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Thread: [QUEST] - Fate/Blumenkrieg: The Threefold War of Flowers

  1. #141
    celestial prayer 34's Avatar
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  2. #142
    3. When in doubt let's just take the moderate option and pray for the best. :>

  3. #143
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Finally caught up! And, hmmm... I vote 1.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  4. #144
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    All caught up and 3

  5. #145
    吸血鬼 Vampire Wyvern's Avatar
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    I.D: Dolores Morella
    Condition: Recovering
    Magic Circuits: Unlocked

    Magus Profile!
    Origin: ???
    Element: ???
    Sorcery Trait: ???
    Crest: Second Foundation (Entomopathy)
    Circuits: Core
    Foundation: Shamanism
    Mana Output: 400 Units


    Parameters!
    Strength - E
    Agility - D
    Endurance - E
    Magic Energy - B
    Luck - E-
    Magecraft - B


    Inventory!
    - Mana Jewels (5 / 100%)




    Day 0 - The Teacher (Final)



    Glancing at the entity that had rendered them assistance, Dolores sighed.
    “Well, it doesn’t matter. All of them are correct in a way and we haven’t a chance of figuring out which is the ‘most’ correct. For our purposes at least. So, if you all don’t mind, I’ll just choose?”

    There was a general murmur of agreement, Dominika remaining quiet while Bram and Marcus glared at the offending gateways. Eventually, however, the group agreed.

    “First, thank you very much honored Librarian.” She gave a deep curtsy, inclining her head with a great deal of actual respect to the many eyed daemon. “And now we must take our leave. I hope no one troubles you and that all respect the rules of our Library. Good day!”

    Bold as brass, and definitely helped by the fact both Grimsvotn and Suibhine were holding on to her, she reached out and grabbed the handle of the rightmost door.

    There was no flash of light or crash of thunder. Not even a whisper of displaced air.

    Suddenly, they were simply surrounded by light and sound and warmth.


    “Oh my. Hullo there Ms. Morello. And Mr. Rosenberg. And Mr. Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri. I see you have Grim with you and, if my old eyes don’t deceive me, is that you little Bronze? Have you decided to accompany my student?”

    In blood and grime splattered robes, white hair hanging loose and muddy, was an old man. Kind blue eyes, full of an almost electric sense of excitement, told the world exactly how nimble his mind remained. However, half slumped over in a massive armchair that was easily twice as tall as he, feet propped up before a roaring fire, and sipping on a cup of piping hot tea he looked the picture of magical normalcy.

    Should one, of course, ignore the blood and mud. Which, amusingly, look almost exactly the same when dried.

    “Yes old one. She called for me and my brothers, so we answered.”

    “Well. That’s just wonderful.” He gave the group a warm smile, totally unbothered by the fact they simply appeared in the middle of his private quarters, and sat his tea cup down. “Now, I was being rather naughty. But if I have guests, I’ll need to get tea and biscuits. Ah, I apologize madam, but I’m afraid my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. I’d swear on my blood that I’ve met you before, but I’m afraid I can’t place your name.”

    The Warden seemed relieved at the formality.

    Likely because since stepping into the Faculty of Spiritual Evocation, her whole understanding of Shaman and those who utilize the power of spirits had been thrown for a loop. The familiar setting at the very least allowed her to regain her footing with a sharp nod.

    “I believe we have met before. Though not in my official capacity, Lord Kingsworth. I am Dominika von Martinitz. It is a pleasure to make your formal acquaintance.”

    The older magus seemed to brighten up in recognition.

    “Why yes! You are Martin’s granddaughter!”

    And there went the formality.

    “How is that old snake doing? The last I heard of him, he had moved back home to deal with some boring inheritance dispute.” He laughed heartily.

    Dominika blinked. Calling that bloodbath of a faction war a simple inheritance dispute was severely underselling the scope of the massacre. That her father had been the one to commit said massacre due to her relative’s attempt to leave the Mage’s Association was the only reason why she hadn’t been required to act within her responsibilities as the Warden.

    “Still dealing with business back home, I am afraid. I won’t bore you with the details.”

    He pat her on the back, rough calloused hands radiating with an unnatural, almost feverish, warmth.

    “Yes, of course. I was never one for politics either. Nasty business, that is. I very much prefer to further my work with the spirits. Of course, I would have already been done two decades ago if that lazy pile of magma weren’t dragging his feet.” He gestured to Grimsvotn, the volcano spirit snorting in derision.

    Dolores sighed.

    It was the same old thing.

    All her Teacher wanted was to try and create the next big elemental, and all Grimsvotn wanted was to sleep, eat, and burn things that annoyed him. Which somehow involved the man himself every now and again.

    “Oh, now this is delicious!”

    Marcus’s voice echoed from the kitchen, the quartet rounding the corner to find the young man with his hand in the cookie jar. And quite a few crumbs on his face.

    “Lad.”

    He swallowed.

    “Yes sir.”

    Harfang’s voice remained perfectly calm.

    “Did you eat my chocolate cookies?”

    “Uh….”

    Thinking fast, he did the only thing one could do in such a situation.

    “Bram said it was ok!”

    Pointing at the walk in pantry, they saw the young heir come strolling out.

    With an utterly absurd dagworth on a large serving platter.

    At least ten layers of meat, cheese, and vegetables, on a full length bun, and magically toasted to perfection it smelled, and looked like heaven. This particular young man, however, only had a single knife and fork.

    “Oh. Uh. Well. I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I said I intended to share this, do you?”

    His familiar stepped out of the pantry.

    “I found the pickles you requested. Though, I must ask, why is it that you can not simply purchase them yourself? Raiding the Lord’s pantry seems most unwise.”

    “Well.” Harfang rubbed at his bushy white eyebrows. “I can’t get angry with the pretty young woman. But you two are ungrateful brats. So how about you leave the food and go find Penelope while we eat. Unless you want me to hit you with the fire and lighting?”

    Meeping, despite how calm the older man was, they both set their prizes aside and fled with their tails between their legs.

    “Dear Luscinia, would you mind following them and making sure they actually bring the poor girl back here? I’m afraid they might cower in her room until the Apocalypse.”

    The nature spirit inclined her head with a gentle smile.

    “Of course Lord Kingsworth.”

    Soon, they were alone, an old man and two younger women. If one doesn’t consider the amortal cat and functionally immortal volcano spirit.

    “Move your tail you lazy gecko!”

    Whom Harfang had just pushed out of his chair.

    Grim very vocally voiced his displeasure with a loud squawk and a blast of fire. One that the Magus seemingly snatched out of mid air, twirling it between his fingers, and throwing into his fireplace.

    “Now, now. None of that. You have your own chair over there.”

    Rumbling the same complaint that all pets had, that their owner’s chair was theirs, the great fire spirit instead climbed up the side of an overgrown cat tower and flopped down, tail and one leg hanging off the edge, as it let out a loud snore. That just so happened to be accompanied by a burst of flame.

    “You two have a seat. I’ll bring that tea. And perhaps freshen up, since I’m receiving guests. By your leave?”

    The Lady von Martinitz inclined her head while Dolores, biting her lip, rushed over to her teacher and gave him a hug. Ignoring the stains on his clothes, she buried her face in his chest and clung as tightly as she could to the old man.

    “It’s ok Dolores.” Strong fingers, half gnarled by age and arthritis, ran through her hair. “You’re safe now my dear. I promise.” She nodded into his hug. “Go see to your guest. I’ll just change my robes and be right out. Ok?”

    “Ok.”

    “Atta girl.”

    Flushed, she broke the hug and stared at the ground while she fidgeted, Harfang merely chuckling and giving her hair one last tousel.

    All that was left was for the Master to disappear with a flourish of his robes and the two young women to sit down. Suibhine taking this opportunity to climb into Dolores’s lap and Dominika to dap at her forehead with a handkerchief.

