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File 148305687437.png - (42.05KB , 1000x728 , 606.png )
768858 No. 768858 ID: bfb318

Previous Threads/Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest
Inventory and Other Info: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Lagotrope

There wasn't much time to spare, but I've made it to a giant circle made of chalk in the dirt making out the warping limits. The wagons, mostly bearing mundane supplies and an enormous amount of food, are being arranged in an orderly fashion. The bulk of people are simply told to stay within the circle where they aren't in the way, and that's where I've found myself under a tarp, where I hope to remain more or less invisible.

I don't know if it's because the merchant rings must be in turmoil now, but there are a vast number of guards around the wagons.

Apparently, my reputation as the brother of a legendary warrior is starting to escape my own feet, but I should be able to move freely without the continued nuisance of being identified.
Expand all images
>>
No. 768859 ID: bfb318
File 148305702360.png - (50.22KB , 800x800 , 607.png )
768859

A girl comes up behind me.

>"Zizi's brother, right?"

I was wrong. This has gotten worse.

"You are?"
>"Holly."
"Any relation to Jolly?"
>"... huh? No. I'm as common as dirt on a peasant. Anyway, if I'm not bugging you, mind if I hear some stories? I'll grab you an ale when we're in Dragon's, my treat."
>>
No. 768861 ID: 1f4202

Is she on a crutch?
>>
No. 768865 ID: 398fe1

>>768859
Do you even have any stories about Zizi?
>>
No. 768871 ID: 3abd97

Anyone you know around? Cheese, Moss, Croc, etc? Or are you on your own?

You're being sent to Erja Nokol to fight for the army as your sentence for killing Rasyan- are you being watched or escorted in any way?

Will you have an opportunity to bank any of your goods? I remember Cheese saying something about the army not letting you keep your own equipment.

You'll want to keep the poison and antidote well hidden. Especially the later- lots of poison stuff where you're headed.

>if I'm not bugging you, mind if I hear some stories? I'll grab you an ale when we're in Dragon's, my treat.
Last time Fen wasn't good with beer, and the ale was stronger. Might need to talk her down or accept a lesser offer.

If she's really a peasant, that's saying something that she's willing to throw coin away on you. They don't get much.

Compromise? Return her interest (assuming we don't have anything better to do) but turn down the public meeting place?

"I appreciate the sentiment, but making more of a spectacle of myself in a public venue was something I hoped to avoid. What would you like to know?"

No harm answering questions, so long as we avoid the secret stuff (not that there's much of that left, the truth about most stuff came out during Fence and the aftermath). You've been in the position asking and hoping people would answer often enough before.

>>768861
Maybe not surprising there are hurt people around after Fence got wrecked.
>>
No. 768881 ID: 211d83

While my first reaction is to avoid talking much so that info about you does not spread its to late for that.

So you are probably better off being seen and heard and making friends. Even the best warrior needs allies and if you avoid everyone you might get a reputation as "the proud brother of Zizi who is to arrogant to talk to us normal people"

Of course avoid any incriminating stories that have not been made public yet. And watch for people trying to fuck with you to prove something. Having a famous brother is both annoying and helpful.

Just be yourself and keep on watch for backstabbing.
>>
No. 768902 ID: bfb318
File 148306258240.png - (64.56KB , 800x800 , 608.png )
768902

>Are you on your own?
Yes. Everyone has gone their seperate ways at this point, as everyone I know aside from myself only has business inside of the Turtle.

>Are you being watched or escorted in any way?
Oddly, no, not even for show.

>Will you have an opportunity to bank any of your goods?
Yes. I have been told there are banks in the Dragon.

"I don't have any interesting stories about Zizi, unless you want to know about his quarry hunting habits."
>"Er... really?"
"Also, is beer in the Dragon better than here?"
>"Oh, if anything, it's a little better, but it depends on taste. Did you like the taste of it, here?"
"It was inedible. I hated it."
>"R... really."
"I am willing to try again, but I dislike public spaces when I'm apparently so recognizeable."
>"Oh, good. Well whatever you can share. I didn't know Zizi directly, but I knew someone that talked about him, and I don't want to pass up this chance."

...

...

"What is that thing you're holding onto called?"
>"A crutch?"
"Thank you. I've never seen one before."
>"What, you've never seen someone with a missing limb before?"
"I have not. Were you hurt in the battle in the Fence?"
>"Oh, no, my leg and I went our seperate ways a long time ago.

...

>"Wait, are you Fen, or just a brother of Zizi's that was born yesterday?"
"I am Fen. I was not born yesterday, but my knowledge is limited to a narrow life in what you call the barbarian lands?"
>"Well what do you call it?"
"Home."
>"... oh yeah I guess that makes sense. Okay you're way different than Zizi, but that's cool. Good, even. You're joining the military, right? Dragon army, right?"
"How does word travel so fast? Yes, I am."
>"What branch?"
"What?"
>"Like... there's the generic dragon army if you want to be just thrown about wherever, but there's different units and specialties and stuff if you have a kind of goal in mind. Like if you wanted to be a scout, or just be put in big fights, or an assassin, that kinda stuff. You should decide in advance."
"I may want more information. I will ask them."
>"Hah, that's like asking one bread merchant why his bread is better than the other. They'll just try to sign you up on the spot, speak highly of themselves, and poorly of the others."
>>
No. 768903 ID: 398fe1

>>768902
Assassin would give you the best experience towards stealing the cloth back. Also, one on one fights will be important for the arena. So that sounds like the best option.
>>
No. 768904 ID: 211d83

Well what direction would you suggest?

As for stories I have few of Zizi due to the fact he never told me well anything of his times in the army.

But have seen a few of my own since coming north.
>>
No. 768905 ID: 790549

How much can she tell us of the different branches? We could also consider asking if she knows which branch Zizi served in too.
>>
No. 768906 ID: bb78f2

>>768902
I'm best at one-on-one fighting, so I dunno, maybe vanguard? Wouldn't mind commanding a squad either, I am knowledgeable of tactics and improvised thinking.
>>
No. 768917 ID: 3abd97

Then I suppose my time should be spent asking those without a vested interest in the different branches about my options. Military service does not seem uncommon, so this shouldn't be terribly difficult.

While we're on the subject, do you have any opinions on the different military branches?

(We probably don't want to go hardcore Polo scout mode, but we don't want something that always puts us in the middle of a bunch of guys. Fen needs to see a lot of action, and get even better, if he's gonna get the fame he needs, and to be good enough for the Colosseum. Some kind of tip of the spear role or unit?)
>>
No. 768947 ID: 97cee0

I guess it'd be pretty blunt to just say "whichever gets the most fame and prestige". Assassin seems like the biggest chance of taking down important targets. And as said, best practice for the arena. You'll also incidentally learn how to fend off assassins!

Assassin may be more likely to be tasked with... objectionable missions, though. It'd be easier to let innocent bystanders escape the blade in other branches of the army, and less likely you'd personally be tasked with making sure they don't, whereas assassin jobs might come with "murder this guy and also all his adorable baby heirs" conditions. I don't know, maybe the Empire doesn't go in for that sort of thing. Maybe it does.

Really Fen, you should come up with something to tell her. If you don't have any good stories about Zizi of your own, how about you recount some things he's told you? I know he didn't talk much about his adventures, but he did try tell you things for your journey. Maybe she'd get a kick out of hearing how he described things to you? Or any other stories he might have told you. Or maybe she'd like to hear you just generally reminisce about him. It's been a while now, you must miss your home a bit, including your brother.
>>
No. 768948 ID: bfb318
File 148306784125.png - (22.24KB , 800x800 , 609.png )
768948

"Do you have any suggestions? Zizi didn't tell me of his times in the army."
>"Oh, pick yourself. Things are probably different from when Zizi was around, too. That is, don't just think what branch is best, they'll all treat you the same and everything. Instead, ask yourself what kind of fights you're aching to do. Then choose based off that."
"Are assassins the kind that are trained for one on one fights, or is it purely underhanded techniques?"
>"Oh, yeah. That branch, heh, the thing is... it was founded on the idea that there are some really tough fighters that are best taken out with a bit of poison in the food or while they're asleep, rather than on the battlefield where they're most dangerous. Cept, the empire hates that crap. They were seen as cowards. So even though they're called 'assassins', there's a lot of training to just one on one combat. Course, only idiots think they don't slit a sleeping warrior's throat now and then, but if you want to get a big name by taking down a big name, that's a good path. But that's what makes that a dangerous thing - you're sent, often alone or just with a few others, to take down names that are big for a reason."
"Are there any opportunities to commanding a group?"
>"Oh, sure, every branch has their own. If you join the general fighter's branch, you could probably take command of a group just for surviving a couple fights. If you report a ton of good info as a scout, they'll give you a little network of scouts. Assassin squads are way more elite though, so you could come to command that, but it'd take longer."
"I hear that they just tend to send barbarians in and see how they do. Would assassins do that?"
>"Sure. I hope you have a damn good eye though, because that means they send in the barbarians on point to activate any traps or spring any ambushes first, depending on territory."
"And what of the vanguard? Zizi mentioned that those are the ones sent to the front battle lines."
>"Yeah, the instead of being sent to take out big names, you'd have to take out a lot of small names to get anywhere. It's safest, but I'd be a little disappointed if that's what you wanted."
>>
No. 768953 ID: 3abd97

>assassinations
Honestly, not directly useful to us. You're not going to be able to pick your battles carefully, and you're going to need fame and glory to be a noble, which means acting openly.

Not that you shouldn't be prepared to defend against assassins, or employ them when you need to, but I sort of think that's something you can lean on Cheese's spy contacts and the other mutants for? That's their bailiwick.

Then again, taking down big names is exactly the kind of thing you need.

I think you need to be more the special forces guy they send in to storm a compound than the assassin they send to sneak in and poison the guy. Some overlapping skills, but different philosophy.
>>
No. 768954 ID: 595d54

>>768948
So which one is special forces, elite troops or whatever, and how do you get in?
>>
No. 768959 ID: 398fe1

>>768948
I'm still favoring assassin branch, but I have one reservation. They might send you to do truly terrible things. Ask about that; how likely is it for you to have innocent blood on your hands if you take that path?
>>
No. 768960 ID: 90f3c0

Assassin seems the most helpful for your goals. Focusing on one-on-one combat will be good for the arena. And you might get a chance to face high profile targets, which will help your reputation.

Plus it most likely fits your existing skillset the best. I assume you're pretty good at sneaking and avoiding traps already.
>>
No. 768963 ID: 094652

Fen isn't the honorable type, so I'd say assassin class should do nicely. Since he's more of a hands-on fighter, he could take an Insurgent sub-class and horribly mutilate / torture his targets with his survival training, so that the subordinates of the targets will turn and run instead of reorganizing their unit around new leaders.
>>
No. 768982 ID: e66267

Am I misreading this, or is she hitting on you cause you are famous now?
>>
No. 768997 ID: bfb318
File 148307745254.png - (44.34KB , 800x800 , 610.png )
768997

"I'll try to come up with stories if you won't, but don't set your expectations high. I still want to know more of the army. Is there one that are comprised of more elite troops?"
>"Eh, uh... all of them have their inner circle of elites, but there isn't just one 'elite branch' of the army, you know."
"I don't know, that's why I'm asking."
>"... yeah, I get you. Anyway, any army branch will send you right in if you want. Just don't join the support workers or anything like that. Real quick, describe what you want out of this."
"Fame, glory, prestige. I would like the chance, as much as possible, to be able to pick my battles as well, as I'm in a hurry."
>"I think I get you. Assassins are a good pick!"
"Hold it. Would they let me fight openly, and would I need to kill innocents?"
>"Where are you being sent to, do you know?"
"Erja Nokol."
>"No shit? I'm going there. I always wanted to visit. Oh, yeah. No, there's no innocents in the mausoleum, so don't worry your golden heart. For fighting openly, that's no problem! There's subdivisions in each branch. I recommend the Lower Knights, a little division of the Assassins that gets sent in pretty hard for the smaller mission. The good thing about smaller missions is that they're still tough, but if you succeed, you won't have any glory hunters trying to take your credit. Then later on, maybe the Ram Knights or Nightfangs, but by then you'll probably have a better clue."
"Lower Knights are assassins?"

A nearby horn is blown.

>"Heh. It does sound a little weird, I know. Uh, before we get thrown to the Dragon, low level soldiers don't get to keep their stuff, you putting it all in a bank, I hope? This hood feels high quality."
"Yes."
>"Got anyone to fetch it for you when you get to a high enough rank to reclaim it? In fact, got any family in the empire at all? You should write a will. And not just any will-writer's shop either, you've got to know the real ones from the fake ones. And when you join the Lower Knights or whoever you do, make sure you say hi to whoever's in charge, you'll thank me later."
>>
No. 769013 ID: 3abd97

>No shit? I'm going there. I always wanted to visit.
As a soldier, or a civilian? From what I've heard of Erja Nokol, from people who have lived there, it doesn't sound like a visitor friendly place.

>more helpful than usual peasant
>up-selling assassins pretty hard
>admitted a given branch will try and point you in their own direction first
>apparently not worried at the prospect of wandering mutant tar pit land with one leg
I'm.... wondering pretty hard if this girl is more than she claims to be. You might be being scouted by an assassin / recruiter, I think.

And you let her place her hand right next to your face. If she were gonna do something underhanded or with poison, you've given her opportunity.

>Got anyone to fetch it for you when you get to a high enough rank to reclaim it? In fact, got any family in the empire at all? You should write a will.
You've met a few people you could trust to claim your belongings, although you don't know if any of them will be easily reached or in a position to do so when that time comes. (Easiest people to contact might be the crows, until Cheese reaches out to you via an extended spy network, or you make inroads with the other mutants).

So far as you're aware, you have no living family in the empire.

(Not sure how much a will actually matters. What you're carrying isn't valuable enough to really factor into Cheese's plans if you die, and not much of it would make a difference to your family back home. I mean, the clothes are nice, and the weapon is useful, but what use have they for coin?)
>>
No. 769021 ID: 398fe1

>>768997
She asked if you have family in the empire. Shouldn't she already know? Zizi.

I guess you can will everything to him if you die. Or Lily? Both?
>>
No. 769022 ID: 398fe1

>>768997
...you know, I'm not sure I like how she's getting so close to you. You may have pissed off some people so be careful she doesn't steal your stuff or stab you.
>>
No. 769033 ID: 91ee5f

>>768997
>Write a will.
Who is Will and why do I need to write on him? That seems like such a strange thing for you to recommend me to do.
>>
No. 769088 ID: 211d83

Why are you letting a stranger fondle your hood Fen? Just because she is on a crutch does not mean she is helpless or a nice person.

Not saying you should shove her away from you or anything but maybe avoid letting strangers get within a inch of your face next time. Especially ones that came out of nowhere and know who you are.

Maybe she is a nice person or maybe she is quietly rubbing a contact poison/scent marker on your for some reason. Some of the best actual assassins do in fact look harmless you know. And you do have enemies both from what you have done and just from being Zizi's brother.

So far she has seemed nice so continue your conversation but for gods sake be careful you idiot.
>>
No. 769089 ID: e22b1d

This lady is totally one of the assassins going on this campaign. She heard about you and is talking up her team subtly before any of the other recruiters get to you.

Also she is testing you. Thus the getting close and touching your hood. She probably is going to tell you just how many times she could have killed you if she had wanted to.

I bet she has been missing that leg long enough that she could probably kick most peoples asses just fine on that crutch.

I mean really she is filthy and legless and also somehow can afford buying you ale and teleporting? Plus she wants to "visit" the somewhat horrible place where you are going? Either she is part of the army or one of your new enemies sent her to try and kill you first.

Normally I would say take two steps back but you put yourself up against a tent. So politely step twice to the right and continue the conversation while making sure she did not just poison your hood or something. Treat her politely just in case she is a possible superior in the army.

Also ask what a will is and why you need one. Probably can leave stuff to Cheese for now. She will know where to send things if you fail.

(How much you bet when we go to meet the leader of the lower knights she is there?)
>>
No. 769207 ID: bfb318
File 148314701957.png - (21.18KB , 800x800 , 611.png )
769207

>She asked if you have family in the empire. Shouldn't she already know? Zizi.
I believe she meant in the empire at this particular time.

I began wondering if she was giving me attention since it seems like I'm famous, now, but the way that she's promoting the assassin's guild and then clutching my hood...

There must be a tell that I give when I realize I shouldn't allow this. As soon as I yank myself back, she snaps her own hand backwards.

>"Whoa. Kinda jumpy, there, aren't you?"
"I have enemies."
>"Don't we all, but really, look at me."
"The best assassins would look harmless. You may be dangerous even without a leg."
>"... hey, thanks. That means a lot to me. You have no idea."
"I don't have family in the empire, just in the barbarian lands."
>"Hm? Oh right, the will. Can't say wills go down there, so..."
"I do not know what wills are."
>"It's a written document that says where your belongings go when you die."
"Then I will leave it to Cheese, who currently resides in the Fence."
>"Cheese? Is that a nickname, or a mutant?"
"A mutant?"
>"Heh, uh, wills to mutants aren't illegal, but..."
"Then nevermind a will." I would leave it to Lily, but that is too overt, and my belongings are meaningless to her. "Are you going to the mausoleum as a soldier or a civilian?"
>"An army worker. I can't exactly fight right, you know, and there's no way they'd let random civilians in. I used to be a soldier, not that that's out of the norm."
>>
No. 769208 ID: bfb318
File 148314703228.png - (61.95KB , 800x800 , 612.png )
769208

She stops speaking when an enormous amount of magic is felt around us. It's intrusive, as though I had a set of mental magic lungs that have only taken a few breaths before, and is now getting air shoved into them to the point it feels they'll burst.

Then everything goes dark. Some torches illuminate just well enough to see, including the very edge of the drawn circle. Beyond that appears to be a black void. Sometimes I think I see something out there. Maybe there is, but this is the perfect situation for my imagination to act up.
>>
No. 769209 ID: bfb318
File 148314704445.png - (151.72KB , 800x800 , 613.png )
769209

It's not enough time to think on it for long. The void changes to a sheet of white instead of black. Except, this white is closing in on us.

I look around. I try not to look afraid, and no one else seems to think something went terribly wrong.

Then I realize. It's just fog.

And despite that it feels cool, it seems comforting.

>"As the draconian superiorists would say, welcome to your real home. Now let's get a beer, I've just got to alert the army where I'm going, and then head off through next week's warp to Erja Nokol, cause, heh, I'm sure not walking there. Well then, shall we?"
"Should we stop for a drink first?"
>"Nah, save a trip and drop your things off first. I know a way to a Hoard Guard, which is as good a bank as any around here."
>>
No. 769211 ID: bfb318
File 148314709628.png - (617.14KB , 1250x800 , 614.png )
769211

She leads me on, but it seems as though the warp areas was a ways out of the town. I can't see much through the fog, but sometimes I see the outlines of buildings from far off.

There is a large amount of foot traffic. I keep my eyes off others. The poor areas in the fence had people who seemed aggressive and dangerous. In my homeland, crossing paths with an enemy tribe was tense, as we would have to physically compete for the land's resources.

This place makes those areas seem like pleasant company. Everyone here seems mad at something, and it seems like a fight could happen at any point. We attract stares, and I notice that a lot of those stares are pointed at Holly's missing leg. It's not the look I see given to people who lost something dear. It's a look that I've only seen shot at rotten carcasses and thrown to disrespectable people. I was initially cold to the idea of Holly bringing me to her choice of bank without looking into it myself, and while I still am, it's looking pleasant compared to being out here on my own.

Holly doesn't seem to notice or care about the stares, but she is huffing and shaking even if she looks like she's trying not to look tired.

"Do you want me to help?"
>"No! No. Don't you dare."

We cross by what I assume is a tavern that, like all the buildings around here, simply seem to have been built out of an endless expanse of rocks as far as the fog allows me to see.

"How much longer is it to the bank?"
>"About half of a mile."
>>
No. 769213 ID: 398fe1

>>769211
Ask if there's something wrong with her having lost a limb. Do most people see her as useless? Has she ever tried a peg-leg? That'd be less awkward than a crutch, surely. I'm guessing she does work that can be done sitting down.
>>
No. 769215 ID: 211d83

Keep pace with her and slow down a bit if need be.

Here being a currently employed master assassin seems less likely all the time. But who knows what history she has.

"How do you get around normally if this much activity wears you down?" Sorry if that is a sore point. I have honestly never met anyone with such a injury before."
>>
No. 769216 ID: 094652

Given the empire's classic division of service rights between classes, which is basically nobles killing the poor, there may be ludicrously expensive solutions to fixing Holly's leg with a replacement or regrowth, but the nobles would pay four times as much to PREVENT her from getting the same health care as they enjoy. Crippling insecurities with sharing their hospitals with guttersnipes and self-denied envy of the renoun that warriors get for getting crippling injuries that they're too afraid to risk, and all that.

Are you on a mountain? Slow down. You might feel pumped, but that's the adrenaline talking. Don't waste too much energy until you can find some calories and a pressurized shelter.
>>
No. 769217 ID: 595d54

If you were high enough on a mountain for it to matter, you'd have noticed your ears popping. You should be fine.

Ask how she learned so much about the army.

>>769216
I don't really think nobles care enough about specific peasants to do that, just peasants in general.
>>
No. 769219 ID: 97cee0

Perhaps, despite having been raised elsewhere, something in the atmosphere here is closer to your native environment, just as the local kobolds are closer in appearance to you. Similarly, she might be suffering the opposite effect, having traveled from somewhere she's presumably suited to (given her resemblance to the kobolds there) to somewhere she isn't.

Be circumspect, ask her what sort of work she does. There are lots of possibilities, like perhaps she's a crafter, leatherwork or something. Could be a smith, even. Or any number of other army follower jobs. There's a lot more to an army than fighters.

You could ask her if she wants to stay at the tavern while you go on to the bank yourself, but I don't think it's actually a good idea, for three reasons. First, she'll see through it and probably be unhappy anyway, second you might need her advice at the bank, and third I don't think she should be left alone anywhere around here with those stares. She might be relying on having you with her just to be able to come out here for a drink in the first place.
>>
No. 769220 ID: e22b1d

The longer we are around her the more questions I have.

I mean why is she traveling to the same place we are?

How does she get around with that leg if she gets this winded regularly? In this sort of society crippling injuries are usually a death sentence.

She has to have some way of supporting herself so she must have money saved up or family support or a job she can still do.

Honestly watching her get this winded traveling makes me really wonder. Walking with a crutch while tougher should be normal to her by now. But she looks like she has not had much exercise in awhile.

Could be nothing but having someone knowledgeable show up out of nowhere looking for you is suspicious.

Who knows she might be a veteran who is traveling and lives off her military pension (do those even exist?)
>>
No. 769221 ID: 3abd97

>There must be a tell that I give when I realize I shouldn't allow this. As soon as I yank myself back, she snaps her own hand backwards.
Fast reactions might mean we're right about her being more than she seems, but then again, being in the lower rungs of an authoritarian kobold society and/or military seems kind of like being in an abusive relationship. Learning to see the signs when someone's attitude is going south would be an important survival skill.

>"Do you want me to help?"
>>"No! No. Don't you dare."
Pride. And being weak enough to need help (or being weak enough to help someone) would probably be like blood in the water to the crowd you've described around you.

>what do
It seems odd she'd be winded so quickly if she's not new to that crutch, and she's expected to keep up as an army laborer. I wonder if this is a test or act, seeing how you'll handle this?

I'm inclined to keep going, and just adjust your pace down. Shift to a more aggressive or combat ready stance, and keep an eye ready. People might be less prepared to start something if it looks like you're damn ready to end it.
>>
No. 769284 ID: bfb318
File 148317175602.png - (282.45KB , 1120x800 , 615.png )
769284

"Is there no such thing as a crutch you attach to the bottom of your leg?"
>"Tried that. Would work well if I had my knee at least, but nope, right at the thigh, and it was too awkward to me."
"How do you get around normally if this much wears you down?"
>"I'm still moving, aren't I?"
"I'm sorry. I haven't seen an injury like this before."
>"Oh, er." her tone quickly and deliberately softens. "No, it's fine. I just haven't moved around as much as I should. My... work just involves sitting down, and it's easy to lose the ability to move far at once, but I need to walk more like this. It's embarrasing to not be able to walk myself to the bank, you know, so don't go helping."

Now it seems like there's something else she isn't telling me, but it may just be things she doesn't want to speak of rather than keeping secrets.

I walk with her, this time keeping a full step behind her to go at her pace. If anything, that just seems to make her try and go faster.

"A wizard is too expensive, right?"
>"Oh yeah. I obviously have some coin to spare, but not the gold pieces I'd need to have a wizard stand by and spend weeks of their time to regrow my limb or however long it would take them."
"... are we on a mountain?"
>"Kinda? Yeah, I guess it is a mountain. We're high up, that's for sure. Boulders here are used like bricks, since there's a glue that works in this region that sticks them together unbelievably well. That's why all the buildings are made out of cobblestone. With glue, people can just throw rocks together, then smooth them out if they care to."
"How do you know so much about the army?"
>"I was a soldier, you know, and I did my research."
"An assassin?"

She smiles and looks like she's recollecting something. I see a large structure up ahead and many guards, and it's soon confirmed it's the bank.

>"Nope, but I worked with assassins. Then again, I worked with everyone."
"What work do you do?"
>"Tailoring, knapping, some blacksmithing, tutoring if anyone would take me seriously... I can do lots! It's tough to find a stable job. Ever deposit things before?"
"I have."
>"Then you're spared from the lecture. Go on then, the guard's waving you inside."

They will most likely ask me for how I will set up a password system. My vault can be opened from anyone who fits any description I supply, a code phrase, or any combination of both.
>>
No. 769288 ID: 3abd97

>>769284
Probably the easiest way to do it is to pick a unique code phase. That way if we have to send an ally to pick up our stuff later, we can give them the code. (And if the crows send someone, or Cheese sends one of her allies, we won't be able to predict their appearance in advance).

Actually if any combination works, might as well make Cheese's appearance count for access, even if she lacks the code phrase. Sames effort, and there's no one who could possibly impersonate her easily.

Not using a description slightly increases the odds the code could be intercepted and someone could rip us off, but nothing we're depositing is gonna be valuable enough for outright espionage.

>what deposit
Keep a little money on hand for room and board (some coppers and a silver or two or three?).

The nice cloak and weapons and shield have to be stored. Maybe keep the dagger just in case? I'd rather not be completely unarmed, even if it means we'll lose it to the army later.

The rope we can probably afford to lose, and in a bad situation, might come in handy getting around with how rocky this place is.

I'm really tempted to keep the poison and antidote (probably the most valuable thing you have on you), especially because we know poison is common where you're going and a hidden cure all could save you, and Tomato poison is a fantastic surprise weapon. Can you keep them hidden on you if you're searched, though?
>>
No. 769289 ID: 398fe1

>>769284
She's probably a sex worker. Giving sexual relief to soldiers when they're on extended duty in the field.

Just go with a passcode. At this point, the only reason anyone else would need to access your bank account without the passcode would be if you died.
>>
No. 769294 ID: bfb318
File 148317680379.png - (98.61KB , 800x800 , 616.png )
769294

I recall the antidote and tomato's poison, which are both things I would like to have in the army.

"Holly, is there any way I can bring in small items to the army?"
>"If you pull yourself from the bottom rung, you can keep items. Like me. Hey, if you trust me, I can hold onto small things for you while I'm in the mausoleum, too. Otherwise, just leave them in the bank and get someone you trust to deliver them to you later."
>>
No. 769298 ID: 97cee0

Hm. Is the inventory page up to date? It lists you still having things in the other bank, if I read it right, but some of the things I'd have assumed you'd have picked up before coming, unless you weren't allowed.

If I remember right, we were told the army would probably let you keep your armor and weapons because you're going to be using them anyway, right? I'd guess practical items like the cloak, too, and I imagine you'd be able to get rope if you needed it. I'd assume they'd let you keep some coin with you, too, but carrying too much would probably tempt your fellow recruits to some thievery if nothing else. Ask her what she thinks, keep that much plus a few coppers or one silver extra, and give her a few silvers to keep for you. If she can't be trusted with those it'd be worth the price to that find out. So really all you're depositing here is the rest of the silver?

I doubt she'd do anything with the poison and antidote unless she used them on someone herself, and she doesn't seem the type, so I'd say give them to her.

And just to be sure I have this clear, what I'm gathering is that as soon as you get to Erja the army will snatch you up and you'll have no opportunity to deposit anything there, right? And the warp comes back here and returns about once a week? But you probably won't be allowed leave for longer than that. Holly might be able to get things for you, but then you'd have to give her description... and I don't think it's wise to ask her to come back to here by herself anyway.
>>
No. 769324 ID: 3abd97

>>769294
A dose of universal antidote is gonna be worth more than gold in Erja Nokol. Which might make it risky leaving it with her, as she might be tempted to sell it or something (although we don't have to tell her what it is). At the very least though, the most dangerous thing Holly can do is squander it.

The poison is too dangerous to trust with someone you just met. It could be used to kill almost anyone, including yourself, and you can't trust she won't use it. Worst case, even if we can't get back to claim it until later, there are always going to be people you need ways to kill.

Unless we can rank-up while still training / doing basic in dragon, in which case we could retrieve the vials before we deploy.

Otherwise my opinions on what store from >>769288 are unchanged.

>>769289
A sex worker is a classic assassin's cover, too. (At least paranoia is pretty justified for Fen).
>>
No. 769338 ID: 97cee0

>>769324

Is it universal antidote? I thought it was an antidote to Tomato's poison specifically. Which, for a mutant's poison, could make for a very niche antidote.
>>
No. 769349 ID: 3abd97

>>769338
It's not a manufactured antidote or antivenom of Cabbage's poison specifically, they have a mutant who produces it naturally.

>>/questarch/721781
>Peaches. That one is our antidote maker. While a lot of mutants, especially abominations, get poison, Peaches got an anti-poison. At first it felt like a rip off, but we realized how useful that was.
I mean I suppose it might only reverse Tomato's poison (she didn't say specifically) but the implication was the reason it was so useful was because poison mutations are pretty common. And either way, there's probably something it doesn't fix.
>>
No. 769362 ID: bfb318
File 148321661730.png - (153.10KB , 800x800 , 617.png )
769362

I gained the impression that all poisons generated from mutants and abominations had similarities if not precisely identical, and so the antidote may work effectively on all of them. If it is a poison from a non-mutant, however, then I'm uncertain how effective the antidote would be.

Croc is the one who had a full antidote against, supposedly, all poisons, or that's what I believe he said. That is how he survived tomato's poison.

I don't think there is a way, short of magic perhaps, to know what the antidote is without saying, so I believe it's safe.

"Would they let me keep my coins?"
>"For them, up to 5 copper I think."
"Then I would like to keep some coins with you, and also a vial."
>"Oh? What is this?"
"I don't want to say?"
>"Eh? Is it dangerous at all?"
"No."
>"Okay."
"Are you a sex worker, by the way?"
>"Y... yh wh'ts'y?"

It takes me a second to understand her, before I realize her accent just transformed into the same accent I've been hearing from the locals around here. The accent lands heavily on the consonants, and barely seems to acknowledge vowels. Once my head fills the vowels in, I believe 'you whatsay' is what she said, which is still odd. Her sudden change in voice startles me, as well, as even the tone seems to change.

"You hesitated at saying your... 'work'. Is a sex worker something shameful, here?"
>"... hhh, I sh'ld sm'ck yh..." she takes a breath, and returns to a more neutral accent with some effort. "Damn blunt, aren't you? I'm no whore, barbarian, I hesitated saying 'work' because right now I've got... yeah, I've got no work. I'm not employed anyplace or anything, right now."
"Then how do you get your money?"
>"Well, I don't anymore! But I got a good enough rank in the army to have a salary, so I saved up. It won't last my whole life. So I should work in the army more before my health really goes south."
>>
No. 769363 ID: bfb318
File 148321662415.png - (83.29KB , 800x800 , 618.png )
769363

We both go through a door. The guard follows us and shuts it, locking both of us into a dimly lit center with smoother, but otherwise featureless, rocks and a slit in them to allow the passing of items.

I set up a cheap account and pay it through the end of the year, using up 11 copper. I then set the code phrase to 'hollowed barren shroomtrunk', along with describing Cheese.

Inventory Update with proposed changes: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics#Inventory[/aa]
The contents of the Fence's bank have retroactively been moved with Fen, as well.
>>
No. 769365 ID: 3abd97

>>769362
I apologize if I have given offense, it comes from ignorance, not malice. But yes, I suppose I am blunter and more straightforward than most natives of the empire. Sometimes this seems to be an advantage, other times a hindrance.

Do you still wish to get that drink?

