>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/c0yB5vtj
>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 spend the rest of the time while everyone else gets prepared training with Wes. He briefly tries to talk Ansi and Bolse into showing him their respective strains of summoning.
"I, uh... Necromancy is... Not an art that's worthy of being spread... I made the mistake of teaching Lupus, and I won't curse anyone else with this..." So, uh, Bolse is a no and Wes has to apologize profusely while he reminisces about how he lost Lupus to people he thought were friends.
Ansi, when asked about summoning, is very eloquent in his response. "No."
Both refuse, in short.
You're provided with a Mend staff and a pack of healing concoctions by your newfound allies, and you still have your Berserk and Barrier staves in storage, not to mention your Nosferatu, Carreau, Flux, and Eclipse tomes.
Again, though, you should only bring five things. The concoctions, being small, should easily be able to fit three where a staff or tome would fit.
>A. Let Octoling sort this out
>B. Arrange inventory (Pick five things)
Powers beyond your understanding, which you write off as the spirits attempting to communicate with you, help you arrange a proper inventory. You bring along your Berserk, Carreau, Eclipse, Mend, and Rescue (almost forgot you had that!), handing off Nosferatu, Flux, and the concoctions to Wes.
"Thank you," he says, "I'll be certain to put these to good use."
"Think the princess took care of Esmer already?" Lyeim asks his brother, Romulus, at one point when you're passing by.
"We'll find out when we reach Orsin Village," he says plainly.
"I... Guess you're right," Lyeim says. "Tobias, where've you been all this time?"
"Oh, that's... Really a funny story, actually," the middle brother says before walking away with zero elaboration.
Lyeim and Romulus share a laugh.
Une and Sheena are also having a chat in the meantime. "So what's the company gonna do if Irene's been gutted?"
"That's... That sounds pretty unlikely..." Sheena says, clearly uncertain. "I mean. Yulea would stop Leigh or Yancy if they were still mad, right?"
>A. That won't happen
>B. Leigh was pretty mad...
>C. No sense speculating
>D. Even then, Marrius' Group could survive
>E. Write-in response
>F. Ignore this line of conversation
"Speculating about our friends isn't going to change whatever their fate is," you say, "all we can do is hope they're all there when we head to Orsin."
Sheena nods. "I... Just want everyone to be back together."
Une sips from her flask with a mask of indifference. "Guess we'll be back to bounty hunting if it all goes under," she says, patting her bael.
You leave the conversation before more can be said, but just before getting out of earshot, overhear Une starting, "and see, the two of us've never gone without a partner, either, so..."
>A. Spend time with someone (specify)
>B. Write-in action
>C. Skip ahead
You hang around Ansi for awhile.
"Think Jolie's gonna be glad to see me?"
"Y'know what?" You say. "I think so, yeah. At least... More than I have any clue what Leigh's gonna think."
Ansi sighs. "She'll take you back. You haven't done shit wrong besides be an idiot, but she can be a total dumbass too."
"Thanks," you say sarcastically before changing the subject. "So, the way you load up your mogall with essence gives me an idea..."
"Where's this going?"
"Well, basically... I'm a spirit charmer, so my upward limit for magical essence is... Well, theoretically limitless, though eventually it'll go into my own health."
"So you're suggesting loading up a floating eye monster with magic," Ansi says. "Wondering how much explosive force that could cause when I only used a small chunk of my own for the technique."
"If I had to make an educated guess how strong that'd be..." Ansi closes his eyes, tipping his hat thoughtfully. "If you put your all into it, anyone in the area... No, there wouldn't BE 'the area,' wherever that happened to be."
"So... Horrifically devastating? What scale, do you think?"
"I don't have a fucking clue. Ideally, we won't need to ever test it out."
>A. Write-in response
>B. It could be amazing
>C. If only you could test it...
>D. So we should never use it?
>E. We save it for a rainy day
>F. Be silent
"So... We never use this?"
Ansi nods. "Ideally. Unless we got away really fast, we'd be taken down along with everything else close."
"Right... That being said, if it. If it came to that..."
Ansi nods. "If we have no other options, we can talk it over then. Until then, though, not a fucking word about this technique to ANYBODY."
"Right..." You say.
