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“But can it ever be that what is borne in blood will not be bared by bone? Can it be that a Shadow is not true to the Shape from which it is cast? Much has been said about the low character of the modern city; near as much about those that dwell in them. Speculation is the trade of to-day, and the man of to-day is all the worse off for it, regardless if he himself speculates or not. The speculation of goods – commerce – promotes sloth, greed, and waste, all the while being as like to ruin the speculator as it is to sustain him. When fruits ripen sour and foul, there must be disease in the tree, no matter how handsome its growth or fecund its boughs. And as for the other stripes of speculation, in monies – usury – and in properties – lease-writing – are so nudely ruinous that no man even distantly approaching decency would ever need to be convinced of their nature.

Against the fallen Idea of the city is the farm. And against all of the occupations by which gain may be secured in the cities is the farmer. Of all of the occupations by which gain is secured, none can be held to be greater than farming. None more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming of the Imperial Man, decent and Clean. Where the lessons taught by life in cities are undermining at best, life on a farm teaches thrift, industry, diligence and duty. As such, it is the smart man who looks far afield from the cities for a wife, and for a place to raise his children and dependents, surely, to a place quite similar to the one you have been endowed.

Due to the fractious holdings of the Arms, endowments are made throughout – and even outside – the Whole, so it may be that you will have to adjust according to your clime and soil, but as a rule, the best farms have vineyards situated right at hand to the houses and shelters of the establishment, with irrigated gardens, willow plantations and olive orchards nearby. Further away from the built-up center there should be meadows, grain land and secondary vineyards trained on growing trees. At the perimeter, there should be woodlands – bearing acorns, if at all possible."

- A passage from The Endowed Farm, a manual given to honorably discharged (and literate) soldiers when they receive their land endowment. It is a commonly held belief that good soldiers in retirement make for good farmers, though in practice many are not well-suited or even overly-desirous to take up farming, only requesting the land endowment for the 'two-legged spoils' that come with it – Brute concubines to be bred and civilized.
>>
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In Scrimshaw Mount, all graves are shallow. Even on the Promontory, where Nature, through the permutations of the Pattern had placed soil on the otherwise nude basalt of the Mount, the bone white stone was never more than a few feet down, commonly less than one. As such, getting graves to the standard depth of eight feet was simply not practical for those interned in the Mount's public burying grounds. But those that lived their lives and died their deaths on the Mount didn't take overmuch umbrage at their shallow graves. For both the practical and pious among them understood full well that under the panopticonical Gaze of the Patternmaker Above … all things are shallow.

Your name is Chlotsuintha, and you are still thinking that if this isn't to be the last night of your life, then it is certainly shaping up to be the longest. You are at an impromptu late night dinner, the guest of a Thief-Taker, a Master Thief-Taker, Alvor Sulphreme, the Ninth of the Hall in the Hole and Master of her Stocks … or Locks. In spite of the danger, you are trying to pump him for information about the state of the roads in this stretch of the Principalities, which have been suddenly beset by banditry and highwaymen – but another one of the guests at the dinner, some stick-in-the-mud named Poincare, objected to him discussing such things in your presence. Moreover, he clearly finds your presence here at all inappropriate … which it is, admittedly, but everyone else is being a good sport about it but him. After interrupting someone for so much as trying to make idle talk with you, pointedly asking if your father taught you the concept of an appropriate bed-time, you were about to seriously consider giving up on getting anything out of Sulphreme, the Taker's friend – whose name you have already forgotten – suggested to the hostile Poincare that he should ask your father himself. After feeling as if you had been struck with a Slaughter's sledge-axe for a long-lingering moment, you realized the man was trying to play a practical joke.

Still a-fluster and a-flutter you are not well-disposed to be working out the balance here. It cannot be gainsaid that there is at least some risk with him or anyone else playing around with the tall-tales you have woven together to make Wilhelmina, and excuse her presence here. But at the same time, such risk pales in the face risks that you have already taken here, by the Heights of Hell, are currently taking. Besides, whatever risk may come from this meddling is already being borne; the proverbial milk is already spilt. And if you were to play along, then you might be able to dislodge the Poincares from the table – or at the very least, get them to leave you along as you pump Sulphreme. There is the question of how the proprietor will react to all of this … but he looks to still be in conversation at the moment; you can only guess as to what he will or will not overhear.
>>
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Pattern's Perdition, you went and managed to cozen the ninth ranked Thief-Taker on the Mount, how can you be so unmade by the prospect of idle – of lies. You are going to be lying, and … no, don't dwell. Just … just …

"Yes, why don't you?"

You say it; not so much because you are convinced that it won't bite you, or that it might increase your odds of the Poincare's decamping, but instead to keep you from taking yourself to pieces worrying. Yet there is no small satisfaction when you see the aggrieved look on the closer of the Poincares face; the further one is still glaring away – but when he continues to glare when Poincare the closer turns to him and they lock eyes, you have to wonder if he just has a naturally intense face. Trying to not bog yourself down in potential thinking-traps, you make a very deliberate point of not looking around the room … though judging from the murmurs coming up from some of the guests seated nearer to you, your retort has not gone unnoticed.

“Oh, I shall. I certainly shall.”

The man gestures for his intense-faced family member to follow, and without so much as a word he follows his much more aggravating kith out of the room. There is no small joy at seeing the backs of them pass into the shadows of the hall, but it is fleeting at the thought of them realizing the joke for what it is – and how Poincare will definitely be all the less amenable over it. For now though, you have a reprieve. How best to avail yourself of it though, that remains to be seen …

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> [Undirected] "..."
> [Directed at the Man to the Left] "You were saying about yourself?"
> [Directed at Sulphreme and Friend] "Glad to see their backs, would be gladder still to never have seen their fronts!"
> [Directed at Sulphreme's Friend] "I can only hope that whoever is in Four of Cups has more humor then the pair of them do ..."
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "Now, what were we talking about, again?"
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "Now, I believe we were talking about the state of the roads."
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Half of your ear and a moment of your time."
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Would it be an imposition if I were to ask to speak privately for a moment?"
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? When you get a moment, could you send for those documents, please?"
> [Directed at (Write-in Subject)] Write-ins allowed with QM approval.

> Previous thread: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5982823/
> Archive of threads: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=eternal+rome

If this looks familiar, it is with good cause. We ended the last vote of the last thread on a tie. Whether you voted there or not, please vote again here – and do not feel as if you must cast your vote for the same choice as you did last time either.
>>
>>6053777
> [Undirected] "..."

