>You are a young man named Lloyd from the frozen Northern mountains of Tordo, on the continent of Teege. After a youth spent learning magic, you and your girlfriend spent some time as bandits after your home was destroyed, but have recently taken a chance to escape that life into a legit one... As sellswords, admittedly, but it's better than nothing. When the situation calls for it, however, you might take on the POV of a character somewhere else for a thread.
>Your exact goal will change from thread to thread, most likely involving some job or another you've been sent on.
>The questmasters are Octoling (myself), and Grandflaw. There's no particular rhyme or reason to who posts when, and sometimes one of us might not appear all.
>Character Death is always a possibility and sometimes an inevitability (this is Fire Emblem after all), but your actions can very easily influence who lives and who dies.
>Voting periods will last an average of ten to fifteen minutes, but this may be increased, decreased, or generally changed at any given moment based on voter turnout.
>The previous threads are archived on suptg. A link to the most recent (coupled with summary and a handy list of names) is pasted http://pastebin.com/J0RSdxYS
>Our update twitter is https://twitter.com/qmgrandflocto and you can shoot us questions at http://ask.fm/qmgrandflocto
>An up-to-date link to all threads currently archived, both for this quest and its precursor: http://pastebin.com/Q77ts75m
You write to Yulea before your group heads out to the Outrealm Gate, admittedly avoiding mention of Ansi for security reasons. You've never HEARD of Neir snooping into the correspondence that travels between its borders, at least not as policy, but considering the intrigue-laden circumstances, it does you well to be careful.
You also send warning that your enemies are now using redundant layers of mind control, so if they have any magic users, make certain they know to look extra thoroughly on incapacitated foes.
Irene suggests you start using Eyven as a messenger, reasoning he might actually help beyond base-sitting as long as his brother is tied up in all of this nonsense. She finds him and turns out correct, though he does jokingly gripe about what a great burden all of this is.
Yulea, receiving your message, grimaces. Ansi was their only magic-user besides Yancy, and she never learned a thing beyond staves... Still, she's thankful for this information, and relays as such through the lazy noble, before going on to discuss these things with Leigh and Princess Shea and the rest.
It's around then where she realizes she'd neglected to mention she'd been corresponding with you ever since the split, which causes a bit of a ruckus with the more genuine defectors...
>A. Continue being yourself
>B. Be somebody in Leigh's group
"So, eh, yeah, then Welles and Lady Yvette calmed your buddies down," Eyven explains in a tired manner, still grinning nonchalantly. "And the stuff about Calof and the cat led Shea to bring 'em straight to the Ulir archipelago."
"You'd think they'd go to Tarvos Valley, since it's... Right there."
"Not much of a tactician these days, so, eh, I can't tell you much about her logic. Besides, all this traveling's really tiring me out."
He walks out of your sight, then reemerges from another pathway seconds later, unfolding a reclining chair and taking a sip of something outside in the shade.
>A. Talk to someone before leaving (specify)
>B. Skip to departure
>C. Give Eyven another message (write-in)
>D. Write-in action
>E. On second thought, be someone in Leigh's group, en route to Ulir
As you discussed earlier with Irene, you're the one who handles the Witch Pendant now. You spend the morning of departure learning the basics of its usage. "Not that it's likely you'll mess it up," she assures, "it's just worthwhile to understand how it works before trying it for the first time."
Naturally, most of the group has their two cents to put in about leaving.
"Just don't get me killed," Gonzo tersely requests.
"I... do not understand why Bolse or princess Paula would change this radically," Asra says.
"Don't get us blown up this time," Ansi bitterly remarks.
"A gate to another realm... Do you think anything will come from there?" Sheena asks.
"Hey," Lyeim says in response, brandishing a Wo Dao and showing off a new longcoat he's bought himself, probably thinking he's some kind of badass. "There's nothing we can't all handle!"
"What about elderly housecats?" Une jokes, taking a sip from her flask and petting her bael.
"Shut up," Calof eloquently responds.
"Alright, everyone come into contact!" Irene says as everyone locks together so to not be left out of your teleportation.
Your destination, you've decided, is an abandoned and mostly-destroyed (though you assure your companions that a couple buildings should still be standing) settlement a bit South of the supposed part of the coast you're after. You... remember its location vividly, to say the least, and do warn that undead may still be lurking, so there may be a fight on arrival unless bandits or ice dragons cleared that out.
>A. Say something (write-in dialogue)
>B. Wordlessly warp there
You're not gonna make any offhand comments yourself, you decide, instead opting to just warp up.
