For a single moment, complete silence settles around the castle grounds. Not that it was a bustling hub of activity when we arrived, but even the birds seem to have fallen silent, freezing in fear of whatever emitted the ominous roar. I try to catch a glimpse myself, but Angeline quickly pushes my head back behind her as I do so.
"Be still," she snarls, the sharpness of her voice leaving me dumbstruck. "Do not speak to it."
I may have only just barely met Angeline, but it is still shocking to hear her drop her calm and collected attitude for the first time. It may seem ridiculous in hindsight, but I never quite imagined that she had other tones at all. I wonder what she means by 'it'? Does she already know what is going on?
>Mistress' current opinion: 15/100
>Lily's current opinion: 05/100
>Camille's current opinion: 10/100
>Nadja's Witchy Skills:
> Herbalism: Fledgling
> Penmanship: Uninitiated
> Infusion: Uninitiated
> Twitter: https://twitter.com/FriendQM
> 4plebs (RIP .moe): http://archive.4plebs.org/tg/search/subject/Witch%20Apprentice%20Quest/order/asc/
> Suptg archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Witch%20apprentice%20quest
> Nadja's Notebook: http://pastebin.com/k9cMVURJ (updated 03-10-2015)
>The 'Additional Pages' section of the notebook is open to you as players to add your notes about anything in the quest that you feel is worth noting. Weird things, notes about characters, anything. My hope is that this will help the notebook to serve not just as a witchy "cookbook" but also as a means for you to communicate to each other and to me what you sense to be important.
>If you want something added to the notebook, just say so here in the thread! Try to make the note as visible to me as possible, and to the extent that you're able try to use Nadja's voice as you perceive it. If you don't feel confident, just write something and I'll edit it before adding it to the notebook!
The second and final break in the silence quickly follows, angered shouts of both men and women burst forth from the newly opened gate, one of which I quickly recognize as being the same voice that sent out the beastly howl. It was a man all along? But Angeline said 'it'..?
The sounds quickly approach, the dramatic scene finally coming into sight as a group of armored soldiers appear, kind of like the guards in Hinde but shinier and prettier. Between them, they're apparently carrying a huge, angry-looking man. So huge, he'd probably tower over even Papa! And his beard is MUCH larger too! And his voice...
"Scoundrels! Charlatans! Imperial scum! You will regret treating a servant of the Queen li- UNF!"
.. Is only just barely unable to carry through the dirt impacting with his face as the soldiers toss him head first out of the gates. The soldiers do not bother to respond, instead forming a line in front of the gate, barring all access to the castle. A fact which seems to have angered him further as he raises himself up from the ground, stomping the ground hard enough I'm certain I felt myself lifted from the ground.
"Cowards! Do you not dare to face my-" This time the soldiers respond quickly, all drawing their swords menacingly.
"...Very well," the man grumbles in annoyance, turning his sight away from the guards and the gate to Angeline, and quickly from Angeline to me.
"Well, look at this! Now you've made me misbehave in front of the little one," he prattles as he trudges quickly towards us. "Don't worry, sweetie, the guards and I just had a little disagreement."
He crouches down a few of my steps in front of me, a single step for him. "My name is-"
"Irrelevant." Angeline snaps, simultaneously pushing me a step backwards and repositioning herself to stand directly between him and me.
"Insolent we-" he begins, before being cut off again by Angeline speaking a foreign language at him. I don't understand a word of it, but the man's bright red face makes the real meaning clear as day. He roars in anger, then lunges at her.
"Angeline, watch-" I don't even have time to finish my warning before Angeline has spun around, delivering a single kick to the man's stomach that sends him flying through the air and back unto the dirt road. She then immediately drops back into her usual calm stance, takes my hand and begins to lead me towards the gate. "Please forgive the mess."
"Wait, is he oka-"
"Irrelevant." She snaps at me, though more calmly than she had when talking to the big man.
"But he could be hurt!"
"Irrelevant." She repeats, tugging me along as the guards clear out of her way, nodding respectfully to her.
>Go check on him anyway! Even meanies deserve help when they're hurt!
>Follow along silently.
>That was so cool! Ask where she learned to do that!
Hello Anon, and thanks for the tie!
And thanks for breaking it! Prying is the winner!
And since the last thread was two weeks ago, I'll just remind you that Nadja still needs to come up with a witchy witch name for herself. Names are very important so please feel free to discuss this already!