"No, seriously," he says, "next thing we hear, a spirit charmer-summoner with a Witch Pendant destroys half of Teege if we don't keep tight-lipped about this." After that and a serious pause, he adds, "and I'm never gonna teach you summoning, now that we've got this idea. I'll kick your ass if I hear you try to learn, too."
"That's... Fair, I guess." You weren't going to learn at this point anyway, but you've never seen him this serious about keeping something under wraps.
>A. Say something more (specify)
>B. Talk to someone else (specify)
"Why're you so... Intense about keeping this a secret?" You ask.
"Lloyd, you dumbass!" He shouts. "I JUST explained this to you. I'm the only one who even knows HOW to summon monsters as explosives, but it's not hard to figure out. Combine that with the endless potential of you damn spirit charmers, and you've got one of the most dangerous techniques in history. We take this concept to our GRAVES if it means keeping it out of other people's hands."
Right... The more you think about this, the more hideously dangerous this technique could be if refined in the wrong, or even the right, hands.
After that conversation, Ansi says, "the longer we linger here without needing to, the more likely knights from right the fuck South of here will come to ruin us. You ready to gather everyone up?"
>B. One more thing... (specify)
"Yeah, I'm ready."
You and Ansi gather the party (along with Tomnus, Kneil, Romulus, and Tobias), and you silently warp South to Tarvos Valley. Specifically, to Orsin Village, determined to be the safest place to stop.
Upon your arrival in the ruined little village that raised several heroes, you immediately find a familiarly blue-haired pair of siblings.
You're all behind Cargia and in front of Shea as you arrive, the former not yet noticing you as he swings an axe. "Ahah, see! I've regained much of my strength, sister! You've even been struck silent with your concerns being lost, haven't you?"
"Er... Not really," she responds. "Just... I think there are more important things on my mind."
"Like what? This was the topic of discussion moments earlier!"
>A. Say something (specification recommended)
>B. Say nothing
>C. Indicate to everyone else to keep quiet
>D. Write-in response
You say nothing, though Tomnus and Kneil ruin the unstated joke.
Tomnus says, "ah, Prince Cargia, 'tis been many moons too many since we've spoke..."
"And so ambulatory now~" Kneil adds. "It's as though you had never been drained!"
Cargia turns around. "Then this explains the distracted nature of my normally-focused sister! How long have you stood there?"
"Not even a few minutes yet," Tomnus responds.
"As is how long she's been unfocused! Then this mystery..." Cargia slams his axe into the ground, supporting himself on it. "...is solved!"
"And all we must do is capture aunt Paula before mother has General Reese at our doorstep," Shea adds. "Easier said than done, but with our combined might, and the weapons and wielders recovered in Ulir..."
"After an impressive showing from Welles," Cargia explains, "Esmer up and surrendered. Showed us to Phineas and Demeter and all. They even still had their ancestral weaponry locked away on the island!"
"That's... All very convenient," Riga notes. "Where are they? I must see that they're alright!"
"Er, right that way... Allow me to direct you to them, Lady Riga..." Cargia shows the hot-blooded wyvern rider somewhere, leaving the lot of you to disperse and get ready for your advance.
You and Bolse stick around with Shea.
>A. Where are the rest of them
>B. Why were they taken anyway
>C. Write-in response
>D. Say nothing
"Did you figure out why they were captured in the first place?" You ask.
Shea responds, "Esmer suspects that it... Has to do with Paula's old mentor. You know, the dead one. From... What we could figure out Esmer knew after she was brought in, based off what Paula remembered as a little kid, using that... Body-swap power of the advisor's, this person had lived since the days of the Gerxel Empire as a... 'Medium' for a monster that they controlled. But they were never able to find a powerful enough host to revive it after it was killed... Perhaps Paula was hoping one or both of them would be able to? I'm... Sure that the actual advisor had a better idea of what needed to be done..."
"So she's... Trying everything she can think of to revive an ancient evil monster, even in the absence of the only person who knew how to do it, so she can conquer the continent," you summarize.
Shea nods. "Pretty much. Esmer didn't even know what that thing was called."
So, you suppose both parties are back together now! This little split's finally ended.
>A. Say something more (specify)
>B. Go find someone else (specify)
>C. Write-in response
>D. Wait around idly
"Er... Where's Leigh, by the way?" You ask.
"Training with Lady Yvette," Shea answers, directing you in the proper direction.
Immediately, you go there, calling, "Leigh, you there?"
"Lloyd? Is that you?" You hear from nearby, hurrying in the direction it comes from.
