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File: merfolk 640.jpg (146 KB, 1004x758)
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You are Marcus Fowler. Demonologist, merchant, heretic. It's morning in Rathburg, and the people are beginning to panic. Word of Chief Sovaron's ultimatum spreads quickly and it isn't long before the entire town is turning itself inside out. With the merfolk threatening to turn their demons loose and let them slaughter the town unless the inhabitants hand over the thief and the silver that he stole by sunrise tomorrow, the entire town is frantically searching in the hopes of avoiding more bloodshed.

Of course, the odds that they'll actually find the thief and his stolen silver before the deadline are low. Most of the townsfolk don't even know what they're really looking for, and the situation is steadily worsening as people begin accusing each other of harboring or even being the thief. Others are desperately trying to figure out what sort of special silver the merfolk even want, though they're having even less luck. Not many people in Torien know much about Hell-forged silver, and you're fairly certain the only people in Rathburg who could recognize it are you, Ibrahim, and the thief himself.

Meanwhile, you, Ibrahim, and Hannah are in Rathburg's main market square, trying to collect up the remains of your wares after one of Sovaron's demons smashed your stall. Sovaron and his demons have departed, leaving you to sift through the debris. There are some other people in the market, but with most of townsfolk scrambling to try to find the thief, they're mostly other merchants and scavengers doing the same thing that you're doing.

It's at that point you hear a strange voice. "Hey! Hey you!" It seems to be coming from a crate that's lying on its side. "Marcus! Down here!"

You take a moment to look around the market. No one appears to be paying you any special attention, so you lean down to look inside the overturned crate. Sitting atop a pile of furs is a large crow with bright blue runes running along its body. You recognize it as the bird that flew up to you and examined your wagon when you arrived in Rathburg.
>>
"Caw," it says.

After a moment of indignant silence at the idea of a demonic crow actually saying 'caw,' you ask, "Aren't you one of the demons the merfolk had watching the town? I think we met yesterday."

It nods. "Yeah, that was me."

Your eyes narrow into a glare. "One of your colleagues wrecked my stall."

"Yeah, look," the demon says, fidgeting. "I'm really sorry about that and all, but we've got bigger problems."

"We?" you ask, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, we." It pokes its head out of the box and quickly glances about the market. "Look, I can't say much right now, but just know that some of the merfolk aren't exactly big supporters of Sovaron. One of them wants to meet with you."

"Who?" It strikes you as rather odd that one of the merfolk's demons would approach you looking to undermine Sovaron only minutes after he delivered his ultimatum. "Where?"

"Someone who still wants to resolve this with a minimum of bloodshed. She's down at the riverside docks. There's a secluded spot there that the merfolk use to meet people on the sly."

> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved today.
> Refuse. Better to salvage what you can and leave this town before things get any worse.
> Say you'll think about it. You need to focus on recovering your wares.
> Write in.
>>
>>2642616
>> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved today.
Ah dammit... this had better be worth our time.
>>
Prior threads can be found here:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Demonologist%20Quest

Alerts will be posted on the QM's twitter, which can be found here:
https://twitter.com/DemonologistQM

Additional resources
Inventory: https://pastebin.com/4azYmrHh
Character List: https://pastebin.com/SN1j50bJ

In Demonologist Quest, players will sometimes be prompted to roll dice when performing certain actions. The base amount of dice is five d10s and the number of rolls that meet or exceed the DC determines the outcome.

0: Critical failure
1: Major failure
2: Minor failure
3: Minor success
4: Major success
5: Critical success

Players can have allied assistance with a roll, in which case they roll a number of additional d10s determined by the skill of the ally.

If the result is a minor or major failure, players can choose to add a bonus to a roll through bargaining. This comes at the price of potential negative consequences unrelated to the success or failure of the task. The probability and severity of the negative consequence are determined by the size of the bonus being added. Critical failures cannot be bargained away, nor can bargaining result in a critical success.

If players choose to bargain, I will roll one d10 and the consequences will depend on the result of that roll.
If players bargain for a +1 bonus on their initial roll, then negative consequences will occur if the bargaining roll is a 3 or less.
If players bargain for a +2 bonus on their initial roll, then negative consequences will occur if the bargaining roll is a 6 or less.
If players bargain for a +3 bonus on their initial roll, then negative consequences will occur if the bargaining roll is a 9 or less.
If players bargain for a +4 bonus on their initial roll, then negative consequences are guaranteed and the second roll will simply determine the nature of the consequences.
The severity of the negative consequences varies based on the result of the bargaining roll. See image.
>>
>>2642616
> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved today.

Going to sleep now. Try to save the town while I amout
>>
>>2642616
>> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved today.
>>
>>2642616
>> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved


Guys, I suspect the mayor, he is one of the people greedy enough and with reason enough to not leave town until he finds a buyer
>>
Well, figures this would return at ass o clock.. I hate my timezone sometimes.

>>2642616
>Accept.
>>
>>2642616
> Accept. You can have Hannah and Ibrahim to finish cleaning up, this needs to be resolved today.
>>
Accept it is, now writing.
>>
You pause to consider your options. You already spent the time and effort coming here, and you've paid for a week's lodging in Rathburg, so having to flee the town now to avoid being killed by demons would be inconvenient. Then again, you're also fairly sure that there's a saying about not throwing good money after bad. But beyond personal mercantile reasons, there's the simple fact that there are a lot of innocent people in Rathburg who will die soon, and you might have the power to stop it.

"Where exactly is this meeting place?"

The crow hops slightly to reorient itself and gestures to the southwest with one of its wings. "There's a warehouse about half a mile upriver from the bridge, near where that ferry dropped you off yesterday. It's an old thing that's collapsed half way into the river."

You sigh, then after a moment's hesitation you nod. "Alright. Tell whoever it is that I'll be there shortly."

The crow pauses for a few seconds, staring blankly back at you. You're about to ask if something's wrong when it speaks up again. "Done. Don't keep her waiting." With that, it hops out of the crate and takes flight.

You watch the demon fly off, somewhat confused, then go speak to your compatriots. "Hannah."

"Yes, Marcus?"

"I have a lead on a way to stop this situation from getting any worse."

"Wait, you know something about the thief that the merfolk mentioned?" She gives you a puzzled look, and you can see wheels turning in her mind as she tries to piece together when you could have possibly learned something in the single day you've been in Rathburg. "Do you know where he is?"

You shake your head. "No, not yet. But I might be able to talk to someone who knows more." You nod in the direction of Ibrahim, who is currently gathering up some of the tools that you bought in San Laurent. "Stay with Ibrahim and try to gather up as much of our wares as you can. If I'm not back soon, head back to Warwick's Lodge and wait for me there."

Hannah shifts nervously. "Are you sure Marcus? After what that demon did..." She shivers slightly. "The screams, and all that blood..."

You take Hannah's hands in your own and give her a reassuring smile. "You'll be fine, Hannah," you say, gently rubbing her hands with your thumbs. "Ibrahim will keep you safe while I'm gone." Then you lean a bit closer and whisper, "and you remember what I taught you?"

She swallows hard and nods. "What about you?"

"I haven't gotten this far by being completely helpless," you say, letting go of her hands and casually shrugging. "I'll be fine."

After a moment she sighs. "Alright Marcus, just be careful," she says, giving you a pleading look.
>>
You simply grin back at her and wave goodbye, then start heading down toward the docks. The normal bustle of business in Rathburg has been replaced by arguments, recriminations, and occasional fights as groups of people go door-to-door looking for the thief and his stolen silver. You pass by several shops that are in the process of being searched, their owners either standing back helplessly or bickering with some of the searchers. Thankfully, nothing has gotten too bad just yet, though some of the people aren't being particularly careful about the stuff they're upending. For now, though, there isn't much malice in the air, just desperation.

Soon you arrive at the docks, and you quickly spot the building that the demon crow described. It's not particularly large for a warehouse and it looks like it used to be built up on a pier, though that has since collapsed. Now sits at an angle, one half up on the shore while the other is partially submerged in the river. The only doorway that you can see above the waterline has a heavy piece of fabric draped across it in place of an actual door, and as you approach it you hear a voice from above you.

"Oh, and Marcus?"

You look up and see the crow from the market sitting perched in an alcove above the doorway, along with three other, identical crows. All four of them are intently staring down at you with glowing blue eyes.

"How do you know my name, anyway?"

"Etordan told us when he made his report," replies one of the crows. "But just so you know, you try anything stupid here and I'll kill you painfully."

"Noted." Your hand goes to Keboro's pendant as you contemplate entering the old building. It remains still.

You push the fabric aside and walk into the warehouse. Much of the floor has rotted away, leaving only a handful of wooden boards amid a floor of dirt and mud. Plants of all kinds have taken root among the ruined building, and at the far end is a large pool of water where the river has flooded it. You see a shape circling inside the water. You're stepping up onto a large rock, partially covered by a tarp of some kind, to get a better look, when a head pokes up out of the water.
>>
A young woman's voice greets you. "Ah, hello!" The figure darts over to the edge of the rock and hauls herself up to sit on it. She's a merfolk with teal skin, purple fins, and a cheerful smile. "You're Marcus? I'm Deshka."

"Hello, Deshka," you say, sitting down on the rock next to her. The hair on the back of your neck stands on end as you do. Looking around the rotting warehouse you notice a dozen crows with runes on their feathers and glowing blue eyes glaring down at you menacingly. "Your demon told me that you wanted to try to stop the bloodshed."

"Right," she says with a nod. "That's Arkoris." She looks up at the crows, and seeming to notice the intense hostility radiating from them, she leans close to you and whispers behind one of her hands. "If he did anything melodramatic like threaten to pluck out your eyes, I'm sorry about that. He's just a bit protective, that's all." Then she leans back and clears her throat. "Anyway, we've managed to piece some things together and we think you might be able to help us find the thief before Sovaron kills more people."

You hold up one hand. "Hang on, there are a lot of things I'd like to know before I agree to anything."

"Okay, I can answer your questions," she says, nodding again. "But the sooner we handle this, the fewer people will get hurt while Rathburg is collectively flailing about."

Pick up to three questions:
> What's your angle here?
> What do you know about me?
> What do you know about the thief?
> Who is Sovaron and what is his problem?
> Up until now the merfolk have been gentle about the search. Why the change?
> What's in it for me?
> Write in.

Or:
> Skip questions, proceed directly to what the merfolk's plan is.
>>
>>2643091
> What do you know about the thief?
> Who is Sovaron and what is his problem?
> What's your angle here?
>>
>>2643100
Second
>>
>>2643100
Supporting, may as well get the basics out of the way first.
>>
>>2643100
this and right after hear the plan
>>
>>2643100
Writing this.
>>
"What exactly do you know about the thief?"

"Well, we know that he's still in Rathburg, and we're pretty sure that he's in the catacombs beneath the town."

You raise an eyebrow at that. "How?" You're not surprised to hear that there are catacombs beneath Rathburg. A lot of cities and towns built in strategic places are built on the ruins of cities from the Age of Miracles that were destroyed in the Great War. But the fact that Deshka is confident that the thief is there is interesting.

"We have a demon that can detect materials in a general area," she replies. "It's still sensing a very large amount Hell-forged silver somewhere in Rathburg. We've spent the last month turning the town itself upside down without any luck, so my uncle, Chief Darlashk, has come to believe that it's probably not in the town proper. Searching the catacombs has been a much slower process, it's a mess down there, and we've come to believe that whoever the thief is has some knowledge of demons and has been using that to stay a step ahead." She nervously fiddles with one of the fins on her head. "We'll probably find him eventually, maybe in another week or two, but now Rathburg doesn't have that long."

"You think the thief is a demonologist?"

Deshka nods. "Who else in Torien would want to hold on to that much Hell-forged silver? Anyone else would have tried to smuggle it out of Torien or sell it. Whoever this thief is, he wants to keep it, and that means he's probably a summoner. And the kind of theft we're talking about isn't small, so we're pretty sure the thief is part of a larger group." She pauses for a moment, then asks, "Have you heard the rumors about a cabal in Torien?"

You try your best to "Why would I know about that?"

The merfolk rolls her eyes at that. "Etordan's report made it pretty clear that you've dealt with demons before," she says matter-of-factly. Then her tone shifts to a somewhat more conciliatory one. "We don't think you're with the cabal, but we know that you're at least a journeyman summoner." She smiles cheerfully again. "I know summoners in Torien have to hide their practice, but you don't need to be coy with us."

"But you think the thief is a part of the cabal," you say quickly, eager to move on from that particular topic.

She nods again. "Yes."
>>
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"If you know all this, then what is Chief Sovaron doing?"

Deshka lets out an exasperated sigh when you mention that name. "Chief Sovaron is being an idiot, as usual," she says, placing a webbed hand over half of her face.

You give her a humorless smile. "Not an admirer?"

"No," she says flatly. "He's not my chief, he's not even from one of the bay tribes. He's a simpleminded buffoon who leads the Thandil Run tribe from up the coast to the northeast," Deshka continues, getting a little bit more animated with each word. "Up until last night, my uncle Darlashk led the coalition. Sovaron used Etordan's report about your arrival to convince enough of the tribes to back him and his 'strategy'." Deshka holds up two fingers on each hand and flexes them as she says the last part, then lets out a frustrated grumble.

"Why would they go along with him?"

She sighs again, deflating slightly. "Because a bunch of the tribes in the coalition are like him, not from the bay. Some of them are far from home," she says, in a much more sympathetic tone than the one she used to talk about Sovaron. "They've been here a month now, they're getting impatient, and they don't have to deal with the consequences of what happens here after they get their silver and go home. When you arrived, Sovaron was able to spin the arrival of a human summoner to rile them up just enough to get them to give him a try. He convinced them that Darlashk has been letting your people play us for fools and that we need to be more aggressive."

"He'll probably be ousted as leader in a week," she continues, her frustrated tone returning. "He tends to wear out his welcome fast, but a lot of people will be dead by the time that happens. Of course, any damage he does doesn't really matter to him, since he gets to go back to the Run when all this is over." Once again her voice steadily becomes more and more angry as she speaks. "In the mean time, that blowfish gets to do the one thing he cares about: Looking tough."

Silence follows her words, and she seems to realize that perhaps she was straying a bit too far into her own personal opinion. "I'm sorry," she says softly. "I'm rambling. I just-" She grasps at the air in front of her with her hands. "I get angry just thinking about it. Thinking about how there are people dying just so he can posture and preen."
>>
"What about you?"

That seems to snap her out of it. "Pardon?" she asks, cocking her head to the side.

"Why are you so passionate about this? And why are you willing to go against the leader of this merfolk coalition? Couldn't this get you in a lot of trouble?"

"I'm from the Jorran Maw tribe. We live in Rathera Bay. We've traded with the people of Rathburg for generations." Deshka looks down at the water and starts idly stirring it with her tail. "I have friends here," she says sadly. "When the coalition formed to get our silver back, my uncle tried to keep things as bloodless as possible because he wants to be able to go back to that after all this is done." She pauses for a moment, then in a soft voice adds, "I'd like that too."

Several more seconds pass in silence before she continues. "Arkoris told me that he saw Sovaron's demons kill people, and not for any good reason. Just so Sovaron could make a big show and look tough when he went up to make his speech. I don't want any more people to die. Not for this, and certainly not for Sovaron's ego."

After another few seconds of quite passes and it's clear Deshka is finished, you stand up again. "Okay," you say. "What's the plan?"

"We need you to summon a demon, preferably one that can help you find the thief if you have one, and to go into the catacombs."

"Why would that help?"

"The thief is probably a cabal summoner who has been playing eel and minnow with our demons, staying on the move to avoid discovery. We need you to go in there with a demon so that he'll think you're a fellow cabal summoner and come out of hiding to meet you."

> Agree (specify demon)
> Refuse
> Counterproposal (specify)
> Write in
>>
>>2643489

> Agree (Best Doggo Demon)

How is hell forge metal gotten in such vast amounts?
>>
>>2643498
Support
>>
Ok, she's said her reasons, explained the plan, but in the end what are we getting out of this? How is she paying us?
>>
>>2643489
> Agree (doggy)
But what will they do once we find the summoner. How do they intend to kill or capture him?
>>
A brief reminder, you have three demons with skills suitable for the task. Tethis, Keboro, and Karkordon.

Tethis is the cheapest to summon and would definitely be able to find a person, though not necessarily this specific person. You might end up meeting some other people before you find the person you're looking for.

Keboro is more expensive, but is more tailored to finding a specific person, namely someone whose fate is very closely linked to a lot of local deaths in the near future.

