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File 139157398461.png - (191.76KB , 600x845 , Night of the Living Story.png ) [iqdb]
57744 No. 57744
Rule of Three Edition.

First Thread:
>>48653

Latest Thread:
>>52466

***

[1] – Delivery Service

“Seeing some of the Outlands might be good.” I’m not confident in my ability to hunt monsters, so this sounds best.

“Excellent!” S claps her hands together. “Will you be able to leave tomorrow?”

“That shouldn’t be a problem. We don’t have anything else we need to do at the moment.”

“Wonderful. Shall we meet up in front of the Gatehouse in the morning? I’m afraid we aren’t quite as prepared as you are.”

“That sounds good.”

The silent woman next to S makes a series of hand gestures. S nods to her in acknowledgement.

“My companion says that she’ll leave you behind if you’re late. I disapprove, but I’m not her master by any stretch.”

“We won’t be late.”

“You know, Yoshika wanted to speak to you. She’s busy regenerating at the moment, but you’ll be able to see her before you leave Sigil.”

That would be nice, actually. The zombie girl’s enthusiasm left quite an impression on me.

“Before you depart, would you all care for a drink? I’ll treat you.”

“Sounds great!” Mystia certainly isn’t lacking enthusiasm, even if she coughs some after speaking.

Rob sighs mournfully, clearly disappointed at its inability to drink. And despite trying her best to look disagreeable, Yuki almost seems happy with the idea.

Yes, a friendly drink will brighten everyone’s spirits!

---

(Day 19)

Aah, so stiff and uncomfortable. Where am I?

Okay, I’m in my bed back at the inn. That’s good. It’s overcast outside, but I’d guess it’s morning-ish.

I’m going to be late, aren’t I?

“Do hurry up, will you?” Rob floats into view. That’s one accounted for.

“Mystia and Yuki! Where are they?” I must look pretty stupid, straining to even get one of my boots on.

“Long story short, you’re a lightweight. Asleep after two drinks. The bird’s got a sense of moderation, but Yuki challenged that necromancer to a drinking contest.”

“Don’t really care at the moment. Where are they now?”

“Downstairs. You’ll have to practically drag Yuki.”

Down I go, trying not to trip on my other half-on boot. Mystia and Yuki look to be complete opposites. Mystia looks like she’s having a great day while Yuki could almost set fire to things just by looking at them. It would be comical if we weren’t in such a hurry.

“Morning guys! Meeting time now! Gotta leave!”

“Morning, Nameless!” Mystia’s attempt at a singsong tone clashes with her rough-sounding voice. “Just trying to get this slowpoke up and moving.”

“I will end you.” Yuki growls.

“Sure you will.” Mystia clearly loves every moment of Yuki’s suffering.

And then we’re off. I eat as we go, while Mystia and Yuki follow behind, Yuki glaring daggers at whoever tells her to hurry up.

Mystia and Rob already got us a few days worth of supplies, so that’s convenient. I’m broke now, but we’re supposed to be getting paid a good amount at the end of this.

The gatehouse is huge and crowed as ever, but S is easy to pick out. The hair loops are pretty distinctive.

Between the smiling S, her silent and scornful companion, and Yoshika, who is now rushing to greet me, her group really isn’t that different from mine. All they’re missing is a mocking spirit-thing.

And then Yoshika has me in an awkward, unliving hug. She seems extraordinarily happy to see me.

“Not-zombie girl! How are things? I hope they’re well ‘cause they’re well for me and it’s thanks to you I’m doing so well. Your help helped me finish my mission which helped master!”

I had forgotten how excitable she was. [o]Painfully[/i] excitable.

“Hey Yoshika. You’re kind of crushing me.”

“Oh, sorry sorry sorry.” She releases me, springing back a step to give me some space. “I forget these things sometimes and you’re not mad right? Please don’t be mad.”

“It’s fine. Good to see you doing so well.”

The zombie girl really is pretty animated. If it weren’t for my past experiences with her, I’d assume she was alive. Sure, she’s got no pulse and doesn’t seem to feel pain, but her expressions are genuine and her skin is warm to the touch. She has a few of those regeneration charms stitched into her brightly colored clothes now. I think her hair has grown some too.

Honestly, I’m starting to doubt she’s really dead. At the very least, S has gone to quite a length to make her seem alive. More so than necessary to simply disguise her as a human.

“Ah, I had something for you! It was… Oh, I know it’s here somewhere!” She starts going through her pockets, mumbling to herself. “Here it is!”

Yoshika presents me with a slightly crumpled paper tag. Taking it, I can see that the pattern is pretty different from the ones on her.

“Master said I could give you one of her special defense spell things! Really strong stuff, but it only works once. Aim away from your face and all that!”

“How does it work?”

“You hold it out in front of you and put some magic into it and BOOM!” She jumps about my height into the air.

“It drains your energy to fuel a spell.” S says, walking over to us. “When you run out of magic, it drains your stamina, then your life. Cancelling it is just closing the mental connection.”

“It really sounds dangerous.”

“I’ve never heard of something that can do that at will.” Yuki says.

“Did you come up with this?” Rob asks, quite literally glowing with curiosity.

“My partner and I refined a few old concepts. It took decades of study to get it to what it is now. Pretty soon, we should be able to replicate most any formal spell. Not perfectly, but that will come with time.” S says.

“Exorcist, necromancer, there really isn’t a word that does you justice, is there?” I’ve only heard Rob sound impressed a few times before, never to this degree.

“Artisan is probably the closest existing word.”

“Sorry to interrupt,” I say, “but what exactly does this thing do? You said you could replicate most any spell.”

“We’re calling that one Phoenix Tail. It puts out a fan of small fire globes. I figured you would have the easiest time with it, seeing as you’re learning fire magic first. You shouldn’t push it for more than a few seconds if you value your health. Oh, and we’re working on a nonlethal option. Well, relatively nonlethal. If you have to use that and want to avoid killing someone with it, cut your energy flow as soon as you activate it.”

“I see. Thank you both for this.” I guess help comes back around after a while.

“It’s the least we can do.” S says, watching as Yoshika tries to introduce herself to Yuki. “Now, you should be hurrying along if you don’t want to be left behind. That girl is so impatient.”

Looking over, I can see the silent woman finish tracing a doorway of fire on a wall. She doesn’t even have the decency to glance back before walking through.