>"Well, I don't anymore! But I got a good enough rank in the army to have a salary, so I saved up. It won't last my whole life. So I should work in the army more before my health really goes south."
Well, then for both our sakes, may we find good fortune when we are deployed. (If she really does prove a help to us, and not actually better off than she appears when we're undercover, I have no issue seeing the good fortune of military successes spread around a little).
>>
No. 769366 ID: 211d83

Well if she seems knowledgeable and proves trustworthy maybe we can send her in Cheese's direction for a job. We will need a trusted group to work with us when Fen becomes a noble so might as well start finding people now.

Bank changes look good. As long as we leave anything that would get confiscated upon joining the army we should be fine. And anything we leave with Holly will be a good test of her character.

Apologize for being blunt but you honestly don't know what the social norms are here. You don't see anything wrong with being a sex worker or crippled. Barbarians don't really deal much in the concept of shame.
>>
No. 769369 ID: 398fe1

>>769363
Seems fine. If Holly decides to just keep what we gave her, it won't matter.

...please tell me you didn't say the passcode right in front of Holly. The stuff here isn't especially valuable but it'd be a pain to lose it.
>>
No. 769370 ID: 094652

Maybe you should make the code something Cheese could guess, like "I Love Porcupine Hugs".
>>
No. 769371 ID: 97cee0

Ok, when you get a moment again, maybe when you're in the tavern, ask her if sex work is looked down on, and say sorry if you offended her. Maybe tell her that back where you come from, it's common for tribe members who've made some great achievement to be rewarded with sexual favors from certain individuals willing to provide, in just the same way that they would be rewarded with a special piece of craftwork or with better food; and you assumed that something similar was the case up here, just with the addition of more formality, job specialization and currency to the process, like with other professions.

I'm assuming here but I think that might be what was going down in your head. Maybe not. You should try make it clear to her that there was no negative connotation to that question on your part, anyway.

And tell her that if she needs work, you might want someone to maintain your gear or look for special items for you, or tip you off to goings-on, or other similar small tasks now and then, to give you more time for training or similar. In fact, she could probably teach you a few things about weapons that you're not familiar with yet, or how to operate in environments you're not used to, that sort of thing.

Anyway, from the inventory there I'm guessing you aren't actually allowed to keep your own weapons. Or you just want to make sure you'll have them again when you come out, which might be a good idea since they'll surely give you some when you join and not be too keen on letting you keep them when you leave. So it seems ok. Remember to get some copper coins to keep on yourself, you might need to convert to do that. And maybe keep one silver that you can hide on your body somewhere? You could hide a coin under your tongue or something like that. It's always handy to have a little more buying power than people think. If you want to get in with the mutants' Family, for example, you might need to make a little display of your friendship to them.
>>
No. 769407 ID: bfb318
File 148323020151.png - (85.21KB , 1200x700 , 619.png )
769407

>Did you say the password in front of Holly?
No.

Aside from exchanging some silver for copper, and hiding one silver under my tongue, I put the rest of the times away as intended. I take my time, just so that Holly is given the chance to catch her breath without having to ask for it. She also has an account here, and fetches a small bag out of it. She also gets a dagger for herself and a small sword that she gives to me.

>"It's not a good sword, but it'll hold. I'll still want it back before you enlist. They'll lend you their own standard sword there."

After the bank, we also stop by a simple clothing shop. I buy aged but clean clothes for a single copper.

"I apologize for my bluntness. In my tribe, sex is not a shameful thing. It's even given to those who accomplished a great deed as a prize."
>"That just sounds like getting cozy with someone worth getting cozy with. That's a fair lot different than someone who sleeps with another just for some coins."
"It may not be emotionally satisfying, but I do not see the shame in it."
>"Heh, yeah, that's why I shouldn't have snapped at you. It's not the sex though. It's being so down on one's luck that all you can do for a living is sex."
"So it's just sex working that's complicated?"
>"Look, it's complicated. All you've got to know is that I'm not one."
"Okay. If the army doesn't give you work, I could use someone. Would you like to go to a tavern, now?"
>"Yeah. Follow me."

I'm glad I took my time in the bank, as it's a long ways off to the bar. Night is falling quickly, here. We enter the one of her choosing, but no one is inside. There are no valuables, but there are stains from drinks and blood here. Holly looks lost for a moment, then swears under her breath.

"Is this not the place?"
>"Oh, it's the place, but it's closed down, I guess. By choice or by force, I don't know."
"We passed a few tavers on the way over. We can go to one of those."
>"Yeah, that's... look, I knew the people here. They were cool with me. Let's just.... forget it. You'd better go enlist before it gets completely dark out there."
"I have a couple of stories of Zizi after all."
>"I'm not in a good mood for stories right. Share them for another time."
>>
No. 769410 ID: 211d83

That is unfortunate. Am guessing you had some old army buddies here?

Well lets head over and sign up with the army with her.

Before you part tell her if she is unlucky finding work with the army that she can always check in with a mutant named Cheese who is currently working with Lord Gauche. She is your/his spymaster and could probably find good work for a knowledgeable veteran. Plus she won't care at all about the leg.
>>
No. 769411 ID: 398fe1

>>769407
Alright, bye.
>>
No. 769413 ID: 3abd97

>If the army doesn't give you work, I could use someone.
You do realize how that sounds considering what you were just discussing, right?

>look, I knew the people here. They were cool with me. Let's just.... forget it.
Hard to tell if the problem is she doesn't have a place to go where she'll be accepted, or if she's upset about what happened to her friends here.

"Do you want to ask around about what happened?"
>>
No. 769422 ID: 97cee0

Say you noticed how the locals looked at her. Ask if that's something particular to here, or widespread. Maybe say that, with army service seemingly so common across the empire, you'd have assumed people would be accustomed to such things; and that you had the impression the empire's ideals of strength would focus on soul more than body, given the variation between kobold races.

Maybe pat her on the shoulder?
>>
No. 769425 ID: 91ee5f

>>769410
>Before you part tell her if she is unlucky finding work with the army that she can always check in with a mutant named Cheese who is currently working with Lord Gauche. She is your/his spymaster and could probably find good work for a knowledgeable veteran. Plus she won't care at all about the leg.
Is that something we really need to tell her? We barley know her and you want to tell her information like that? We can't just be throwing names around like that, especially the name of someone like Gauche. He probably doesn't want Fen to be using his name like that.
>>
No. 769475 ID: bfb318
File 148324849465.png - (308.12KB , 1200x750 , 620.png )
769475

>Saying 'If the army doesn't give you work, I could use someone' sounds bad
I don't see why, but on reflection, she shot me an odd glance. It didn't appear to offend her significantly, anyway.

"Okay. Will you be coming with?"
>"Hm... yeah, yeah may as well. No, not 'may as well', I'm not going to take your sword and send you off alone to find a place you don't know the location of. Come on, let's go."

We walk back out after Holly lingers a moment, looking back over the sight of the old bar.

The paths are rocks. Sometimes there are patches of dirt, but for the most part, the roads are all flattened rocks, and the parts of the road that a wagon's wheels roll over are distinctly smoothed over.

The fog isn't so overwhelming that we can't see far, but much of the time, we wander through a dark expanse of rocks with dim, far off lights as windows are lit up.

"Are torches not expensive?" I find myself whispering.
>"Not in Dragon's Fall, they aren't." she whispers back.
"The locals have looked at you rudely. Is there a reason? From what I have heard of the army, people who lose limbs don't seem like they may be uncommon."
>"It's common to lose a limb, you bet right, but unless people can find a wizard to regenerate it, they don't often live for long."
"Why not?"
>"... kind of tough enough to live with all your limbs, in my own opinion."

It's quiet until I hear a booming voice going through the streets. Once I can make out the words, I realize it's someone shouting out the news of the world. There isn't much news of the mausoleum, but he briefly speaks of a blasphemous kingdom that is trying to conquer the deadlands, a gnoll overlord rising in poluputus, remnants of the conquered in, well, the conquered lands, and the gold noble slaughter within the turtle.

>"And tarnished golden Rasyan, no longer a blessed name nor soul, was slain by a lone barbarian wanderer! His name? A point of discussion and rumor that none can agree, but by the tale told by a Turtle's blood wizard, we have come to call the barbarian the Red Maw. Rasyan's merchant empire is being reorganized, but those who wish to keep his empire unified call for blood. Red Maw walks free, with a bounty of 80 gold!"
>"Heh, damn, maybe keep your mouth shut." Holly whispers to me. "Wouldn't want people thinking you're Red Maw just because you speak like a barbarian, heh."
>>
No. 769477 ID: 211d83

Tell her that a 80 gold bounty sounds rather large.

If someone was interested in that sort of work how would one go about proving that they killed this Red Maw. There is no description and there are plenty of barbarians wandering around.
>>
No. 769479 ID: 595d54

Nod. Seems odd she's acting like she isn't interested in 80 gold given her circumstances. You sure that's a recruiter she's taking you to?
>>
No. 769481 ID: 3abd97

>I don't see why, but on reflection, she shot me an odd glance.
Because, given what you were just talking about, it sounds like you were offering to pay her for sex if she can't find any better work.

Although, if we are shooting to be a noble some day, we'll eventually need people working for us. People who prove trustworthy when we're on the lower rungs of things would be a good place to start, and in the long run, the price of fixing one limb is cheap.

>bad looks for not getting killed when you lose a limb
Isn't it more impressive to survive if you've lost one? Deserves impressed looks, not bad ones.

>"Wouldn't want people thinking you're Red Maw just because you speak like a barbarian, heh."
Wryly, "Yes, that would be bad."

"Perhaps we should move on from the mob, just in case?"

Too soon to tell her the truth. And even if she's been trustworthy so far, no reason to temp her with the gold.
>>
No. 769483 ID: 398fe1

Say absolutely nothing.
>>
No. 769485 ID: e22b1d

So lets say I was a crippled veteran down on her luck who needed some money.

And lets say I just got word of a 80 gold bounty on a barbarian and I know exactly who it is cause I was at the courthouse when things went down.

I can't take him in normally (cause of the crippled thing) but I bet if I give him the info he wants and help him out I could lead him to some old friends who would help me subdue him to get the bounty.

But woops my old friends have moved. Dang now what do I do?

Now not saying Holly has any ideas like this. And with her actions she probably does not know you are the Red Maw. I mean she lent you a sword to get you safely to the recruiters. But be careful and watch out just in case. 80 gold is a fortune and who knows if being in the army will keep you safe.
>>
No. 769486 ID: 094652

80 gold's a lot. I wonder what idiot approved of this bounty; there's going to be a LOT of fake turn-ins for a bounty that basically says "go adventuring in the wildlands, find a random backwater barbarian with exceptionally poor dental hygene, and kill or capture them for a gold profit". Not that the guild will accept any of these fakers but you can expect a higher turnout of dungeon crawlers patroling the local woods and murdering your neighbors because of your actions. Would they even pay if someone brought in your head, or would they just murder the hunter on the spot and post a 30 gold bounty for "the psycho who walked right through the door, somehow stole the guildmaster's prized knife, and stabbed a random hunter with it"?

Tell Holly that you'd like to build a small network of contacts in this region. Nothing serious, a few anonymous connections that will go stale in two months.
>>
No. 769487 ID: 91ee5f

>>769475
>a gnoll overlord rising in poluputus
Clamp? Ha ha ha! Imagine if he got that position by complete accident and he hates it! XD

>"Heh, damn, maybe keep your mouth shut." Holly whispers to me. "Wouldn't want people thinking you're Red Maw just because you speak like a barbarian, heh."
Time to play dumb.

"But why would they think I'm Red Maw? It is very obvious that my maw is green, not red."
>>
No. 769488 ID: 398fe1

>>769485
If that's what she's doing, then the sword she gave Fen is broken somehow. He should probably test it to be sure.
>>
No. 769489 ID: 3abd97

>>769486
>who did this
Obviously, someone who doesn't care about the collateral damage or the hassle of turning down incorrect claimants issued the bounty. Why should anyone who cared about Rasyan care about what happens to barbarians who may or may not have had anything to do with his death?

>>769488
Not now. Drawing a blade will just draw attention from that crowd.
>>
No. 769497 ID: bfb318
File 148325696228.png - (250.84KB , 900x800 , 621.png )
769497

>Random barbarians will be murdered
Most likely. However, the very first people I saw upon stepping foot inside of the empire were two barbarians killed and hung for taking food. I do not believe that barbarians are will respected within the empire, and I doubt that the people who made this bounty would care about the false turn-ins.

>Test the sword
I initially looked at it when Holly handed it to me. Although it was not a proper test, it felt solid and appeared intact. If it is broken, it is an excellent sabotage.

"Maybe. There was no description though. How would they know, even if they turned it in?"
>"I guess the people paying the fortune knows what the Red Maw looks like. I'm just saying. Eh, whatever, I'll be blunt. Word's gotten around that Zizi's brother is in the empire. You have white eyes. You speak like a barbarian. Coincidentally, the next word is that L- Rasyan got killed by a barbarian. I'm not saying I think you're the Red Maw. And to be even more blunt, I don't want to know you're the Red Maw. I'm just saying, maybe the blood wizard knows more, but after everything went through the rumor route, 'Zizi's brother' is sure to be suspect number one as far as anyone's concerned. I'm going to keep on leading now, and you'll see my back the whole way if that's the way you want it. Oh, I'll even speak for you when you enlist, how's that? You can pretend to be mute."
"Does the empire somehow see that as less shameful than a missing limb?"
>"Yeah, because it's invisible. Shit, it means you can't talk if you get captured, so sometimes spies are made mute."
"Hm. Still, I would think it's more impressive to see someone who lived through a loss of limb."
>"Wouldn't that be a dream! But no, they say you're no good, it'd be better to just have died than to keep eating food."
"But if you can work, y-"
>"I'm not the one you've got to convince, barbarian. We're almost to the enlistment station."
"Do you recommend acting mute?"
>"I would, but then you might need to keep up the act. The Dragon army won't remove or suspend a Turtle. based bounty.
>>
No. 769502 ID: 211d83

Is it my accent that shows me as a barbarian or just my blunt speech? Could I get away with just staying quite and grunting a bit?

And would staying mute help or hurt my plan to rise in the ranks as quick as I can. I don't mind hiding my identity so that people do not realize I am Zizi's brother at first. I don't know enough about the empires ways or my brothers reputation to know what would be best.

I can hold my own in a fight easily enough if bounty hunters mistook me for the Red maw but would I have to deal with people in the army going for the bounty?

(I am wondering what name she was about to use before changing to Rasyan.)
>>
No. 769503 ID: 094652

Just act like you have a speech impediment, that way they know you can talk but would rather you shut your mouth most of the time.
>>
No. 769504 ID: 3abd97

>>769497
So long as the dragon army doesn't try to collect the turtle bounty, you can live with that.

Honestly not speaking might serve you well in the short term, but it's going to grow to be a massive inconvenience in the long term.

News of the bounty is just breaking now, so I'm not sure if the recruiter would have heard, anyways.

She can introduce you if she wishes, and you can limit the extent you speak with others, but starting a long game of pretending to be mute is more trouble than killing anyone who decides to take a bounty out of your hide. You're joining the army- people are going to be trying to kill you anyways.
>>
No. 769508 ID: 3abd97

Oh and it goes without saying if she were trying something here, getting us to agree to let her do all the talking is a pretty good opportunity for that.

>I am wondering what name she was about to use before changing to Rasyan
Dropped the "Lord" in front of his name, maybe. Which is kind of interesting. He doesn't merit the title anymore? Or she's trying to play less respectful than she actually is?
>>
No. 769511 ID: 91ee5f

>>769497
>you'll see my back the whole way if that's the way you want it.
"It is a nice backside, so I don't mind seeing it the whole way."
>>
No. 769515 ID: 398fe1

>>769497
If you see any guards, ask one where the army recruitment office is. Just to double check that you're going the right way and aren't being led into an ambush.
>>
No. 769516 ID: 97cee0

I think pretending to be mute would be more trouble than it's worth. Holly here spotted you and figured you were Zizi's brother just by looking, and there have to be more people like her. Only takes one being talkative for people to know who you are, and to be frank, you're probably going to give away that you're a barbarian some other way, anyway. The dragon army might not take the bounty away, but I was under the impression that there could be quite a few people with a bounty in the army, given that forced recruitment is used as a punishment for criminals. At the very least, they probably don't let bounty hunters just walk into camp to pick off their soldiers.

Being under a bounty is really bad, but on the path you're on, you're probably going to end up with a much higher one eventually. And probably higher still when you do actually become a noble, though probably with assassins instead of bounty hunters. As the price goes up the people who come after you are only going to get more skilled, so you might as well get used to living carefully now, because this is probably as low as the price and your hunters' skills are going to be.
>>
No. 770089 ID: bfb318
File 148342321722.png - (170.93KB , 800x800 , 622.png )
770089

"Pretending to be mute sounds like it's more trouble than its worth, especially long term."
>"Suit yourself"
"As long as the dragon army doesn't try to cash in on the bounty themselves."
>"Not officially or anything, but the army isn't made up of heroes, you know."
"Do I have an accent, or is it the words I choose?"
>"Your accent. You speak a bit... sharply? You'd have to ask someone who knows better than me. Oh, here's the right place. We're almost there. Oh, and if they ask if you have anything stored in the bank, just say no. It's not like they check."

I see a guard as we walk by.

"Excuse me. Is this the way to an army station?"
>"A few nearby. Keep moving along."
>>
No. 770090 ID: bfb318
File 148342322681.png - (136.65KB , 1606x893 , 623.png )
770090

I do so, following Holly into a building. The outside appears smoothed over, and the inside even moreso. Rocks are as flat as could be, and there are barely even visible seams where one rock meets the next. Various emblems and banners I don't know the significance of make this hall less dreary than the rest of the region, and the first map I've seen since coming here lies at the back. A few people pass through the area, and conversations are through the halls. Despite being a quiet, dreary place, there were many guards outside.

I'm closely watched by the draconian behind the desk.

"State your business." he says.

>"I intend on joining the army to fight in Erja Nokol."
"Oh? Welcome, then. And... she?"
>"Just to show me the way."
"Then she may leave. No loitering."

Holly looks towards the exit. It's small, but she appears slightly worried.

>"No." Holly says. "That is, I wasn't just here to show him the way. I'm here to join, as well."

The desk worker raises one eyebrow.

>"As a worker. I'd like to speak with your local quartermaster, or an equal."
>"Go through that door, there." he says, gesturing away. "As for you, who speaks like a barbarian, what is your name?"
"Fen."
>"Do you own any belongings?"
"Only my clothes. The sword is this girl's, which I only b - "
>"Right. Give it back to her, then. I am assigning you to Sir Orjin. Here is his badge." he says, handing me a simple wooden seal."
"Is he a noble?"
>"Absolutely not, but he is a recognized knight in our order, and you will address him as Sir."
"I understand. Where do I find him?"
>"Deep in the catacombs of old-town." he says, pointing to a spot on the nearby map for me. "He is hunting a marauding faction of bottomfeeders. Locate his camp, and pledge your allegiance to him to join."
>"Hold it." says Holly. "Is that normal? Just sending him to a place like that-"
>"We have enough barbarians seeking the safety of the army over the turmoil of living in the Dragon as civilians. If you want charity, join the standard dragon army. Don't believe that the word 'lower' in Lower Knights means we have use for the useless. Find his camp, or be gone."
>>
No. 770098 ID: 15a025

Better prove to Sir Orjin you're no useless barbarian then and hop to it Fen.
>>
No. 770100 ID: 3abd97

>He is hunting a marauding faction of bottomfeeders
Am I to be given a weapon to hunt bottom feeders, or are you expecting me to pretend I am the Red Maw?

>what do
Hand Holly her sword, and thank her for her help. You hope to meet again.

Then go.
>>
No. 770103 ID: 398fe1

>>770090
Tell Holly it's fine. You came here to learn.

Ask if that is all. Will you be heading there unarmed and unarmored?
>>
No. 770133 ID: 91ee5f

>>770100
>Hand Holly her sword, and thank her for her help. You hope to meet again.
This.

>>770103
>Ask if that is all. Will you be heading there unarmed and unarmored?
And this.
>>
No. 770145 ID: bfb318
File 148342912672.png - (96.92KB , 800x800 , 624.png )
770145

"It's fine, Holly, I am here to learn. Am I expected to go in unarmored and unarmed?"
>"Yes." the man says.
"Fine. Holly, here is your sword."

She eyes me like she's testing if either of us are serious.

"Take it. I hope to meet again."
>"Er, yeah, same division worker and all, I'll be around, Fen!"

She says it in a pleasant tone, but her face tells of displeasure over taking the sword back.
>>
No. 770146 ID: bfb318
File 148342913301.png - (39.78KB , 1000x700 , 625.png )
770146

We go our seperate ways. Mine leads me to nearby passage downwards. This is the last point that the map in the building showed. Everything beyond is apparently part of 'old town', which is below what the map represented.

I look down into the passage. As always, the floor is stone, but there is a thick layer of dirt and dust over it that, with difficulty, I can make out the footprints of many kobolds heading into the passage.

There is only one torch at the top of the stairs, then darkness. Too much darkness to make out anything visually, and so the only thing I can sense downwards is a smell of old blood and rot.
>>
No. 770152 ID: 595d54

>>770146
Check for traps and hidden doors.
>>
No. 770153 ID: 398fe1

>>770146
I see a glimmer of light further in. Go partially down the stairs and let your eyes adjust to the darkness.

Also watch out for traps, you're probably already being tested. Does the slope look strange? What about the vertical seams in the walls where the slope starts?
>>
No. 770156 ID: 3abd97

>>770145
Pretty sure she doesn't approve of the way we're being treated, and that this isn't what she thinks her old unit should be.

Honestly, you've probably been treated worse already.

>what do
Well, approaching a group of armed soldiers who aren't expecting you in the dark, in the middle of a combat mission, can't possibly go wrong and lead to friendly fire. Also we're under armed and our retreat could be easily cut off. Charming.

There's... something faint down there. Can't make it out.
>>
No. 770157 ID: 91ee5f

And now comes the tricky part. Should Fen go without a torch or should Fen take a torch?

Going without a torch will make him harder to be seen, but it'll also be harder to avoid any traps and/or big holes in the floor.

Going with a torch will let him see and avoid any traps and/or big holes in the floor, but he also gives away his position and makes it easier for him to be seen by that marauding faction of bottomfeeders.
>>
No. 770163 ID: 026b78

Bottom feeders are more used to the dark than us anyway, so I'd say bring some light.
>>
No. 770170 ID: b412df

I'd say go without light, if I were to guess what that torch was there for, it'd probably be so the group your looking for could find the way out. So taking it might make things difficult later.
>>
No. 770177 ID: 094652

Trab the Gorch. Then limb CUpstairs.

And learn the local dialect or you'll sound like the previous sentence.
>>
No. 770178 ID: 398fe1

I don't even think the torch is something that can be picked up. It looks like a burning recess in the floor.
>>
No. 770203 ID: 211d83

Well that torch looks like the fire has spread to the handle so probably can't take that.

But be on the lookout for a weapon. Even a good bashing rock.

If you can't go in with light then it might be for the best because you will be seen a mile off. Make sure to have that emblem you got handy so some of your fellow army guys don't try to kill you.

Go slow and let your eyes adjust before you get to far in. And keep your ears open above all else. If you learned something from Croc its that no one listens enough.
>>
No. 770204 ID: e22b1d

Well this is a mess. Sent to find a military group that would kill you just as fast as there enemies if you don't identify yourself with a visual symbol in the dark.

And with no gear or light.

Well fuck that. You are going to show up after having killed 10 of the guys they are hunting. If you report for duty covered in your enemies blood and using there weapons it should improve how your new commander thinks of you.

Check the torch but it looks to be a bit far gone to take with us. Judging by the faint outline deeper in they have been dropping them as trail markers.

He said this place was a catacombs. So be on the lookout for traps. While you probably won't see ridiculous tomb traps there could be pitfalls or deadfall's or just pointed spikes on the ground to mess up your feet. Specially if these bottomfeeders set up shop in a important tomb and reinforced there base.

Before anything else let your eyes adjust to the dark and find a makeshift weapon. Any rock or stick or whatever will do. If you find the army camp first then they might be nice enough to give you a weapon once you join them. But maybe not due to this being a nasty test.

If you find a bottomfeeder first you bash them to death and take there stuff.
>>
No. 770207 ID: 6533c1

Find a stick, use the torch to light it.
>>
No. 770216 ID: b88e47

Proceed slowly and warily.
>>
No. 770219 ID: bfb318
File 148346400442.png - (72.82KB , 1430x375 , 626.png )
770219

The nearby 'torch' that almost looks like the stone itself is on fire appears to be a slot inside of the rock. At the bottom is the fuel for the fire, and so it seems more like a miniature bonfire as much as a torch. It is not propped up by a stick, so it isn't something I can use as a torch.

I locate some wood. There does not appear to be much wood in this region, and I wonder if trees grow here at all, or if it is all imported. Given the rot, I think it's imported. I break it up into 4 sticks. I am also thankful he simply took my word that I had no belongings, and did not find the rations I have tied to my leg with my length of rope. I make sure that the wooden seal is secured, as well.

With that, I put one of the sticks into the fire to light it up and head into the dark to at least investigate the dim light inside. I see no traps or hidden doors, even considering the odd seam on the lower set of stairs.

The light turns out to be some burning embers. I believe the object used to be a wooden dagger, but it's just a messy husk on the ground, now.
>>
No. 770221 ID: 595d54

>>770219
Well, then look at the corpse as closely as you can without touching or getting too close. Any idea how it died?
>>
No. 770224 ID: 90f3c0

Well, this certainly looks like a good place for an ambush. Check the passages and the hole in the ground before approaching the body.
>>
No. 770226 ID: 3d2d5f

Wow this is terrible territory. You could be attacked from any side.

Check how fresh the bodies are, and if they're armed. Can you tell which way their killers went?

There's a weird ridge thing on the wall behind you and to your right. Something mounted there? Someone peeking?
>>
No. 770232 ID: 91ee5f

>>770219
There's a trail of blood coming from the passage to your right. That's where the dead guy came from.

Use one of your unlit sticks and poke the body to see of he's actually dead.
>>
No. 770236 ID: 398fe1

>>770219
Investigate the body to see if he's alive. If not, check to see how he died.
>>
No. 770243 ID: bfb318
File 148347204013.png - (140.40KB , 1513x871 , 627.png )
770243

There's a ridge to my right, on the same wall from where I came down the stairs from. It looks like an open slot where someone could be looking. I don't like the idea of walking out in its line of sight, as it's only darkness inside, but I've lit my position up.

I poke the corpse with a stick. It doesn't move, and seems like it's a couple of days dead. He appears to have nothing on him other than his shorts. A pool of blood under him implies he has a wound on his front.

The hole in the ground almost appears as such, but as I get closer, I realize the slope going away from me is tilted. I would need to get closer to check.

I can't tell where anyone went. The ground here has been stamped coming and going in every direction. As I look around, I see various blood stains all over the place, indication there were more wounds inflicted here than just the one person.

It almost looks like the trail of blood was from this person, but I don't think so. There's a significant puddle of blood where the trail ends or starts, and it's just a couple paces from this body.
>>
No. 770251 ID: b412df

That body looks like it'd been posed, since I doubt they died with their arm and hand pointing in a direction like that. Guessing it's a sort of navigation sign? Follow that direction maybe? The lower knights might be expecting random kobolds to show up since they're recruiting here, so I guess they used the bodies as signs.

There's also something shiny on the ground, looks kinda knife shaped? Might be worth picking up.

Also on the wall to the right on the direction the body is pointing, there's a slot at around head height in a alcove. Dunno what that's about.
>>
No. 770258 ID: 398fe1

>>770243
Go in the pointed direction.
>>
No. 770259 ID: 97cee0

Looks like you might be at risk of being mistaken for one of these "bottomfeeders". Can you wear that badge you've been given? Might be a good idea to have it on display. On the other hand, it might mark you as an enemy for the bottomfeeders, but if I were them I'd have cleared out of this area, and they're less likely to be a competent threat to you than members of the actual army.
>>
No. 770260 ID: 094652

The corpse kind of looks like you.

Frame it as Red Maw.
>>
No. 770276 ID: 3abd97

>It looks like an open slot where someone could be looking.
Fortifications. Places defenders could we watching from, or firing arrows or spears or the like in relative safety against intruders.

Lucky for you they don't appear to be manned right now.

>corpse
Not very spikey, so probably not a native of dragon. Another barbarian? (Not really worth checking the eyes).

>what do
I think the forces you're looking for left this body as a sign. (This isn't even the first time you've seen a corpse used as one). There's a blood trail, and he's pointing. They knew the recruitment office would send people after them.
>>
No. 770277 ID: bfb318
File 148348264701.png - (43.46KB , 1474x344 , 628.png )
770277

>Something shiny
That's just the burned wooden knife.

>Wear the badge
It's somewhat obstructed, but I tie the wooden seal around the rope I have on me. That's the best I can do given the situation.

>Frame it as Red Maw
I would most likely have to go all the way back to the turtle to have them look at it.

I move in the direction the body was pointing to. Behind the wall, where the slot was, I hear the sound of footsteps running out. The hall itself seems short before it opens up to another intersection, and I hear murmured voices.

>"There's someone coming through."
>"More soldiers?"
>"No, he looked like a wanderer."
>"Worth looting?"
>"No, but we shouldn't just let him wander, right?"
>"... I guess not."
>>
No. 770280 ID: 398fe1

>>770277
Nope, not this way. This is where the targets are, you need to get recruited first so you have a weapon. Get the hell out of there, ditch the torch and scram. Hide in the darkness and see if you can ambush one of them if they chase you. If the wooden dagger is in any condition to be used as a weapon, you could grab it and hide its glow somehow.

Crap, your eyes shine in the darkness too don't they.
>>
No. 770281 ID: 3abd97

>>770277
Well, their discussion makes it pretty clear they're not soldiers themselves. And the "no dragins" graffiti would be consistent with forces opposed to the army.

I see what looks like a stone door they can probably shut behind themselves so they can use those weapon slits.

Bad place for a fight, environment favors your enemies.

I suggest falling back carefully. Fighting right behind a doorway might be good, since it forces them to come to you, and a choke point limits any advantage of numbers. And fighting next to these weapon slits where they can attack you with impunity is just dumb.
>>
No. 770287 ID: 211d83

Welp you found the enemy. Time to pretend to not notice there whispering so you can counter ambush them.

So keep moving like you did not hear them. Try to get in a spot where they can "sneak" up on you. If they think you have not seen them then they will be sloppy.

Maybe drop down to "loot" the corpse and when one comes up from behind you spin and bash his face with your torch. Or maybe jam that stick into his neck if its sturdy enough.

Then take his weapon and finish off the other one.

If you do manage to take out anyone it would be nice to have proof of your kills to present to your new commander.
>>
No. 770292 ID: 90f3c0

Taking on multiple opponents that are likely armed and armored is a really bad idea. Fall back and hope they don't care enough to chase down a non-soldier.

Toss your torch down one of the other passages as a diversion, in case they do follow. You can then sneak away while they investigate the light, or strike then from behind if they do look weak.
>>
No. 770295 ID: 91ee5f

>>770277
Just act like you didn't hear them and turn around. Act like you took a wrong turn and you meant to turn a different way.

Try to memorize where this place is, so that you can tell the guy you're looking for about it.
>>
No. 770301 ID: e22b1d

Quickly flip your emblem so they don't know you are a recruit.

They saw you so even if you retreat they will follow to finish you off.

Are they behind the wall to your right? Might want to go forward a bit and survey the dead body before casually walking back the way you came.

Then quickly toss the torch down one of the side passages and wait next to the door to this room. Once they come out and head for the passage with your torch you can either attack them or silently sneak off.
>>
No. 770311 ID: 97cee0

>More soldiers

I think that confirms the army did come this way, which means you need to go this way, too.

Reverse their ambush on them. Maybe you'll get a weapon off them.
>>
No. 770351 ID: 15a025

How good are your hand to hand combat skills again Fen?

Also might want to hide that emblem.
>>
No. 770506 ID: bfb318
File 148356738028.png - (91.73KB , 1474x850 , 629.png )
770506

I take my emblem off for now, and run up to the corpse while ducking low enough underneath the slits such that they can't see me. The body seems as barren as the last one, with no valuables, although with clear wounds.

I toss the torch down what I believe is the northern path, while I see another torchlight coming from the southern direction.

>How good are your hand to hand combat skills again Fen?
Not as good as my swordsmanship, but still practiced.
>>
No. 770507 ID: bfb318
File 148356739837.png - (50.60KB , 932x800 , 630.png )
770507

Quietly, and again lowering myself underneath the slot's vision, I move west to return to the first room and hide behind a jut in the wall that might be for support. During this, I open my eyes wider and stare at the darkest parts I can find, as this helps expel the most amount of light that's been stored in my eyes.

