PREVIOUS THREAD: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/44515745/
CHARACTERS AND PLACES: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19gNVgtevar647l4ZumUaVH6GlJzvxLlDNKaH8DrQMWE/edit?usp=sharing
You are Brianna la Croix, journeyman necromancer, and today you were supposed to meet Amy's mother, kill zero people, make some progress on understanding the situation in the Mine, and find someplace to crash for the evening because fuck if you're not fucking wiped.
You managed to meet Amy's mom, at least.
Nevermind what I said previously.
So now that Nathan's dead and Amy is going to cuck us with Talon Thunder-Cock (made of 100% authentic cock) are we ready for that Brigette/Victoria route I was hyping up!
Amy gave you the space you wanted, but eventually circumstances forced your hand; you have to go to the meetup with Nathan and Silence and swap notes. You return the chair inside and pick up the plate with your pipe and ash.
"C'mon," you murmur. "Let's go. Diving Shadow, you'd best be prepped to talk business here soon."
"Or?" she challenges softly.
"Or I'll trap you in a hell of blindness and silence so thick you won't be able to hear yourself think," you snap. "I don't care how fucking tough you are, we're trying to rescue your fucking husband and depose the Baron and thus far you have been of /negative value/ to that goal."
Diving Shadow regards you cooly and chirps before hopping down from her perch. "You are correct."
"...I'm also stressed," you grant. "That should've been more polite."
"Let's just get to work."
You scatter the ashes outside and brush the plate off before putting it away. You manage to chain-smoke your way through your entire cigarette supply on your way to the meetup and start in on the cigars after you settle in to wait.
Amy, heart in her throat, cautiously sits down next to you. You put your hat on her head and feel her relax slightly.
"I didn't mean it like that," she murmurs.
"I know you didn't," you say with a sigh. "You've been through a lot, and you're a bit..." you stop before you can say 'scatterbrained'. "Unfocused, sometimes. I know you've got a good heart, Ames. But that doesn't make it not hurt. And it doesn't mean you don't have to resolve this."
"I know," Amy whispers. She scoots her back against yours and sits, as you've seen her sit with Nathan.
Eventually you hear the sounds of people coming up the tunnel, along with Fetch - ever vigilant - informing you telepathically that the Hero has returned.
Ten hunters had set out. Seven now limp towards you, with Silence and Nathan at the front; two haul a wagon behind them, heaped with glimmering Wraithsteel. Nathan leans on Silence, his arm across her shoulders, and you can see why after a moment of looking him over.
Nathan's missing his left leg from the knee down; the stump has been bandaged professionally and probably treated with potions, but it's definitely gone.
> GODS FUCKING DAMN YOU SILENCE, WHAT THE FUCK?
> Nate! Gods, Nate, what happened?
> Swallow concern. Congratulate him.
> Nate! Gods, Nate, what happened?
welp, looks like Nathan is getting a wraithsteel pegleg!
>> Nate! Gods, Nate, what happened?
It's fine, wasn't his cock. We've got a smith and a demoness in our back pocket, we can get him a new leg. One with a cannon in it or somethin. Yeah.
We LOSE a day when we die, anon. Shit doesn't magically reset, unfortunately.
And look on the bright side! All we need to do is cut off a hand and take out an eye and he's Kells Jr!
Remember, the reset would only affect us.
Worst case scenario, some weird version of events where just Amy and Nathan have made it down here doing the same things we've done would come into effect.
Which would mean our love interests are both crippled, both have fucked pasts and neither remembers us.
I really am not ready to handle the fallout of our next death.
There's a reason Lora was crying.
That...was kinda by way of villainous temptation there, anon. It was something she could do if she was able to continue her research, a promise she was making in exchange for being left alone. But now she can't continue that research.
If she coulda done it she'd've fixed Amy by now.
well then, we have several options
this can be what we get for the commission, using the wraithsteel
>Give no fucks, become the legendary hopping hero
>Peg leg, start the pirate path
>Use the chickens to form a leg
>Grow a new leg
>develop a new form of transportation
>Straight up evolve, transcending the need for legs
>start praying to gods. not lora tho
>Literally kill yourself
You and Amy stand quickly.
"Nate!" you call out. "Nate, gods, what happened to you?"
"We won," the Hero says with a pained, but triumphant smile.
"He's insane," Silence adds helpfully. "The thing started going after my men and he fought it in single fucking combat while I got my weapon back. He kicked it in the face when it tried to go past him and it stopped to bite his leg off."
"Got a big gold spear through the eye for the trouble too," Nathan brags. He and Silence stop in front of you, and the Hero looks at you, then to Silence.
Your whole body is shaking.
"Think we can meet up in about ten hours?" Nate murmurs to the fairy. "We all need some rest. Your place?"
"My place," Silence agrees. She passes Nate to you, and you hug him close and tight.
When Silence and her hunters leave, Nate squeezes you and murmurs, "It's okay. You can be upset, Bri."
Gods. Is he really? Now of all times, when you're fucking fine, he's being the Hero?
> No. We've gotta find someplace safe.
> Damn you Nathan, you can't just act like nothing happened.
> ...Thank you. I was waiting for that.
>Damn you Nathan, you can't just act like nothing happened.
Losing a limb tends to be both physically and mentally very traumatic.
Out of curiosity how advanced are (magic?)prosthetics in this setting, in a similar vein could a strong enough healer regrow a limb, or for that matter if we retrieved what's left of his leg could it be resurrected and reattached?
Much like with Amy's wings, you'll either need an artificial prosthetic or to shape it from material that doesn't quite stay dead when it dies - demons, elementals, fey. Bri could've maybe slapped his leg back on if she'd been /there/ but she kinda wasn't and now it'll be too dead to do safely. Wraithsteel's a potential solution but Nate might object; it'd be a waste of damn fine wraithsteel.
Especially since if you're fixing cripples, he'd much rather forge a set of wings.
>Especially since if you're fixing cripples, he'd much rather forge a set of wings.
Stop making me cry Vox!
Honestly... I'm not really thrilled with this turn of events. Not because Nate got injured/there were consequences (I'm cool with that), but just because, well, now we have two cripples. Amy losing her wings was big and emotional; this kind of feels like watering that down?
I do love Nate's bravado, though.
We're fucking next. It's gonna be an eye or an arm or a horrible burn scar on thirty percent of our body or something terrible.
Vox is gonna take away our nice things, bolt by screw.
Nah, I get'cha. Howwwwever, can I ask that you bear with me for a bit? Nathan's attitude about his leg is quite a bit different from Amy's about her wings, both because of why and how it was lost, and because of, well, him.
To give you a hint, "Ho la" is a very, very old Scandanavian war cry, generally in the form of "Ho la, Odin!"
War is hell, anon. He wasn't called a Hero for nothing.
But really, fighting like this is very much about losing something when you aren't careful, until you don't have much else to lose.
I have an idea.
How is the wraithsteel being divied up?
Part to Silence, part to Nate?
Each man involved gets a portion, with Silence getting the biggest cut?