    “Not quite what you expected, yes?” Dolores started, a small, happy smile on her face.

    The Warden sighed.

    “I’m starting to think you Shamans exist solely to defy my expectations.”

    “We don’t get visitors often.” The younger magus giggled sheepishly. “It’s not always we get to show off for an outsider and it's not like Marcus or Teacher would have behaved differently anyway. They are at that point where they really don’t care for formalities.”

    Dominika could see it. A man who cheerfully greeted his students like a daughter without care for his blood soaked robes, or a man who thought nothing of dangling another magus from an absurd height. She was used to dealing with detached hermits who used stifling formality to avoid unnecessary contact.

    This was… something altogether.

    “Don’t they get in trouble?” She should have at least heard about them, if only from word of mouth.

    Dolores snorted, absentmindedly running her hand through the bronzen pelt of her familiar.

    “Not nearly as much as you expect. While our Faculty has strange mannerisms and a unique sense of decorum, we are still ruled by a Lord just like any other part of the Clocktower. My Teacher and cousin just happen to be so well connected they could barge into Lord Nuada’s office for a meeting and be welcomed.”

    Frowning, the young woman took a moment to think over how she wanted to phrase her next statement.

    “Right or wrong, it is best we work like that. By being so, well, diverse in our thinking and actions we do not come into conflict like normal mages do.” She glanced at the Enforcer. “You know what happens when a normal Magus gets greedy. Rape, torture, murder, even genocide. Nothing is off the table. You have fat idiots like Goredolf and spoiled brats like the Animusphere heiress and even Lorelei is a terrifying woman. The stuff of nightmares. But they’re limited in their desires. We all want to reach the Root. Or at least a Root. But they’re othodox, worldly, base, even, in how they approach their problems.”

    Taking a deep breath, she let Suibhine chew at her fingertips for a moment.

    “Think about what would happen if one of us were to unleash, say, a hundred daemons into the Clocktower. Or open a Gate and ‘forget’ to close it. Or simply invite an Outer God into their body. How long, do you think, would it take for that to wipe us out? Because I could do it. Right now. I could call out to the Cait Sidhe bound to my family and let about a thousand of them possess me.”

    The deep purrs of the familiar currently flicking the tip of its tail, eyes half closed belied the horror of the statement.

    “It is best, Lady Dominika, that we are mad in our way and not yours.”

    Then the door opened with a low creak and in walked a freshly bathed and, hopefully, bloodless shaman carrying on a large tray a kettle of fragrant tea and a tray of sweets and appetizers. Behind him lumbered the volcano spirit, wagging its tail lazily as it dragged in a small cart piled on with… rocks.

    Rocks emanating with mana to the point they seemed to glow like embers.

    Though that somewhat paled in the face of the fact that neither woman had noticed the volcano spirit slip past them.

    “Apologies for the wait. It always takes such a long time to get rid of bloodstains. Especially when they are a week old.”

    Dolores aimed the stink eye at her elder.

    “You’ve forgotten to change robes? Again? I thought I had marked your daily change of clothes.”

    The man rubbed his neck sheepishly.

    “Sorry, sorry! It’s just, I had a big breakthrough a couple days ago and had to pursue it! It’s how I came up with those tasty snacks Grimsvotn is currently gorging himself on.”

    Said Salamander burped in delight, crunching down on the pitch black stone.

    “I fear he might become something of a glutton.”

    ‘Might is a bit of an understatement, Teacher’ Dolores wanted to say. But knew better than to point out how similar the two were.

    The older magus took his seat across from them, a steaming cup of tea in hand.

    “Now then, word on the street is that you’ve gotten up to some trouble recently Dolores. Something about one of Barthomelloi’s hyenas trying to sell you off to some half baked noble?”

    Dolores recounted the events of the morning, the lightning strike which nearly killed her, finding her parents’ old workshop, and the vision she had. She was sparse with some of the details, as she ought to be as a magus, but chose not to mince words as she got to her adventures in the London underground and her running into what might be a conspiracy to attack the Clocktower.

    Two servants working together to strike at the heart of the Mage’s Association in broad daylight.

    She’d barely escaped with her own life, nevermind the knowledge that such high level entities were planning an attack. She also made sure to touch on her meeting with the Warden and her promise to provide a deeper look into her visions later on.

    Which brought them to a tense staredown.

    “I do not recall teaching you such recklessness, Dolores Vorpal Morello.” He started, presence bearing down on the apprentice like a mighty wave really to swallow her whole. “But.” The old man sagged slightly, regret heavy in his eyes. “I can’t protect you forever. So I suppose this was inevitable and I should be glad it wasn’t worse.”

    He ran his hands across his face.

    “We will need to take additional precautions.” Harfang’s mana spiked, flickering out to push into the wards of his rooms and bringing them up to full strength. “I will not have you going and joining the Great Other my dear. As for this threat, what needs be done my Lady?”

    Finishing off a small cookie, the blonde Enforcer inclined her head.

    “Your apprentice offered a memory scan, contingent on you being present.”

    Dropping that particular bombshell, the Magus was surprised at the response she got.

    “Of course. It would be most difficult to falsify and I would not permit any changes to be made to her, no matter how tempting the thought might be.” He finished with a chuckle.

    Dolores responded to that with a pout.

    “I get into trouble one time and you are already considering brainwashing? If only it were so easy to fix bad habits like that, right Teacher?”

    The man choked on his tea, beating on his chest in surprise.

    “Oh yes, you are of course right, my Apprentice. Manipulation of the mind can be such a spotty branch of our craft. We wouldn’t want something going amiss.” He laughed nervously.

    This time it was Dolores who smiled thinly at the man.

    “I’m not so sure about that. A little snip here, a little tweak there, and maybe you would remember to do the laundry every so often.”

    “Well, so long as you are comfortable with the procedure.” He chose to ignore the pointed implications. “However, even if we can verify your claims, there is still the issue of how we are going to deal with this enemy.”

    The youngest magus nodded grimly.

    Heroic Spirits were a big deal, even when summoned as Servants.

    Most magi just didn’t have the raw power needed to go head to head with one. And most of them had such exotic powers and abilities that could vary from instantly killing an enemy to carpet bombing an entire city. Berserker proved to be of the latter category. And who knows what nasty tricks that necromancer could pull.

    That’s not even taking into consideration the fact that there might be a traitor amidst them.

    Harfang let his finger lightly tap his cup.

    “In truth, I must question if this is even the true issue.” At the raised eyebrows he received, he shrugged. “Dolores my dear, I adore you, but you are a bit young. If a Caster truly wanted to kill you, could you escape? I ask this not to degenerate your abilities, but to raise the possibility of this being a feint. Or, perhaps, even a bluff.”

    Shaking her head, the Enforcer dissented.

    “A move such as this, so brazen an attack on the Moonlit World and the mundanes? This must be part of their central plan. At the very least it would not be purely a feint. Why else would you totally abandon surprise?”

    This time it was Harfang’s turn to stroke his mustache and riposte.

    “Because, my Lady, who is to say that this was their full force? If they have two Servants, why not seven? If they can attack us like this, why not again or in other, more conventional ways? I am afraid that we simply do not have enough information to make an informed move. Yet simply waiting is a death sentence. We must act.”

    “But is this a feigned retreat?” Dolores bit her lip. “Battle is about momentum and rhythm, so is this them having spent theirs or merely another note in their song? Are we foiling one plan only to walk into another. I think, maybe, we should focus on gathering allies first.”

    “We could try talking to Lord Belfeban. He is the head of the Summoning Department, so there might be a way of tracking these servants we aren’t aware of.” Dolores bit her lip in thought.

    Dominika hummed in agreement, before adding her own two cents.