Two draconians enter view, illuminating themselves with a lantern. They gesture to each other, pointing in the direction of where I tossed my torch.
>>
No. 770508 ID: 595d54

>>770507
Other barbarians, and not friendly ones at that. I'd rather not risk getting injured or even beaten 2v1 this early, and the current situation doesn't give you much room to be sneaky. Don't move or make noise, let them head down that corridor and sneak after them until you can manage a decent ambush.
>>
No. 770511 ID: 211d83

Yeah you need a weapon better than a stick that will break on the first hit.

We need to kill them but don't rush in when you currently have a advantage in stealth. Which will unfortunately be somewhat ruined when they find your dropped torch without you.

So I see 2 options for now.

1. Silently as possibles sneak rush the one in back and bash his head with a rock and steal his sword while the other one is surprised and still getting his weapon out. Then finish them both off.

2. Continue to sneakily follow them until a better chance to ambush one of them alone pops up. But could be risky as they will soon realize that you noticed them.

As for which plan to choose it depends on if you think you can get to one and disable him and then steal his weapon before the other guy got his free of the scabbard. If you can't move that fast and quiet then keep sneaking.
>>
No. 770517 ID: 398fe1

>>770507
Alright, wait for them to move into the corridor so they have no chance of seeing you coming, then sneak up on them and ambush the one in the rear, stealing his weapon and using it to kill both.
>>
No. 770519 ID: d2455c

You could cover your ears and scream REALLY loud. The sound would stun them just long enough for you to charge up and execute one of them.
>>
No. 770522 ID: 3abd97

Bone club, and... a stone or wood sword I think? That or the worst sheath ever. Either way, they don't appear well armed.

Options are to either quickly and quietly double back the way they came (get behind them, keep following the trail) or to try and ambush and kill them.
>>
No. 770525 ID: 850f11

The one in back has a bone club and the one in front has what looks to be a horrible old rusted sword. Which if they are living in these crypts makes sense.

Both are probably better than the old sticks you have but don't count on stealing a great weapon from them.

Most of your fighting practice has been with a sword. Until you learn some more unarmed skills I would wait until you can get one alone or find a makeshift weapon that will not explode when you hit someone with it.
>>
No. 770696 ID: bfb318
File 148364290186.png - (94.07KB , 900x750 , 631.png )
770696

I wait. I do not think much of their weapons, but I have nothing. Despite my surroundings I can't find a suitable rock, and even if I did the kobold in the back has thick horns on the back of his head, making an easy knockout more difficult.

They move forward, and either do not or can not hide their noise. It seems easy here, as I just need to tilt my toes up such that my claws don't tap the ground. The non-clawed parts of my feet make no noise on a floor like this. I follow them up to the intercection where the body was.

>"... that fucker!"
>"Made a fool of you, huh?"
>"... you were here too. If I'm a fool, you're a retard! He couldn't have gotten far. A wanderer you said. Armed?"
>"Didn't look like it. A concealed dagger at most."
>"Then go get him!"
>"What makes you think he went this way?"
>"Fine, you go this way, I'll look back at the entrance." one says, lowering his volume. "Give me the lantern, you grab that torch."
>"That's just a stick. It's completely inflamed now and is burning out. You grab it if you want."
>"No, you've had it long enough, give it here."
>"I'm leaving, gra - "
>"Give me the damn lantern!"
>"You go right t-"
>>
No. 770697 ID: bfb318
File 148364291431.png - (27.48KB , 900x750 , 632.png )
770697

I hear a crack, and everything goes dark. There's ambient noise left over, but there's no noise in close proximity until one speaks.

>"You've done it, now."
>"That was you you soggy stalk!"
>"Forget the wanderer, he's not worth it."
>"Let's go back then!"
>"I can't see."
>"Then feel your own way back, 'cause I'm not helping you you bricked chicken!"
>>
No. 770708 ID: 398fe1

>>770697
Time to be the Monster in the Dark. As the first one passes, trip him and then stomp on his head. Then steal his weapon and take out his not-friend.
>>
No. 770711 ID: 91ee5f

Since it's dark enough, you could probably punch one of them in the face and then sneak away. Then the guy you punched will blame the other guy and start attacking him and then they'll start beating the shit out of each other. All you'd have to do is finish them off when they finally stop fighting.

Honestly, they look and sound dumb enough to do that.

Or if you want to play it safe, you could just back away from the corner a little and keep quiet so that they pass by you.
>>
No. 770712 ID: 90f3c0

These clumsy oafs shouldn't be much of a problem as long as you can take them one at a time.

Wait a bit to see if they separate. Then trip the one that's lagging behind, wrestle his weapon away from him, and bash his head in with it.
>>
No. 770713 ID: bedd26

>>770697
Advantage: Fen
Provided they split up, this should be quite easy for you to handle.
Just make sure there's some distance between them when you go to take one out.
>>
No. 770746 ID: 094652

Wait for them to argue again, then the moment they stop arguing nonlethal takedown on the nearest one with a chokehold. If the second guy spots you, aim for the lantern next and try to break it on him so he burns.
>>
No. 770893 ID: bfb318
File 148373628336.png - (177.67KB , 800x800 , 633.png )
770893

The one who seems to know where to go in the dark begins walking past me. The one left behind speaks.

>"Don't be a brat all the time."

I whack the back of the other person's head and pull myself back quickly but quietly.
>>
No. 770894 ID: bfb318
File 148373628975.png - (27.73KB , 800x800 , 634.png )
770894

>"Oh now you're the one who's done it you little shit!"
"What, did you seriously lose it at me calling you a br-"

The sound of a fist meeting a face cuts off his message, and the both of them start throwing strikes and curses at one another.
>>
No. 770896 ID: b88e47

Join in right away. It will take them a few seconds to figure out they are each getting hit by 4 fists.
>>
No. 770898 ID: 211d83

Wait a little bit and listen for a weapon dropping sound. If one of them does drop a weapon pick it up and use it on them.

And wait a bit until they are worn out and confused before attacking. No need to rush in just yet.
>>
No. 770911 ID: 398fe1

>>770898
Yes. We are not pressed for time. Yet.
>>
No. 770915 ID: 91ee5f

Woo! My idea worked! And I was right, they were dumb enough to start beating each other up! XD

>>770898
This.
>>
No. 770918 ID: e66267

These guys aren't our mission. Avoid and move on.
>>
No. 770927 ID: 3b3647

>>770918
No can do, we need a weapon.
>>
No. 770933 ID: 094652

One more hit-and-run should increase the aggro to lethal levels.
>>
No. 770935 ID: a86b83

>>770927
We are expected to get to the camp without weapon.
If we get a weapon, we might get mixed up with the marauding bottom feeders...
>>
No. 770940 ID: 91ee5f

>>770935
That's what the emblem is for.

Plus the guy said not to take a weapon, he never said we couldn't pick one up on the way over where Sir Orjin's camp is.

This is a test of surviving by using what Fen can find. Finding and taking a marauder's weapon is fair game.
>>
No. 770949 ID: 398fe1

>>770940
Agreed.
>>
No. 770950 ID: e66267

Aren't we trying to join the Assassins? We aren't supposed to just kill everyone we come across, it's supposed to be a test of stealth and wit. I'm betting they know these guys are killing recruits and let it happen to weed out the weak. That's why the sent you in.

Now I doubt they'll care if you kill a couple of these guys, but if you are good at the job you'd kill no one and not be seen.
>>
No. 770961 ID: 97cee0

Theoretically, these guys might not even have intended to kill you. All they talked about was "looting" you (which admittedly doesn't sound good, since looting is what you do from corpses), but might just be a way of talking, and "not letting you wander around". So I'm not sure they deserve death.

If you can see a way towards knocking them out and taking their stuff, or just taking it from them without their noticing, then do that. It'd be nice to get that guy's sword-like thing, and their lantern might still be usable if you can find a way to light it. Having a lantern would make you look more competent when you meet up with your recruiter.
>>
No. 771189 ID: e66267

Don't be silly, of course they want to kill Fen, you think these fresh corpses are just fakes? They are murderers and no one would miss them, but it doesn't matter, we have somewhere to be and these guys are an obstacle that if handled correctly has taken care of itself.
>>
No. 771212 ID: bfb318
File 148384766540.png - (62.17KB , 800x800 , 635.png )
771212

Attacking them may not be stealthy, but I was only told to find their camp.

From what Holly told me, the name 'assassin' was founded on the normal sense of the term, but over time the assassin's branch has expanded to include professions that hardly count as assassins at all. If I understand right, it's more simply the branch focused on killing single, high profile targets, instead of fighting on a battleground.

I don't do anything yet. They scuffle in the dark. It sounds more like a slapfight to get the other to back down, rather than them trying to seriously one one another. As far as slapfights go, though, it's intensive and could easily escalate.

I hear a loud thud in between me and them. I get low and chance a peek to find that the one who held a club has tossed it to the side, presumable to use both hands against his allied opponent.

It looks heavy. Not so heavy that I can't lift it, but it would be difficult to use in a real fight. I have not yet gotten a good enough look at the other kobold's sword to tell if it's any more helpful.
>>
No. 771213 ID: 398fe1

>>771212
This won't be a real fight. Grab it and take out the one with the sword, then the unarmed one. After they're both dealt with, take the sword. Should be more serviceable.
>>
No. 771214 ID: 211d83

All you are going to use it for is to bash them over the head while they roll around fighting. Is not a long term weapon. Just need it to trade up once you find something better.

Yeah you could not kill them but honestly that is what the army is doing down here. If you don't kill them now you will have to kill them later. Taking them out now will get you there stuff and maybe impress your new boss.
>>
No. 771216 ID: 3abd97

>>771212
You don't have to kill them if you don't have reason to. Knocking them out is sufficient for your purposes, if we assume they can't catch up to you before you meet up with the army.

And yeah, a weapon usable in ambush has different requirements than a weapon usable in a real fight. If this turns into a real fight, you can drop the awkward club, but it should be good for a surprise whack.
>>
No. 771222 ID: 094652

Grab the club and move it away from the brawl so they can't use it against you. Hold it until one guy neutralizes the other, and then charge up a diagonal strike. Finish up with a weapon chokehold.
>>
No. 771226 ID: bfb318
File 148385164755.png - (322.75KB , 900x800 , 636.png )
771226

To diminish the light, I squint my eyes again.

Once I make my move, I get into position so that I can swing at the kobold who owns the sword. Although it may be dangerous, I have been told there is a generous margin between a strike that knocks a kobold out and a strike that kills a kobold.

My swing is slow and somewhat pulled to keep him alive. Even if his skull is tougher than anticipated and he isn't knocked out, I doubt he'll be able to defend himself or see straight for a moment.

The club connects, making an audible thump.
>>
No. 771227 ID: e66267

If both of them are using both hands did they drop the lantern? If you could grab the lantern without being seen and head off towards you goal without engaging them at all that'd be perfect.
>>
No. 771228 ID: 211d83

Why are we saving these guys you will have to kill in half a hour? You know they will just have you finish them off once they hear you knocked these two out.

Whatever carefully knock out the other one and steal there stuff then.
>>
No. 771232 ID: 3abd97

>Why are we saving these guys you will have to kill in half a hour?
Because we haven't been ordered to kill them, and Fen is good enough to get past them without killing?

Like, Fen doesn't have a problem killing people if he has to, but why do it if he doesn't?

>what do
Shove the falling one towards his buddy so he has to catch him / move out of the way / dodge and follow up with an attack on him. If the club is too unwieldy, drop / toss it and press the attack with hand to hand.
>>
No. 771246 ID: 398fe1

>>771226
Drop the club, punch the other guy in the throat, then give him a clean asswhooping. Grab the sword and finish them both off. Seriously.

We were told "deep in the catacombs" so maybe the correct route is down that ramp in the big crossroads.
>>
No. 771293 ID: 29c4aa

Kill them, they will only kill more unarmed people in the future so you are preventing other deaths.
>>
No. 771294 ID: 97cee0

This is an authoritarian society, there's a big difference between killing someone you've been ordered/sanctioned to and assuming the right to decide who lives and dies yourself, in terms of what your superiors will approve of. Besides, someone's going to figure out Fen is Fen sooner or later and his reputation as a noble-killer will follow him, so it'd be good to make it clear he's not someone who just likes killing whenever he has a chance to. Since he's joining the assassins, that reputation might also enter consideration of his assignments and he'll be sent on the "don't kill anyone but the target" missions rather than the "slaughter everyone and their dogs" missions, which is what we want.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to be with Lily. It will all be for nothing if Fen becomes the kind of person Lily doesn't want to be with, so he will have to keep his reputation, honor and morals in mind to some extent.

Anyway, I don't think that guy looks totally knocked out. Either way, though, shove him into his friend to get them tangled up with each other, and reach around to take the other guy's sword. Remember it's on his left hip, to your right if you're facing him.
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No. 771307 ID: bfb318
File 148390435222.png - (240.12KB , 800x800 , 637.png )
771307

>Why are we saving these guys you will have to kill in half a hour?
I don't know for certain that I'll just have to kill these people later.

>Get lantern
I heard a crack noise as it went out, and I figure it's broken. I'll check on it if I have the opportunity, but I just can't see it at the moment. Luck favored me as I went this way, as I could easily have stepped on it.

With an immediate disposal of the club, I throw the struck kobold into the sword wielding one, and then punch him in the throat as he catches his ally. He makes a noise like he's trying to scream something, but his voice sputters.
>>
No. 771308 ID: bfb318
File 148390436015.png - (121.14KB , 800x800 , 638.png )
771308

The kobold I hit with the club seemed to stagger for a moment, but then loses conciousness. I throw the sword to the side and put its user into a stranglehold. He struggles, but now that I'm so close and on him, I realize he seems malnourished and weak. It turns out I was cautious for nothing, but I suppose that's better than being overconfidence in the face of the unknown.

The sword turns out to be wooden. It is solid, but seems to be showing early signs of rotting. For now, it is more like a weaker but more useable club.

Once I confirm that both kobolds have been knocked out, a better look at the lantern reveals a barely glowing, hollow rock that's been smashed open. I have no idea how to repair it even if it's possible.
>>
No. 771314 ID: 3abd97

Huh. They both have tongue studs. Some kind of tribal or gang affiliation marker, maybe?

>a better look at the lantern reveals a barely glowing, hollow rock that's been smashed open. I have no idea how to repair it even if it's possible.
...poke it with a torch? Probably does nothing, but maybe you can get a spark to relight one.

>For now, [the sword] is more like a weaker but more [usable] club.
Well, I guess that's the one you should take, for now.

Take the club too, and dump it somewhere. No point leaving it right next to them when they wake up.
>>
No. 771315 ID: 0967ef

>>771308
The club dude had something in his mouth, might just be a piercing but it's worth quickly checking alongside the rest of them for useful stuff.

Anyway favour taking sword over club, it's possible you'll be tight on space in here and can't get a decent swing in, other than that you should look for a way downwards.
>>
No. 771316 ID: 94e9da

Is it hot? if it is, maybe you can try to light another of your sticks with it.
>>
No. 771318 ID: 398fe1

>>771308
Bah. I guess grab one of the pieces so you have something to see with, along with the shitty "sword", then make your way back to the big crossroads room. Maybe go light another stick, depends on how well you can see with the glowrock fragment.

It seems like these guys weren't the ones who killed the kobolds you found, since their weapons are blunt. Either their friends have sharp weapons, or the kobolds we found were killed by soldiers and these are just part of a surviving group.
>>
No. 771333 ID: 211d83

Yeah a lot of the people the army goes after are rabble and barbarians trying to live in places or ways that the empire would not like.

So thus a mission to clear out the scavengers in the catacombs. Yeah its not pretty but you will most likely see far worse later.

Search them over and check why both had a tongue piercing maybe. As for the lantern if the casing is somewhat intact it might be useful for carrying another glow rock if we find one. Might be some minor magic thing or a mineral that glows.

Then lets get back to following the trail to the army.
>>
No. 771342 ID: e66267

Wooden sword and club? Didn't those corpses have stab wounds? Keep alert, there may be more about. No reason to stay here though, move on.
>>
No. 771345 ID: dce082

Break their arms, legs, and jaws while they are knocked out. Don't want them coming after you when they come to or being able to call for help if there's anyone else. If they didn't want you to kill anyone without orders then good job, you technically did that, if you were meant to kill any scum you see then you also did a good job because they will be trapped here with no water and will die from dehydration if nothing happens to them so in that case you also kinda do well with my suggestion, and most importantly if you are ordered to kill them after meeting up with that knight then it will be like taking candy from a baby... or taking lives from two crippled starving scavengers at least
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No. 771599 ID: bfb318
File 148408433321.png - (165.61KB , 800x800 , 639.png )
771599

Although the source of the lantern's glow is broken and coolish to the touch, the lantern frame around it appears solid. I will take that, since it's light enough, and has a metal loop I can easily put my rope through. I also swap the club with this sword.

I check the bodies. Their tongues each have one rock, which appears blueish, that have been smoothed out in an oval shape. Out of curiosity, I check the previous corpses as well. They do not have the stones, but there are cuts on their tongues that show they did have the stones. Considering that these corpses have stabbed wounds, they were killed by people with proper weaponry.

Lastly, I break an ankle of each of the ones I knocked out. Breaking all of their limbs may just be leaving them to die, but with just an ankle, they will likely be able to survive, yet not be able to come back and hunt me while I'm in this region.

I have 3 remaining sticks, 4 if I include this sword. There's just enough flame left in my previous torch to ignite a new one. I can continue on, but if I get too far, these sticks will burn out and I may have a difficult time finding my way back if the passages continue forking in such convoluted directions.
>>
No. 771600 ID: 211d83

Maybe the tongue stones are some mark of there group?

We should take them as proof you dealt with these two.

As for more torch material try bones. Dry ones burn just fine.
>>
No. 771601 ID: 398fe1

>>771599
I bet those stones are like a gang insignia. It would really help make a good first impression if you kill them and take the stones as proof.

After you do that (or not, considering so many people want to avoid killing bandits for some reason???) let's head back to the main room and go down the ramp.
>>
No. 771606 ID: dce082

How sharp are your claws? Could you cut off their tongues with them? that way if their allies show up they wont be able to talk either and it will give a good first impression.
>>
No. 771614 ID: 8ae082

Nah, no acts of cruelty until we meet up with the knight. Then we'll be as cruel as we're ordered to be, no more, no less.
>>
No. 771621 ID: 094652

Set the bodies on fire, use them as flares.
>>
No. 771622 ID: 97cee0

No murdering or permanent maiming without orders to do so. Maybe not then either if you can get away with it. I get the feeling the army will not be that impressed with a barbarian taking trophies to show off how hard he is, even if they're essentially doing the same themselves.
>>
No. 771625 ID: e22b1d

Popping two tongue studs out should not maim or even hurt them. Unless the stones are fused to there tongues. But if they are you know its some magic thing.

If they are some odd jewelry take them and if they are fused leave them. These two will be out for awhile and not going anywhere fast with there legs broke. You can come back and finish them if you are ordered to easily enough.
>>
No. 771633 ID: 3abd97

Stealing their tongue studs just seems petty, as does maiming them any further.

All you need to do is find your unit. Bonus evidence of fights is not necessary.
>>
No. 771636 ID: 91ee5f

>>771633
This.
>>
No. 771703 ID: bfb318
File 148411518632.png - (30.96KB , 800x800 , 640.png )
771703

I take a closer look at the studs. As my eyes adjust, there's a flatter stone at the bottom, and a single spike of stone that connects them, with a seam inbetween. One stone may have just been spiked through, somehow, and I should be able to just pull it off enough pressure.

Bracing the tongue, I manage to do so without needing to pull too hard. Their tongues may ache when they wake up, but the hole left behind is small and is of no significant harm.

The spike, which protrudes from the bottom flat stone, appears to have a discoloration on its spike. When I try to put the top stone on the top of the spike, a force seems to snap it down right back onto the spike, where it remains. I can pull it off again, but it requires as much force as the first did. To make carrying them easier, I leave them intact.

I start to get a stick to set it on fire, as it will take a while to harvest or use the dead bodies for anything that could be lit, such as having to dry bones. Before my stick is lit, I hear two screams from down the hall. They sound like battle cries. Then another third scream, and a fourth, the both of which sound like death cries.
>>
No. 771705 ID: 398fe1

>>771703
Sounds like the soldiers took another pass at this area. Let's go meet up with them and maybe help out if any bandits are still alive when you get there. Make sure you have the insignia out to show them.
>>
No. 771707 ID: 91ee5f

>>771703
Ok, now you can wear the wooden seal.

Hopefully those are the soldiers you're looking for and they're the ones that are winning that fight.
>>
No. 771720 ID: 398fe1

>>771707
...well I guess we can be cautious and sneak over there to see what's happening without being seen first.
>>
No. 771736 ID: 211d83

Yeah get your seal out and displayed openly. And carefully check on the fight.
>>
No. 771739 ID: e22b1d

Dang it Fen you don't go around harvesting bones and drying them from people you killed. This is a catacombs. That means there should be bodies buried in tombs in the walls. I am assuming that's where that guy got his bone club.

So if you do run across any loose bones they might be old and dry enough to burn. Fresh bones would take forever to dry out and would only be good for clubs or well eating.
>>
No. 771741 ID: 3d2d5f

Wear the wooden seal openly and approach the sounds of battle cautiously. We want to help if you found your unit, but charging right into someone else's fight is a good way to suffer a friendly fire incident.
>>
No. 771871 ID: bfb318
File 148419385138.png - (158.81KB , 1106x599 , 641.png )
771871

>These are supposed to be catacombs, with old dry bones
It hasn't looked like it, so far. There aren't even any bones lying around, and the club the other kobold had was made of stone.

I'll keep an eye out for bones. This area I've entered just happens to be where it was no longer lit. It is possible the proper catacombs are still deeper, and I hope that those yells point me closer. It is likely, considering that I believe they came from the direction the second body is pointing in. I hurry, carefully, over, which leads to another set of stairs down.

A kobold snaps around when I get closer, but he notices my seal.

>"... open mouth" the thin male closest to me says. I do so, and he looks at my tongue. "Hm. You are fighting with us?"
"I think so. I am looking for Sir Orjin."

It's a barbarian. Now that I hear them speak, I can see how different our accent is.

>"The knight is leading his team forward to deal with the tonguestones."
"Is that the name of the kobold faction, here?"
>"It is we call them, so yes."
"What are all of you doing in this spot?"

They give each other shifty glances.

>"We are to guard this exit from any tonguestones attempting to escape. You may pass through, but you may not remain here."
"Then please point me to where Sir Orjin has gone."
>"He has gone that way down the squ-"

The girl to his side cuts him off, and starts whispering quickly to him. He then thinks, and finishes speaking to me.

>"We have been told to kill any straggling and fleeing tonguestones that Sir Orjin's team leaves behind as they make their way through. Give us five tonguestone's tongue studs, and we will tell you where he is."
>>
No. 771872 ID: 398fe1

>>771871
Tell them that is not your mission, and you shouldn't make unnecessary detours. However, if they give you a real weapon it won't be as inconvenient. You already have two stones, would that be enough to trade for a real weapon?
>>
No. 771873 ID: 595d54

They just said they were supposed to guard the exit, not hunt tonguestones down. Probably not worth starting an argument unless there's some unexpected danger.

"I heard what you said before, you know. I'm willing to do it, but I want to know if the studs are valuable to you or the tonguestones are supposed to be more dangerous than they look."
>>
No. 771877 ID: 211d83

"Why would you want trophies from the dead?" Then act like you don't have any and have no idea whats going on.

Oh also get a look at all of there tongues just in case.

(The studs are proof of the kill and these guys are also recruits. They want to trick you so they can be the one with the most and impress the army captain. They know that if you meet the head knight you will know that they are valuable. Plus as new recruits they probably got a shit job and this is a test for them. By there shifty glances I bet they are supposed to be hunting tongue studs actively and not just waiting around a exit for targets of opportunity.)

Ask to see what these tongue studs look like. If they have any they should pull out a bag and you can see roughly how many they have collected. You want to beat that number if you want to impress.

Long story short do not pay him and learn more info before going back to searching. (Also don't trust them as they would kill you at the drop of a hat if they thought it would improve there chances with the army.)
>>
No. 771878 ID: 3abd97

So... we have a choice.

We can go hunt down some hapless bottom dwellers kill them, and give these lazy butts credit for the kills to get past.

Or we can say fuck em and go through them the hard way.

Obvious downside of forcing through instead of taking the quest is it means we have to watch our backs in our own unit from now on. And it risks letting people escape if these guys are down.

Upside of forcing through is it's a lot more notable / impressive, and it solidly demonstrates to the other military low lifes that we're not going to pushed around.

...I say we punch through. Your orders were to follow Sir Orjin, not to make these guys look good.
>>
No. 771879 ID: bb78f2

>>771871
accept two
I will not be bullshitted today
>>
No. 771885 ID: e22b1d

>>771877

This is probably a very accurate picture of whats going on.

This lot looks like other barbarians who are going through the same test as you. They just got here earlier and were with the army when they came down here.

They want to scam you. Those studs are worth merits with the army and you look like a fat ignorant sheep they can fleece. Am not saying kill them but don't put up with there bullshit.

Tell them to fuck off and be glad that one of them already told you basically where the army went.

And if they try to hurt you then deal with them harshly.
>>
No. 771887 ID: c441c1

"I will get you two no more" Don't show them you already have them until the terms of the deal have been settled and try to haggle for a weapon too.
>>
No. 771888 ID: e22b1d

No bribes for fellow recruits. You earned your tongue loot fair and square.

One of them said Sir Orjin headed down the Square... just look for the square hole with lots of footprints and head that way.

And keep collecting tongue stuff as it looks like you might need them to prove your combat prowess.
>>
No. 771890 ID: 4763a1

Recruits are being lazy and want to ride on your coattails.

Pretend ignorance and find out more about this campaign.

And dont pay them.
>>
No. 771891 ID: 97cee0

Sounds to me like they have to collect the stones as evidence of having taken care of escapees, and they want you to do their work for them. That's not something to encourage, so don't even haggle. Stare at them for a bit, especially the girl, then tell them thank you, you'll find him yourself. If you like, you could actually say out loud "ah, you need the stones as proof of doing your duties", then say no thanks and that you'll go on by yourself. It might antagonize them a little, but it'll also let them know you're smart. You might end up working alongside them again later, so it'd be good to start earning respect now.

You already got half a clue, and it sounds like the main force will still be leaving a trail of corpses behind them, so it shouldn't be hard. If you went "I wonder what Sir Orjin would think of this" that might intimidate them into being helpful, but I'd guess it'd be more likely for that to just anger them.
>>
No. 771903 ID: 91ee5f

>>771871
Is the middle yellow eyed barbarian the female? I guess she doesn't feel like covering her chest.

>"He has gone that way down the squ-"
That guy already pointed in the direction Sir Orjin went, but was that last part supposed to be "down the square" or something else that's a "squ-"? With that little information and maybe following a trail of bodies, we could probably find Sir Orjin on our own.
>>
No. 771905 ID: 595d54

>>771903
Draconians are sorta reptilian and don't have chests to speak of, male or female, iirc, but head shape and eyelashes suggest that you're right about the middle one being female.
>>
No. 771906 ID: 952ab0

>>771903
>Is the middle yellow eyed barbarian the female? I guess she doesn't feel like covering her chest.
Lizards, man.
>>
No. 771917 ID: 0967ef

>>771871
Well at least they're not barring your way or anything, offer to give them 'the one' that you have if they quit the bullshit and also why they want them.
>>
No. 771936 ID: 91ee5f

>>771905
>>771906
I'm just surprised because back in Thread 1, the females in Fen's tribe at least had shirts.

I guess not all barbarians are fortunate enough to have shirts.
>>
No. 771937 ID: b88e47

Do not reveal you have any tonguestones.

"That's not my mission and that is preventing me from performing my mission. I'll find him, myself."

I'm not smooth enough to imply that Fen is going to tell the dude he was slowed down by a group of teammates out to help themselves. If Fen could smooth talk that he might be able to convince them to straight answer him.
>>
No. 772172 ID: bfb318
File 148435289380.png - (56.83KB , 800x800 , 642.png )
772172

"I do not know about these studs. What is this campaign about?"
>"That's not relevant! Just kill the people with stones in their tongues." the girl says.
"Then let me through. I take it those people are up ahead."

They make a path for me. At the end of it, there is a broken down stone wall. Above that is the engraving, 'Outer Rock Catacombs.'

I start to go down, but the same kobold grips my shoulder.

>"You are new to the army, are you not? You do not know how things work, I don't think. You are not a foot soldier nor a knight. You are a pawn like us. The knights do not protect us, and so we must be our own protection. If you do not supply us with five studs, then so be it, as to kill five kobolds may be asking for much. But to be worth protecting, you must have some offering to your fellow pawns. If you supply nothing, you will have no protection. In other words, give us at least one tongue stud, or you will not be safe even amongst anyone. Do you understand me, white-eyes?"
>>
No. 772173 ID: 3abd97

>>772172
Turn and punch him in the face. Don't pull it.

We don't need friends with lazy vermin, and Fen was always going to take the hard path. Friends you have to bribe to have your back won't have your back when you're down and have nothing, anyways.

"You must be new to threatening people, pawn. Do you understand me?"
>>
No. 772178 ID: 398fe1

Let's not forget that Fen is wanted for the death of Rasyan, and he will have to sleep at some point. Don't military men sleep in a barracks? You know, surrounded by other soldiers? Fen can't survive if he sleeps among people who consider him a target.

>>772172
Asking for too much? Killing five barely armed kobolds would be easy. If it would gain favor amongst your fellow "pawns" then that is a better deal than simply gaining directions. If you find some of the bandits before you find the camp, you'll collect the tongue-studs for them.

Hand over the two tongue-studs you have, but warn them you did not know for sure you had to kill the bearers, so you didn't. There are two unconscious bandits where you came from.
>>
No. 772180 ID: a3a4cb

He wants tongue studs? Oh, you'll give him tongue studs.

Jam them into his throat and say "If you want to stuff your face with rocks, then HERE YOU GO". Then wait a few seconds, and say "Oh? You changed your mind and want me to take them out? Here, let me HELP OUT" and bite out his throat. Finally, threaten the others with "Listen up. If my safety is worth a single tongue stud, then your collective lives are worth half a tongue stud. In fact, your weapons are worth eight tongue studs. Perhaps you should consider dropping your gear? Then I wouldn't need to hunt you down one by one and eat your throats for a stupid scale-scratcher. Besides, the metal will only slow you down as I hunt you anyway."

If they haven't backed off by then, go for the captain and disable her. Don't kill her yet, she may be useful.
>>
No. 772182 ID: 96cd7a

>>772180
Let's not kill other soldiers of our own department. They might not miss a babarian much, but we are also one. So, they still punish us pretty serve for going against a fellow soldier.
Also let's not reviel that we are the red maw...

>>772174
He also did not only threaten us, but also gave us the hint to not put our life on line to get 5 stones. Even outright punching him seems too harsh to me. You will still be the first to bite instead of barking.

Any idea of a verbal response? ^^
>>
No. 772184 ID: 0967ef

>>772172
you know what, I think less is more here, until you know more about this situation don't commit to giving too much away. give a flat
"Maybe."
and be on your way. later you might want to hand one or even 2 over, but right now it's just shady.
>>
No. 772185 ID: 3abd97

>>772182
It's not about proportional response. This empire, and it's military, respect strength. We don't show weakness and cave to bottom feeders. Not if we want to climb rank and reputation in the army quickly. The point is a demonstration of strength, putting ourselves higher up on the pecking order, so they won't fuck with us, and they understand we'll retaliate worse if they do.

The way you shut up barking is by going for the throat when they yap.
>>
No. 772186 ID: dce082

>>772185
Regardless friendly fire before you are even really IN the army and implicating yourself in the murder of a gold noble seems like a bad idea. there will be plenty of other chances to show your strength, and ones that don't make you seem like you can't even follow the most basic of implied orders. if we wanted to show strength at the risk of showing disloyalty to the empire then we might has well of just gone around killing minor nobles and lightly protected nobles of more significance, it would also provide plenty of a power vacuum. If you did that maybe he'd get a cool title like Zizi. he could be Fen the noble killer ...not quite as good as Zizi kingslayer but still.
>>
No. 772188 ID: 3abd97

>implicating yourself in the murder of a gold noble seems like a bad idea
In what way does punching do that.

Also, we're already implicated. We confessed, and were convicted, and were sentenced to military service. Granted, the grunts here don't know that, but punching him doesn't magically convey this knowledge.

And there's a heck of a line between friendly fire and brawling with a fellow soldier.
>>
No. 772189 ID: 595d54

Punch him hard and then keep going on your way. If one of them still tries to stop you, beat the shit out of them until they learns the error of their ways.
>>
No. 772190 ID: dce082

>>772188
tearing out someones throat kinda will, and we still have a bounty on us.
>>
No. 772191 ID: 3abd97

>>772190
Technically it doesn't implicate us. More importantly, I neither suggested that or argued for killing him, if you follow the chain of responses back up.
>>
No. 772192 ID: bfb318
File 148435896431.png - (100.79KB , 800x800 , 643.png )
772192

"Maybe." is the verbal response I think of, and as much as I care to say.