Karkordon is the most expensive, but his beast control abilities will allow him to very easily find anyone and anything in the catacombs. Getting him to go in there with you, however, may be a tough sell. It's probably filthy in there.
>>
>>2643489
>Summon Karkordon, and Thalia
>Use rats to scout the catacombs
>Find a cabalist or two to impersonate
>Infiltrate along with Ibrahim
>don't fuck up
>seriously, don't
>>
Actually, for the sake of clarity, I'm going to go ahead and start writing up a story post with her answering these questions.
>>2643498
>>2643509
>>2643513
>>
Summon Karkordon to find the guy, and then summon Tethis to follow us down there, if we can spend and convince Karkordon we take him down there with us.
ask her for the sacrifices as payment too


we are not a heartless bastard that would let an entire town to be murdered by inaction(since we want to spread knowledge not rifle through the corpses) but we would like something as payment too
>>
>>2643542
This sounds like a pretty good plan, we could have Karkordon leave a marker for Tethis to sniff out for ease of travel.
>>
>>2643489
>>2643542
supporting
>>
>>2643542
This one's pretty strong, I fear sewerboy might detect the clues that Karkordon leaves, tho.
>>
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"How exactly did the thief get so much Hell-forged silver?"

Deshka looks a bit sheepish when she hears the question. "Well," she says, swishing her tail back and forth just under the surface of the water. "To be honest, we're still not entirely sure how they stole it from us. And while there's probably only one thief in Rathburg, a group wouldn't have been able to stay ahead of our demons this long, we are pretty sure it's a 'they' when it came to the stealing part."

"As for how we got it in the first place, well, lots of ways." She shrugs. "Some of it we traded for, the orcs on the far side of the Borel Sea don't do much else besides trade. Some tribes scavenged it from the sea floor. Even after centuries there are still good wrecks leftover from the Age of Miracles. Some of us even had it commissioned." She gives you a wry grin. "Though let me tell you, forge demons are massive egomaniacs, especially the ones powerful enough to make Hell-forged silver."

"Can't say I've ever dealt with one."

"Not surprising, most won't give a summoner in Torien the time of day. They think it's beneath them," she whispers to you. Then she pauses and stretches out the next answer, like a child admitting that she did something she wasn't supposed to do. "And yes, some of the tribes got it by stealing it from walkers. Not the bay tribes," she says quickly, trying to reassure you. "We're no where near walkers who have any to steal. But people like the Shiverpoint tribe over near the Dvergan Empire? Yeah, they probably stole theirs."

"Speaking of thieves," you say, trying to bring the conversation back to more immediate concerns. "What are you planning to do when we find the thief?"

Deshka lets out a nervous laugh. "Uh, yeah. Heh. About that. Funny story. See, I'm not going in there with you."

Your eyes narrow. "What."

She holds up her webbed hands as she quickly tries to explain. "It's not that I don't want to help, it's just that I can't! I need to get back before people notice that I'm gone. I can't swim in there, the water in those catacombs is more sewage than anything else, and I'd need a major flesh sculptor to get a pair of legs. It's the Shiverpoint tribe's demon, so they'd know about it, and they might tell Sovaron. And me being there would make the thief much less likely to trust you." The more she talks, the more ashamed she sounds of her own excuses. Eventually she shifts from where she was sitting on the rock back into the water.
>>
You sigh. "So how am I supposed to get this thief to hand over the silver?"

"I was sort of hoping that you'd be able to figure that out," she says lamely, sinking down into the water as if trying to hide from you.

"What."

"Hey, don't worry about it." She says nervously. "Just let the thief think that you're one of the cabal like him. He's probably horribly exhausted from being on the run for a month, so he won't be thinking straight. Just, you know, fast talk him. Tell him you're here to help smuggle him out of Rathburg or something."

You press your face against the palm of your hand. "This plan is sounding less appealing by the minute."

"I know," Deshka replies shyly. "But I only had a few hours to come up with it. This insanity with a deadline tomorrow at dawn was a surprise to me too."

"Okay," you say, pressing your hands together in front of your face. "But the demons that I'm going to need won't work for free."

"Ah! Hang on," she says quickly, then pops down into the water completely. You see the shadow of her body in the water disappear through a partially submerged hole in the side of the building. She returns a minute later, holding out a golden coin. "Here, take this." You take the coin and examine it, at first thinking it's a gold Karen. However upon closer inspection you realize it's a gold Welkin, an older, purer coin worth about twice as much.

"There's a slaughterhouse downriver from here, near the ferry," Deshka contines. "They probably have at least a few live pigs there. This should be enough to buy one or two to cover your summons. You can bring them back here and use this rock for a summoning circle. Arkoris can keep watch to make sure no one will see you work. As for a reward for you, well..." She shifts nervously again. "I'll talk to my uncle about paying you if this all works out?"

"What."

"Look, I'm sorry, I just don't have much to pay you with on hand right now." She looks around the old warehouse, then seemingly gets an idea when she sees the crows watching from the rotting rafters. "I mean, I could give you Arkoris' symbols-"

"No," the bird says flatly.

"Okay, okay," she says.

> Insist on some form of guaranteed payment (specify)
> Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
> Write in.
>>
>>2643736
> Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
>>
>>2643736
>Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
>>
>>2643736
>> Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
>>
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>>2643736
> Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
Given how much he dislikes us you'd think that bird is ready for murder.
>>
>>2643736
>Leave payment for later, go acquiring pigs for summoning.
Honestly We're doing it so we don't get murdered to death by the Merfolk summoned Demons.

Though a kiss on the lips by Deshka would be a nice way for a little payment.
I wonder if Merfolk reproduce like Humans. We should ask one of our Demon Bros if that's even possible one of these days.
>>
Now writing payment later, acquire pigs.
>>
"It's alright," you say with a gentle smile. "You're doing a noble thing, trying to save the people of Rathburg. I'll trust your word on payment."

Deshka brightens up considerably when she hears that, and you think you see the color in her face deepen slightly at your words. "Well, that's a relief. Thank you," she says, smiling back at you. "I promise you won't regret this."

"Although," you say, tapping a finger against the side of your chin as if in thought. "I suppose there is one thing..."

She looks curious. "Oh? What is it?"

You grin. "It's traditional for the hero to receive a kiss from a lovely lady. And I can't think of a better candidate than you," you say, bowing slightly and gesturing toward her.

Deshka stiffens slightly and flushes a deep shade of blue-green. "Well, thats-" she stutters and turns away from you. "I, um, I mean-" Her hands suddenly start fussing with her hair, as if she just now is realizing that it's wet and clinging to her body. Her lithe, slender body, you note as you take the opportunity to appreciate her figure. With full breasts and a taught midriff that flares out in a gentle curve as it reaches her tail. "Thank you," she mutters. "I-"

She's cut off when a mass of black feathers smacks you in the face. One of the birds has descended from the rafters and is battering your head with its small wings.

Amidst the wingbeats you can hear Deshka shouting. "Arkoris!"

"Hey! Ow! I wasn't being serious," you say, trying to slap away the demonic bird. "No need to get your feathers ruffled."

After a few more seconds of harassment, the bird relents and returns to its perch in the rafters. A moment of awkward silence follows as you try to straighten yourself out, Deshka glares angrily at Arkoris, and Arkoris glares menacingly at you.

Eventually the silence is broken by Deshka clearing her throat. "Well, yes. Ahem. In any case, I need to head back. If I'm gone any longer, people might start getting suspicious. The nearest entrance to the catacombs is in the cellar of an old ruined shop to the east of here," she says, pointing back in the direction of Rathburg's market. "It's the building with the caved in roof and a pair of large beams sticking out to the north." Deshka starts to move over toward the hole in the side of the building, then pauses to turn back to you. "Good luck, Marcus," she says with a shy smile, then dives out of sight. The darkened shape of her body seems to briefly linger inside, and for a moment you think it's glancing back at you before finally it disappears out through the hole and into the river.
>>
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You look up at the birds sitting in the rafters. All of them are still glaring at you, and one gestures with two of the claws on one of its feet, pointing first at its eyes and then at your own. You sigh, then turn and leave the old warehouse.

The slaughterhouse isn't far, and with the gold welkin that Deshka gave you in hand, you have some choices. The money she provided will easily get you two pigs. One would likely be enough to summon Tethis or Keboro, though not both. That would allow you to pocket some of the money for yourself as a nice bit of payment upfront. You could get two, which would be enough to pay Karkordon, though probably not much else, or both Tethis and Keboro. Or you could add some of your own money to get a third pig, which would be enough for both Karkordon and another demon, or to just get Kerkordon to follow you down into the catacombs.

> Buy one pig, use it to summon Tethis, pocket the rest. Tethis is probably enough for this particular task, and he is the stealthiest of the three.
> Buy one pig, use it to summon Keboro, pocket the rest. Keboro is somewhat stronger in a fight, and his fate-based tracking might be more reliable.
> Buy two pigs, use them to summon both Keboro and Tethis.
> Buy three pigs, contributing 1 gold Karen of your own money, to summon Karkordon and another demon (specify).
> Buy three pigs, contributing 1 gold Karen of your own money, to summon Karkordon and go with him into the catacombs. Though he might complain about getting his claws dirty, he is still a fourth circle demon and is a beast in combat.
>>
>>2643981
>> Buy one pig, use it to summon Tethis, pocket the rest. Tethis is probably enough for this particular task, and he is the stealthiest of the three.
>>
>>2643981
>> Buy three pigs, contributing 1 gold Karen of your own money, to summon Karkordon and go with him into the catacombs. Though he might complain about getting his claws dirty, he is still a fourth circle demon and is a beast in combat.
One never goes into confined spaces without sufficient firepower, because once you're there there very little room to move and retreat, and too much risk to get ambushed. Thus better to have more firepower than less if we want to go down.
>>
>>2643981
>> Buy three pigs, contributing 1 gold Karen of your own money, to summon Karkordon and go with him into the catacombs. Though he might complain about getting his claws dirty, he is still a fourth circle demon and is a beast in combat.
I would rather be poor than dead.
>>
Now writing bringing Karkordon with you into the catacombs.
>>
>>2643981
I was thinking, what about we ask Ibrahim to buy a sack of salt and we leave the carcasses there, so we can butcher themthourgly later?
>>
>>2643981
Deshka an absolute cute
>>
>>2643981
> Buy three pigs, contributing 1 gold Karen of your own money, to summon Karkordon and go with him into the catacombs. Though he might complain about getting his claws dirty, he is still a fourth circle demon and is a beast in combat.
>>
>>2644066
She truly is a Cinnamon Bun worth protecting.
Also she's cute for allowing us. A Demonologist, the chance to act like a Knight in shining armor like in the fairy tales. It's like half the reason I wanted her to give us a kiss just to complete the image.
>>
>>2644057
Not a bad idea, but is it a good idea to be buying things right now what with shops being raided by people looking for the thief?
>>
>>2644073
It was a good idea, and definitely fit our character, I dig
>>
>>2643981
>> Buy two pigs, use them to summon both Keboro and Tethis.
>>
>>2644079
I truly hope that when this is all over. We'll get some time to ourselves to write a fairytale down about our encounter with the Merfolk with a heavy dose of whimsy and modification to make it interesting.
>>
>>2643765
You.I like you.
>>
>>2643981
Tethis is a stupid choice to bring along in the catacombs. He's dumb and might blow our cover due to his hyper nature.
Supporting bringing Karkordon along.
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>>2644128
QM's already writing that, chumley.
>>
>>2642616
>"Caw," it says.
>After a moment of indignant silence at the idea of a demonic crow actually saying 'caw,' you ask, "Aren't you one of the demons the merfolk had watching the town? I think we met yesterday."
>It nods. "Yeah, that was me."
I'm fucking dead.

This quest is the good shit, man.
>>
There's no telling what's down in those catacombs. There might be any number of brigands, smugglers, and petty thugs using it as a hideout. Or you might run into one of the demons from Sovaron's brute squad. There might even be something left over from the Age of Miracles. And then there's the possibility that the thief you're looking for might not be willing to part with the stolen silver. Deciding to leave nothing to chance, you opt for the safest course of action.

Though Remeer is probably the single deadliest demon in your arsenal, his talents won't help you actually find the thief. Instead, Karkordon's combination of beast control and raw power makes him the logical choice. You buy three pigs from the slaughterhouse, paying with the Welkin you got from Deshka and a Karen of your own, and lead them back to the old warehouse. You remove the tarp that was covering most of the large rock that you and Deshka sat on and smile at what you see. Carved into the stone is a summoning circle, with a small cutout piece held in place by a metal brace. That certainly makes your job easier.

You set about carving the symbols for Karkordon, and as you're just finishing the symbols, Arkoris' voice comes from his perch above you. "You know him?"

You nod. "Yes," you say, then stop and chuckle mirthlessly. "As much as anyone really knows Karkordon."

"He's not the friendliest sort."

He's one to talk, isn't he? "No," you reply. "No, he isn't." You finish the symbols and set them in a bowl. While you're inspecting the summoning circle, you idly ask, "What's the issue with me, anyway?"

"Hmm?"

"I've picked up quite a bit of hostility coming from you today."

A few seconds pass in silence before Arkoris responds. "After Etordan gave his report on you," he says, "I went back to Hell to check what other demons had to say about you. One of them, a sleep demon called Setra, claimed that she had worked with you."

You let out an exasperated sigh. That would explain some things. "What did she say about me?" you ask, though you're fairly sure you already know the answer.

"She said you're clever, enthusiastic, and not to be trusted around women."

Thank you, Setra. "So you don't trust me around Deshka," you say rather than ask.

"No," is the bird's flat reply.

You finish inspecting the circle and find it suitable for use. Now it's your turn to wait in silence for a few seconds before speaking. "And who is she to you," you ask, turning to look up at the crows. "If you don't mind me asking?"

Two dozen eyes glare back at you. "She's my great-granddaughter," the demon says.

"Ah."

"Exactly." Two of the birds fly down to one of the pigs, landing just behind its head. "So don't toy with her."
>>
With that, the two birds swiftly and simultaneous jam their beaks into the pig's skull, piercing bone and brain in an instant. The pig doesn't even have time to squeal, it simply collapses forward onto its belly, dead. You cut into it with a knife and begin draining its last blood. You fill the bowl to capacity, the wooden symbols floating in the thick red soup, and set it in the center of the summoning circle. You step back and speak the words.

The blood slowly comes to a boil as Karkordon takes his sweet time, making you wait for his decision as usual. Eventually the blood and the runes finally do burst into flames, and from the smoke emerges a large man with a reptilian head, clothed heavily in finery. You bow deeply and wait for Karkordon to speak.

You wait for several long seconds before he finally does. "Marcus," he says in a luxurious yet disdainful drawl. "It is Marcus now, isn't it?"

"Yes, Karkordon," you say, not rising from your bow.

You can see from the shadows cast about the rotting warehouse that Karkordon is slowly scanning the room. "What a disgusting place," he finally says contemptuously. "I trust you have a pressing reason for calling me to this cesspool?"

"Yes, Karkordon," you reply, keeping your tone as deferential as possible. "I would not waste your time on anything less than a matter of life and death."

"That is wise. Now rise and speak." You do as the demon commands, though very carefully do not meet his gaze. "Why have you summoned me? And in the company of a mere third circle of storms, no less," he says, scoffing at the birds perched in the rafters.

"Nice to see you too, Karkordon," Arkoris replies.

"Great Karkordon," you say, trying to keep the conversation on course. "The town of Rathburg is in danger. A coalition of merfolk tribes have gathered off the coast and are threatening to slaughter the populace. They desire a cache of Hell-forged silver that was stolen from them. The thief is another demonologist who is hiding somewhere in the catacombs beneath the town."

Karkordon raises a hand to the light to examine his own claws, inspecting them to ensure that they remain immaculate. "I could find this thief for you," he says after a time. "Though I trust you do not expect me to actually sully myself by tramping about in a sewer."
>>
You bow again, though not as deeply this time. "Please forgive my impertinence, Great Karkordon, but I had hoped that you would accompany me in apprehending the thief and recovering the silver. I do not know what dangers lurk there, and I thought that your power would be the best option when facing a potentially deadly enemy." You raise your head again and motion to the pigs, both the corpse and the other two living ones currently wallowing in the mud off to the side of the warehouse. "I have prepared additional sacrifices in the hopes that these offerings would make such a venture worthy of the inconvenience."

The demon scoffs again at the sight. "And that is all well and good, but why should I follow through? You have these three little pigs here for me now," he says with a smile made of pure disdain. "But why should I not simply sup upon them and then leave this town to its fate?"

You're familiar with this routine of Karkordon's. He's testing you. If he actually wanted to cheat you, he wouldn't have told you that. He's looking for an answer that will boost his own ego by 'proving' that you really are worth his time and that he made the correct decision in answer your summons.

