

>Lady Denth
It should be easy to convince her that you, Manarr, and Greta didn't do this. But, mortals don't think logically when they're scared, so she might panic as soon as you open your mouth to speak. You might have to stop her from running.

>What do?
Well, my concern is the fact that the servants that were supposed to serve the food haven't come into the room yet. Did something happen to them or are they in on it?

Shit! What if someone stuck their head out of the kitchen and saw all of this and ran out the backdoor in a panic?!

>>759927
>Dennit
He left because he was humiliated when he made a fool of himself by tripping and spilling his glass of wine all over his robes (which was totally his own fault and not because his shadow was manipulated to stick up and trip him). His public humiliation my have accidentally saved his life or he was petty enough to poison everyone for laughing at him. Lucky for him, every is dead so that means that "local gossip about how Jattin's nephew had embarrassed him" isn't going to spread either.
>>
No. 759968 ID: 5042bf

>Dennit left

Also implicating him as the chief suspect in eyes of everyone but you. And only you know otherwise. So if you want this to look genuine for the witness the the first words out of your mouth have to be "Dennit".

Manarr's and Greta's reaction should be genuine. And I doubt Manarr can act convincingly otherwise. Secure back for now.
>>
No. 759979 ID: 910380

It is fortunate Lady Denth has not thoughtlessly spilled her glass of poison. Is there any way to analyze and identify the exact toxin used? Also, have the wait and kitchen staff called in. One of them may have been a part of this, and we'll need to check for anything suspicious before they have a chance to discard any evidence.
>>
No. 759985 ID: 350a50

>>759979
The wine was unopened, which leaves a few options:
1. They stuck a needle through the cork (not sure if the setting has those if they have magic to use for medicine instead).
2. The wine was poisoned before it was bottled (unlikely).
3. The wine glasses used for the toast were poisoned around the rim of the glass.
>>
No. 760080 ID: 384d90

>It should be easy to convince her that you, Manarr, and Greta didn't do this. But, mortals don't think logically when they're scared, so she might panic as soon as you open your mouth to speak. You might have to stop her from running.
Grabbing her and telling it the culprit could be waiting outside ought to do the trick.
>>
No. 761073 ID: f9400c
File 147996975660.png - (21.59KB , 750x600 , Fear.png )
761073

>does everyone's soul belong to you now?

Not by default, no. If their soul belongs to someone else, such as a daemon like me, they are immediately retrieved upon death. This also applies to those bound in an opposite direction, such as saints or priests, who receive eladrin escorts fairly quickly. For everyone else, there is generally a period where their soul lingers around or in their corpse, sometimes even wandering around nearby it. People who die violent, traumatic deaths, such as most of the people in this room, linger the longest, and in rare cases are able to manifest in a visible manner as ghosts.

More importantly, though, they probably will stick around long enough that I will be able to make some deals with their terrified, lost souls when I have alone time in the next day or so. People who are rich and powerful rarely are spiritually clean, and will often reliable, safe slavery in favor of uncertain, possible damnation. It's just how mortals think. I'll worry about that later, if I get the chance to bully them into becoming shadowspawn.

>identify the poison

I don't exactly eat a lot of mortal foods, much less poisoned ones, as I have already made clear. Thus, taste testing the wine would not tell me very much about what kind of poison it is - though I am fairly sure it would not kill me even if I was affected by it, as I do not need to breathe.

Also, because I am immortal and cannot die.

But I am sure if we keep Lady Denth's wine glass, we can find out later what was in it from some apothecary.

>>759943
>>759954
>>759968
>>760080

Lady Denth did look about ready to bolt, so I helped her stay put by making her shadow rise up and bind her to her chair just as she was starting to stand up. This did nothing to alleviate her fears, so I accompanied it with soothing words. "Lady Denth, let none of us take any rash actions. I can assure you that you are a fortunate survivor, not a loose end to clean up. This was an attempt against all of us, and we are lucky Vheel was able to warn us by drinking it early."

She struggled for a moment against her bonds, but quickly realized she wasn't getting out unless I let her out. "L-look, I don't want any trouble, Manarr. But if you didn't do this, who did?"