You immediately recognize the tall, raven-haired swordswoman as she approaches. In the distance, you recognize old Yvette putting practice swords away and making herself scarce after shooting you a hard-to-read look.
"So, uh... Hey," she says, somewhat awkwardly. "It... Looks like you were right all along, about, uh... Yeah."
She's certainly gotten bulkier since you parted ways. Like, she was pretty tough-looking before, but even now you can see that she's positively ripped.
>A. Write-in response
>B. Be silent
>C. Ask about someone else (specify)
"Never mind all that," you say, "how are you? You certainly look great, anyway..."
"Eh..." She looks a bit flustered. "I-I've been fine, though... All things considered, anyway. How about you, Lloyd?"
"Same here. Marrius' Group keeps... Existing, and we're ready to counter the source of all this awful undead nonsense..." You get a bit closer. "I've missed you the most, though... Gotta say, you really come to miss a strong set of arms like yours."
"Well, I mean, we've been hurting for magic on our side of things... I've missed you too." After a moment of silence, she adds, "I mean... For awhile there, I was just... Making myself be mad at you, but. You were right, that it's not always easy to know who's doing the right thing... It's all we can do not to buy into that, not to add more strife to the world, but here I was just tearing the company apart so soon after we all lost Marrius. I guess, Lloyd, what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry."
>A. You're just glad you're both okay
>B. It... really did hurt you
>C. Write-in response
>D. Be silent
"It... Really did hurt, Leigh," you respond honestly, "but... It was awhile ago now, and I'm just glad we were able to see each other alive again... I forgave you awhile ago, in fact. And never stopped wanting for things to just... Go back with us."
Looking immensely happy you're not upset with her, Leigh pulls you close.
Your embrace and a lot of sweet nothings eat up a good amount of time, but eventually you part before going to speak to others.
Irene tells you and other newcomers about how Esmer had her make a quick stop at the old headquarters, where Lupus' Fist of the Managarm tome was recovered in the middle of the long-put-off studies to make it accessible to non-garou magic users...
"...and Esmer claims the all-accessible recreation was completed, delivered to Paula," Irene explains, "so she still has an... Immensely powerful tome at her disposal."
"And where's Esmer now?" Riga asks, cracking her knuckles. "I ought to..."
Embarrassed, Shea admits, "she... Escaped once we arrived in Tarvos Valley."
A shorter blonde woman you don't recognize, hair in a ponytail, clad in regal-looking robes, scoffs. "You let her get away after everything. How does she manage to steal back her Witch's Pendant?"
A teal-haired young man, more passive-featured, but also much taller, responds while petting a cat, "at... Least she told Gerald to be nice before escaping..."
"'At least.' Someone acting on her orders is why you were kidnapped, Lord Phineas!" Riga snaps. "With all due respect, bear a bit more ill will towards our enemies."
The woman, presumably lady Demeter, nods, "we might have taken out Lupus and Nail then and there had you been!"
>A. Comment on this (specify)
>B. Try to steer things back onto topic
>C. Be silent
>D. Write-in response
"Wait, wait, Esmer escaped?!" You ask, trying to return to a more relevant topic than the squabbles of a grown-ass man and woman.
If you wanted to hear all of that, you wouldn't have made an effort to fight with Leigh less back in the day.
Shea nods. "Yes, and I know what you're thinking... It's actually a part of why we haven't moved from here yet. We're expecting an attack any moment now..."
Mere minutes later, Calof reports."Uh, it appears that we have Wulf Company coming from all sides... Looks like upwards of 30 of them, led by Esmer and a lady with long blue hair..."
Yvette mounts her horse, her and Jolie standing close to Shea as aforementioned woman, hair in blue ringlets down to her hips, with a very... Shadowy exterior approaches on a Dracozombie.
Stamping through the streets, the undead beast looks on as its owner holds a tome.
>A. Say something (specify)
>D. Write-in response
You keep on guard, all of you observing with tenseness as everyone closes in.
"My dear niece," the new woman starts, "what's all this about?"
"There's no need for you to play dumb, Aunt Paula," Shea responds bitterly, "your ill-thought-out plans are about to come to an end."
"So... This is your game," Paula responds with a giggle, "you really need to think more about the future of the kingdom of Neir, dear. Your uncle would have wanted your mother to lead this continent, and I'm doing all that I can so she can get to that point!"