Though the soldiers all nodded respectfully as Angeline passed by, one of them even nervously shouting "good morning, Miss Angeline!" even though Angeline was right in front of her, at which the other soldiers break into almost-discrete laughter, Angeline doesn't seem to pay them any attention at all. If she wasn't holding my hand, I'd probably wonder if she even realized I was here. I cast a final glance back at the strange man before Angeline leads me inside the castle itself, seeing him stumbling back onto his feet. Phew, guess he's okay after all!
"Angeline! That was so cool! Where did you learn to do that?"
"Previous employment." She replies flatly.
"That's not an answer at all!"
"I apologize if I have offended you, Miss."
"Okay! So tell me!"
"I just did."
"Wha- No, you just said 'previous employment'!"
"That is correct."
"So tell me this time!"
"Of course, Miss, I'll try to express myself more clearly. The answer to your question is 'previous employment'."
"That's exactly the same answer! You're doing this on purpose!"
"That is correct."
"Wha-... Oh, I see. You don't want to tell me, right? You could've just said that!"
At this she stops, turning on the spot with the slightest smirk on her face. "It would not be polite to refuse to answer the questions of a guest of the Baroness."
"It's not polite to dodge my questions and play me for a fool like that, either!" I turn away, crossing my arms dramatically. "Hmph!"
"In politics, it is. However, I deeply apologize if I have offended you, Miss."
Urgh, she just keeps doing it. "STOP SAYING THINGS YOU DON'T MEAN!" I yell, more at the wall than at her. And even though I'm looking away, I can still clearly tell that Angeline doesn't show the slightest response to my outburst, making me feel even more angry. And sure enough, after a brief pause she continues to speak in that calm, mechanical tone.
"You wished to see the Baroness, correct? I can go fetch her right away if you desire."
>"No! You're being mean and I want to yell at you!"
>"No, wait! I want to ask something first!" (Write-in questions!)
>"..Fine! Go away!"
I like this!
Many suggestions were made. I can't say for certain if any were really more popular than the others. The main directions seemed to fall into the following categories:
>A bird name, in keeping with Mistress' and Camille's "theme."
>Animals, fictional or not, such as Cat, Unicorn, or Fairyy
>Something cute like Rainbow, even going so far as suggesting "The Lovely."
>Any name that bluntly expresses that Papa is the best ever. Totally not gonna be awkward when Nadja grows up.
This was also asked last time. I give you the option because this is supposed to be a quest where you guys get to make decisions, even if they generally aren't exactly big, dramatic, life-and-death decisions. And I feel that, since this isn't thread #1, I can trust you guys to do your best.
That said, I always reserve the right to QM veto anything that is just completely unfitting (and not even in a funny way), and I guess if you guys just don't want to be able to make your own name, I'll just give you a choice from a premade list when we get to the naming ceremony.
>I give you the option because this is supposed to be a quest where you guys get to make decisions
Which is wonderful, I'm just cynical and I've seen too many quests ruined by stupid shit the players do.
Howabout the Lanius?
Camille stole that a few years ago, because I sure as hell am not more creative than the average anon, I just happened to actually bother to run something. And I barely do anymore!
On that note, time to stop replying and focus on the next update. Excuse me!
Because Mistress took the name of a bird, and it seemed a fitting tribute to take the name of a bird as well. Problem is we are currently not able to back anything but the most unassuming bird names up.
>The birds thing is to stick in the sort of witchy family.
It's not like everybody else has a bird name.
And I don't think any of those birds reflect her personality or actions any better.
Her students taking on a similar name would be the tradition. Not sure why you're having an issue with that.
Small un-assuming and cute?
"The Haze," comes off more as a powerful illusionist or some sort of assassin.
The Finches, humming birds, and the like are in the ball park.
You're on the wrong continent.
"..Fine! Go away! You big m--"
"Understood. Please wait here."
Oooooh, she's interrupting again! I face towards her to show her how angry I am, only to find she has already turned and begun walking away.
"Meanie person! Who is mean! And bad! And! And and and..." Wait, she was helping me get a meeting with the Baroness. So even if she's being mean about it, I have to say thanks! It's very bad to not say thanks when somebody helps you! And I'm a good girl!
"Uhm, uh, thank you, Angeline!" I shout down the corridor. She halts for a moment and turns her head towards me, giving me the same analytical look as she did when I met her in Hinde. And just like that time, I feel myself freeze up completely as she seems to measure every little bit of me, right down to my soul. At least, that is how it feels. Finally, she looses the imaginary shackles with an acknowledging nod. My body feels as if it collapses completely as my muscles relax, turning into nothing more than a smudge on the floor, but when I look I see that I am still standing on my feet.