    “There is also the matter of interviewing the Vice-Director regarding her fight against the Servant earlier this morning.”

    Not a pleasant thought, considering how the woman was.

    “Possibly. And we do need to tell her what I saw. But the simple truth is that there’s a non zero chance she might decide a Witch Hunt is in order.”

    It wouldn’t be as bad as one of the woman’s Apostle Hunts. But it would still most likely be overkill several orders of magnitude above the necessary. And that was taking into account the two servants planning to attack them. The city might not be left standing by the end of the week if the Vice Director thought she was being directly challenged.

    “There is, however, another option we aren’t taking into account.” Her Teacher started. “Lately, there have been talks about another family attempting to recreate the Servant Summoning system used by sub-category grail wars. Investigating this might lead us to clues regarding our attackers.”

    Dominika blinked.

    “I too heard these rumors. The Animusphere have been pooling a lot of resources in relation to the Holy Grail war. It is believed their heir, Marisburi, might have succeeded in summoning a servant unconnected to a Holy Grail. If they are somehow connected to this attack, it would be advantageous to corner them first.”

    It was a scary thought. Someone just being able to summon one of the highest ranking forms of a spirit without the need for the usual crutch. It also could explain a lot of the rumors surrounding the family and their distant relationship to the Clocktower outside of the Faculty of Celestial Bodies.

    Even then, Marisburi interacted with them through his apprentice. Some blonde pretty boy with an unpronounceable name.

    “Hmm.” Dominika frowned. “All of these need to be completed. But, unfortunately, I imagine Dolores will want to be interviewed by all three Lords in question. So it stands, where to begin?”

    Choice Time!
    Dolores has finally found her mentor and reported the situation to him, However, further investigation is necessary to ascertain the truth of the matter. With three different people to interview, which one should be seen first?

    1 - The Vice Director of the Clocktower, Lorelei Barthomelloi

    2 - Head of the Summoning Department, Rocco Belfeban

    3 - Lord of the Faculty of Celestial Bodies, Marisburi Animusphere


  6. #146
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Aack, might as well finish talking to Lady Barthomeloi — she’s not the most patient person if at all...

    1 - The Vice Director of the Clocktower, Lorelei Barthomelloi
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
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  7. #147
    1. It's the most 'dangerous' option and I like those ~ But it's also the wisest choice, not going to Lorelei first would imply that we consider the other choices to be most important or influential than she is.

  8. #148
    死徒 Dead Apostle zikari8's Avatar
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  9. #149
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Considering Lady Barthomeloi's power and for lack of better words... ego, she's equal parts the most dangerous and safest option.

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  10. #150
    吸血鬼 Vampire Wyvern's Avatar
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    I.D: Dolores Morella
    Condition: Healthy
    Magic Circuits: Unlocked

    Magus Profile!
    Origin: ???
    Element: ???
    Sorcery Trait: ???
    Crest: Second Foundation (Entomopathy)
    Circuits: Core
    Foundation: Shamanism
    Mana Output: 410 Units


    Parameters!
    Strength - E
    Agility - D
    Endurance - E
    Magic Energy - B
    Luck - E-
    Magecraft - B


    Inventory!
    - Mana Jewels (5 / 100%)




    Day 0 - Epilogue



    Warden Dominika von Martinitz opened her mouth to speak.

    What she would have said, however, was lost to history.


    Because that was the exact moment the doors of the study were pushed open, announcing the search party's return. And, as their vanguard, was Penelope Danmatia, who announced their return the only way she could.









    “Vorpal!”
    A dark amber blur smashed the door open and promptly launched itself at the poor Magus girl. “I’m soooo sorrrrrry! I saw everything but I couldn’t say anything because if I did then things would get worse because more people would end up in the line of fire and you would just have to do more to save them and I just had to sit in my room and watch as all those bad things kept happening to you and I tried to send you good luck by Timothy was frazzled because of the servants fighting so all I could do was-”


    The blue blur was silenced by the application of a small hand to her head. It was a dainty thing, the hand of a Magus, and Dolores wielded it like a scalpel. Deftly tucking a stray strand of hair behind her friend’s ear and pulling the head of the older girl into her lap.

    “There, there Penny. It’s ok. I know you were just trying to keep as many people safe as possible.”

    For the first time in their long, long association the brown haired girl was not quieted by a headpat from her junior. Instead, she sniffled and hugged the last Morello’s waist.

    “I saw the living sacrifice. Burning and screaming and crying for its mother. It was in so much pain. And I saw what it wanted to do to you. How it would shove its hand down your throat, burning you as liquid evil was poured down your throat. Your flesh would melt like wax as it pulled your esophagus inside out. You would feel it though. The Curse of the Offering.”

    Tears ran freely down her cheeks now.

    “Its people called it a blessing. To feel their gods embrace all the way until the bone was nothing but charred ash. I watched it happen to that child. And I watched it happen to you.”

    She hiccuped.

    “I saw your circuits ripped out and the homunculus tear you to pieces. I saw the feral spirits violate your soul over and over and use your body as an anchor. I watched as zombies gnawed on your bones and greedy men bartered you like a poker chip. And every single time I tried to help you, things only got worse. So… I did… nothing. I’m sorry.”

    Her shoulders were shaking, her chest heaving, and the young woman was whimpering and sobbing as her sister did everything she could to comfort her. In the end, a glance with Master Harfang, whose face had gone green and looked quite ill, nodded and busied himself with a cup of tea. Bram and Marcus, on the other hand, quietly apologized to the Lady von Martinitz and pulled her aside to speak with her in hushed whispers.

    Eventually, things calmed. The old Master bearing a fresh pot of tea and a hot towel for the now softly hiccuping seer. Pointedly refusing to leave her friend’s side - even if their position had been reversed.

    Dolores now found her head trapped between the… generous mounds of her senior as she sat in Penny’s lap. Something that would have made her quite awkward normally but, considering the circumstances of her position, she simply smiled at the older girl and squeezed her hand a little tighter.

    And now that things were calmer, and the Warden understood the girl was, in fact, a seer, she nodded along and took a look at this Penelope Danmatia.

    Tall, for one, perhaps even a smidgen taller than Bram - though most certainly shorter than Marcus - her hair was a shining, lustrous brown that fell around her shoulders in waves of ringlets. Her eyes, though red and puffy, held a truly exotic bent. Somehow, they seemed to be perfectly round.

    Too perfectly round.

    So perfectly round that Dominika felt her brain start to itch in the way that told her she should look away right now, no matter how entrancing the puffy, reddened, tear stained chocolate irises might be.

    She blinked and chose to drop her gaze instead. Unintentionally glaring at the young woman’s chest. A chest that was… of sufficient size and voluptuousness that even she, a purely practical woman, felt a twinge of sympathy and envy. Coughing to politely cover her indiscretion, she took in the rest of the young woman’s appearance.

    Wearing what might be a Greek chiton or some other flowing, linen garment, dyed a deep, rich blue, she was without adornment or pretention. Her robes were simple and smooth, though now a bit wrinkled, as she continued to hold her wayward friend tight.

    Perhaps the only true oddity was that, despite being barefooted, the stone flagons of the floor did not seem to bother her.

    Dolores sighed in fond exasperation.

    ‘Same old Penny.’ She ran her hands through the seer’s flowing tresses.

    “It’s okay. I know how your visions work, even so, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t describe my possible deaths in such detail, you know.” She needled the girl teasingly. “This is what, the fifth time this week you’ve predicted my imminent demise?”

    Her friend colored.

    “That’s completely different! Vorpal just has a lot of bad futures!”

    Dolores grimaced.

    “You’ve predicted I would die choking on a sandwich last week.”

    “And you didn’t eat any as per my instructions and here you are, alive and well.” The seer pointed out.