I feel for a reaction. It's slight, but his grip tightens, and that's more than I want to allow. Between the time when his jaw opens and a word comes out, I drop my stick and use the free hand to grab his arm. I swing around and punch him in the face.

"Maybe not. You seem new at threats."
>>
No. 772194 ID: bfb318
File 148435905193.png - (115.48KB , 800x800 , 644.png )
772194

The other two look startled, then look at each other.

>"You're getting another chip in your horn, moron." The girl says as she starts walking towards me. The other guy is following, wiping his blunt looking knife on his clothing for some reason.
>>
No. 772196 ID: fd73fa

Win the fight but try to not kill them. Do make them understand where they stand right now, which is under your feet and let them know if they try again then they'll be underground.
>>
No. 772198 ID: 3abd97

Better to have this out now that waiting for them to get us in the back.

Kick the other guy while he's down, knock the air out of him. Two on one isn't good, don't want him making it three on one.

As soon as you get a chance smack the guy's hand with your sword-stick so he drops it.

The girl you either want to hit quick before she gets a chance, or let her try something and then counter it, hard.

No killing. Give them lumps, but we're not here to kill em, or draw blood unless we need to. Murdering other soldiers probably doesn't go over well.

>The other guy is following, wiping his blunt looking knife on his clothing for some reason.
Poison? Although it would be pretty dumb to poison your clothes.
>>
No. 772206 ID: 398fe1

Defend yourself but don't kill or even knock them out if you can avoid it. They have a job to do, better make it clear they should do that job instead of fucking with you.
Also don't underestimate them. This is the assassin branch, and they must have been given training by now on taking down skilled fighters. Expect them to fight dirty.
>>
No. 772217 ID: 211d83

Hmm the wiping the knife on his clothes could be to try and clean off the blood already on it. Or it could be to apply a healthy layer of filth. The most primitive poison is just getting muck into a wound so it festers.

Don't go light on these guys. Knock them down and make sure they stay down. If you hold back and get stabbed then its your own damn fault. Don't mention your brother or your past. Once you beat them up mention that being polite to the new guy is better than starting with threats. If you did not kill them all that is.

And don't hold back if there is any chance you could get even nicked in this fight. If he had put away his knife then this could be considered a bit of rough hazing. Which honestly even that you don't have time for. In the end 3 dead assholes is better than one Fen who ruined his life because he spent the next 6 months in bed due to being poisoned.
>>
No. 772218 ID: 97cee0

>wiping his blunt looking knife on his clothing for some reason.

That makes it so wounds inflicted are really likely to get infected and will be more difficult to get stitches for. Avoid getting stabbed. That guy's a douchebag. If he's pulled a weapon then feel free to use a weapon on him. Make sure you don't ignore the guy you just punched, he might not be out.

You know the tactics for fighting multiple people, right? Don't get caught in between, and take out the weakest one first to reduce the number of opponents quickly. If you can't tell which one is weakest then just try to take one out quickly.
>>
No. 772219 ID: 4546ab

If the knife guy is not in the process of putting it away then kill them quick as you can.

If he does put it away and they come at you with fists try to just beat some sense into them.

Once you have them beat tell them that you will be the one doing the protection around here. And blah blah honey gets you more kobold friends than vinegar or something.
>>
No. 772226 ID: bfb318
File 148436765099.png - (182.05KB , 800x800 , 645.png )
772226

If it was poison on that blade, then I suppose it would be good he was wiping it off. For a variety of reasons, though, I doubt it is.

The one I punched still seems to have life in him now that I think about kicking him, so I go through with kicking him.

The girl doesn't wait for the guy behind her to catch up so they can take me together. She throws a quick strike, but I feint a bad dodge and lure out a hard strike from her that leaves her open. I counter with an intended punch to the face, but it turns into a punch in the throat, which is still acceptable. When I realize she won't topple from that, I reactively trip her.

I trip her to hit the floor as my other hand reaches to get the sword, which I use to swing at the guy. The others used their fists, but this one is using a dirty knife, and I care the least about his well being. I lunge forward, away from where the girl fell, and although I miss the hand, I do strike his wrist, successfully whacking the knife out of his hand however indirectly.

As he clutches his wrist, I get a free punch to his face. I use the chance to punch him as hard as I can.

The girl tries to stagger up, but ends up sitting with her back to the wall, not eager to get back up after seeing her friends still trying to get up.
>>
No. 772227 ID: 398fe1

>>772226
Ask if they're done. They should get back to guarding the passage, you don't want to hurt them enough so they can't do their duty. That would inconvenience your soon to be boss.
>>
No. 772228 ID: 211d83

Lecture them on how if they had been friendly and polite you would not have minded joining with them to gather some studs.

But now they owe you any they have collected. If they know what is good for them.
>>
No. 772229 ID: b88e47

"Please point me to where Sir Orjin has gone and I will let you get back to your guard duty."
>>
No. 772230 ID: 3abd97

Don't bother with speeches. It won't impress them, and your actions speak louder.

Just give them an intimidating look, see if anyone is gonna get up.

Then very deliberately turn around and follow the knight.
>>
No. 772232 ID: 0967ef

>>772226
you might feel a sudden, alien urge to toss out some parting words or one-liners or a more reasonable desire to question one of/ them.
repress these urges, you're done here and should get moving, these gits have slowed you down enough already.
>>
No. 772233 ID: 952ab0

I kinda want to go "Now that we understand eachother, and we have all learned an important lesson about extortion, it IS true that I'm not here to make enemies. I'll give you one of the studs I recovered if you tell me what is going on with them."
>>
No. 772236 ID: 97cee0

They're all down? Look like they're staying down? Good. Take that guy's knife, it might be identifiable enough to him to be some proof of your encounter if you need it. Time to try a little damage control, and to put on the hardass sergeant show because I think that's the best we're going to manage. So, you'll need to give a little speech. Maybe something like...

"I am not interested in encouraging people to be weak and lazy by doing their jobs for them. But I am not interested in causing problems, either. If this is the last I hear of this little trouble between us, then no-one else will hear anything, understand? Now... you" (glare at the first guy) "need to learn that not everyone will tremble and roll over when you threaten them, no matter how outmatched you think they are. You and you" (glare at the girl) "Need to learn to not underestimate your opponent and use the advantages you have, such as letting a companion back you up. And you" (glare at knife guy) "Need to learn not to escalate a conflict beyond what it needs to be. Drawing a weapon was encouragement to me to kill you. You also need to take better care of your weapons. We are not tribes squabbling over food and territory any more. We are joining the same army, and for all you know, I will be responsible for saving your life in the next few months. It would be a shame if I found myself unable to do that, wouldn't it? Besides, the blunt edge is less likely not to pierce scales, and that one missed strike could be your life. I will take this knife for now, and if you still want it later, you can come and ask me to return it."

You might need to rough them up a bit amidst that, if they look like getting back up too quickly. If they try get up slowly before you're done, tell them to stay down, you want to say your piece. Treating them like they're children might make them angry, but it will also shame and embarrass them, which might defuse the immediate hostility, and get them thinking of you as something other than an enemy. You could ask them if they feel like giving you directions, now, but I wouldn't trust any they did give at this point.

If you manage to catch up with your officer soon, you might want to try sharpen that knife, hide it or claim that you took it as a trophy, so that you're not judged for how poor it is yourself.
>>
No. 772238 ID: 395c02

>>772236
Waaaay too many words for Fen, dude.

I'd say to just get moving.
>>
No. 772239 ID: 4546ab

Stay down if you know whats good for you.

Whats the story about these studs? Are you all new or have you been with the army for a bit? Are you conscripts?

And finally what can you offer ME to gain MY protection? Because I don't like the idea of leaving you alive to try and stab me in the back.
>>
No. 772242 ID: 97cee0

>>772238

He needs to learn to speak some time! But if he does have to skip, I'd at least give the bit about Fen being on the same side as them and maybe being in a position to save their lives later in their careers. Since he just beat them up, he'll have earned at least a little respect of his combat prowess, and an appeal based on "you want me watching your back (in a good way)" might get through, since now they'll believe he's capable.
>>
No. 772244 ID: 309d35

How about you tell me what I want to know, and you get unbroken fingers in exchange?
>>
No. 772271 ID: 6c5216

No reason to stay any longer or humiliate them even more. Unless they have anything to say we should just move forward.
>>
No. 772273 ID: 6c5216

Or, actually. This branch usually has tasks that are solo or small group ones? Well here might be a chance to start one. Can't know if we ever work together later, but couldn't hurt.

Talk along lines
>What is this about with those tongue studs really? You tell me and I'll find a few for you. And if we must be our own protection, bribery and threats is not the way to do it. I don't like threats or take them lightly. Not to myself or anyone i consider my friend.
>>
No. 772274 ID: a107fd

"Five tongue studs, in exchange for a fellow pawn watching your back, instead of wishing you death. I hear that's the going rate. Can you pay me, or shall we all get back to our official duties?"
>>
No. 772276 ID: 97cee0

I don't think any questions we ask them right now are going to get trustworthy answers.
>>
No. 772280 ID: bb78f2

>>772226
Are you done yet? I want to be done.
Nothing personal, just showing you three might makes right in the battlefield and who has it. It was just supposed to be your friend, but then you had to back up his stupid decisions.
>>
No. 772284 ID: 91ee5f

>>772226
".....just so you know, if in the future you need me to watch your backs, I'll watch your backs. But next time, try asking me instead of threatening me, and I might help you out."
>>
No. 772314 ID: bfb318
File 148443439952.png - (181.75KB , 800x800 , 646.png )
772314

I take the knife away from its owner. On closer inspection, it seems to be a sharpened bone wrapped in leather. It should be useful for stabbing. I will take it, since it seems that these kobolds are not using it for anything but getting other people to do their work for them.

I think to leave, but there is too much I don't know.

"Are you all done? Was I mistaken to think we were on the same side?" I ask, glaring at anyone who looks like they may get up. The girl looks like she's about to start, but she sinks back down. The knife user is clutching his snout, and the other guy is laying on the ground.

The girl is silent, so I continue.

"What are the studs for?"
>"Greater knight Orjin is exchanging each normal stud for either a copper piece, or half of a kill. Half, because the kobolds here are weak and hungry and not worth a whole kill."
"What is the point of confirming kills?"
>"If a kobold gets ten whole kills, then they are promoted to a lesser knight. Then they will receive small wages and food. You thought we were on the same side? We are, and that is exactly why we use our collected kills as a community, not keep them to ourselves."
"Where is Sir Orjin?"
>"... down this hall. Fifth left. Down the main stairs. Then just follow the torches."
>>
No. 772315 ID: 595d54

>>772314
Point out that they can't really pull the "community" card when they tried to extort and attack you before explaining anything. Give them one stud and go on your way.
>>
No. 772316 ID: 094652

"... Fine. I understand. Not everyone wants to wage war under bigoted, apathetic generals for their personal ambitions. But you should know: if you think this makes you any different from the middle-class nobles, you're dead wrong. Sir Gauche the 'family man' was willing to sacrifice himself, and then his sister, and then himself again for a stupid Wood Noble title. Not out of arrogance or ignorance, but because having that title passed down to successors is what generates the pensions for his family and their relatives to have healthy lives, educated opportunities, and loyalty to each other, something that is worth sacrificing even his own individual family members for. I'm sure you understand, as much as you wish to deny it."
>>
No. 772318 ID: 398fe1

Don't give them a stud. You need those to advance. If we're going to make up for the scuffle, and persuade them to leave you alone and let you keep kill tokens from here on, we should give them money instead.
>>
No. 772320 ID: 15a025

Could have explained the community thing first, saved yourselves a beating, and possibly got a stud thingy in return.
>>
No. 772321 ID: 3abd97

>>772314
"Perhaps you should have opened with the community speech, rather than threatening the consequences of not supplying you."

Toss them a single tongue stud and follow the directions. Hopefully the combination of strength with a modicum of magnanimity will convince them not to fuck with you in the future.

I don't think we can afford to be a big earner paying taxes to support the barbarian-bold union, not if Fen wants to elevate himself quickly. There might be people it's worth spending military capital helping / supporting, but these three don't seem like it.
>>
No. 772323 ID: 395c02

>>772321
Leaving them one stud seems good, for sure. I feel like if the studs are only worth half a kill anyway, they're probably not exactly hard to come by if you're any good at fighting. Which I'm thinking these guys might not be best at if they're sitting at the door and trying to threaten them out of others.

I'd suggest something to say with regard to not really wanting to be seen as an enemy by these guys but also not wanting to take shit from them, but I can't think of anything good, and your actions are probably doing a good enough job of that.
>>
No. 772324 ID: fd73fa

Tell them things are easier when you aren't being kept out of the loop and asking nicely would have not gotten them beaten up. Give them a single stud and tell them you're fine with helping the group but you are there to prove something and you won't be dawdling because becoming a knight is just the first step in a long path. If they try to interfere with that they won't be getting anymore studs and they will have worse than bumps and bruises if they try to hold you back.
>>
No. 772332 ID: b88e47

Give them nothing. Thank them. Continue.
>>
No. 772335 ID: 97cee0

"A community looks more inviting when it doesn't make threats and extortion its first greeting. From now on, I will watch, and if I see better than I have so far, perhaps I will join you after all. However, I expect to experience more than I can stomach of bullying from those placed above us, and my patience will not stretch to taking it from you as well. Thank you for the directions."

Then continue on.
>>
No. 772336 ID: 91ee5f

>>772314
>Ten whole kills.
Since only 1 stud counts as a half a kill, 2 studs should be 1 whole kill, so 10 kills is 20 studs.

>What do?
"Here." Give them 1 stud. "This could've been avoided had you explained the community thing first. And if what you say is true, then if you ask me nicely, I'll watch your backs when you need help."
>>
No. 772339 ID: dce082

Keep the studs, tell them that the sympathy and community cards doesn't work as well after trying to extort someone and then trying to murder them.
>>
No. 772346 ID: 211d83

Well then we had better start working as a team quickly then. Help him (or her) up.

How many more recruits are there other than your group? Do we have any leaders or are you it? And how many studs are up for grabs down here?

I am planning on moving up the ranks as fast as possible. If you want to be on my team then follow me. Once I get my studs any left over are yours. Get me a better weapon I can deal with anyone down here. Until then we fight carefully and avoid making stupid mistakes.
>>
No. 772349 ID: bfb318
File 148445009928.png - (97.87KB , 800x800 , 647.png )
772349

I pause for a moment, thinking, before I undo one assembled tongue stud and drop it to the girl.

"You should have opened with community, not threats. There would have been more tongue studs, and less beatings. You only seem different from nobles in that nobles are clean and well fed."

She looks like she wants to retort, but says nothing as she carefully takes the stud.

"How many other recruits are here?"
>"You are the only recruit. We are the pawns. There are about 40 pawns here, and we estimate 20 to 30 tongue studs."
"Are you all the leaders of the recruits?"

They look at one another like they're unsure of what I am asking, before the girl keeps speaking.

>"Of the pawns, Lasann is our eldest of the ones down here, but Sir Orjin is a greater knight who has at least 4 lesser knights accompanying him. All of them can order pawns around."

I move on.
>>
No. 772350 ID: bfb318
File 148445017127.png - (213.09KB , 1000x600 , 648.png )
772350

The following hall opens up into a larger tunnel, with many unlit passages. I start to hear the echoes of activity and fighting, and it's difficult to tell where it's coming from or even how close it is beyond my immediate surroundings.

That is the case until I hear three pairs of footsteps rushing down a side passage, and stop in their tracks when they see me. The girl in the back has a lantern.

>"..... uh. Hey." the mountain says. "With the army, right?"
"I am on my way to join them."
>"Er... whatever. Did you see an oceanic run through here? Spot on his forehead? Had a lantern?"
"No."
>"Shit."
>"That's not bad!" says the spikier draconic. "Means he went down deeper, in the dirt path."
>"Yeah, but... wait, this guy talks like a barbarian. I bet he can track." the mountain continues.
>"Whoa, whoa! Don't make assumptions like that, you'll offend them. They're sensitive as shit."
>"Oh, like he's not going to be offended after you say that."
>"Whisper it, dumbass! They have bad hearing!"

The mountain kobold gawks, then turns to me.

>"Hey, barbarian. Know how to track? We got a catacomb defiler trying to, well, get outta here. Want to help us? We'll let you keep his tongue stud if you lead us to him."
>>
No. 772351 ID: 398fe1

>>772350
Sure. More studs means you advance faster.
>>
No. 772352 ID: 3abd97

>They have bad hearing!
I don't know who started this rumor, but it continues to amuse and we absolutely shouldn't correct then.

>what do
Well, technically our orders are still to report to the knight. But these guys actually asked for our help instead of demanding we pay them or they'd block our path.

Assuming you actually know how to track someone underground, Fen, agree.
>>
No. 772359 ID: 97cee0

"I can track in a forest. I cannot guarantee results here, but I can try."

It's not like you were given a deadline, a delay just means it'll take longer to catch up if the main group is still continuing to move forward.

>>772352

Technically, they didn't block Fen's path, they just threatened him with vague implied retribution.
>>
No. 772362 ID: 91ee5f

Sarcastically say, "Gee, I'm not sure if I'll be able to help, my poor barbarian hearing might end up hindering your search." Then give the spiky draconic a dirty look.

"Yes, I can track."

Now we ask tracking questions about the guy they're after. Is he injured? Depending on how badly, he's pretty far ahead or can't be too much farther ahead. Is he bleeding? A blood trail, would he easy to track. How far have they been chasing him?
>>
No. 772363 ID: 91ee5f

>>772362
*A blood trail would be easy to track.
>>
No. 772365 ID: 3abd97

>Gee, I'm not sure if I'll be able to help, my poor barbarian hearing might end up hindering your search." Then give the spiky draconic a dirty look.
The temporary satisfaction of a sarcastic remark is not worth ruining the myth that barbarians have poor hearing so idiots continue to let us overhear things.
>>
No. 772366 ID: 211d83

Sure I could use some more kills.

(Don't correct them on your hearing.)
>>
No. 772367 ID: fd73fa

If it will get you a tongue stud and it doesn't look like they're leading you into a trap go for it. If things start getting fishy you can just tell them you lost the trail.
>>
No. 772374 ID: dce082

Well now seems as good of time as any for this question(especially since this military service is literally meant to be a death sentence). If you started all this for the sake of love WHY have you not tried to date either of the girls who have shown affection or at least friendliness towards you and in many ways are similar to Lily? I mean I know that a weird mutated squishy cave kobold who shoots blood out of her eyes or a scruffy one legged furbold is a bit of a step down from the soon to be wife of a Mythril noble they are probably a hell of a lot easier of options who probably wouldn't be indirectly responsible of getting you killed.

Anyways for the current moment have them open their mouths and show you their tongues if they have them or refuse to show you then it would be a clear indication of a trap
>>
No. 772376 ID: bb78f2

>>772350
I'm a recruit, not a pawn. Tongue studs will give me nothing.
>>
No. 772380 ID: 91ee5f

>>772376
When Fen gets recruited he's going to become a pawn, so he might as well go ahead and start making friends while he can.
>>
No. 772394 ID: 6c5216

>>772350
"No promises"
And don't correct about hearing
>>
No. 772395 ID: 0967ef

>>772350
Seems like a fair deal, and I'd not suspect the stud offer over-much, looks like getting the guy himself is this lot's mission.

Bonus in that if they're counting on you to lead them somewhere they'll probably be open to answering questions.
>>
No. 772398 ID: b88e47

DO NOT CORRECT THEM ABOUT HEARING.
>>
No. 772399 ID: ee76dc

>>772350
Keep them in the dark about hearing. Agree with the tracking attempt, but give them a deadline since you still have orders to meet up with the knight.
>>
No. 772402 ID: bfb318
File 148449529278.png - (157.03KB , 800x800 , 649.png )
772402

"I am used to tracking in forests, but I can attempt it here. I will help, as long as it does not take too long, since I have been told to meet the knight."
>"Great. We want to meet the knight too, so we don't want to wait long either. Let's hurry."

They lead me just up the slop to a thinner path, where I can start seeing footprints. There is a noticeable layer of dust on the stone floor, and broken decorations that used to line the walls.

"Wait a moment." I say, before we make any more bends. "I would like to see your tongues."

They stop, look at each other, then face me.

>"Uh, yeah, sure. Poya, if you could."

The girl with the lantern opens her mouth.
>>
No. 772403 ID: b88e47

I can't tell if that is a tongue stone or not. Also will need to see the others. Stick out your own tongue to prove it as well.
>>
No. 772404 ID: bb78f2

Huh... white eyes, like mine...
Alright, now the male shows us.
>>
No. 772405 ID: 97cee0

Ok, cool, no stones. Got some speckles on there, though, and doesn't really match the type of stains she'd get from just eating some bloody meat, the liquid would have collected to the sides and middle. Hope she isn't sick.

>>772404

Well, these guys aren't barbarians. Most barbarian greenscales have yellow eyes, most civilized ones have white.

I wonder if maybe there are other physiological differences? Maybe yelloweyes really do have bad hearing? But Fen lived near a yellow tribe and you'd figure he'd know. This weird rumor kind of made sense when it was from the field kobolds, since they actually have ears and they probably would assume other types had worse hearing than them.

Well, no need to correct them until they have to fight barbarians alongside us. Then Fen can go "well guess it's time I let you know I could hear you the whole time" and it'll be funny.
>>
No. 772406 ID: 3abd97

>>772402
Return the gesture, and then raise an eyebrow (eyeridge?) at the mountain kobold.

Are these two not wearing wooden emblems the way you are? She doesn't seem to be, at least.

>>772404
Well, white is the default for dragon-bolds, it's just the shroomleaf forest is supposed to turn them yellow. ...although she's not particularly spiky looking either, which is what we'd expect from a Dragon's Fall native.
>>
No. 772408 ID: 211d83

Show them your tongue and make sure you see them all.
>>
No. 772505 ID: bfb318
File 148452153134.png - (204.87KB , 800x800 , 650.png )
772505

There isn't a stone in the girl's mouth, although there are lots of marks.

I open my tongue in return and ask the rest of them to do the same. Likewise, they seem to have some scratches on their tongues, but no stones.

"Alright. I notice none of you have wooden seals, either."

The mountain kobold stutters something that I can't make out, but the short one brings out a single wooden emblem from his clothes.

>"Here's mine. The other two lost theirs."
"Lost them?"
>"The army, they gave fighters the wooden seals, but they didn't give us a good way to hold them, so it's natural some would be lost, right?"
>>
No. 772506 ID: 595d54

>>772505
Sure, you guess. You'll keep an eye out for any seals lying around if need be.

Start tracking but watch out for anything suspicious from them.
>>
No. 772507 ID: 398fe1

>>772505
You know what, screw this. Let's get to camp FIRST, find out exactly what kind of tricks the bandits are up to, then we can take some side quests to get more tongue studs.
>>
No. 772509 ID: 97cee0

Oh my gosh find these guys some tracks and then go, it'd be a jerk move to deny them your help now and you have enough people mad at you, they've been nothing but cooperative. At the very least you can ask them for a second set of directions to check against the first ones you got.
>>
No. 772514 ID: 3abd97

"If you've lost your seals, you probably want to be careful to stick together, lest someone in the army mistake you as not one of their own."

Really, we can't be sure they're military, and not some of the riff raff who managed to get ahold of a seal.

The banter before felt authentic, though. Not like a rehearsed act. I feel like they're probably being honest? And they don't look as scrawny as those two you beat up. And if they were trying to get out, they could use the seal to get past those three at the door instead of trying to murder a lone recruit.

So... lead on, follow the tracks. Be wary for a backstab, although I'm not sure we're gonna get one.
>>
No. 772515 ID: dce082

Okay this seems like a trap, sure two of them could have lost their seals but they seem like the kind of things you would go to great lengths to make sure you don't lose it. it might be likely they just killed a recruit. Draw your knife back away and tell them you are going to check in with the knight first and that they could just guard the exits so who ever they are after can't escape. Be prepared to fight.
>>
No. 772516 ID: 0967ef

>>772505
A little suspect but believable, they seem helpful for now so go along with it.

Just try to be aware of dangers from the back as well as the front if you get me.
>>
No. 772519 ID: 211d83

Well loosing track of your emblem is something that could easily happen. But all you have to do is take a stud out to fake things. The hole would be hard to notice unless you looked close.

But his is different than yours. Do you recognize the symbol? And do they have good weapons so you would have to be worried about them in a fight?

Also if they were bad guys they could have just jumped you now. But be careful anyways.
>>
No. 772538 ID: bfb318
File 148453342358.png - (185.38KB , 800x800 , 651.png )
772538

"Enough, fine. Keep going." I tell them, once I get a closer look at the emblem to confirm it's at least the same kind as mine.

Now that I look at them, though, they don't even seem armed.

I remain cautious, but I will go with them. They lead me to the tracks, and the girl lends me the lantern so that I can go forward. They seem to sense that I am wary of them, and they give me room.
>>
No. 772539 ID: bfb318
File 148453343227.png - (129.43KB , 800x800 , 652.png )
772539

I see light ahead, so I leave the lantern behind to not give away my location as I investigate farther.

There are four kobolds. The only one that's armed appears to be the mountain kobold, as far as I can see. The other three seem to be knocking urns off of the shelves, and scraping away paintings on the rocks.
>>
No. 772541 ID: 211d83

Back out slowly and quietly report that we have at least 4 tomb robbers and one armed mountain kobold. Give them a run down of the situation and see what they think.

If they distract the unarmed guys you could probably pick people off one by one while they are busy wrestling.
>>
No. 772542 ID: 398fe1

>>772539
Well you're the scout. Report back what you've seen. These fucks are definitely not soldiers, that's for sure.

Just uh, don't get surrounded when the fighting starts. At least we know your dual wielding fighting style works, from the last time we used it. You can do the same kind of thing here to take out the mountain kobold.
>>
No. 772547 ID: 3abd97

>>772539
Well, one of them is oceanic. So I guess these might be the ones your team was looking for.

Go back, report what you saw, give descriptions of the kobolds to your current allies.
>>
No. 772548 ID: 91ee5f

>>772539
That guy in the middle with the green eyes is an aquatic, right? Does he have a mark on his head? Can you tell if that's the guy the others were looking for?
>>
No. 772551 ID: 97cee0

Oceanic, big spot on his forehead, what could be lantern on the other side of him. That's the guy.

Go back and tell them you found him but he has buddies.
>>
No. 772665 ID: bfb318
File 148459305398.png - (320.20KB , 800x800 , 653.png )
772665

I scoot back to the others.

"The aquatic is there. There are two draconics and a mountain kobold."
>"Damn." says this mountain kobold. "Wait a second. Was that mountain kobold doing anything, or just overseeing?"
"He was just watching."
>"Damn."
"He was the only armed one."
>"They're still dangerous."
"If you distract them, I could possibly pick them off one by one as you occupy them."

He looks around.

>"Fuck it. We can't distract them, these tunnels won't let us flank them or anything. We'll fight, but you're the armed one, so you go in first. If we go in, you'll just have trouble getting room."
>>
No. 772666 ID: 211d83

How about this. One of you (or me) wanders forward and looks surprised to see them. You get a panicked look and run back a room where we are all waiting.

Basically bait them out so we don't have to all pile over each other to get in the fight.

While you could probably take them one one by one its best to be safer. They are probably shit fighting as a team but the unarmed ones might swarm you to hold you down for the other guy.
>>
No. 772672 ID: 929ca6

A bait-and-ambush sounds good. If the oceanic has seen these guys before, it'll have to be you, or else he'll suspect an ambush. Wear your badge so they know you're someone they want to off.

Before you do that, though: if you still have the club, give it to the mountain kobold, and offer one of the others the dagger. Actually, offer those things in exchange for the tongue studs from the others with the oceanic, if they have them.
>>
No. 772676 ID: 3d2d5f

>>772666
>>772672
Yeah, luring them into an ambush instead of charging them would be preferable.

If there are any intact (or mostly intact) pots, that's a one-off weapon. Chuck a hunk of pottery in their face as they come into range.
>>
No. 772697 ID: 91ee5f

>>772676
A broken pot is a good weapon also. I'm pretty sure the broken pieces have sharp points on them that can hurt if you stab them into the right spots on the guy you're fighting. Plus, have you stepped on a broken pot? It fucking hurts! Speaking from personal experience. ;_;
>>
No. 772948 ID: bfb318
File 148470130173.png - (332.85KB , 800x800 , 654.png )
772948

>"Alright. I will be able to lure them here, by accidentally pretending to stumble on them as a soldier. If you are willing to fight, then we can ambush them."

They look at each other for some form of silent discussion, before the two draconics look at the mountain kobold that's put on an expression of confidence. While they do that, I look at the surroundings. There is at least an intersection that is a bit farther than I'd like, but provided none of those kobolds are surprisingly quick, it's no issue. Plus, the walls are lined with pottery. While many of them are broken down if not missing, many are simply cracked and can be used as a high supply of one-off throwing weapons.

>"Yeah. Yeah, we can do this." the mountain says. "Mind sparing a weapon? Hell, both if you want. I can swing hard as hell with that club you've got." he says, referring to my wooden sword that, as he put it, may as well be a club. "And, uh... just an idea, not an order, but Poya here is damn good with a knife but I know we'd be asking an awful lot to borrow everything off you."

Even if it's practical, I don't like the idea, and he recognizes it.

>"We have some pins, we'll trade you a couple pins to have each weapon you give us." he says, before I even mention the idea.
>>
No. 772950 ID: 398fe1

>>772948
Give him the "club". When the ambush starts you'll probably want to take out one of the unarmed kobolds to reduce their numbers, then do a threat assessment.
>>
No. 772952 ID: 094652

"You mean you want me to sell you all the weapons I have. While we're lost in a dark cave. While I'm outnumbered.

Trust isn't the real issue here. It's stupidity. If I do this, you'll blab to the local pup that I'm dumber than a sack of rocks and suddenly all my prospective contracts will be simultaneously shoved into random fireplaces and slaughterhouse troughs.

If we get back to civilization, I'll sell you my surplus scrap for a pittance. Here? A good weapon is worth more than a sack of gold. So make due with what you've got and find weapons if you don't have ^&*(."
>>
No. 772955 ID: 90f3c0

Trade away the sword. Since its actually sharp, the knife should be a better weapon for you despite it's lack of reach.
>>
No. 772959 ID: 3abd97

>trade for pins
If it turns out I can't trust you to have my back in this fight, it won't matter how many pins you've lent me.

I say lend them both out. If this is a trap it's 6 or 7 on one, and you'll be fenced in from 2 sides. Holding onto those shitty weapons won't stop them from beating you down. But if this is legit, you're likely the best fighter her by a long shot, and can afford to work unarmed, while a crappy weapon could be the difference between the other army grunts surviving or not.
>>
No. 772961 ID: 929ca6

>>772955

The "knife" is just a sharpened bone, remember? Only good for stabbing. Once they see that they might not want to part with the pins so much, so you might only get one pin out of it, but that's fair-ish and it's still something.

I say keep the "sword", since the mountain kobold is the one who's going to do best without a weapon to begin with. He probably has big enough hands to dual-wield pots, too, or a large stone/brick if any of the wall or ceiling has fallen in anywhere.
>>
No. 772973 ID: 91ee5f

>>772961
But like he said, he can swing pretty damn hard. If he swings hard enough, he might literally knock someone's head clean off of their shoulders!

Or he just hits them hard enough he breaks the "sword" and gets a easy 1 hit KO on someone, which immediately reduces the enemy count by 1.
>>
No. 772981 ID: 929ca6

>>772973

Extra consideration, though: Fen is trained to defend himself with a sword as well as attack. Lacking any other defense, he might need that swordclub to fend off an attack or two. The mountain kobold is much tougher and doesn't need that so much. We also don't know if these guys are going to give these back after, the fact they're trading pins, and saying "give" rather than "loan", makes me think they expect to keep them. Fen might have a greater long-term need for the swordclub. He doesn't want to go back to trying to defend himself with his bare hands, and that's a greater concern for him than a somewhat greater chance of winning this one fight.
>>
No. 772989 ID: 211d83

Right now those pins are worth there weight in gold to you. And if these guys were on the other side they probably would have ambushed you by now. Yeah its a risk but you probably are the best fighter here even without a weapon. And running for it is always a issue.

I say trade them both. The "knife" is barely one and the other is a stick. That and going unarmed will help sell the idea that they should chase the unarmed guy.

So find a brick or just use those pots as throwing weapons. Or even a sharp shard after breaking one. If you can take down this group you can get the big mountain kobolds weapon.