The feeling is short-lived however, as the sudden appearance of a giggling girl's voice behind me causes me to jump and shriek just a little.
"Don't worry, you get used to the games," she remarks cheerfully. "It's kind of fun after a while!"
The girl doesn't look like she's older than eight, tops, and that's with her big, frilly, red and pink dress and her tall shoes making her look even bigger than she is! Combined with the perfectly symmetrical ribbons in her hair and her elegant stance, she looks every bit like the elegant lady of the court that I am not. That is, aside from the mischievous smile shining from her face. Though if Angeline is anything to judge by, the only difference is that she should be hiding that, not actually being nice!
"I am Lucia," she says, though without curtsying. Aren't you supposed to do that here? Does that mean I shouldn't either? "And who do I have the fortune to be running into in the halls today?"
Oh! Oh no! How am I supposed to do greetings? Are we being informal right now? Or maybe she just didn't curtsy to test me? People here are so mean! I don't know what to do! Okay, quick, make a decision, she's staring!
>Shake her hand?
>Just do nothing, that can't be offensive right?
>"My name is Nadja, smith's daughter and I'm here to speak to the Baroness."
>"My name is Nadja, smith's daughter and witch apprentice. I'm here to see the Baroness."
>"My name is Nadja, and oh gosh those ribbons are so cute!"
He's wrong but I think the idea is the middle ground fallacy.
"We should cut off your limbs"
"What? No we fucking shouldn't!"
"Hey guys.. what if we just cut off half his limbs! Compromise!"
I suppose, in this case it's more a matter of straddling a line of politeness and curiosity though. Balance is key.
Obviously anyone NOT curious would just maximize politeness but still.
That was a fast response on those votes! Looks like a narrow victory to Nadja introducing herself only as a smith's daughter.
Namely, the one that is her literal daughter. Of course given the particular take recruitment and training that witches tend to use, the distinction can be a little pedantic. By the end of the apprenticeship, a good teacher should be even closer to her apprentice than mere blood could ever be, each knowing the other down to their very souls. Only then can the teacher reasonably judge whether a student can be permitted to freely wield the knowledge given to her. Lily wasn't only being crazy when she called Nadja 'sister'.
She looks very important, so I probably am supposed to do it! And of course, it's never a bad thing to be a little extra polite, right? Good thing I practiced those, so I'll make sure to do my very best! As I do so I glance upwards, though even from this stance she's barely taller than me, for any sign of whether I did the right or wrong thing.
She gives me a sharp look, not quite unlike the one Angeline carries about herself though a little more soft, as if lacking a little something, as if one little piece of her mind has yet to properly click into place before she can fully adopt the same look. I hope the last piece stays unclicked forever, especially as her face shifts into a soft smile as she gives an approving nod, as if she read her mind. Perhaps she did. These castle people are so scary!
"My name is Nadja," I begin, "smith's daughter and I'm here to speak to the Baroness."
"Today has turned out to be an exceptionally stressful day, a day which unfortunately is still far from over," She responds, though I'm not sure what this has to do with us. "To be completely honest with you, I barely have the time right now. But on the other hand, the simple issues of commoners are exactly the distraction I need before the next storm."
"Come along now!" she orders as she begins to stroll back down the hallway I had just come from. I stumble back onto my feet, almost tripping over my own feet as I do so.
"Oh," she continues, "and before we have the third outburst of the day in the hallways, yes, I am the Baroness Lucia von Burchwald. I pray you will forgive my little test."
I'm pretty sure I already figured that out, but it's probably better not to say. As we return to the gate, instead of leaving for the castle grounds she turns to the right, down a hallway that seems to lead to a narrow case of winding stairs at the end.
"And I think I can guess why you are here. Your father must be our old supplier, assuredly unhappy about losing the contract. Though as I am certain I expressed in my letter, he has the same fair chance to win the new contract as every other smith in the region. So!"
She turns promptly, yet another mischievous smile on her face.
"Let's hear how you hope to persuade me to give your father the contract!"
This is... I thought I would maybe have to make all kinds of small talk and subtly mention the subject, but instead she brought it up entirely on her own, only two minutes after meeting her for the first time! I'm not even sure what to say anymore...