"Should I be successful in recovering the silver," you say, carefully striking a balance between confidence and deference. "I will have the power either to keep it for myself, or to use it to gain the good will of eleven different merfolk tribes, each of whom have demonologists of their own. Either option will elevate my standing in Hell, and as my patron you will reap the rewards. One way or another, I will be able to do more, and with that increase in power I will be able to provide you with more and greater sacrifices in the future."

Silence follows, until Karkordon eventually nods. "Good," the demon says. "I will suffer this indignity for now. Release me, and I will help save your quaint little town." He raises a single clawed finger to stop you. "But I expect a return on this investment, Marcus."

You bow slightly again. "And you will have it, Great Karkordon."
>>
I'm going to call it a night here. We'll resume on Wednesday at 5pm EST, 2pm PST. I'll post a link in the QTG when we resume, and there will be something on my twitter page, which can be found here:
https://twitter.com/DemonologistQM

I'll be around tomorrow to answer questions (though as I mentioned last thread, I'm trying to tone down the big OOC text walls of setting answers) and as ever I remain a soulless monstrosity fueled only by comments.

Goodnight everyone.
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>>2644167
Thanks for running, Mr 8th circle.
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>>2644167
Thanks for running

Have a (you) this is great
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>>2644167
I apparently missed (part of?) a thread and I'm not happy about that. >:(
>>
I like Karkordon, he's an asshole and it's nice
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>>2644231
I was just thinking that, total prick but cool dude
>>
This might be the best quest since /qst/
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>>2644167
Thanks for running, even if I'm late to this one.
This is one of my favorite quests.
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>>2644593
seconded
we talked about this whole "sleeping" thing
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>>2642610
hey Demonologist QM, i lost the last part of the last thread, did you save anywhere?
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>>2644667
Both of the previous threads are archived here:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Demonologist%20Quest

Thread 1: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2570027/
Thread 2: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2600932/
>>
>>2644743
thanks
>>
>>2644167
This is fantastic.
>>
The entrance to the catacombs is where Deshka said it would be. The abandoned shop's floor looks like it collapsed down into a tunnel below so time ago, earth and rotting wood transitioning into ancient stone at the bottom of the hole in the center of the shop. The tunnel is pitch black, though thankfully Arkoris brought you a lantern before begrudgingly wishing you good luck and returning to his patrol. It takes a moment to light, but once you do you're able to find your way through the tunnel and into the catacombs below.

Long ago, in the Age of Miracles, many cities had vast networks of underground waterways to carry away all the waste created by the people above. Buried as they were, they were often one of the few things to survive the Great War, though centuries of disrepair and neglect since then have taken their toll. Still, the catacombs are an impressive work of engineering, and as you slowly move through the ancient stone passageways, you can't help but admire the people who were willing to put so much effort into creating something that would never see the light of day.

Karkordon, however, doesn't seem to appreciate such things. "The rats in this revolting place have identified three humans in the tunnels that could be your thief," he says with disgusted. The demon follows behind you, carefully minding his steps to avoid anything that might be filth. "A young man, a middle-aged man, and a young woman. I could easily have them swarm and kill all three, then search the remains."

"Thank you, Karkordon," you say quickly, "but that will not be necessary. The thief may have useful information that could prove valuable in the future. We will go meet with the thief, who is likely..."

> The young man. Who else would be foolish enough to stay in town for a whole month with demons looking for him every night?
> The middle-aged man. Anyone who could to have evaded the merfolk's demons for this long must have quite a bit of experience.
> The young woman. The other two could have any number of reasons for being down here, but a young woman? She's probably the thief.
> On second thought, have Karkordon kill all of them. Information on the cabal isn't worth being down here any longer than you need to be.
> Write in.
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>>2646914
Karkordon's rats can smell metal, can't they? see if the rats in any of the regions are sensing a metallic smell
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>>2646914
>The middle-aged man. Anyone who could to have evaded the merfolk's demons for this long must have quite a bit of experience.
>>
>>2646914
>> The young woman. The other two could have any number of reasons for being down here, but a young woman? She's probably the thief.
>>
>>2646914
>Middle aged man
It's the least flimsy reasoning, as far as I can tell.
>>
Now writing middle-aged man.
>>
Damn missed the vote
>>
Today is not going well. Expect delays.
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>>2646914
> The young woman. The other two could have any number of reasons for being down here, but a young woman? She's probably the thief.
>>
>>2647089
RIP
>>
Alright, I'm back and writing again. Hopefully that's the end of problems for today.

>>2647113
You can't kill that which has no life.
>>
>>2647142
Iä! Iä! Demonologist fhtagn!
>>
"The middle-aged man. Anyone who could have evaded the merfolk's demons for this long must have quite a bit of experience."

Karkordon guides you through the network of crumbling tunnels and chambers until finally you come to what looks like a makeshift campsite at the end of a caved-in tunnel. There's even a small fire going, and sitting atop a loose piece of stone next to it is a ragged man dressed in a heavy coat. You make sure to lift up the scarf around your neck to help cover part of your face and raise your hood. If this isn't the thief, you'd rather not have someone see your face while you're creeping around in the catacombs alongside a demon.

The man spots the light from your lantern as you approach. "Who- who are you?" He struggles to peer through the darkness at Karkordon. "Is that a Shar? Hoffman couldn't even get a human to finish me off?"

"Hoffman?" you respond, puzzled. "You mean the Mayor? What does he have to do with any of this?"

Now the man seems as confused as you are. "Isn't he the one who sent you after me and the letters?"

"Letters? No," you say, shaking your head. "I don't know anything about Hoffman and some letters."

The man just blinks for a moment, then says, "Oh." He breathes a sigh of relief and sinks back down into his seat. "I apologize for my rudeness then, I've been hiding down here for two weeks now, ever since the Mayor sent one of his men to kill me for finding out the truth."

"What truth?"

"He had his own brothers murdered so that he could keep his family's fortune for himself." He reaches over and picks up a pack off of the stone floor next to him. He reaches inside and produces a heavily wrapped package that he holds up in the dim firelight. "There's proof here in these letters. The shipwreck that killed his youngest brother? He had a man enlist the aid of a merfolk tribe, the Thandil Run, to engineer that. And his middle brother's death from consumption? He was going to make it through and recover, but Hoffman bribed the doctor to poison him."

You look at the package. From the way he hefts it, it's far too light to be metal. "That's why you're hiding down here?" you ask, turning back to him. "To avoid Hoffman?"

"Right." The man puts the package back in his pack and sets it down again. "I- I made the mistake of telling the wrong person about this," he says, looking over at the fire. "Trusted someone I shouldn't have. He must have told Hoffman I had figured it out, because that night one of Hoffman's thugs broke into my home and tried to kill me in my bed. I barely made it out alive."
>>
"What do you know about the situation with the merfolk?"

"The merfolk?" He scratches at an unkept beard as he ponders for a moment. "Well, last I heard they had gathered a group of tribes in the bay, and they were sending demons ashore looking for something." Then he shivers slightly, though not from the cold. "One of them found me a week ago. A big hunchback with a hood and four eyes that seemed to float right through one of the walls. He grabbed me and searched me, but after a that he let me go and just floated away through a wall again." He glances over at you, a worried look in his eyes. "That- that's not enough to damn you, is it?"

You smile slightly at the silliness of the question and are thankful that the scarf is covering your mouth. You shake your head again. "No, I think you'll be fine."

The man breathes another sigh of relief. "Oh thank God," he says, placing a hand on his chest.

You glance over at Karkordon, and in the dark you can see him tensing up, clenching his jaw at the insult to Solace. Thankfully, he doesn't act on it.

Oblivious, the man gives you a tired smile and says, "I'm David, by the way."

"Well met David," you reply. "I'm Thomas." Better to avoid the possibility of someone asking why Marcus Fowler, traveling merchant, was skulking around in the catacombs in the company of a Shar so far north he should have frozen by now.

But this is interesting. While it seems this man isn't the thief you're looking for, he does have something that could be quite valuable. That kind of leverage might come in handy if you can get him to give you those letters.

Your thoughts are interrupted by Karkordon whispering to you. "There is something coming."

"Can your rats identify it?"

"No. Whatever it is, it causes the rats to simply die if they stray to close. None have been able to get near enough to see what it is."

> Keep moving, go find the young man.
> Keep moving, go find the young woman.
> Stay to try to convince David to give you the letters. Fight whatever is coming if need be.
> Seek out and intercept whatever it is. You brought Karkordon down here for more than just his beast control abilities. He should be able to handle whatever it is.
> Write in.
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>>2647216
>Seek out and intercept whatever it is. You brought Karkordon down here for more than just his beast control abilities. He should be able to handle whatever it is.
>>
>>2647216
Convince david to give the letters
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>>2647216
>> Keep moving, go find the young man.
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>>2647216
Stay to try to convince David to give you the letters. Fight whatever is coming if need be.
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>>2647216
>> Keep moving, go find the young man.
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>>2647216
>> Keep moving, go find the young man.
Not our job to keep this guy safe
>>
Now writing for moving on to find the young man.
>>
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"We should move on. Karkordon, could you please guide me to the young man?" Karkordon nods and starts back down the tunnel you came from. "I'm sorry, but I need to get moving," you say to David as you slowly make to follow the demon. "There's someone else down here I need to find and time is of the essence."

"Wait," he says, getting to his feet and hurrying over to you. "Please, could you at least tell my wife that I'm still alive? I haven't been able to get to her, Hoffman has people watching her in case I come back. Her name is Helga." He doesn't seem to want to leave his camp, stopping at the edge of the firelight. As you walk back you're steadily increasing the distance between you. "We're cobblers," he calls after you. "Our shop is near the ferry. It has a picture of a dancer out front."

"I'll see what I can do," you call back to him. "Farewell, David."

He gives you a sad, tired wave as you turn a corner and lose sight of him. "Farewell, Thomas," you hear him say in the distance.

Hurrying to catch up to Karkordon, the two of you make your way though more tunnels. Though your sense of direction isn't faring very well down beneath the ground, you spy something that does help you. In one of the larger junctions you pass through, you spot a tiny crack in the ceiling far above you, and through it you can hear the familiar sound of a bustling town. Wherever you are, you're under one of the denser parts of Rathburg.

Up ahead you see a light coming from something moving in the tunnels. As you round a corner, you see a young man with a lantern walking ahead of you. He's facing away from you at first, but when he sees the light from your lantern play against the walls ahead of him, he turns around to face you.

"Hello?" he calls out. "Is someone there?"

"Hello," you say in return. As you approach, you offer out one of your hands. "I'm Thomas."

"Name's Ryan," he says, taking your hand and giving it a firm shake. He looks over at Karkordon and opens his mouth to say something, then seems to think better of it. He turns back to you and asks, "What are you doing down here?"
>>
"Looking for someone," you reply. "You?"

He looks down sheepishly and rubs the back of his neck. "There's a group of us planning on getting out of town before things with the merfolk get worse, but in all the rush to pack everything up, Alice lost her necklace down one of the old cracks that lead into the catacombs." Whoever Alice is, Ryan seems to get a bashful look in his eye when he mentions her name. "She's the sweetest girl in the world and seeing her so sad was just awful, so I came down here looking for it. I thought I knew these catacombs well enough. I knew where it would end up, and I knew where the entrance I came in would put me, but..." He trails off, wincing in embarrassment.

"You're lost."

"I'm lost."

You sigh and are about to say something about the folly of young love, when a sudden sound cuts you off. A terrified scream echoes through the catacombs in the direction you came from. Another scream follows it, this one trailing off in what sounds almost like a raspy gasp.

Ryan's eyes widen. "What was that?" Then he raises a hand to the side of his mouth. You scramble forward to cover his mouth, but before you can he manages to shout "Hello? Who-"

Your hand clamps firmly over his mouth as you shove him against the tunnel wall. After a few long, painful seconds frozen in silence, he seems willing to be quiet and you release him. The only sounds that remain are the dripping of water somewhere in the distance and the faint sounds of the town above your heads.

"It's coming this way again," Karkordon says quietly.

> Leave Ryan and go looking for the young woman. Ryan will die, but that's not your problem.
> Fight whatever this thing is. It's time for Karkordon to earn that blood you gave him.
> Write in.
>>
>>2647462
tell me again why we didn't help the poor guy fuck with the corrupt mayor? I still don't get it
>>
>>2647465
>> Fight whatever this thing is. It's time for Karkordon to earn that blood you gave him.
>>
>>2647465
>> Leave Ryan and go looking for the young woman. Ryan will die, but that's not your problem.

>>2647466
Because we have other shit to take care of.
>>
>>2647465
>Fight whatever this thing is. It's time for Karkordon to earn that blood you gave him.
>>
>>2647465
>Fight whatever this thing is. It's time for Karkordon to earn that blood you gave him.
Would Karkordon care for salvage or is he above that sort of thing?

>>2647466
Too many questions would be asked on how we know stuff, where we got that info, who we've been talking to etc. It could turn too dirty too quickly. I'd say solve this and maybe give the info to the merfolk for leverage or something. Might help solve their long-term relationship.
>>
>>2647475
The thing will not stop, we have the means to deal with it, it's just a matter of doing it
>>
>>2647465
>> Leave Ryan and go looking for the young woman. Ryan will die, but that's not your problem.

You know, after 2 miss out of 3, at this point I'm thinking none of the three offered choices are our target, and maybe we should just kill everything we perceive down here just to be safe. Of course, this stalker could be just a distraction to give more time for the real perp to run. In that case maybe ignoring these unrelated people would be the smarter choice.

>>2647466
time and effort invested not worth it. The reward would've been a risky evidence that may or my not bring yet more consequences if we tried to leverage it. But mostly? I'm just not interested in the mayor at all. Just because people are corrupt doesn't mean it's our job to do something about it. Why make an enemy when we're here to sell stuff and teach Hannah practice demon summoning.
>>
>>2647465
>> Write in.
find the woman, and ask ryan to come with you. Warn something in the tunnels is killing everything it finds.
>>
Gonna call the vote in favor of fighting. Writing now.
>>
>>2647465

> Leave Ryan and go looking for the young woman. Ryan will die, but that's not your problem.
>>
>>2647491
Well, we ARE here to teach others as well as hannah about demons, and generally sow seeds of doubt of the church's religion in the minds of people. We're a heretic. If the same guy who fought for truth and exposed your corrupt mayor suggested not all demons are evil, and that there's more to the world than the church's strict doctrine, then you might listen.

Personally I think this would be a great place to do so considering how exposed everyone here is to demons, they might be easier to persuade. On the other hand their experiences with demons seem to mostly be negative, so maybe not.
>>
This is taking a little while, so I'm going to post what I've got so far. More to come.
>>
You decided to move on before and that almost certainly resulted in David's death. You're not going to just stand by and let another person die today when you have the power to stop this. So you decide to wait, and trust that Karkordon will be able to handle whatever is stalking you.

In the dim lantern light you can see it come around the corner. Floating through the air, clad in robes, with six scythe-like arms emerging from each side. You recognize it as one of the demons the merfolk summoned. Specifically, the one that destroyed your stall this morning. As it steadily approaches, you can see flies fall from the air and rats seize up, as if the demon carries with it some sort of deathly aura. As it passes over you, your hairs stand on end and you can hear Ryan gasp sharply at the sensation.

Karkordon, however, doesn't seem bothered at all, and walks forward to meet the demon. The two demons come to a stop close enough to size each other up, but far enough apart that they're not immediately threatened.

"Stand aside," the robed demon says in a deep, hollow voice. "Death has come for them."

Karkordon scoffs loudly at that. "Death has come for them? You sound like one of the juveniles of these meat puppets," he says with a sneer and a dismissive wave of a clawed hand. "The sort with so little experience of the world that he thinks trite declarations sound impressive."

The robed demon raises its arms, preparing to strike. "If you will not stand aside, then you will be reaped along with them."

"I doubt that," Karkordon says, looking down to examine his own coat. "I make a point of knowing every member of the third circle and above. I don't know you." As he speaks, Karkordon seems to find some small amount of dust on his clothing that he brushes off casually. Then he turns his attention not to his fellow demon, but to examine his own claws, shifting his head slightly to catch the lantern light. "So why don't you run along and bother someone closer to your station," he continues. "I'm sure there must be some nightmen in this cesspool for you to menace with your childish drivel."

A few seconds pass in silence before the robed demon lunges, two of its bladed arms stabbing forward while the other four sweep in from the sides. Karkordon leaps over one of the sweeping arms, grabbing it as he passes and yanking the robed demon out of its lunge. Karkordon lands, one of the demon's arms still in his grip, and snatches another one in his other hand as it flails wildly. He kicks the other demon's body, propelling it back with such force that the two arms in Karkordon's grip tear free of their sockets. It slams back against the wall of the tunnel at the corner bend, cracking the stone on impact.
>>
As the other demon struggles to right itself, Karkordon examines one of the severed arms. He slowly digs one of his claws into the arm's carapace, gradually applying more and more pressure until it finally punctures the shell. "One of the first circle?" He tosses the limbs aside in disgust and begins advancing on the other demon. "A mere plebeian dares to dirty my claws with the heap of refuse it calls an avatar," he snarls in outrage. "This will not stand!"