And hopefully impress this group. The more your fellow "pawns" like you and trust your intentions the easier it will be for them to have your back. Plus if you find some decent prospects you can help them back once you rank up.
>>
No. 772993 ID: dce082

trade away the knife, keep your sword club. its wood so it might break if the mountain kobold uses it and the mountain might be more effective with just his bare hands, fen is good with a sword so a sword like weapon is close enough for defending at least, main difference is it probably won't cut well, tell them you will be willing to trade the sword after this fight depending on how much they offer. even a wooden sword is an effective weapon when most are unarmed and its in the dark, it even looked like a real sword to you when you saw it so its at the very least a good threat.
>>
No. 773061 ID: bfdaf0

Trade the knife and keep the wooden sword, it's what you're better with.
>>
No. 773096 ID: bfb318
File 148477036232.png - (217.55KB , 800x800 , 655.png )
773096

"Right now, these weapons are worth more than a bag of gold."
>"Heh, well, dunno about that, but by trading pins, we're proving we're willing to kill for a cheap weapon, even makeshift ones."
"If we make it back, I'll sell my excess things for a low amount, but here... I will part with my knife, as I am best trained with a sword."
>"Hm... okay. Poya, give 'em a couple pins."

She lifts hers cloak to show the underside, revealing a long row of pins that have been pushed through the fabric. I see 12. She takes a couple out, reassembles them, then gives them to me.

>"Alright. They'll see you coming if you bring the lantern, so we'll keep it here. We're ready when you are."
>>
No. 773098 ID: 211d83

Ok start wandering over there like you have not noticed the guys ahead of you.(But not loud enough so they notice you first.

Then look panicked and gasp when you see them. And then run for it back to your guys. And hope they do not fuck you.
>>
No. 773101 ID: fd5137

>>773096
There's nothing more chase-provoking than a failed stealth attempt; get as close as you can (out of their lunge range) as quietly as you can then maybe kick a pebble or knock over a pot, swear then run away.

bonus if you hear/see anything interesting or useful while setting up this stunt.
>>
No. 773121 ID: 398fe1

One thing before you go. Ask what's up with the cuts on their tongues. (maybe the rations they're given are especially hard?)
>>
No. 773126 ID: 3abd97

Did we ever ask what pins are worth? They seem to be an army only currency, as it hasn't come up before. (The fact she actually has them at least reassures me they're not tongue studders trying to trick us, somewhat).

Not the time to ask, anyways. After the fight.

>There's nothing more chase-provoking than a failed stealth attempt
Yeah, that's probably the best way to go about it. Faking failing to sneak up on them then booking it. They'd want to take out a lone scout before he could report on their location.
>>
No. 773293 ID: bfb318
File 148484023722.png - (178.41KB , 800x800 , 656.png )
773293

"Okay. Before I go, what is with the cuts on your tongue?"
>"Eh, when we go hungry, we just need something in our stomachs, and, well, rotten wood does the trick. Chewing it with teeth is even worse, so we just mash it around our tongues until it breaks down." says the mountain kobold.

I hear enough, so I walk to the pottery wreckers. I think to myself about how much pins are worth, but considering that they are used to confirm kills, it would surprise me if the army approved of exchanging such things for money.

The other kobolds have moved a bit, but they're still making enough noise that I just wander ahead right out into the open and tip over a half broken pot.

Their heads snap to me.

"Shit!"
>>
No. 773294 ID: bfb318
File 148484028746.png - (80.10KB , 800x800 , 657.png )
773294

I run.

>"Get him!" I hear the mountain kobold yell.

They obey, and I'm relieved to see they aren't as fast as me, but I don't run so fast that I lose them. They don't seem to stick together as a group, so the fastest one is by himself, if only by a few seconds.

From the location of where my allies and I were supposed to ambush them from, I hear pottery being smashed.

The intersection in which the ambush was supposed to occur is dark. I see a faint light far up ahead, but it's fading. Most of the pottery here has been tossed to the ground, leaving a thick layer of smoke hovering over the ground.

I realize that this dust that people have been leaving tracks in have been ashes of kobolds.

There's still a few solid chunks on the wall I can use as a weapon, which I may need to make the most of, as apparently I have been left to fend for myself.
>>
No. 773295 ID: 3d2d5f

>light fading ahead.
Also a faint one to the left.

We can't be sure they all left. Some of them might be concealed around the intersection you're about to cross. Although to help us or the other side I can't say right now.

>apparently I have been left to fend for myself.
Doesn't make much sense. If they tongue studders, they should be helping trap and outnumber you. If they're army, even if they're trying to kill off competition, trading you the pins and leaving seems a net loss.

>pots filled with ash
That's really useful, actually. If there are any intact jars to throw at people, that's a choking or blinding attack.

The stuff on the ground is to either force you to leave a trail (and the people following you too? Maybe they plan to follow them after getting you killed so they don't have to share the kills with you) or to conceal a trap of some kind (spikes? Broken pottery? Nothing you want to step on).
>>
No. 773298 ID: c4374b

Ok assuming this is not a betrayal from your "team" (cause they could have done so way easier) here is what happened.

If you had been in the rear team you would be hiding in a side passage waiting for the other guys to rush past you so you could hit them from the side/behind. That is why you can not see anyone from here.

The ashes they scattered will throw up a cloud of dust as you run past which will further obscure your team who are hiding in a side passage. So you should probably kick up as much ash as possible as you go past.

Once you run through there will be ash in the air and your team will hit the bad guys once several or all of them have passed. Then you will turn around and deal with the fastest runners who shot past the ambush zone.

You still have your sword club but grab a stone or two for throwing once we stop to fight.

And be prepared for the unexpected. While what I said would be the most logical thing it could be that its all fucked up and you will just have to kill anything that moves for awhile.
>>
No. 773340 ID: b88e47

Follow the light.
>>
No. 773357 ID: dce082

run through the ash cloud, either your "allies" were planning on betraying you and are actually with these guys or they are just using ashes to conceal themselves for the ambush, just run through eyes closed and without breathing(cover your eyes with on arm for extra protection) wait for the first attack from your allies but keep your distance before deciding what to do if they didn't just run then this is either really good or really bad
>>
No. 773384 ID: 398fe1

>>773294
There's light up ahead. Go towards that. Uh, don't shut your eyes though, be wary of being ambushed from the side.
>>
No. 773408 ID: fe7355

Don't run straight onto the ash-clouded floor! There's a bunch of broken pottery down there obscured by the ash. That was probably intended to hide the sharp pottery shards so anybody running through here would step on them. Move to the edge of the floor, leap as far as you can and grab the wall near the intersection to turn the corner.
>>
No. 773498 ID: 398fe1

...it occurs to me that what they've done here makes sense. Ash to cover the tracks of more than one person being here, and they had to get the light out of the way too so that your pursuers would not catch wise there was someone waiting. If they were going to ambush you, they wouldn't have bothered to move the lantern. Also, I think I see lighter spots near the ground on either side of the tunnel, so two kobolds could be hiding right there and shining their eyes on the ground. At most you'd have to worry about getting tripped.

Just don't step on the pottery shards and you'll be fine. With that footwork training it shouldn't be hard.
>>
No. 773510 ID: 91ee5f

>>773498
This.
>>
No. 773525 ID: c964e4

Fight them here, throw the injured ones into the ashen cloud of ambushing death.
>>
No. 773606 ID: bfb318
File 148494703511.png - (136.44KB , 800x800 , 658.png )
773606

On second thought, it's presumptuous of me to already think I was abandoned.

This broken pottery can't be easily crossed even with trained footwork, between the cloud of open dust, the stone-colored pottery, and the layer of settled ash coating the top of both stone and pottery. Instead, I leap to the corner, where I can grab onto the top and bottom pottery shelf to swing myself around the corner.

No one is around the corner, and the light I thought I had seen around the bend just turned out to be a clear portion of kicked up ashes. The light I definitely saw farther ahead has faded. The light behind me, held by one of the chasing kobolds, is catching up and allowing the bare minimum of sight.

I'm not sure what my 'allies' are doing, but I have other concerns.
>>
No. 773607 ID: bfb318
File 148494704297.png - (168.71KB , 800x800 , 659.png )
773607

I stand on the ground to the side hall, which has little pottery broken on it. I could cross the wall to traverse the shelves if I wanted to chase the light, but by the time I would be able to climb around the next corner, the kobold that was hottest on my trail has caught up.

I hear him yelp just before the bend, and see him come tumbling forward on the rest of the pottery after, I assume, he stepped on a shard. The only noise he makes is the crushed pottery and flurry of ash. He starts coughing and, less expectedly, starts shaking his head left and right. He's moving his arms and I would think he's trying to get up, but it looks more like he's trying to brush the ash and pottery away from him.
>>
No. 773608 ID: b88e47

BOP IT!
>>
No. 773612 ID: 7397ab

Lets hope he is not being tormented by the spirits of the dead. But do avoid the ashes from now on just in case.

Bash his head in.

Who knows if those assholes abandoned you. Or intended for you to die alongside the guys you were luring. Can deal with them later.

For now just work on taking out these guys so you can get there studs. And avoid getting murdered of course.
>>
No. 773613 ID: 398fe1

>>773607
Smack him on the head and take his pin. Then get out of this stupid trapped room, you can't maneuver properly here. If he doesn't have a pin, then you've been lied to and these are probably soldiers. In that case you'd want to drag him out of the corpse ash and get his head above the ash cloud, then ask him what's going on.

...did you see clouds of ash when the aquatic kobold's group was smashing pots?
>>
No. 773622 ID: 3abd97

>>773607
Crack him one on the head with your sword-club. Doesn't matter if this kills him or merely leaves him unconscious and out of the fight. You're outnumbered, and need to even the odds. (Actually, there's a slight advantage in not killing him immediately, as his allies might try to help him / not hurt him while advancing. Injured allies slow an enemy down more than their dead).

Don't try and take the stud. Looting comes after a fight, and it's not over while we still have more of them coming.
>>
No. 773658 ID: bfb318
File 148495977465.png - (173.70KB , 800x800 , 660.png )
773658

I bop him in the head hard enough that even if he was only knocked out, he's not waking up for awhile. The ashes still seem to swirl around, and don't settle as I expect them to. It's unsettling. I did not think that ashes of once living kobolds would bother me. There was a small cloud of ash when the aquatic kobold's group was smashing pots, but it was far less pronounced.

My chasers are still in pursuit, so I don't try to loot the pin immediately, and instead pull back slightly from where I was, still in the side hall.

>"STOP!" I hear the enemy mountain kobold bellow down the hall, loud enough to shake the pottery. The lantern stops getting closer. "Is he still around that corner?"
>"Unless he can see in the dark and ran away, yeah!"
>"Fine. You two go back and keep knocking all the pottery down. Until I see the ashes try to choke us, we're not done with our mortality!"
>"That guy is going to kill mor - "
>"No. I will be killing more."

I hear him walking, quickly and loudly, to my position, with the lantern coming too.
>>
No. 773659 ID: fd5137

>>773607
I think you might need to be worried about this ash cloud, could be that someone/thing smashed the pots and that's what your buddies had to run from.
could be.
but who knows yet, right now don't get involved in a fight, either his friends are going to be here soon to get you or there's a new danger in the area and you need to keep your eyes peeled.
>>
No. 773660 ID: 3abd97

Hmm. Well it's nice of them to give up their numerical advantage and bring things back to 1 on 1, even if a bludgeoning weapon isn't the best choice versus a mountain kobold.

Really makes me wonder why they're smashing ashes though. It's apparently an objective important enough to take manpower from dealing with attackers. So why are they doing it? Deny the jars to the empire (would they have been harvested for necromancy)? Are they trying to rouse the dead in some kind of ritual against their attackers?

There were two intact pots on your left, seen here. >>773606 Grab one, and we'll chuck one in the mountain kobold's face so his wish will come true. He can choke on ash while you beat him down.
>>
No. 773662 ID: 211d83

Your people do meld into the magic of the land once you die. If your remains where desecrated like this don't you think you would be a bit angry about it? There very well could be old ghosts lingering here. So be careful and avoid messing with the tombs to much. That and being polite to the angry dead might get them to help you.

Looks like your team abandoned you. So right now you need to kill the big guy who is coming. What sort of weapon did he have?

Get a rock or two for throwing and memorize the ground hazards in your area in case you can use them during the fight. You will be fighting a big guy with a somewhat blunt weapon. Will be trickier than when you took down those mountain kobolds with your nice sword.

Also just in case whisper to the ash that if it wants justice to give you a hand dealing with this guy. Oh and watch for him throwing ash in your eyes.
>>
No. 773665 ID: fd5137

>>773658
a pox upon my timing
This is the guy your pals were worried about right?, back up from the corner a bit just in case, be ready for anything.
>>
No. 773668 ID: 398fe1

>>773658
I'm not sure we can fight in here. Isn't the entire room littered with shards and ash? You'd be able to beat him if you could move faster than him, but he's got the advantage if both of your movement is hampered.

Lure him to fight in a spot without shards on the ground.
>>
No. 773669 ID: 398fe1

>>773662
>ash in eyes
Maybe we should throw ash in HIS eyes?
>>
No. 773671 ID: 493b5f

>You two go back

It would be very easy for him to have said that, while making a gesture at them to tell them to actually stay with him and quietly pretend they've left. The fact that he's walking "loudly" makes me extra suspicious, since he could be covering the footsteps of his companions.
>>
No. 773676 ID: dd4df2

>>773658

Might be a curse on the ashes around here; anyone break enough vases and the ashes will try to choke people in the area?

Maybe it's a desperation tactic to try to kill whoever's killing everyone of their guys; 'we're not done with our mortality until I see the ashes try to choke us' seems to indicate a suicide mission, or something close to it, like a last resort. Smashing these pots doesn't seem to make much sense other than as a gesture of defiance, otherwise. The kobold you KO'd certainly wasn't acting quite normal in response to the ash.

In that case, the other team definitely abandoned you; they even helped the choking hazard along by smashing more pottery. Maybe they know it'll all fade after a while and they can come back to loot the bodies, job well done, yours included.

In that case your options might be as simple as a) stop too much more pottery from getting broken and beat up these guys on your own and b) run like the dickens to get clear.

In a) you actually want to sneak by and/or ignore big and angry and target the breakers first. In b) you hunt down the other group and ask what gives.
>>
No. 773739 ID: bfb318
File 148497598159.png - (353.19KB , 800x800 , 661.png )
773739

For whatever the reason, the ash isn't rising to get into my lungs or anything like that, though I don't care to test if I can breathe in it.

The thought of ghosts persisting here and being able to move their own ashes crosses my thought. It would explain both the ashes unnatural actions, and the uncomfortable looming sense I've been having here.

Another thought also occurs that the other two are still following despite the loud orders, and the mountain's footsteps are covering their sounds. I'm not sure what was special about the aquatic one, that the group wanted to chase after. I grab one of the two close pots, minding there are others around. As heavy as it is, I carry it as I look around the corner to check. It's just him, with his sword out. It's a large sword, at least for me to use. Now that I see it up close, it's too large of a sword for this area, too, as these tight tunnels don't allow for wide swings.

I throw the pot. It's not a fast throw, but throw it down the middle where he would have too much difficulty dodging. Seeing this, he swipes to catch it, but it must have been fragile, as it simply shatters in his hand.
>>
No. 773740 ID: bfb318
File 148497598891.png - (52.45KB , 800x800 , 662.png )
773740

I didn't see any ash get in his eyes, but the ash scatters enough that his lantern's flame is snuffed out.

He curses, and I see his eyes start getting closer, as do the sounds of heavy footsteps. At this point, I can lure him away, or run away if desired, but even if that weapon is a bit large here, it's a good weapon.
>>
No. 773741 ID: 595d54

Well, the sword is probably less good when you're right next to him, but with visibility as it is you probably won't be able to figure out the necessary angle to get past his scales in close quarters either. Keep retreating.
>>
No. 773742 ID: 211d83

I say go for it. If you can use the chaos of the battle to lure him into killing his friends you might be able to pull off something similar to what you did earlier.

Even if you can't use the sword down here easily it could be used later or traded.

Could you shield your eyes and drop to the ground on his lantern side? Let him move past you and then take out the two following him or at least get the fight set up so he could hit one of his own?

If this tunnel is to narrow for him to wield his sword with his huge frame it might be better to fight here than moving it somewhere more open. Just be wary of him shoving you into a wall with his larger mass.
>>
No. 773747 ID: 3abd97

Well, I'd like to take him down and take his sword. Taking down a big mountain bold without an edged weapon is tough, though. I'm not sure we can do enough damage bruising him with out sword club.

I guess we could crush his windpipe. Or jam it though an eye into his brain.

>it's too large of a sword for this area, too, as these tight tunnels don't allow for wide swings
You'll have to exploit that as much as possible, press your attack and use the environment to prevent his counters, or make them predictable.
>>
No. 773748 ID: 398fe1

>>773740
The problem with this situation is that now you can't see his weapon to dodge it or parry it, and you have no way of taking him out fast with that club of yours. All he has to do is counter your hits with blind swings and eventually he'll hit you. Then you'll be dead.

The best chance you have is to disarm him with your first strike. That means seeing where his hand is without him seeing you to strike first. ...could you use one of those poles on your back to make a stab at his eyes? I wish we could sharpen one of them.

Anyway, I don't see any good way of killing this guy in this location so lure him away to somewhere you can sneak around behind him. It might be possible to hit him without getting hit back in that situation, but he's got protective scales all on his back. If you still had the dagger you could've sunk that into his neck from behind, but nope! Traded it away. If you could strike him and get him to fall over the ash would disable him somewhat probably, but again, I don't know how you're gonna do that without getting hit. Are you strong enough to sweep his legs out from under him? From behind, obviously.

You know what, just run. You have no way of killing this guy and no way of defending reliably against his sword.
>>
No. 773771 ID: fd5137

>>773740
Something tells me bringing this guy down would be exactly the kind of thing that'd stand you in good stead with your soon to be boss.

See if you can bait out a swing from him by faking a lunge at him, maybe by closing your eyes and stomping a foot towards him, if he hits the wall do an actual lunge, try to stab through an eye, no bones or scales there.
>>
No. 773773 ID: 493b5f

If messing up the pots causes angry spirits, maybe your associates got chased off by them after they started smashing them up to create the shards on the floor. In which case I hope that there just counted as him smashing it and not you.

Speaking of the shards, if you rolled a whole pot across the floor, it might clink against a shard and make him think you were moving, and throw him off.
>>
No. 773880 ID: 15a025

It might be a good idea to retreat for now Fen.
>>
No. 774307 ID: bfb318
File 148523153007.png - (75.31KB , 800x800 , 663.png )
774307

I want to go for it, as dangerous as it may be.

The best chance I think I would have would be to stab him through the eye with a sharpened stick, but there was never a thought that I would want to sharpen them in advance.

I want to get behind him, so I turn a corner. Shutting my eyes and keeping them that way, I grab the other nearby pot I remembered the position of. I throw it as hard as I can into a nearby wall, to make him think I'm up farther ahead, running.

Instead, though, I hug an empty shelf on the other side as quietly as I can through the noise.
>>
No. 774308 ID: bfb318
File 148523153986.png - (49.07KB , 800x800 , 664.png )
774308

Judging by the crushing pottery under his feet, he's falling for the bait. Carefully, I traverse the shelf and step off where the pottery shards stopped being so numerous.
>>
No. 774309 ID: bfb318
File 148523154957.png - (206.64KB , 800x800 , 665.png )
774309

I wait, carefully, for him to walk forward. He does so while swinging his sword blindly around ahead of him, occasionally striking the wall. Once we're a bit past the pottery, I open my eyes, and using the small glow I can see, I whack him on his back with my stick. It snaps in half against his natural, backside shell.
>>
No. 774310 ID: bfb318
File 148523155834.png - (181.81KB , 800x800 , 666.png )
774310

I think he chuckles as he spins around. I leap back, giving myself a lot of room.

My eyes are open just long enough for him to see them.
>>
No. 774311 ID: bfb318
File 148523157851.png - (46.55KB , 800x800 , 667.png )
774311

Then I shut them again, and stomp my foot forward like I'm going to make a lunge.

He steps forward, too, and slams his sword into the wall. It's a wide miss, as I never moved forward at all. With that, however, I'm close enough to make my lunge.
>>
No. 774312 ID: bfb318
File 148523159308.png - (62.53KB , 800x800 , 668.png )
774312

I open my eyes at the latest opportunity I can so I don't just strike blindly. He sees me, and I see the faint reflection off the sword to see he's pulling it back to put it between me and him.
>>
No. 774313 ID: bfb318
File 148523162526.png - (443.08KB , 1200x800 , 669.png )
774313

The lantern flickers for a moment. He's too late.
>>
No. 774314 ID: bfb318
File 148523163481.png - (264.04KB , 800x800 , 670.png )
774314

thnnnk

I feel my stick hit the back of his skull.
>>
No. 774315 ID: bfb318
File 148523164992.png - (205.53KB , 800x800 , 671.png )
774315

I land and get to work on seeing what he has once I blow off the lantern some.

His lantern is sputtering but is much better than using sticks for torches. His weapon is also superior. He also has 2 copper.

The stud in his tongue seems differently colored. It's much more red.

And it's not because I stabbed him in the face.
>>
No. 774316 ID: 211d83

I bet that one is from another tribe. Hopefully its worth more kills so hide it away for now.

Check your surroundings and watch for ghost ash. Then test out his sword to get the feel for it. Don't want to go into combat with a strange weapon. Once you are good lets go hunt down his friends.
>>
No. 774318 ID: 398fe1

>>774315
Very interesting. Either that's a mark of a high ranking tonguestone, or there's two tonguestone groups. That sword is the real prize here though. Use it to kill his friends and collect their stones. Then track down those fuckers who abandoned you and get some GOOD directions for where the camp is.

Oh also sharpen a couple more sticks, by using the sword to cut them at an angle. They're good enough for emergency weapons, in case you get disarmed or can't deal with that sword in a tight tunnel.
>>
No. 774319 ID: 3abd97

>>774315
Probably counts for more. It probably marks an increase in rank.

>what do
Well, go after the other guys. You're covered in their boss' blood and holding his weapon, that's good some intimidation.

Let's ask them what they're doing. Why is knocking the pots over so important.
>>
No. 774353 ID: 91ee5f

>>774315
Better make sure he's dead. Take his sword and run it through his chest and/or slit his throat!

Also, if the guys that abandoned you really were looking for that aquatic, imagine the looks on their faces if you manage to bring him to them. Or if that's not possible, you can just show them the 2 tongue studs for him and his buddy and this new differently colored stud to show that you also beat the mountain kobold.

And if the mountain kobold's stud has any significance, it'll also show your "teammates" that from now on, you are not to be fucked with like that ever again!
>>
No. 774354 ID: 398fe1

>>774353
>make sure he's dead
Dude he has a stick shoved into his skull. He is very dead already.
>>
No. 774358 ID: 91ee5f

>>774354
In the real world, people have lived through getting stabbed through the eye and other people have lived getting a bullet through their eye.

Plus, we don't know much about the anatomy of mountain kobolds to know if this is something they could survive. So it's better to be safe that sorry. And I really don't want this guy to sneak up on Fen and break his arm or something.
>>
No. 774401 ID: 398fe1

>>774358
In those situations they were immediately rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, and were stuck in comas or vegetative states for long periods of time. He's not getting up.
>>
No. 774402 ID: fd5137

>>774315
You'll no doubt find out what the different coloured stone means when you turn it in later.
For now, even if it's a less than ideal in tight tunnels the sword is good to have as an option, also be sure to nab the stone from the one you knocked out if he's still alone and out cold/dead.

Oh and thinking on what mountainbold said earlier, I think him and his lot might be trying to rouse the dead to anger, if such a thing is possible of ashes, and weren't willing to die until they'd succeeded.
They could just be crazy.
>>
No. 774423 ID: bfb318
File 148529286229.png - (353.34KB , 1000x800 , 672.png )
774423

I check the mountain kobold's pulse just to be sure that he is dead, though I can't imagine any kobold could survive this. I then go back and get the tonguestone from the previously fallen kobold. The ash seems to have settled more, and doesn't seem to stir too much as I work on it.

I also spend a quick moment sharpening my sticks, before walking away and practicing using the sword to get a good feel for it.

The remaining two kobolds are still out there, and I pursue them. They're still throwing pots around, making it trivial to find and locate them. The draconian notices me right as I turn the corner, and looks like he's going to run at any moment.

"Do not run. I want to know why you are all knocking pots over."
>"... to disrespect the dead." he says, as though he'd rather not say it. "We don't want the land to have a restful dead."

The aquatic one looks right in my eyes as he knocks another pot off the shelf. The draconian just looks at the blood on my shoulder, then turns to the aquatic.

>"Keep going, I'll hold him back as long as I can."
>>
No. 774425 ID: 3abd97

I don't think Fen gives a damn if this land have restful dead or not, but apparently the army does. And hey, we get tongue studs stopping them.

>>"Keep going, I'll hold him back as long as I can."
Don't expect the aquatic to actually do this. He might, for instance, chuck the pot he's currently holding at you to blind you.
>>
No. 774455 ID: fd5137

>>774423
Careful they don't just target the sconce behind you hoping to make another blindfight happen
>>
No. 774461 ID: 398fe1

>>774423
What a strange objective.

Kill them quickly. See if you can keep the aquatic kobold from breaking that last urn, even.
>>
No. 774467 ID: 211d83

If a enemy says there plan out loud its a trick.

So assume you are fighting both and will have a vase thrown at your face in a second. Watch out for the ashes they are already standing in and floor shards.

Tell them that the spirits will rest a bit easier after they get a offering of two more tomb robbers blood.
>>
No. 774491 ID: 493b5f

"Do you think restless spirits will trouble the Empire? The nobles will pay wizards to deal with the dead that trouble them. Merely an inconvenience. Only the poor and weak will truly suffer."
>>
No. 774502 ID: bfb318
File 148530837442.png - (202.34KB , 800x800 , 673.png )
774502

"I doubt it will inconvenience the empire that much."

I say that, and as I approach, the draconian tries to block my path. I engage him and watch out for any retaliation from the aquatic. It's a surprise to me that the two of them do exactly what the draconian said. I expected a trick, but the aquatic really is just going backwards and throwing more pots off.

The draconian doesn't hold me off for long.
>>
No. 774503 ID: bfb318
File 148530838394.png - (213.42KB , 800x800 , 674.png )
774503

The other runs, trying to yank pots off the shelves to keep me away while occasionally throwing one at me.
>>
No. 774504 ID: bfb318
File 148530839029.png - (272.50KB , 800x800 , 675.png )
774504

He doesn't get far, either.
>>
No. 774506 ID: 3abd97

Oh. A blue tongue stud! I wonder if that counts for more.

Loot em, leave em, and double back. We're headed for where the directions said the knight was. Screw finding the guys who sent you into this fight and ditched you.

Make sure you have your emblem out.
>>
No. 774510 ID: 211d83

Loot the bodies and tell the ashes that you hope that helps them rest better and you are sorry you did not get here sooner. Try to avoid trampling on them if you can.

Then lets head back to where we started and finally find that knight. If you see you "team" sigh at them as you pass.
>>
No. 774516 ID: 493b5f

Time to loot some corpses. See if you can arrange yourself some sort of light source, preferably a backup as well.

Did your tribe have any prayers for the dead or similar? If there's some little ritual you could do quickly, wouldn't hurt. Offering the disrespected the blood of their desecrators or similar.

So that's 4 regular tongue studs, 5 if the draconian guy you haven't checked yet has the same one as before, and 2 special tongue studs. The regular ones here are only worth half a kill, hopefully the special guys are worth more. You might get credit for bringing in their weapons, too? Army needs swords, after all.

If the oceanic guy was special I'm half wondering if you should drag his corpse along - the other guys were willing to give you his tongue stud, so most likely he's a named guy and you'll get more for positive ID of him being dead, more than the stud is worth. Maybe bring his head? But then you'd want to avoid running into your "allies" again, since they'd likely gang on you for it now. Just go to camp with it. You'll have to explain how you knew to get this guy, which will mean ratting on them. They kinda deserve it. They might be waiting up the tunnel now for the sounds to die down and to come in, finish whoever's left and gather their loot/proof, so you might want to move quick. They could be here any moment though so be ready.

Could bring the mountain's head too. The "half value" was supposed to be because the kobolds here are weak, so proving you offed a strong guy should be worth more. Might be a bit much though. Tongue stud could be enough. Not worth the time it'd take to shear his head off.
>>
No. 774519 ID: 398fe1

Loot the bodies(don't forget the one you smacked on the head in the ash), then push the ash back into urns that can still contain that ash, and reshelve them. I expect that to not be possible in most cases, but it can't hurt.

...it occurs to me that your "team" smashed a bunch of urns too. They essentially helped the Tonguestuds accomplish their goal of creating restless dead. Then again, you smashed a couple of urns in the process of taking down the mountain kobold so it's not like you're much better.
>>
No. 774520 ID: 90f3c0

Loot the corpses, then head back toward the knight you're supposed to be finding.

Watch out for the group that sent you after the oceanic. They already screwed you over once, they might try to jump you and take the loot for themselves.
>>
No. 774536 ID: 29c4aa

>>774520
Yeah the group that sent you should be assumed hostile, they may have tried to bait you into a trap and no reason the tribe that makes these pins shouldn't be able to have a surplus of them.
>>
No. 774558 ID: dce082

cut off the head of the aquatic, and take the weapons, take someones clothes to use as a makeshift bag.
>>
No. 774668 ID: fd5137

>>774504
welp, loot up and try to head in the direction you were sent before you got interrupted by the hunter guys, see if maybe there's any helpful soldier-pawn-whatevers that can point you towards that knight for true.
>>
No. 774690 ID: bfb318
File 148538703633.png - (204.78KB , 800x800 , 676.png )
774690

We have a ritual in the shroomleaf forest for the dead, but they don't involve the ashes of people, nor do I feel they're relevant here. I simply avoid walking on them and pull the bodies off of the ash, before taking two more studs for a total of 7 normals and 1 special stud. On a closer comparison, the tongue stud off of the aquatic are the same as the rest. Only the mountain's is different.

"Sorry I wasn't here sooner." I also find myself saying to the ashes.

Apparently my lantern flickered back off, so I shake it till it comes back on and retrace my steps. The clothes on the people I've killed here are too tattered for me to bother making a bag out of, but I do take one loincloth to wipe my sword as clean as I can get it, all things considered.

On my way back, I hear fighting and commotion somewhat close to my position. I doubt that I will ever make it to the knight if I look into every little event. I also cross paths with a few barbarians and other pawns, and they walk by as wary of me as I am of them.
>>
No. 774691 ID: bfb318
File 148538704428.png - (234.17KB , 800x800 , 677.png )
774691

At the end of one hallway, two people block my way. The cleaner one looks me over, and speaks once she notices my wooden seal.

>"I don't recognize you. What's your business?"
"To join the army. I've been told to meet with Sir Orjin."
>"I was not expecting any barbarian conscripts here." she says, starting to reach for her sword.
"I am volunteering out of my own will."
>".... I see. You wish to join the knights of the assassination branch?
"Yes."
>"Then I am Dame Frais, the Blood Knight in charge of most pawns here - and now in charge of you. Unless you have specific business with Sir Orjin, you will answer to me instead. You've been in a fight - have you located any tongue studs?"
"Yes."
>"I will kill you if you ever lie to me. Since you're so new, I will give you this one opportunity to change your answer if you wish."

I briefly pull one tongue stud to show.

"I have studs."
>"Good start, barbarian. Report around this corner to our Quill Knight to record your coming and to forfeit your goods and coinage. You may then exchange your studs for goods and allotable equipment. He will explain. Your currency as a pawn will only be tokens us knights accept, and here and today it is tongue studs. Questions about what we're doing and what you're doing go to me. Questions about equipment and studs and so forth go to the Quill Knight. And before you go past me, show me your tongue."
>>
No. 774693 ID: 595d54

>>774691
Show her yours and ask if she has any other orders for you or if the Quill Knight will handle it until further notice.

Then ask the Quill Knight if the different colors of studs mean anything.
>>
No. 774695 ID: 3abd97

>"I will kill you if you ever lie to me.
Well we better not give her reason to ask certain questions, then.

>what do
Show her your tongue, and let's visit the army store. Save any questions for after we've cached shit in and we go to her for an assignment.
>>
No. 774696 ID: 493b5f

>Your currency as a pawn will only be tokens us knights accept, and here and today it is tongue studs.

Looks like the army wants tight control over the pawns' spending power, probably to ensure their dependence and to regulate their interaction with local economies, as well as to encourage them towards objectives. You'll need to keep your coin a tight secret, never let it slip that you have more than you should. You may need to sacrifice some copper, just because it would be suspicious for you to have none at all.

Show her your tongue, promptly, then ask if she would prefer you go to the Quill Knight first and then return to receive your tasks and ask questions of her. If she's open to being asked questions now, ask what the general aim of the army's presence here is and what goals are in what order of priority.
>>
No. 774697 ID: 211d83

Be very polite to the knights unless you end up having to quietly murder some of them.