“Time to go, guys!” I call to my companions, breaking into a run.

Through the portal we go. The Outlands await.

---
So ends Part 1: New in Town

***
Things will be a bit different from here on out. The pace will be picking up in short order (most likely with the next update coming tomorrow). I am very much set on finishing this story, but I really don't want to drag it out for the next five or so years.
Expand all images
>> No. 57747
>I am very much set on finishing this story, but I really don't want to drag it out for the next five or so years.
Hee. Good luck with that.

>doorway of fire
Hm. Mokou? Meiling? We never did get an actual description of Seiga's companion, did we?
>> No. 57749
>>57747
We've already met Meiling, so judging by the name of the scroll I'd put good money on the silent companion being Mokou. Which goes well with my personal theory that Nameless is Kaguya.
>> No. 57753
>>57749
Oh right, I blanked. Stupid brain.
Don't know about being Kaguya. Nameless feels more like a fairy to me than a millennia-old moon princess. Not sure which one, though.
>> No. 57761
File 139176060514.jpg - (1.17MB , 1200x900 , always greener.jpg ) [iqdb]
57761
(Day 22)

I haven’t had the chance to write anything in my journal for a few days. Red (I’ve taken to calling her Red.), keeps us going at a breakneck pace. I’d guess that she wants to leave us behind, but she never quite ventures all the way out of view. I don’t know if she’s just trying to keep up appearances or scouting ahead or whatever.

Red is a weird one, for sure. She communicates entirely in hand language and isn’t willing to actually teach us any of it. The only signs I’ve picked up seem to be hurry up and break time. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t need the breaks for herself. Mostly, they’re for Mystia.

I wonder what sort of creature Red is. She doesn’t seem to eat or sleep. Not while the rest of us are awake, anyway. She’s dressed in such a way that half of her face is the only part of her that’s ever visible. She has an aversion to eye contact, making it ever harder to get a good look at her.

This will be the fourth day of travelling through the Outlands. It’s weird here. Locations seem to be based on where you want to get to rather than actual compass directions. Mystia drew a crude map at one point, saying the Outlands are usually shown as a circle, but that it’s just an abstraction for convenience. She seems to know a fair amount about the planes in general.

The surroundings are amazing and wonderful and so full of life! I can actually see the sun and the air feels clean and natural. It’s doing all of us some good and giving us a little extra energy. Everything is vibrantly green and there is actual wildlife, a far cry from Sigil.

The only problem is that we’ve mostly been in the middle of the wilderness. Last night, we finally found a road and made camp. Before that, the only landmark was the huge mountain-like pillar behind us. Apparently, it’s infinitely tall and Sigil floats above the top. I’m glad to be moving away from it. Something that huge is scary on its own, but Mystia has heard that magic starts to break down as you get near it. I’d rather not test that.

“Time ta go, Nameless.” Yuki says, gently nudging me.

“Okay, I’m up.”

Then we’re off along the road. It’s a dirt road, but it’s still something. Maybe we aren’t too far away from our destination.

“So, how is everyone today?” There isn’t much to do besides talk and see the sights, so it feels like I’m starting to get to know the others a bit better.

“Pretty good,” Mystia says, “the Outlands are a real breath of fresh air!”

“I guess you could say that.” Yuki mumbles.

I guess this is pretty weird for Yuki. She said she’d never left Sigil before, so I can understand things being disorienting for her. I think it’s the wide open space she dislikes. There’s nowhere to hide if we get attacked and her abilities are poorly matched to the surroundings.

“What about you, Rob? You’ve been quiet today.”

I have to wave my hand in front of the wisp to get a response.

What?

“You seem distracted.”

“Well, of course I’d be distracted, what with people waving their hands all up in my space.” Someone’s cranky today.

“Well, what is it you’re doing that you need to be so focused for?”

“Trying to locate my fragment. It’s here, for sure.”

“Any luck?”

“Not when I need to focus and people are bothering me, no.”

“Oh.” I’m being a bother…

I give Rob the space it wants for the rest of the afternoon.

As evening creeps over the horizon, we come across something we haven’t seen before. Other travelers.

There are ten armored men camped out across both sides of the road. A particularly large, horned man, presumably the leader, is sharpening his greataxe in the middle of the road.



Maybe we should’ve taken the job with the serial killer.

“Lo there, ladies,” the man calls out, “you look a bit lost.”

Red holds up a hand for us to stop.

“Bad day to be delivering the post, hmm? Roads are slick, chance of wandering off course and losing yer packages.”

There’s a brief silence as the other men spread out to circle us. Our group forms up in a rough circle, facing outward.

“Ah well,” the leader says, “such is bein’ in the business.”

The men draw their weapons.

Yeah, really should’ve taken that serial killer job.


(Write-in a Battle Strategy.)

[1] – I don’t think I have it in me to kill someone…
[2] – It’s us or them.

***
You can complete this story with a body count of zero. It's just extremely difficult. Battle strategies will play a large part in how successful you are at that. Please be sure to ask if there's something relevant that I wasn't clear on.

I like hearing reader theories on things.
>> No. 57763
[x] I don't think I have wha it takes to kill a person... But I'm not going to roll over and die.

A few burns have never killed anyone. I just wish we could have taken the fighter route. There are a tons of non-lethal ways to knock up anyone with hand-to-hand
Combat
>> No. 57767
[1] – I don’t think I have it in me to kill someone…
Use fire, and illusions of fire, to control the battlefield.
>> No. 57769
[2] – It’s us or them

Why is everyone so unwilling to kill thise bandits
>> No. 57770
[1...ish?] – I don't want to have to kill someone…
-[X] But if it comes down to it, it'll have to be us or them.
Disrupt the battlefield with illusions - shift our images just so such that their attacks miss or graze; create illusions of holes and hide rocks to control their steps and trip them over; in a pinch, a blinding flash of light always throws someone off.
Use fire nonlethally if possible - melt their weapons or make them too hot to hold; ward off and funnel attackers with walls of flame; nonlethal burns are best, but in a pinch a Phoenix Tail to one of their faces would be preferable to a sword to yours.
Stay away from the frontliners - the others are more used to combat than you are, you won't be able to dodge and parry as well as they will, particularly without a familiar weapon. Play support, disrupt their tactics, watch for unnoticed threats and warn of them and generally control the battlefield. You can get up close and personal when you've trained for it.
>> No. 57771
>Large, horned man sitting in the middle of the road
>Sharpening his greataxe
>We apparently just strolled right up to him.
>All of my wat.