As Karkordon reaches the other demon, it tries again to swipe at it with two of its arms. Karkordon springs forward, dodging the swing and thrusting one of his hands straight through the robed demon's chest. He stabs into it with his other hand and in a moment simply pries the other demon's body apart, tearing its torso in half laterally. Blue smoke gushes forth from under the demon's robes, and its body quickly burns away into smoke. The two discarded limbs vanish as well, and Karkordon turns to walk back toward you.

Ryan simply stands next to you, dumbstruck. "Is that a shar? Can they all do that?"

Thinking fast, you reply with something that sounds vaguely plausible. "Not just any shar," you say. "He is a reverend master of the Obsidian Scale, one of an elite group of fighters. They train for decades, gradually exposing themselves to harsher and harsher punishments until they hone their own bodies into lethal weapons." As Karkordon reaches you and Ryan, you bow deeply. After a moment you grab Ryan and drag him down into a bow as well. "Great Karkordon," you say, rising from your bow and releasing Ryan. "Could you please point this man to the nearest exit?"

Karkordon walks over to you and wipes off his claws on your shirt. "Very well," he replies. He points down the direction that Ryan had been walking when you found him. "Go that direction. Take the first tunnel on the right, then the fourth tunnel of the left. Continue down that way and you will see a set of stairs up on the left."

Ryan nods slowly, still in aw. You nudge him slightly and whisper, "bow and thank him."

"Th- thank you," Ryan stutters as he bows.

"Great Karkordon," you whisper to him.

"Thank you, Great Karkordon." With that, Ryan turns and takes off running down the tunnel as directed.

Karkordon yawns, then turns back to you. "Onward to the young woman?" he asks.

"Please."
>>
>>2647639
We should get David's letters. Fuck Hoffman.
>>
>>2647639
Its always the womans that get us into trouble every time.

Also we could have just pawned that dick deamon.
Is there anyway of know how strong a deamon is by looking at them?
Or is it youl naver know till you fight them?
>>
>>2647639
Circle back, get David's letters, then go for the young woman.
>>
>>2647672
The letters aren't going anywhere, the person is. The longer we wait the more time the thief has to do whatever it is they want with the hell-forged silver, including escaping with it.
>>
>>2647674
>>2647672
also we dont have all that long to get the silver back to the merfolk before they attack the town.

Although I do think the mayors crimes are not standing alone in this web of wrongdoing.
>>
After a time, Karkordon leads you into another large chamber and then stops. You look around, but see nothing at first. Then Karkordon points to a pile of rubble near a caved in passageway. You squint at it, but your eyes aren't able to make out anything other than debris in the lantern light.

You start walking toward the rubble. "Hello? It's alright," you call out. "I've come to get you out."

When that doesn't do anything, Karkordon speaks up in a condescending tone. "I am Karkordon, fourth circle of beasts. I know you're there. The rats can smell you, and your heart is beating so loudly I can hear it from here."

A few more seconds pass, then you see movement from the debris. It seems that, hidden very slightly behind the pile of rubble, there is a crack in the wall just large enough for a very slender person to fit inside. From it emerges a young woman with brown hair, clad in an assortment of ragged clothes. Then she takes off running right at you. Bewildered, you can do nothing but catch her as she practically throws herself into your arms, hugging you with exhausted desperation.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou..." Her voice trails off, leaving you in silence for a moment. She relaxes into your arms, her face nuzzling against your chest, and you can feel all of her fairly minuscule weight shift onto your arms as you hold her upright. After a moment, the only thing you can hear is her breathing. Wait, has she fallen asleep? You look down at her and confirm that yes, she has in fact fallen asleep.

"Huh," his all you can manage as you look down at the girl, who is smiling contentedly in her sleep.

As you try to figure out what to do with the girl in your arms, you look around for a place to set her down. That, however, seems to shift your body enough that she stirs from her sudden sleep. It takes her a moment to realize what just happened, and when her mind finally finishes taking in everything she lets go of you and quickly backs away. You're able to get a better look at her when she comes to a stop standing in front of the heap of fallen stone. She has a slender, athletic build, and though her face is marked by dirt and her hair is tangled and dusty, there is a certain prettiness to her face even that can't conceal.
>>
"Ah, yes," she says, smoothing out her ragged clothing. "Thank you again. I knew-" She raises and arm to try to straighten out her hair, but that seems to throw her off balance. She stumbles backwards slightly, but her other arm catches part of the rubble pile mid fall and she's able to somewhat guide herself into a sitting position on a particularly large piece of stone. "I knew someone would come looking for me eventually. I just..."

She trails off again as her head begins to list to the side and her eyes start to slide shut, but after a second she shakes her head and sits up again. "With all the merfolk and their demons, I could risk summoning anything for fear that it might give me away." Her head rolls forward slightly, but she quickly brings it back up to face you. "But now you're here and the others have decided to move the cache, so we can finally get out of here."

> Ask to see the cache.
> Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.
> Ask about her position in the cabal, again you were only told a bare minimum for the sake of security.
> Have Karkordon kill her.
> Write in.
>>
>>2647730
>Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.
>>
>>2647730
> Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.
> Ask to see the cache.
>>
>>2647730
>> Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.
>>
>>2647730
>Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.

Time to lie our ass off harder than we ever lied before.
>>
>>2647730
> Ask her about the situation here, pretend that the cabal has only told you the bare minimum for secrecy reasons.
>>
>>2647213
Oh Solace it was a Huge Jacked-man all along!!! D:
>>
Sit rep it is. Writing.
>>
>>2647635
>>2647639
This was awesome, praise Great Karkordon.
>>
"I'll be honest," you say, lying through your teeth. "I wasn't told much about what was going on here just in case. All I know is that one of us was here with an important package who was in danger." You walk over to her and sit down on the stone next to her. "I don't even know your name."

"Julia," she says with a shy smile as she watches you take a seat.

You smile back at her. "Julia, what's going on here?"

She gives you a tired roll of her head and lets out a sigh that is so exhausted you can feel the lack of sleep oozing off of her. "I don't know how, but the merfolk must have figured out that we were hiding some of our silver here."

"They seem to think we stole it from them."

"This particular silver?" She pats a bag slung over her back and sitting at her hip, then shrugs. "Who knows. It's just-" As Julia finishes her slow motion shrug, her upper body seem to be carried backward slightly by the momentum, causing her to tip back off balance for a second before she's able to right herself. "It all gets mixed up anyway," she continues with a dismissive wave of a hand.

"Some of these bars are from somewhere and- maybe there are some here from the merfolk, some from Dvergan, and some-" She yawns. "Some from who knows where. Some of their silver could be in any of the other caches, who knows." Julia's eyes slide shut and she is quiet for a few seconds, leading you to think she might be dozing off again. But then she continues, eyes still closed. "Doesn't matter. All that matters is that we need to hold on to it." She pats the bag again. "Need it for the plan."

"Then why haven't you moved it? Rathburg's been under threat for a month now. And you don't look like you've been holding up that well," you say with a chuckle and a playful bump from one of your shoulders that jostles her slightly.

"Hey now." Julia grins and holds up one finger when she replies, as if she were drunk. "I've been able to keep this little guy safe and in our hands. I call that holding up juuuuust fine..." She pauses and her smile fades. She opens her eyes and stares off at the far wall of the chamber, only barely visible in the lantern light. "But as for moving it, I- I couldn't. Master Hart told me to keep it here, and I've always done exactly what he told me. He's- his plan is perfect, I can't mess it up doing whatever just because I'm having trouble with some fish."

You lean over a bit closer to her. "What's Master Hart planning to do with all this silver anyway?" A cabal, a plan, and now a master? This is starting to sound like something sinister.

"He- well-" she says, fidgeting nervously and rubbing the back of her neck. "I probably shouldn't tell you unless he's already told you, in which case there's no reason to tell you..."
>>
"Getting you and all this silver out of Rathburg is going to be risky. Getting in was already dangerous with how things are going up there. I'd like to know what I'm risking my life for," you say, placing a hand over Julia's shoulder and gently guide her closer to you. "I joined up because I wanted the truth. I wanted to know the truth and I wanted everyone else to know it too." You bring her to rest up against you body again. Slowly her eyes slide closed and she starts rubbing her cheek against your chest in tiny circles. She smiles and hums appreciatively. "So I'd like to know the truth now," you say.

"I-" she starts, and for a moment you think she's going to pull away from you. But then she stops and settles in again. "You're right. This is about getting rid of all the lies, after all. It's- it's only fair." She grins. "He wants it to make an Argus Mirror."

You freeze, though thankfully Julia doesn't seem to notice the tension in your body. "As in the Ninth Circle's mirror?" You must have heard her wrong. "The all-seeing eye of Hell Itself? That Argus Mirror?"

She giggles cheerfully as she turns her face more fully into your chest, her voice muffled slightly by your clothing. "That's right!"

"He knows how to do that?"

Julia hums sleepily again, the gentle vibrations causing your heart to shudder. "Well, he must, right?" She giggles again. "I mean, why else would he have us just sitting on all this silver? And once he's made it, we can use it to find the amulet." Her voice starts to fade more and more as she talks. "We'll be able to bring down the church and then we won't have to hide anymore. We'll finally be able to just relax..."

With that, Julia's voice trails off completely. Her body stills except for the slow rise and fall of her breathing.

> Take the silver, leave her.
> Take the silver, kill her.
> Take her and the silver.
> Write in.
>>
>>2647945
ohhhhhh man. Yeah. maybe don't make something that draws the attention of 9th circle demons. I think she might be confused/lied to.

How good are we/karkoron at non-lethal takedowns? Kinda wishing we had Setra...

I'm reluctant to kill another demonologist, we're kinda on the same side, in a way... But she's fucking up the town and we don't want that.

>write-in

Seems like she's about to pass out anyway. Let's let her doze off and see if we can make off with just the bag of silver, leave her here. Preferably somewhere she won't be in danger of being found/murdered by demons.
>>
>>2647945
>> Take the silver, kill her.
Too dangerous to leave her for the actual cabal to find.
>>
>>2647945
>Take her and the silver.
>>
>>2647945
>> Take her and the silver.
Bring her to Deshka (but without telling Julia) and figure out what to do with her later.
>>
>>2647945
>Bring her and the silver to Deshka

Grab the letters on the way out though
>>
>>2647945
>> Take the silver, kill her.
>>
>>2647945
i'd rather try to take both than kill her if that's the tie.
>>
>>2647945
i mean to be fair, this plan would be pretty advantagous for us should it succeed. I suggest going along with the plan, until we can meet this master, and declare our support in his bid to get rid of the church. It's a shame about the town, but the slaughter that will surely follow would launch the church into a two-front war against the beach tribes and whatever nation the Grand Mission will pit them against. They cant ignore an entire town being overrun by demons, lest they lose the trust of the people completely. It's two birds in one stone!
>>
Actually, I'm going to call it a night here. Vote will remain open until we resume Friday.

Goodnight everyone.
>>
>>2647945
>Bring her and the silver to Deshka

Remember to make sure she stays unconscious so she doesn't wake up at the worst possible moment.
>>
>>2647987
'night DQM!
>>
>>2647945
>Take her and the silver.
Knock her out and let Karkordon carry her. Grab the letters on the way out.
>>
>>2647945
> Take the silver, kill her.
This is a big problem. I don't want to add more to it
>>
>Take her and the silver.

It might be the logical way to kill her to avoid the cabal getting on our trail. But I don't want to play a cold hearted bastard like that.

Also, let's not kid ourselves, GM will make our live hell later on regardless of our way, so we might as well be a softie.
>>
>>2647945
> Take her and the silver
take the letters on the way.

also, we could use this cabal, I mean, they want the same thing as us, we just have to know if this Hart is not full of shit, if he is we replace him, if he is not we make them stop doing stupid things while still working towards fucking up the church
>>
>>2647945
>> Take her and the silver
>>
>>2647945
>Take the silver, kill her.
She's going to be trouble. It ain't worth it.
>>
Also, the taking will probably lead to her being delivered to merfolk justice, so it's better that she's unconcious on the way so she won't protest much.

I really want to get in touch with that cabal, kill that Hart and set the rest on a good path, one that doesn't involve fucking with the 9th circle
>>
>>2647945
> Take her and the silver.
We can probably grill her for more info, later, and she seems fairly reasonable. As long as we don’t let slip our name she won’t be able to report us to her bosses even if she DOES manage to escape. Also, seriously, either circle back for that letter or have Karkordon send one of his rats to retrieve it.
>>
>>2647945
>> Take the silver, kill her.
>>
>>2647945
> Take her and the silver.
Born 2 b soft
>>
>>2647945
>> Take her and the silver.
To all the murder anons, we can always just kill her later, maybe even give her to karkordon as a bonus
>>
We might want to keep her and get the location of more silver out of her, but we should definitely kill her asap, she's a just pawn that could royally screw things up for us, and would make our lives much more difficult regardless.

Can we give silver to a demon that can create trinkets, like keboro, and request one to be made for us for a fee, or is it a more complicated process? We should probably try to steal another cache of silver and use it for ourselves for more useful items.
>>
>>2647945
> Take her and the silver.
>>
>>2648370
That implies there is no risk of ruining anything by keeping her alive until she dies, which I very much doubt if she has allies that could track her the same way we did, and thus we get more trouble by trying to get her out alive. Do remember that our client wanted to get the thief to talk in order to find the silver, and she said nothing about wanting the thief brought back alive or dead. Thus keeping her alive and getting her out creates more risks for no gain. We're literally not paid for this.
>>
>>2648481
we hand the thief and the silver over to our merfolk contact, get paid, sell/re-up on merchant wares now that the merfolk are no longer threating to slaughter the town, then fuck off to the next town.

sounds like a plan to me.
>>
>>2648513
What I am trying to say is why deliver the thief at all when there's no pay for it? Why do all this extra effort for no reward?
>>
>>2648515
Because we have only killed people who tried to get us first.
Seems Marcus is quite the softy. Also I want to know what the amulet is.
>>
>>2647945
>Take her and the silver
I feel like killing her would be extremely out of character, given our actions up to this point and the fact that we saved Ryan.
>>
>>2648554
News spreads very quickly in hell. If she summons a demon and they notify the rest of the cabal we're making a shit ton of enemies who will be able to learn of our location from other demons.
>>
>>2648513
I don't want to leave, I want to know more about the cabal

>>2648537
Ifweafe soft why did you fuck leave David to die?

>>2648515
Its not about the reward,its about trying to do what would be best for us and for our possible allies, be it merfolk or cabal
>>
>>2648692
You fucks*

I'm not talking about you specifically but about those that left a wronged man to die because it was an inconvenience.

I mean, I thought our objective was to ultimately improve peoples lives and distance them from the church an their wrongdoings

But I guess it can't be helped now. I at least want to talk with his wife and try to set thingd right in this town
>>
>>2648714
>I mean, I thought our objective was to ultimately improve peoples lives and distance them from the church an their wrongdoings

??? I don't ever remember that being our objective at all. The quest from the start was just to travel and do demonologist things, which followed up with training an apprentice. Other than that there is no other overriding goal. We're not trying to improve people's lives, it's mostly about traveling for trade and doing demonologist work for profit.
>>
>>2648753
The premise for our character was being a heretical missionary, we're a merchant on the side.

>>2648714
>>2648692
>>2647216
It didn't necessarily say he was going to die unlike the other options.
>>
>>2648645
Doesn't matter. We're not the type of person to murder someone because they might inconvenience us. Besides, we're handing her over to the merfolk who are experienced summoners, I doubt they'll give her a chance to summon demons or leak info to her cult. We can warn merlady when we hand her over, just in case.

>>2648714
Sadly I was asleep for that vote, but I think it was anons being dumb rather than intentionally getting him killed.
>>
>>2648789
>options.
Prompts, that is.
>>2648838
>Sadly I was asleep for that vote, but I think it was anons being dumb rather than intentionally getting him killed.
More or less.
>>
>>2648838
>We're not the type of person to murder someone because they might inconvenience us

Fuck you we're not. This is a bunch of blood for our demon, keeping the cabal off our back, satisfying the merfolk, and tying off loose ends that might later get us in trouble. Julia seems absolutely reverent of the cabal's master. You think she's just going to let us hand the silver over? You think she's just going to abandon the cabal? She's going to come at us, and bring her friends with her, if we give her the chance. Fuck the sleepy bitch, get rid of her.
>>
>>2648900
Just hand her over to the merfolk. Done.
>>
>>2648900
I don't think you read my whole post. We're handing her over to the merfolk along with the silver, to face a trial and likely execution. We're not giving her the chance to "come at us".
>>
>>2648900
How do the merfolk know we are not part of the cabal unless we hand over someone who is.
Merdouche might still try to kill us if we only hand over the silver saying we worked with the thief all along.
>>
>>2648753
Man, the whole reason Marcus is in Torien having to hide his trade and risking his life instead of somewhere else where he could just do demonologist thibgs freely is because he wants to open up people to the idea of demons and improve their miserable lives.