    The shaman dearly wanted to point out how she nearly died after being attacked by a Servant, after being kidnapped by another magus and then nearly being gruesomely eviscerated as per the girl’s vision. It would probably send her friend into another fit of fussing over her near death and possibly her next near death too.

    But that’s just how Penny was.

    Especially given the decision they were about to take.

    “I assume you already know what we were talking about?”

    The brunette nodded.

    “Lord Belfaban, the Vice Director, as well as the representative of the Animusphere family. None of them are particularly good choices, you know? Had you stayed in hiding you could have probably avoided a lot of problems.”


    It was said matter of factly, but the implication was clear. Penny did not approve.

    Dolores nodded.

    “Unfortunately we can’t avoid any of them. There are Servants walking around, planning to attack us. We could find a way to track them if Lord Belfagan has any. The Animusphere are a possible suspect - and failing that we still have to report to the Vice Director. Those are all goals we have to accomplish as soon as possible.”

    The Seer didn’t seem convinced, but agreed nonetheless.


    “Begin with the Director at least. She’s the one you least wish to offend.”

    Everyone in the room agreed.

    “Aye. That is true. She’s a force of nature after all.”

    Marcus had a look on his face that suggested he had more than a modicum of approval for the woman in question. Dolores also did after watching her face Berserker in direct combat. That level of power was too ridiculous to not be respected.

    “And having all that firepower is definitely going to be a bargaining chip. To keep other people off our backs and to get to the bottom of things quickly too.”

    Bram quirked an eyebrow.

    “Our backs? Marcus, my good man, I appreciate you offer but this is a job for people capable of discretion. Of not shaking people.”

    “Indeed.” Harfang clapped them both on the back. “And that’s why I’ll escort Dolores tomorrow.” The old man was smiling but his eyes were hard and flinty. “Bram, you’ll speak with your father. Make sure the faculty takes a peek at the Throne and see if we can figure out who we’re facing. Or at least who was most recently summoned. Marcus, you’ll speak with your father and make it clear that if anything happens to our little friend I’ll pop his head like a pimple.”

    This time the older boy glared.

    “Damn straight.” Instead of being insubordinate, however, he bowed to his cousin. “I never did properly apologize, little sister. I swear on my Magic and by my family crest that if I had known what Father was going to do that I would have killed him myself. And failing that, would have killed myself before I saw you come to harm. I sincerely apologize for failing in this!”

    Dolores simply smiled and beckoned him closer, pulling him into a light hug and planting a chaste kiss on his cheek.

    “Of course. I would never doubt you for a moment. Nor you Bram. Now, both of you, come here.”

    The older teen shuffled aside, allowing the childlike young woman to pull all three of her friends into a group hug. It wasn’t particularly tight and it was rather terribly silly. But she wanted it, Penelope wanted it, Marcus loved hugs, and Bram was a lonely boy. So everyone was glad for it.

    “Now my brave champions, scoot. Its late and I’m ready for a bath and then bed!”

    “Indeed.” The Warden stood as well. “It’s well past eleven and fast approaching midnight. I’ll be back tomorrow morning, a bit past eight most likely, and then we’ll go to speak with the Vice Director. Agreeable, Lord Harfang?”

    “Most agreeable indeed, my Lady.”

    He bowed deeply, hand over his heart and arm out in a flourish.

    “Now, young men, I would have you escort me. I’m unfamiliar with this faculty and would have you guide me to my officers.”

    Her tone brooked no argument and so Dolores and Penelope, whose eyes had started to fade into a milky white film, bid their companions goodbye.

    And like that there were three. Harfang in turn smiling indulgently at his apprentices, giving them both a one armed hug, and gathering up the cups and pots and seeing to them. Dolores merely allowed her friend the time needed to return to the present and sat there waiting. Clairvoyance related mysteries were always difficult to deal with.

    Penelope more so than normal due to how they functioned. There was a reason why the Danmatia family were long time members of the Spiritual Evocation family and not some of the other departments of the Clocktower.

    Their power was neither calculation of odds or simulation of events.

    It was akin to seeing through the eyes of another unknowable existence and trying to make sense of it.

    More often than not, Shamans had visions because they were specifically attuned to a certain spirit or otherworldly being, which caused them to see the world from their point of view, which of course meant that you could be seeing any point of the forever branching timelines and their outcomes.

    The littlest shaman stroked along her familiar’s spine, mind going back to the events earlier that day.

    ‘Was that really a vision?’ She’d never had them before. Yet her mother was a Seer of great fame before her passing.

    Just what was happening?

    “You shouldn't think about it.” Penny broke her out of her reverie. “Your chances tomorrow will greatly increase if you have a good night of sleep.”

    Tugging the smaller girl off her seat, the Seer pulled her along towards the hallway leading deeper into their Master’s complex. Dolores didn’t mind, she was pretty tired and knew what her friend had in mind.

    “A bath, then bed?” She hedged a guess, prompting a smile from her.


    “And they say I’m the Seer. Try and not make my job easy, okay?”

    The duo walked in amicable silence, simply enjoying the other’s company as they passed by the various unmarked doors of polished wood and strange colorful door knobs. By now the two of them already knew the way by hand, instead basking on the warmth of the sisterly friendship that existed between them.




    It was common practice for high ranking members of the Association to keep offices inside the main buildings as a form of maintaining status. Both Department Heads and Lords, and perhaps rarely a few secondary but still high ranking authorities, were given this benefit as a way to facilitate their participation in day to day management of the faculty.


    To be blunt, it was a bribe to do their jobs.

    And as an Instructor, or at least one as dedicated and entrenched as he was, Harfang B. Kingsworth was afforded a very large area for his private use.

    Though Dolores knew for a fact her teacher didn’t have his main workshop in it.

    It was just common sense really. Why bring all of your life’s work to a building you didn’t personally oversee and secure? What if there were those capable of sneaking past their defenses or built in ways to sneak past them. As she herself had proven, there were old paths left unchecked by the Clocktower.

    So there was no way someone as dedicated to his work, downright obsessed with it even, as her Teacher would trust another person’s handiwork to guard his own research and lifetime of achievements.

    Instead, the man used the extra rooms for leisure and other work related activities. Mostly grading and paperwork.

    Such as the massive bathroom, which seemed more like a sauna complete with pools of steaming hot water and multiple shower heads leading up to a few changing rooms. The height of opulence which most magi would blink and dismiss as simple pleasures for the masses rather than necessities.

    Dolores, like most shamans, tended to have a less dispassionate view on such earthly pleasures.

    “This is just for a single human?” Suibhne gawked, the proverbial question mark hanging over her head.

    Penelope preened.

    “We stay with Teacher more often than not, so he thought it would be more cost effective to install facilities with multiple people in mind.”

    The cait sidhe stared.

    “How many students does he have?”

    Dolores hummed as they walked into the room, warm steam washing over them.

    “Not that many. Just me, Penny, and Bram. Marcus is only kind of sorta even a member of this Faculty and no one is entirely sure where he belongs.” The magus shrugged “Though no one really cares. He just summons things by punching them with his fists.”
    Suibhne stashed that terrible image for a later point.

    How did you punch a spirit into existence?

    ‘No, better leave that one untouched.’ She decided then and there. The answer was likely something frustratingly simple or mind numbingly complex.

    There was no middle ground with shamans.

    The bathroom in question was big enough to comfortably fit at least five times that number. It was more like a roman bathhouse than anything. The bathtub itself was more like a giant pool with seats.

    “We only ever leave for classes or meetings, so having this much room means we can have some privacy when we want.” Penelope tittered.

    The younger shaman aimed a deadpan stare at her.

    “As much privacy as we can have around a Seer, at least.”