Well jeez, that zero body count true end is going to be difficult if MC keeps going full retard.


[X] Ghost noise: "Hey! It's those bandits we were looking for! Stay spread out in the forest to surround them"
[X] Ghost noise: Thundering footsteps and rustling leaves
[X] Silent Image: Several soldiers running up to the bandits from behind.

[X] Evade into the forest. The bandits haven't fully surrounded us, and won't be able to keep up since they are wearing armor.

If all goes well, they shouldn't be inclined to follow us anyway.


[X] They will figure out it was an illusion probably within a few minutes, and return to their camp. Stay weary of their presence, and sneak past, putting as much distance as possible between them and you. Use the forest and illusions as necessary.

>>57770

According to the last thread, our fire magic amounts to inaccurate globes of liquid fire, and inaccurate short-range bursts of fire(not exceeding one meter, or 10 seconds). Also, Phoenix Tail is a one time use item.

>>57769

I'm not unwilling to kill them. It's just that 10 armored dudes with weapons which probably include bows versus 4 chicks aren't odds I would gamble on.

But who knows, maybe it will turn out these guys operate on video game logic, and are actually weak push-overs.
>> No. 57777
[2] – It’s us or them.

I have no problem killing these guys, because if we don't then they'll just keep doing this and end up hurting someone innocent. I'll leave the battle plan to someone with a better head for combat.


>>57771

>I'm not unwilling to kill them. It's just that 10 armored dudes with weapons which probably include bows versus 4 chicks aren't odds I would gamble on.

There are basically two votes going on right now; first is for a battle plan and second is for whether we're willing to kill people in the course of carrying out that plan/if we need to.

Also, do remember that everyone in our party (us aside) are experienced mages, which evens things out a lot. We still might lose someone if we're not careful though. Perhaps we should use ourself as a shield for the others if necessary?
>> No. 57783
>You can complete this story with a body count of zero. It's just extremely difficult.
>people actually vote for easy mode
laughing_rabbits.jpg
>> No. 57787
>>57771
You can't use ghost sound to make voices, guy.
>> No. 57790
[1] – I don’t think I have it in me to kill someone…

I like a composite of >>57770 and >>57771 where we use illusions and fire mage to disrupt and distract the bandits enough to get into the woods, then use illusions and sounds to make them think that heavily armed people are coming for them.

>>57787
In all of the editions of D&D I've seen you can.

>>57769
It's more challenging this way, honestly.
>> No. 57797
>>57790
Wasn't the version we learned developed by hunter elves and all but useless at making voices?
>> No. 57799
>>57783
>>57790

>Difficulty
>Challenging

I don't really care about difficulty whatsoever, this is about killing the bandits before they attack someone less capable than our party. Also, characterisation, roleplaying et cetera et cetera.

Finally, more challenging =/= more fun.


>>57783

>implying that anything other than lunatic difficulty is easy mode
>> No. 57800
>>57799
>Also, characterisation, roleplaying et cetera et cetera.
Our characterisation so far does not involve killing anyone.
Also, you don't have to kill a person to negate the threat they present. We have loads of Charasima; we can just talk them out of a life of banditry.
>> No. 57801
>>57800

>Our characterisation so far does not involve killing anyone

That may be true, but I actually meant that I don't really want Nameless to be the kind of person who agonises over killing someone who attacked her and will probably attack more innocents in the future, nor someone who gets people killed by refusing to fight all out if necessary. Sorry for the confusion.

>We have loads of Charasima; we can just talk them out of a life of banditry

Maybe, but colour me sceptical.
>> No. 57802
File 13920307277.jpg - (714.44KB , 770x1004 , Have an apology Yukari.jpg ) [iqdb]
57802
So, uh... Lots of discussion going on. A lot more than I'm used to. And I like that! It's just that,

No use hiding it, I rather plainly botched that last update in several ways. Probably due to being out of practice, sleep deprived, and generally terrible.

I feel like the best way to fix this is to write a short bit more in an attempt to unfuck things. I figure I might wind up just making things worse, but I tend to expect that outcome a lot.

Does clarification update sound good or should I rewrite the last one? I can do either, depending on what people want.
>> No. 57809
>>57802
If there are details that you need to outright change (lol 1 perception roll) then rewrite it. If you want to expand on the situation, add an addendum. If you're lazy, do nothing and promise to so better in the next update
>> No. 57810
>>57802
Just clarify. Unless there's like a million things wrong in which case yeah rewrite it.
>> No. 57827
File 139229302731.jpg - (481.22KB , 1200x900 , always greener.jpg ) [iqdb]
57827
(Day 22)

I haven’t had the chance to write anything in my journal for a few days. Red (I’ve taken to calling her Red.), keeps us going at a breakneck pace. I’d guess that she wants to leave us behind, but she never quite ventures all the way out of view. I don’t know if she’s just trying to keep up appearances or scouting ahead or whatever.

Red is a weird one, for sure. She communicates entirely in hand language and isn’t willing to actually teach us any of it. The only signs I’ve picked up seem to be hurry up and break time. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t need the breaks for herself. Mostly, they’re for Mystia.

I wonder what sort of creature Red is. She doesn’t seem to eat or sleep. Not while the rest of us are awake, anyway. She’s dressed in such a way that half of her face is the only part of her that’s ever visible. She has an aversion to eye contact, making it ever harder to get a good look at her.

This will be the fourth day of travelling through the Outlands. It’s weird here. Locations seem to be based on where you want to get to rather than actual compass directions. Mystia drew a crude map at one point, saying the Outlands are usually shown as a circle, but that it’s just an abstraction for convenience. She seems to know a fair amount about the planes in general.

The surroundings are amazing and wonderful and so full of life! I can actually see the sun and the air feels clean and natural. It’s doing all of us some good and giving us a little extra energy. Everything is vibrantly green and there is actual wildlife, a far cry from Sigil.

The only problem is that we’ve mostly been in the middle of the wilderness. Last night, we finally found a road and made camp. Before that, the only landmark was the huge mountain-like pillar behind us. Apparently, it’s infinitely tall and Sigil floats above the top. I’m glad to be moving away from it. Something that huge is scary on its own, but Mystia has heard that magic starts to break down as you get near it. I’d rather not test that.