Manarr was still in shock and seemed to be struggling to find words, so I filled in the silence for him. "I would say Dennit is a likely culprit. He conveniently left the room just before this..."

Greta recovered first, glancing at me, then back to Lady Denth, and scowled. "When would he have poisoned all the wine though, Sir Eque?"

Was that a little sneer in her voice? Probably. "I'm not sure it was the wine, Greta. The glasses themselves could have been poisoned, or someone did it before it was even opened. It could even have been poisoned just after it was opened, but..."
>>
No. 761075 ID: f9400c
File 147996986670.png - (24.08KB , 750x600 , Stab.png )
761075

>the servants that were supposed to serve the food haven't come into the room yet.

".. of more immediate interest to me is that no one has served the food yet. We should have had a half dozen of the servants already laying food out, or panicking at the state of the guests..."

I looked around the room, and glanced over the only servant in the room, turning back to Manarr and Greta, then froze. Something felt off, and it took me a moment to figure out what it was - I hadn't really seen that servant I looked at a moment ago. I turned back to look more closely at him, and at that point I noticed the subtle magic wrapped around him, even as my attention slid away from him again. Now that knew what was going on - a strong fade spell, intended to divert attention away from the servant - I narrowed my eyes and gave him my full attention, tuning out some question Manarr was asking me. As I did, he seemed to notice my attention, and I noticed that he wasn't the D'navian serving boy I had interrogated earlier.

The D'navian grinned at me, and lunged forward without warning. The sudden movement frayed the fade spell, and it shattered entirely when he grabbed hold of the back of Lady Denth's head and yanked it back, flicking a slender knife out from somewhere on his person and plunging it into her neck.

Both Manarr and Greta screamed, and the impostor servant grinned across the table at us, before twisting the knife. Lady Denth made an ugly sort of gurgling sound and struggled weakly in her bonds, but the D'navian spoke over her. "Aww, you noticed me finally. But I can handle five survivors.. wait, sorry - looks like just four now, haha!"

As he spoke, the noblewoman gave a final jerk and slumped limply. He pulled the knife out of her neck and flipped it with the sort of overly theatrical casualness I would have expected from a juggler, and winked at a shocked Manarr. "But only three left in this room, so who's next?"
>>
No. 761079 ID: 8d65de

I think it is the right time to let out that pent up anger boss just don't kill him.
>>
No. 761081 ID: 44359f

Looks like he came prepared, and is confident enough to think he can finish both the two nobles he surely knows a lot about and a person who he thinks is a mage. Being kind of unprofessional about it, though. In any case, he probably has some tricks up his sleeve against magic, and is likely physically competent. Be on guard for that.

Probably not expecting an actual demon, though. Revealing that means you'll have to kill him, though. Pity, if the murders can't be concealed then Manarr's going to need to present an assassin to take the blame, and it would be more believable if said assassin was alive.

When you do get around to dealing with these lost souls, perhaps you should focus on Lady Denth first, she might be a more useful servant. At least she knows how to pay attention. I'd hope we could get them all; then we might conceal the mass murder entirely. Present their sudden mass absence as... oh, I don't know. Scandalous orgy, or something.
>>
No. 761086 ID: 73814f

>>761079
If possible, try to poke his eyes out before you do anything obviously demonic. That would improve the odds of capturing him without need to silence him.
>>
No. 761098 ID: 094652

He thinks he just cleared the room of hostiles.

All he did was clean out the witnesses.

Summon your minions. Pull out all the stops. Be flashy. Be brutal. Be the murder machine that you were born to be, and then be something even worse.

He's a professional. Hold NOTHING back. Grind him to dust and rape his soul in hell.
>>
No. 761100 ID: bfdaf0

Nah, he'll be more useful alive, as >>761081 said.
I wonder, can we blind him with his own shadow? That would be the most efficient way...
>>
No. 761101 ID: 5042bf

So, a reality bending lucky killer who has escalating power based on smugness is being smug. Why are these guys not ruling the world already?