    The older girl smiled pleasantly, sinking deeper into the warm water as if she hadn’t heard the comment.

    It was, admittedly, very nice.

    Dolores hadn’t really had any time to relax since she woke up in the van. From escaping that storm to finding refuge at her parent’s old workshop, to investigating her vision and nearly getting killed by zombies and then taken prisoner by the enforcers. She had experienced more today than most magi did in their life times.

    There had been some pleasant highlights, though.

    Summoning Suibhne, meeting Lady Dominika, and returning to the Faculty.

    Today had been an adventure.

    But things weren’t over. Not yet, at least.

    Those servants were still outside, conspiring for whatever reason they had. Bellefronte had been cut off, but tomorrow she would have to talk with his superior in enemy territory. Just thinking about it made the water around her feel lukewarm.


    “Stop sulking and come here my little sword.”

    Suibhine sneezed as Penelope worked up a thick lather in her hands. Some shampoo with an exotic, almost spicy smell. The older girl pulled her friend over and began to work her fingers into the green bob.

    “I don’t know how, but I think you managed to get sap in your hair. You’re lucky I knew we’d need this.”

    Somehow, between the slow, firm, and skilled fingers working her scalp and the relaxing warmth flowing from the shampoo the heiress felt her limbs slowly growing heavy.

    “Thanks Penny. Best big sis ever.”

    Complying with the gentle push on her back, the last Morello ducked her head under the water. Coming back up, she settled in her friend’s lap, neither bothered by their nudity, and let her older friend run a comb through her short hair.

    At first, the silence was companionable.

    One of the two exhausted and on the verge of passing out, the other simply content to reassure herself that one of her very, very few friends wasn’t dead. Or worse.

    Who knew treating children like mad science projects made them desperate for affection?

    “Dolores.”

    The sudden change in tone brought her attention back in focus. “Yes?”

    “From now on, you will have to be more careful.” The brown haired girl looked like she was struggling to find the right words. “Today has been a strange and dangerous day, but I’m afraid that this will not be the end of it. I see strange shades, figures just beyond my sight. There are murmurings that something… old is coming to pass and I want you to remain vigilant.”

    The green haired girl stiffened.

    A problem Penelope could not foresee was most definitely a big problem.

    “Can you tell me anything about it?”

    Unfortunately, the girl shook her head.

    “Nothing that would make sense and nothing you probably don’t already know.” She sighed despondently. “When you chose to follow your visions today, a path was opened leading through the many possible branches. It is hard to see through them. Separate what could be from what won’t.”

    There was silence for a moment, as the seer’s voice grew cold and hard though nothing else changed. Not even the comb slowed as it continued to run through Dolores’s hair.

    “I see you dressed as a bride, virginal and pure. I see you dressed as a whore, temptress and twisted. I see three wings sprouting from your back - one of fire, one of aether, one of chitin. I see the surface of a mirror, showing nothing and everything and a halo of light circling the sky with the glow of seven colors.” Her body shivered and her eyes went dim. “In the end, I see shadows and flowers and a garden so beautiful it hurts. And so terrible it burns.”

    The lights in the room flickered for a moment.

    “Well, that was ominous.”

    Penny gave her a weary smile and Dolores rose and helped her friend from the bath - the seeress rising on shaky legs. It was a short walk to the towels and Suibhine rejoined them with a meow, the cat weaving between their legs as the duo dried.

    Five minutes later, dressed in blue and white pajamas with needle work depicting all kinds of wonderful monsters like griffons, wyverns, manticores, and chimeras, she stood in Penelope’s room as the other girl settled her familiar into place.

    Beings such as her partner were… picky.

    “All right!” She had a few hairs out of place, but otherwise seemed safe upon her return. “Now, did you pick out your favorite stuffed animal?”

    Blushing, the young magus nodded and climbed into bed with her older friend.

    Because yes, it might be a bit odd they slept together. But she looked like she was ten and deserved to be spoiled after the day she’d had, Root damn it!

    ‘And it’s not like Penny hasn’t seen everyone naked already, so that was totally normal too! Yes. Totally… normal.’ Dolores yawned, mid internal rant, as Suibhine perched atop a small windowsill. Spirit kept watch while Magus nestled deeper in the mound of blankets, letting her friend hold her tight as she clung down on her plush toy.

    After all, this was the first gift she’d ever been given!

    The one that was said to predict her Element, even.

    And it was a….

    Choice Time!
    1 - Dolphin: A magical mammal and representative of the Element of Water. Playful, energetic, and ever flowing. Fierce and gentle, vast and narrow, but always eternal. Water was the eternal renewer and destroyer, the bridge and barrier between worlds. All sprang from this.

    2 - Knight: Or at least a knight’s armor. She never knew if there was meant to be a man within, or merely a Vessel for the ideals of what a knight could be. Peaceful, in a way, to be filled by something greater than yourself - to also give it form and shape.

    3 - Doll: Prim and proper and just a bit… empty. Somehow this rang true for her too. Hollow, inside and out. There was comfort in the Void, for all things were tied to it no matter how much they wished to think themselves full.
    Last edited by Wyvern; August 3rd, 2020 at 03:12 PM.

  11. #151
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    3 - I am a filthy memer but I cannot go for Dolphin. Lets go full spooky shamanism!

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    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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    3. Why have Voodoo dolls when you can make your soul into the Voodoo dolls yo.

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    2 - Knight.

  18. #158
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    Picking up the Knight, she smiled. There was comfort in surety, in knowledge, in self knowledge. As a born and bred magus with a matching Element and Origin of Vessel, Dolores had always known what she was to achieve. What she was meant to be and practice. That her flesh and blood and circuits existed to fulfill a single, overriding goal pursued relentlessly by her kind, the Shamans.

    What was nice was that her parents had been content to let her reach that climax in her own time.

    Because, at the end of the day, Shamans existed as the bridge between humans and spirits.

    Though they communicated with spirits in different ways, worked with different traditions and tools and goals and practiced widely divergent philosophies, it was universally true that the most effective way to commune with them was to open yourself, allow yourself to experience their being the same way they would experience your own.

    That was the art known as Incorporation.

    Otherwise known as possession. An art similar to the method mediums used to tap into the leftover information within the echoes of the dead. It was perhaps the oldest form of Shamanist doctrine. And unquestionably the most dangerous.

    Humans and spirits were fundamentally different beings. Even Servants ensconced by Alaya in the Throne of Heroes were alien, warped, changed by their fundamental nature as something no longer flesh and blood. Things like Phantasmals were so alien as to exist outside of the realm of physics that humans depended on and things like gods or aliens were even more terrible and strange.

    And this was the chosen doctrine which the Morello family had sought to perfect over the course of their history.

    To… allow something inhuman to fill your being.

    To become a Vessel.

    Much like a glass was meant to be filled, Dolores's whole existence and reason for being as a magus was tied to the idea of allowing herself to experience other beings.

    From the moment she was born, Dolores had the uncanny aptitude for socialization amongst magi. Adept at swapping masks, adopting the roles expected of her and playing up to the expectations of a young heiress and shaman. Unlike some of the shamans, the ones with multiple personalities, this was a skill she had learned. Of how to be a mirror and reflect the truth others wanted.

    There were few who understood this facet of her personality.

    After all, she was just as they envisioned her to be.

    A young heiress in over her head. A valuable hostage to be taken.

    A loyal comrade and understudy.

    A dear friend and life long sister figure.

    Dolores was all, yet none. An empty glass whose features were changed by its contents.

    ‘I do have favorites, though.’

    She climbed into bed with Penny. The older teen was more than a little spoiled and was rarely, if ever, told no. But that had made her… endearing, in how sure of herself she was, rather than bratty or demanding. Whining, the brunette reached out and pulled Dolores down to her.