“Time ta go, Nameless.” Yuki says, gently nudging me.

“Okay, I’m up.”

Then we’re off along the road. It’s a dirt road, but it’s still something. Maybe we aren’t too far away from our destination.

“So, how is everyone today?” There isn’t much to do besides talk and see the sights, so it feels like I’m starting to get to know the others a bit better.

“Pretty good,” Mystia says, “the Outlands are a real breath of fresh air!”

“I guess you could say that.” Yuki mumbles.

I guess this is pretty weird for Yuki. She said she’d never left Sigil before, so I can understand things being disorienting for her. I think it’s the wide open space she dislikes. There’s nowhere to hide if we get attacked and her abilities are poorly matched to the surroundings.

“What about you, Rob? You’ve been quiet today.”

I have to wave my hand in front of the wisp to get a response.

What?

“You seem distracted.”

“Well, of course I’d be distracted, what with people waving their hands all up in my space.” Someone’s cranky today.

“Well, what is it you’re doing that you need to be so focused for?”

“Trying to locate my fragment. It’s here, for sure.”

“Any luck?”

“Not when I need to focus and people are bothering me, no.”

“Oh.” I’m being a bother…

I give Rob the space it wants for the rest of the afternoon.

As evening creeps over the horizon, we start to find our way out of the forest. The trees along the path give way to rolling hills. There are still dense trees around the edge of the hilly region, but only a few within it. A pair of campfires dot the hills, a sure sign of other travelers.

Well, for a certain definition of travelers.

From what I can make out in the fading light, there are ten armored men camped out across both sides of the road. A particularly large, horned man, presumably the leader, is sharpening his greataxe in the middle of the road.

They don’t appear to have taken notice of us yet. That’s something to be thankful for. We all try to quietly retreat back into the forest. Except, naturally, Red. Her annoyed gesturing seems to be saying that she wants us to just walk right up to the scary armed group.

What the hell are you thinking?” hisses Yuki. “What reason could we possibly have ta walk right up ta a damn bandit camp?”

Red responds with more gesture talk.

“Well that’s not much of a surprise.” Rob says.

“You understand her?” Of course it does. Rob always seems to know these weird things.

“They aren’t bandits. We’re close enough to Glorium that the town would stomp any bandits in the area. These guys are probably more like mercenaries.”

“So, does that mean it’s safe to pass or not?” Mystia asks.

“They’re probably waiting for a package to come through. Their boss is likely paying them handsomely for it.”



This complicates things.

“They’re here to intercept us.”

“Oh, you have got ta be joking.” Yuki complains. “This wasn’t in the job description.”

“Yuki, there was no description beyond ‘a delivery to Glorium’. I think the fact that there are five of us here to deliver one thing should’ve tipped us off to expect complications.”

“Okay then, why the hell does Red expect us ta waltz right into their camp?”

“She thinks we can take them on, maybe?” Mystia says.

“It’s about sending a message.” Rob once again speaks up. “The fact that there are so many of them is a show of force. If they kill all of you, they’ll probably leave blatant signs of battle to intimidate the one who hired us. But if we put the hurt on them, the balance of power dramatically shifts in favor of our employer.”

“I don’t like the thought of killing about ten people, just to prove a point.” I don’t like the thought at all, really, but that reason in particular seems like a slippery slope to atrocities.

“Beating them without killing them might prove even more of a point.”

“Getting yourself killed because you were holding back is moronic. Fights are kill or be killed.” says Yuki.

“Unless there are more in the surrounding woods, we can just try to sneak around.” Mystia says.

Looking over, Red is getting impatient. We need to decide on something before she goes and picks a fight.

[1] – Fight. It seems like this was to be expected as part of the job. We can handle this if we… (suggest tactics)
(Lethal or Non-lethal?)
[2] – Sneak by. If we can avoid a fight, we will.
[3] – Maybe a diversion would work.
(Who gets to be the diversion?)
[4] – Something else. (Write-in.)

***
Okay, so my screw ups included not giving you enough/the right information and throwing you into a fight with no input on your part. The latter is something I should never do with this story. The possibility of avoiding a fight should always exist, even if it was three or so choices back in some cases. This should not happen again, so please yell at me a whole lot if it does.
>> No. 57828
[x] sneak by. If they wanted us as a display of force they should have told us so.
-[x] ghost sound and silent image work wonders.
Anon, wih his tendecy to fulfill promises is lawful. And with his hero complex is good. This applies, for different reasons, to our MC. So our employer can go fuck a cactus for throwing a curve ball to its own side.
Besides, sneaking by gives another message: "your strength is meaningless" Even if they throw the entire mercy killer faction, it is just a waste of time and money if they can't find the couriers.
>> No. 57830
[2] – Sneak by. If we can avoid a fight, we will.

I wouldn't say you should never throw a fight at us - ambushes are a thing, after all - but yeah having us just walk up to a bunch of armed dudes obviously out for trouble was dumb.
But still, if we didn't make mistakes we'd never learn anything.

>>57828
>hero complex
dude what
>> No. 57831
>>57830
You do realize I was talking about Anon in general, no?
>> No. 57834
>>57831
Anonymous doesn't have a hero complex.
Anonymous has a superhero complex. Big difference.
>> No. 57855
Called for:

[2] – Sneak by. If we can avoid a fight, we will.
>> No. 57922
File 139327552166.jpg - (192.17KB , 1024x768 , over the hills.jpg ) [iqdb]
57922
[2] – Sneak by. If we can avoid a fight, we will.

“We sneak by.” I say. “Let’s do this quietly, not even letting them know we were here.”

I’m not wasting anyone’s blood on some competition of which faction has the bigger stick, or in this case, wallet. A show of force is meaningless if met with subtlety. It should mean far more than simply crushing the opposition.

For some reason, the others follow my direction without complaint. Red stares at me, her previous impatience replaced by indifference. After a few seconds, she goes along too. I can’t help but feel vaguely unnerved.

With the dense foliage blocking out what fleeting rays of light remain, I’m faced with a realization.

I don’t know how to sneak through a forest.

Sure, Yuki taught me a bit of how to sneak and evade through a city, but out here I’m very much in the dark.

After half a dozen near misses with twigs and animal burrows, Red decides it would be less of a hassle to carry me over her shoulder.