Bend shadows into copies of others to protect them from quick lunge or throw. Depending on what you can do fast or at all for that matter. Make shadows rise from the dead and sputter the usual drivel "You killed me" etc. To unnerve and grab him. If there is time that shadow copy you can do, that seems a good counter to that self-assurance. Or just throw lots of stuff really hard.
>>
No. 761106 ID: 44359f

Oh, this is a great moment to go "Manarr, it seems we have a very confident assassin here. You might want to release me of my promise to be discreet, in this situation?"
>>
No. 761107 ID: 34c437

"Trellain, aren't you? Or are you Vinter? The mage who hired you equipped you well."
At this point he is indubitable aware of your shadow magic and wouldn't challenge you like that unless he already possessed a way to defend himself. Make use of the shadows but don't expect that to work. Also don't forget that may be two d'navians assassins, so stay close to Manarr and Greta.
I agree that a confrontation with a daemon may be beyond his expectations, but the daemon shouldn't be one. Summon Sathitrix to face the assassin and instruct/cover Manarr and Greta to protect them.
>>
No. 761115 ID: 350a50

Use solidified shadows to provide Manarr and Greta with armor, and blind the assassin.
>>
No. 763125 ID: a5b79b

Bind the assassin with Shadows and call in the damn guards already!
>>
No. 763367 ID: f9400c
File 148081296536.png - (21.26KB , 750x600 , Bodyguard.png )
763367

>>761098

Unfortunately, at this juncture, Manarr and Greta qualify as witnesses. If I begin summoning other daemons into the room, it will all but confirm I have been planning something, as that was at no point mentioned in the agreement between Manarr and myself. Greta would probably take it as further evidence of my untrustworthy nature, and use it as fuel to drive a wedge between us. Until I had control of my own summoning, I wasn't going to put my plans out into the open when there were more subtle ways to solve problems.

>>761101
>>763125

As exasperating as their innate abilities are, there is more to 'ruling the world' than simply having enhanced luck. Luck only gets you so far in politics, and rarely wins the hearts of subjects and allies - in fact, it is the opposite, given that they have to be overconfident to get the most out of their power. Few people become friends with an arrogant blowhard, and as far as I am aware, none of them are quite powerful enough to take on entire armies alone.

Also, there just aren't enough of them. They have never shown much of an interest in settling down or developing a civilization, engaging in the common practices of long-term sustenance such as agriculture or construction. They are a nomadic people and have not quite grasped how to set down roots and grow, even the ones in the city.

>>761115
>>761106
>>761107
>>761100
>>761081

That being said, small party skirmishes like this heavily favor a D'navian combatant. I had a strong feeling that attempting to capture or restrain him with magic right now would be a poor use of my time, given he was fully aware of me and probably expecting an attack. I moved to Manarr's side and started to speak, but Greta tore into him first. She recovered her voice, and began screaming at the D'navian. "How dare you, you dirty little shitweasel!"

I gave Greta only a glance, and upon noting the D'navian was moving closer to us, took advantage of the attention she was grabbing with her racist ranting. I grabbed the still stunned Manarr under an arm and began wrapping him in protective shadows. It wasn't a flawless defense, but it had the benefit of being quick and easy to move around. "I'll have your entire family killed, and the rest of you too! You can never trust any of them! GUARDS!" She bellowed the last word at the top of her lungs - I hadn't been aware she could be even louder - I heard shouts drifting in from the hallway across the room from us as her call was answered.
>>
No. 763369 ID: f9400c
File 148081312162.png - (21.59KB , 750x600 , Retreat.png )
763369

Manarr finally managed to speak as I tucked him under an arm mumbling a protest at being handled so roughly. I didn't have time to be gentle, though - this was a bad position to have a fight in, and all it took was one knife to my summoner to end my progress. So I left Greta to the D'navian's attention, unimportant and unnecessary as she was to my plans.