"Oh, yes, this is MUCH better," Irene notes as the lot of you suddenly stand in snowy ruins. Clearly she's liking the temperature-enchanted clothing.
True to your suspicions, a Dracozombie and a few revenant, albeit all torn in half and fading away, all stand around.
The dracozombie seems to be sizing you all up, naturally prompting Ansi to summon a Mauthe Doog to approach it with similar hostility.
"This one analyzing us or something? Didn't know they could do that..." Ansi says.
To be quite honest, you're not paying all that much attention to the ensuing arguments, instead caught up in flashbacks to your previous life. Not the one as bandits, but the one that was destroyed with most of this settlement.
You're dragged out of reminiscing by Ansi shouting, "Lloyd! Back me up on this! Too dangerous to keep this thing alive!"
Oh, hey, the Dracozombie has still not done much more than glare threateningly at you all.
>A. Hurry and fight it
>B. Why bother unless it tries anything
>C. Write-in response
"Why bother? It's not trying to fight us."
"Dude, were you paying attention at ALL? I was JUST saying that it's not acting as mindlessly as most undead! Means it's probably a dog of the piece of shit we're trying to find!"
"You know what I meant, Lyeim!"
"Look..." You say, "my point stands. No reason to tangle with a Dracozombie when we can completely avoid it for once."
Ansi groans. "You're gonna get us all killed."
Despite the nature of his comment, he doesn't raise any further objection, so you're sure he wasn't entirely serious.
Soon enough, the Dracozombie takes to the skies.
"Think things are about to get-" Une starts. "Nope, wait, it's just... Flying off."
"Should Buccaneer and I follow it, Irene?" Sheena asks Irene, petting the pegasus in question.
Irene nods. "That would... Probably be a wise decision, but you know how dangerous this neck of the woods is. So I don't know about sending you alone..."
"Look, you could just ask," Une says, rolling her eyes and mounting her bael. "Right below you, Sheena."
Both of them are off after the Dracozombie, wherever it may go, before anyone can say a further word on the subject.
Irene sighs, sipping from a warm container of coffee she's already prepared herself.
>A. No comment
>B. They shouldn't have been sent off
>C. Ask for some of that
>D. Express approval of their chasing the dracozombie
>E. Go talk to someone else
>F. Write-in response
Nothing to say on the matter. You're... Really not in a talkative mood, being back here.
Not even a couple hours pass, and the duo returns.
"What have you found?" Irene asks them.
"Two people killed the dracozombie right at the coast. It... Looked like someone on a wyvern and a green-haired woman," Sheena responds.
"Esmer..?" Irene responds. "Did... Did you see anything else?"
"I... Well, there was a small island just off of the coast. And the two of them went out to meet someone... couldn't make out what they looked like without being spotted, but they had a big dark hooded robe..."
"Looked kinda like that Lupus guy's," Une finishes.
"It... Must be Bolse! Bolse is probably hiding out here." Irene says. "But... Why would they kill the dracozombie if it was summoned by him..?"
>B. We should hurry
>C. Maybe someone else summoned it?
>D. Could've genuinely been a weird random
>E. Write-in response
"Maybe Bolse didn't summon it? I'm sure we're not the only ones after him, and Teege's a big place. Could be another necromancer against this faction. Also explains why it never attacked us..."
"It would be... Quite the coincidence, since it led us right to them," Irene says, "but it's worth considering."
Next, you ask Sheena and Une, "anything to say about how the green-haired woman attacked?"
"I'm... Not all that well-versed in dark magic," Sheena admits (Une gestures in a way you all read as "same here"), "but... It looked pretty powerful."
"Either way," Irene says, "all of this is all the more reason to hurry to the coast."
>C. Write-in response
>D. No comment
You agree, and make such clear to the rest of the group.
"Lead the way," Sheena and Une are told as you all head out after them.
Approximately an hour later, you see the coast. You... Genuinely had no idea how close it was to your home settlement, but it's nothing like the beaches leading up to Ulir. This is still very much a frozen hellscape, just one that happens to lead out into the sea.
Right by the water, nearby a small pier, is a reasonably-sized building with bonewalkers standing guard outside.
"There... Looks to be a half-dozen of them," Calof remarks, "but you never know with undead. Could be more right under the ground or something..."
"No, nothing of the sort," an intelligent-sounding voice you briefly heard all of once says from just behind you all. "He has something far stronger."