The next hour is an all around terrible experience. The position is uncomfortable and the proximity feels strange. Red is probably wearing armor of some sort under her cloak, as I can hear a very faint creak of metal or wood. It certainly isn’t helping with the discomfort and slight difficulty breathing. The fact that she’s only about as tall as Mystia is similarly problematic.

There are a few close calls along the way. Several times, a pair of mercenaries comes fairly close to us. At least they seem more interested in idle chatter than actually sweeping the forest. It makes sense, seeing as they don’t actually know we’re there.

Once it seems like we’re past the mercenaries, I’m able to freely walk again. Rob and Yuki both get in a few jokes at my expense, but I don’t mind them. We made it through without issue. I’m too relieved to be annoyed by the others’ needling.

I wish I could say we crested the last hill and saw the shining city of Glorium at the base of the mountains. Of course, that’s not how things pan out. As the others go about telling me, Glorium is in the fjord past the mountains. We have to take a pass upward to get through them, then descend a narrow path. We’re only about halfway there, as far as travel time.

There goes my mood.

We camp at the base of the mountains, hiding our fire as best we can. Hopefully, our food will last a few more days.

As always, Red and Rob are the ones on watch, since they don’t sleep, at least in the normal sense of the word. I can’t help but wonder if they talk about things while the rest of us sleep. Rob can understand her well enough, so it’s just a matter of whether she’s willing to communicate. The thought that they might be keeping things from me is something I can’t shake.

---

(Day 23)

I don’t have any energy today. My sleep wasn’t great, especially with the rocky terrain we’re now in. I’m starting to miss civilization. At least we should reach our destination soon.

The path is perilous, just a set of rough stone steps ascending halfway up the mountain. Fierce winds threaten to pitch us off the mountainside and there are no handholds. Only Red and Rob are unaffected, taking the lead. Yuki has a bit of trouble adapting, but Mystia and I have to hang onto each other to progress.

Mystia really has it the worst. I’m very light and not at all strong, but Mystia doesn’t seem to weigh much more than I do. Hollow bird bones, I guess. Her wings only can retract so far, even without the wind trying to drag them open. We only manage to proceed because Mystia wraps her wings about us as a shield. Sure, we can’t really see more than a few steps ahead most of the time, but we survive. My small fire magic at least keeps our hands and her wings from freezing. It’s good to not be completely useless.

It really is nice to see Mystia smile. Usually, she just looks tired unless someone is talking to her. She doesn’t seem to mind the necessary closeness like Yuki would. As a result, it doesn’t feel forced and uncomfortable.

We rest for the night just inside the entrance to the mountain pass. The crags give us some shelter from the wind, much as it howls at us. I can really understand why someone would send a courier instead of travelling here themselves.

---

(Day 24)

Several times during the day, I get the feeling we’re being watched. If I was a little more aware, maybe I’d catch a glimpse of something. As it is, I’m just consumed by an intense paranoia. The maze of crags is almost smothering, like we could be crushed in an instant.

We make it to the other side of the pass by evening, but I want to be out of the shadow of this mountains as soon as possible. Mystia’s music and a crackling fire go a long way toward staving off the shadows, both mental and material.

“What haunts these mountains, anyway?” Yuki asks.

“Wolves,” Rob says, “among other things. Best not to worry your heads over it. We’ve not strayed off the path, so the worst of it shouldn’t mind our presence.”

“What sort of-”

“Can you not, Yuki?” I say. “It’s bad enough already!”

She stares at me, her expression hard to make out from across the campfire.

“Sorry.” She mumbles.

---

(Day 25)

The descent was easier, somehow. The wind was pushing us toward the mountains, rather than away from them. In the brightening dawn, I think I can see a few wood towers in the distance. I guess Glorium is that way.

Thinking on it, the Outlands are weird. There is no sun or stars, but the day-night cycle still exists. The light doesn’t rise or recede from a particular direction so much as every direction. The result is disorienting, at minimum.

We pass through a darker forest after descending the mountain. It doesn’t feel actively malevolent, but the path has been eroded by the trees quite a bit. It’s like nature is almost daring civilization to try to overcome it, knowing the civilization won’t succeed.

Or maybe they’re just fast growing trees. I’m just glad to be away from the mountains.

It’s sometime in the late afternoon when we reach Glorium. The Gate-Town is far from what I expected. It’s mostly low wooden buildings, longhouses, and storehouses. There’s quite a bit of land dedicated to farming, but I’d guess the population is only a few hundred. Other than that, it looks as if the people could just pack up and head off for war. The town is built along the shore of a fjord, with ships of all sizes moored in the expansive docks.

There’s no gate or guards to stop us, just a rough perimeter of wooden spikes. Seeing as everyone we pass is well armed, I can see why they don’t see a need for guards. The people themselves are fairly diverse looking. Though most are humans, there are a mixture of dwarves and even a few of the more exotic sort. They all seem to have a particular confidence about them. Shouts and laughter resound through the cold night air.

Despite the cheer, love of drink, and the abundance of friendly brawls, the residents don’t seem to care for strangers. I can feel several hostile stares almost burning into my back. As long as I ignore them, it should be alright.

Fortunately, we don’t have to bear their gazes for too long. Red knows exactly where we’re to deliver the package, leading us to a somewhat more deserted area. The man I take to be our contact waves us over to a warehouse.

He looks to be fairly young, maybe twenty, with brown hair and blue eyes. A noble, maybe, from his finely tailored coat. The whip and broadsword at his belt and the assortment of throwing knives make it clear he’s well prepared to defend himself. Somehow, he doesn’t seem dangerous. It must be his posture and friendly, almost cocky smile.

“Lo there ladies, disembodied soul. How has the road treated you?” he says.

Red nods, producing a wooden case about the size of her forearm from her sleeve. She hands it to the man without so much as a hand sign.

“All business as ever, eh S?” He looks slightly disappointed.

She says nothing, only holding her hand out for payment.

“Wait, S is the blue, cheerful one, not the red one.” Yuki says.

“They’re both called S.” The man explains. “It’s either a service marketing thing or an odd coincidence.”

“May I ask why there was a dedicated encampment of mercenaries waiting to pounce on us on the way here?” I’m rightly upset about that.

“Did you kill them?”

“We snuck by.” Mystia says. She still seems pleased to have been the one who proposed that option.

“Ah. Just the solution I had hoped for.”