If we have to buy back the sword we just looted I am going to sigh loudly. Worse case you can go eye stabbing people until you get another one.

Well politely show her your tongue and lets go meet there chapter librarian. Give him everything you have looted other than studs and describe where you got each item from. That includes each stick and torch and bone club and everything.

Then find out if you can keep your looted sword and how much stud coinage you have.
>>
No. 774702 ID: dce082

>>774696
Didn't the recruiter say we could keep 9 copper? maybe that was just to get supplies for the journey.
>>
No. 774705 ID: 211d83

>>774702

We left most our stuff and money in the bank. Just have a few copper and what we have looted down here.

I would turn it all in to avoid issues later as we can rank up and get it back soon enough.
>>
No. 774711 ID: 91ee5f

>>774691
>made it
Well, it looks like the directions you were given by those other pawns weren't lies.

>forfeit your goods
Does that include anything Fen got from the guys he killed? And what about his sticks?

>Questions about equipment and studs and so forth go to the Quill Knight.
Then let's ask about the different colored studs and see what's for sale.

It'll be funny if the different colored stud Fen got from the mountain kobold allows him to instantly go up to the rank above pawn, but I doubt it'll be that easy.

This whole "pawn community" that Fen was told about sounded good at first and I was willing to overlook what happened with the first group he ran into, but after the second group, it's starting to feel like a "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" situation. I think we should just give up on this "community" thing and just get Fen to go up above the rank of pawn as fast as possible. Who knows? Maybe when Fen goes up a rank, he'll be put in charge of a few guys and they'll be the one's that abandoned him. If that happens, then I can't wait to see the looks on their faces! XD

>And before you go past me, show me your tongue.
Show her your tongue.
>>
No. 774713 ID: bfb318
File 148539674708.png - (197.84KB , 800x800 , 678.png )
774713

"Do you have any other orders for me?"
>"Do you know how to read?"
"Simple words, yes, but large manuscripts I have trouble with."
>"If you can spell your own name then you're already a step ahead of the usual dead weight that volunteers. My orders for you, then, are to stay within this camp so that I may call on you if needed."
"Alright. I was also told I could keep a handful of coinage myself."
>"What? Well, take it up with the Quill Knight, he will be up to date on that. You'll surrender it to him, actually. Now, your tongue."

I show it to her. She looks it over. I realize too late that the silver coin was still under my tongue, but she doesn't seem to look under it.

>"...good. No holes. Continue on to the Quill if you have nothing else for me."
"Actually, I'd like to know why the army is here."
>"To put it simply, assholes are disturbing the dead here, and the local residents get spooked enough by ghosts around ehre. We don't need them to have honest credibility to the claim, so we're putting an end to it."
>>
No. 774717 ID: bfb318
File 148539714895.png - (47.80KB , 800x800 , 679.png )
774717

I move on to the Quill Knight. There are various people around, and most appear to either be on guard or sleeping. Although I was given no description, there is one person that sticks out as a person of importance, who was around the corner from the previous knight. He appears to be guarding a small hole in the wall, and I see the faint glow of various boxes and items inside.

"I am Fen. I am a new volunteer to the knights of the assassination branch."
>"Well then, welcome! I am Sir Mopp, and the Quill Knight of this team - as the name implies, I keep records and manage what we keep track of, but I am also in charge of monitoring who deserves what, and that's why only those who have earned other knight titles can become Quill Knights, so don't believe that there is such a thing as a non-combatant knight. I'm sorry, have people told you of the various titles?"
"No."
>"Then, well, there are five titles and three ranks to each knighthood title. You can learn of them as you like, but as a pawn, you will most likely be pursuing the Lesser Blood Knight rank and title. To become a lesser Blood Knight, you must 20 tokens worth of kills - as in, tokens you gained from kills, not from day to day duties. You must also pass a knowledge test of what our knights represent and the conduct you'll be expected to follow. And finally, you must gain the recommendation of two knights who hold a higher rank than lesser - in other words, Greater Knights, Grand Knights, or Dragon Knights.
>Don't think that us Lesser Knights aren't worth being respectful to. Greater Knights often look to their Lesser Knights to check if a pawn is worth elevating. Oh, and nobles of parallel rank also are suitable towards recommendation - any stone noble can vouch for you to the same effect as a single Greater Knight, but since you're dealing with Knights, you will likely only receive Knight recommendations. Now, for what you can buy here, let's see your tonguestones."

I lay them out on the ground in front of us.

>"Is that... a red one? That is worth five stones. That puts your total to 12. Since the fights here are so weak, though, this only counts towards 6 kill tokens. The good news is that they are still kill tokens, so that is 6 of 20 needed for a blood title. Now, about your equipment..."

I lay out my lantern, empty lantern frame, wooden sword, real sword, and my last stick. I explain where everything came from.

"I was also told I could keep 5 copper."
>"Who told you that?"
"A friend, who was once in the army."
>"That is out of date. We take everything, but, we no longer take everything without any return, due too far too high rates of pawns attempting to hide their loot despite the death penalty. Which still stands, by the way. Every 5 copper worth of coinage, or every 5 copper worth of appraised loot you return to us, is exchanged for a single token. Before we claim your belongings, here is the shop menu for what we have available. Let me cover something first."

1 day of rations - .5 Tokens
4 Silver Holding Privilege- 1 Token
Small Bag - 1 Token
Sword (Borrow) - 10 Tokens
Sword (Buy) - 50 Tokens
Clothing - 3 Tokens

>"Normally you receive a day of food for normal duties - since we're on combat, a pawn's duty is killing at least one enemy. Hence, half of a token, or one tonguestone, earns the day's food. 'Holding privilege' is what I want to cover. This is how much silver worth of unbought loot a pawn can legally hold without surrendering to us. If you wish to keep your sword, hm... if I may see it..." he says, and I hand it to him. "10 silver. In order to keep this, you will need to pay 2.5 tokens."
"So I have to buy back my own gear?"
>"... no, my pawn, if you were buying this to own, it would cost you around 100 tongue studs, or 50 tokens! Or 10 tokens for us to lend you a sword while not letting you own it. By paying 2.5, you will receive a note of 10 silver holding privilege, and you would not need an official note of ownership to keep it. But for example, if you purchased, say, a shield, you would receive a note of owning the shield. And so, when you are made to relinquish your loot, your shield would be exempt, and up to 10 silver worth of unnoted belongings may be exempt - in this case, the sword and nothing more. Anything beyond that, however, must be surrendered, such as the lantern frames."
"This seems complicated. Why is it so complicated?"
>"I don't make the rules. It's not that complex once you get your head around it. Think of tokens like your own self worth. This 'shop' is just directing your worth into privileges. Whether you're worth feeding, or worth letting you hold onto equipment yourself instead of one of our more proven individuals. Anyways, each lantern frame is 1 silver, the glowing rock is 1 silver. The sword is 10 silver. Everything else I see on you you may keep, but do you have any coinage on you that you wish to declare?"
>>
No. 774722 ID: 211d83

(Should have killed more guys before you came here. Now your commander wants you around where you cant kill more guys easily)

I say declare your silver to avoid issues later. Will get token currency for it and you can only use that right now anyways. You will be a knight soon enough and will be looting much more. Plus makes you look good that you did not try to hide what you could have.

Then use 3 tokens to get enough loot privileges to hold onto the sword. Save the rest for rations or for later. Your kills count even if you use the tokens for other stuff and that sword will keep you in the easy kills.

You will get 20 kills for knighthood faster than the other requirements if you are not careful. So focus on learning what you need to impress these knights and learn the dragon oath creed stuff. Kills will collect quickly once they realize you are effective at it.
>>
No. 774724 ID: 3abd97

>what trade tokens for
Spend 2.5 to keep the big sword, .5 for rations, and 1 for the privilege of being allowed to carry silver. Being able to use real money occasionally will be useful.

Save the rest.

Declare the silver. If we really need coin you can kill someone or find a way to access the banks.

>Be very polite to the knights unless you end up having to quietly murder some of them.
Hey, we can still be polite even if we have to murder them.
>>
No. 774725 ID: 87547f

Tokens are just military currency Fen. You get them from performing service to the army. Since your kills for gaining rank are saved separately you just use tokens for daily food and gear. Once become a knight then you will get a wage in tokens that will make it so you have enough for food and such.

So think of it as having 6 military silver now. Use 3 to gain the right to keep your nice sword loot. Then save the rest for later or buy food if you need some.

Oh and declare the silver you found. Lets keep the lies to a minimum and do our best to look like the best recruit they ever had. It will help you later if someone finds out about your past.

Then chat with the Quill knight and learn more about the campaign and army rules. If you cant convince Fais to let you go out and kill some more then work with this guy to find work around camp to keep you busy.
>>
No. 774726 ID: dce082

Surrender the silver, yes its somewhat suspicious that it was hidden under our tongues but you could just play it off as being a bit paranoid carrying that much money(this will also make it seem like you are simply a peasant who saved up his coppers for some rather large purchase and got a silver in change) I doubt they would have you executed for surrendering hidden goods to the guy you are meant to be handing your stuff into.
>>
No. 774728 ID: 398fe1

>>774717
Alright we need to keep the sword, so spend the 2.5 tokens (the red stud turns out to have been worth exactly one sword). I suspect you're going to need your shitty light source too, so that leaves us with 3 tokens.

>despite the death penalty
Oh dear, you better declare ALL your coinage. It would be really lame to be put to death for holding that back.
You could spend another .5 tokens to keep it, actually. So you have 2.5 left.
>>
No. 774729 ID: bb78f2

>>774717
So... how many tokens for turning the sword in? Then subtract that to borrow.
We should get clothes, a few days of rations (like two), a small bag, and that silver holding thing.
I forgot the copper to silver exchange, but we should have a decent amount worth to at least hold onto the damn thing for a bit.
>>
No. 774733 ID: e22b1d

3 tokens will get you 12 silver in looting privileges so you can keep your sword and all your money and probably the lantern to. So do that and declare your silver to be safe.

Then learn all you can from this guy and the other knights.
>>
No. 774735 ID: 595d54

Turn in your stuff, but buy enough rights to keep your sword and silver.
>>
No. 774741 ID: bfb318
File 148540645445.png - (38.98KB , 800x800 , 680.png )
774741

"I do have coins." I say, dropping one silver and 10 copper to him. He raises an eyebrow when I pull the silver out of my tongue, but doesn't seem displeased about it.

>"Huh. Alright. Anything else?"
"Food and rope."
>"Alright. Now I'm going to pat you down, one moment."

He does so and seems satisfied when he doesn't find anything else.

>"Okay, because of your haul, I'll let you keep one of your food rations and your small length of rope for the time being. It's turtle food anyways, it probably won't last long here. Anything more and you'll have to buy it."
"What is the quality of clothes?"
>"About what you're wearing."
"Okay. I will spend 3 tokens for 12 silver privilege so that I may keep my sword and my light sword. May I spend more to keep my coins?"
>"Yes, but mind that there's a 20 silver max limit for pawns to hold on their own person. You can purchase more, but it opens a bank instead. In other words if you spent 10 tokens to get 40 silver privilege, you could only hold 20 on yourself, and then 20 silver more worth of things would have to be banked. Oh, and these can only be bought using Kill tokens - we only allow holding a good amount of gear to those who proved they can handle themselves in combat. If you make it to knighthood, these limits are lifted. You do, after all, need to supply your own gear."
"Alright. Then 4 tokens for 16 silver privilege so I may keep my sword, working lantern and coin."

He brings out what appears to be a spike, and starts etching into a stone."

>"How do you spell your name?"
"F-E-N."
>"Okay. I'm making a note of who you are and your current record." he says, then brings out a parchment and writes down with something else. "And this will be your note. Give this to anyone who wants you to surrender objects. If you lose it, come to me as soon as you can. If you are forced to surrender anything and your note is lost or in question, then you may be detained until I supply them with proof on this stone."
"I would also like to buy rations and one bag."
>"Alright."
"And then learn what there is to learn about knighthood."
>"Right to it, huh. For tokens, you may pay knights to tutor you in our ways. They're not in the shop here since we're too busy with the fight. Just know that even the blood knights are expected to hold themselves professionally in public. They always wear insignia in some form, usually in the back, and are never off duty. Manners in noble company are important, as are literacy and more civilized forms of debate and contests, such as duels, hunting, and kimankara."
"... kimankara?"
>"Yes, don't worry, it is not a difficult game to learn."
"It's more... nevermind."
>"If you know how to read decently, then here is a booklet. You may read it at any time here, but copies like this take time to make. Don't enter combat with it. Return it if you leave. It will be available at headquarters as well, during off times.

I guess Zizi never became a knight. He had no idea how to play kimankara.

"That is it for now, thank you."
>"Alright. Surrendering the empty lantern frame will give you one token, leaving you at one and a half." he says, giving me two carved stones."
>>
No. 774742 ID: bfb318
File 148540646702.png - (198.54KB , 800x800 , 681.png )
774742

"Hello, Dame Frais."
>"Hi."
"I've spoken with the quartermaster and have surrendered my goods."
>"... have you?"
"I have." I pull out my note when she pointedly looks at my sword.
>"Hm!"
>"Oh, do we have potential?" asks the other person who has been with her.
>"We'll see. Fen, this is Bolk, a pawn not far from becoming a blood knight. He is a pawn and assists me with the internal workings of how the other pawns behave themselves."
"I see. I would like to know where to go to find more tonguestones."
>"Very well. Bolk?"
>"We're choking off the eastern wing, where they've fortified against our attempts to advance. The knights aren't concerning themselves with that area yet since it's not of strategic importance, but the more we wait, the heavier they may be able to fortify. I believe we may have found a secret way in, but no one who was sent to investigate has returned yet. Meanwhile, Sir Orjin is still awaiting suitable forces to make an advance on where he believes a pocket of resistance to be. We could send Fen to him."
>"Either are suitable. If it's the same to you, it's up to him."
>>
No. 774744 ID: 595d54

I suspect we're going to be working with Bolk for a bit. Say either is suitable and see what he chooses and why.

If we want to pick ourselves, then the eastern wing, since it's more immediate.
>>
No. 774745 ID: 3abd97

>I guess Zizi never became a knight. He had no idea how to play kimankara.
Or the rules became more hoity toity. Or that's something they ignore if you're tough enough.

>>774742
Fen should go mess up their attempts to fortify.
>>
No. 774746 ID: 211d83

Well we could probably find our way through the traps or nastiness that the secret passage has without to many problems due to our tracking practice. Would be plenty of kills and loot to pad our count there.

But going to the front lines would give us a chance to have Sir Orjin see our skills personally and give us practice fighting with a group. Still a good opportunity for kills but also a chance to show our potential.

I am leaning for the front lines with Sir Orjin. We might have a chance to help with the secret passage later but and making friends and influence might be more important than rushing our kill count. We know Fen can get to 20 kills easily. But getting knight training and approval to rank up will take longer if we are a loner.

Long story short we do not want to go down the path Zizi took. Make friends and at least learn the ways of knights even if you don't like how they do things. You can always abandon there ways once you have the power to do so.
>>
No. 774747 ID: bb78f2

>>774742
That secret entrance seems pretty important to the cause. If there's not a secret entrance, we could at least confirmed what happened to the dudes that were sent.

Also, MAYBE ask if the ashes have magic in them or something else because some peeps you were fighting kept smashing those urns to delay or hurt you for some reason.
>>
No. 774748 ID: 398fe1

>>774742
>but no one who was sent to investigate has returned yet.
Sounds like it's a trap. Let's not walk into it.

Go with the mission alongside Sir Orjin. It's both safer and will let you demonstrate your prowess in front of a real knight.
>>
No. 774761 ID: eaaaf3

Go with Bolk. You might glean a few things about knighthood from him if he's close, and because it's not official yet you'll get it for free.
>>
No. 774762 ID: 91ee5f

>>774742
>He is a pawn and assists me with the internal workings of how the other pawns behave themselves.
Does this mean he's the guy that we should make a complaint to? Because I'd like to report those guys that ditched Fen in that ambush!

>What do?
Well, that depends. What do we think is more important? Stopping the fortifications or showing off Fen's skills in front of Sir Orjin?
>>
No. 774763 ID: a8bc5c

Let's not rat out our fellow pawns juust yet.

Wait until we have some credibility in the ranks before reporting problems.

(or at least until we're absolutely sure that said reporting won't immediately bite us in the ass.)
>>
No. 774769 ID: 398fe1

>>774763
I think the accusation would be fairly credible when Bolk sees their reaction when Fen walks up with that sword. Also, Bolk seems to essentially be the leader of the pawns, so bringing it up in private (along with the tonguestud hoarding habit we've witnessed) could at least clear things up as to what behavior is to be expected from our comrades.
>>
No. 774814 ID: 3d2d5f

Whining about the behavior of other pawns seems beneath Fen. And it doesn't put him in the best light / makes him look weak to the people we're trying to impress.

I say we rely on intimidation and the implied threat of retribution to keep the pawns I'm line. When they realize how dangerous the kobold they crossed is, they'll likely lay low / try to avoid giving Fen a reason to retaliate.

Sort of the same principle we used with Cheese. The knowledge they crossed us and we could come down on them is a kind of control.
>>
No. 774828 ID: 695b6a

Yeah, let's keep it under wraps.
>>
No. 774839 ID: 91ee5f

No, you guys don't get it. We need to report the guys that abandoned us to make sure thet weren't impostors.

Only one of them had a wooden seal like Fen's, they had cuts on their tongues which along with their story of "eating rotten wood by mashing it with our tongues", meaning any holes in their tongues could be played off as a result of eating rotten wood, and here: >>773294 Fen said, "From the location of where my allies and I were supposed to ambush them from, I hear pottery being smashed." which is what the group we killed was doing.

We need to report that group!
>>
No. 774841 ID: fd5137

>>774742
hmm, easy to get noticed if you're the first person to make the 'nobody reported back' zone a successful endeavour, I vote secret entrance.

>>774839
good point, I'd suggest pointing out you didn't actually see what went down though, for all we know they got chased off by another pack of tonguestones who were smashing pots as they pursued.
>>
No. 774845 ID: 493b5f

We're aiming for the assassination branch and its presumably more solo/small-team style missions. The "secret way in" path is more likely to suit that, whereas with Orjin it'll probably be more normal-style fighting.

On the other hand, with Orjin we'll be more visible and gain reputation faster, whereas the other mission sounds like it'll be more word-of-mouth as to our achievements. A reputation for being the guy who quietly takes care of things others can't is a good one, though, and should still get to the higher-ups while keeping scrutiny on Fen lower overall.

So I say go for the investigation.

Ask for more specifics on the organization of the enemy forces. Are our enemies all one group, or are there different tribes or factions who were in conflict with each other before the army showed up? What's up with the different tongue studs? Who are priority targets? Is there anything specific, besides getting kills, that needs doing if the opportunity presents itself? Anything specific to avoid doing? I assume we should be avoiding upsetting the dead ourselves.

Is there anything that fresh recruits, particularly barbarians, are prone to do that they shouldn't do?
>>
No. 774900 ID: bfb318
File 148547780487.png - (237.81KB , 800x800 , 682.png )
774900

"Eastern wing. How many wings are there?"
>"Two main ones, lots of small ones. Perhaps I should call it a block." says Bolk.
"I will go to those fortifications."
>"Okay. Follow me."
"I do have questions. Are the enemies one group?"
>"As far as we know."
"What is with different tongue studs?"
>"Different rank. Blue, Red, supposedly the leader is green."
"Is that all you know of the enemy forces?"
>"I'm not the person to ask. I'm not up high enough to know the details, but high enough to have to herd the other pawns around so it at least looks like they've got better coordination than running around like they've all got their eyes gauged out."
"That's not the lesser knight's job?"
>"Heh, it is, but Dame Frais doesn't have the best reputation with the pawns. They'd sooner listen to people like me."
"Alright. In that case, is there anything I should do to avoid, that barbarians often do?"
>"Disrespect or disobey orders from higher ups. Unlike most chief's words, a higher rank's orders aren't up for debate. Oh, and making requests that sound too much like orders. Hm, there's a third thing I'm sure, but it's escaping me."
"If disobeying orders is bad, then why are you needed to get the pawns to do what they're supposed to do?"
>"Oh yeah, that's the third thing. Asking fragile questions to the wrong people. You're lucky I'm not the wrong people. But till you know that for a fact, you'd better just learn the answers to most questions like that by yourself. Now, this secret passage business, don't worry too much about the fact that no one's come back yet. It hasn't been that long since the first team left. We got a few defectors just a little while ago, who told us about the tunnel. We don't trust 'em right away of course, so we sent one of them with 4 pawns - 2 to scout the tunnel, 2 to just make sure the defector didn't try to escape or anything. We'll probably do the same with you, with one of the couple remaining defectors."
>>
No. 774901 ID: bfb318
File 148547786125.png - (257.99KB , 800x800 , 683.png )
774901

>"That girl there is one 'em, the one looking right back at us - " I look to the side to see Poya in some depression or pit. She immediately snaps her gaze to the side. "Well, the girl with the robe that looked like we're about to go kick her in the teeth if our eyes make contact for too long, haha!" he laughs before his voice returns to business. "I think they called her Poya."
>>
No. 774903 ID: 595d54

Briefly enjoy watching her squirm, then thank him and go to Poya. Act as though you don't know her and start asking about the mission. Right now, she might still be valuable enough that reporting her would be a loss. Her life's basically on the line and she knows it, so she might be a decent asset for Fen.
>>
No. 774904 ID: 398fe1

>>774901
Really. Just how long ago did she defect? I think this is a good reason to report what she and her two friends tried to pull on you. Also be sure to mention the fact that she was carrying a dozen studs under that robe, and bought a bone knife off of you.
>>
No. 774905 ID: bb78f2

Wait, defectors as in pawns that defected from their duty for a time, or defector's from the tongue tribe?
>>
No. 774906 ID: 3abd97

>We got a few defectors just a little while ago, who told us about the tunnel.
To be clear, defectors for the army, not from the army?

>>774901
Leave a dangerous pause in the air, and then deliberately don't mention your prior contact with Poya, or that she and her friends at best bailed on you, at worst led you into a trap with the intent to get you killed.

She's terrified of you now, and you're holding retribution for her betrayal over her head. You own her now.

Getting paired with her is basically perfect.

"Poya, was it? What can you tell us about what's ahead?"
>>
No. 774908 ID: 493b5f

Now that's suspicious. If these defectors are supposed to be accompanied by a pair who are supposed to watch them, that doesn't match with when we first saw her, and she was walking in the back of their group. Maybe her companions were just dumb, though.

Don't let on what exactly went down yet, but quietly mention that you encountered her on the way here, with two other kobolds, just in case that wasn't where she was supposed to be.
>>
No. 774910 ID: 211d83

Ok so be nice to knights and obey orders. And don't ask any questions that point out that the empire is not nearly as respected as they might like.

Long story short shut up and do what you are told. Avoid asking any questions that are not simple and related to your missions until you have the power to ask them.

There are people in the background and a fire. Are those pawns? Enemies? Is she shushing us cause she is hiding?

Do you remember what the pawns she was with looked like sir? (see if they match the guys you ran into)

So if she was sent here on a mission why did you run into her elsewhere a bit ago? Or did the place you go just happen to be near this secret passage?

Am sort of confused about her place in all of this but best case she is playing games and worse case has been luring people to there doom. Don't mention your earlier meeting for now. Best case she owes you big for covering for it. Worse case you kill her and be done with it.

Just don't trust her that much.
>>
No. 774911 ID: 91ee5f

>>774904
This.

We've got to give these guys something to show that we're trustworthy. Plus, Poya might end up leading us into another ambush.

Wait, that's it! That's why no one reports back! Bolk said that defectors told the army about the secret tunnel. They did that on purpose so that they could slowly take out pawns and steal their things! I bet as soon as we get lead into that "secret tunnel", there's going to be 7 or 8 tonguestone guys waiting for us on the other side!

We've got to tell Bolk about our previous encounter with Poya and what she and her group did to Fen!
>>
No. 774915 ID: 87547f

>>774911

Ask Bolk about wood chewing and people with tongue wounds. Try to narrow down what exactly she was up to and why she might have had all those studs earlier without openly naming her as a traitor.

Cause her being part of a group tricking pawns into traps could very well be true with the chaos down here. Are not enough knights to make sure the pawns are not being stupid and getting murdered. (which is fine if they are that dumb they don't want them)

She is suspect because from what we know she should not have been where you were earlier doing what she was doing if she was following her orders. And she has lots of studs that someone on the other side could get easily but a pawn would turn in for tokens.

But find out a bit more info before throwing out a accusation of traitor. Our info is limited and could be some odd reason for her actions.
>>
No. 774920 ID: e22b1d

She is probably a traitor planted by the bad guys to lure pawns to there doom. But don't point that out right now. We can play this subtle like.

Pretend you do not realize what she is and once Bolk leaves act like you are angry her group did not back you up. Make a excuse about having to run for it and barely getting away so she does not realize you are that effective. (although your new sword will probably ruin that somewhat)

Then see what she says to her defense. You can always kill her but leaving her alive for now might get you other gains. She did have lots of pins from somewhere. Might be worth more to milk her for info and stuff before killing her.
>>
No. 774932 ID: fd73fa

Whatever Poya was before, she is now an asset of Fen. Because if she wants to stay alive she's got to work for Fen now. So no outing her. Just walk over, kneel down next to her and explain how she is now helping Fen into the den because Fen still needs another 14 of them.
>>
No. 774977 ID: bfb318
File 148549479964.png - (223.82KB , 800x800 , 684.png )
774977

>There are people in the background and a fire.
Just the rest of the camp. I estimate there are about 20 people around total.

"Did she defect from the army or the tonguestones?"
>"Oh, the tonguestones, and only because they had shown they've been backstabbing their own kind. Course, nothing saying they didn't just kill some other pawns and take their findings, but that's why they've got their feet tied up."
"How long ago did they defect?"
>"Couldn't have been more than 30 minutes ago. Maybe less."
"That soon?"
>"We had a talk, they say they know good stuff, and if they do, they may live, if it turns out it's bad, they don't. Then we sent off one of her companions to lead our scouts like we said, then you showed up."
"That quickly?"
>"They spoke quickly, because they knew if they didn't spit out good stuff fast, we wouldn't give them the chance."

If it was that soon, then they must have gone straight from abandoning me to running here to defect.

"By the way, does destroying the pots do anything significant - that is, can the dead really be unrested?"
>"Yeah. It takes a wizard to really get them going, but a soul might feel a little tie to its body's resting place. A soul is just a drop in the land, but agitate enough drops, and the whole lake might rumble."
"Alright. I will wait with her then, if you would gather the rest of the team."
>"Right, then. And remember, no roughing up anyone just because you feel like it."
"Why would I?"
>"No good reason."
>>
No. 774978 ID: bfb318
File 148549487422.png - (159.91KB , 800x800 , 685.png )
774978

I head over to Poya. She notices my sword. As Bolk said, she is tied after all, with what appears to just be a chain on her feet. It doesn't prevent her from moving, but it does prevent her from running quickly.

"You have explaining to do."

She remains silent.

"I have mixed feelings on whether or not I should say how you all abandoned me."
>"It was Tolmassa. The mountain kobold. I am sorry for him. We were backstabbing our own faction for pins so we could defect, but the aquatic kobold got away, and was going to warn everyone else what we were doing. That is why we wanted to kill the aquatic. We thought we might have been able to take them when you went to lure them, but we wanted to smash the pots to give a better battleground for us, but then the ashes rose and choked and blinded us, and we panicked, and we ran. We did not mean to abandon you. I am sorry."
>>
No. 774979 ID: 595d54

She doesn't seem particularly sorry, but at this point, it doesn't really matter. There's a plausible non-malicious explanation for what she did and if she were backstabbing the army she probably wouldn't go and run to the army for protection. Just say "Okay." before asking her about what she knows. Keep quiet about the incident.
>>
No. 774980 ID: 3abd97

>>774978
>claim of incompetence, not malice
You, know, I think I believe her, because motive doesn't make sense otherwise.

If she was loyal to the tonguestones, and wanted Fen dead, they should have stayed put to trap him and force him to fight 6 on 1 while surrounded.

If they were army loyal, it was a clumsy plan to remove competition, and a net loss of pins for them because she traded two pins for a really shitty dagger. Two pins were worth more than that at the shop.

So panicking and screwing up makes a heck of a lot more sense.

>what do
"Very well."

Don't beat her up, don't say anything about it. She knows she owes you at this point, and she's desperate to survive. She knows she's got very little rope left. There's really not much more to be said.
>>
No. 774984 ID: 398fe1

>>774978
Does her story check out from the timing of the pots being smashed? Like, did they have time to react to the ashes swirling before they ran, from what you saw? We DID see the ashes moving around, so it's quite possible that she's telling the truth.
>>
No. 774989 ID: 91ee5f

>>774978
"Well, as you can see, I managed to kill that entire group, including the aquatic. Got this sword off of the mountain I told you about and even took his red tonguestone. I am still unsure if your story is true or not, so for now, I won't tell anyone of our previous meeting. But...let me make one thing very clear." Get right in her face so that she's forced to look you in the eyes. "If you act in a way that gives me reason to believe that you are leading us into a trap, I will personally end you. And if I should die before then, I will crawl out of my grave and hunt you down. Do I make myself clear?"
>>
No. 775054 ID: 211d83

Your future actions will show who you really are Poya. If you help me I will help you. If not you will die down here.

I will tell you how being a pawn works from my limited experience. If you lie to me or a knight you will die. If you hide loot you will die. If you disrespect the knights you will die.

If you are good at killing and learning the empires ways you will eventually rank up and become a knight. If not you will stay a pawn and have to fight for every meal.

I am good at what I do Poya. I want to get enough kills for knighthood today. You are going to lead me through that secret passage and I am going to kill everyone I find. If you do a good job helping me then I will return the favor.
>>
No. 775091 ID: bfb318
File 148555018393.png - (223.77KB , 800x800 , 686.png )
775091

>Does her story check out from the timing of the pots being smashed?
There was some time between hearing the pots getting smashed and me arriving back at that location. It is possible.

"Alright. You are going to lead me to the secret tunnel soon. I expect you know that the only way you're living is to be of help. If you lead me into a trap, you will die. Do you understand?"

...

"Do you understand?"
>".... yes."
>>
No. 775092 ID: bfb318
File 148555020278.png - (236.78KB , 800x800 , 687.png )
775092

Dame Frais comes to me with two other kobolds. I see Bolk a ways away, paying some attention to us.

>"Alright, you three, introduce yourselves."
>"Aira, I'm a conscript from the Turtle's Hideaway." says the field kobold.
>"Garius, a thief sent to the army to make up for my crime." the other says.
"Fen. A barbarian."

I wonder if they expect more, but Frais continues.

>"Aira, Garius, your orders are to escort Poya, our prisoner, to the supposed secret entrance and find out what happened to the previous team we sent there." Frais describes the other team. Apparently they were all draconic, including the defector that led them. "Only go as far as the secret passage, only look around the immediate vicinity for clues, do not pursue. Bring Poya back whether or not you find anything. Fen, you will follow and assist them until they return. At that point, you may either return with them, or explore further, but if you explore alone and find anything we should know, come back to report it immediately. Aira, you're the team leader. Oh, and Fen, Bolk says it'd be nice if you left your spare wooden sword here in case you don't come back. Do any of you have questions?"
>>
No. 775113 ID: 3abd97

>Oh, and Fen, Bolk says it'd be nice if you left your spare wooden sword here in case you don't come back.
"Is that an order?"

If it's not an order, we're better off making plans that use our equipment to stay alive, instead of making plans for our equipment to be useful if we die.

Either Fen can use a spare sword, or he can lend it to one of the other two who are working with him if they're unarmed so the unit is more effective.

>Do any of you have questions?
Are there any passphrases or code-words that our unit uses to identify each other? (In case a tongue-studder tries something clever with a looted emblem or extra studs).
>>
No. 775115 ID: ef150c

>>775113

Let's not start off our professional life by refusing reasonable requests from our superiors. We're still in first impressions territory and I doubt we're going to need that sword.

I have questions, but a few of them are for Poya and I missed the opportunity to ask them before. So, when we're on the way, maybe we could ask her what's up with the locals. What specifically are they trying to accomplish by rousing the dead? What's with their rank system, and what's their leader like?

For Frais, clarification: when she says "assist them until they return", does that mean come back with them and then possibly go out to explore again, or until they choose to/set out to return? And just to be certain, are there any specific examples of "anything we should know"?
>>
No. 775116 ID: a43366

give up the wooden sword and and accept what she says. Being belligerent for no reason won't help.
>>
No. 775117 ID: 90f3c0

It looks like both your companions are already armed, so you won't need the extra weapon. Being cooperative and leaving it behind will probably help your reputation a bit too.
>>
No. 775118 ID: 7397ab

Give your wood sword to another pawn that needs it. Will make someone happy with you. Will probably be a good idea to hand out any crappy spare weaponry we find to promising pawns instead of turning it in.