Can we appeal to the men who fought with Nathan's sense of camaraderie? As in, ask each to give a small amount of their wraithsteel bounty, enough to create a scaled down leg?
>captcha: select all squares with giftboxes
Equal cuts to the survivors. Silence is only getting a share because she went to do it. There are mine bosses that would demand a bigger one, but Silence isn't one of them. There's a reason her men stuck with her rather than flocking to the Baron to avoid getting enslaved.
You pull back from the hug, the stress in your chest subliming to anger.
"Gods damn you," you snarl, "you don't get to act like nothing happened! BITS OF YOU ARE FUCKING GONE, NATHAN!"
"Bri," Amy starts from next to you, but Nathan holds a hand up at her and earns a cuff up the side of the head from you for the trouble.
"Where do you get off acting like we're the ones who need help?" you demand; your vision is blurring, for /some reason/, and you blink it away. "Fucking hell, I know Heroes are supposed to die," you whisper. "But I want you to /live/, you fucking maniac."
"Brianna," Nathan murmurs. "I saved men's lives today and brought down a creature most men wouldn't have the courage to face. That's worth a leg, or a hand. To be able to look those men in the eyes and know they'll go home to their families? I coulda fed both legs into its jaw."
"...Besides," the Hero murmurs. "Now we can give Amy her wings back."
You break down sobbing, and Nathan draws you back in to his body. Amy joins the hug after a moment, supporting the both of you while you let it all out.
Distantly, you hear Fetch bawk something at Diving Shadow; she replies in quiet chirps.
"Asshole," you mutter, after a long while. "We didn't get anything fucking done today."
"I love you too, Bri," the Hero says in your ear. "C'mon. I think we all need some time, yeah?"
You nod, mutely. But you still need a place to go.
> Camp in the tunnels
> Return to Amy's house
> Find a room in the Company Store
> Crash in Lark's barn
> Return to Amy's house
It's the closest thing to friendly territory we have at the moment. I suppose Diving Shadow might ask more awkward relationship questions, but I'm pretty sure we have reason enough to pointedly ignore her if she does.
>> Return to Amy's house
What I'm thinking right now is FUCK! We can't get nathan back to the surface right now can we? Well whatever, we should swap Diving Shadows in for Nathan while he recuperates unless we have some way to make him not a liability temporarily.
We need time and a place to recuperate. However, we also need to get to planning and scheming, and we'll need Shadow's help more than ever now that our Woundseeker is out of commission. We should also invite Silence; she may well decline, but we should at least give her the option.
> If Silence does agree to join our planning meeting, let her choose the location; her place is probably safest of all, but not if we have to be the ones to suggest it, and wherever she picks will likely be safer than we'd know. If she declines, return to the harpy house.
"Shadow, do you care if we go back to your house?" you ask in a hollow voice.
"I'd be honored to entertain you," the harpy says formally. "Sir Fetch, would you lead the way?"
Fetch clucks for his followers and scouts ahead while the three of you travel. Amy picks Nathan up and carries him in her arms; he puts a hand around the back of her neck and looks, worriedly, at her expression of guilt and sympathy.
His victory high is doomed to be short-lived. Poor bastard.
Amy chirps something at Fetch and Diving Shadow. You're about to ask what when Fetch speaks up in your mind.
<Falling Knives would like some privacy to talk to the Hero>
<Wh - wait, Amy?> You're temporarily lulled out of your depressive funk. <That's her real name?>
<Not exactly. It's her harpy name and her name in the bird tongue. Her human name is used in human tongues. I believe it was a compromise reached by her parents?>
<...Huh. That's kinda neat. Let her know that's fine.>
Fetch clucks at Amy, who gives you a grateful look. When you reach Diving Shadow's house, she heads inside to arrange Nathan and start the stove back up. You take a seat on the ground just outside the door, with your back against the wall, and put your hat between your legs.
Diving Shadow settles in on the other side of the door, folding her wings in front of her body and looking over at you.
"He is your mate as well, isn't he?"
"Fuck if I know any more," you mutter, drawing your knees up to your chest. "Depends on how he reacts to Amy's news, I suppose. We're together. All together."
"Have you so little faith in him?" the harpy asks.
> Fuck right the hell off, murderbird
> In tonight's show, we learn how far I can be pushed by strangers before I snap. Do. Expand. Please.
> Throw your hat at her and leave.
>> In tonight's show, we learn how far I can be pushed by strangers before I snap. Do. Expand. Please.
Also, write-in if it's allowed.
"Of course I have faith in him. I'll be surprised if /he/ doesn't apologize to /her/ after she tells him."
Don't be so sure. Unlike Bri, Nate doesn't have a lifetime of experience in dealing with people's fuckups while remembering that they, too, are just people who make mistakes and do things that seemed like good ideas at the time.
Part of the reason Bri's so collected is she knows, intellectually as well as emotionally, that Amy wasn't /trying/ to hurt anyone, that this was a combination of years of trauma plus being somewhat scatterbrained to begin with. She saw Amy's guilt and worry and knew there was no malice there, and /even then/ Bri is kinda completely understandably upset.
How's Nate gonna take that, do you think?
I mean, from the way he was talking earlier, he was willing to sacrifice a leg to save random strangers. Makes him seem saintly. Although, physical sacrifice vs emotional turmoil are two different ball games.
So is losing a limb in honorable combat vs. what is, to him, being party to betraying someone's vows of love.
He's a small-town kinda guy, with a big heart and an instinct for honor. He's gonna imagine Talon as waiting patiently for his love to come back to him, because that's exactly what Nate would do without a second thought or a hint of regret.
Right. This is the trouble with people who are really, truly, good people to their very core. They just don't get people.
But then, knowing people is our job. So long as he doesn't burn his bridges entirely, we can help mend things. Might not be pretty for a bit, but relationships are like that sometimes.
Alright folks, I need to be up early so I'm leaving the vote open for tonight.
As always, discussion, comments, questions, feedback, and criticisms are welcome. I'm...honestly kinda worried about this sub-plot? I worry about how I write romance in general but I have little experience when it comes to romantic /conflicts/ that aren't either actual physical/social obstacles (giant tower, unhappy family) or Twilight-tier bullshit where you've got two controlling interests going after the same MC in the most fucking patronizing fashion possible, /not that I am bitter/. So, please, if you've got critique on this I am fumbling in the dark here, trying to do a good job.
Thank you all for reading and participating! I'll see you in six hours or so.
I have no idea how you're going to write Nathan's reaction, but in terms of the conflict the path seems pretty clear to me.
Brianna was reluctant to jump into things thinking they were way too good.
We jumped in, things almost IMMEDIATELY turned awkward and complicated.
I don't see why we can't just cool the relationship until Amy has her affairs with Talon in order and set to rest before just resuming where we left off.
If Nathan can't trust Amy anymore though, well, then some weird shit's going to start happening.
For what it's worth, I like what you're doing, romance-wise. It fucking scares me, but I'd have it no other way. And honestly, much as you were understandably reluctant to write poly relationships, I think the additional degree of freedom seems to help for a quest format. Allows for conflict that we don't control one side of, you know?