"Uhm, you uh," No no, no telling her what she should do, that sounds like I think I'm smarter than her! "I think... KNOW Papa is the best because..."
>"He loves his work very much and never sells anything that he hasn't made sure is perfect!"
>"My sister is a brave hero and she uses his weapons, so they must be the best!"
>"I'm also a witch apprentice and can use my magic to make his weapons even better than normal ones!"
>Other arguments? (Write-in)
>Please don't vote for more than one option. Brevity is gold when dealing with busy people!
>as if she read her mind. Perhaps she did.
I do hope she can read her own mind.
>"He loves his work very much and never sells anything that he hasn't made sure is perfect!"
>"And also I was thinking of… uhm asking my mistress how to enchant stuff to make it even better. You know, he always works so hard and I think I may have finally found some way to help him!"
She’s enough of an adorable airhead that I think she would just jump into the meat of the argument without mentioning the premise (her being a witch (apprentice)) first!
Hah! That's a pretty amusing brainfart!
I can accept this version of telling both, but only if a clear majority is in favor of spilling the secret to her. So...
>Just argue from the fact that he's passionate about his work.
>The above PLUS tell her about being a witch.
>For reference, witches aren't really taboo in the Empire at all. In fact a lot of Imperials of all levels of society find them quite valuable. Ironically, that's the exact reason some witches don't go public, because they'd be drowned in people wanting their help! On the other hand, some witches who go public hold very powerful positions in Imperial society. Both approaches are fully viable.
Of course, there are also certain nations that utterly despite witches. You're just not in one, because playing fantasy Anne Frank would be uncomfy.
>Just argue from the fact that he's passionate about his work.
I think i'll say no for the only reason that it would mean papa wouldn't get the contract for only his skill, which would probably not make him happy.
>The above PLUS tell her about being a witch.
I think that’s the most adorable option and what with witches being considered at least ok I’d risk it.
I have a feeling the baroness would love to have a secret witch-apprentice friend.
9 votes in, which has been the total number for the past few updates, Very narrow victory for witchness.
I will certainly take this, to better accommodate the losing vote.
"He loves his work very much and never sells anything that he hasn't made sure is perfect!"
Lucia raises a single brow skeptically. "Does every smith not love his work? Does he not stand by the quality of his products? Have you met every smith in the realm, so that you may safely say that your father has the most heart of all of them? And even if you did, how do I know I can believe you to be impartial about this?"
Wha- That's a lot of questions! "Uhm... uh... I mean, I..."
"And for that matter," she continues, "how does it reflect upon his 'passion' that he sends his daughter to speak for him instead of doing so himself?"
"Hey, no fair! Papa is just not very good at this whole fancy castle-talk thing, so he asked me to do it instead!"
She stops for a moment, seemingly weighing my words carefully before giving her answer. "Well... Nadja, was it? If you're speaking the truth, then your father will surely prove that with his work and win the contest I already proposed. If it's any comfort to you, I will certainly be paying special attention to his submission now that you have given it your guarantee. Now if there was nothing else..."
"Wait!" I yell a little too loudly, though she doesn't seem to have taken offense, even though I'm pretty sure she had every right to. "I uhm.. I was also thinking of uhm... asking my mistress how to enchant stuff to make it even better. You know, he always works so hard and I think I may have finally found some way to help him!"
The Baroness responds far more vividly to this, her eyes going wide in surprise, though quickly narrowing into a critical squint. "Are you, of all people, claiming to be a witch? Pray forgive me, but given your... rather desperate situation, I will have to ask that you provide proof of this statement."
"Oh, that's fair!"
I don't actually know how to do anything magical yet. The most magical thing I've done is act as a test subject for Mistress' experiment!
"But uhm, I'm still very new and..."
"You know nothing, then?"
"But I will!"
She crosses her arms, sighing with annoyance. "Then, why don't tell me the name of your teacher?"
"Oh that's easy! Her name is Mistre- wait. No, her name is uhm.."
Oh right! My notebook! I pull out the book Mistress gave me, flipping it open to the front page.
"Ahem! Chevalier Julie de Vite, The Raven, Student of Re-"
"I see." She cuts me off, apparently satisfied already.
"You know her?!?"
"Not as such. She and my mother has had... dealings, over the years. If you know her name, you're telling the truth. And I will of course not repeat your words to anyone. That said," she furrows her brow, looking much more serious than before. "Am I to interpret this as you offering your services to me in exchange for being guaranteed the contract? Are you looking to buy the contract now?"