Glad to see you back, Trash!
>>
>>6053882
Glad to be back, anon!
>>
>>6053777
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "Now, what were we talking about, again?"
>>
>>6053777
>> [Directed at Sulphreme] "Now, what were we talking about, again?"
Welcome back Trash!
>>
Alright, consider this closed.
>>
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Dropping your head as not to catch anyone's eye, your thoughts rattle and scramble through your increasingly wearied head as you try to grasp upon the strongest, safest play here. Oh, oh ... okay. Well, the safest move invariably is to do and say nothing; to wait for the proprietor to make his way over here, so you may ask for the Patent and Bill for the stage and team. Or rather, so you may ask if you could speak with him privately, so you could ask for the Patent and Bill for the stage and team. Even if you have already told Sulphreme your purpose here as you were cozening - lying, when you were lying to him - you cannot see any sense in speaking of such matters in front of so many other who-bodies. That said, can you plan on coming back to this room after leaving? Should you plan on it?

No, you - no. No, you shouldn't. Keep things simple, keep things moving. That is to be your personal litany for the rest of the night. So then, if you must be 'moving' - that is to say, doing something productive - you should try again to pump the Taker for as much news as you can about the state of the roads. Obviously, you don't want to come off as too interested - so perhaps it may serve to be a bit ... circumspect. Seeing that the man is set upon his cup, and not in conversation with anyone else around the table, least as far as you can tell, you wait until you have caught his eye then you muster up a rejoinder - a rather witty one, all things considered.

"Well, now that the Rex and Regina Sacrorum are away, what were we talking about again?"

The Taker guffaws heartily at that. He isn't alone in his mirth either - which is a real double edged sword. You are glad that others are laughing along at your joke, but concerned that so many are listening in - or at least hearing - what you are saying. After another few chuckles and a deep sip, the Taker answers your pointed question.

"Ah, the roads. Bands of Highwaymen have hit a number of coaches, all of them no more than a stone's throw away. But you have the local Municipalities calling a 'soft' muster, and the houses have either suspended their routes or taken on Takers for additional security. As it stands, there is nothing else that can be done, not until some of the trash is swept up - alive - by a patrol, or taken in an attempt on a coach."
>>
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With that, the Taker takes another sip of wine, and looks around for a serving-man. You expect him to say something else on the matter, but - of course! - it seems that he has said all he is going to unprompted. Cry fie and fray it all! You go through all of this, just to get practically the same tidings you overhear in the office of this house, just hours ago? Do ... do you try for another question? Something more specific? Obviously, the last thing you want to do is put it in his head that you might be looking to head out onto the roads, considering that he has already demonstrated feelings of responsibility for you - but at the same time, you cannot just cut your loses and walk away like this. One of the whole reasons you accepted the danger of having the ninth-ranked Thief-Taker on the Mount escort you to this dinner was the opportunity it presented for intelligence-gathering. You need something more ... don't you?

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> " ..."
> "Bands? Plural? Is that typical?"
> "I almost don't believe it, everyone said the roads were so safe."
> "Are you going to go after these ruffians, Goodman Taker?"
> [Write-in a seemingly idle question or leading statement] Subject to QM approval
> [Write-in a more direct question about the roads] Subject to QM approval
>>
>>6054791
> "Bands? Plural? Is that typical?"
Hopefully this is innocent enough and gets us the locations of where some of these plural bands are operating
>>
>>6054791
> "Are you going to go after these ruffians, Goodman Taker?"

Welcome back Trash
>>
>>6054791
>> "Bands? Plural? Is that typical?"
>>
Consider this closed!
>>
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Damn it to Hell and back, you haven't done all of this just to lose out on some potentially life-saving intelligence just because some long-in-the-tooth Taker is more interested in the house red than he is with conversation with you. No, you have to keep on this ... with a light touch, of course. You will be boiling before you know it if he - or anyone else around the table - thinks that you are too interested in the situation out on the roads. You let a moment or two pass, in the hopes that it plays down your keenness, then you ask in the idlest tone that you can muster up -

"Bands? Plural? Is that typical?"

The Taker, whose attention had been solely devoted to watching a serving-man approaching him with a tray, looks over his shoulder at you in some surprise at the astuteness of the question. The appearance of surprise smooths over gradually, never giving away to anything even approaching suspicion - yet, one does not need a working understanding of Glamours to know that looks can be deceiving. The man shifts in his seat, to properly face you - hopefully because he is just too polite to resume conversation with you over his shoulder - and after a pause of his own where he works his seat forward a bit, he answers.

"No. No, it is isn't. Those so inclined to try these sort of things almost as a rule are lacking in intelligence and discipline; if an outfit demonstrates any, then it invariably it is being imposed on them by their boss. And believe me when I say it is not a burden they bear gracefully. Typically, you can expect that a boss's command goes no further afield than the sound of his voice. But this ... there have been knock-downs from Outbye to Thinlance, and those are some long leagues between them. Hard too ... or at least, as hard as the Thoroughfare will get this side of the frontier. This ..."

He trails off, and gestures to the serving-man, who in turn places a number of pastries of a stripe unfamiliar to you carefully on his plate.

"There has to be at least three teams, but practically, you are probably looking at four. Which ... well, regardless, the 'soft' muster should take care of it."

With that, he starts to pick at the pastry, leaving you with your thoughts roiling and boiling away. There is something - perhaps several somethings - being left unsaid; that so much is plain to you. Moreover, that last little bit - it was meant to be reassuring. Perhaps you are reading to much into it, but if he thinks that reassurance is needed, then it must be that this is a serious threat. By all indications, everyone is taking it seriously, what with the Takers and the 'soft' muster - whatever exactly that is, you have never heard the term before – and of course, you always intended to take it seriously as well. But it is possible you aren't taking it seriously enough? By his word and his cast, it is plainly written that the Taker is concerned. And if a Taker is concerned …
>>
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Yet, you need to be very careful not to appear too interested or too attentive, lest he work out your intention to take to the roads as soon as possible. Maybe if you let enough time pass, or waited until he was in conversation with someone else, and interrupted him then to ask if the other Thoroughfares are safe or not … perhaps he'd be distracted enough to not deduce why you are asking? Even the thought of taking a risk like that is enough to tie your stomach up into knots, but you don't see how you could get that information out of him without asking. A subtler tact would be to ask about the significance of there being three or four teams of highwaymen operating, or to just bring it up again and hope he expands on it - it is possible that he is just worked up about it, because four teams means a lot more highwaymen than one team, but that is not exactly how you took it. Or, painful as it may be, perhaps the best tact would be to just bite your tongue. There was that little look he had when you first asked that pointed question about his choice of words. You might be at the end of your rope here.