But boy is Bri gonna be in a tough spot if Amy and Nathan break up over this.
I'm honestly really worried about Nate's reaction to the Talon thing (and Amy's reaction to that).
If they just get recoverably angry at each other then I think it should be okay, but if this leads to them breaking up or some such then it's just going to come across as you fucking with the playerbase, given that the subplot was only just introduced and is already having this horribly massive an effect in a way that feels completely out of the player's control.
(for example, you didn't even give a choice to try to help explain things to Nate, it was "Amy wants to do it herself" "okay" and then WoG comments towards the direction of "he gonna be mad")
Given how excellent you've been about setting things up and foreshadowing and such, this really feels like it's come out of nowhere.
And while I don't think this myself, I can certainly see some players seeing it as spiteful railroading away from the poly-relationship that you'd voiced opposition to in the past. To emphasize, I DON'T THINK YOU'RE DOING THAT, but I don't doubt that some players will/do especially if they break up.
Other than that (which is likely 90% my own social anxiety and paranoia and confusion because while I've read the arguments and reasonings and understand them intellectually it still boggles my mind that anyone would get angry Amy over this), this has honestly been probably my favourite arc, tied with the first one. Keep up the good work, you crazy bastard.
I admit that as resident PolyAnon I am a little... Unclear on the anger thing too. Mainly because I would assume, that, having been away for three years plus original travel time, Amy took the 'Dungeon's a rough place and he never found me. He either is dead himself or thinks I am.' route. I mean, honestly, after three years with not even a letter, assuming such in this environment is pretty reasonable. Finding out he's not only alive, but apparently intends on holding to the engagement, is obviously a shock. Add to that a hefty does of "Where the fuck WERE you while I LITERALLY ROTTED IN A GODDAMN CAGE YOU BASTARD?", which is less reasonable but still a thing, and fear over his reaction if he is still alive because she's a /wingless freak and she was terrified of her MOTHER'S reaction to this/, and she had every reason to think that chapter of her life was shut firmly and something to bring up when she was feeling less tumultuous.
>Finding out he's not only alive, but apparently intends on holding to the engagement
As far as I can tell, we've thus far found out no such thing. The former (that he's alive) has been strongly implied to be part of something Shadow told Amy, but it was told to her in bird while we were in the perspective of someone who doesn't know bird, and has yet to be stated in cleartext. The latter part, that he still intends to hold to the engagement, or even could be convinced to take her back, is, AFAICT, absolutely, 100% pure anon assumption, with nothing, either in-story or WoG giving the slightest indication that anyone present even knows if he's still interested or not, let alone any indication that he does still want to marry her. Even if he is interested last Shadow or someone heard from him, there's far from any guarantee that he wouldn't lose all interest upon finding out that she both lost her wings and agreed to get serious with someone(s) else in the time since he last saw her.
All of that, regarding Talon's willingness to take Knives back, on top of the issues you and others have pointed out regarding Knives' very good reasons for not wanting to take Talon back, and even if this does go to a complete breakup of Amy from both Nate and Bri, the chances of Amy+Talon happening again seem to me slim enough to strain verisimilitude.
This. This is a whole lot of very Bad Stuff hitting very rapid-fire, with very little sense that anything we could have chosen differently would have made a difference in it. This is gonna require very careful handling to avoid completely ruining everything.
>the chances of Amy+Talon happening again seem to me slim enough to strain verisimilitude.
Calling complete bullshit on that statement.
Saying its unrealistic for a character we have never met to make a decision one way or the other is absolutely ridiculous.
All we know about the guy is that A) he was willing to marry a half-harpy and B) he loved her enough to get engaged to Amy.
The question of him willing to take her back is unknowable until we meet him. There are plenty of reasons for and against.
As for Amy. Honestly, I feel like without Nathan or Bri she'd go back to him unless her aversion to staying in the Roost really outweighs her love for him. Which from what she was saying, it sounds like that's totally possible.
I will say, it definitely sounds ridiculous she'd choose Talon over Bri and Nathan. Whether she still is able to make that choice is all up to Nathan right now. Which sounds shitty, but that's pretty much what a committed threesome is. The number of people's consent you require doubles.
Remember, she ran the fuck away from her engagement. Not even out of hate, dislike, or anger towards the guy. But because her dad told her to explore.
And think about that. Amy literally abandoned the person she was set to marry, despite the promises and loving him because her father convinced her too. She didn't call off the engagement. She preferred to just leave him hanging.
Now, imagine you're the next person Amy decided to date rather than Bri or Nathan. Do you really trust her to not do the same to you, especially when she hid this whole part of her life from you?
Ah, point. I was assuming that to be the case from the way she phrased it - "I am engaged" not "We need to clear up the fact that I had a fiancee" or the like, coupled to her stunned reaction. But it is true that thus far that has yet to get any official confirmation; we should see if Fetch can pick our memories of the event and provide even a rough translation. As asking Amy right now would, A, butt in on her time with Nathan (and regardless of fallout, she does deserve a chance to explain on her own), and B, likely get a biased version just because she's stressed as fuck. Even assuming that she doesn't get hurt by it and go "Do you not trust me to have told you even after /this/, after all the talking we just did about it?".
As far as willingness to take her back, yes. That's a point - and even if Talon himself is willing, what about the rest of the Murder? What about living in the Roost itself? She'd be a half-breed abomination who should have been thrown down the shaft or cooked a long time ago, to most there, from what we've heard. If he actually cares for her, is he really going to even want to try and bring her back into that kind of mess, when she could be happy somewhere else?
Because she neglected to mention that she had a fiance! She also neglected the whole, thought he was dead thing, but even with that meta-knowledge it's still a little infuriating. Especially since when you don't tell somebody something because you assume it'll never come up, when it eventually does come up because you were FUCKING WRONG, you look like a complete jackass.
It's like if I was pretty sure the tiger I left in your car was dead so I didn't tell you about it. If that thing gets up and bites you you're going to be pretty mad i was wrong.
Thing is, Talon is /not a tiger in the car/, in her mind. As far as I can tell, Amy has moved on from him by now, and the fact that someone /was/ engaged isn't something either culture necessarily puts a lot of weight on; it's finding out she still is that's the rough part for her.
Also bear in mind that she's grown as a person since she left, and despite her concerns about the Roost, she /did/ intend to come back... Until she got stuck in a cage for three years and got new reasons not to want to go home, and met people she wanted to spend her life with. She just wanted to get some perspective before committing permanent.
Yeah, I have no idea how to handle the emotional clusterfuck before me, so I'm going to leave it in my fellow anon's hands for now (I'm having some faith in you guys here), and divert my mind to a question to what's been on my mind.
Are the harpies in the Dungeon a great deal different (in terms of physiology, society and psychology) from those that live above-ground?
Are there any side-effects, both positive and negative, that have appeared among those harpies, and by extension, the other races, who have been born and are considered native?
Are there any weird fauna and flora native to the Dungeon that are found nowhere else?
Was one of the Dungeon's many mysterious purposes to be a massive testing-ground for tweaking and changing various mortals? "Hey, Y'know those fukken murderbirds? Let's throw `em in a pit half a mile below ground `n' see wut happens!"