That's who it was, I was fairly sure. He matched the description his elder had given me, and I saw no need to complicate the situation with speculation of unknown third parties. I made a line for the exit, carrying Manarr with me. Behind me, I heard the guards enter and shout in alarm as Greta screamed orders. "Get him! Make the jobless vagrant suffe-" I heard her a squelchy thump behind me and Greta shrieked briefly. I glanced back to find Greta had gotten a knife to the eye in an improbably perfect throw. The weaselfolk laughed cheerfully and quipped, "Actually, I used to do juggling and knife throwing during the carnivals!"

This is why fighting D'navians head-on is such a tiresome ordeal.

Still, I couldn't help feel a little gratitude to Vinter for solving a problem as I sped up, getting Manarr out of the line of fire. Behind me, I heard the guards engaging him, and more mocking laughter and taunts. I slammed and locked the doors behind me, still carrying the increasingly struggling merchant under my arm. From the muffled sounds he was making, I got the sense he might be a little upset about Greta. Alas, a tragedy.

I had a few options here, as far as what to do now. Given the progress Vinter was making, I didn't think the guards would fare much better against him - swords would barely miss him, knives would find vital spots, and so on. It was a predictable affair, magically enhanced luck.

Which was why setting up a trap for him was a viable option. I could lay down enough enhanced and properly prepared shadows that when he stumbled in to try and finish Manarr and myself off - though lets be clear, the likelihood of him finishing me with mere knives was nearly null - all his luck would hardly matter. Much like a boulder falling from only feet away, or a building collapsing on you, luck can only strain so far before it was overwhelmed. Once so subdued, I would make sure he did not escape, and could question him at leisure.

Then again, he had accomplished a lot more than I would have expected even a particularly gifted D'navian to manage, so he probably had help somehow. Possibly from a mage who was backing whatever this attack was supposed to accomplish. That fade spell, for instance, would have been outside the bailiwick of any D'navian, who cannot perform magic in the form of spells. While the tactical retreat was necessary, I don't particularly consider fleeing an upstart luckweasel entirely to be worthy plan in my standards, but it might be reasonable to do so.
>>
No. 763374 ID: cf85b0

Hardly a long-term solution to the Greta problem; Manarr will surely insist on bringing her back. Possibly a good thing, in the long term, as you hardly want to stoop to managing his daily affairs yourself. He'll need to maintain some of his wealth to remain a useful tool, and Greta was part of that maintenance. Rescuing her as well could have started confusing her feelings for you. Oh well.

Lay your trap. Whoever this assassin's benefactor is, they were already on their plan B for killing Manarr by poisoning the wine, and this would be plan C. D, if plan C was to kill with a knife throw right away when the poison failed. Manarr hardly seems to the type to deserve a skilled mage expending effort into that many layers of preparation to kill him.
>>
No. 763385 ID: a8aa74

Can you form shadows into the shape of a person? A fake Manarr would make perfect bait for any trap you could concieve of without unnecessarily risking the real Manarr's life.
>>
No. 763386 ID: 64d1ea

>>763367
That's racist, Greta. We're not reviving you for a week. (Stuff her in the fridge, literally)

>>763369
That knife wound doesn't look deep. Maybe you can perform demon surgery? It might work as a lobotomy, would make Greta more tolerable.

> What do
Get the demon ambush set up. Once he's done slaughtering the guards, you can dogpile him, counter spells, and drag your two halves of a half-wit somewhere safe. With Greta dead, Manarr is too dull to figure out how much you're holding out on him.
>>
No. 763388 ID: 3abd97

...if we help bring Greta back from the dead, does it have to be Greta we get back? Replacing an opponent with a minion or puppet would be nice.
>>
No. 763391 ID: a8aa74

What would we need to do to help bring Greta back? Isn't it just a question of whether or not Manarr's finances can handle to perform the ritual again?
>>
No. 763402 ID: 91ee5f

>>763369
>Greta had gotten a knife to the eye
>Alas, a tragedy.
You're celebrating too early. Some mortals are harder to kill than others, even if they're not a luckweasel. And I have a feeling that Greta is one of those hard to kill mortals. So, until you can confirm that she's dead, there's a possibility that she's still alive and she's only missing an eye.

But, if she is dead, then what >>763374 said about Manarr wanting to bring her back is also a possibility.