Ask what you could find in there that would necessitate retreating and reporting in right away.

Also what to do if you find badly wounded pawns if there was a ambush or trap.
>>
No. 775126 ID: bfb318
File 148556040193.png - (189.01KB , 800x800 , 688.png )
775126

"You said assist until they return. Do you mean I should come back with them before moving forward?"
>"No, I will rephrase. Assist until they decide to come back. Once they start coming back, then you may move as you please."
"Alright. What counts as 'anything you should know'?"
>"Large groups of tonguestones, odd activity from anyone, and anything that's out of place that may be a danger to the mission. Use common sense."
"A badly wounded pawn if there was an ambush or trap?"
>"Then bring them back if they're not a lost cause."
"Alright. I will also have questions for Poya on my way over, if there's time. I will also leave my wooden sword here, if Poya isn't to be armed."
>"She is not."
Dame Frais waves Bolk over, who takes my sword.

>"Thank you, it is appreciated by the pawns." he says with a voice of formality.
>"If that is all, then." says Frais. "I will give Aira a torch for the way back, since you have a light source of your own, Fen. Be off, then."
>"One question, Dame Fraid." says Aira. "Are we entering unsecured zones right away?"
>"Yes. There's so many damn tunnels in this place that it's going to be longer until we start declaring entire blocks as cleared out. The enemy could be right behind the first corner, so pay mind."

I'll have a chance to ask Poya some questions, if there's anything I want to know about the people I'm supposed to be killing and why they're trying to rouse the dead.
>>
No. 775131 ID: 211d83

Ok questions for Poya

1. Has she met the tongue leader and what does he look like. Also does she know where he is.

2. What is the deal with the tongue faction? Why the grave stuff and are they living down here or just invading and causing a mess?

3. Is it just there faction that has tongue studs? Or do other factions use them as well.

4. Does she know anything about the area we are heading into?

Then assist Aira with stuff. She is the team leader so try to follow her lead unless she ends up being a idiot or putting you all in danger.
>>
No. 775133 ID: bfb318
File 148556174080.png - (351.50KB , 800x800 , 689.png )
775133

We begin walking. Poya takes point, and I quietly ask her questions.

"Why are the locals trying to disturb the dead?"
>"Because to hell with the - "

She visibly chokes on her words.

>"They wish to fight against the empire, but feel like it's a waste to simply fight to the death and nothing more."
"What is with the ranks?"
>"What about them? They are like ranks of the army. Higher ranks for higher command."
"What's the leader like?"
>"I have never met him. I believe he was a farmer who had a better relation with the bandits than the empire. The same bandits that ate the crops they wanted to, then destroyed the rest."
"Any idea where he is?"
>"No. Probably in this half of the catacombs, but that is a wide area."
"Do other factions have tongue studs?"
>"Probably? It is just our way of recognition. Others usually use seals, like you."
"Do you know anything about the area we're headed into?"
>"It is old. I believe built about 60 years ago. It used to be above ground, but now we are in a mountain of rock. We began defiling that area first, but it was so old, broken, and forgotten, that neither the living nor the dead cared what we did."
>"Doesn't matter much now." says Aira. "They're going to die, it's just a question of how many of us die with them."
>>
No. 775134 ID: 398fe1

>>775133
How many are there, exactly?
>>
No. 775135 ID: 211d83

Are those rows of skulls or just carvings? Also be on close watch as you are talking while walking through enemy territory. Keep your voice down and your eyes open.

1. Where did you get your food and water down here?

2. How many other entrances are there to these catacombs? Just a few or dozens?

3. Have you had any actual encounters with angry dead or just hints with the ash clouds?

4. Where do you get the tongue studs?

5. Why defect if you hate the empire so much? Do you just see the writing on the wall and fear death that much? Or do you have another reason?
>>
No. 775137 ID: 3abd97

>>775134
Numbers is useful tactical information.
>>
No. 775138 ID: ef150c

"The people responsible for the Empire's misdeeds, whatever you see them as, are easily wealthy enough to protect themselves from any disruption this small. Only those so poor and powerless as to be innocent will be any more than inconvenienced, as well as yourselves. It would be better if you only fought to the death; this is a worse than empty gesture."

Ask her if she knows of any particularly dangerous individuals, what she knows about them and what they look like.
>>
No. 775148 ID: 5b93d3

>>775134
And in addition, are they actively recruiting, and/or pressganging locals?
>>
No. 775164 ID: bfb318
File 148556944694.png - (466.28KB , 800x800 , 690.png )
775164

"How many tonguestones are there?" I say, lowering my voice.
>"At least 40." she says, lowering it as well. "But we never gathered in masses, due to fear of spies. There could be a few hundred of us."
"How'd you get food and water?"
>"I don't know. We probably just had people who went to the surface who got it for us."
"How many entrances to these catacombs?"
>"Just 4. But who knows how many secret ones."
"Where did you get the tonguestuds?"
>"We just had a carver who made them. They are of a precise shape. Then we pierce it with a pin, then put draconian glue in."
"I did not think glue worked that way."
>"Draconian glue is different." says Aira. "Like how the land pulls kobolds downward to the ground and we have to stand to move, draconian glue pulls stones towards it."
"Are there actually angry dead here, or just clouds of ash and stuff?"
>"... no walking dead, if that's what you mean." says Poya. "But we get nightmares, and visions, and a terrible sense of dread when there's no danger."
>"You stay here long enough, barbarian, and you'll see what she means. We wouldn't even be here, but Sir Orjin saw a good opportunity for training before we go to Erja Nokol. By the way, what the hell did you do to get sent on solo tunnel scouting business in a place like this?"
"I volunteered."
>"..... yeah, that'd do it. How come you got white eyes unlike the other barbarians? You one of those shroomleafers that was raised in Dragonfall for a bit?"

I think a moment, trying to formulate an answer, but Garius steps in.

>"Quit sentencing the new guy to a quick death, fieldy."
>"... oh shove off."
"What?"
>"Heh, sorry." says Garius. "Just, the more Aira learns about someone, the quicker they go and die."
>"Seriously, fuck off." Aira says.

"Poya. Why defect if you're so against the empire?"
>"I was motivated by petty revenge over another death. What I am doing is selfish, and I am no longer that angry." she says.
"I doubt the empire is that inconvenienced by this."
>"No, but many in our position would fight to the death. By doing this, we slap them, too."
"What dangerous individuals are around?"
>"Just the leader, and a few of his warriors with red tonguestones." she says, describing a few."
"Have they been recruiting or forcing people into your ranks?"
>"Just recruiting."
>"Okay, shut your mouths." says Aira. "And walk quietly."
>>
No. 775167 ID: bfb318
File 148556961329.png - (192.38KB , 1246x872 , 691.png )
775167

We do so, and Poya leads us to an enormous room that is much smoother than the halls I've seen up to this point.

>"There. On the right wall. It looks like a normal wall, but there are stones that aren't glued. You can pull them apart. If you walked straight to the next staircase, you would cross by the unglued stones at about the same time as you would cross that center platform, which used to be a statue."
>"... I could say this looks like an ambush point, but I may as well point out you three are green." says Aira. "There's some blood on the ground up ahead. No, there's a lot of blood, it's just like it was hastily wiped away. Poya, you go forward and dismantle that cover. Then come back. Once she says it's clear, Fen, you go forward and into the tunnel. Then we'll head back. Any objections from anyone who isn't Poya?"
>>
No. 775170 ID: 3abd97

>"Heh, sorry." says Garius. "Just, the more Aira learns about someone, the quicker they go and die."
>"Seriously, fuck off." Aira says.
So she's got a reputation as a jinx. She's had the bad luck that people who get close to her die.

Convenient excuse not to answer, for now, since Garius changed the subject for us.

>Any objections from anyone who isn't Poya?
"No."

Aira's in change, and her plan is sensible. Put the defector on the line so if her information is wrong, she's the one at risk.
>>
No. 775171 ID: 398fe1

>>775167
Shouldn't we have seen the other group by now? Since we haven't, and the stones are not removed, they were killed in this very room, then their bodies hidden. This is absolutely an ambush. Poya might get killed when she approaches the wall. Question is, do they have archers? If they have archers we should probably not go out there.
>>
No. 775172 ID: 211d83

Ok possible ambush points.

1. The upper balcony could have archers or kobolds with slings. Or just rocks.

2. The two tunnels could always have kobolds waiting down them a ways looking for torchlight.

3. The secret passage itself. There is blood on the wall where the secret door is.

4. A unknown secret passage. Are several circles and decorative places in the rooms that could be suspicious.

So whoever opens the secret door is vulnerable to attack from in front and back. You can watch Poya's back but tell her to be ready for someone lying in wait once she starts moving stones. With those chains she would be a sitting duck for any attacker. Plus the chains probably make her unable to sneak.

Am guessing that the previous group was ambushed here and had there bodies dragged into the secret passage. May or may not be another group ready to ambush you depending on if they have reset the trap yet.

Overall Aira's plan seems workable but may sacrifice Poya. Or drive Poya to do something stupid if she thinks her life is in danger.

Alternative plan is you scout room carefully before touching secret door. Check the balconies and back hallways and be ready to fight or run if your team see's any movement. Then once you have cleared the room have Poya open the door. Then she will only face a possible attack from inside the secret passage.
>>
No. 775176 ID: 87547f

Biggest threat here is the wide open room with those high pillars and what looks to be a balcony or decorative overhang.

Could easily have a few kobolds up there with bows or slings (probably slings) which could really hurt. In melee combat fen can hold his own but against entrenched archers we would have to block arrows with our sword due to having no shield.

Can we light our stick and toss it up in a high arc into the room to shed some light up there?

Should scout the room at least a little before we send Poya off to her death. And once the room is scouted you could stand right up against the wall next to the door as she opens it. Then will be in a position to kill anyone who tries to rush her from inside.

Oh and have Garius watching your rear. In case of someone coming up from behind.
>>
No. 775183 ID: 91ee5f

>>775167
What's with those 3 red circles on the ramps in between the sets of stairs? Are they traps or are they just decorations?
>>
No. 775192 ID: dce082

>"Draconian glue is different"

Draconian glue seems kinda disturbing considering Draconian Kobolds are a thing

>Like how the land pulls kobolds downward to the ground and we have to stand to move, draconian glue pulls stones towards it.

And this seems to further suggest what I thought is true... I think they might be making glue out of kobolds. Back in your village did you ever use the hides of fallen kobolds to make glue?
>>
No. 775203 ID: bfb318
File 148558192782.png - (95.68KB , 1139x820 , 692.png )
775203

I step forward just enough to get a look at the layout. The room appears to be symmetrical. The building layout on our end is the same as it looks on the other end.

Each side has three circular pits. I don't know what they're for, but I would think they're used as fire pits.

I look behind me. Garius is already watching our back, so that's taken care of.

"Hold on. I am going to break up one of my sticks, light them, and throw them to get light."
>"Yeah, good idea." says Aira.

I break one of my shorter sticks some more, then toss one at the balcony above me, and the balcony across the room. Another shard goes to the base of the staircase on the other side, and then one last shard to the opposide side of the room from the hidden tunnel. It reveals a huge entryway, but nothing of note is illuminated, other than I can't see how long it goes on for.

"Alright. Do you think they killed the previous group and dragged them through the tunnel?"

>"Likely." Aira says, breathing through her teeth, and occasionally snapping a look behind us.
"One question then. I apologize that it is not relevant, but is draconian glue... is it made of kobolds? Because of draconian kobolds."

They all look at me, even Garius for a brief instant before he snaps his head back to guard the rear.

>"Holy shit." Aira mutters under her breath, shaking her head. I fear that they may start thinking barbarians make glue out of other kobolds. We don't. "Poya, get over there."

Poya does so. She manages to do most of her work while looking at the balcony above us. Her nerves keep her working quickly in silence, as the seconds drag.

"Oh, I forgot, do we have any call signs or passwords?" I ask Aira.
>"Ah, yeah. If someone says 'golden', you say 'hill'. If you say golden and they don't say hill, kill 'em."

Aira then turns to Poya, who is finishing clearing enough of a hole for me to get through.

>"See anything?" Aira whispers as quietly as she can get away with. Poya shakes her head. "Then get back over here. We're going to take off, Fen. Any requests before we go?"

She looks to the tunnel.

>"Like last wishes."
>>
No. 775204 ID: 398fe1

>>775203
Wait what is that by the well?
>>
No. 775209 ID: 3abd97

>>775203
There's something glinting in the upper left corner.

>"Like last wishes."
*wry* If my wishes could be granted by army pawns, I'd have already done so.
>>
No. 775214 ID: 91ee5f

>>775204
That's not a well. It's a stand where a statue used to be.
>>
No. 775219 ID: bfb318
File 148559413250.png - (406.64KB , 800x800 , 693.png )
775219

"If my wishes could be granted by pawns, I would have already done so."
>"Well screw you too, huh." Aira blurts out.

>What is that by the well statue's pedestal?
I would have to get too close for safety to be sure, but it looks like a dart or an arrow.

>There's a light

"Also, I just saw a light in a hole right up above us."
>"What?"

Poya's eyes snap open as she looks up, and she hurriedly trots up to us when she hears me say that. The light is gone.

>"We've been seen!"
>"Explain. Quietly." says Aira.
>"There's crawlspaces. I was never shown any, but I've heard about them. It's too hard to fight in and there's no burials there but they can spy on us through cracks in the rocks!"
>"And you just thought that worth saying now?!"
>"I only know they exist. I do not know where they are or how many kobolds are crawling through them now."

Garius mutters some curses, and Aira starts taking her weapon off of her back.

>"Is there any way they could have circled around from here, and approach us from the back?" Poya nods and Aira continues. "Then I'd give my left hand that the bastards have us surrounded and are just waiting for us to get in an even worse position, like out there. We're bailing now. Barbarian, you too. If you want to die so bad, wait till after you help us get out of this."
>>
No. 775220 ID: 398fe1

>>775219
>dart or an arrow
Then they DO have ranged weapons. Do we need to take it as evidence, or can we just point it out right now and the others will vouch for it? Hmm, I'd say try to take a different route back to the camp. They can't be behind us in ALL the paths.

Optimally we'd want to take a route where we can ambush the people following us, or at least confront them in terrain where ranged weapons would be less effective.
>>
No. 775221 ID: a43366
775221

Better to fight in a group and then go back through the crawlspace tunnels alone. You can interrogate a survivor.
>>
No. 775227 ID: 5b93d3

>>775219
I tricky one. Our - and their - survival is most likely working together to retreat. On the other hand, our best chance to infiltrate is when they are concentrating on ambushing another group.
>>
No. 775231 ID: 25420c

>>775227
This. It is true that after this the secret passage will be unusable for us. This may be the only chance to get in.

On the other hand now that we are exposed, and if enemy has alerted their other units, sneaking might be damn difficult.
>>
No. 775237 ID: 211d83

Am wondering why they left the dart out in the open when they cleaned up everything else honestly.

Anyways with how little your light lit up that room there are probably a few ranged people up top. Entering that open area would be a bad idea.

Is never a good idea to walk into a known ambush. We have no idea what situation is beyond that secret passage. And if its cramped in there your new large sword would be at a disadvantage. If it was just you alone with a shield and a nice knife then you might be able to sneak in under the cover of darkness and get through.

So head back with the group. If they are ambushed on the way back you can get some more kills. Once you get them back safely we can always try coming back under cover of darkness and catch the ambushers in resetting the wall.
>>
No. 775246 ID: 91ee5f

>>775219
Let's stick together.

I'm pretty sure since defectors will give away secrets, they're going to try and target Poya. So keep her in the middle of the group as you retreat.
>>
No. 775250 ID: d073ee

Staying with the group is the right call, we don't want to make any more enemies among our fellows and our superiors are unlikely to be impressed it they're killed. Really, the crawlspaces probably count as something they need to know.

You may only need to go back with them so far, too. On the other hand, if you did go back, you could ask if there's such a thing as a dark lantern around; a lantern with shutters so it can be opened or closed for stealth purposes. I'd expect to have seen such a thing already, though.
>>
No. 775252 ID: d073ee

Now I think about it, you could just go back with them until you all get ambushed and "escape" that, or if you don't get ambushed just go far enough that you think the enemy'll be convinced you all ran off, then sneak back. The enemy doesn't know that you're supposed to come back here on your own, you just seem like one team, so they might miss a lone person sneaking back afterwards when they've assumed they've chased you away. They probably don't have the resources for more than one ambush group, too. The trouble is you'd have to come back here blind. Bonus to that is that the enemy clearly doesn't like running around without a light either, so you should be able to spot them. Feeling your way around corridors and rooms would be slow but not impossible.

Is your lantern fire, or one of those stone lanterns? Presumably the stones aren't hot and could just be carried around in a box or something, only taken out when you have something specific to look at.
>>
No. 775256 ID: 3abd97

>>775219
If we've been made, we're not going to be able to sneak in through the secret entrance. There will be defenders waiting. Fen might be able to take whoever they place to guard the tunnel, but just because he's good doesn't mean we should throw ourselves into bad tactical situations just because. Walking into an ambush is dumb.

Aira's tactical analysis is dead on. We don't want to split up or position ourselves worse while we're surrounded. Don't make it easy on them.

Cutting through whoever they sent to circle behind us is probably a good first option.
>>
No. 775340 ID: 15a025

It'd be best to stick around with them for now. Plus it'll give you a good chance to show your skills should the enemy start coming after you.
>>
No. 775374 ID: bfb318
File 148566055915.png - (146.05KB , 1200x800 , 694.png )
775374

>Is your lantern fire, or one of those stone lanterns?
It is stone.

I don't see conclusive evidence the situation is as she says it, but there's even less evidence that it's not as she says. I follow her forward. She is already moving, without waiting to see if I agree. Then again, from what I've heard, perhaps I am expected to follow orders even from pawns that are designated as the leader.

Garius ends up waiting till we pass him, once again watching our rear. Poya is in the middle. There's just enough room in this tunnel for Aira and I to both be in the lead, so we pace hurriedly forward, side by side. It's a decent distance until any forks occur.

"Is it difficult to get shields?"
>"They're practically a luxury." says Aira. "Why ask now?"
"I saw a dart or arrow by the pedestal back there. They may have ways to attack from afar."
>"Shit. Well as long as their range weapons are as bad as their melee weapons, it'll just be like getting punched. I take it that arrow didn't have an arrowhead on it."
"No, it was just like a feathered stick. We should take an alternate way."
>"And get lost?"
"Poya, do you know the way?"
>"I don't trust Poya!" says Aira. "It's t - be quiet. I hear something."

We can't make it out, but there's a distant sound of people yelling. Before we get a chance to think about it, a light shows up ahead.

A mountain kobold is charging us, equipped with a big rectangular shield, or at least a wooden plank. He's holding it sideways, so the shield is not protecting his entire body, but it is blocking the width of the hallway.

>"Fuck. He's trying to run us over." says Aira.
>"I think I see a light coming from behind us but it's still much farther than that guy is!" Garius says.
>>
No. 775375 ID: 595d54

So... just get ready to jump and stab him in the eye?
>>
No. 775376 ID: 3abd97

>>775374
You need to charge back at him, and use the shelving on the side to go up and over. Use his momentum against him- he won't be able to stop running right into your sword if you clear the barricade.

Leave going up and the jump as late as possible into your charge as you can, so he doesn't see it coming.
>>
No. 775377 ID: 211d83

If you both charge him and one of you goes low and one goes high he will have to decide which way to defend. Then one of you will get a weapon into his face or groin.

Or you can charge him alone and stab through his shield with your metal sword. Take out his shield arm.

Or just charge and jump right as you hit his shield.

One way or the other take the battle to him. He is expecting you to run so he can push you into his allies. Charging him will confused him and he will have to keep the shield low to keep a eye on you.
>>
No. 775378 ID: 90f3c0

You don't want to get sandwiched between that shield and your pursuers.

Rush the shield guy together, vault over the shield, stab him in the face.
>>
No. 775379 ID: a43366

Someone should go low and one go high. Let him come to you and take the shield for yourself.
>>
No. 775381 ID: 398fe1

>>775374
This is ridiculous. Also, no problem. Attack alongside Aira. He can't block high and low at the same time. Though I am somewhat worried that he'll lift the shield to slam whoever attacks high.

Heh, if you want to be extra tricky you could feint to attack high to make him lift the shield and just pass the sword to Aira who will attack low. He won't be able to see if he lifts the shield to attack high.

I would suggest not trying to stab through the shield. Your sword will probably get stuck in it.
>>
No. 775387 ID: 91ee5f

You and Aria should rush him! Make sure you both agree on who attacks high and who attacks low, so that you both don't end up doing the same thing and he ends up blocking both of you!
>>
No. 775392 ID: bfb318
File 148567005411.png - (0.98MB , 1200x1000 , 695.png )
775392

A solid shield seems like it would be terribly heavy, but I would not want to assume that the shield is thin or rotten. The mountain kobold could be strong.

>Feint to attack high to make him lift the shield and just pass the sword to Aira
This sounds as though it could be effective, but it requires completely untested coordination between me and Aira, as well as Aira's ability to use a sword like this without so much as a test swing.

"I will jump over the shield." I tell Aira. "You go low."

We run forward, and the mountain kobold raises his shield just about halfway. I leap, and just as I do so, he rotates his shield to completely block me. It's fast, and fast enough that although I catch myself awkwardly with his shield, I'm not able to stab him. His attempt at crushing me or my arm against the wall fails as well, as I kepy my arm over the open shelf. With my hand mostly around the shield, I try to cut him with the sword, but at this angle and length, I'm mostly chipping his backside horns.

Aira has an open position against him, but I see him swing a club down on her. She just manages to dodge it, and counters by swinging down her weapon onto his thumb. It turns out she is wielding a sword shaped club after all. It must have hurt, but he doesn't let go of his mace.
>>
No. 775394 ID: 211d83

Grab onto the shield with your non sword hand and pull yourself over the top. The shelves on the wall next to you will make a nice foothold to jump up. With your entire weight on the shield he will be unable to lift it. And shoving you against the wall will be near impossible.

From there you can disable his wrist or just sword him in the throat.

He will either try to sweep you off with his bone club or drop the shield and jump back.

If he sweeps you take out his wrist with your sword or duck if need be. If he jumps back he has lost the shield and you continue from there.
>>
No. 775395 ID: a43366

Pull back with the shield if you can. Get him to overextend hself, maybe stumble forward unbalanced
>>
No. 775396 ID: 2e7f74

Bigger up close, isn't he?

Throw a handful of dirt or ash in his eyes.
>>
No. 775397 ID: 3abd97

>>775392
You need to fall back a step or two so you're not pinned by the shield anymore and follow up Aira's attack by stabbing him in the wrist while he's still overextended for the swing.

Or step back and then slide / twist around the shield so you're inside his guard and can attack his torso.

He has his tail raised- if he pivots more to his left (towards you) while moving his arm out of the way he can bring it down on Aira stegosaurus style. Try no to let him pulp your ally, even if she'd be a lot more useful with a bladed weapon (she could have disarmed him by cutting his thumb, instead of just numbing it).
>>
No. 775399 ID: 398fe1

>>775392
Stay hidden behind the shield, but step back a foot before switching to a twohanded stance and trying to stab at his foot or hand whenever he exposes them. Don't get shield bashed, but poke at him without him being able to see what you're doing.
>>
No. 775400 ID: 595d54

Yeah, pocket sand and attacking while he's overextended seem good after you step back a bit.
>>
No. 775401 ID: 91ee5f

Can you quickly pull out a stick with your left hand and try to stab him in the eye with it? If he doesn't move, he'll get stabbed. If he does move, it'll throw off his aim with his tail attack.

Also, if we kill this guy, would we have time to quickly grab his tonguestone before the guys behind us catch up? And who here thinks it's a red one like last time?
>>
No. 775402 ID: 87f78b

With these handy shelves you could probably get over his shield to stab him in the eye.
>>
No. 775416 ID: bfb318
File 148567589335.png - (678.25KB , 1000x900 , 696.png )
775416

I try to pull myself over the shield, and he quickly proves he's able to lift both the shield and me with it. I can't safely attack over his shield without putting myself in danger of having him crush my arm between his shield and the ceiling, even if he can't do it hard enough to break my arm.

Instead, I pull back. He moves forward with his shield in place, and swings his club around outwards to prevent anyone from rushing to the unblocked half of the tunnel. I swap sword hands for a moment to grab a skull and start smashing it on another. They're old and brittle, and crush into dust and bone shards. I collect as much as I can in a single hand, leap up so I can see over the shield, and throw it over into his face.

He pulls back roaring and shutting his eyes. He's keeping his shield steady and flailing his club around while he takes long strides backwards, but Aira sprints at him before I've even landed back on the ground.

She ducks under an errant swing and goes in.
>>
No. 775417 ID: bfb318
File 148567594086.png - (84.52KB , 800x800 , 697.png )
775417

She thrusts her sword into his eye. The mountain kobold retaliates, and I don't know if it's exceptional reactions or pure luck, but he plants his mace back into Aira.
>>
No. 775418 ID: 398fe1

>>775417
This guy's pretty good, he must have another red stone. See if you can get in there and fuck him up before he gets any more hits in. If he recovers his guard before you can go in, you might have to parry a blow for her and keep him busy until she recovers.
>>
No. 775420 ID: 3abd97

>>775417
Aira's out of the fight. At best, she just got the wind knocked out of her. At worst, she just took massive internal damage and is gonna die slowly.

The mountain kobold looks a little stunned, which isn't surprising, considering how much that sword to the eye must hurt.

You need to get in there and finish this while you still have an opening to do so, and before your ally gets crushed or otherwise finished off. This fight won't be any easier alone.

He can't swing his mace around to stop you getting in on that side while she's falling on top of it (he has to pull out or shake her off first) and he's now blind on that side too. This is the best chance you're gonna get.
>>
No. 775423 ID: a34124

Finish the job and blind the big lug. Then lure him away and let him rage into the next encounter, killing all in his path before finally expiring.
>>
No. 775429 ID: 398fe1

Oh, I guess if she got the wind knocked out of her and thus will have a hard time moving, you might want to try to get her out of harms way.
>>
No. 775433 ID: dce082

Just take the tongue stone leave Aira. She is probably a lost cause and if you are lucky your pursuers might stop to kill her so that could possibly buy you some time.
>>
No. 775434 ID: bfb318
File 148568074205.png - (756.31KB , 1200x800 , 698.png )
775434

I don't give him the time to even turn his head so he can see, let alone time to finish Aira off. I leap out around his shield, and while he tries to pull his mace back, Aira seems stuck on it. It is not a good sign. He does manage to shake his mace out, and I can hear Aira collapse behind me.

In any case, I'm in his range. He opens his good eye wide and realizes I moved too fast for him to defend, and am moving too fast for him to escape. I put my body into thrusting my sword through the bottom of his skull.

Garius is running past me.

>"Run idiot!"

Poya is right behind him. She's hopping more than she's running, but she's moving surprisingly fast considering her chains. I am hearing a lot of footsteps from where we came from.

Getting the mountain kobold's tonguestone will only take a moment, but there's not many moments to spare. The attack party behind us is approaching quickly. I don't know how quick they can run, and I don't know how quick I can run while carrying Aira. I don't know her condition, but she is making retching noises and I doubt she is in any position to even walk.
>>
No. 775435 ID: 398fe1

Screw that. Can't collect collect this guy's tonguestud if you run, and Aira is wounded besides. Get her behind the dead mountain and use him as cover and a chokepoint to take on the incoming opponents.

Plus if you kill more that's more tonguestuds. Time to be a big damn hero.
>>
No. 775436 ID: 3abd97

>>775434
No bold left behind. You're making a stand here, or dragging Aira with you. She was actually reasonably competent, and on your side. She might have actually taken him down if she'd had a real weapon instead of a blunt chunk of wood. Her first attack would have made him drop the mace that got her.

Turn, see how many are coming. If it's a number you can kill (4 or 5 or less?), make a stand. If it's more, grab Aira and run.

Only stop to grab the stones if you stay to kill em all.
>>
No. 775437 ID: 91ee5f

>>775434
Since you ran your sword through the bottom of his skull, you might've sliced his tongue enough that you can take his tongue with his tonguestone still in it, so that you can pull it out later when you've got time!

But, if you can't do that quick enough, then forget about it and help Aira! Leave no 'bold behind!
>>
No. 775438 ID: cd1f9d

No bold left behind, we're building a reputation here.
>>
No. 775439 ID: fd73fa

Try to make a choke point with the shield, don't worry about the tongue stone just yet. Get Aira behind cover and prepare to earn a bunch more tongue stones. Hopefully she recovers soon. See if there is anything else handy around to throw in their eyes when they get close if needed.
>>
No. 775441 ID: 76b09c

Say "Poya if you want to be trusted help me!" and grab Aira. Be sure to take your sword back first. If someone's catching up, see if you can make it to a choke point, then send Poya forward with Aira while you hold them off.

Hold Aira across your backs. Be prepared to drop her if she gets shot.
>>
No. 775444 ID: a43366
775444

Check out how well armed the party coming after you is. It might be better to attack them than run at this point. You can use the broken pots as makeshift caltrops.
>>
No. 775445 ID: 0778ca

That shield seems pretty big, could you maybe put Aira on it and have everyone push it like a toboggan?
>>
No. 775446 ID: 211d83

Glance behind you and at the same time rip the stud out of the big guys mouth.

If the approaching group has no mountain kobolds or people with proper weapons then drag Aira behind the big guys corpse and use him and his shield as makeshift barricade.

Then kill anyone who tries to come around it.

The hallway is just big enough for two people to come through at a time. If you can keep it walled off so only one person can attack you at once then you have a good chance of killing them until the hallway is all the way blocked with corpses.

You might be able to run fast enough with Aira as she is a thin field kobold. But it would be risky. All it would take is for a quick one to sprint up and jab you with a knife. But if you turn and fight you will be doing something unexpected and in more control of the battle.

Of course yelling to Garius to stay and watch your back would be nice but don't expect much from those two.
>>
No. 775454 ID: 25420c

>>775434
Quickly look how many enemies are coming and based on that, either take Aira and run, or stay and fight. Tonguestones are lowest priority right now.
>>
No. 775456 ID: 2e7f74

Would taking his entire tongue expedite the process? if not, fireman carry Aira and haul ass outta here.
>>
No. 775457 ID: 25420c

And if fighting is an option, stop your other party members from fleeing. the fools, wild escape is worst option. we don't know what's ahead.
>>
No. 775459 ID: d36af7

Lean the shield up against a wall for tactical cover and move Aira behind it. Consider how to position the mountain kobold corpse for maximum terrain advantage.
>>
No. 775519 ID: 1730ee

Grab the shield and run. Right into the enemy.

None of the guys behind you can be too big and brawny if they're tunnel crawlers come up your tails already. Do something they won't expect and can't counter. If you turn the shield lengthwise you have a perfect corridor sized battering ram. Smack that into them and clog up the hallway with their reinforcements, maybe stab wildly, scream and roar to send the closest ones packing in panic at the apparent counterattack, right into their mates. A break in enemy morale might be the only thing that can give you enough time to recover Aira and make a proper run for it.
>>
No. 775551 ID: bfb318
File 148573724308.png - (484.79KB , 800x800 , 699.png )
775551

"Stay and help!" I yell back to them, but they keep running.

I sheath my sword and try lifting the shield. I could lift it with both arms, and that's about it. I can't use it in combat or as a battering ram. Perhaps it's worth keeping in order to modify into two smaller shields, but all it's good for now is to create a barrier. I keep it on the mountain kobold's forearm, and after no small amount of hasty effort, I get his body by his shield arm so that it can't be easily knocked over. I then put Aira behind that position. I can't tell if she's trying to speak, but she's just making whining noises.

I knock some skulls down to make the terrain difficult for them, or at least prevent them from effectively running at me at full speed. They have similar ideas, and throw dusty skulls back at me, but they're from so far that they're easy to dodge. I pull the rope and lantern off of me, as I will be fighting in this spot and don't want the extra weight or grabbable objects.
>>
No. 775552 ID: bfb318
File 148573725163.png - (399.81KB , 1200x800 , 700.png )
775552

There are 6 kobolds, and they are not well armed. The first one comes to me, and hesitates as I swing my sword at him. He attempts to step back, but the second kobold is right behind him. He was too close, and blocks the first kobold's retreat. My sword hits him, and the person he collided with tumbles back.
>>
No. 775553 ID: bfb318
File 148573725814.png - (464.77KB , 800x800 , 701.png )
775553

They don't seem as eager to fight as the mountain kobold did, perhaps because the mountain kobold is dead. Still, they let out war cries and continue their charge.