Is this all irrelevant to the story and a distraction from my worry of what shall come in the morn?
>appeal to the men to give wraithsteel.
Nathan said he would cut off his hand with a rusty knife for wraithsteel. The snake cut off his foot with a clean bite, so Nathan considers it a good deal since he got wraithsteel for it.
Asking the people for their share would be like "all of you won 10 billion dollars but I lost my leg for that, so why don't you give me half your money?" Not going to happen. Neither would the men give up the (perhaps) most valuable substance in the world nor would Nathan ask for it.
I don't see how that disproves the anger. There were ISSUES, she did not handle said issues RESPONSIBLY. It is understandable that she did not, but, as an adult, that does not absolve her of the RESPONSIBILITY attached to said issues.
So there is frustration. Anger. Ultimately, acceptance, but the jury's still out on how Nate will take it, someone who is constantly worried about his own issues and personally put them forward before it could cause problems.
Honestly, I do think it's appropriate for us to not have control here.
Relationships are hard. Relationships often involve sitting and stewing and wondering what the other(s) going to do. With absolutely no control.
Hell, for that matter, even the best relationships involve getting blindsided, even if there was no malice. No two humans are ever in tune as we think we are; sometimes we assume we both (all) get it, and we really don't. Sooner or later, that becomes obvious very suddenly and someone or both is caught off-guard.
There are two major differences that separate the culture of the Roost from harpies elsewhere; limited space, and power over other cultures.
Harpies are very often forced to make a society, such as it is, on the fringes. They scavenge and harry at larger, more organized races and shake out into loose clans that band together for mutual benefit. As violent as the Roost is (and let's be honest, the Roost is /comedically/ violent), the harpies there can, and do, use access to it to force the various levels to negotiate with them, and it means that in all honesty they're more diplomatic and less desperate than harpies tend to be as a general rule, if only because talking shit out /works/ in their world.
Unfortunately they're also a shitload of harpies in a particular space. A massive space, admittedly, but it's amazing how small it can seem when you're stuck in it, isn't it?
I want to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts, concerns, and discussion. I do believe this'll work out going forward; agency is one of my big concerns and I've no intention on stripping it from you entirely. That in mind, sometimes unexpected shit happens.
Votes called, writing.
We should probably take action though. If we leave it to Nate, he's probably going to go all Tragic Hero and leave because a) he feels betrayed, and b) he wouldn't want to make Bri choose between them. So to head that off, we should send him up to talk about relationships in general with Isdolt.
Or something to that effect. We need to head Nate off and get him somewhere where he'll have to think about relationships from a different angle before he makes the "noble" choice on us.
You take a very deep breath and count back from ten.
No, still angry. You dig out one of your remaining cigars, light it, and count back from twenty.
"I've had a really bad day," you murmur in a low voice. "And honestly it doesn't help that yesterday was a really good day. A day when we all managed to relax and just feel comfortable with each other. In all honesty, the only reason I haven't lunged to beat the shit out of you right now is the bit where you're Amy's mother and have a real and loving interest in her well-being."
You suck a deep drag and let it out through your nose. "So I'm gonna ask you to expand on that, Diving Shadow, and I'm gonna tell you not to push me, 'cause I'm at the end of my rope right about now and I'm already mad at you."
Diving Shadow fluffs her feathers with cool dignity and clucks faintly. "I see more of my husband in my daughter now than when she left. Amy always was too kind for the Roost; I feel that she saw in Talon the chance to change it, and that her heart has accepted now that Talon was never interested in change."
"Lofty judgement," you remark.
"I knew his family," Diving Shadow explains. "Talon was, and is, his mother's son. Fierce, yes. Perhaps less cruel than many of our fellows. But kind?" the harpy shakes her head. "I could not call him kind. Whatever notions of honor your Hero has, I think he can be made to understand that Amy would have broken her promise with or without him."
"And you're fine with that?" you ask with a cocked eyebrow.
"No. But that's between Amy and the gods, now. And Talon, I suppose. She must make her own nest."
The door opens, quietly, and Amy steps out. She's obviously been crying.
"He wants to talk to you," she whispers to you, with a tight voice. You reach up and squeeze her hand, and she squeezes back gratefully, but she slips free of your grip and jumps up for the roof.
You sigh, put out your cigar, and step inside. Nathan lies propped up on the cot-like bed with a hard expression on his face.
Those attentive, intelligent eyes look at you with naked accusation.
"Don't tell me you're just fine with this," he says in a low tone, the moment the door is shut.
Fuck it. You light the cigar again and count back from thirty.
...You might still be angry.
> Get off your high horse, Nate.
> Why don't you talk out how you're feeling and /then/ we can have a fight?
> I'm not okay. But how I feel about Amy and our relationship hasn't changed.
>> Why don't you talk out how you're feeling and /then/ we can have a fight?
Quite Frankly, I'm feeling a bit like agreeing with Nate temporarily. There's no reason we can't hash this engagement being off first and then go back to resuming our freaky three way shenanigans.
>Call out "If you see scary shadows, don't mind! We probably won't break anything!"
>I'm not okay, but I need to get my feelings straight first.
>Why don't you talk out how you're feeling and /then/ we can have a fight?
>Release your shadow, no point bottling THIS up
> I'm not okay. But how I feel about Amy and our relationship hasn't changed.
One: We're not okay with this.
Two: I'm going to see what Amy is going to do about the other guy.
Three: Then I'll make a judgement.
It's cold but Bri might go into necromancy mode to stop the emotions from roiling.
> I'm not okay. But how I feel about Amy and our - that means both of you - relationship hasn't changed. What about you?
We love Amy. We love Nate. We think the situation is shitty and we're close to our reaking point today.
Amy needs to deal with this and Nate needs to figure out how he wants to react to it. Bri already knows that she won't leavy Amy over it, but Nate doesn't and we don't want him to leave.
The talk out then fight option seems needlessly confrontational. It might be a chance to blow off steam, but it may also break stuff in the process.
Nate needs to have his fight over his principles with Amy - or tell us about it if he already had it - and decide what he wants to do. But Bri won't be the one to initiate a punitive breakup.
New reader here, have been greatly enjoying this quest, never gave it a chance cause of the descriptions on suptg that made me think it was another attempt at some dungeon living monster girl doing moe shit.. Anway with the recent events, I'd like to warn you about all of the 'muh suffering' going on, if you have the time to read hollow quest redux I'd suggest you try it, it's an excellent example of a great fun quest with superb writing that went to the shitter due to too much and too fast suffering.
> Why don't you talk out how you're feeling and /then/ we can have a fight?
Communication is literally the most important thing in making a relationship work. A lack of it is why we're in this situation in the first place. Let's not compound that.
Well, the cable companies literally make deals with each other so that they don't compete in most areas. Which gives them the basic properties of a monopoly, even though there are a bunch of them. Last I checked, Google was trying to fix this (because they want faster internet, and they're willing to become an ISP to get it), but progress is slow.