"And what would King Garrus say, were he to learn of this?" Yvette calls, riding between Shea and Paula, clutching her still-sheathed sword. "His own flesh-and-blood, undermining his attempts to create the kindest Kingdom of Neir possible!"
"Step aside, Yvette," Paula says, "this doesn't have to be your fight."
"It... Most certainly does!" She responds, drawing her sword. "Stand down, or understand what over sixty years of training can do!"
Again, Paula lets off a girlish giggle. "Yvette, you and I both know you could never harm me... Never harm one of my mother's kin."
True to Paula's word, Yvette... Freezes. "Alexia..." You would later learn she whispered.
"Yvette..." Shea says as Paula pulls out her tome, the crown princess drawing a Brave Lance and beginning to rise away. "Don't just stand between us, Yvette!"
>A. Do something! (specify)
>B. What can you do?
>D. Say something! (specify)
Fist of the Managarm was a directional spell, correct? As in it has to be aimed?
Use Berserk on the Dracozombie she's riding on. They tended towards low Resistance from what I recall, certainly not enough to have half a chance at resisting a high level advanced class, and Paula is the closest target for it to attack, and the movement alone would be enough to throw off her aim.
Too worried that using Rescue on Yvette would just have Paula close with and kill Shea, since she's a flier at the moment and wyvern lords have sucky resistance.
"Lloyd, the Rescue staff!" Irene calls to you, but by the time she does, you already have other things in mind.
You ready your Berserk staff, aiming it at the Dracozombie Paula rode in on, and hit your mark expertly.
It kicks up into the air, roaring and rotating its head to attack its rider.
The wolfish form of the Fist spell grazes Yvette's side. It... Doesn't look painful, but it's infinitely more survivable than what it could have been, and she's snapped out of her daze and able to retreat to Yancy for healing.
"Wh-what the? Why?!" Paula struggles to maintain control of the Dracozombie, yelping in pain as her free hand is torn off.
"Wh-why... Why won't you go away?!" So it seems like summoned undead or monsters affected by the Berserk staff can't be recalled... Very interesting. "O-obey me! I summoned you..!" She sounds as though she's crying before throwing a Fist of the Managarm haphazardly through the Super Dracozombie. The attack is off-center, due to her state, but enough to stun it, and she cries out, "a-advance, all of you! Finish them off!" before vanishing in a flash. So she has Esmer's Witch Pendant, then...
Though initially hesitant, Esmer and the rest of the Wulf Company enter the fray, the Berserk'd Super Dracozombie flying around at whoever happens to be nearest at a given moment.
>A. Focus on putting it down
>B. Focus on the mercenaries
>C. Steer clear of both until there's only one threat
>D. Write-in response
You find someplace secluded and rest a spell, seeing if these two threats can't take care of each other.
Leigh, assuming you were out for action, draws her Miracle Sword and follows close, only to give you a look when she notices you staying very much out of the way. "Come on, Lloyd, now isn't the time to stay on the sidelines!"
Nearby, about eight or so of the mercenaries challenge Colleen and Rema (you would later learn that they arrived with Shea's group), who you did not actually realize were here. Their opponents are four Heroes, three of whom have axes, one with a nasty-looking Silver Sword, a Light Sage or whatever they're called with Shine, and two halberdiers.
Leigh hurries over to them. In the air, you swear you notice a sizable bolt fly forward and then strike the Dracozombie.
>A. Stick back here
>B. Look who else is in trouble
>C. Investigate the source of the bolt
>D. Go and help them
>E. Write-in response
Curious, you piece together the trajectory of the bolt, and warp right to its source.
It's Eyven, sitting at an inexplicably snow-covered ballista you swear used to be that stand he set up everywhere he went.
"Eheh," he explains before you can say a word, "found some old notes mom never published. She came real close to usin' this same pendant with this same intent, you know..."
Then he and the stand warp away, and moments later you notice another bolt in the air.
Enough standing around outside the town, though. You warp back in with the Witch Pendant, glad you don't require as much of a cooldown, being a spirit charmer and whatnot.
You happen into Esmer and Irene, staring each other down as Welles stands close.
"I... Sincerely hoped you had returned to us, Irene," Esmer says sadly as a blast of Gespenst wraps itself around Irene, knocking her to her knees. "You were my greatest student..."