But yeah, lay your trap.
>>
No. 763408 ID: 34c437

As long as Manarr stay alive everything else is secondary, but among those secondary concerns his soul is high in our priority list. Don't forget that if he repent his sins and seek redemption you will lose this investment. We need him to worry about his social status and revenge, and sincere mourning on top of the feeling of impotence may cause him to reassess his priorities. You can't risk this, our power must be reaffirmed with a victory over this agent.
I will say again: he is too confident in his chances having witness your magical abilities. I suspect one of his magical equipments must counter your spells, or at least he believe it does. You should definitely create your inescapable shadow trap, but be ready to summon something he isn't prepared to deal in case it fail.
>>
No. 763662 ID: a5b79b

Knife to the eye isn't always fatal
Greta may well be alive still and with guards around to protect her she'll likely get dragged to safely

Especially as the weasel will be chasing you now not her.
I suggest you get ready to protect yourself and Manarr, even with their luck they won't last against say a platoon of guards. Go get many guards and keep the summoner safe.
>>
No. 765570 ID: f9400c
File 148164347945.png - (21.31KB , 750x600 , Trap.png )
765570

>>763388
>>763391
>>763402
>>763386

Let a daemon dream. Perhaps I'll have the opportunity to shove the knife in deeper into her brain. By accident.

That would be terrible.

Still... it could theoretically be possible to replace the inhabitant of the body, assuming I get there soon enough, and find another spirit nearby willing to take the place of them. My imps and daemons are probably not suitable for that, personality wise, but one of the recently deceased nobles could potentially be pressed into service.

>>763408
>>763402
>>763385
>>763374

While good as a distraction, a shadow-Manarr is only useful as a temporary stalling tactic or en masse as an obfuscating mechanism. And, given we don't know the capabilities of this
d'navian, I'm not sure I trust such an illusion to work on him just yet. It is a much better tactic to restrain him entirely than mislead him in the hope that he doesn't attack the right Manarr. It would be just terrible to trust something involving luck to work against a d'navian, especially right now.

So I carried my summoner deeper into his manor, leaving small clues of our passing - a shifted carpet here and there, and other mild signs of passing in a hurry. It wouldn't do for our pursuer to get lost. It did not take long to find an ideal room for this, one with two doors available, one for escape, and one that the d'navian would have to come through after his pursuit. I stopped in the room, settling Manarr down on the floor, and altered his cocoon into a protective cloud around him, lowering the shadows around his head so he could hear me.

He began shouting at me the moment his mouth was free of muffling shadows. "Dammit, Aeseriq! You left Greta behind, and she's hurt! You have to go back for her, now!"

I turned away from him, and began pooling out my shadows across the floor, up walls and around the door. It would take excessive force to make this work. "Manarr, if you go back there, you will probably not survive. And she might already be-"

He shrieked, and I could feel him struggling against his protective shadows. "She's not dead! Let me go, I'm going to go get her myself!"

I didn't look back at him and just continued my work. "You are being irrational, Manarr. You will be of no help to her dead, and I can't let run thoughtlessly into danger."

The idiotic khal merchant began snarling at me, if you can believe it. "I'll banish you if you don't free me right now, Aeseriq!"

That made me pause, and I looked back at him, giving him a cold stare from under my hood, letting the concealing shadows slip away from my eyes. "That is certainly within your power to do, summoner. But you will be helpless without me, and of no help to her with a knife in your neck. Be patient, and we will rescue her when I have imprisoned the assassin."

He continued to splutter incoherently, but I had a feeling I had won the argument. He could break the summoning, of course, but I was certain he wouldn't. His sense of self-preservation was simply to high to sabotage himself like that. He needed me right now, and irrational as mortals could be, it would be a pointless suicidal action to dismiss me and run after Greta.

Probably.
>>
No. 765618 ID: 5b93d3

>>765570
Point out that he was brought back after an encounter with an assassin, so can Greta. He can be dissuaded from wasting time doing so later.
>>
No. 765641 ID: 350a50

>>765618
This.