"Alright," you say softly. "Why don't you unshackle that shadow of yours and tell me what's running through your head, and then we can have a fight if you're spoiling for one."
Nathan's shadow, thrown against the wall by the lantern, shivers but doesn't move.
"Don't patronize me, Brianna," Nathan snaps. "You're seriously going to defend her? After she betrayed the man she promised herself to - twice! - and played us? She /left him/, without even saying goodbye!"
"Like your mother did?" you murmur. The look of shock and pain on Nathan's face is unmistakable; he cringes, as if struck, and looks away from you.
"You leave her out of this," the Hero mutters.
"You really think she'd be this upset if she didn't care, Nathan?" you ask. "Are you gonna look me in the eyes and tell me you're this concerned for the feelings of a man you don't know and have never met? Go on. Face me and tell me your wrath is righteous."
A long moment of silence passes between the two of you. Slowly, Nathan's shadow stretches up, reaching for the roof in vain. It collapses into silent tears while Kat slithers to it and comforts it mutely.
"You ready to talk now?" you ask.
"...Yeah," Nathan mutters, in a hollow voice. "I'm ready."
You tap your ash out and put the half-finished cigar back between your teeth.
> Are you angry, or scared?
> What'd you say to Ames?
> It's okay to be selfish, Hero.
Huge country with people dispersed all over it, so many small towns have to be linked to the net. This leads to large costs to link small numbers of paying customers. Since people don't want to pay $300/month for glass fibre, the cheapest possible (physical) connection will be used.
And the US daily life is ruled by large corporations that are allowed to work unchecked, so they are maximizing profit by minimizing investments, and sometimes have a monopoly.
My current internet plan is 80GB/month, 5MB/s download speed, all for the low price of $240/month.
Not sure how "good" tht is, but it's one of the best deals that's been available to me.
>> Are you angry, or scared?
>> What'd you say to Ames?
I'm essentially voting against the other option because I agree with Nathan at least that Talon deserves an end to the relationship.
It is not okay to be selfish in this situation.
This seems like a good spot to clarify; the 'selfish' option is more "It's normal to feel like this. Those feelings deserve to be addressed."
Bri's not going to encourage him to be angry so much as encourage him to stop pretending like he's angry for a different reason, maybe even the /wrong/ reason.
> Are you angry, or scared?
North Alberta (between Fort Mac and Edmonton). I know the cities are supposed to be better, but I have no intention of abandoning my 5 acres.
Calling in about fifteen minutes so I can cook some breakfast.
To expand on what I said earlier, anon, 'cause looking back it seems like I brushed ya off - I appreciate the advice. My goal has been, and continues to be, to run a fun and interesting quest. I'm still very new to questing and I appreciate you taking the time both to read and to offer your perspective.
> It's okay to be selfish, Hero.
Psychanon here, selfishness (to the extent Vox has described it, at least) is a really important part of human relationships. Nathan is literally not going to have a healthy relationship, with us or anyone else, unless he accepts that it's okay to be selfish sometimes.
"I need you to be paying attention to this," you tell the Hero. "It's okay to be selfish. It's okay to have your own feelings, to be upset, to be scared, to have needs. The worst thing you could do right now is tell Amy that this is about Hunting Talon and not about you and her, or her and us. What's between her and Talon is just that - between the two of them."
Nathan looks up at his shadow crying in Kat's arms, then down back to you. "Why didn't she tell us?"
You sigh, smoke trailing off of your breath. "You're asking the wrong person, Nate. But at a guess? I'd say it honestly didn't occur to her. She's not like you and I. She's never had to crave acceptance from a world that rejects her. Sure, she got bullied, but overall both her family and her society accepted her as an equal, for whatever that meant in the Roost."
"Meaning what?" Nathan asks, puzzled.
"Meaning she's never yearned to unburden herself of things she can't change," you tell him, patiently. "Why'd you tell me you were a woundseeker? I'm gonna bet because you felt, on some level, the need to know that I was okay with it." When Nate nods, you continue. "Amy's not like that. She's never questioned who her friends or enemies are. For someone who's so good at stabbing people when they're not looking, she's never had to expect it in anything but a literal sense."
You cross the room and take a seat on the bed with Nate. "Do you want the three of us to be over?"
"But you're still upset?"
"Yes," Nathan admits.
"That's fine then. We can all take some time to ourselves to think, and come down a bit from this. Amy's gonna be feeling scared and in need of comfort. I want you to remember that if you're not okay with it, you owe it to yourself to get the space you need. And I mean that."
Nathan nods silently, and you squeeze his hand before you get up to open the door and invite the other two inside.
Diving Shadow finds her perch and settles in to it; Amy comes in after her, looking shy and guilty. Her eyes go to Nathan and, credit to the Hero, he beckons her over and squeezes her hand before murmuring an apology.
She seems to understand that he needs some space, and goes to climb up to the rafters. You get her attention with a low whistle and throw her your hat; she catches it and puts it, gratefully, on her head.
No one's quite sleepy, exactly, but you all need some fucking rest.
> Just go to sleep in your chair
> "...Nate, you still up?"
> "Ames, did you want to talk?"
> "I know you're still awake, Diving Shadow."
Alright folks, this vote's gonna stay open until 7 PM EST, when I get home from work. Thread is still unarchived and will remain that way for now mostly because I'm running a little late as it is.
As always, questions, comments, discussion, feedback, and criticisms are both welcome and appreciated.
Thank you all for reading and participating!
The deals the cable companies make with each other are a thing in some places, but they're not the problem. Such collusion schemes as you imply have been tried constantly throughout history, and not one of them has ever succeeded. Not only are the incentives to be the first to break the pact too strong, but even if everyone in the deal does hold to it, doing so just creates new opportunities for new entrepreneurs to enter the market and out-compete you.
The cable companies here in the US do have monopoly status, but it's not the deals they make with each other that secure it, it's the deals they make with *local governments*. in virtually every square inch of the country that's in or near any sort of population center, there's one company that has made a deal with the local governments to be the only cable internet company in town, and anyone else who tries to compete gets shut down, and often thrown in prison. This is not just some hypothetical legal theory, there are real people who have spent real time in real prison cells under such anti-competition laws (or "natural monopoly" laws, as they're usually referred to by the authorities).
Historically true. The effect of this on current pricing is largely bullshit excuses by companies that don't want to take responsibility for the necessity they've taken ownership of.
During the dot-com bubble, shit-tons of fiber were laid. Several companies drove themselves out of existence assuming fiber would always have value and you could always make money laying more. They devalued fiber (connecting towns, anyway, not to homes) to the point that they could no longer operate. The current companies have inherited that fiber and relatively speaking (relative, that is, to their profits), it's extremely cheap.
So don't fall for those excuses.
Both are true, but you're downplaying the collusion too much. Also, most likely, there aren't *explicit* deals-- that would be illegal, and why take that risk when there's just no *need* for it. The reality of the situation is that none of them can make money seriously competing with the others. All it would do is drive the price down for all of them, so they all make less money, and they all know it and know the others know it, so none of them are going to do that. Classic "monopolistic oligarchy" market.