Naturally, everyone is a bit startled, but Irene, sounding the most so, is the first to turn around and address the woman. "E-Esmer..?"
"So you've finally dropped the formalities! Took you long enough, Irene," the green-haired woman remarks with a grin. "I'm... Still terribly sorry about Sir Marrius, but you know that the cause of that's long been taken care of!"
>A. Ask what she meant by something stronger
>B. Ask about Phineas and Demeter
>C. Ask about her cat
>D. Write-in response
>E. Immediately attack
>F. Do/say nothing, but be ready
"What do you mean 'something stronger?' And... Where are those Noban nobles?" You're trying to maintain your composure, noting that Irene is looking a bit... Distraught, and everyone else is looking either killy or at a loss for words.
"I assure you that Lord Phineas and Lady Demeter are being kept in very safe and comfortable conditions," Esmer says. "And shouldn't 'what's stronger' be obvious? You've met her by now, if I recall!"
"Esmer, using Riga like your puppet is... It's an insult to all she's done to protect those kids!"
The older woman shakes her head. "And it's not a blow to your own attempts at being self-righteous that you have a known violent fugitive? He's recently killed a famously noble bounty hunter, you know."
"Clint had it coming!" Ansi barks out.
Lyeim slaps him upside the head. "You're not helping!"
"You're... Getting at something, aren't you?" Irene asks.
"Only that certain associates of mine are just looking for any official justification they need to put your company down if you don't stop acting against them!"
"So you're threatening us," Calof clarifies.
"Honestly, I'm not at all bothered what the rest of you do! I just want my protege to open her eyes back up, accept that some omelettes are being made here, as the saying goes!"
So basically, either Irene ditches you all or gods know how many powerful enemies Marrius' Group is about to make. Judging by her expression... These aren't very good enemies to make.
>A. Urge her to do the safest thing
>B. Insist she not back down
>C. Tell her to do what she thinks is right
>D. You'll support whatever she does
>E. Backing down will only prove Leigh and Yancy right
>F. Write-in response
>G. Say nothing
"Irene, we've... Put our faith in you this far, for our own varied reasons. Do whatever you think the right thing is."
Une and Gonzo look indifferent (if anything, knowing them, they'd rather she go so they avoid the trouble), Calof and Sheena slightly offended, Lyeim and Ansi judgmental, and Irene... Smiling a bit. "You say that with so much conviction..." She turns towards Esmer, her expression turning dead-serious. "No further harm will come to Marrius' Group if I return with you."
"I'll fight tooth and nail so my associates overlook their past transgressions!" Esmer promises. "Even Mr. Fugitive here! He could slow you all down a lot otherwise!"
"So no promises if our company keeps causing you trouble..." Irene inquires. She gives you all a look as though that's an inevitability, rather than an unfortunate possibility to be avoided.
In fact, you're partially certain Irene is counting on it.
"Of course, but beyond granting him extra protection in the form of Riga as a favor, Bolse is not officially associated with the rest of us, so... They can do all they like to him!"
After many minutes of silence, Irene turns and approaches you, smiling sadly. "Lloyd... Keep in touch, alright?"
You're pretty sure that means "secrets."
>A. Does this mean...
>B. But you don't know how to run a merc company!
>C. Pretend to be appalled
>D. Write-in response
>E. Be silent
Alright, time to sell this. Hurt-sounding, you mutter, "d-does this mean you're..."
"I'm sorry, Lloyd, but you know that this is in all of our best interests."
"Irene... No, no, you think this is right." A sad smile comes to your face. "I have no damn clue how to run a business, Irene."
"It's not like she'll be gone forever! This is... A bit of a probationary period that I would skip if it were in the cards," Esmer explains.
"See?" Irene says, on the verge of tears herself. "And... Marrius' group has always paid you all pretty well. Maybe this time off could be... C-could be good for all of us?"
You sniffle and nod. "Yeah, maybe... Gives me more time to study, and if Ansi's really getting his record wiped clean..."
"This is the person whose cat nearly killed me and left me brainwashed for weeks." Calof says. "Oh, okay, we already all know that... Sure, fine."
"Sorry about Gerald," Esmer says, "he can be a bad kitty when I'm not around! Oh, some of the stories my niece could tell..."
As Irene stands by Esmer and has her arm lightly grasped by said mentor, she says, "Lloyd..."
"Yeah?" You ask.
She closes her eyes and shakes her head. "Never mind. All of you, take care."
And then the two of them are gone.
After a long bit of silence, Lyeim asks, "now what?"