Welles whispers semi-loudly to you, "and yet she asked me not to interfere! 'Esmer will kill you,' she says, as though I am not one of this nation's greatest swordsmen!" The practice-sword-wielding Lord boasts. "In fact... Her life is on the line, so I must convince Esmer for a second time to stand down!"
>A. Go for it
>B. Let you handle this
>C. Let Irene handle this
>D. Write-in action
"Well... Go for it, Welles."
"I think I shall!"
And like that, he takes a swing at Esmer with his Practice Sword, again managing to strike deceptively hard. "Stop it!"
Juust in case, you keep a watchful eye on Welles as you heal up Irene, help her up.
"For one thing, Ms. Esmer!" He begins, "you are acting horribly unkind! Striking down your protege when you could be working with you, and what is your stake in this! Feeding a sick woman's ego out of fond memories of her brother? Surely you mustn't be blind to how foolish that is!"
That is... Both more biting and more accurate a criticism than you were expecting from Welles.
"That being said... My uncle, and my grandfather before him, they taught that it was never too late to put an end to senseless evil! You still have good in you, Esmer, that much is abundantly clear even in how you fondly regard Irene!"
"Come on, Esmer..." Irene chips in as Welles stands over Esmer, between mentor and student. "Fighting you has been... One of the most difficult things I've ever done, and not even for obvious reasons."
Fighting continues around the lot of you, but Esmer is still. She's... Yet to drop her tome, though Welles, as always, is sparing her.
You see a ballista in the distance, one Esmer does not, and know what this means: she is one mistake away from a bolt through the chest.
You still don't know if she'll give up or keep fighting.
>A. Attack her just in case
>B. Pull Welles away
>C. Give her a chance
>D. Maybe knowing about the ballista will convince her...
>E. Write-in response
"If you're, uh... Still not convinced, there's a ballistician out there who's absolutely willing to finish you off if you hurt this guy," you say.
"Huh..." Esmer says. "Thanks for telling me."
Your plan immediately backfires, as she strikes Welles with Gespenst.
"Well!" He says as he collapses. "That was... Unexpected! I... Thought I was more durable than that!"
He is not fatally struck, however, Esmer instead holding him up in front of her and backing into a wall, still holding her tome.
"Th-this is... This is my life's work!" She declares. "This future is... what the Wulf Company strives for! Sure, Paula isn't half as smart as she thinks she is, but she's the one who holds everyone together, reminds us of what could happen to the world! I won't fail her!"
Nearby, a blast of Flux appears and strikes her square in the head. You turn and spot Wes, holding the old Flux tome you gave him.
"I... She wasn't going to give up..." He says. "This... It had to be..."
Irene covers her mouth, also not doing anything in the moment. Welles hits the ground again, still breathing heavily.
>A. He's right
>B. It could have been prevented!
>C. Preventable or not, she deserved it
>D. Write-in action
>E. Do/say nothing
"I... You're right, Wes. This was for the best..."
You pat Irene comfortingly on the shoulder as you heal up Welles. Your friend, boss, and mentor in non-combative magical fields buries her face in her hands and sobs.
"Sh-shit, Esmer's dead! Everyone, retreat and regroup at base!" A random mercenary calls. His next words are, "oh, fuck, no! Agh-!" as he is squashed by the Dracozombie, but those are less noteworthy beyond reminding everyone that the Dracozombie is still very much an active threat.
Funny that disposing of the hideous undead dragon is the afterthought of the battle.
>to be continued next thread
Another several potential deaths averted with a lot of clever thinking. If it wasn't clear, from this point, there will be many less obvious answers in combat situations where someone might end up dead. Option A might save person A, option B person B, and a clever mind could think of an option C, for example, though I haven't specifically planned any demises, following that formula or otherwise. There's always a degree of winging it in these threads, by necessity of design.
I do have a bit of a soft spot for stories where the main villain is not the final opponent, if done well (hence why, unless things go REALLY slowly, you'll probably take on Paula before Eva or one of her other once-major allies who've fallen out of prominence).
Thanks for playing, as always. Update twitter is qmgrandflocto, so is ask.fm, and I'll be around in-thread to chat for awhile.
Always a pleasure.
It wouldn't sit right with me to punish clever thinking, especially when write-ins are encouraged.
Plus the logic even pointed out a flaw in the "correct" answer of using the rescue staff.