Hell, for all you know, you might be past it.

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> “…”
> "My goodness, four whole packs of these ne'er-do-wells.That seems ... well, that's a lot, isn't it?"
> "But what I don't get is why wouldn't these unsavories just stay in one big group?"
> "When you said that there were hard leagues on the Thoroughfares, did you mean 'hard' as in hilly, or 'hard' as in dangerous?"
> "With so many of these vagabonds about, do you think that some might slip away? To other Thoroughfares?"
> [Write-in a seemingly idle question or leading statement] Subject to QM approval
> [Write-in a more direct question about the roads] Subject to QM approval
>>
>>6054882
Still glad to be back!
>>
>>6055528
> “…”

Good info, we learned which road to avoid. I'm not willing to risk more suspicion with another question
>>
>>6055528
> “…”
>>
>>6055528
>“…”
>>
>>6055528
> "My goodness, four whole packs of these ne'er-do-wells.That seems ... well, that's a lot, isn't it?"
> "But what I don't get is why wouldn't these unsavories just stay in one big group?"

The innocent outgrowth of our conversation- besides, we can simply claim we’re worried about our traveling father. It’s not like information on the local bandit scene won’t be useful- either as an opportunity, or a problem to avoid.
>>
Consider this closed. I'll get a quick update out for an overnight vote.
>>
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Run through with questions as you are, there is some doubt lingering in the back of your mind about holding your tongue. But by any and all measures, it is a risk to continue conversation this this vein. And under the current circumstances, you cannot afford to suffer unnecessary risks for what will invariably be diminishing returns. It isn't that the information couldn't be useful, but you don't imagine that you would need it to win your way through to the frontier. If there is a bumper crop of banditry on a stretch of the Fourth, then you just avoid that stretch - or if at all possible, avoid the Fourth entirely. Now, beyond the names of a few places, some points of interest, and a ... very vague idea of their relative position to one another, you don't know the lay of the land beyond sight of the Landward Walls. But if there is a Fourth, then it stands that there must be at least three others of these Imperial Thoroughfares to get you to the interior. Moreover, though it may be far from a worthy thought, if the Guards and the like that were typically stationed on other roads or in cities - on roads or in cities that you will be passing through - get rolled up into this 'soft' muster and are marching up and down the Fourth, then there might be a white belly to all of this unpleasantness. For you, of course, not for anyone caught be these killing rakehellies.

The conversation having since lulled again, the Taker's attention is once again returned to matters more fundamental; to wit, clearing his plate and draining his cup. You'd imagine that he isn't going to be paying for any of this; either his Guild will cover it, or he was given board as a courtesy after the deal he apparently cinched with the proprietor - who is currently caught up in a side conversation, just a few seats beyond Sulphreme's friend. He is definitely within earshot of a polite interjection, you could call over to him at your leisure. Alternatively, perhaps you would be best served at the moment to cover your scent - that is, your proverbial scent - with the Taker. The questions you have put to him are both about the roads, if he thinks you might be pumping him for intelligence, then just turning your attention elsewhere immediately afterwards would certainly compound those suspicions. Asking something actually innocuous, about his work, or about him might smother out such thoughts. Is such a thing necessary though? Just how much is innocent in his eyes?
>>
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "So, what exactly does being the keeper of the keys for a Guildhall actually entail?"
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "I cannot quite place 'Sulphreme'. Is it southern?"
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Half of your ear and a moment of your time."
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Would it be an imposition if I were to ask to speak privately for a moment?"
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? When you get a moment, could you send for those documents, please?"
> [Directed at (Write-in Subject)] Write-ins allowed with QM approval.


Sorry about the delay on this one, it was like pulling teeth. Lost the damned thing half-way through writing it, then the internet connection was dropping in and out. I'm thinking that if a majority crops up quick enough for this next vote, I might be able to get in two votes tomorrow.
>>
>>6056260
> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Half of your ear and a moment of your time."
>>
>>6056260
>> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Would it be an imposition if I were to ask to speak privately for a moment?"
>>
>>6056260
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "So, what exactly does being the keeper of the keys for a Guildhall actually entail?"
>>
>>6056260
>> [Directed at Nasturtium] "Goodman Nasturtium? Half of your ear and a moment of your time."
>>
Damn it! I don't know how I missed the tie-breaker; consider this closed.
>>
>>6056260
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "So, what exactly does being the keeper of the keys for a Guildhall actually entail?"
I’m legitimately curious- the unflattering details are always the most fascinating.
>>
>>6056681
I honestly meant for >>6056689 to be posted an hour ago- damn captcha failing me in my time of need!
>>
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It is frustrating, really. You have spent a fair bit of time with the Taker, but you really don't have a read on the man. And as such, you cannot say with any certainty if muddying the waters is going to help you or not. You suppose it couldn't hurt ... or then again, it very well might. The Poincares; you had almost forgotten about them. Presumably, when they return to the room, there is going to be a scene of some stripe or another in the offing. If you are anchored to your seat by courtesy while Sulphreme works his way through an interesting but unuseful-to-you anecdote when they arrive ... well, you can certainly imagine him challenging Sulphreme on your presence at this dinner, which could and almost certainly segue into questions about why you were out so late. From there, you can easily imagine things spiraling away from you. Aye, lingering overlong could be your undoing ... but that is only assuming that the Poincares realize that they are the butt of a joke. It might be that they go to the empty room they believe your fictitious father is sleeping in to try to rouse him, find that they cannot, and simply decide to retire for the night. If that is what they ended up doing - or have already done - then you have some time to work with here. You could ask the Goodman proprietor over for a moment, and ... well, actually, you should do that regardless, whether you are going to be risking remaining in the room or trying to take your leave before the Poincares can return.

"Goodman Nasturtium? Half of your ear and a moment of your time."

The man politely disengages himself from the company he had been caught up in and closes the distance to you.

"You will forgive me, I hope, but it seems that I ended up taking you up on your offer of a seat at your table after all."

The man chuckles warmly, and worn as you are you find yourself smiling away.

"There is nothing to forgive, nothing at all. In fact, if there has been any trespass here, it was me, allowing you to leave without the Patent and Bill."

Your smile withers away in a half-heartbeat, and you find yourself having to actually purse your lips together to keep your face somewhere approaching placid. Cry fie and fray it all, does he intend to make everyone remaining at the table part-and-party to your affairs? Damn it, you should have gotten him out of the room first. Now you have to wonder how many guests here heard that, and how many will remember. Sulphreme definitely heard - and definitely will remember - but you had practically told him already anyway. Doesn't make the pill any less bitter, though. Blind to your frustration, the proprietor continues on.