The whole merchant thing is just a cover, a minor thing we do to hide our identity
>>
>>2648953
I wouldn't say it's minor or just a cover, but i do agree with your general idea. We've shown that we're not cutthroat unless absolutely necessary
>>
>>2648964
Yeah you are right
>>
>>2642616
i want to pet the birb
>>
>>2647945
take and kill
shes too dangerous to let live
>>
>>2647945
> Take her and the silver
>>
>>2649837
we didnt get our kiss so we should get a pet
>>
>>2647945
Take her and the silver
>>
>>2648714
In an active shooter situation, cops are deliberately trained to leave wounded victims and push forward to take out the shooter, in order to save more lives. What we did was basically the same. The merfolk will murder an entire town if we don't stop them. We could easily have been killed by the outrageously strong merfolk brute squad when we stopped to fight, rather than demolishing a first circle weakling.

Having said that, what's the cabal really after? Maybe it's worth the loss of a town to take back Torien, or to bring back Solace.

Who knows?
>>
How viable is it to use Telemok's compulsions to keep a prisoner docile? I'm not saying kill her or take her, but I think we should take in all our options. She seems like she knows a lot, so she may or may not be worth the trouble.

I also think we should ask one of our demons why she was so sleepy. I have a hunch that since it was such a big point (and seemingly so sudden) that it might be something worth looking into.
>>
You look over at Karkordon, then down at Julia, who is now fast asleep lying against you, then back at Karkordon.

"Can your rats retrieve the letters from David?"

"Only if you're willing to have them dragged through half a mile of this disgusting sewer," the demon replies with a dismissive wave.

Unfortunate. "The beasts above us," you say after a moment. "Can they tell you what time it is?"

"It is the late afternoon, nearing the evening."

You nod. That should leave plenty of time to double back for the letters. "We'll go back for them ourselves then." You're about to reach over to pick up the lantern when you remember that you in fact have only two hands. You point to Julia. "Karkordon, could you please carry this young woman?"

Karkordon grimaces as he looks at her. "She is filthy from crawling around in this squalid place."

"My eyes are far inferior to your own, Great Karkordon, so I require the lantern to find my way in the dark. I cannot carry both it and her. And is it not noble to carry a lady in distress to safety?"

The demon grumbles in protest, but eventually relents. "I would hardly call that urchin girl a lady, but it seems that I will have to bear this affront. If only so that you are not blundering around in the dark like a blind rat."

Karkordon scoops Julia up into a bridal carry. She stirs slightly, but does not wake, softly mumbling, "oh Falkeer, please be gentle with me..."

You retrieve the pack slung over Julia's back, inside of which is a heavy wooden box. You open the box and find sixteen small silver bars, laid out in two rows of eight and packed with a cloth to muffle the sound. You bring the lantern close to the bars, and the flickering halo of light confirms that they are Hell-forged silver. You lift up the cloth underneath the bars just enough to see that there is another set of sixteen bars beneath the first, and from the looks of the cloth beneath that there is yet another layer beneath the second one.

A chill runs through your body as you examine the cache. This is a small fortune's worth of Hell-forged silver. You close the box, place it back in the pack, and sling it over your shoulder.
>>
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The letters, along with David's dessicated corpse, are at his campsite. You feel a brief twinge of guilt when you spy the man's body, carved open by a scythe arm and drained of its blood. Taking David's pack and the letter contained within, you head back for the surface. The sun is just starting to dip below the horizon as you emerge out of the catacombs in the ruined shop where you began.

You put out the lantern and set it down. Karkordon hands Julia off to you, and you're pretty sure you hear her speak again in her sleep.

"Ashenta? Of course she can join us..."

Karkordon clears his throat unnecessarily. "Well, I hope you're happy. Thanks to you and that little excursion my entire ensemble is ruined," he says, motioning to his still immaculate clothing. You had best make the most of it." With that, he vanishes in a puff of smoke, leaving behind the mortal world and all of its filth with almost indecent haste.

You let out a tired sigh. It's been a long day. First trying to set up in Rathburg's market, then avoiding being killed by demons, then cleaning up your ruined stall, then running around to meet with merfolk, buy some pigs, summon Karkordon, and finally have a thoroughly exhausting adventure in the catacombs beneath Rathburg. And now you're carrying two packs, one with letters implicating the Mayor in the murder of his two brothers, the other with a fortune of Hell-forged silver, along with a young woman who is still sound asleep.

You barely make it ten paces out of the ruined shop before a crow with runes on its feathers and glowing blue eyes lands in front of you.

"I assume that's the thief," Arkoris says. "You planning on giving her to us?"

You raise an eyebrow. That sounded a lot like a question. "Do I have some other option?"

"Sure. Deshka contacted you because retrieving the silver would save Rathburg. Chief Darlashk would certainly pay you extra to turn the thief over to him, but that's a side issue as far as we're concerned. Speaking of which, Darlashk is willing to meet with you back at the old warehouse."

> Head back to Warwick's Lodge with Julia and the silver. Better to not have either on you when dealing with the merfolk, just in case.
> Go directly to the old warehouse to meet with Chief Darlashk.
> Go directly down to the beach to meet with the entire merfolk coalition.
> Write in.
>>
>>2651807
>> Go directly to the old warehouse to meet with Chief Darlashk.
>>
>>2651807
>> Go directly to the old warehouse to meet with Chief Darlashk.
excellent, someone who would pay for the extra effort.
>>
>>2651807
> Write in.
Ask how much silver was taken. Don't want to pay extra.
>>
>>2651807
>Go directly to the old warehouse to meet with Chief Darlashk.
>>
>>2651807
>> Go directly to the old warehouse to meet with Chief Darlashk.
Let's hear him out before we make our choice.
>>
Going directly to meet with Chief Darlashk. Now writing.
>>
>>2651807
did we not pay Karkordon his contract completion?
>>
>>2651903
You paid him before going into the catacombs. I may have skipped over that part between Monday and Wednesday. Sorry about that.
>>
>>2651948
Ah, I thought we had something we were giving him on job completion too, before he poofs.
>>
>>2651807
> Go directly down to the beach to meet with the entire merfolk coalition.
>>
>>2651807
> Head back to Warwick's Lodge with Julia and the silver. Better to not have either on you when dealing with the merfolk, just in case.
>>
You sigh. The weight of everything you're carrying piled on top of an entire day of walking is becoming more than just an annoyance, but the warehouse isn't far and then you should be rid of some of it. "I'll be there soon," you say to Arkoris.

The bird nods and takes off again.

When you return to the warehouse there is a merfolk waiting for you. Unlike Deshka, he has legs, and he is standing in the shallows next to the stone with the summoning circle. His skin is teal with purple stripes, and you recognize him as one of the merfolk who accompanied Sovaron to the market when he made his ultimatum.

He greets you with a slight bow. "Marcus," he says in a stern voice.

"Chief Darlashk, I presume?"

"Yes." His eyes go to the woman in your arms. "Is this the thief?"

"Yes," you reply, laying Julia down on the stone. "Her name is Julia. The cabal had her guarding the silver that they were stockpiling in Rathburg." Looking up, you see that one of Arkoris' birds is perched in the rafters.

"Interesting," Darlashk says impassively as he looks over the sleeping woman. Then he turns back to you. "And the silver?"

You remove box with the silver from its bag. "Here." You open it and turn it toward Darlashk. He approaches and looks down at the silver to evaluate it, but does not take the box from you. "By the way," you add. "How much were you expecting to recover?"

"If you were planning on palming some before returning it to us, you should know that would be unwise," he says, picking one of the silver bars out of the box and holding it up to the light. "Deshka may have mentioned this, but the coalition has a demon capable of sensing what materials are in a general area. We'd be able to detect if there was still some Hell-forged silver in Rathburg that you were holding back." Content that the silver is genuine, he places the bar back in the box. "But to answer your question, we think around fifty bars. Maybe sixty. Hard to know exactly, since not all the tribes are willing to be honest about the exact numbers."

You nod and close the box. You look over at Julia, still asleep. She seems so peaceful, curled up an a stone by the river, with the light of the setting sun filtering in through ruined walls of the old warehouse. "If you don't mind me asking, what were you planning on doing with her?"

"Nothing uncivilized, if that's your concern," Darlashk replies. "While some other chiefs are solely concerned with looking impressive and think they can do so by publicly torturing a helpless prisoner to death, I am more interested in information." His voice, unwaveringly calm up until now, turns somewhat bitter at the mention of the other chiefs, but quickly returns to its even tone as he moves on.
>>
"Information regarding both the cabal that stole the silver and their methods for doing so. This was no small feat, and I would like to know how they accomplished it. There is an island in the bay where we will be able to keep her for questioning. If she cooperates, we may even allow her to return to Rathburg some day. A human demonologist amenable to us could be useful in the future."

The implication that he's not just talking about Julia is difficult to miss.

"Deshka said that she'd talk to you about a reward." You briefly glance up at the bird sitting in the rafters. "And Arkoris also said something about paying extra for her."

Darlashk nods. "We'll handle the matter of the thief first." He reaches into a pack sitting at his waist and produces a cord running through a stack of silver coils. "Twenty silver Trents for turning her over to me, and not speaking of the matter to the other chiefs."

> Agree.
> Try to bargain for more. If he wants your silence, he'll have to do better than twenty silver.
> Refuse.
> Write in.

Also
> Volunteer the information about Hart and the Argus Mirror
> Say nothing more.
>>
>>2652266
>> Refuse.
I want to know what they are trying to find.
> Say nothing more.
>>
>>2652253
>> Agree.
>> Say nothing more.
The pay for the overall job had better be far more than this though.
>>
>>2652253

> Agree.

>Say nothing more
a job's a job, now let's get out of here
>>
>>2652266
>Write-in.
I'd like to wake her up and question her myself before handing her over. I would like to find out more about this cabal
And
> Say nothing more.
>>
>>2652266
> Try to bargain for more. If he wants your silence, he'll have to do better than twenty silver.

Nobody said anything about our slience, Also is this the same clan we had from the lady merfolk?
>>
>>2652266
>> Try to bargain for more. If he wants your silence, he'll have to do better than twenty silver.
>use the information about Hart and the Argus Mirror to bargain for a better reward
>>
>>2652355
It sounds that way. Considering that he mentioned Deshka and was less willing to publicly torture the thief to death.
>>
>>2652355
> Also is this the same clan we had from the lady merfolk?
Yes. Deshka mention that Darlashk is her uncle. They're both part of the Jorran Maw tribe. Deshka also told you that Darlashk used to be the one leading the coalition and was the one who favored dealing with the issue in a way that didn't completely destroy relations with Rathburg. That's why for a month up until today no one was actually killed by the demons they were sending ashore to search the town. It wasn't until Sovaron replaced him that things got really violent.

Also, we appear to have a split vote with a tie between agreeing vs bargaining. I'll give it another ten minutes, then if there isn't a winner I'll roll to break the tie.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

Alright, breaking this tie so we can move on.
1: Agree
2: Bargain
>>
Going with agree. Now writing.
>>
>>2652266
Refuse

I want to know more about the cabal and 20 silver is fucking pathetic

Also

Say about hart
>>
>>2652504
Sorry m8, the dice fell and demanded that we accept the deal.
>>
>>2652504
My tactic to interrogate was to summon the flesh carver to alter our appearence and then summon telemok under a false name to convince her to tell us everything.

This way Telemok wouldn't know that Markus knows about the cabal therefore the cabal wouldn't know. They would only know about a Shar named Thomas asking questions. And we would give the false name of THomas to the flesh carver too since he doesn't knows us yet.

Since you guys voted to agree we can offer to summon Telemok so they can interrogate her(with us listening but not visible) and avoid torturing her or wasting time

The suggestion would be simple
" aswer every question that this merfolk do to you truthfully"
>>
>>2652514
Yeah, i sawqit, shame tho

What do you think of this?>>2652530
>>
>>2652530
It's not a bad idea but do we even still have any reserves of blood left over from our earlier sacrifices?
>>
>>2652535
that seems good to me, tbqh.
>>2652543
if we're low on blood maybe ask Hannah/Ibrahim if they'd be willing to chip in to get this over with.
>>
"Agreed."

Darlashk hands you the cord of silver coins, which you quickly count and confirm that they are in fact twenty silver Trents. Then the chief walks over to the stone and picks up Julia, moving her onto the heavy cloth that covered the summoning circle. He positions her in the center of the cloth and looks up at the bird perched in the rafters. "Arkoris, please take the young lady to Kelmond Island."

The demon grumbles in response. Many more crows descend through the hole in the ceiling of the warehouse, positioning themselves around the edges of the cloth. "Yes," Arkoris grumbles, "ask your own grandfather to carry someone for miles. If your mother was here..."

Darlashk merely smiles. "If she was here, she'd scratch your head and smile and you'd carry someone to Masharak without complaint."

Arkoris continues grumbling, but doesn't truly say anything more. Grabbing the cloth, the crows take flight in unison, carrying Julia up through the hole in the warehouse roof and off in the direction of the bay.

As they disappear from sight, you turn back to Darlashk. "And the silver?"

He remains silent for a moment, pacing atop the stone. "I could pay you for that now," he says eventually. "I'd then take it back to the other chiefs and we'd all go our separate ways."

Your eyes narrow. "I'm sensing an 'or' coming."

The chief nods. "Or you could assist me with something more complicated. I am not on good terms with Chief Sovaron of the Thandil Run tribe. I imagine my niece Deshka also said at least a few things about him that weren't very flattering. I would like your assistance in eliminating him."

While it doesn't surprise you that they aren't friends after you saw how they interacted this morning in the market, asking you to help him murder another chief? One who is supposedly leading the coalition that he is part of? That's quite a surprise. And likely dangerous, considering the army of merfolk currently sitting in the bay and the array of demons they have at their disposal.

As your mind tries to figure out exactly what game Darlashk is playing, your mouth asks, "how exactly am I supposed to help kill a merfolk chief?"

"For now, take the Hell-forged silver back to Rathburg and leave it with a trusted associate who will be able to observe the beach from afar. Then go to the beach and request a council of chiefs to negotiate for the return of the silver."

You give Darlashk a puzzled look. "But we're negotiating for that right now."

"The two of us are," he says with a nod. "But I want you to ask for something from the coalition as a whole. Eight people died when Sovaron went to deliver his ultimatum."

"One of those demons killed a ninth person in the catacombs."

Darlashk sighs sadly and nods again. "For the deaths of nine people," he continues, "the council will understand if you ask for weregild to settle the matter." His eyes narrow and his stern voice grows even colder. "Ask for Sovaron's head, as he was the one responsible."
>>
"Why would that accomplish anything? Isn't he the leader of the coalition? Couldn't he just refuse?"

He shakes his head. "Sovaron leads because the other chiefs decided he should lead. If the other chiefs decide to cut off his head and give it to you in exchange for the silver, they can do that too. Sovaron is far from home and does not have enough warriors or demons to stand against the other ten tribes should they decide to turn on him."

"But they supported him in replacing you as leader."

"Because the more distant coastal tribes want to go home, and they had grown frustrated enough that they were willing to give Sovaron's way a chance. They don't actually like him. He has no true friends outside of the Thandil Runners. If the other distant tribes see a chance to get their silver back and go home, they'll throw Sovaron to the sharks without a second thought. And the tribes of Rathera Bay, including my own Jorran Maw, hate Sovaron for needlessly jeopardizing our future trading relationship with your people. They, like me, wish to offer Sovaron's head to Rathburg as an apology for the violence committed in his name."

"And what would I get out of all of this?"

"I will let you keep one of the bars that the Jorran Maw would have taken. Also, if I know Mayor Hoffman, and I do, he will be willing to pay you for Sovaron's head. He'll want to parade it around Rathburg to make it look as if he was the one who resolved this crisis." Darlashk pauses, then adds, "of course, you could simply opt to hand over the silver now. I would pay you in mundane coin, and that would be the end of it."

> Accept.
> Refuse.
> Try to bargain for more.
> Write in.
>>
>>2652743
> Try to bargain for more.
> Accept.
>>
>>2652743
>> Accept.
sounds like a good ploy.
>>
>>2652743
>Accept
>>
>>2652743
>> Try to bargain for more.
Get mundane coin and a bar of silver.
>>
>>2652743
>> Accept.
More jobs and payment? I'm in. Just another day for a Demonologist.
>>
>>2652743
Bargain.