“So why weren’t we told in advance?” It would’ve saved us a lot of stress.

“You’re new to S’ crew. I assume you just didn’t hear the details from your boss.”

I know we didn’t ask, but why the heck would she keep this from us?

“Who were the goons working for?” Rob asks.

“I’d guess either the Signers or the Fated. Both have been mucking up our deliveries of late. The Hardheads aren’t in the habit of hiring mercs.”

“I guess we had something valuable, then.” You don’t hire people to rob couriers just for the sake of ruining the other guy’s day.

Maybe.” Oh, that smug, knowing smile.

“So, why did we have to do this job anyway?” Rob asks, “It’s all so roundabout. We could’ve taken a Gate right to here. Hell, you could’ve brought your own package when you went through it to get here.”

“Surveillance. Gating right in with the package would attract all kinds of undesirable attention.” He replies.

Well, we can get back to Sigil easily enough, at least.

“You lot are playing a dangerous game, it seems. Best of luck to you.”

“Thank you, spirit.”

“So,” Yuki says, “payment.”

“Ah, right. I really wasn’t expecting more than one courier, but you’ll all be paid fairly.”

He hastily checks a few of his pockets before fishing out a few coinpurses.

“Your business payment,” he hands Red a decently-sized pouch, “And your personal payment.” And a few uncut gems.

Red pockets both with a nod.

“And personal payments for the rest of you. I hope you all accept coin rather than demanding something else.”

“I don’t see why we wouldn’t.” I guess Red uses the gems for some kind of magic.

Each of us gets a good amount of money. Rob has me hold onto its share. We each get somewhere around a hundred gold pieces, which is to say, more money that I’ve had at any point so far, by quite a wide margin. Yuki’s expression is one of almost disbelieving joy. Mystia and I just quietly thank the man.

“Now then,” the man says, “I’d love to stay and talk, have a drink and all that. Shame I’ve got deliveries to make and receive. Maybe some other time.”

With a smile and an over the shoulder wave, he practically melds into the night.

“What an odd one he is.” Rob says. “I wonder who he’s working for.”

“Sensates, maybe?” Yuki says. “He’s wealthy and stylish enough.”

Please tell me you aren’t falling for the first guy to throw money in your direction.” Mystia says.

“I’m not so shallow as ta go for money alone.”

“But you are shallow.” Mystia grins.

“Not as much as your breathing.” Yuki hisses.

“Kids these days.” Rob sighs.

Red wanders off while I try to keep the others from escalating things.

As it turns out, the town doesn’t have an inn. With the obvious distaste for outsiders, it makes an unfortunate amount of sense. My hope for a warm bed isn’t going to happen, but we can at least set up in an unpatrolled warehouse. Any roof is better than nothing, considering how cold it is.

---

(Day 26)

Being able to feel my feet when I wake up is something I’ve missed. It really is nice to have little things like that back.

“So,” Yuki says over a breakfast of the last of our trail rations, “now what?”

“We should probably head back to Sigil and see how S is managing with hunting that serial killer.” Mystia says.

“I finally pinpointed my fragment.” Rob says. “We don’t have to go after it right now, but we are in the Outlands.”

Either of those might be good, but for some reason, I kind of want to stick around here for a few days. It’s like the air makes my senses sharper and my abilities stronger. I’m not sure how to explain it.

I think if I took some time to train, I would stop feeling like such a burden to the others. My skills are all rough and in need of work.

[1] – Return to Sigil. I ought to see how S is doing and get our arrangement finalized.
[2] – Find Rob’s fragment. I have a promise to keep.
[3] – I need to get stronger. (Any skill but Medicine and Wizardry is fair game. You may take the opportunity to learn to fight with Light Weapons. If you’d like to train a skill with a specific party member, please specify.)
[4] – I haven’t tested that knife I got from Ran yet…
[5] – (Write-in.)

***
I'll be posting Nameless' updated character info right after this, in case you decide to train. The one in the last thread wasn't quite accurate.
>> No. 57923
Nameless - Immortal

Attributes:
Strength- [8]
Life- [10]
Intelligence- [18]
Wisdom- [18]
Perception-[10]
Speed- [10]
Agility- [10]
Dexterity- [10]
Will- [10]
Charisma- [16]


Skills:
Wizardry: Red
Magic derived from memorization and study. Dabbling level. At this level,

Sorcery: Red
Magic derived from willpower and emotion. Dabbling level. At this level,

Fire Magic: Orange
Control over magic derived from the Plane of Fire. Relative novice level. At this level, most or all of the basic concepts are understood and limited effectiveness is possible. Combat spells are inefficient and unreliable, more to be used out of desperation than as a primary strategy.

Illusions: Orange
Control over magic relying on trickery or misdirection. Relative novice level. At this level, most or all of the basic concepts are understood and limited effectiveness is possible. Illusions are ineffective as more than a momentary distraction, though that may sometimes be enough.

Medicine: Orange
All manner of healing methods not derived from divine power. Relative novice level. At this level, most or all of the basic concepts are understood and limited effectiveness is possible. Can reduce the symptoms most common illnesses and treat minor injuries. Some natural poisons can be identified, but not properly countered or utilized.

Music: Red
Skill at the bardic arts, both magical and mundane. Dabbling level. This skill has no effects at this level.

Avoidance: Red
Learned ability to move unseen and evade pursuit. Dabbling level. At this level, a few minor tricks supplement one’s normal movements. Can remain unseen by a roving band of drunks or one completely untrained, sober pursuer.


Other:
Memory Fragments: 6
Rob Fragments Collected: 1/8


To Spend:
Stat Points: 2
Possible Stat Placements: Any sub-18


[X] - Allot your two floating stat points.

***
Skills operate on a color scale and are in some cases more important than your raw stats. Yellow is the level at which competence is reached. Green and Blue levels are where things get interesting.
>> No. 57924
[2] – Find Rob’s fragment. I have a promise to keep.
[3] – I need to get stronger. Practice Fire and Illusion magic.
Focus on the first, try to get some of the second in where we can.

[x] Put those stat points into Charisma.
POWERGAMING!
>> No. 57925
[x] Go find the fragments.
Putting the "l" in "lawful"
[x] CHA+2
[x] increase fire magic, asap
[x] increase illusion, if possible.