"But you haven't actually had anything to eat or drink yet? Oh, that won't do. No, food first, papers later. Myriam, over here, if you please."

"Oh, no, no - the hour, it is much to late for me to eat anything."

"Truly? You wouldn't even take some iced water and heel of the house emmerloaf?"
>>
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You are having a hard time remaining cross at this man for spilling about your business here. It feels as if your stomach is liable to start gurgling at the offer, to the point where you actually place a hand over it in the hopes that somehow it helps. At this point, you are running on nothing more than the meal-carrion from the Clerking house, and with all you have to do tonight - with the half of the night that remains to you - the prospect of a hearty snack is inordinately attractive. You would also have the opportunity to keep speaking to Sulphreme and the other guests, at least for a little bit. Of course, assuming that the Poincares don't just retire after their escapades outside of Sulphreme's friend's door, remaining in the dining room could seriously come back to bite you - a lot worse than not taking Nasturtium out of the room already has. And considering that you are going to be spending serious time in a sewer, perhaps there might be a proverbial white belly to keeping your actual one empty ... assuming, of course, that you are able to get that far in your itinerary for the night. Everything is just harder and taking much longer than you anticipated, and it is already well into the Hour of Change.

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> "I suppose I could risk it, if you so insist." [Remain in the dining room, allowing you to continue to interact with Sulphreme and the other guests, risking a scene if the Poincares return]
> "No, truly, I don't think I could manage. Just business at this hour." [Leave the dining room with the Goodman Nasturtium to sign the Patent and Bill for stage, team and tack]
>>
>>6056773
>> "I suppose I could risk it, if you so insist." [Remain in the dining room, allowing you to continue to interact with Sulphreme and the other guests, risking a scene if the Poincares return]

Bless this kind man.
>>
>>6056773
> "No, truly, I don't think I could manage. Just business at this hour." [Leave the dining room with the Goodman Nasturtium to sign the Patent and Bill for stage, team and tack]

Let's leave one of the more dangerous situations we've been in behind
>>
>>6056773
> "I suppose I could risk it, if you so insist." [Remain in the dining room, allowing you to continue to interact with Sulphreme and the other guests, risking a scene if the Poincares return]
Food helps is in the long run, given our schedule and dice modifiers. Besides, I want to still pump him for more information on how the keeper of the keys works in practice!
>>
>>6056773
>> "No, truly, I don't think I could manage. Just business at this hour." [Leave the dining room with the Goodman Nasturtium to sign the Patent and Bill for stage, team and tack]
>>
You know, if I ever get the time, I should go back and see how many deadlocked votes we have had in this Quest. I have to believe it is more than typical. I'll throw a notice up in the general.
>>
>>6056773
> "I suppose I could risk it, if you so insist." [Remain in the dining room, allowing you to continue to interact with Sulphreme and the other guests, risking a scene if the Poincares return]
No idea what's going on, came here purely to tiebreak
>>
>>6057314
I appreciate it, anon!

Consider this closed. I'll get to writing straightaway, I should have a short update done before I go to bed.
>>
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Father taught you that you must never refuse charity - and that thieves must have a very expansive definition of 'charity'. Anything unsecured is effectively just a gift to the first to come along who would be willing to take it. Just look at all of the stuffs and stocks that you pinched today; even things that you didn't immediately need and could readily buy. To be sure, that was before you made your resolution - but the point is that you don't want to live like that any longer, and you suppose that on some level, your refusal of hospitality here may be some quiet way of repudiating that greed and trespass which has so characterized your life, even if this hospitality is genuine. Perhaps even especially because of it. But hunger and the persistence of the Goodman are wearing against this resolution, as are the thoughts of how long it may end up being before you get a chance to eat again. And when to your acute embarrassment, your stomach actually does start audibly growling, you find yourself relenting and reversing on this point. Clearing your throat loudly, and hoping no one but you heard, you address the proprietor.

"Well ... it could be risked, if you so insist."

"Oh, I do. Myriam."

The serving-man wordlessly sets about, and the proprietor moves on shortly, continuing to work to work the room convivially. Welcome as the food will be, you are far from certain that you have made the right decision. Furthermore, there is quite the throng of threats and issues looming over your head. The most immediate of which is the possible return of the Poincares. Possible and potentially imminent. Initially, you assumed that the room they were sent to - Four of Cups - was empty, because Sulphreme's friend sent the pair of pains to his own room. But you cannot know that for sure; perhaps it might be worth asking as much. If it does turn out that there was someone in the room, odds are they are going to be made aware of the joke played on them much quicker than they would be with an empty room - and similarly, odds are they are going to be markedly more upset about it. You would have some forewarning, and unless they show up in the next dozen or so seconds, an opportunity to reverse course and bail out of the room before any unpleasantness can boil over and blanche you. Or ... or perhaps you are already out of the proverbial woods. After all, you don't know how far away the room actually is. It might be right outside the door, and the Poincares have already given up and retired for the night. In which case, there would certainly be better questions to ask or conversations to have.
>>
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "So, what exactly does being the keeper of the keys for a Guildhall actually entail?"
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "I cannot quite place 'Sulphreme'. Is it southern?"
> [Directed at Sulphreme's Friend] "I can only hope that whoever is in Four of Cups has more humor then the pair of them do ..."
> [Directed at the Man to the Left] "Oh, you were saying about yourself?"
> [Directed at (Write-in Subject)] Write-ins allowed with QM approval.