As for deals with local governments, those are why there is a monopolistic oligarchy, but those are also just reality. Redundant infrastructure would be wasteful, costing a lot of time and effort to maintain (and that maintenance would have a bad habit of doing shit like blocking traffic or tearing up roads to get at fiber). The government has a legitimate interest in keeping redundancy of infrastructure sane. The same applies to other utilities, like power or water. And in all cases, the result is that you cannot have real competition, and you end up with the situation we have.
But just try explaining any of that to a politician.
You should be sleeping. You know you should be sleeping. You've got your feet up on the table and your chin on your chest and your eyes closed /but you still cannot fucking sleep/.
The events of the day won't get out of your mind. That stump where Nathan's leg ought to be. Amy's heartbroken look. The anger, the fear.
Gods. Fucking. Damn it.
<Fetch?> you murmur, at last.
<You should get some rest, my queen> your smallest knight says, dutifully. <You've had a trying day>
<...Fetch, if I were being a stupid asshole, you would tell me. Right?>
You hear the soft clack of Fetch's claws across the floor, and then he hops into your lap. The zombie is surprisingly comforting, and you hug him close.
<My lady, sometimes loyalty demands rebellion. You are wise and insightful but sometimes do not attend to your own good. There was much hypocrisy in it being you to tell the Hero that he's allowed to be selfish.>
<Hey> you chide. <I'm selfish.>
<Truly? Where is your great profit from this, I wonder? Why is it that the angel herself had to prod you to take a day off? Where is your comfortable bed, draped in silks and attended upon by fetching young things that rub your aching flesh?>
Fetch rubs your hand with his head. <I worry for you, my lady. I worry when you have to be persuaded to share these hurts that I can sense in your breast.>
<That's...complicated> you say slowly. <I'm supposed to be a guide. A leader. An...not an inspiration but a rock in times of trouble. I have to know when I'm /allowed/ to be weak.>
<I can feel what you feel. Be weak for me. Tell me what troubles you.>
> ...No. No, I draw the line here. This is not my life now.
> I miss home. Not just the people, the place. The sunlight, the stars.
> I'm scared to die, and more and more I can't envision this road ending at another destination.
> I feel like I've lost control of my life, and I hate it.
>I miss home. Not just the people, the place. The sunlight, the stars.
>> I'm scared to die, and more and more I can't envision this road ending at another destination.
That was what Nate's leg meant, really. You can risk, and risk, but the moment you actually lose ANYTHING, it stops becoming an if, but a when.
>I'm not bothered by Amy's situation, not on a fundamental level. It stings, but I understand the whats and the whys and I know how to make things right. I can't say the same for....THIS
> I'm scared. Scared I'm going to lose everything, again. Scared that when all this ends, I'll be the only one left standing.
We are, after all, mostly immortal, and we've just been reminded that both the people we love and our relationships with them aren't as durable as we are.
>> I'm scared to die, and more and more I can't envision this road ending at another destination.
I'd choose this one but Bri, I don't think, is scared of dying. She's already done that and she knows she comes back. What I figure is /OTHERS/ dying is what she's afraid of. She generally fixes other peoples problems with death and then moves on/run outta town and is never able to make a lasting or meaningful bond with anybody. But now she has 2 people she loves and actually has people to truly protect.
I see her as fearing losing the things she has finally been able to cherish that are still alive.
>Oh my knight, I feel lost, with no control over where the currents of fate take me.
>I've already lost so much, I don't want to lose the love that I've found.
>Lady of Ravens, its been a tough day.
> > I'm scared. Scared I'm going to lose everything, again. Scared that when all this ends, I'll be the only one left standing.
>We are, after all, mostly immortal, and we've just been reminded that both the people we love and our relationships with them aren't as durable as we are.
this. (not sure how clear it is, but this is officially my vote.)
Also, I've been rereading some of the previous threads. When Brianna looks at Amy, is she just imagining her old wings, or can she sense the lost limbs with her Ghost-Sense? I imagine the same might apply to Nathan now too.
Can this be used later on
when our Hero and Best Bird get prosthetic's made of magic-metal?
BTW, what is Bri's religious affiliation, anyway? I know Amy has referred to LoR several times in contexts that indicate her preference for that deity, but have Bri or Nathan given any similar indications?
Bri pays respect to the gods but feels no particular calling towards any of them; if forced to define her belief system she would most likely refer to it as ancestor worship, but then she would slap you.
Nathan has a quiet respect for Red Troth and pays reverence to the Forgelord as a smith.
In general, gods don't compete for worshipers, and cults to their children or servants form because of actions taken by those children or servants that are seen as worthy of emulation or, sometimes, because they actively seek to influence the mortal world through worship. This is where you get what fantasy RPG fans might think of as demigods - people who fit into the roles played by Eros or Thanatos.
I imagine that, given her occupation and family history, Bri's big on ancestral worship. Though, again, in her line of work, that's less of 'PLEASE OH ANCESTORS! FAVOR ME IN THIS BATTLE!' and more of 'Hey Grandpa! Can you show that trick you used in that mining town to beat three guys in one round?'.
You sigh heavily.
Gods, he's literally in your head and it's still hard to talk to him. Maybe you really do have a problem.
<You do> Fetch notes, helpfully.
<Thank you, Fetch> you mutter wryly. <...I think the thing that bothers me the most is I feel like I've lost control of my life. Like. All of this is stuff I would have done anyway, sure, but...I feel forced into it. I feel like I'm caught up in events bigger than me.>
<Do you really think you have /no/ choice?> Fetch asks, a little pointedly.
<Who the fuck else is going to do it? Slaughter? Someone's got to help these people. Someone's gotta make it right.>
<And you're being held at swordpoint?> the bird presses.
<Listen you upjumped dinner plate, I can't just walk away from...> you trail off, slowly. <...I could, couldn't I? Just step into the sunlight and go.>
<Aye> Fetch murmurs. <And I think many people would not blame you. What is asked of you is immense. It is too much for one woman.>
<But I'm not just one woman> you say back, petting the bird's head. <I have a duty. But I choose that duty every time I say my name. I know what it means to walk away.>
<Your aunt walked away. Was she wrong?>
<Not for choosing her own path, no> you tell him. <...Thanks Fetch. You're a loyal knight.>
Fetch chirps happily, and you drift off to sleep, eased somewhat in your own mind.
Something's wrong with Lora. She hunches over, protected by her wings, but you can see the tears in her clothes, the bruises on her legs from blows. You hear her cough, hacking something up with difficulty, and it splatters the floor between her feet.
The liquid is white and sticky, and clings to itself in a slimy puddle. Another cough spits a thin line of it onto the puddle.
"Great," the angel mutters. "You're here. Just in fucking time." Her voice is hollow, distant, pained. When her wings retract you can see that her robes are half-shredded and no longer protect her exposed body, which blossoms with cuts and buirses. One eye is swollen shut from savage blows.
She sets the tip of her sword against the ground and leans on it heavily, and for once it looks like she needs it to support herself.
That white substance - you're grimly sure of what it is - stains her tattered robes.