    The young woman was… soft. Squishy, and not just in her chest, and gentle and warm. Wearing pink pajamas in a room filled with plush toys and hard, dark wood furnishings alike, the teenager was not what most would consider sane.

    “Shh. I’m here, peace. Nothing will happen tonight.”

    Penelope’s eyes were old. Old and dead and cold, like a corpse’s save for the lack of a glassy stare. Because she was seeing something, as she always did, that would be inhuman at the very least. And more often than not, terrifying.

    “Do you want to tell me what you see?”

    Suibhine leapt up beside her, sidling up against the young girls before pushing between their legs to secure as much warmth as the cat possibly could. The Magi, however, paid the spirit only a hint of attention - that being Dolores lifting the blankets so that the bronze sidhe could stick her head out of them.

    “Death is a mercy for you.”

    Nodding, the green haired woman-child accepted the portent.

    “It will be a mercy. And a surety. If your blood and bone is offered, you will be consumed. It is better to bite off your own tongue than let them use you. Your soul may return, but only if it is yours.”

    Her voice small and high and so much like a child’s, Dolores knew that meant her friend’s mind was currently stretched thin. Pulled across space and time.

    “Why hello there cutey, it’s been a while since we spoke.”

    So she smiled and pulled the child that once was to her side. Playing the big sister just as easily as she played the little.

    “I see the end. It’s scary.”

    Running her hands through her friend’s hair, Dolores nodded and agreed again.

    “It always is. But it will come, one day, for everything. And that’s ok. It’s what we do before then that matters.”

    Biting her lip, the seer burrowed a bit deeper into her friend’s side, nodding. This was something the young woman hadn’t done since she was eight and that, too, was a habit probably formed from this night. But it actually answered a question Dolores had, had back then. About a nightmare and a screaming little girl that had become fast friends with her at a dinner party one evening.

    “There’s a man. I can’t see him and I know him by that. He is a hole in my eyes, like a pin to pluck and push. I see his hands and his fingers, burning coals slipping from bronze flesh, skin untouched by time or labor or bloodshed. A gilded crown in waiting, a wooden thorn growing, and yet all is in shadow. I know these things only by that which I do not know.”

    She gasped.

    “And I see no more. I am blind.”

    Dolores held her friend and hummed, rubbing her back and holding the woman now with the voice of a decrepit old crone. Of something so old and weary that it was no longer human.

    “Little sister….”

    “Welcome back, Penny.”


    Now once again a teenager, a girl in the bloom of youth, not quite a woman grown, Penelope sighed and dried her eyes.

    “Sorry for that. Probably scared you didn’t I?”

    Letting Suibhne crawl over their chests to settle atop the headrest, flicking her tail against their brows, the two waited a moment before the smaller child answered.

    “A little. But tomorrow I’ll write it down and we can talk about it.”

    There was much she had to reflect about. Most of all, the image of a man who represented the greatest danger to herself. The man whose vision plagued her friend.

    Could he be the same man she had seen in her own vision?

    In the end, that would have to wait. Right now it was time to sleep. And Dolores was ready to rest. Grabbing the hem of the duvet, she pulled it over herself and her friend, snuggling up against her, and listening to Penelope’s heartbeat. It was elevated, a touch frantic, but slowing as they lie there.

    “Good night Vorpal, love you.”

    Penny kissed her on the forehead and that was that. Dolores didn’t bother with words, there was no need for them. She just held her friend tighter. It was, after all, a very comfortable bed. And it would be a pity to dwell on things best left unsaid till the morning’s daylight.



    Day 1 - Prologue

    Their rest was, blessedly, mundane.

    No great visions of impending doom. No cryptic clues to their future and the conspiracy which had been plaguing every waking second of her previous day. Just two shamans with oracular powers sleeping normally without anything untoward happening.

    ‘Boring.’ Dolores pouted.

    Really, after all the visions and warnings she’d been given lately, the young shaman was sure a spirit or two would try to go for the cliché dream vision. Just so she’d have the full set of them, yet nothing happened and before Dolores knew she’d had a full night of sleep.

    How very disappointing.

    Getting dressed wasn’t too terribly long of an affair. Despite having always liked dresses, she’d never bothered with make up - and Penny simply pulled a new black dress on. Dolores took a little longer, picking out her underclothes, stockings, blouse, skirt, a corset with internal pockets for holding stabby things, garters for holding more sharp and pointy things, her tie, a capelet, belt, dress shoes, and a beret.

    A much more formal set of clothes than usual.

    She would be meeting with one of the most important people of the Clocktower, after all.

    The Faculty of Spiritual Evocation did not have an official uniform. It was after all, one of the least orthodox amids the Mage’s Association. Dolores, however, had a set she prepared when she needed to attend formal student functions.

    And no it wasn’t because she thought the clothes were cute. Not at all~

    “But that comes last!”

    Still wearing her pajamas, she dragged a squawking Penny out of the bathroom - she had been staring into the future using her own reflection as a focus for the last fifteen minutes - and set to her morning ritual. First, she laid out each of the mystic codes she’d need in turn.

    Thankfully her friend, as always, was well prepared.

    Flaring her circuits to life, she sat to properly grooming herself. Hair and nails were trimmed to a perfect length, any breaks or split ends being removed, her eyebrows were smoothed and few singes fixed, her skin received a once over and any dirt or debris was cleaned from within or without, and then she brushed her teeth.

    With a normal toothbrush.

    Dolores preferred it that way. While she couldn’t achieve the same standards of daily grooming without using the proper mystic codes, at least not in a reasonable time frame, something like brushing, flossing, and swishing with mouthwash was only five minutes of her day. And that was five minutes she was happy to invest.

    She, as an apprentice, must always keep a pristine presence.

    No imperfections or blemishes.

    Hadn’t she been pressed for time this morning, she would have taken the extra time for a herbal bath. A deep cleansing to purify herself of her brush with the evil spirits she narrowly avoided the previous day.

    She would conduct the ceremony later.

    How could she show her face around the spirits if she stunk of undead or blood sacrifices?

    Once she was clean, it was only a matter of getting dressed. Thankfully, Suibhne didn’t play with her stockings too much and Penny helped her get the corset in place, meaning she was perfectly dressed, sans capelet and beret, in only an hour since waking up!

    New personal record!
    Spoiler:

    “Dolores, would you do me a favor?”

    Turning around, the young woman looked at her friend.

    “Hmm?”

    Holding up a large, old fashioned camera, the seeress smirked.

    “Give me a peace sign and say cheese!”

    Giving her big sister figure an utter deadpan, she gave the requested gesture and, as soon as the camera flashed, switched to flipping off the woman.

    “I know you and your friends have strange tastes, but do you really need to give them pictures of me to drool over?”


    Give them pictures of you? Nuh uh! Our department's idol is way too valuable for that! ”


    “Spirits, Penny. Are you making another scrapbook?”


    Fidgeting, the older shaman whistled and held the device behind her back. Sighing, Dolores grabbed her remaining accessories and stuffed them into a magically enlarged pocket. Grabbing Penny’s hand, she pulled the taller girl down to her level, put her long, soft brown locks into a braid, kissed her cheek, and then dragged her along behind her.

    They had breakfast to get too!

    Spirits, she was hungry.








    “I’m so terribly sorry for the lack of options. The kitchen staff wasn’t aware I would be expecting guests this morning and only prepared the usual portions.”

    Dolores swallowed a bead of drool, eyes glittering stars as she took in the breakfast table.

    Bram smiled apologetically, chuckling as Penny took over and pulled Dolores into a seat. That was when a massive flash of golden light washed over the title, the cry of an eagle the size of a horse filling the room as a ball of fire and molten gold appeared above them. Raising an eyebrow, Penelope simply stared at it until it cooled into the shape of a normal, and still very large, imperial eagle. Perching on its master’s shoulder, the spirit lowered its head and deigned to permit his companion to feed him a rasher of bacon.