Sorry about the delay on this.
>>
>>6057499
> [Directed at the Man to the Left] "Oh, you were saying about yourself?"
>>
>>6057499
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "So, what exactly does being the keeper of the keys for a Guildhall actually entail?"
>>
>>6057499
>> [Directed at the Man to the Left] "Oh, you were saying about yourself?"
>>
Alright, consider this closed. I'll try to get something up before I go to bed, but it might end up like yesterday.
>>
I don't quite have the update done, and I am fading fast. Instead, we can take this opportunity to vote on which book will provide the passage to open the next thread.
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> The Endowed Farm
> The Canon of Medicine
> The Ways and Means
> Imperatives and Rights
> The Feats of Tools
> Waste Not, Want Not
> On Design
> The Grown Pharmacopœia
> The Garden of the Suppressed
> The Estrangement of the Great Gloom
> Cultivated Curiosities and Exotics
> Compendium [Reformed Priests]
>>
>>6058161
> Imperatives and Rights
>>
>>6058161
>The Feats of Tools
>>
>>6058161
> Imperatives and Rights
>>
Okay, consider this vote closed as well. I should have the update finished and up within two hours.
>>
Stifling a frustrated sigh, you wrestle for a moment longer with the idea of reengaging the Taker in truly idle talk, so that if he is - or later becomes - suspicious of you, and the directions you lead the conversation in, there will be something to muddy the waters. To be sure, it sounds sound, but ... part of you feels that perhaps the moment has passed. Had you followed up your pumping with this fluff immediately, then you would have felt a lot better about it; but scores of seconds must have passed by now - a rejoinder now to talk about moonbeams seems ... well, suspect in its own right. To be sure, so long as you picked your topics reasonably, he wouldn't know that they were spoken moonbeams. Least, you would hope so; but in such straights as you are, planning on hope is ... a clinical idiot would know better. So then, if the Taker is out, perhaps you should speak to his friend; make sure that the room he sent the Poincares to was in fact his own - and empty. But what really is there to commend that? At this point you don't imagine there is a polite way to get out of the snack that you just accepted; unless you are intent on making a scene - or at least, an arse of yourself - to avoid being present for a scene that the Poincares could make if they return ... no, you should consider yourself here for the duration, baring further developments. So then, with the Taker unnecessarily dangerous to talk to - at least, when he is so adequately distracted by food and drink - and with the Taker's friend merely unnecessary to talk to ... perhaps you should try to resume conversation with the personable guest sitting to your left? Your two options with Sulphreme are to either fill his ear with fluff or to cut yourself away from him; as you have settled against fluff in favor of isolation, then talking to the man's friend - who is sitting right next to him - may see Sulphreme interjecting himself into the conversation, or at least listening to all of it. Seeing that the man to your left isn't engaged in a conversation of his own, you find yourself resolved.

"Ah, you were introducing yourself ... before our company became so impoverished."

The man - who besides yourself is the youngest at the table - laughs heartily at that. You don't know where all of this wit is springing from - perhaps you have to lose your mind to find your tongue.

"I'm Caninae Cantcanis, Adjunct-Solicitor under the Goodman Erasinus. We bring cases at the Forum and at the Anchorage on behalf of the local Port Authority."

Oh, wonderful! Thief-Takers weren't bad enough, you needed to be sat between fraying prosecutors.

"Forgive me, but is your father not here tonight? I know he is not in my room. Heh! Unless the Goodman knows something I don't ...".

This just keeps getting worse, doesn't it?
>>
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> "No, no he isn't. He isn't well, actually."
> "No, no he isn't. Could you point me towards the privy, please?"
> "No, no he isn't."
> "Yes, he is."
> "Yes, he is. But he isn't well, actually."
>>
>>6058726
> Write-ins allowed with QM approval.
>>
>>6058726
> "No, no he isn't. He isn't well, actually."

I think we have to provide an explanation and hopefully after this we can sit quietly and neatly and only speak when spoken to
>>
>>6058726
>> "No, no he isn't. He isn't well, actually."
>>
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Offering up a silent prayer for the fortitude to keep your face as composed as your thoughts are not, you try to deduce some way to correct course before a bad decision becomes an utterly ruinous one. With Sulphreme still very much in earshot, you cannot seriously consider claiming that your father is in fact at this Coaching house, but simply indisposed for some contrived reason or other at the moment. Of course, admitting that your father isn't here is opening an effectively bottomless pot of worms. But what other choice is left to you? If there is any, it is beyond you, what with your head so worn out and worn down. If it wasn't for the stress, you would probably be half-asleep right about now - as opposed to an eighth-asleep as you are. Damn this chair, it is too comfortable.

Perhaps ... perhaps, if opening the pot of worms is a forgone conclusion, as you cannot - and should not - lie and say that he is, and simply refusing to answer won't pass muster, especially when you were one who resumed the conversation ... perhaps then, your only recourse is to make that pot of worms as uncomfortable to delve as possible, within the bounds of polite conversation - or at least, your best estimation of polite conversation - and hope that he decides to leave well enough alone on his own volition. It is far and away from being sure-firing, but you can dredge up no better idea.

"As a matter of fact, no ... no he isn't. He's not well, actually."

"Oh, Maker's Mercy, I am sorry to hear that."

As the weight of another lie bears down on your brow, you can see a look of genuine concern wash over Cantcanis, of the sort that you never would have expected a prosecutor of all people to be able to experience. It seems to be written across his face that he isn't going to let this go, but when he doesn't say anything more straightaway, a feeble hope takes root in your breast that you might have misjudged about misjudging him. But -

"Is he being seen? Professionally, that is? Because Raptelis here is a Journeyman Chirurgeon."

The remark catches the ear of the Chirurgeon; now you must tread with much more care when lying about Wilhelmina's father's health. Did you tell Sulphreme that your father had been seen professionally? Oh damn it, where in the Heights of Hell is that food? At this point, you'd just keep your face stuffed until the proprietor was ready to take you into his office ...

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> "No."
> "Yes."
> "Oh, no. It is not that bad."
> "Well, yes, but only as a precaution."
> "Oh, no. It is not that bad, he just had a rough go of the crossing, that's all."
> "Well, yes, but only as a precaution - he just had a rough go of the crossing, that's all."
> "I'm ... not sure if he'd want me speaking about such matters so publicly."
>>
Forgot it again, damn it!
> Write-ins allowed with QM approval.
>>
>>6059047
>> "I'm ... not sure if he'd want me speaking about such matters so publicly."
>>
>>6059047
>"Well, yes, but only as a precaution - he just had a rough go of the crossing, that's all."
>>
>>6059047
> "I'm ... not sure if he'd want me speaking about such matters so publicly."

We already established with Sulphreme that our father is weirdly private and paranoid, so this weird answer fits the bills there and might keep us out of a medical conversation with a doctor
>>
>>6059047
>> "Yes."
>>
Alright, consider this closed.
>>
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Were you not under so much attention at the moment, you would be sorely tempted to swear at yourself under your breath. Everything was fine - or as close to fine as you were like to get under the circumstances - until you had to open your fat, stupid mouth. And you are not entirely sure, but you feel as if the site of your Hide-Eyes Scarification Glyph is warming up again - though that might just be a combination of stress and the fact that this dress is thicker, and thus necessarily warmer than either the domestic dresses you bought or the hooded canvas hodgepodges you made for yourself. Fighting the urge to fidget, or to look down at your bundle, where it languishes at your feet, you grasp desperately for a quick, polite and above-all conversation ending response. Silence would certainly be quick, and it would certainly end the conversation - but it in no way would be polite. Would it be rude enough to be commented on, to give offense? Perhaps. But what really speaks against it is that someone raised as Wilhelmina would have been would never come to employ it here, at least, based on your ken of her sort. To be sure, someone raised as Wilhelmina presumably was would never have been out so late, but by any measure, a foundation with twice the flaws as another is twice as worse.