Next points go into DEX I think. We may be lousy with sneak but with decent DEX and illusions we'll be able to pass by.
And, as for skills. The next one should into wizardry or sorcery. We probably won't be able to get anything stronger without improving the basics a little bit
>> No. 57926
[x] – I need to get stronger.
-[x] Fire magic
-[x] Illusion magic
[x] Point into Charisma

[x] – Find Rob’s fragment. I have a promise to keep.

I agree with the logic on this.
>> No. 57929
>>57923
Wow, I can't even go one post without screwing everything up.

Wizardry and Sorcery should say:

Wizardry: Red
Magic derived from memorization and study. Dabbling level. At this level, some basic principles are understood and some low complexity spells may be cast. Spellcasting mentally taxing to the extreme, especially once all spells have been expended.

Sorcery: Red
Magic derived from willpower and emotion. Dabbling level. At this level, energy output is extremely taxing and highly inefficient. Only a small portion of the sorcerer’s power can be drawn forth, even with great effort.
>> No. 57935
>>57929
So which one have we been using?
>> No. 57938
>>57935
So far? Earlier votes were for prioritizing Wizardry, so it's mostly been that with Sorcery as backup. Wizardry is probably the hardest of Nameless' skills to improve, as it pulls from a lot of different sub-skills.

Learning more types of magic, as well as how they are different, gives a greater grasp of both Wizardry and Sorcery. Of course, they also improve gradually by practicing more specific magic skills.
>> No. 57939
>>57938
Pretend I know absolutely nothing about how magic works.
Are you saying that, regardless of the spell we're casting, we can choose either Wizardry or Sorcery as the power source?
>> No. 57942
>>57939
In theory? Sort of. Assuming a perfect grasp of both, you could replicate any magical effect in your repertoire with either.

The mechanics behind them are different and the two have different intrinsic properties.


Wizards have to pre-load their spells. They would take to long to cast in their entirety to be used in battle, otherwise. The spells are more like lengthy rituals, but the ritual only takes effect when the last step is performed, which can occur any time after the casting of the majority of it.

You could say it works like loading a gun and being able to pull the trigger at your leisure. Like a gun, you can only hold so many bullets (spells) at a time. Using them all up means you have to spend time reloading. It's tiring because the memorized ritual is fired as part of the "bullet", leaving a disorienting emptiness behind. Continuing with the analogy, after you've run out of shots, you have to get rid of the empty shell casings before you can load more. For wizards, this happens naturally over time and especially quickly with the aid of sleep.


Sorcerers, by contrast, spontaneously cast their magic, which can't actually be called distinct spells. Rather than using ambient magic in consistent, predictable ways, sorcerers draw from their inherent magical reserves. It's quite literally in their blood, due to their parentage, race, or circumstances of birth.

I guess an analogy for sorcery would be something like a car. Your power output is dependent on how much gas you have in the tank (accessible energy) and your engine's power output and efficiency (magical control). Novice sorcerers effectively don't have a full tank and are using an inefficient engine. Both get improved and upgraded over time as the sorcerer gets better at harnessing their powers. For the most part, sorcery is channeled by visualizing an effect and willing it to happen. It helps to have a wizard spell to emulate or understand to the physics behind the magic, but it isn't quite necessary. Emotions and memories work as further fuel for their magic, but that's a dangerous path.


...I don't actually know if I answered your question with any of that. If I didn't, Nameless can cast any of the few magical tricks she's picked up with either skill. Illusions are currently easier for her to handle with wizardry and fire magic is more compatible with sorcery.
>> No. 57945
>>57942
That makes things much clearer, thanks.
Guess I'll be voting for Sorcery next time.
>> No. 58397
Oh god, it's been like two months.

Called for:
...a bunch of stuff, all at once!
>> No. 58548
File 139996918287.jpg - (10.79KB , 450x375 , it`s all in the wrist.jpg ) [iqdb]
58548
[X] – Training and travelling. Why can’t I hold all this magic?

“Let’s go find you that fragment, Rob.” I say, nodding to the wisp.

“Wonderful! It’s been so long since I was right and properly me!” Rob glows and buzzes a bit, something that I can’t recall it doing before.

“How long is this going ta take?” Yuki looks less sour than usual, despite her tone. I think the fresh air is doing her good.

“Who knows? Three weeks at most, less than half of one at the least. Distance in the Outlands is meaningless.” Rob says.

“We aren’t going to get attacked by those mercs if we leave by the pass again, right?” Mystia looks understandably nervous.

“Don’t worry,” I say, “we don’t have what they’re after. We’re not even coming from the right direction.”

“True.” She manages a smile. “A bit longer out and about wouldn’t be bad.”

“Fine,” Yuki says, “but Nameless? You-”

“Need to train my magic. I know.” You don’t have to rub it in, Yuki. It’s readily apparent.

“Long as you understand.”

A few weeks worth of supplies don’t set us back much money. While Mystia does her best to get a good deal on them, Yuki makes me go with her to practice magic. Rob follows us before going back to get Mystia.

“Alright Nameless, you need to get better at your fire control. Seriously, it’s sloppy as all hell. We want ta do that quickly, so you get to suffer through the day.” Yuki smirks. “Now then, start shooting fire.”

“Right here?” I look around at the surrounding trees. They’re a bit too close for me to feel safe burning things.

Yuki sighs heavily. “Yes, right here. It’s cool and damp. You’re not going ta burn down the forest unless you really work at it.”

“If you say so. Just start shooting gouts of flame, then?”

“Not the thrown fire globs, yeah. I want you ta start as small as you can while still keeping it visible.”

Following Yuki’s instruction, I produce a tiny fire in my right hand, even smaller than a candle flame. It’s slightly difficult to sustain.

“Now what?”

“You keep it burning at that size until I tell you ta stop or make it bigger.”

This… this could take a while. “How does this exercise work, exactly?”

Yuki rests one hand in the crook of her other arm. She starts gesturing with her free hand as she talks, a pose I’ve come to associate with exposition. “Fire is a tricky thing. It isn’t really made of stuff like the other three elements. It’s temporary and goes out while the others stick around. As a result, shaping it is a huge pain until you get a feel for it. Even then, it doesn’t hold a form for long.”

“So this helps me learn the shaping part?”

“Who knows?” Yuki says with a shrug.

“Hey!”

“What?” She puts on her best ‘I’m so innocent!’ face.

“You weren’t serious about that, right? Right?”