    Cawing once again, the spirit, having perched on the seer’s shoulder, flashed into another halo of light before disappearing. Grimsvotn chuffed as the bird left, it’s lizard laugh somehow spreading through the rest of the group.

    “Dear Lady Penelope, forgive my rudeness, but Xerxes is in quite a mood today, isn’t he?”

    Luscinia titerred, a dainty hand in front of her perfectly formed lips. Suibhne had far less decorum.

    “He’s a right ass. Can I eat him, Kitten?”

    This got a braying laugh from Marcus, who had been taking a swallow of milk, and now pounded his chest as he laughed and choked.

    “Oh-oh gods. Immortal gods above!”

    Dolores ran her fingers alongside her partner’s bronze fur to settle her.

    “It would be rude, Suibhne. Xerxes is the spirit of a friend and we don’t eat a friend’s spirit.”

    That’s what she meant to say.

    Instead, what came out was a series of muffled mumbles and snorts as the teenage shaman tried and failed to cram as many baked goods into her mouth as she could. From sweet rolls, to cupcakes to other sugary treats. The girl seemed intent on stuffing herself like a thanksgiving turkey. All the while trying to hold a conversation.

    In the end, it fell to Harfang to soothe his student’s wounded ego, patting the young woman’s hand and assuring her that her familiar was just in his angsty phase.

    “Don’t worry my dear, they get over it eventually. Trust me. Grimmy spent my teenage years sulking and pretending to be a tragic figure from Norse sagas.”

    Chuckling as the young woman sulked slightly, not ceasing her pout until Dolores let her use her lap as a pillow again, the group sat down to the serious business of plotting how to not cause the apocalypse.

    Or at the very least avoid destroying London. They lived there, after all.

    “So, Bram, Marcus, my boys. You’ll be seeing your fathers this morning?”

    “Yes sir!” The charming red headed boy gave a smirk. “I’ll see to it that he knows how we’re doing, what we’re doing, and what the plan of battle is. Our goal is to strike decisively after all. And getting bogged down by bureaucracy and red tape will only increase the risk to the Clock Tower as a whole!”

    “Already practicing your speech?” Marcus, finally recovered, dabbed at his beard with a napkin and poured himself a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice as he tore into his omelet.

    “Of course my dear friend. Not everyone has the charisma of Vandal at the gates of Rome, after all.”

    “Hah! Well said my weak chinned ally! Indeed, some of us have evolved past the stage of being invertebrates and must stand firm. When it comes to my father, he’ll either retract his claim or I’ll kill him. He knows I care about you more than the whole family put together, so if the issue is forced, I’ll marry you.” The young man frowned, his lips turning down and his eyes growing dark. “I’m not so stupid as to challenge the whole of tradition, but I will not allow that man’s unchecked ambition to kill everyone I hold dear.”

    Reaching over, Bram clapped the larger boy’s shoulder.

    “If nothing else, I will personally support your claim to your headship. Damn propriety.” Chuckling, the dapper young man couldn’t keep his last jape in. “And besides, having a blood splattered barbarian in the House of Lords will be a pleasant change from the scum sucking parasites that normally occupy it.”

    Punching the young Lord’s shoulder, and everyone politely not noticing Bram’s wince, Marcus pulled him into a headlock as they half wrestled.

    “So yeah! We’ll take care of our part.”

    Bram, having jabbed his knuckles into Marcus’s ribs, wriggled free and lashed out with a rapid series of jabs of his own.

    “We shall see our tasks completed with speed and ruthlessness. No matter what.”

    Recovered from her sulk, Penny, having been poking at some poached eggs, piped in.

    “While those two are acting like teenagers-” She studiously ignored her own age. “I’ll approach the Animuspheres. Dolores heard me give a prophecy last night. I’m not sure how relevant. But I’m sure I can use it to bribe them into cooperating with us. At least on the Servant identification.”

    Stroking his beard, Harfang agreed.

    “Make sure it’s something we can afford to give up. They’re wiley, no matter how much the heiress is under the sway of that upstart Lanur. As for Dolores and I, we shall be meeting with the Lady Warden today. Lorelei is a powerful beast, especially since she is not one of us, and it would be best to stroke her ego before we have to soothe it. To that end, I have heard you were stripped of your arms, were you not my young apprentice?”

    Blushing, Dolores summoned up the few remaining survivors of her mother’s swarm. It was a pitiful fistful of insects, even as Suibhne rubbed against her leg, and she nodded.

    “Yes sir. I stepped into two traps, was captured once, well, twice, and only survived because I was lucky and my enemies didn’t cooperate.”

    Rolling up a newspaper, he thwacked her on the head.

    “Now, what could you have done better?”

    “Well, for Bellefronte, I could have kept a swarm on me. Even if I hadn’t stopped him, I could have gotten a message to one of you. For the trap in the tunnels, I suppose I could have pulsed my magic, though that might have given me away too. Um… honestly, I’m not sure? At that point, I had no mystic codes of much direct power and mostly relied on, well, a pipe.”

    Nodding, the old Magus eagerly agreed.

    “Indeed! And so you should endeavor to remember to always have a mystic code on you. Now, you’ve taken your lumps, are you ready to receive your graduation present?” At Dolores’s confused answer, he smiled. “You summoned sweet Suibhne, you, now, are fully a Shaman. One of us, proud and free. Though, if you would do me the courtesy, I would love to continue your training my dear.”

    Blushing, she very eagerly nodded as Harfang withdrew a small case from some hidden compartment in his rather voluminous robes. Placing it in a quickly cleared space on the table, he allowed Dolores to open it with a gasp.

    It was a hairpin.

    A simple hairpin.

    Yet something was different.

    Old. It was much too old for something that looked brand new. The metal its clasp was fashioned from was old. The cloth which had been expertly fashioned into the shape of a butterfly was old. The dye which had been used to color it a rich purple was perhaps even older.

    This was not a simple gift. Not something from the Era of Man.

    Everything it was made off carried within it a strange otherworldly scent, a shine which pierced the eyes and the gentle rustle which could be felt in the air for every minute movement it made.

    The Soul is the Key to the Spirit.

    A Key.

    This was a key. Something meant to open a passage through this world and those who neighbour it.
    “A Linchpin.” Suibhne declared, surprise clear in her voice.

    Dolores didn’t blame her.

    If a ritual altar like her mother’s was a door through which spirits could pass once opened by a Shaman. A Linchpin was a small crack on the divide between worlds, a key which could be used at any time to widen the gap between this side and the Reverse Side. It was something only a fully fledged Shaman could be trusted with, because the Clock Tower wasn’t completely aware of how it functioned.

    This would let Dolores summon spirits no matter where she was, regardless of having an altar available or not.

    It was also priceless. Its materials alone might drive the richest aristocrats to ruin. Only someone with a deep relationship with those from the Other Side could hope to request these materials.

    Someone like her teacher.

    “Thank you, Master.”

    So she humbled herself. She bowed and smiled and hoped this told him how deeply touched she was. Fingers, calloused by the years and driven onwards by powers that were totally inhuman plucked the pin from its place and slipped it into her hair. There was a single prick, as a drop of blood was pulled into the mystic code, and its aura disappeared.

    “This time, my dear, they won’t find it so easy to disarm you.” Harfang clapped his hands. “And now that we’re all fed and watered, let us disperse. There is work to be done, things to be settled, and many, many secrets to suss out. I shall see you this evening and do not be afraid to contact any of our number should you need help. Remember, we succeed or fail as a group.”

    The group of shamans nodded in acceptance.

    They wouldn't fail.




    Congratulations! You have finished Day 0!

    The following lists and profiles have been updated.