So then, there needs to be an actual, spoken answer. By your recollection of what you poured into Sulphreme's ears, you ... think you might have said that he was being seen. You are long leagues from certainty though. Perhaps you merely implied it, but implicit or explicit, it would hold water. But you aren't sure. What if you were caught in a lie? Would Sulphreme confront you about it? Probably not; and if he did, you might be able to wave it away by saying you didn't want everyone else to worry about him, or think him feeble, or something like that. You have managed to lie to the man before ... though you had given the man no indication to believe that you were lying to him. No, you cannot in any way, in any capacity underestimate this man - or overestimate yourself. The intelligent thing - or at least, your lamed-brain conception of the intelligent thing - would be to only lie in his presence when the truth is more dangerous than he is. And of course, by truth, you really mean 'established and unchallenged lie'. To that point, you should side-step the question entirely, claiming that your - that Wilhelmina's father, rather - is of ... an uncommon mind. Unsure of how to parse and phrase it tactfully, and well-aware that the question has lingered unanswered overlong, you throw out what comes to the tip of your tongue.

"I'm ... not sure if he'd want me speaking about such matters so publicly."

You can plainly see that does not go over without some confusion, but perhaps that -

"It's nothing serious, the man had a rough go of the crossing, that's all."
>>
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Perhaps that would have ended the fraying conversation, had Sulphreme not interjected himself. Fie! The confusion slips off of the face of Cantcanis and he smiles as he nods his acceptance of this 'fact'; but it does not satiate his tongue.

"So, are you taking up residence here, or just -"

"Visiting. Well, I mean, we're - oh, father's here on family business."

You are faltering. Pull it together. Pattern's Perdition, where is that food? Perhaps you should find some way to excuse yourself from the room to relieve yourself. But you don't exactly know how someone like Wilhelmina would go about doing that - or if she would at all. Not to mention, if you stepped out of the room temporarily, you would have to take your bundle with you, which would draw attention to it, and -

"Where in the Whole did you come from?"

Shit, now that Chirurgeon is asking questions. You -

"How do you know her father, anyway?"

That wasn't directed at you, but at Sulphreme - from the man two seats to the left of him, who up until now you believed wasn't paying attention to the conversation at all. This is ... everything is just getting away from you. Where did you even figure that Wilhelmina and her father were from again? And the other conversation; you may interject into it, but unless you tell a lie - a lie that Sulphreme will recognize as a lie - you don't see how it could be any different from just letting the Taker answer the question truthfully; that he doesn't know your father, that he has never even seen your father. And for someone to escort a man's daughter without the knowledge of her father, without her father even knowing the man ... that is likely to be looked at in askance. And it may beg questions that are harder still to answer.
>>
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> [Directed at Raptelis] "The Northern Core." You will answer succinctly, and turn your attention towards Sulphreme's conversation instead.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "The Northern Core. But if you will excuse me, I think I need some air." You will answer succinctly, and try to politely excuse yourself from the room. You will take your bundle with you, hoping it is not noticed.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "The Northern Core. But if you will excuse me, I think I need some air." You will answer succinctly, and try to politely excuse yourself from the room. You leave your bundle behind, hoping it is overlooked.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "The Northern Core. Never been further from home, for a surety. Oh, but you are a Journeyman, are you not? You must be widely traveled ..." Commit to conversation with Raptelis, steering it away from you.
> [Directed at Sulphreme's Interlocutor] "They met the last time father was here, at some function or other ..." You will interject yourself into the other conversation, and tell a bald-faced lie, hoping that Sulphreme plays along.
> [Directed at Sulphreme's Interlocutor] "He has never met my father. Just me." You will interject yourself into the other conversation, and tell the truth, hoping that you may control the narrative.
> [Directed at Sulphreme] "I ... I think I dropped my fan somewhere on the way to the dinning room. Would you mind taking me back into the lobby to look for it?" You will make a bid to get yourself and Sulphreme out of the room.
> Write-Ins are allowed with QM approval, as always.
>>
>>6059573
Okay, so giving more information is BAD and will make this situation worst, so here is my proposal to eliminate the amount of resultant bad.
Basically, I think we should hope that Sulphreme's response to the other interlocutor's question is sufficiently interesting that it distracts Raptelis and we can get away with only one question/conversation

>WRITE IN: To Raptelis: "..." [Wait and stay silent for as long as social acceptable]
>[If, by some weird trick, Sulphreme is doing the same thing, then we should answer one of them]
>>
>>6059573
>> [Directed at Sulphreme] "I ... I think I dropped my fan somewhere on the way to the dinning room. Would you mind taking me back into the lobby to look for it?" You will make a bid to get yourself and Sulphreme out of the room.
>>
>>6059573
> [Directed at Raptelis] "The Northern Core. Never been further from home, for a surety. Oh, but you are a Journeyman, are you not? You must be widely traveled ..." Commit to conversation with Raptelis, steering it away from you.
Distract the man by presenting him an opportunity to peacock to a lady of status- he’ll bite like a starving dog on the chance to impress us with exotic/funny stories.

I trust Sulphreme will protect our virtue by not stating that he hasn’t met Father, if only out of polite curtesy- we did win his confidence with our conversation after all.
>>
My internet is cutting in and out again, and it is really late. I'll put a post up in the general, and hopefully, the tie will be broken when I wake up in the morning.
>>
>>6059763
>>> [Directed at Sulphreme] "I ... I think I dropped my fan somewhere on the way to the dinning room. Would you mind taking me back into the lobby to look for it?" You will make a bid to get yourself and Sulphreme out of the room.
>>
>WRITE IN: To Raptelis: "..." [Wait and stay silent for as long as social acceptable]
>[If, by some weird trick, Sulphreme is doing the same thing, then we should answer one of them]
If we just leave with a sudden excuse then it is the most blatant "uhhhhhhhh you can't be asking this" ever choreographed and will make them much more suspicious.
>>
>>6059763
>>6060511
No offense lads, but running away will only cause a bigger spectacle- gotta trust that our conversation success hold on Sulphreme, otherwise our actions undercut our story and put a bigger spotlight on our back.