The third attempts to jump over the shield, and leaves himself unable to dodge. He is forced to parry, but he's unable to parry a thrust with his shoddy dagger.

Now my sword is stuck in him, and the fourth is running to me, between the shield and where the second kobold fell under the first. The fifth one is remaining near the back, and is pulling back a bowstring, but he may find it challenging to get a clean shot, especially if the bow and arrow is of the same quality as the rest of the weapons here. There is a 6th, but I can't see him well, and he just seems to be holding up the torch at the back for the others to see.
>>
No. 775560 ID: 211d83

You have a two handed sword with a large grip so use it to shove the end of your sword through the impaled guy into the guy with the dagger then shove them both off your sword with your foot. If you cant get it moved fast enough then release the handle and shove the body on to the dagger guy before trying to remove the sword.

Once your sword is free keep killing them as they come and stay next to the mountain kobold. This will let you have cover for when the bow guy looses his arrow.

Once you have the 4 melee guys down you will want to bait a arrow out of the archer then charge him before he can reload.

Also keep your ears open for anything coming up from behind.
>>
No. 775563 ID: 211d83

Oh also consider developing a war cry of your own or some other signature to scare your foes. If you are charging hordes of enemies while laughing maniacally it can make them hesitate enough to give you a advantage.

Might be worth a experiment to see if it helps. Can always go back to calm and cool if needed.
>>
No. 775564 ID: e805b5
775564

You can grab the dagger for a weapon, tossing it at the bowman if he looks like he has a shot.
>>
No. 775565 ID: 3abd97

>>775553
Step back and swing your sword to your right, so your victim is thrown back and off your sword, and dumped on top of the guy trying to close with the knife.
>>
No. 775570 ID: 3bf83c

Never stop to free a weapon that is stuck while someone else is charging you. Swing #3 into #4 while still on the blade. Depending if #4 goes down or not, free your sword or kick, stomp and punch #4 until he's dazed enough that you can get the sword free without getting shanked. Try to hop about some or use their bodies for cover to avoid getting shot and remember #2 is going to join the fray soon enough.
>>
No. 775571 ID: 398fe1

>>775553
Drop the sword, grab the dagger he had, use that dagger to kill the fourth kobold. You might take a hit but as long as you ensure it's a minor wound you should be fine. Then you can probably dagger-throw the bow user. Or you can just ignore his shitty arrow and rush him. Block it with your forearm instead of a shield, even.
>>
No. 775579 ID: bb78f2

>>775553
For FUCKS sake, I'm just trying to get an injured person back.
You already fucked up on protecting the secrets here, is killing me and her worth it?
>>
No. 775583 ID: 91ee5f

>>775579
Duh! Obviously it is, otherwise they would've run as soon as we took out the mountain kobold.
>>
No. 775584 ID: 76b09c

Once you look like you're going to win, the one in the back with the lantern is probably going to run and let everyone back at their base know what happened.

See if, while fighting, you can shove back towards the archer, then charge him as soon as you have the opportunity. Cover your center with the sword's blade, and its size might be enough to deflect a shot. Take him out quick, then grab the bow and try shoot down the lantern carrier as they run. Chasing after him will take too long if you can't manage that, and you'd be better to loot the tonguestones and bring Aira back.

You might carry her on the shield, dragging behind you like a litter.
>>
No. 775586 ID: 2e7f74

Take number three's weapon, surprise four when he advances. Or just throw three's weapon at four's head and push three off the barricade to the side, letting gravity pull out your sword and further burying two. If your sword remains stuck, absolutely do not keep trying to remove it.
>>
No. 775593 ID: a43366

You can block the arrow he shoots with a body if necessary.
>>
No. 775613 ID: bfb318
File 148575173515.png - (367.48KB , 1000x800 , 702.png )
775613

I swing the impaled body into number four, but my sword is stuck enough that I don't want to let the fourth recover in the time it takes me to pull the sword out. I let go of the sword while she stumbles, and grab the knife that number three dropped. I jab it into number four's neck.

The third somehow managed to keep himself up for this, but before I have time to worry about it, he loses conscious and slumps to the ground.
>>
No. 775614 ID: bfb318
File 148575175409.png - (371.76KB , 800x800 , 703.png )
775614

The second one recovers to attack me, but his movement is desperate. I move cautiously, half to be cautious, half to use him as a shield, since I feel like I will be shot with an arrow as soon as number 2 goes down.

Instead, the archer rushes me to shoot point blank. I prepare for it, but Aira reaches out and grabs his ankle, as she had writhed around to the point of turning around so she could reach him. His string's pull falters, but the arrow doesn't even shoot. The one occupying me gets distracted, so I stab him, lunge forward, and stab the bowman before he falls down.
>>
No. 775615 ID: bfb318
File 148575177250.png - (188.10KB , 900x600 , 704.png )
775615

I stab the bowman and the other a couple of times, then finish number four while she's bleeding out, to make sure that no kobold here has the chance to get back up and stab Aira or me.

My sword isn't too badly lodged once I have a moment, so I pull it out of the body and approach the 6th kobold.
>>
No. 775617 ID: a43366

Take his tongue-stone and knife. If he fights, kill him.

Letting him go isn't really an option anyway, and he was part of an ambush to kill you.
>>
No. 775618 ID: 211d83

That is a tiny little guy. Hopefully just short and not a child.

Finish him quickly. While he might look small and weak if you let him live then he will report back and cause problems. We have to get Aira out of here fast if there is any chance to save her and there could me more coming.

Once he is dead listen for movement and then start gathering all the studs and wrap up the decent weapons in some scavenged cloth. Then carefully pick up Aira and get moving.
>>
No. 775619 ID: 29c4aa

>>775618
If he's just short there's a reason he survived this long, be on your guard!
>>
No. 775620 ID: a43366

>>775617
Adding to this, you really can't have him stabbing you in the back or going to try and organize another ambush if you're going to move Aira safely. Killing him is the best option
>>
No. 775621 ID: f8cb2e

*ahem* FINISH HIM!
>>
No. 775622 ID: bb78f2

>>775615
Alright, give me your tonguestone, give me your knife, and give me any good info you have and you'll be considered another defector.
>>
No. 775623 ID: 398fe1

>>775615
...that looks like a young mountain kobold. Tell him to drop the knife and surrender. You can use the rope to bind his hands and lead him around so he can't get up to any trouble. No child murdering will be done today, but he was still assisting the tonguestones so I suppose he should be brought back to camp so they can put him in an orphanage or something.

After that's done go see if Aira is up to moving around. Administer first aid if you can, but I suspect it's a serious internal injury which you won't be able to do anything about. Might have to carry her to camp. Bring the daggers and bow with you but leave the mountain's gear behind since it's too bulky to carry easily.
>>
No. 775624 ID: 2e7f74

"You've made some mistakes."

Don't kill, capture. We need intel from somebody who isn't a fucking backstabber, and I think this one's already got the fear of god in him, that'll make things easy. There should be plenty of fabric to bind him up, no matter how stumpy his limbs are.
>>
No. 775626 ID: 595d54

Yeah, let's just tell this one to surrender and capture him if we can. Not like we need more rumors about barbarians.
>>
No. 775628 ID: 3abd97

>>775614
Hah! Half dead, and she's still fighting. Respect, Aira. She gets a weapon and a cut of the tongue studs, if she lives. You need allies who don't give up in a fight.

>>775615
"Surrender, child. You have lost this fight, and you gain nothing by throwing your life away.

"Drop your weapon and tongue stud."

If he doesn't surrender, disarm him and smack him without killing. (...actually, wait, is that even a him, I think I see hints of eyelashes). Fen doesn't need to kill people who don't present a threat to him.
>>
No. 775634 ID: fd73fa

He is either a tiny, tiny midget of a mountain kobold or far more likely a child. Tell him to put down his weapon and you won't harm him. Don't let your guard down, even a child could be dangerous when desperate. He is obviously in over his head. He is in over his head, tell him if he gives you his tongue stone you'll take him back with you and see if you can't get him a job doing inventory, carrying stuff, something off the front lines.
But right now your priority is checking on Aira (do so as soon as the kid gives you the knife), getting those tongue studs and then getting Aira back to the base. If the kid is willing have him help you carry her back. If he does come back make him give you his tongue stud, if only for his own safety.
>>
No. 775638 ID: fd5137

>>775615
wait, a metal knife?
I've a bad feeling about this, be ready to dodge that thing getting thrown at you, or to grapple with them if they rush you.

anyway tell them to drop the weapon and get out of here, I think taking a tonguestud without killing the owner is probably an army faux-pas and them not having it screws them on their side, so just the knife.
>>
No. 775642 ID: dce082

Ehh he isn't worth dulling your blade, capture him, rip out his tongue stud and drag him along with you, tie him up, if he's too much of a liability he can be killed.
>>
No. 775648 ID: 91ee5f

>>775638
>I think taking a tonguestud without killing the owner is probably an army faux-pas
I guess you're talking about the first 2 guys Fen met when he first came down here, right? Because Fen didn't kill them, he just knocked them out and took their studs.
>>
No. 775649 ID: cbce14

>>775615
I agree with trying to get a surrender, but if he attack anyway, just kill. It's not like he's survival chances are high even after surrendering, after all.
>>
No. 775650 ID: cbce14

Oh, and the bowman's tongue stud is for Aira.
>>
No. 775651 ID: 2e7f74

>>775650
Hell, if she lives, she can have the big guy's tongue stud.
>>
No. 775653 ID: c90231

You should also be prepared to tackle this guy if he makes a run for it
>>
No. 775694 ID: 65ec8d

We can't let them leave, they'll tell the enemy about what happened here. As it stands, killing these people probably left a gap in the enemy's intelligence, which we could use to go back to scouting.

My bet's on this being a child. It makes sense for them to use children as surveillance by sending them through the crawl spaces, and the person who spotted them in the crawl space would have been brought along with whoever they ran to inform about what they saw. And it explains why he hung back but is still there - an adult, of whatever size, would have either joined in the fight or fled as soon as it was clear Fen outmatched all the others. Freezing up like this is what a child would do.

And Fen ain't going to be no child-killer. Remember, ultimately, the goal is to be with Lily. Fen can't do anything that would turn her away from him, or the whole endeavor becomes pointless and tragic. I'd bet Zizi wouldn't be proud of his training being used for such a thing, either.

Tell the kid to drop the knife. Or knock it out of their hand with your sword. Subdue them, terrorize them a bit for obedience and bring them back with you. If someone back at base takes issue with it, tell them that they can double-check the defectors' info with a captive (that should count for the mission Fen was given, too). You could also tell them that killing a child at the start of your career would be a bad omen, and they'll probably shrug their shoulders and go "oh, barbarian nonsense".

Fen might end up needing to keep this kid alive himself until a place can be found for him. If that's the way it's gotta be that's the way it's gotta be. Hand in all these weapons and tonguestuds and we should have the funds to spare some food now and then.

Put Aira on the shield, have her hold your loot or just pile it on her - that'll make the weapons ready to hand while you go back, in case anyone else comes up behind you. If you put some fear into the kid (tell them if they run off you'll catch them and chop something off them - might have to actually do it, part of the tail or something, but better than killing them) you can get them to hold up the front end on their shoulders, holding it secure with one hand and the torch with the other, while you hold the back, and bring the whole thing back stretcher-style. Worry about dividing the loot with Aira when you get back - she might not last that long, since she's bleeding from the mouth after a gut injury.
>>
No. 775697 ID: a43366

Unless it can hold the shield and help you carry her on it like a stretcher he wont be very useful. Ask about the crawlholes too.
>>
No. 775713 ID: fd5137

>>775648
no questions were asked but there's currently a witness
>>
No. 775724 ID: a34124

Make the midget suffer, but keep him alive to spread tales of the psycho-hunter who slaughtered his entire squad for pebbles.
>>
No. 775728 ID: 7397ab

Wack the knife out of his hand and tell him to come with you.

Mention that you don't want to kill him but if he runs you will have to.

I wonder if you just killed his(her?) dad(mom?). Mountain kobolds are confusing.

Tie him up if you have to and shove him on the shield along with Aira. Use it as a sled to move them and your loot back to the base.
>>
No. 775729 ID: 65ec8d

I just want to add to my last post, taking this kid back with us to interrogate does actually make tactical sense. This is an opportunity to impress our higher-ups with our foresight.

Also, I bet a little touch of a merciful reputation will help us down the line. There should be at least a few people around, in the army's upper and lower ranks and otherwise, who'll approve of that sort of thing secretly, even if everyone's publicly "rr serve the empire" et cetera. Plus, Fen will have tons of opportunities to show brutality and ruthlessness, chances to touch that up his reputation with spots of compassion will be rare.
>>
No. 775731 ID: bfb318
File 148580901847.png - (331.12KB , 800x800 , 705.png )
775731

"Drop your knife. You can't win this."
>"Y-you killed my dad!"
"Is he the mountain kobold behind me? If so, then yes, I did."

I take a step forward, and he takes two back. His voice is childlike by mountain standards. For all I know there are adult mountain kobolds like this, but I think I can safely assume he is just a child, as he resembles the mountain kids I saw in the fence.

"You know that I can outrun you."
>"My dad wanted me to fight! I'm no coward!"

He charges me. I thrust my sword out in front of me, and he stops himself from running into it. He does a poor job, and topples forward. I pull the sword back and use his lack of balance to kick him in the head.
>>
No. 775732 ID: bfb318
File 148580902859.png - (224.21KB , 800x800 , 706.png )
775732

He keeps struggling, so I keep beating him until he drops the knife.

I think of what Lily might advise in this situation, and she seemed to speak fondly of children, saying that raised right, even the worst of them can come around by adulthood. I don't know how much of that was her feelings, and how much was the empires. It's just enough to get me to hold off on killing him, even though I'm personally split on the decision.

I put him in a chokehold until he passes out, and then tie him up and start looting all of the tonguestones including the child's. The knife was metal after all. It isn't well made, but it is sharp and far better than most of the weapons I've seen in here. I suspect his father gave it to him, otherwise having the small child carry such a valuable thing is senseless.

"Aira, can you walk?" I ask, once I make it to her.
>"Nnnno... my fuckin' hip, I think he broke it." she squeaks out like it hurts to talk. "I can't feel my leg. And when I do feel it, it's pain."
"I am not well trained in healing, but I don't believe that vomitting blood is a good sign."
>"It might not be blood. I feel like I'm dying, but maybe it's just the pain. Don't tell anyone I might be dying. They might mercy kill me." Her tone is almost joking, but she's has no hint of a smile. "I hope I'm not, but... oh fuck, don't leave me here, please."
"I'm not leaving you behind."

Amongst the useful weaponry is the kid's dagger, the bow and just 4 arrows, and the mountain kobold's mace. The mace is lighter than I expected, but still heavy. There are two makeshift bone knives that aren't worth much, but may be useful for pawns and are easy to carry. Otherwise, I have 6 normal tonguestuds and one red one from the mountain kobold.

The child is a liability and Aira can't move. If I'm to transport both the kid and Aira, it may be best to use the shield after all. It's huge and heavy, but I should at least have the strength to drag it along the ground along with the two kobolds. It will be slow, but otherwise I will have to carry one or both of them on myself, and that may only be a bit faster and will shake Aira's wound. There isn't much first aid I think I can do here, as I have no supplies, and she isn't bleeding much externally.
>>
No. 775733 ID: a34124

I wonder if Cheese can make something of him.

Scavenge the corpses, look for some cloth. Find a way to stick it onto the bottom of the rotten shield, which will help decrease friction.

Oh, and if the kid attacks you again, threaten to make him wear his dad's skull as a helmet. lol cubone
>>
No. 775735 ID: 7397ab

The shield is probably best for this. Carrying Aira would jostle her enough to make her injuries worse and if she is going to have any chance we need to minimize damage.

So carefully get the shield into position for dragging. Basically get it set up behind the pile of corpses before putting things on it. Then very carefully pick up Aira and put her on it. Watch out as she might pass out from pain or vomit again if her hip is broken. Don't try to set any bones unless no one else knows how to at base camp. And don't mention a possible hip break to anyone.

Then pile the kid and the loot on the other end of the shield and start moving. It will be slow but if you are attacked you will have time to see them coming.

As for the child? Well that is for the knights to decide. Lily likes children but she comes from a place and position in your society that has the spare money and time to be able to worry about orphans. The best we can do for him is take him with us and hope the army can use him.
>>
No. 775737 ID: 398fe1

>>775732
Sounds like we're looting everything, then. With any luck, the two pawns who fled will return to check up on you and help carry the shield like a stretcher. My concern is it'll make a loud scraping noise as you drag it behind you... but you can probably kill anyone who hears the noise and tries to fight you, heh.

I guess dragging the kid along behind you isn't an option? He's a mountain, he can take it. Especially on his back. Maybe the rope isn't long enough.

Ask Aira how close she is to being a lesser knight and having access to medical care.
>>
No. 775738 ID: 3d2d5f

>>775732
Take Aira, and what weapons you can carry, prioritizing quality and usefulness.

The kid is a lower priority. If you leave him, he either survivors of his faction will recover him, or he'll escape the tunnels on his own. Bringing him means he gets dumped wherever the army dumps kids. There must be some system for war orphans, to avoid completely depopulating areas.

The shield is probably more than big enough for the two of them. Maybe break it in half for a lighter sled?

>mercy killing
Yeah, so long as she's still alive enough to express an opinion in the matter, that's 100% her call. She's not an enemy, she gets to fight for life if she wants to.
>>
No. 775740 ID: d36af7

Gather up everything that's worth bringing, stack it on the shield, and start dragging it behind you like a toboggan. Maybe attach a rope to the shield's straps so you can pull from a more ergonomic posture.

How many previous kills does Aira have? If there are enough tonguestones on hand for her to reach 20, and no other witnesses... knights, even newly-minted lesser knights, probably get significantly better medical care than pawns.
>>
No. 775742 ID: 65ec8d

Use the shield. If you can scavenge enough cloth, you can tie some around the bottom side to make it slide more smoothly over the ground; fortunately, it's a curved shield, so it should be easier and things shouldn't fall off the sides, though it might rock side to side a bit. You might also be able to sling some rope under the top side you'll be carrying, catching it on the "lip" of the edging, to help give your arms a better position to pull it along behind you. Hopefully the shield is roughly enough made that there are corners and jagged edges to help hold the cloth.

If you're lucky, one or both of your two companions stopped running after a while and decided to wait and see what the outcome was. If you want to make a bet that this gang were all of the enemy forces available to come after you, which sounds like a decent enough bet (especially if you go some distance first), you can call out to them for help.

I think you'll need the kid as a captive to cover you. Being able to get intel out of him is justification enough for you to have come back.
>>
No. 775744 ID: fd5137

>>775732
It's a shame the kid's in this position and stuff but he's not really your concern, no real point taking his knife either, it's better than this lot has right now but the army has better.

Priority number 1 is getting Aira out okay, she did good fighting the mountain kobold and even on the ground in agony gave you a hand, whatever configuration of loot and carrying method that gets you out fastest is the way to go.
Only bring along the kid if you think it's viable, and shuck the weight that is him before anything else if you do.
>>
No. 775746 ID: 710efc

>"Is he the mountain kobold behind me? If so, then yes, I did."
Has anybody told you that you have a real way with words, Fen?

...I hope he doesn't come back for us down the line...

Leave the club, it'll be dead weight, but carry the knives on your person. Tie a rope to the shield so you can drag it behind you. When you move Aria, roll her to one side and try to slide the shield under her so you don't have to her too much. Tie the kid up as much as you can, don't leave anything he can use as a weapon on the sled, and tell Aria to stay conscious and keep an eye on him. You should be able to track your less fearless comrades back to camp pretty easily.
>>
No. 775747 ID: 9ff344

You've got to get them both back, use the shield as a sled even if it slows you down a bit. Hopefully you come across the cowards who ran before too long so they can help.
Aira is wounded but able to talk. Ask her how many more studs she needs to be a knight. Hopefully you have enough there. If you do then you could give them to her, the knights surely must get better medical treatment than the pawns. Even if it is just a roll of bandages and a splint instead of a mercy kill or being left to starve to death in agony because she can't earn enough to pay for food without fighting. It'll be expensive, but she would surely be appreciative of you saving her life. It'll be worth the cost if it earns you a stalwart ally that doesn't run away as soon as the fighting shows up.
>>
No. 775748 ID: 7397ab

>>775747

Helping Aira become a knight is not a horrible idea but will have to be careful. If she ends up a cripple or dead our gesture goes to waste. Even if her hip is not broken it could be weeks or month before she recovers.

If she is really close to knighthood then yeah we already owe her half the big guy kill. If not we can try to help her other ways.
>>
No. 775756 ID: 398fe1

>>775744
>ditch the kid
That's not a bad idea. We could just leave him in a side tunnel and gag him, then try to come back for him later.
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No. 775762 ID: dce082

Fen, stop thinking about the kid as a child and start thinking about him like a prisoner of war and one that seems like he will gladly die fighting. My suggested course of action is either keep dragging him along for a little bit to let it sink in that he has been captured rather than dying in battle as his dad would have wanted, then once that sinks in for him enough stab him in the gut a few times with his dagger then leave him there tied up and dying with nothing that could save him except a mage who would charge a kings ransom for it if you are just THAT pissed at him. Or if you aren't feeling particularly cruel you can take him back to the camp where he will probably be tortured for information but would be able to get a chance for a final "fuck you" to satisfy him either by giving false information or giving no information. Third option is just to mercy kill him here and now.

As for Aira you could bring her back to camp where she will probably be mercy killed as I doubt they would want to have a suffering useless soldier starving to death or dying from injuries because she can't pay for food because obviously that would be terrible for Morale but they might be merciful and leave the decision of whether they should mercy kill her up to her(which I kind of doubt based on what we've seen)and where she MIGHT survive but even if she did she'd probably end up unable to walk like that one furbold who lost a leg and be hated for being crippled and would struggle to get a job. You could also mercy kill her here and now with one of the enemies weapons and just say she died in combat, if she would prefer to be killed by a considerate comrade who risked his life for her when everyone else left her to die.

I'd say give the kid the slow and dishonorable death and drag Aira back and hope for the best.
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No. 775764 ID: 90f3c0

Dragging the shield around would be slow, loud, and tiring. You'd make yourself an easy target if there are anymore enemies lurking in the area.

Leave the kid and the heavy equipment, just carry Aira. Maybe you can come back for the kid after you catch up to your companion, if no one else gets to him first.

>>775747
The hard part of becoming a knight is the recommendations. I doubt it's something greater knight give out easily, she'd have to do something to distinguish herself.
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No. 775768 ID: 78a3e5

>>775740
She would still need recommendations and to pass the test. Being a proto knight might help her out though. Its an option to explore if its applicable.

The kid would contradict the story, but that might not be an issue anyway.

Aira can watch the back as you drag them.
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No. 775769 ID: 65ec8d

>>775764

If we're going to bring back Aira it needs to be on the shield. With an injury like the one she has, carrying her in our arms or on the shoulder is probably going to make it worse and maybe kill her.
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No. 775772 ID: bfb318
File 148581665865.png - (264.35KB , 800x800 , 707.png )
775772

>Stop thinking about the kid as a child
He is tiny, has poor judgement, and is bad at fighting. I cannot.

Still, I will drop him off at a side tunnel that should be nearby, and attempt to come back for him later after asking the knights how children are - wait a moment.

"Aira. How does the empire feel about children?"
>"Save the shorties. I saw him try to fight you. We don't like to waste fighters like that."
"He won't be tortured for information?"
>"None of the knights on duty do that here. They'll get what they can out of him, then send him to some orphan house in another region."
"I find that somewhat surprising."
>"Yeah, you're new, right? We don't take that great care of kids, but we don't waste them either."

I'll leave it to Aira's judgement. I set up the shield, and slide it under Aira as best as we can manage. The kid goes on as well. I cannot easily tie the rope around the entire shield properly, but I do tie it to the shield's handles so that it acts like a makeshift harness I can use to pull it. The shield is so roomy that I could reduce its size, but it's so solid that I can't break it in half. I keep the weapons on me, but otherwise things go on the sled.

The shield rocks back and forth, but it's far more gentle than if I were to carry Aira on myself. It makes a grinding noise on the stone, but even with the kids weight, it is not as slow as I feared it might be.

I do not know much about how the empire treats either their pawns or their children, but I will test them on it now by bringing both back.

"Aira, keep talking to me, and watch our backs. How close are you to being a knight?"
>"Not far, killwise. Just... 3 more full kills. Heh, if I were in your spot, I should have enough."
"If you were to get credit for these studs then, you'd be a knight?"
>".... no. No. I haven't successfully taken the test yet, because I've used almost all my tokens on food. Plus, I wouldn't be knighted in a place like this, it has to be sanctioned and all."
"So how would we get you to medical care? Do they care for pawns?"
>"No, they'd just stick me in a bed and see what happens. The other pawns may see that I'm comfortable, but that's it. There may be a healing cloth in camp for knights, but a pawn might be able to buy it for, fuck, more than I have. A lot and... better than nothing. If I'm dying too bad then it wouldn't help, but if I'm just..."
"Aira?"

....

>"Just get me back, please. I can't stop you from claiming every damn prize here since I'm so hurt."
"... do you think I would do that?"
>"I don't know. Just get me back, please, please." Her voice is shaking.
"If I were going to leave you behind, I wouldn't be dragging you along."
>"Right, I'm sorry. I just mean that you don't have anything to lose by getting me back. Wait, where's Garius?"
>"He ran as soon as I stabbed the mountain kobold."
>"... that fu -" She gets interrupted by coughs and retches. I look behind me occasionally, since Aira might not be able to that well.

Eventually, I cross by a couple of dead kobolds blocking the path. Upon inspection, they have holes where tonguestones used to be. The knife wounds on them feasibly match up with Garius' knife. Poya is here as well. She is unconcious and has a wound on her head, but she is breathing.
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No. 775773 ID: a34124

Scavenge the bodies, and mutilate them further so that Garius can't get credit so easily. Then wake Poya gently. Ask her where the exit is first.
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No. 775774 ID: fd5137

>>775772
cool, she's helping pull if you can get her conscious
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No. 775775 ID: 3abd97

>"Just get me back, please. I can't stop you from claiming every damn prize here since I'm so hurt."
*Shrug* "You fought well, and kept fighting after that hit. If you live, you deserve a share."

Barbarian logic. Achievement deserves recognition, and allies who are willing to have your back in a fight instead of cutting and running are worth keeping alive.

>Poya is here as well. She is unconcious and has a wound on her head, but she is breathing.
Attempt to wake her up (shake her, escalate to light smacking if that doesn't work). Really don't want to have to drag all three of them. I mean, you will if you have to, but geeze.

Too bad we don't have smelling salts in our kit. Didn't anticipate having to deal with so many unconscious allies.
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No. 775776 ID: 3abd97

>>775773
Literally pointless. The only credit you get is for the studs you cache in, and it's wasted work for fen to chop up the bodies.
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No. 775777 ID: 7397ab

Well looks like Garius might have some explaining to do once we come back alive.

Tell Aira about the situation with Poya and that Garius might be a super jerk. (or dead up ahead)

Start shoving Poya on the shield as you talk to Aira.

"Aira I can get more kills. I owe you at least half of the credit for the big guy. If you had a proper weapon you could not be in the situation you are now."

"I don't know if I can help much but here is a thought. If you think you are going to survive I can lend you a few kills worth of studs from that battle if it would get you treated as a knight prospect instead of a normal pawn."

"Then you and I can help each other learn the test while you recover."
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No. 775778 ID: 211d83

>>775777

This sounds like a decent deal. Give her credit for the 6 (3) kills and us the 5 (2.5)from taking out the mountain kobold. Then help her pass the test while we study for it ourselves.

Of course that depends on her surviving that long. Ask her what she thinks.

If she asks why you would do something like that for her just tell her the truth. She is a promising fighter and you have big dreams and could use her help later.

Plus she stood next to you in that fight and accounted herself well. She at least deserves a chance at survival.
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No. 775779 ID: 398fe1

>>775772
See if you can wake Poya up. If not just put her on the shield and keep heading back home. How much further is it?

Also be wary. Check around corners with your sword free before you drag the shield up to them.
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No. 775780 ID: 65ec8d

The loot gets turned in for purchasing power as well, so maybe it'll be enough for the healing cloth. Try to wake Poya, if you can't, sling her over your shoulder or slap her on the shield if there's room (maybe leave part of her dangling off the edge?) and go on. At the very least, getting back to camp with two wounded comrades, a captive, and a pile of loot and a bloody sword should do wonders for your reputation.

Extra thought on the kid's usefulness: If they've been using the kids in the crawlspaces (which if they're smart, they should), then this kid can give info on the crawlspace layout that the adult defectors didn't have. Besides, if we drop him off, he'll probably get picked up by his people, since they seem to sneak around here a lot. There's a possibility that all the guys we've just killed have only "mysteriously disappeared" as far as their buddies know, which given the general spookiness around here to begin with, might be to our advantage.

Aira's probably worried about dying here because this is where the dead have been disturbed. If she dies here, her soul goes into the pile with all the other restless spirits.

... Hmm. That makes the locals' plan especially dumb. Unrest the dead, then die fighting, and get your soul dropped into all the others you've pissed off? Bad scheme. Though they could be planning to deliberately add their own angry souls to the mix to make the dead even more restless. Might be able to spin that into a story to the kid, though, if we tell him his dad's soul is going to suffer now and he should help us put the dead to rest again.
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No. 775784 ID: 91ee5f

Something tells me that Garius is already back at camp and is making up a story on how Poya lead everyone into a trap and he bravely attempted to save his allies but it was too late, they were dead and he couldn't do anything, so he came running back to deliver information. Or something like that.

Won't he be surprised to see us still alive?
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No. 775790 ID: 710efc

Poya might be faking unconsciousness so she can pull an ambush, be very careful.
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No. 775799 ID: fd73fa

Wake Poya up if you can. If she doesn't respond or is unable to walk toss her on the litter as well. You're going to have some choice words about Garius once you get back.
Ask Aira how much a healing cloth cost. Maybe between the studs and silver Fen has enough to cover it? A worthwhile ally is infinitely more valuable than a coin on the front lines.
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No. 775805 ID: bfb318
File 148582381823.png - (474.01KB , 1200x800 , 708.png )
775805

"You deserve at least half of the points from the red guy, Aira."
>"What's that, a quarter point?"
"The red tonguestuds are worth 5 regular, or half, uh, 2 and a half... yes, two and a half kill points."
>"Holy shit."

I slap Poya to no response, so I move her onto the shield. I leave the kobolds alone, as with the tonguestuds gone, Garius most likely already took the credit for them.

"You also would not be in this situation if you had a real sword."
>"Eh... maybe, but no use thinking about it. He could've been more cautious if I had a real blade, than sticking his thumb out like that. And when I stabbed his eye, well, I fully extended my stick. Would've been the same thing if it were a real sword of the same length. Not to say I won't take half that share."

Poya is light, she hardly makes a difference on the shield, and I make it back. Bolk is there, likely coming to investigate what the noise is.

>"State your bu - oh, Fen?! I was told you were dead, and... is that Aira and Poya?!"
"Yes. Aira is severely hurt. I would like her to be healed. Do knights give treatment?"
>"The knights won't, but Aira is... she's earned her keep here. Us pawns will look after her. Who is this mountain kobold?"
"The son of a strong fighter."
>"Okay. Henpa! Henpa, get over here!" he starts yelling for someone. "We've got a wounded!" he yells, then faces me again. "Dame Frais will deal with the child. Help me clear this wooden plank, we'll use it as bedding for Aira."
"And what of Poya?"
>"I could not care less about Poya at this point. Dame Frais can deal with her too. Aira, can you speak?"
"Hurts!"
>"At least you feel it. Garius told us you both died, and Poya got struck unconcious."
"Garius is a fuckin' liar. He ran from the fi- " she shudders.
>"He ran. From the fight? Just nod."

She nods.

>"The pawns will remember that. Dame Frais, we require your presence!" he also calls out.
"How much does a healing cloth cost?"
>"That depends on availability. I'll ask when I get the chance."
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No. 775806 ID: bfb318
File 148582386018.png - (41.68KB , 800x800 , 709.png )
775806

We clear the shield as Dame Frais approaches. and Bolk has a few words with her before he and the kobold I assume is Henpa carry Aira off.

>"Nice to know you didn't go out there to pace a safe hall back and forth. Bolk told me about the kid. He's starting to wake up, so I will question him for a while and then send him off to a shelter. You did fine bringing him back, hopefully he will be a loyal fighter in a couple of years."

She hands me a token, with no explanation.

>"Now, give your report, then you may take all of your loot to the quill knight. Normally you would divide it amongst yourselves, but since you were the only one able to walk back here, and Garius apparently ran away, you will have the rights to all of this. Either way, you will remain at camp for some time."
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No. 775807 ID: 595d54

What's the token look like? Anyway, go ask the Quill Knight how much a healing cloth would be.
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