"Don't say it," she growls. "I don't want your pity. Nothing's changed, you just...came at an inopportune moment. I told you about this months ago."
"I said /don't say it/," she snaps, her hands shaking on the hilt.
> Comfort her
> Talk business
> Remain silent
>> Talk business
> Mention we have an ear to listen with when she needs it or something akin to it.
Question, if we went to sleep earlier and not talked to anyone would we have popped up when it was happening? Could we have killed/maimed/whatever whoever it was if we did?
> Talk business
Yeah, the last thing we should do is press her on this. She's probably feeling even more powerless than usual. Respecting her wishes is key at the moment, because if we don't, that's likely to make her feel still more helpless.
But, well, if we needed a reminder of what we're fighting for...
Yeah, they've been hurting her. We've been trying to put a stop to that, and bit by bit, we've been succeeding. We need to keep doing that. We need to keep attacking the problem, and not get so focused on the symptoms that we lose sight of why Lora chose us and not some random coma patient.
And honestly, the ugly truth is that we can't help anyone if we don't take care of ourselves, and that includes our psychological wellbeing. Yeah, it sucks that our talk with Fetch had this particular timing, but how were we to know? We need to deal with our shit sometime, or we won't be of much help to Lora.
Had a minor moment of surprise there; thought you were voting for Bri to leave the waiting room.
Then I re-read and sense was made! This is what I get for running low on coffee.
Votes called, writing.
The point is that we had no way of knowing *when* it would hit, ie the exact moment when he'd get the word and throw his fit. We've known all along that they were hurting her, at frequent and irregular intervals, but to have done anything about it, we'd have had to have predicted the exact right moment to go to sleep, and we had no way to know when that right moment was.
You run your hand through your hair - you don't have your hat, since Amy's wearing it in bed - and let out a deep breath. You look up at Lora's almost hostile stare, then reach into your coat and offer her your last cigar.
"They took yours, yeah?" you murmur.
"...Yeah," the angel agrees. She lets you light her up, gratitude in her dark eyes, and smokes quietly while you sit back down.
"First day was somewhat productive," you tell her. "We've turned one of the Overseers to our side and hunted down this wraithsteel snake. One of my compatriots lost his leg, though. From the knee down."
"That's rough," Lora says with what sounds like genuine sympathy. "I wish I could help, but..." She shrugs her wings and winces. "What's next?"
"Not sure," you admit. "We have to discuss it, but we need to find some place to stash Nate unless there's a peg-leg manufacturer down here."
"There might be," Lora admits. "Mining is not a safe profession."
"Noted," you say wryly. You take out your pipe and pack the bowl before lighting it and puffing quietly. "I think the best move is probably going to be clearing the Shaft so we have an escape route. Could also call in some favors from higher up, maybe. Get the Labyrinth Tribe involved."
"Good thinking," the angel mulls. "...I'll heal. I always heal. I am not so easy to hurt."
"I know," you murmur softly. On impulse, you stand and press the lit pipe into Lora's hand, then set your pouch of tobacco on the bench next to her. "You're just borrowing this. Amy made this for me, and you can use it until I can get you more of your own. Do you prefer the cigarettes or the cigars?"
"Please, Lora," you ask.
She offers a slim hand, and you shake it firmly. "Take good care of it, okay?"
"I will," Lora promises. "...I can't hold this one much longer. This conversation, that is."
> What do you say?
guys, no, people-skin clothes leads to Zombies. We don't WANT to lead to Zombies.
ACTUALLY IT LEADS TO SKELETONS
BECAUSE YOU USED ALL THE FLESH FOR FINERIES
RATTLE RATTLE RATTLE
The same thing that would happen if you gave it to Isoldt; she'd be shielded from further control from outside her bindings. The bindings aren't precisely mind control and such magics can't be used to supercede her chains (nor could they be used to make Isoldt break the terms of her oaths, incidentally).
Alright. I'm gonna call the vote, but I need to confess that I'm not entirely certain as to the thrust of the intent behind the winning vote. Can anon expand on what they're looking to say/get at with
>For what do you fight?
first time I've been really frustrated with a winning vote.
Woman's just been raped and people want to know her motivations? What? Anon's got some fuckin skewed priorities tonight.
Bri does it because It Needs To Be Done, because to be a La Croix means being that kind of person, fulfilling a Duty, as long as that Duty falls within what they can do.
Lora....is PROBABLY also doing it out of Duty, but a different sort. The kind entrusted specifically to her, for a definite reason and purpose. So why does she follow it?
I admit that the question might be a bit odd to someone who isn't exactly as mortal as us, but we need SOME answers.
We've helped her, she's helped us, we've helped her some more, and she's....apologized. And suffered. For what?
what would you prefer? Pity?
you mean that we WOULDN'T do all this if she hadn't suffered? Bri was going to do the job either way, being forced or obligated to do it just because Lora suffered cheapens the whole thing.
And I don't know how sincere reassurance would be when it's likely she's going right back to rapetown as soon as Bri wakes up.
If I toss my hat in with this suggestion would that overturn the confusing current vote?
>to remind Lora what /she's/ fighting for?
She does not need motivation right now to keep fighting. She hates these people more than I think I can imagine.
>She hates these people more than I think I can imagine.
that's exactly why she needs to remember.
She's not waiting to be saved. She asked for this, to save the Dungeon. Because this was something more important that what she's experiencing now. Descending into blind revenge is what we've been trying to avoid with the Poet.
well what do you suggest?
the only other thing I thought of was "remember what you're fighting for", which is cheesy, and has the problem of us not actually knowing what she's fighting for.
>Descending into blind revenge is what we've been trying to avoid with the Poet.
That was specifically because she didn't really want to hurt Lora and such.
Can you honestly tell me (assuming the last visit was the Baron) that this'll end in any way other than 'this fucker needs to die'? Not only from Lora's but, ours, the miners, and the overseers' perspectives?
With the Baron? I fucking doubt it. But this is bigger than the Baron. Hell, it's potentially bigger than all of them. You can't honestly tell me you think an angel of death consumed by revenge is gonna end well for anyone or anything in the vicinity, can you?
Then stop making waves! Then maybe we could bring this full circle, as the radius of our discussion may have gone to its maximum. Or are you too square to admit this transformation?
"That's okay," you tell the angel, a crooked smile on her lips. "Do you mind if I sit next to you?"
Mutely, Lora opens a wing; you sit next to the angel, and she folds it in what you would swear is a hug. You can feel the miniscule shakes in her body, reined in only by iron will.
"I've been meaning to ask something a little personal, and it's never seemed like the right time. Feel free to tell me to fuck off if you don't wanna talk about it."
"What?" Lora asks.
"What're you doing all this for?" You look at her, see the hateful glare, and expand quickly, "not /this/, I know why you're fighting back, I meant...I suppose..." you sigh. "This is going to be so cliche and stupid and I swear I'm not trying to write a book here. I was wondering why you built the Dungeon. Why you made all of this."
"Mortals wonder that?" Lora murmurs. "Really?"
"Lora, if I could prove that I had the definitive answer to that question I could retire in luxury, in a mansion staffed by only the most beautiful men and women who catered to my every need, and eat and drink nothing but the world's finest," you assure her.