"Even if we are too late to save her from dying, we can still return her from death. There is no need to act rashly."
>>
No. 767292 ID: f9400c
File 148233996370.png - (24.78KB , 750x600 , Snap.png )
767292

>>765618
>>765641

It probably doesn't hurt to reassure the emotionally charged idiot, no. I turned back to my work, and made an attempt to soften my harsh tone. "Don't worry, Manarr. No matter what happens to Greta, she can be recovered."

This seemed to finally mollify him enough to let me continue preparing the trap. I feel I should point out at this point that while I am indeed a powerful high shadow daemon not unlike a semidivine being, I have somewhat stunted ability to use it in the mortal world. My reservoir of power is undiminished, but the rate at which I can pour it out is significantly less than in my home demesne. Nevertheless, I had plenty of time to prepare this room, which nearly circumvented my summoned limitations.

I spent a considerable amount of time preparing the trap, but despite that I was obviously displaying an unprecedented amount of power in front of Manarr, he still managed to be impatient rather than impressed.

Mortals, I ask you.

"Aeseriq, when is he coming? I want to cut his throat, and pour hot l-"

"There is a time for wrath, Manarr. Now is not that time. He needs to be questioned about his involvement with outside parties, and let our vengeance be comprehensive."

Manarr muttered sullenly about how he didn't give a damn about questions, but he wasn't arguing with me about it. I just shook my head and went back to work. I started to say some more mollifying things, but my keen ears picked up the sound of approaching footsteps. I tensed up and readied myself for a fight, but the D'navian burst into the room, knife ready, and immediately leaped into my trap. As the tendrils of shadow began wrapping around him from all angles, I gave him a scowl. "You know, where I came from, it's considered polite to at least pretend to check for an ambush, Vinter." He started to snap some angry retort, but I wrapped his snout up too and held his tongue. Literally, that is. It's hard for mortals to talk when a shadow is wadding their tongue into a lump. Within a few moments of efficient binding, I rendered the d'navian helpless and suspended in the air.

"That was distressingly easy, Manarr. I feel disappointed."

Manarr squirmed in his protective cocoon, then eyed me. "Whatever. Can I get out of this now?"
>>
No. 767298 ID: 49978d

First things first, ask the assassin if he's the only assassin here, if there are any further backup plans behind him. You'll probably have to torture him a bit.

Once you're satisfied, wrap the assassin up nice and tight, hoist him and his weapon out of reach, and then tell Manarr to go see to his wife, either to save her or start preparing for her return. Keep him and the assassin well away from each other.
>>
No. 767299 ID: 094652

"Now this here's how things are gonna go: You are going to tell me where your compatriots are and how to defeat them. For every second you do not, I will sink you one inch deeper into the ground (make the darkness swallow him and his cone of vision to make it look like he's being phased into the ground). If you are sunk fully into the ground, you will be kept alive, starving and suffocating, for the next two months, until my comrades can get the mind-raper up and running again. Maybe three, given how they suck at fixing things. And should I fail in my mission, my master can and will hunt down everyone you care about and force them into the ground, and give brainwashed whores as gifts for everyone you have sworn your undying hatred to. Because he's bored."
>>
No. 767301 ID: 91ee5f

>>767292
>"That was distressingly easy, Manarr. I feel disappointed."
That's either because he got extremely cocky after taking out a whole room of guards or because the luckweasel literally used up all of his magically enhanced luck in that fight with the guards.
>>
No. 767316 ID: 64f807

I suppose there is no harm in releasing Manarr, but before he wander alone you should ask some questions about Trellain. I imagine that is they were working together both would had attacked simultaneously, but if Trellain is around we can't let Manarr walk unprotected.

Having the most immediate concerns dealt with you should secure the prisoner. Separate him from every equipment and clothes with the exception of the most basic needed to preserve some sense of decency, for now. if possible provide additional physical and magical shackles so you won't have to trust only on your shadows.

On a side note someone should secure Dennit. He is the last living guest and we need to guaranty he won't be making accusations.
>>
No. 767327 ID: 8111b6

>>767316
Well, one could make the accusation first. Ever so conveniently makes an exit right before an entire party is murdered? Better to put them on the defensive first.