I accept, but i want to participate on the interrogation, i want to know more about this cabal
>>
>>2652794
Or, my vote could be an
>accept
With a "participate in the interrogation" write in

I don't really care I just want to know more about acabal powerful enough to steal from merfolk and sneaky enough to hide from the inquisition, even when an inquisitor was actively searching them in the town
>>
>>2652743
>> Accept
But Bargain for participation in the interrogation.
>>
Going with accept, with the addition of participating in the interrogation for juicy intel on the cabal.
>>
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You hold up a finger. "I'll do it, but I want to be involved in interrogating Julia. The cabal interests me as well, and I'd like to know more about what they're doing."

"Understandable," Darlashk replies, nodding. "Agreed. Leave the silver with someone you trust with instructions to watch from a distance, and approach if you give a signal. That way the council can't simply kill you and take the silver."

"I know," you say, slipping the box back into the bag and turning to leave. "I'll be at the beach soon. Make sure your people don't just kill me on the spot."

"They won't," Darlashk says, then dives into the sunken half of the warehouse and swims out into the river.

You hurry back to Warwick's lodge. By the time you arrive, it's well after dark. Hannah and Ibrahim are sitting at a table in the common room when you walk in. Both get up when they see you enter, but Hannah is much faster in hurrying over to you.

"Marcus? Are you alright? You were gone the whole day," she says quickly, "and after what happened this morning I was worried that you..." She trails off, making it obvious she'd rather not think about what she saw in the market.

You give her a reassuring smile. "I'm fine, Hannah." You nod to Ibrahim as he approaches. "Let's go somewhere more private so the three of us can talk." The three of you head up to your room, and once the door is shut you take the box of silver out of its bag and set it down on one of the beds. "I managed to find the silver that the merfolk want."

Whatever leftover worry was clinging to Hannah's face vanishes when she hears that. "Really? That's wonderful!"

You smile again at her excitement, then focus on finding the dwarven spyglass that you're fairly sure you still have. "I'm going to go down to the beach to speak with them, but for now I'll be leaving the silver with you two so they don't just kill me and take it off my corpse."
>>
After retrieving the spyglass from its case, the last place you'd ever think to look for it, you take out one of your own lanterns and consider your options. Between the lantern and the spyglass, whoever stays with the silver should be able to see you from a safe distance. It would need to be somewhere out in the town though, as Warwick's Lodge doesn't have a good view of the beach. It's dark out, and you're hesitant to leave Hannah alone and focused on looking through a spyglass. You could leave Ibrahim with her, but that would mean going down to the beach alone.

Of course, you could always solve the problem with a little heresy.

Of the demons that you could summon, Tethis would be effective in the dark, but lacking in power with other demons about. Setra could fly you away in an emergency, but with her mouth she might end up creating that emergency in the first place. Keboro is a powerful fighter and could find the way to a fate in which you survive. Vedek is also capable in a fight, and would be able to make you stronger, faster, and tougher. And then there is Remeer, who is simply the most powerful demon you trust enough to summon. His illusions would make it much easier to deal with any sort of treachery.

> Summon a demon to go down to the beach with you. (Specify)
> Go alone. Ibrahim will watch from a safe distance with the silver and bring it when you signal.
> Go with Ibrahim, leave Hannah with the silver and have her bring it when you signal.
> Write in.
>>
>>2653010
> Go alone. Ibrahim will watch from a safe distance with the silver and bring it when you signal.
>>
>>2653010
>Go alone. Ibrahim will watch from a safe distance with the silver and bring it when you signal.
>>
>>2653010
Go with vedek to the beach, leave ibrain with hannah


If we are low on sacrifice currency we go alone, ibrain stay with the silver to come on call and we summon Thethis to keephannah company
>>
>>2653010
>> Summon a demon to go down to the beach with you. (Specify)

Keboro

If we're going down to this negotiation directly going in alone is plain foolishness when the other sides summons demons as well. I suggest at least going with someone that can help us survive.
>>
>>2653010
If we're summoning Demons then I want Keboro. He's a bro and a gentleman to boot.
Looking into the future helps too.
>>
>>2653010
>> Go alone. Ibrahim will watch from a safe distance with the silver and bring it when you signal.
>>
>>2653010
>> Summon a demon to go down to the beach with you. (Specify)

Vedek, he's professional and can buff us.
>>
>>2653010
>> Go alone. Ibrahim will watch from a safe distance with the silver and bring it when you signal.
>>
Now writing for going alone.
>>
>>2653010
>Go alone
To be honest going to the beach with a demon sounds like a good way to get busted for demonology.
>>
>>2653127
Inquisitor, I swear I didn't know she was a demon. I thought those talons were just really kinky boots. Honest.
>>
>>2653151
>Marcus: "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that demon, Miss Setra. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the Torien people. Thank you."
>>
This looks like it's going to be a long one.
>>
>>2653157
Say that all you want, but can you look your young wife, Hannah; in the eye and promise you won't dream of her tonight Mr. Fowler?
>>
"Ibrahim, take the silver and find a good place where you can watch the beach with this," you say, handing him the spyglass. "I'll go down to meet the merfolk. If I wave for you to come down, take Hannah and get out of town immediately, heading inland. If I wave with both arms over my head, then you come down to the beach with the silver. If the lantern goes out and I don't light it again within a minute, assume something has gone wrong and get out of town."

He nods, though you're fairly certain he is going to creatively reinterpret your instructions to mean something more like 'if you see anything, come save my sorry ass again.' You take a single bar of the Hell-forged silver, to give to the merfolk in case they need proof that you have it. After that, you throw on your heaviest coat to keep away the chill, hook the sword and buckler that you got from the bandits outside Easterbrook to your belt, and light your lantern.

Hannah gives you a nervous smile as she straightens the front of your coat. "I know the whole town needs this to happen, but please be careful."

You grin back. "When have I ever not been careful?" You can feel Ibrahim's mouth opening behind you. "Don't say anything."

Ibrahim just chuckles on his way out the door, off to find a good vantage point to watch the meeting on the beach.

"I'll be fine," you continue, leaning closer and placing a hand on Hannah's cheek to comfort her. "I'll be back before you know it."

She smiles again as she takes your hand in her our and rubs it gently, but the nervousness is still there. The worried look in her eyes almost makes you think twice about going. But you can't afford doubts now, so you back away and give her a wave goodbye that you realize is woefully inadequate even as you're doing it. But it's too late, you already did it, and she just shyly waves back as you step out the door, head downstairs, and walk out into the chilly night air.

Your walk down to the beach is uneventful. In fact, the town is as silent as a grave, likely waiting in terrified uncertainty to see if there will be an army of demons descending upon them tomorrow. You reach the beach and, over the sound of the surf, you shout, "Hello there! I'd like to speak with the council of chiefs!" Nothing answers except the waves breaking and rolling up the sand, so you add, "It's about the silver you want! I know where it is!"

A few seconds after that, you see something in the lantern light. The dark outline of a person's torso, bobbing up and down with the waves. "Where is it, walker?" the figure calls back to you.
>>
You smile and wave. "Hello there, I'm Marcus. Who might you be?"

"Where is the silver?" the figure repeats.

"I'll speak with the council about it," you reply. "So go get them."

The figure vanishes from sight. A few minutes later, you see a strange light approaching through the water. Ahead of it, several merfolk with flesh-sculpted legs emerge from the slowly brightening surf. Alongside them are hulking figures of demons, some that you recognize, others that you do not. The chill from the demon in the catacombs rolls over you, causing you to shiver even through your coat.

Then the source of the light emerges from the water. It's the fiery demon from the market, slowly walking out of the water with steam pouring off of its body. Its light easily drowns out your own lantern, bathing the beach for hundreds of feet around it in firelight. Thanks to it you're able to make out the other shapes more clearly. The other three demons from the morning are there as well, as is Etordan. A few crows with glowing blue eyes land at various points around you. A half dozen other demons of varying shapes and sizes walk out of the surf, including one who appears to be an exquisitely beautiful woman clad only in a variety of shells and starfish.

After they have come ashore, another group of merfolk follow, one of whom begins speaking immediately upon emerging from the water. "Where does a walker finder the gall to demand a council of chiefs?" By his voice you recognize him as Sovaron. "We should kill you just on principle."

"You will do no such thing, Sovaron," another voice says, this one an older man's. In the firelight you can see that he stands a full head above the other merfolk, who already tower over you. "If he has come to discuss terms of surrender, then we will honor that."

"There are no more terms to discuss," Sovaron replies. "Either he gives us the silver or we scour Rathburg until we find it. It's as simple as that."

"Enough," another voice says, this one coming from a woman who is struggling to make use of her new legs and has another merfolk assisting her. "The council is assembled. We will hear the human's offer."

Looking around, you see that the merfolk have assembled in a half-circle around you. Their demons have fanned out more, surrounding you entirely. You swallow hard, bow, and introduce yourself with practiced politeness. "My name is Marcus, and I am here on behalf of the town of Rathburg. One of my associates is currently in possession of the silver you want," you say, rising from your bow.
>>
A withered looking merfolk man points a finger at you. "Then you admit to being the thief?"

"No," you say, shaking your head. "We took the silver from the thief."

"And what became of the thief?" asks the larger merfolk.

The woman with an assistant scoffs and dismissively waves her free hand. "Does it matter? We did not come all this way for some walker." She turns to regard you with calculating eyes. "Tell me, Marcus, I assume you have some reason for not simply handing over the silver. Something you want in return?"

You nod. "Yes. We will give you the silver, but we want one thing-"

"We have already offered you one thing, walker," Sovaron interrupts. "Your lives. So you will give us our property or you will all die." Keboro's pendant begins to vibrate around your neck as Sovaron grows more agitated.

"Sovaron," says one merfolk sternly. By his voice you recognize him as Darlashk. "Let the human speak."

"No, I will not," Sovaron says angrily, stepping forward out of the half-circle toward you. He points at you accusingly. "This worm has no right to bargain with us as equals." He turns to the other chiefs. "We are the ones with the army. We are the ones with the demons. We are strong," he says, pounding a fist against his chest, then pointing at you, "while they are weak. There is no reason why the strong should have to suffer the prattling of the weak when we could simply crush them. We speak, they listen. And they do as we command, or they die."

Before you can say anything, Darlashk steps forward and turns to address the assembled merfolk. "I ask this council, should we hear out this human? All in favor?" There is a show of hands. Including Darlashk, seven are in favor. "All opposed?" Sovaron and three others. "It is decided, the council will hear the human's terms." He turns back to you and motions for you to continue speaking.

"We will give you the silver on one condition," you say solemnly. "Nine people have died today as a result of the actions of your coalition. Weregild must be paid to settle the matter."

A younger merfolk man sitting atop a massive demonic crab lets out a laugh. "You expect us to pay you to return what you stole from us?"

The calculating eyes of the merfolk woman narrow. "What do you want, human?"

"We want the head of the person responsible for the violence today," you say, pointing to Sovaron. "We want Chief Sovaron's head."
>>
Silence follows, broken only by the crackling of flame and the breaking of the waves. Then the larger merfolk man laughs heartily. "That's it?"

"This is ridiculous," Sovaron snarls. "This walker slime thinks that he can come here and make us look like fools? Make us look weak?" He starts advancing toward you, raising the spear in his hand. "Well, I hope you enjoyed this little farce, because it will be the last thing you-"

Darlashk grab's his arm before he can get close enough to stab you. "Sovaron, stop. The council decided to hear out the human's offer, and now it is time for us to consider that offer."

"This council has no right to order my death simply because some walker-"

"This council commands an army," says the merfolk woman. "One far larger than your band of warriors, and with more demons of greater power than your own." She gives Sovaron a predatory grin. "We are strong. By your own reasoning, does that not give us the right to do as we please? The council will now consider the walker's offer." She turns to you and her expression turns back to cold calculation. "What proof do we have that you even possess the silver? This could be an elaborate ruse to deceive us into weakening our own coalition."

You reach into your coat and produce the bar of silver that you brought with you. The larger merfolk steps forward and takes it from you, bringing it over to the fiery demon to get a better look. He turns it over in the light for a time before eventually turning to the others and saying. "It's genuine."

Sovaron is about to speak when Darlashk again addresses the chiefs.

"I ask this council, should we accept the human's offer? All in favor?" Eight including Darlashk. "All opposed?" Three including Sovaron. Darlashk turns back to Sovaron and smiles. "It is decided, the council will accept the human's offer."

Suddenly Sovaron wrenches his arm free of Darlashk's grip and lunges at you with his spear.

Roll 5d10.
>>
Rolled 9, 9, 4, 5, 7 = 34 (5d10)

>>2653517
>>
>>2653519
Holy shit, we might not be ded.
>>
>>2653519
> 3 successes = minor success
Writing.
>>
Fortunately, you're much better at the leg game than Sovaron is. You dodge to the side, and while the razor-sharp tip of Sovaron's spear slices through your coat as it passes you, it doesn't bite deep enough to reach flesh. Unfortunately, Sovaron is a lot larger that you, and while his spear misses you, his body doesn't. Three hundred pounds of angry merfolk slams into you, sending both of you tumbling down onto the sand.

Sovaron draws a knife and tries to stab at you. His attack is rushed and clumsy, only barely scraping the side of your chest, but the knife's obsidian blade is more than sharp enough to open a savage cut under your arm and nick of one of your ribs. The side of your body screams in pain, but in the rush you're focused on hitting Sovaron with something. By the time he recovers and tries to stab you again, you've freed your buckler from its place on your belt and you use it to smack the blade aside with the metal disk. Then you bring the buckler back around and strike Sovaron across the face with it's edge.

The merfolk cries out in a mix of pain and rage, and he's about to try to bring the knife up again when a huge beast tackles him off of you. With Sovaron no longer trying to gut you like a fish, you're able to look around and take stock of the situation. The merfolk themselves are largely standing back and watching while several of the demons brawl with a savagery befitting creatures that don't need to worry about actually dying. One of the four demons from the market, the one with the beast lower body and the armored humanoid torso is pinning Sovaron down with its lower limbs while it holds his head to the sand with the haft of its spear.

The other demons are busy piling on to the demon with the six-scythe arms and the disembodied torso. The reaper demon at first manages to bat aside a massive skeletal centaur with the backs of two of its arms, but it is then immediately tackled by the fiery demon which was waiting for an opening. It slams the reaper down against the sand and suddenly flares with such intense heat that, even sitting dozens of yards away, you can still feel the sting on your exposed face. The beach beneath the reaper melts into glass and the fiery demon push it down deeper into the molten sand until it completely evaporates under the onslaught.

But at the same time, the walking torso manages to dart around two other demons and slips free of the melee, running at you with its serrated mandibles wide open and eager to meet your flesh. It's almost on you when a dark shape rises up out of the sand beneath you, passing though you and solidifying standing over you. Etordan jams a pitch-black knife into the the charging horror's head and uses its momentum to lift it up and over you, tossing it onto the beach on the other side of you. It rolls as it hits the sand and starts to scramble to its 'feet' again when a lightening bolt comes crashing down out of the sky and burns it to a blackened cinder.
>>
Etordan steps to the side, then offers you a hand. You take it and the demon helps you to your feet. You wince and gasp in pain as the cut on your side shifts and tears from the motion.

Arkoris lands on the beach nearby. "Marcus, are you hurt?"

You clutch your side as Etordan helps steady you. "Sovaron cut me," is all you can manage through the pain.

"Here," says a voice near you. "Let me take a look at that."

You turn and see the gorgeous woman from earlier approaching. Between her smile and the sway of her wide, bare hips, you momentarily forget the pain. Then she lightly runs her finger along your cut and you feel a tingling sensation in your chest. When it passes, the pain is gone entirely. You look down, and feel at your skin through the new slit in your coat and shirt, only to discover that your wound has mended itself.

You look back at the woman, and most certainly not at her luscious breasts, covered only by a pair of starfish that seem more interested in holding them up than concealing them. No, not there at all. "Th- thank you," you stammer. The demoness simply giggles and taps the tip of her finger against you nose, then turns and walks away into the surf. You watch eagerly as she does, enjoying the view of her toned and completely bare backside.

"Traitors!" Sovaron shouts from where the beast demon has him pinned. "Traitors all of you! Siding with a walker against one of your own kind!"

"Be quiet, Sovaron," says the larger merfolk man. He kneels down next to the struggling chief and draws an impossibly huge obsidian knife. "Try to at least die with some dignity." With a startlingly quick motion, he simply presses the blade through Sovaron's neck, carving his head off in a single pass.
>>
I'm going to end here for tonight. We'll resume Monday at 6pm EST, 3pm PST. I'll be around over the weekend, so feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to answer them when I can. Also I hunger for comments. FEED ME.