Uhm, when she puts it like that... I wonder what Mistress would say in a situation like this...
>"If it means helping Papa, yes!"
>"Only if I have to!"
>"I guess not... That'd be cheating!"
Looks like backing out has the majority, but I think I can compromise without actually diminishing the winning vote. Please stand by for explanation of what the Baroness is upset about!
"I uhm, no, that's not what I mean. I mean that'd be cheating and-"
"Then explain yourself clearly," she demands angrily. "Before I accuse you of attempting to bribe a Sovereign of the Land."
"No no that's not at all what I mean! All I'm saying is, I could help Papa make stuff so great, the others could never compete! I don't mean I'll help you if you give Papa the contract! That'd be-"
"Illegal, yes." She scowls, a little more calmly than before. "What you are actually suggesting however... Would be acceptable, on the condition you and your father sell your products for what they are, enchanted equipment. In that case, if he was to offer a sufficiently attractive arrangement, understanding of course that enchanted equipment would be worth far more than its ordinary counterpart, I could simply forgo the contest and decide I want a completely different product."
"Put simply, you're not allowed to try to sell your enchanted goods as ordinary ones. That's unfair competition and-"
"Exactly. I understand that you did not realize what you were saying, being an uneducated commoner and all, and will forgive your misspeaking. So, either submit a non-magical weapon for the contest, or offer me a deal for enchanted arms and armor and I will consider that offer instead."
"As for the other, SEPERATE, business... Inexperienced or not, I may have use of your services in the future. Do I have your permission to contact you to offer... Jobs, as it were, in the future?"
"You mean... getting paid?" If I made money, I could buy things! Like pretty dresses or candy or... or new tools for Papa!
"Jobs usually involve payment, yes." She giggles, amused. I guess I made her happy again, even though I didn't mean to!
>"I think I would have to ask Mistress for permission first!"
>"Wouldn't that be cheating too?"
I was trying to make two different points. One referring to
>submit a non-magical weapon for the contest, or offer me a deal for enchanted arms and armor and I will consider that offer instead."
As in, either we enchant the stuff and there won’t even be a contest, or papa does the contest alone.
The second was to the question of doing additional jobs. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
Looks like Nadja is understandably cautious now.
If the lesson was easy, everybody would be a witch..
Hindsight is a hell of a drug. That said, you would not have had this job offer now, and it is worth noting that enchanted arms and armor, as Lucia pointed out, is worth more (for obvious reasons) so if Papa agrees to it (nothing is impossible!) it'd be a huge help to him.
And besides, can't really blame you since she still hasn't bothered to make her appearance!
Thank god for autosave, laptop just crashed out of nowhere.
"I think I would have to ask Mistress for permission first!"
Lucia nods, a confident smile on her face. "That shouldn't be a problem. Given the woman's history, I doubt she would object. I'll wait for your reply."
"Now, remember," she stresses the word sharply and crosses her arms in front of her, "this business is completely separate from the matter of the contract and I am NOT trying to force you into accepting my proposal. This is the Barony of Burchwald, not some petty crimelord's den!"
Wow, I guess this must be really important to her! You really do have to be very careful what you say in here. I never even meant to suggest that...
"Now, this has been a nice break for me," she states as she begins walking for the gate, "but I must return to my work. A very important guest is scheduled to arrive momentarily. I trust you can see yourself to the door?"
Well it's right there and... "I think you're going the same way, uhm, Baroness?"
She does not answer, simply glancing backwards with a soft smile on her face. Maybe she wants to talk a little more?
"Uhm, can I ask one thing? Why did we walk off to the corner of the castle to talk instead of a meeting room or something?"
At this question, she breaks into a cheerful laughter, clearly cut loose compared to her behavior during the previous conversation.
Finally calming herself as we arrive by the gate, finding Angeline waiting there, a slight but still fairly suppressed flush on her cheeks.
"So that Angeline would think I was gone, of course!"
Angeline shows no visible response to hearing this.
And so, with about 4 hours until I have to get up, I think I'll cut the thread here. I hope you enjoyed this thread, even if the (to Nadja) strange environment was a little harsh on you! Next time, it should finally be time to return to the normal schedule of actually learning witchcraft!
They could if they wanted to, but this is just another case of "I post cute girls (mainly witches) with non-update posts because cute."
I try not to post them with update posts, to make it clear whether or not they're related to what's going on right now.