Though, if we can get information out of the shitweasel, we could skip a few things. I wonder which would be more effective: physical torture, threatening to hand him over to his matron, or threatening to go after all of his tribe?
>>
No. 767372 ID: 64f807

>>767327
Accusing Dennit was useful when we had another witness and no one else to blame, now we have the true criminal immobilized. Unless we want to pursue the hypotheses that his family is responsible, convincing him to cooperate should simply require a brief explanation and some flattery.
>>
No. 767699 ID: b039e3

>>767292
get that knife and any other sharp objects on the would-be assassin's person into your possession. Keep them away from Manarr too, don't want him incensed into killing the prisoner for whatever reason.
Should also upset that git's smug mojo if he's disarmed.
>>
No. 767770 ID: 8111b6

>>767372
We have the assassin, yes. Dennit could still be tangentially linked. I doubt the assassin is the sort to do pro bono work. Conveniently, he escapes the death trap? Doesn't look good. Even if he isn't involved, we could probably pressure him into assistance. With your suggested flattery option mixed in, maybe we could make him think either it was his idea, or we're doing him the favor or something.

As for our mister stabby, I suppose a pike outside is an option as well, if one didn't mind the looks. Nice, clear message.
>>
No. 769188 ID: 35ce13

You have the assassin and the bodies of the dead
Much like Mnaar they can be revived and will be especially since you have the assassins

The people he just murdered are incredibly rich
Pissed off
And capable of hiring mages who will unravel that assassins memories and mind to locate everything they need to know to work out who did this.
>>
No. 771041 ID: f9400c
File 148377760799.png - (17.03KB , 750x600 , Dangle.png )
771041

>>767298
>>767301
>>767316
>>767699
>>767770
>>769188

I bound the d'navian up so tightly in layers of shadow that he could barely do more than wiggle, and even suspended him upside down for good measure. Disarming him was a good idea too, and I sent slithering shadows through his clothing, questing for more hidden weapons. From the muffled sounds he made through his gag of shadows, the experience was uncomfortable. Oh, well. I located four more knives hidden in various places, and relieved them from him, along with the item I am fairly sure he used to employ his fade spell.

That done, I turned, releasing Manarr from his protective shell. "With the assassin bound here, it would be a good time to question him.

The khal did not look like he enjoyed that idea, and moved towards the door not blocked by a mass of shadowy tendrils. "I have to check on Gre-"

This obsession with his wife was starting to become vexing. I turned towards him, grabbing his arm. "Manarr, enough. Even if you get to Greta without running into any other assassins we don't know about, what are you going to do for her? You aren't a healer, and we need to know more about the assassin. I can't leave this room and keep an eye on him so he doesn't escape. So try and focus, Manarr.

Between the potential danger of other assassins and my biting comments about Greta, he finally stopped trying to leave. This was good, I was starting to wonder about his sanity. I turned back to the d'navian, who had been watching us closely, and pulled the gagging tendril of shadow out of his jaws. He worked his jaws, giving me an annoyed look. "I've been screwed by the khal before, but never this literally. You're next on my list for molesting my mouth with your perverted tentacle magic."

I gave the weasel a flat look. "This isn't the time for you to be making jokes, Vinter. You're in deep, and I'm perfectly capable of making your predicament more painful than it already is."

Manarr then took the opportunity to interrupt my perfectly good preamble to interrogation by asking in a clearly confused tone, "Wait, how do you know his name?"

I suppressed a sigh, but kept my shrouded gaze on Vinter. "I have excellent sources of information, Manarr. It's not important right now."

Vinter looked around the room, considering the terrain before looking back at me with an unimpressed stare. "I don't think I need to tell you anything, khal. Is this the best you can do, mage?"
>>
No. 771044 ID: 398fe1

Start breaking his fingers.
>>
No. 771047 ID: 350a50

>>771044
Better to start with the Achilles Tendon. That way he can't stand even if he lucks out and gets loose.
>>
No. 771048 ID: 094652

He has training.

He has intel.

He has no further uses.

So start your interrogation by jamming a fork into his eye and running a 500-watt current through it.
>>
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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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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