>A. We go visit Bolse
>C. We make an early return
>D. Check if everyone's on the same page
>E. Write-in response
"What we came here to do," you say, cutting the waterworks. "We give Bolse one hell of a talking-to."
Everyone else murmurs in general agreement.
Next, you quickly add, "uh, just so we're all on the same page... Irene is totally going to spy for us. I'm sure it was obvious to some of you, but not all."
This time, murmurs ranging from belief to "whatever you say," and then they follow Sheena and Une to the entrance. The bonewalkers, again, are not hostile, and the lot of you reach the outside of the home with little trouble.
Sheena, Une, Ansi, Gonzo, and Calof all end up agreeing to keep watch outside, given the threat of random undead still being very real, leaving you, Asra, and Lyeim to head in.
The house's interior is modestly-decorated, but warm and bright regardless. You're reminded of the Tower of Longevity by what little decor there is, at least judging by the entrance area. A door nearby the top of a set of stairs is cracked open slightly.
You begin to call out, but Asra stops you. "Bolse's hearing is. Very poor. He has taken to magical means to improve it, as of last I'd heard, but it is still likely wise not to alert this Riga, so long as she is being mind-controlled."
>A. Immediately head for the open-ish door
>B. Call out anyway
>C. Stay put
>D. Look elsewhere
>E. Split up further
>F. Write-in action
Naturally, the three of you are quick to the stairs, and you and Asra end up peering in.
You recognize the short-haired, armored woman from that time she personally killed Lupus, and you figure that the older blond man must be Bolse, his father. Even looks like an older, less wolfish version of him. The room looks to be a study of sorts, books strewn about.
That being said, Riga is currently in the middle of kicking Bolse while he lays on the ground, sword drawn. "You think you can make everything right just by breaking the spell? After all that time YOUR family and friends spent ordering me around?! Marrius is dead because you thought some wolf-lady was hot!"
Bolse simply groans some more, not defending himself, but Asra hurries in and pulls her back. Lyeim shoves past you following her, and the two of them together can barely stop her assault. Asra gestures with her head, as though expecting you to help the necromancer up, so of course you do.
You escort the man out of his study and into another room. Someone else wearing a similar hooded robe to his is lying in the bed, either asleep or unconscious, but you can't make much out of their features beyond coarse black hair, which is... Most of Tordo, really.
Bolse, meanwhile, looks exhausted and sad, and he hasn't looked at anything in what you assume is normally his room. Not just because the first thing someone he saved did was try to kick him to death, but... As though "exhausted and sad" are every part of his being.
Similar glowing, translucent magical shapes surround his ears to the form that makes up General Yancy's arm.
Without looking at the bed, he says, "o-oh, you're awake... S-sorry that's the... First thing you had to hear getting up."
>A. Is his eyesight going too?
>B. What's he talking about?
>C. Be silent
>D. Ask who's in the bed
>E. Insinuate he believes you all look the same
>F. Write-in response
"What're you talking about? Is your eyesight going too? Look, they've had these things called glasses for... A long time now. Probably longer than you've lived up here."
"Wait..." Bolse looks at the still-asleep individual on the bed, and at a pair of folded-up glasses on his nightstand. Much sleeker than your own, though the lenses are similarly rounded. "I could have sworn... The gate."
"Come again? Who the hell is that?"
"I... Found that man on the island with the Outrealm Gate, wounded and deliriously babbling like he didn't know where he was..."
The man in the bed squirms slightly, feeling about uncertainly before turning towards the nightstand in question. You make out slightly more of his face as he reaches for the glasses and puts them on, but it's not until he sits up and opens his eyes that you start to sort of recognize him.
His hair is a bit longer, his chin's somewhat stubbly, there's a VERY nasty scar along his neck, and the sleeves of his robe slide slightly to reveal a lack of any mark on his left forearm, but other than that...
In a scratchy voice, he asks, "wh-what's... Who are..? Where..?"
>to be continued next thread
I feel like this thread turned out better than I could've hoped. Higher turnout than I've seen in a long time, established some things to keep the ball rolling. Thanks for playing, everyone.
As always, update Twitter/ask.fm are qmgrandflocto, and I'll be around in-thread to chat for awhile.
Always a pleasure.
We're actually beginning to seriously entertain the idea of a prequel quest of sorts, about the vaguely-defined era that was Queen Hauteclere and her allies. At the moment, the first arc's general premise, some ideas for potential protagonist backgrounds, and how the latter influences the former, are all we've got.