>>6060561
My thoughts exactly friend
>>
>>6060745
Unless I'm instructed otherwise, I'll take this as a vote for the write-in. With that, we should have our tie-breaker. I'll get to writing.
>>
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You struggle mightily to let none of your frustrations nor fears show on your face. Remaining in the room seems to have been a mistake, through and through. You cannot even assuage yourself with the snack, which is still nowhere to be seen. Did he have to send to the kitchens for it? You thought everything was here in the room, on the services that line the walls. If you had known - no, damn it, stop dwelling on food. There are much more imminent issues here. Namely, these two lines of conversation. Both of them have strayed into dangerous territory with alarming alacrity. You are being asked questions about Wilhelmina that you haven't even really decided the answers to. Certainly, there is a notion that Wilhelmina Dremen should come from the Northern Core, as Captain Dremen did ... but that is the sum total of thought you have given the matter. What if he asks what province, what city? What if he has traveled there? He is a Journeyman, after all. Or Hell, what if you bungle things up, say that you are from the Northern Core and then name a city in the Old Hinterlands instead - it has been more than eight years since you made the Crossing, after all, you might have gotten some places confused. There really just isn't any good, safe way to answer this man; as impolite as it may be - and as undermining as it might be to your desired image of a well-heeled, well-reared woman - you are going to have to ... well, just ignore the man. In that case, then your best bet to justify, or at least explain away your breaking of etiquette that is so fundamental that even you recognize it as 'rude', would be to just turn the sum of your attention to Sulphreme.

You won't say anything, of course, but perhaps if you just stare at the man as you are right now, he'll be so uncomfortable that he won't say anything either. Or at the very least, he won't say anything that would -

"Ah, well, I ..."

Already seemingly at a loss for words, he completely falters when he belatedly notices that you are staring at him intently. Presumably to buy himself some time, he quaffs his drink, presumably torn between the two honorable paths forward - truth, or discretion. Damn it; he's definitely going to have to say something now ... though admittedly, the hope that he would remain silent when asked a direct, perfectly reasonable question by his friend was not so much vain as it was just ... inexplicable. While you may have plucked the fuse from the 'peter-pomegranate to your left, the one to your right looks ready to go off in a matter of moments. Should you answer the question in his place? And if you should, how should you answer it? How would the Taker take you saying something that he knows to be a lie? Oh, Pattern's Perdition, you need to be careful, very careful here ...
>>
> Please choose ONE of the following:
> "..." You will allow Sulphreme to speak as he will, remaining in the room as he does.
> "If you will excuse me, I think I need some air." Spoken to no one in particular, you will quit the room, allowing Sulphreme to speak as he will. You will take your bundle with you.
> "If you will excuse me, I think I need some air." Spoken to no one in particular, you will quit the room, allowing Sulphreme to speak as he will. You will leave your bundle behind.
> "He hasn't made my father's acquaintance yet." For a surety, it is a pot of worms - but perhaps if you are the one opening it, if you are the one with the initiative, then it might be the best option that remains to you. Not to mention, it is the truth!
> "Their paths crossed for the first time at the Forum, just yesterday morn. Or the morn before yesterday morn now." It is a lie - but a delicate one. How could Sulphreme - or anyone - hold it against you? And what if he did? He wouldn't name you a ... a liar in front of everyone, not someone as tactful and polite as he is; you might not have the best read on the man, but you feel pretty confident about that at least.
> Write-ins allowed with QM approval.
>>
>>6060782
> "..." You will allow Sulphreme to speak as he will, remaining in the room as he does.
>>
>>6060782
>You won't say anything, of course, but perhaps if you just stare at the man as you are right now, he'll be so uncomfortable that he won't say anything either. Or at the very least, he won't say anything that would -
This is not an acceptable solution Chlot, and you know it.

Is there a way to ask Sulphreme a question that the good Chirurgeon googled the memory of, just as way to harmonize the conversation without appearing too rude? None of these options are appealing, and I’d rather we continue the conversation instead of abruptly leaving or staying silent.

Maybe we could blame discreetly on woman things, like cramps and such? Maybe that’ll give us social legroom for our sudden faux pass?

I’m certain Sulphreme will pull up a white lie to protect a lady’s virtue- especially in a social situation where he just sent to a practical joke with our verbal assistance.
>>
>>6060966
> Is there a way to ask Sulphreme a question that the good Chirurgeon googled the memory of, just as way to harmonize the conversation without appearing too rude? None of these options are appealing, and I’d rather we continue the conversation instead of abruptly leaving or staying silent.

If I am understanding what you are saying, you want to ask Sulphreme a question that merges the two conversations into one, correct? That's a perfectly acceptable option; where Chlotsuintha answers the Chirurgeon by saying something to the effect of "oh, the Northern Core", and then, directed at Sulphreme, she says "that is where the two of you first met, right?" I should point out though, not only is this a lie, it is a blatant one - and if any of the other guests know the Taker well enough, then they will recognize it for what it is - and by extension, recognize Chlotsuintha for what she is, namely, a bold, ready liar.

I'll consider this a write-in option. If you have a write-in that achieves the same - or similar - effect, then by all means, share it. Don't consider yourself locked into this write-in, if you don't wish to be. I'm fine with multiple write-in options for the same vote.

Anyway, I'm going to bed soon. Hopefully I'll be able to close the vote first thing when I wake up.
>>
>>6060966
I still think we should let Sulphreme direct the conversation here, at least until we get proof of whether or not he is comfortable lying
>>
Unless I'm instructed otherwise, I'll take this as a vote for holding our tongue. Consider this vote closed.
>>
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Discomfort is plain to see on Sulphreme's face; never in your wildest dreams would you ever had thought that a Thief-Taker would actually have such a hard time lying! You are sorely tempted to offer up a silent prayer for the man, so that he may be led to Wisdom here ... but even in the dimming afterglow of your resolution to decency, even as doubts about your ability to see such a reversal of course through, you catch yourself. How presumptuous would it be to say that you knew where Wisdom lay here. Instead, you pray for yourself - that you may find the strength and wit to survive what remains of this terrible, arduous night.

"Well ... it was, what ... oh, three years ago now, when he was last on the Mount that I made his acquaintance. Some ... function. Then a few days ago, he sends word that he is back on the Mount - with his daughter - and as he is under the weather, so he needs someone to escort her while he is indisposed. So I - and in my place, my second - have been escorting her around the Mount."

It takes the entire Breadth of your Thread, but you manage to keep from sighing in relief. That is a good answer; as good of an answer that could be hoped for. It even accounts for who was escorting you while he was at dinner here. The interlocutor nods, but still looks for the sum of the Whole to be the picture of a man confused. You can only presume that he is wondering why you were being escorted to this house at this remarkably late hour in the first place. And you cannot imagine that he is alone in thinking that either. If there ever was going to be a time to explain your presence here - or rather, attempt to explain - then by all counts and measures, it would be now.