Twitter updates are here:
https://twitter.com/DemonologistQM
I'll post there and in the QTG when we resume.

Goodnight everyone.
>>
>>2653633
shit dude, merfolk be savage.

My only comment is that it's a real bummer we can't evolve up-circle our pokemon demons. It would be so interesting to see how they grow and change.

That said, would it be... idk, rude? to ask for some referrals from our friendly demons?

And can we summon Setra for some info on our flesh-shaping demon? Crow-bro clearly could recognize Karkordon just from his summoning calling card, maybe she'd be willing to share some gossip if she recognizes the runes?

I'd feel weird summoning Karkor just for a reference on a new demon, but he does know everyone 3rd circle and above apparently.
>>
>>2653633
So fleshshapers alter bodies fundamentally. Does this mean that the effect is permanent even after the contract is up? wouldnt make much sense to expend more power to undo the changes after all.

Also, do cambions have any demonic powers? it would be weird if a half demon didnt inherit atleast some supernatural aspect from their demonic parent
>>
>>2653633
Love this quest QM, good job on making it so lively (can't describe it sorry).
Also lets make sure not to make the merfolk angry with us in the future.
>>
Guys, new plan!

We can offer to Darlashk to trade the runes information for Telemok in exchange for one of his deamons so he can interrogate the girl. this way we are not involved in the summoning, saving money, we can listen the interrogation, hell doesn't know that we know things and we get a new demon friend to boot!

also, we can offer to write up the runes of any demon on this beach if they are interested in future business, but I don't know if that's impolite.
>>
>>2653824
Using Telemok is a great idea.
>>
>>2653824
>>2653965
The question is is telemok ok with us sharing his contact info, if I remember correctly we met him once and I am not sure we trust him or that he trusts us enough
>>
>>2655527
he doesn't need to know we shared, I mean, e didn't ask for us who gave him his contact info, as far he is concerned the more people know about him the more sacrifices he will get
>>
>>2655527
Y dont we keep our promise with the demon we just summoned we said if he went down into the rats and water we will lwt the merflok know it was him that made it possible to get the ingots back.
So he can get more work for him couse if we dont im pretty sire his going to be bitchy next timw we bring him out
>>
>>2657905
this too, but we can exchange Karkordon too, we promised to tell the merfolk but we didn't say anything about not asking anything back from them for it
>>
>>2653683
Karkordon would definitely not appreciate being summoned just for references, but some other demons would be fine with that. Both times you've summoned Keboro, it was for advice. The one time you've summoned him, Vedek was about to express some annoyance at the fact that you basically summoned him just to show off to your new girl, but decided to just roll with it instead.

I've wanted to include more chatting with demons for advice on other demons, but in practice that's been more difficult to incorporate than I thought it would be. In the backstory I came up with for the Heretic, he has mainly branched out through referrals. Aside from the two you got from Aisha, your entire current roster was recommend by either Vedek (he recommended Tethis, Keboro, and Remeer) or Keboro (he recommended Setra and Karkordon).

This is my first time trying my hand at QMing, so the whole thing has been a learning experience for me. As mentioned earlier in the thread, the Heretic character had missionary elements, but finding a way to make that a more prominent element of the quest has been much more of a struggle than I originally anticipated. Similarly, getting references from demons and just generally building your rep in Hell is something that I feel hasn't been as prominent as it should be, but when I'm actually writing it's bizarrely difficult to work it in.

>>2653720
It's not really a "contract" thing. Flesh sculptors have some control over the duration of their changes. Making a change permanent requires a greater investment of power than a temporary one.

As for cambions, they generally inherit some minor physical traits based on the demon's appearance. Children of more powerful demons can also manifest minor supernatural abilities related to the demon's domain. All of that dilutes with the passage of further generations.

>>2653824
>>2655527
>>2655954
While most demons will be fine with you handing out their contact info to skilled professionals, it's generally considered polite to tell them when you do so. Aisha didn't do that with Telemok because a.) she didn't want Telemok to know she was involved in anything in Torien, and b.) exalted tend to be way less polite to demons than normal people, so she simply didn't care.

Telemok will probably be fine with you giving Darlashk his symbols, but he'd certainly appreciate it if you told him you were doing it first.

> also, we can offer to write up the runes of any demon on this beach if they are interested in future business, but I don't know if that's impolite.
It tends to imply desperation, which is not something most demons look for in a long term arrangement. That said, these are unusual circumstances since you were just engaging in talks with a council of chiefs for a merfolk coalition.
>>
>>2658824
We sould at least try to get that healer demon contact.....for pure medical reasons of course....
>>
>>2659078
Oir sleep deampn might get jelly
>>
>>2659281
Keep in mind we are only a source of blood to demons.
>>
>>2659396
I mean... yes and no. We're long-standing customers that frequent their services. Tethis likes getting pets. Setra likes our flirting, and other... interactions.

At the end of the day, we might not be like... close friends. But it seems reasonable to say that we've developed a relationship, bare minimum as a customer, probably more.

Does that sound about right, DQM?
>>
>>2659498
Pretty much.

Demons don't necessarily see mortals as only a source of blood. They can form friendships with mortals and even grow to love mortals. Not all do, just as some humans go through life only caring about themselves and their close kin, and even the ones who do can be very picky sometimes. But many do, and most of the demons on Marcus' active list are at the friendly end of the spectrum. That's why he keeps coming back to them. Marcus does deal with some who are only of average or below average friendliness, such as Karkordon and now Telemok, but the others are decidedly above average.

On the other hand, there is only one demon that Marcus fully trusts: Vedek, for reasons that will become clear in time. Marcus is pretty sure that Tethis likes him, but he also knows that Tethis likes a lot of things right up until he's munching on them. Setra certainly likes to play with Marcus, but she also plays with her food, so that's not really a good indication of anything. So while most of the active list see Marcus as a person and a good customer, beyond that it's hard for him to say.
>>
>>2659832
You think that Marcus, as himself would ask for the demons symbols if he doesn't trust the person who is giving it to him?

For example: We received Telemok and Thalia from Aisha, but we don't know them and I'm willing to think we aren't going to trust them in a few years because they weren't recommend by vedek.
We barely talked to Telemok and we don't know anything about Thalia except that she is a Demon of flesh.

Marcus, I presume, will only accept demons that were recommended by people he trust and will only seek new demons that are useful for him to spread his heretic ways in around the world.
>>
>>2659832
What does Marcus think of keboro then? I was under the impression he was closer/more trusting with him than vedek for some reason
>>
I was thinking on the healing demon because I foubd her extremelly useful to spread good will toward demons, the same way Aisha used her exalted powers to cure and help the miners we could use her to perform some cured in blindfolded villagers, not saying that demons cured thrm, but magic did, that way we can help people and get some goodwill towards magic going on on this country. Of course, we would have to be extremelly picky about who to help and how to do it but its a nice idea to have for later. Regardless, someone who can cure wounds is extremelly useful
>>
>>2659925
Talking to me? Well we actually don't know how her powers work, and what she can't repair.

What if she can't heal mortal wounds?
What circle does she belong to?

Then again we could ask the summoner and the demon if we have time.
>>
>>2659935
There's a lot of ifs, I understand that. But we can ask and them and try at least. Healing is damn usefull for us I think
>>
RL stuff has come up, so I can't run today. We'll continue as planned on Wednesday.
>>
>>2659950
Thing is, we don't want to look desperate. We should analyze them while were talking to the merfolk to get an idea how they act.

Are they talking to their summoner?
Do they treat them with respect?
Do they argue with their summoners?

We might get a bad first impression, like we did when we met Arkoris. But any type of information is valuable even if not really true, for now anyways.
>>
>>2660796
that's why I want to trade with the merfolk, like demonologist usually do, we offer them Tlemok for their interrogation(we can even contact him before giving his information) in exchange for one of theirs
>>
>>2660992
That seems like a good idea
>>
>>2660760
Rest in pepperoni
>>
>>2661777
lucky trips. also:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-TY1GUFGk
>>
You turn to look in the direction of the town and wave your hands over your head to call Ibrahim down. He arrives shortly thereafter carrying the bag with the box of silver. He spends a minute fussing over you, looking for injuries, before eventually relenting and giving you the box. You open it and turn toward the merfolk, showing them the contents.

The demonic crab makes a chittering noise, and the merfolk sitting atop it says, "He doesn't sense any more Hell-forged silver in Rathburg. This is it."

Another of the merfolk, a woman with particularly frilly fins, takes the box from you and sets it down on the beach. She kneels down and carefully removes each layer of cloth and the silver bars resting on them, laying them out on the sand for the assembled merfolk chiefs to see. After that is done, she quickly counts them up and announces, "Forty-seven." When the larger merfolk walks over and places the bar you handed him among the others, she adds it. "Forty-eight."

"As previously agreed," the withered looking chief says, "the silver shall be divided equally among the tribes, with any unevenness to be resolved by the drawing of lots. Each tribe shall receive four bars, and the four winners of the drawing shall receive a fifth bar."

As he speaks, the frilly woman produces a small bag and places eleven pearls inside, four of them black. The various merfolk chiefs step forward to collect their alloted silver, drawing a pearl from the bag before taking the appropriate number of bars. Some of the chiefs leave immediately after taking their share of the silver, though most linger to watch the others. One merfolk, his scales colored similarly to Sovaron, is escorted by armed merfolk and menacing demons when he steps up to collect on behalf of his fallen chief. He quickly departs once that is done, briefly glancing back at Sovaron's decapitated body before disappearing into the sea.

The larger merfolk approaches you. He hands you Sovaron's severed head and gives you a curt nod before going to collect his share. The next merfolk to approach you is Darlashk, who hands you one of the four bars he took for his tribe.

"A bar of Hell-forged silver from the Jorran Maw's portion," he says, "for helping to resolve this matter with a minimum of bloodshed."

"A minimum of bloodshed?" You and Darlashk turn toward the voice. It is the calculating merfolk woman and her assistant, who is helping her walk toward the two of you. "Really, Darlashk," she says with a smile as she comes to a stop next to you. "Is that what we're calling this?" She turns to you and holds out one of her webbed hands. "Hedrada, chief of the Shiverpoint tribe." There's a pause as it takes a moment for you realize this merfolk seems to want you to kiss her hand. You do so quickly, and Hedrada chuckles. "Quite the interesting bit of maneuvering, wouldn't you say, Marcus?"
>>
As you step back away from her, you glance over at the other merfolk chiefs. They seem to be distant enough and distracted enough that they probably won't overhear your conversation. Still, you decide to play it safe. "I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about, Chief Hedrada," you reply.

"Oh come now, a walker who can return our stolen silver just happens to ask for the one things that Darlashk wants in order to sooth tensions with his human neighbors? If that's a coincidence, then it's a very convenient one." She strokes her chin in thought. "And I suspect I know what happened with the thief. I'd wager that the two of you already worked something out in the regard. Perhaps turning over the thief to Darlashk?"

"Hedrada," Darlashk says in his usual stern tone. "It has been my experience that you do everything for a reason. What is the reason behind this line of questioning?"

She grins in response. "You are so very close to getting away with it. Once the other tribes of coalition begin to depart for their home waters, you'll be able to simply hold the thief through force of arms. No one will be willing to risk losing warriors and weakening their tribe for such uncertain gains." Her tone shifts to one of feigned concern. "But with all the tribes still gathered here? They could force you to hand over the thief." She covers her mouth as if worried, but her eyes are clearly smiling.

Darlashk lets out a tired sigh. "What do you want in exchange for not rallying the other chiefs against me?"

"Oh, nothing much. I want one of my people to observe the thief's interrogation. As I'm sure you are aware, my tribe has a professional interest in methods of thievery."

After a moment, he nods. "Very well."

> Is there anything you want to say to Hedrada? (Specify)
> If not, skip to the next chief.
>>
>>2665662
>> If not, skip to the next chief.
>>
>>2665662
> If not, skip to the next chief.
>>
>>2665662
>skip I think, I can't think of anything to say to her
>>
>>2665662
>> If not, skip to the next chief.
I got nothing.
>>
>>2665662
>I find your methods clever, my lady Hadrada, and I am nothing without clever methods. If you find yourself in need of a demonologist on land, know that I am open for employ
>>
Moving on. Writing.
>>
"I assume you've made similar arrangements, Marcus? Etordan's report makes me suspect that you're the sort of person who might be interested in this rumored Torien cabal."

You nod slowly. "Something like that, Chief Hedrada."

Hedrada smiles again, though this time it is more friendly and less overtly predatory. "In that case, you'll likely be seeing my representative, and I hope the two of you will be able to learn a great deal about this cabal. If you're ever in Southern Argashk, feel free to get in touch. My man will be able to give you the symbols of a messenger demon you can use." She chuckles and shrugs. "Or you can just leave something valuable unattended on a beach with your message, I'm sure we'll find it. Until then, farewell, Marcus." She turns to Darlashk and gives him a slight bow. "Chief Darlashk."

Darlashk does not return the bow. Instead he simply replies, "Chief Hedrada."

She and her assistant turn to leave, but as she is starting to walk away she pauses and looks back over her shoulder at you. "Oh, and Marcus? Do be careful around Darlashk here. He likes to project the image of a man of peace who wishes for our peoples to coexist, but he only does that because the arrangement here benefits his tribe." Her smile becomes predatory again. "At heart, he's just as ruthless as the rest of us."

With that, Hedrada and her assistant walk away into the surf, quickly disappearing beneath the waves. Most of the other chiefs appear to be departing as well now that the silver has all been distributed. One of them, however, has lingered to wait for your conversation with Hedrada to finish and now approaches you. It's the larger merfolk who beheaded Sovaron.

He comes to a stop next to you and Darlashk, towering over the both of you. "I wish to speak with the human alone, Chief Darlashk. Leave." After a moment, he adds, "please." From the way he stretches the word out, you get the impression that he is not used to saying it.

Darlashk remains still for a few seconds, then nods. "I will send someone to the warehouse tomorrow morning to sort out your involvement in the next part of the agreement," he says to you, then walks into the sea.

The fiery demon follows Darlashk into the water, a plume of steam hissing forth and shrouding it from view. The light fades until only the piddling light of your lantern and the moon are left to illuminate the beach. That leaves you and Ibrahim alone on the beach with the large merfolk, along with two other merfolk and the beast demon that tackled Sovaron remaining at a respectful distance as they wait for their chief.
>>
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"Marcus," the merfolk says plainly. "The same Marcus that Etordan met, I presume. In a single day you resolved something that we hadn't been able to in a month." Though his immense size makes him quite intimidating, he speaks in a calm voice that clashes sharply with the aura of menace he radiates.

"I wasn't entirely alone in the endeavor," you reply.

"No, Etordan did mention that you were likely an experienced summoner. If I recall correctly, among your people that carries a harsh punishment."

You nod solemnly. "Yes, one of the worst."

"And yet you have survived long enough to grow sharp. Interesting. I am Chief Gelkanik of the Howling Rock tribe. While Hedrada no doubt wished to ensnare you in one of her usual schemes, I prefer to keep things aboveboard, as you humans say. I too have heard rumors of this cabal. Hell is unusually lacking in details, so they must have some method of secret communication. But I have heard that both they and your people's church are looking for an amulet of some kind."

Gelkanik reaches into a bag at his waist and produces a small cylinder that he hands to you. Though it's difficult to see in the dim light of your lantern, you can feel something engraved on one end of the cylinder. A seal of some kind if you had to guess.

"I ask that if you discover anything more in your travels, then please leave a message bearing this seal with the Hakon-Borel Trading Company. I have an arrangement with them to deliver such messages to me."


> Accept. (Specify preferred payment)
> Decline.

Also
> Name drop Karkordon.
> Don't mention Karkordon.
>>
>>2665939
Accept, in exchange we want eather a referral or serious dosh

>mention Karkordon, se promised him and we can trade his info for something nice too
>>
>>2665939
> Accept. (2 Gold...whatevers for anything of substance.)
> Don't mention Karkordon.
>>
>>2665939
> Accept. (Specify preferred payment)
A referral for some demons if possible, or if not, any business leads among the merfolk and
> Name drop Karkordon.
We promised him we would, it's good business.
>>
>>2665939
>Accept. Summoning signs for new demons
> Don't mention Karkordon.
>>
>>2665939
>> Accept. (Specify preferred payment)
Better deals with the Hakon-Borel. Buying our goods at higher prices, less theirs at less. Opening us up to the things they might not be willing to sell to the run of the mill merchant.
> Name drop Karkordon.
>>
>>2665939
> Name drop Karkordon.
gotta up our boy's reb in hell
>>
>>2665939

> Accept. (Specify preferred payment)
Some pearls

Name drop Karkordon
>>
I think maybe you guys are underestimating how much information on a cabal capable of stealing 48 hell-forged bars may value
>>
>>2665959
This>>2665968
>>
Writing accept, money/referrals, and mention Karkordon.
>>
"I'd be willing to do that, though I would like some compensation. Information on the cabal has become a valuable commodity lately."