Lora grins, surprised and pleased. "I was...you could say that I was trying to understand my creators. When I was young I was infuriated at my own existence, and I threw my grievance in the faces of the gods, over and over. I told them it was better that I never existed at all, that they had wronged me with their skill at hammer and forge, and demanded a boon in repayment for the crime of my creation."
Lora puffs the pipe you gave her, handing you the mostly-smoked cigar. "At first they refused, but on her own the Lady of Ravens, always the wisest of the five Gods of Creation, asked me what boon I would ask. I told her that I wanted the chance to prove my point to them, to weild the powers of creation and shaping. She argued my case before the gods, and they agreed."
>You can't honestly tell me you think an angel of death consumed by revenge is gonna end well for anyone or anything in the vicinity, can you?
Honestly I see it as she wants revenge against the masters not people in the dungeon. She already has shown compassion for the slaves, Nate's leg (even in her current state) and she even spared the poet. I'll agree that if she went full crazy that would be bad but I'd bet on it not happening.
Lora stretches her hand out, falling into an easy, comfortable rhythm. "I was young. I was a fool. It became quickly obvious that a land without death could never exist, but I stuck with it for a hundred years, for a thousand, in my stubborn pride. At last I shifted from trying to make my solution work to trying to discern what it was about death that makes it so integral to creation. The realm of my making expanded slowly as I experimented with ecosystems, with animals and plant life."
She grins, wistfully. "Eventually, I apologized. They told me there was nothing to forgive."
"All of the Dungeon is an /experiment/?" you ask.
"Not any more. Not for a long time. One of the things I was told is that I needed to care for anything I created, that the gods would not do it for me. The tales that they avert their eyes from this place? They're true. This is my realm, and here, I rule. Or I did, once. Eventually I came to realize the consequences of what I'd created and started working to ensure it was self-sustaining, that the Firstborn I'd brought here could live full lives and experience all of the joys and sorrows of life. Though I've been distant, as the gods are distant, I've worked to ensure that the Dungeon is...home. A real home, that people can love, and offer their hearts to."
"The Mine," you murmur. "You told me you couldn't bear the thought of the Miners going out of work and losing all they'd offered to it."
"Even so," Lora murmurs; there's something fragile in her smile. "I've come to love this place. It...it is mine, yes, but it is also theirs. I sought to learn more about my creators and I learned everything I could have wanted to and more. And now...now these /desecrators/ have come to ruin everything, to cast it into the teeth of those who shelter beneath my wings."
On impulse, you take Lora's hand and squeeze it. "I won't let them."
"I know," the angel murmurs. "Thank you, heritor. For everything."
Why must you be so mean? Even /i/ couldn't be so average, even with how radical your odd posts are. We need to find the root of this problem of yours, and find a solution that satisfys your function here. Look into your reflection, without admiring your tan, and ask yourself how you set to do this to the thread. You cannot be a zero, reaching for the minimum. Life knows no limits, try for nothing less than infinity.
I have exhausted my math words. Please, don't be irrational, and stop this progression
The scent of cooking food and roasting coffee fills your nostrils as you wake. You open your eyes slowly; Nathan is still out cold (and no surprise), and Diving Shadow is nowhere to be found.
Amy sings under her breath as she cooks, your hat still on her head. She's still in her sleepwear, which gives you enough ideas just looking at her that you look away. Even if things were better, now wouldn't be the time. Not after last night.
Not after Lora either.
But in an odd way, you feel...comforted. No, that's not the right word. Resolved might be closer. You know, now more than ever, what's wrong in the Mine and the sacred trust the Baron has violated, and righteous purpose fills your breast.
Righteous breakfast would also be nice.
> Greet Amy warmly
> Greet Amy cautiously
> Let her "wake you up"
IT WAS GREAT
I THOUGHT IT DID A GOOD JOB WITH BOTH OPTIONS PRESENTED
Excellent, I'd been worried about not doing that justice.
You seem excited, anon. Are you excited?
My sides, they burn with mirth.
Thread archived. I may or may not have been a sarcastic asshole in the thread descrip.
Fuck off, I'm a CompSci major, not my fault I didn't recognize "mode" as a math term
ohhhhh. well, I will give that the issue itself has a lot more anons feeling the drama much more intensely than normal.
But there wasn't exactly anyone fighting anyone else. Just one or a few who don't understand why someone would be angry at not being told.
You decide to relax a bit further; you give Fetch a mental shush and stroke the back of his neck with a finger. He chirps quietly and is still.
Amy chirps back, with a sort of soft cheer.
No mortal nose could resist the scent that wafts from the table, though, and you open your eyes to find Amy with her hands folded behind her back, standing in a sort of prim, nervous attention. You get your feet back down off the table and give her a warm smile.
"Breakfast is a bit of a cliche apology," you tease.
Amy whaps you with your own hat and then delicately sets it back on your hair. "It's not an apology, you sage dumbass," she chides, a little grin on her face. "It's breakfast. The apology is gonna be later - Mom went to go find food and after everyone's eaten she wants to rescue Dad."
"...That might not be the wisest course of action," you warn.
"Yooooooou get to tell her that, fearless leader," Amy warns. "She's worried for him now that she's turned coat."
You groan. "Of course she is, and not without reason. And the last time we split up we only got seven eighths of Nate back."
Amy laughs in spite of herself and covers her mouth with a guilty look.
"Fucking...we need him in fighting trim." You frown. "Ames, you understand if folks need some distance, right?"
"I understand," she murmurs. "...It won't be easy for me. I. I need to be..."
You squeeze her hand. "I know. And I understand. Just...don't go suggesting cuddle piles for awhile."
Amy wakes the Hero and helps him to the table, and the three of you enjoy a warm and, honestly, /comfortable/, if rushed, breakfast.
Nathan's shadow spends the meal holding hands with Amy's, without regard to the actual man's somewhat fragile distance.
> "We need to get you to a safer level."
> "I'd like you to stick around the Company Store. Get information, work the Miners for me."
> "There may be peg legs in the offing."
> "I might need you to help me punch Diving Shadow a lot."
>> "I'd like you to stick around the Company Store. Get information, work the Miners for me."
Let him stay useful like he wants but don't get him killed while he is in no shape to fight. God, I'm so fucking pissed he got himself fucking bit and we're the ones who did it. Goddammit Vox.
Called, writing. My need for bed is winning out against my desire to be polite about bump limits, so I'm starting new thread. To the dark gods of 4chan I can only offer my feeble apologies and beg their mercy.
You think the other way would've been better?
Even if meeting Shadow went exactly the same as it did here, he would've had a much different reaction to Amy's engagement than we did. So we would'a arrived to a much shittier situation than Nate did.
I don't think the wrong choice was made, Nate made sure those folks get to see their family/friends again, the other choice would likely have made him feel shitty which in turn would have made the engagement issue a lot more painful.
Its cool, just really like this quest and would really hate to see it fail, I'm sure out can go that route and do it well but I hope you don't make the same mistakes the other qms did.