Yuki stifles an oddly girlish laugh. “I like that about you, Nameless. You’re perceptive, but still fun to tease.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just playing along.” Most of the time.

Sure you are.

Rather than let myself be baited by that comment, I focus on the spell.

It’s not long before Mystia and Rob are along and we’re able to set off. It’s probably about halfway through the forest that I start to feel any sort of strain from the fire. Even so, I’m already a bit tired when we reach the mountains.

Naturally, this is when Yuki decides to tell me to boost my energy output. A third of the way up, I need a break. My arms feel leaden and I’m starting to get lightheaded. Yuki makes me get moving again by threatening to drag me if she has to. It’s awful. I’m barely able to stand by the time we make camp.

---

(Day 27)

If I thought it wouldn’t get worse, I was wrong. It rained all day and I had to double the size of the fire to keep it going. Yuki said something about opposed elements, but I was too out of it at the time to hear. I did get that it’s harder to make even magical fire when it’s overly wet out.

At least the rain drove whatever stalks the mountain pass to seek shelter. I didn’t feel like I was going to get jumped by anything this time. Unfortunately, we head down the mountain again tomorrow.

---

(Day 28)

Almost fell off the path a few times as I got tired out. It being less windy than it was before doesn’t mean it’s not still windy. It looks like those bandit guys have dispersed, so that’s something.

---

(Day 29)

Hilly terrain might actually be more tiring than mountain terrain, just less deadly. At least it should get easier from here, right?

---

(Day 30)

Wrong.

---

(Day 33)

Bleh. I’ve been practically dead on my feet for the last few days. My hands will probably heal up in a week at most. In the meantime, Yuki has to write my journal entries while I dictate. She’s not very happy about that, but honestly, I really don’t-

“Ungrateful. I teach you out of the kindness of my heart and you repay me by being an ass about it.” Yuki lightly jabs me with the pen.

I’m sorry, what part of having me tire myself out for the better part of a week is ‘teaching’?”

“You’ve improved, haven’t you?” Yuki says with a grin.

“…I have?” If that was the case, I wouldn’t have burned myself.

“Well yes, you managed ta keep it up until I had you stop. I mean sure, you have some more fine tuning ta work on for control, but you have the mechanics down. You’re as fast a learner as I was.”

I have trouble believing that she’s being sincere here.

“Kid,” Rob says, “maybe you didn’t notice, being more of a zombie than you ever were during that Mortuary breakout, but you’ve seriously got better. More than that, Yuki just paid you a compliment. A sincere one, or Yuki-sincere, anyway. That says something.”

Ha hah.” Yuki shoots Rob a glare.

I… well maybe I just haven’t seen the results due to perspective. “At what point will I stop having to worry about burning myself?”

“When you shell out for a protection ring or learn ta cast element wards yourself. Either of those could be a while off. I still burn myself. Most firecasters do, it’s just the more powerful ones tend ta do it less. They wouldn’t last long otherwise, not at high levels.”

“I probably don’t want to know, but what’s the mortality rate for magicians?”

Yuki frowns. “I assume you mean the adventuring types like we seem to be.”

“Yes.”

“There's lots of weak ones, hardly any really powerful ones. Some of that is changing careers or losing their abilities or the like. I don’t think more die at the bottom rung than with any other type of person, proportion-wise, anyway. You’ll find most of the really big deal wizards are old smelly folks. Don’t see many old sorcerers.”

“Why not?”

“Burn fast, burn bright, the fires of tonight, ashes by morning’s light.” Yuki’s ever-confident grin turns more subdued.

“That a quote from a poem?” Mystia asks. “I didn’t take you for the type.”

“Not from a poem, no. It was something my da liked ta say. He wasn’t great with words, or really a lot of things, I guess.”

“It’s not the best, but it gets the point across.” Rob says.

Mystia speaks up again. “Is he not-”

“Doesn’t matter.” Yuki brushes Mystia’s question off before she finishes it. “Rob, how far out are we?”

“Maybe a few hours?” The wisp says. “Around two, I’d guess.”

“Good. We should get a move on.”

---

We soon reach a sort of homestead carved out of the wilderness. There are a few fields that are partially overgrown, an orchard of fruit trees, and a house off in the distance, half covered in ivy. It doesn’t seem lively, despite nature waging a war on the organized trappings of civilization. I can hear birds chirping, but I don’t see a single person.

“This is the place.” Rob says. “She never did care for order and clean much.”

“So, who is it we’re here to see, exactly?” Mystia asks.

“One of my old apprentices, back from when I had a body. She has one of my souls. I can feel it nearby. She’d never part with it for someone else.”

“You were in that rock for how long?” Yuki asks. “Would an apprentice of yours live this long?”

“Not everyone is a human, you know. Lots of creatures live longer.” Mystia says with a smirk.

“Eh, whatever.” Yuki crosses her arms.

“In any case, if she hasn’t mellowed out over the years, she might well have traps or illusions in place. We’d do well to be careful.” Rob says.

The house is the obvious place to check, but I notice a few oddities that seem suspicious.

[1] – That grove of trees has a few burns about, among other, more unusual signs of magic. Is that a training area or…
[2] – Strange, a pair of stone obelisks a little ways off. I wonder what the deal is with those.
[3] – At the moment, those are just distractions. We should just check the house first.

***
Almost three months... I need to get my shit together.

Is it just me or does THP seem slower than usual? I'll be trying to up the pace on things, so hopefully I'll manage to deliver timely updates all summer.
>> No. 58549
[1] – That grove of trees has a few burns about, among other, more unusual signs of magic. Is that a training area or…
You've been training fire magic too? We're practically best buddies already!

>THP seem slower
'Tis the season to cram and stress.
>> No. 58550
[1] – That grove of trees has a few burns about, among other, more unusual signs of magic. Is that a training area or…

This might tell us something about the owner's capabilities.
>> No. 58551
[1] – That grove of trees has a few burns about, among other, more unusual signs of magic. Is that a training area or…

Seems like a good place to start.
>> No. 58575
In CYOAs, distractions are just that: distractions. There's no convenient powerful item at the end of every dead trap not experience that isn't granted by finishing quests. With that in mind:

[x] distractions, all of them. Enter the house
>> No. 58578
Called for:

[1] – That grove of trees has a few burns about, among other, more unusual signs of magic. Is that a training area or…
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