"That is reasonable," Gelkanik says with a nod. "What form of payment would you prefer?"

"The symbols of a demon that is trustworthy and potentially useful in my continued investigation of the cabal. Providing me with such assistance would have the benefit of improving the odds that I'll be able to uncover something useful. I was able to resolve this crisis thanks in no small part to a demon, a fourth circle of beasts known as Karkordon."

The merfolk chief rubs his chin and then nods again. "You make a good point. I will provide you with the symbols of a demon to aid you."

"I would also ask for a monetary reward after the delivery of any information. Depending on how useful you find it."

That seems to push him a bit further, but he relents after a moment. "Agreed. Tresk," he says, waving over the beast demon. When it reaches him, he hands it a piece of driftwood. "Carve Azirin's symbols into this." The demon nods silently, takes the driftwood, and begins scratching into it with its claws. Turning back to you, Gelkanik continues. "She is a second circle demon of the mind, capable of hearing the surface thoughts of anyone she can directly see. She is most effective against those who are not aware of her presence. Be warned, though, she will turn her gaze on you, and though she isn't as prone to gossip as the average demon, that isn't saying much."

You raise an eyebrow. "If you have a demon that can do that, why not bring it here?"

Gelkanik chuckles at that. "The council forbade it." He waves a hand dismissively. "They all have their deceptions that they do not want to risk spoiling."

"That's politics, I suppose," you say with a sigh.

"Indeed."

The beast demon finishes scratching out the symbols and gives the piece of driftwood to Gelkanik, who hands it to you. You slip it into your coat. You're about to put Sovaron's head in the bag you used to bring the silver when you pause. Most of the blood from the head has drained out onto the sand, but some still drips from its neck. "I don't suppose you can help clean this up a bit?"

Gelkanik chuckles again, then motions to the beast demon. "Tresk."

The demon holds out a hand underneath the severed head. A tendril of blood snakes out of its neck and into the demon's palm, disappearing into its skin. When it is finished, the massive wound where Gelkanik's knife carved through it is strangely dry. "Thank you," you say as you slip Sovaron's head into the bag.

Gelkanik takes a step back and bows. "Farewell, Marcus. I hope to hear from you soon."

You return the bow. "Farewell, Chief Gelkanik."
>>
The three remaining merfolk and the demon return to the sea, finally leaving you and Ibrahim alone on the beach. The two of you spend a moment in silence, looking out on the bay, the moon shining down on the dark waters as the waves slowly lap at the sand. You retrieve the bar of Hell-forged silver from your coat and examine it briefly. If you had to guess, you'd say it weighs about eight ounces. Until today, you never had more than one ounce to work with at a time. Keboro's pendant was made with less than half an ounce of the material. And now you have eight.

Ibrahim is the one who breaks the silence first. "I believe getting into a knife fight with a merfolk counts as not being careful."

"That's ridiculous," you say as you put the silver back in your coat and pick up the lantern from where you set it down in the sand. "He was the one who attacked me! I was being careful."

"It is interesting how many people end up attacking you despite you being careful," he says with a smile as the two of you start walking back toward Rathburg.

"You're never going to let this go, are you?"

"No."

> Go to Warwick's Lodge to turn in for the night. It's been a long day, and Hannah is probably worried about you.
> Go to the town hall. The Mayor might still be around, you can maybe get paid for Sovaron's head.
> Go to the local church. The resident priest will likely be a counterbalancing force to Mayor Hoffman. He might be interested in the letters you now possess implicating Hoffman in the murder of his brothers.
> Write in.
>>
>>2666281
>> Go to the town hall. The Mayor might still be around, you can maybe get paid for Sovaron's head.
KEK, we can get paid so many times for one job
>>
>>2666281
>> Go to the town hall. The Mayor might still be around, you can maybe get paid for Sovaron's head.
>>
>>2666281
>Talk to Darlashk about the mayor
If he has no problem with Hoffman coming to Justice, fine then.
But I refuse to allow that blowhard escape unless it harms Rathburg's situation with the merfolk.
>>
>>2666281
>> Go to the town hall. The Mayor might still be around, you can maybe get paid for Sovaron's head.

After he pays us

>> Go to the local church. The resident priest will likely be a counterbalancing force to Mayor Hoffman. He might be interested in the letters you now possess implicating Hoffman in the murder of his brothers.
>>
>>2666341
Supporting
>>
>>2666281
>Go to the town hall. The Mayor might still be around, you can maybe get paid for Sovaron's head
We better get a statue, and a fuckin parade, figuratively of course
>>
Town hall to see Mayor Hoffman about a fish head. Now writing.
>>
You're tired. Your feet ache. Your legs ache. Your shoulders ache. In fact, the only part of you that doesn't seem to ache is the part that got stabbed, though you can thank the caress of a particularly comely demoness for that. Still, you have a severed merfolk head and you'd rather not carry that around any longer than you need to.

"We should go see Mayor Hoffman," you say with a sigh as you're walking back into the town. You motion to the bag containing Sovaron's head. "He'll be able to pay for this head, and I'd rather Hannah not have to see it."

Ibrahim nods. "Sensible."

The market is quiet, and not just because it's night. The palpable dread that was present when you left for the beach is still there, as no one knows yet that the merfolk have their silver and are leaving Rathburg in peace. Everyone is still waiting, dreading the coming of dawn and Sovaron's deadline.

Everyone except for the Mayor and his men, that is. Though the market is quiet, you notice light and activity coming from the alleyway next to the town hall. As you approach the entrance to the alley, you spy a sizable carriage waiting there and men going in and out of the town hall through a side door. They appear to be loading the carriage with chests, trunks, and similar items.

One of the men, a guard from the looks of him, spots your lantern. "Hold it right there," he says, advancing up the alley toward you and Ibrahim. "Identify yourself!"

"My name is Marcus," you reply quickly. "I have a message for the Mayor from the merfolk."

The guard stops. "The merfolk? What do they want now? Haven't they threatened us enough already? The people here are terrified that they'll wake to demons slaughtering the town!"

You pointedly do not mention that it looks as if the Mayor is planning to flee and abandon the town to those demons. "That's been resolved. The merfolk have what they want now."

"They got their silver?" Another man is approaching from near the carriage. "Were you the thief they were looking for?" As he comes nearer, you're able to make out that he's the attendant you spoke with when you first arrived in Rathburg. He seems to recognize you as well. "No, you can't be," he says, squinting at you in the dim lantern-light. "I saw you arrive in town only yesterday."

"I'm just a messenger," you reply. "And I'd like to speak with Mayor Hoffman."

The attendant nods slowly. "I'll see if he has the time to talk with you. He's-" The man coughs nervously, as if only now realizing how bad this whole situation looks. "He's quite busy at the moment." He heads into the town hall, then emerges after a few minutes. "The Mayor will see you, follow me please."
>>
The attendant guides the two of you into the town hall and upstairs to the same room where you met the Mayor yesterday. Then it was packed with all manner of luxuries, but you can see in the lantern-light that it's since been stripped of most of them. Mayor Hoffman is there, directing two men to pack one of the remaining busts. An armed guard is also present, watching the whole affair in silence. The attendant knocks on the open door as you arrive, and Hoffman turns toward you.

"You're that merchant from yesterday." His eyes briefly go to Ibrahim, then over to his own guard. After a second he seems content in the belief that he has control of the situation and continues. "Marcus, was it?"

"Yes."

"Kuiper told me that you have a message from the merfolk?"

What sort of payment are you looking for?
> Money.
> Something else. (Specify)

Also:
> Mention that you're the one who solved the problem while you're bargaining for the head.
> Don't mention it.
>>
>>2666497
>What sort of payment are you looking for?
> Something else. (Specify)
Women.
>>
>>2666497
>> Money.
Unless other people have more wants, this is fine.
>> Don't mention it.
No need to dirty our rep further for no gain. People Don't like Demonologists.
>>
>>2666497
>> Money.
>> Don't mention it.

Ya know, we probably could have gone to the church and ousted him then get the money from the new guy to cement his new position in the towns eyes.
>>
>>2666497
>Get fuckin PAID

>Stay quiet

>>2666504
We bring him the letters tomorrow. And sell them, for a high price. Then we skip town.
>>
>>2666515
Can we stay a bit to sell and buy stuff first? Then again, maybe rumors from the guards we met that night killed our customer base anyway.

You'd think telling people would make us more heroic, but I'd bet they would just think we were even more shady than we already seemed.
>>
>>2666500
You don't need him to throw women at you.
Not when I'm already doing that, anyway.
>>
>>2666515
I'd rather deliver the letters to the priest, and you know, displace a self serving and corrupt politician.
>>
Anyway, consensus seems to be money and not mentioning it.

Roll 6d10.
>>
>>2666497
>Money
>Don't mention it.
>>
Rolled 9, 9, 6, 3, 1, 7 = 35 (6d10)

>>2666549
>>
>>2666526
They could always use some competition.
>inb4 Waifologist Quest.

>>2666549
>>2665968
>>2665953
What about contacts?
>>2666503
>No need to dirty our rep further for no gain. People Don't like Demonologists.
+1
>>
Rolled 5, 9, 10, 9, 7, 5 = 45 (6d10)

>>2666549
>>
>>2666553
> 4 successes = Major Success
Writing.
>>
Rolled 6, 6, 6, 4, 2, 4 = 28 (6d10)

>>2666549
>>
>>2666557
Well as we leave this town we can give the letters to the dead guys wife andet her know what happened and the mayor was trying to ran away in the night, hell we could use that last part to get more shit from him
>>
>>2666628
How many shekels do you think we can milk from everyone?
>>
>>2666633
As many as we can.
Seriously we seem to be at least as much merchant as summoner
>>
>>2666640
The aspects are inextricably linked: they both involve a lot of bargaining, summoning of potentially shady characters, and ditching town once you’ve pissed them off. It's no wonder Marcus is as good as he is at both.
I gotta wonder what we're going to do with all these Karens once we're done.
>>
>>2666667
I wonder how much Catholics have influenced the Church? Maybe we can use all this sweet dosh to buy some indulgences and just tell the priests to fuck off if we get caught doing shady shit.
Or we can buy hookers. Or nice clothes for Hannah. The possibilities are endless, really.
>>
>>2666519
In that case, it'd be get fuckin PAID, mercantilism, tell wife the dude is okay, give letters, skedaddle.

>>2666535
Sure. After he's paid us. That's a bridge we can't unburn.
>>
"Yes. The merfolk have recovered their silver and will leave Rathburg in peace. Most of the tribes are preparing to return to their home waters as we speak."

Hoffman stands in silence for a moment. The men who are packing do so as well. After a few seconds, Hoffman speaks up tenuously. "What evidence do you have that this is true?"

You set your lantern down on the table and unsling the bag containing Sovaron's head. "They offered something to the people of Rathburg, as a gesture of reconciliation." You pull the head from the bag and hold it up to the light.

When Hoffman recognizes it, he grins like a child being given a present. "Yes, this will do nicely." He motions to the two men who were packing when you arrived. "You there, start bringing the things from the carriage back up here." The two men leave, though they're unable to tear their eyes off of the head until they're out the door. Mayor Hoffman pays them no mind, however.

"I already know a good place to put that," he says. "Somewhere official and visible, so that all of Rathburg will know that in their hour of greatest need, I was the one who saved them all." He grins with pride. "They'll see that it was my strong leadership that allowed us to weather this crisis."

"Those heathens thought that they could terrify us into submission, but they weren't counting on the fact that I was here to lead Rathburg." Hoffman begins pacing back and forth and starts speaking more toward the room itself than anyone in it. "I knew that standing firm and not giving an inch would force the heathens to solve their own problems. I wasn't about to let them intimidate us or take advantage of us. A weak man might have given in, and a compassionate man might have bowed to their threats, but thankfully I am neither of those things. No," he says, his tone making it clear that he believes he is speaking profound wisdom. "It is far better to be a strong leader than a compassionate one."

"Kuiper," the Mayor finally says. The attendant, who seems to have been waiting just outside the door, enters. Hoffman points to the head you're still holding. "Take that thing and have Sykes put it on a spike. The one right next to the main door out to the market. Make sure it's nice and high so that people will see it." Kuiper approaches you and, with a grimace, hesitantly holds out his hands to take the head from you. You make no move to give it to him.

"Well," Hoffman says after a few seconds have passed with no movement on your part. "What are you waiting for? Give him the head."
>>
"That's the thing," you say with a smile. "The merfolk offered it to the people of Rathburg." You then put on your best solemn expression. "And while you may represent Rathburg in secular affairs, the true representative of the people is the one who serves as shepherd to their immortal souls. This harrowing trial was, after all, a test of faith against the heathens. By all rights, I should be giving this to the local priest." You shrug. "If you want it, then perhaps you'd be willing to purchase it. Coin is the language of the secular world, after all."

Mayor Hoffman scoffs at that. "Don't be absurd, I am the Mayor of Rathburg, I don't need to purchase it."

You shrug again. "Well, in that case, I'll be leaving then." You put the head back in its bag, sling it over your shoulder, and pick up your lantern. "I'm sure the local priest would be happy to display this instead. After all, this merfolk did come here with a gang of demons. It would be an excellent lesson to show to anyone contemplating heresy," you say as you start moving back toward the door.

"Wait," Hoffman says. "I'm sure that we can come to some sort of arrangement."

You stop and turn back to him with a smile. "Given that you no longer have to worry about funding the militia to handle the merfolk problem, I'm sure that you have quite a bit of coin to spare now. And hearing how much you care about the people of Rathburg knowing how strong you are, I'm also sure that this is worth quite a bit of coin to you. Ten gold Karens sounds like a fair price, wouldn't you say?"

He gapes at that for a moment. "Ten Karens?" he says incredulously. "For a rotting fish head?"

"For the knowledge that Rathburg appreciates your strong leadership," you reply.

His eyes narrow. "This is ridiculous. I'll give you two."

"Ten," you say again. "That's the smallest amount of coin that could challenge the favor of a man of God."

"Four."

"Ten."
>>
Hoffman turns to his guard. "Klaus."

The guard takes a step toward you and begins to draw his sword. By the time it clears its sheath, Ibrahim has grabbed his sword hand and wrenched it to the side at an unnatural angle. Then he jabs him hard in the side, taking hold of the man's body and slamming it into his fist with all of their respective weight crashing together at that one point. The sword clatters to the floor and the guard starts to collapse, clutching his hand and instinctively curling to try to shield his sides. Before he can fall to the ground, Ibrahim grabs him by the shoulders, turns him around to face him, and slams the guard's groin down onto a rising knee. Ibrahim then tosses the guard against one of the walls, calmly scoops up the sword, and hands it to you pommel-first.

Kuiper lets out a startled yelp at the sudden flurry of action, but you pay it no mind.

"Now then, as I was saying." You place the sword on the table in front of you and remove the severed head from its bag again. "Ten gold Karens is a small price to pay so that Rathburg will recognize how fortunate they are to have you as their leader."

Hoffman looks from you to his fallen guard, rolling on the ground and moaning in pain, and then back at you. His eyes finally settle on the severed head. "Very well," he says. "Ten gold Karens." He walks over to his desk and opens a drawer retrieving a small coin purse. From that he counts out ten gold Karens and walks over to you.

You take them graciously. "A pleasure doing business with you, Mayor Hoffman," you say, setting the head down on the table. "I think you'll find that it was well worth the price."

You quickly turn and leave, Ibrahim following shortly behind you.
>>
Sorry, but I'm going to call it a night a bit early. I'm getting to the point where I think everything is a good idea, and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see what that looks like.

We'll resume Friday at 6pm EST, 3pm PST.
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>>2666731
Aw, okay.
Thanks for running as always.
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>>2666731
goodnight and thanks
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>>2666728
I must say Markus and Ibrahim have very complimentary skill sets.
>>
This was really cool.

Guys, before Markus goes to sleep we should call Telemok and ask him if he would be willing to work with merfolk. It's important that the merfolk use him to interrogate Julia and not us because this way Hell won't know that we know about the cabal
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>>2666914
Not bad we shpuld also leave town within the next few days
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>>2666731
Reminder that we’re giving the priest the letters.
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>>2668925
And tell the wife of his fate and bravery
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>>2668925
That's still a ways off until our business is done in this town. No antagonizing the guy in charge of this place until we're done selling and buying.




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