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> [Undirected] "..." At this point, you feel that the best move is to simply play for time. Hold your tongue, wait for the food, and then move on to business.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core." A belated answer seems better than none, especially if you are able to just leave it at that.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core. But if you will excuse me, I think I need some air." A belated answer seems better than none, especially if you are able to excuse yourself from the room. You will take your bundle with you.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core. But if you will excuse me, I think I need some air." A belated answer seems better than none, especially if you are able to excuse yourself from the room. You will leave your bundle behind.
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core. Never been further from home, for a surety. Oh, but you are a Journeyman, are you not? You must be widely traveled ..." Commit to conversation with Raptelis, just steer it away from you.
> [Directed at Interlocutor] "Yes, I'm here on my father's behalf, to conduct his business." [Requires Rolling] Building off of Sulphreme's lies, you will tell some of your own.
>>
The third time I have dropped it in this thread; I must be slipping.
> Write-Ins are allowed with QM approval, as always.
>>
>>6061217
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core. Never been further from home, for a surety. Oh, but you are a Journeyman, are you not? You must be widely traveled ..." Commit to conversation with Raptelis, just steer it away from you.

Maybe Chlot should subtly play at having bad cramps? Could help explain the oddness of our conversation, and elicit embarrassed sympathy, which due to the nature of this society, won’t be brought up for propriety reasons. Of all the people here, the Chirurgeon would likely pick up on the hints, and may get him to lay off the questions to distract us with his stories.
>>
>>6061217
>> [Undirected] "..." At this point, you feel that the best move is to simply play for time. Hold your tongue, wait for the food, and then move on to business.
>>
>>6061217
> [Directed at Raptelis] "Oh, sorry. The Northern Core. Never been further from home, for a surety. Oh, but you are a Journeyman, are you not? You must be widely traveled ..." Commit to conversation with Raptelis, just steer it away from you.

Normally I would think silence is a good measure, but Sulphreme's line of conversation seems more dangerous for us and right now it's the last on the table so redirection sounds good
>>
What about briefly going "The Northern Core" and then asking them about the city to fill time until the food arrives?
Surely they'll be interested in such a lovely (boring and polite) topic.
>>
>>6061560
Oh, yeah, actually that's a really good idea. I'll change my support to this: I live inoffensive and boring topics
>>
By my count, that is 2-1-1 for the write-in (which I accept, of course). I'll try to have a quick update out within two hours.
>>
>>6061560
Being >>6061399, I don’t mind, so long as we give possible reason for our lapse in conversation- a decent transition would be from ‘your own travels’ to ‘how they differ from the Mount?’ And onwards from there.
>>
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The moment looms heavy in the air; the interlocutor glances at you, then back at the Taker. You catch yourself tensing in your chair, and you force yourself to relax - a tall order, when waiting for a serious blow to fall. But the moment drags, then eventually passes in silence - or near enough to silence, what with the soft sounds of eating and drinking from around the wheel-table, as well the lilting drone of markedly less dangerous conversations all around, Your education may have given you a decent enough vocabulary, but the ways the well-heeled talk to one another might as well be one of the Many Mysteries to you - you cannot imagine why, but it seems that he - nor anyone else - is going to press the issue, ask the obvious next question. For a surety, there must be some arcane rationale as to why doing so is impolite and improper, but for the life of you, you cannot reason out why. That ... that is something that you need to be much more aware of going forward if you intend to make use of your riding habit. A day may come where knowing or not knowing the rhyme and reason of sophisticated society may really be for the life of you.

That said, you are not wholly out of the woods yet. In fact, the other conversation - the one you were actually an active party in before you just turned away to stare at Sulphreme ... well, you know enough that you are aware you shouldn't ... do exactly what you did. Even the most base cur would recognize your misstep there; and of course, besides being rude, it might come across as evasive. On account of it being evasive. Can you just, pick up like nothing happened? Neither Cantcanis or Raptelis are speaking to anyone at the moment, but from the corner of your eye, you can see that they have since turned away. It has to be better late than never, for a surety. Right?

"Oh, sorry. The Northern Core, to answer your question."

Both men look up from their plates, surprised by the rejoinder. You are about to follow it up with a question directed to the Journeyman, about his travels, but it occurs to you that it might be more in your interest to ask simple questions about the Mount, as you are posing as visitor. You are further distracted by the arrival of your snack, an absolutely scrumptious loaf - reheated even, served with a dish of oil - and an impressively tall goblet of ice-water. You turn to thank the manservant, but in doing so, you catch a portion of a distant conversation between someone leaving the room and someone remaining at their seat on the other side of the table.

" - really, I should be abed before the Hour of Change passes. Goodnight friend."
>>
Shit! Have you lingered that long? Do you even have the time for any of this?

> Please choose ONE of the following:
> Even if you hadn't run yourself through the wringer for this snack, you mustn't turn away charity - actual, genuine charity - to save the unsavable mess that your itinerary for the night has become. Also, you have a conversation that you need to continue.
> Yes, it is frustrating - but it is also very, very late. Content yourself - or try to - with a big bite of the bread and a deep swig of the ice-water, then call the proprietor over. You need those papers in hand. Oh, how are you ever going to pull this off?
> Write-Ins are allowed with QM approval, as always.
>>
>>6061657
> Even if you hadn't run yourself through the wringer for this snack, you mustn't turn away charity - actual, genuine charity - to save the unsavable mess that your itinerary for the night has become. Also, you have a conversation that you need to continue.

But mostly stick to stuffing our mouth in silence
>>
>>6061657
> Even if you hadn't run yourself through the wringer for this snack, you mustn't turn away charity - actual, genuine charity - to save the unsavable mess that your itinerary for the night has become. Also, you have a conversation that you need to continue.

Om nom nom nom
>>
>>6061657
> Even if you hadn't run yourself through the wringer for this snack, you mustn't turn away charity - actual, genuine charity - to save the unsavable mess that your itinerary for the night has become. Also, you have a conversation that you need to continue.
Can we make it like we suffered womanly crams or something? Even if it’s just a noticeable wince later in the middle of us speaking- I’m just looking for a excuse that they’ll happily gloss over.

Also, the snack can’t take but a minute- call the proprietor over in a minute or so.

>Ask the servant for the time, and thank him for the service
I assume they got a clock stored somewhere, so it’ll take him a bit to find it and relay it to us- it’ll be a good decent segway to focusing on the proprietor after recovering the conversation.



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