    Magus Profile!
    Origin: Vessel
    Element: Vessel
    Sorcery Trait: ???
    Crest: Second Foundation (Entomopathy)
    Circuits: Core
    Foundation: Shamanism
    Mana Output: 500 Units


    Inventory!
    - Linchpin (100%) - Rechargeable
    - Mana Jewels (5 / 100%)


    Relationship Index!

    - Suibhne the Bronze: Ally
    - Harfang B. Kingsworth: Ally
    - Berserker ???: Enemy
    - Caster ???: Enemy
    - Master 1: Enemy
    - Master 2: Enemy
    - Dominika von Martinitz: Ally
    - Linus Rosenberg: Enemy
    - Victorio Bellefronte: Enemy
    - Bram Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri: Ally
    - Marcus Rosenberg: Ally
    - Penelope Damnatia: Ally
    - Animusphere Family: Unknown
    - Lorelei Barthomelloi: Unknown
    - Department of Summoning: Unknown
    Last edited by Wyvern; August 20th, 2020 at 11:33 PM.

  19. #159
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    All in all, a productive day!
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
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    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
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  20. #160
    吸血鬼 Vampire Wyvern's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Brazil
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    Magus Profile!
    Origin: Vessel
    Element: Vessel
    Sorcery Trait: ???
    Crest: Second Foundation (Entomopathy)
    Circuits: Core
    Foundation: Shamanism
    Mana Output: 500 Units


    Inventory!
    - Linchpin (100%) - Rechargeable
    - Mana Jewels (5 / 100%)


    Relationship Index!

    - Suibhne the Bronze: Ally
    - Harfang B. Kingsworth: Ally
    - Berserker ???: Enemy
    - Caster ???: Enemy
    - Master 1: Enemy
    - Master 2: Enemy
    - Dominika von Martinitz: Ally
    - Linus Rosenberg: Enemy
    - Victorio Bellefronte: Enemy
    - Bram Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri: Ally
    - Marcus Rosenberg: Ally
    - Penelope Damnatia: Ally
    - Animusphere Family: Unknown
    - Lorelei Barthomelloi: Unknown
    - Department of Summoning: Unknown




    Day 1 - Morning 2


    Fidgeting with the hem of her dress, Dolores was, admittedly, happy to have her Master with her, but at the same time, she couldn’t quite shake the feeling that she was a naughty school child about to be punished.


    “It’s ok Kitten.” Suibhne purred into her ear, the subvocalization sounding like so much animal noise to anyone else. “I will be with you the entire time.”

    Currently holding her cat in her arms, the bronze spirit’s chin resting on her shoulder, it was easy enough to communicate with her physically and it made good practice on communicating with thoughts alone.

    ‘You’re right, of course. But this is the Clock Tower, everyone has an agenda. Master will look out for me because I’m his student. An attack on me is an attack on him by proxy. And Lady Martinitz is looking out for me as a way to strike back at Bellefronte and because she feels sympathy. I just wish… well… I feel a bit dirty. Like I’m using her.’

    “Because you are.” The cait sidhe chuckled, a hissing raspy noise, as she continued. “But is that not what all living things do? Corn uses the sun, mice use the corn, cats use mice. All for food. In this case, you are using her for protection, she is using you to soothe her own conscience and to strike at her political foes. Precedence is everything with you mortals.”

    ‘I still feel a bit bad.’

    “Then, when you are done with her, do not throw her away.”

    None of this conversation appeared in her expression, of course. Schooling one’s features mentally and magically were both skills every proper Magus should be capable of doing without hesitation. But she did reaffirm her oath to help Dominika however she could.

    Walking down the prestigious halls of the Clock Tower brought a certain sense of nostalgia to Dolores. Even though she’d spent the majority of her education inside the Department of Spiritual Evocation with her fellow shamans, she's accompanied her teacher to the main building for various functions as his apprentice.

    If there was something magi enjoyed as much as their eternal journey to reach the Root, it was the various conspiracies and opportunities to play politics within the Clock Tower.

    Something Dolores had become distinctly aware of after her attempted kidnapping by Bellefronte and his backer, Linus Rosenberg.

    She was simply an obstacle to them. A means to an end which had to be acquired and then dispatched.

    A single individual could not hope to oppose the influence of a distinguished family and a high ranking member of the Policies Department. Hence why she’d promised testimony to Lady Martinitz and reconnected with her teacher to present a unified front against their efforts.

    All she needed to defend herself was the weight to throw behind that defense. And that’s why she was bringing the two with her to this meeting.

    ‘It would simply be maintaining an alliance. The proper thing to do.’

    Yawning, the spirit hopped down from her arms, landing silently on the balls of her feet, before pressing her thoughts against their bond just as the human had been doing moments before.

    ‘Are you sure it’s not because you have a crush? Humans can get attracted to each other physically no?’

    Dolores did not blush. That would be improper. But the sudden flurry of denial left the spirit snickering and racing off ahead as the teenager decided that having someone else inside your head wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

    “Stupid cat. I’ll shave her head to toe.”

    Harfang chuckled.

    “Clever little biters, aren’t they? You’ll come to find that few of our partners ever care to hide their thoughts and those that do only have two reasons. The first being that their thoughts could harm us, the second being that their thoughts are about harming us. I take it from your glare that little Suibhne scored a point?”

    “No one’s keeping score!”

    This time it was the Warden who snorted.

    “That’s only what people who are losing say.”

    Crying out, Morello simply buried her face in her hands and sighed in frustration as the two adults shared a moment of humor.

    “Maybe I should have gone with Gold, after all.” She pouted, giving the feline spirit the stink eye.

    To which her familiar merely scoffed.

    ‘Puh-lease. Ríoghan would have nagged you nonstop about the proper way to do things as his shaman and Berach would have dragged you into the first fight you found. If anything, I think you got off easy with little ol’ me!’

    The Morello heiress dearly wished to contest that logic.

    Between the zombie attacks, Servant attacks, chimera attacks, and getting captured by the enforcers she had nearly died more times yesterday than most magi did in a year of their lives.

    ‘And here I thought a Magus walked with death.’ The little chit of a spirit echoed the saying.

    “We walk with death, not run at it with arms open wide.” There was a limit to how crazy you could get. Even in the world of magi. “Not that it means much coming from a shaman.”

    Her teacher laughed softly.

    “I suppose there is a fundamental difference between us and most practitioners. But you shouldn’t think of the two as completely separate, my apprentice.” The man took a deep breath, letting out a small cloud of smoke and ash.

    “Remember your teachings. To shamans like us, the value of one’s bloodline is tied completely to the relationships we’ve built with our sworn brothers in spirit. Maintaining this bond is our first priority so it could be said that a shaman avoids death for the sake of their craft.”

    He shrugged.

    “But the truth is, everything dies. Men die, spirits die, gods die, even whole universes die. Eventually, the end comes for us all. And even beings that claim true immortality are not so. They merely possess such an affinity for not dying that they create the illusion that they shall not. But, such things are beyond the realm of us humans. We scrape and barter and scrabble in the mud to build our own petty kingdoms. So don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll shave your cat one day!”

    This entire time they had remained in motion, Dominika’s authority ensuring none of the adjutants intercepted them. However, now that they had arrived at the Vice-Director’s office the woman’s secretary rose to block them.

    “I’m sorry Warden, but she’s in a meeting at the moment.”

    He was obsequious, the lack of recognition in his eyes making it clear he had no idea who Dolores or Harfang actually were, and his smile was false enough to quirk the old shaman’s eyebrow.

    “And we have an appointment related to a matter of security for the Clocktower.”

    Harfang Bentley Kingsworth was two meters tall plus change and, despite his attempts at losing the paunch he’d gained in his old age, almost twenty two stone. The ass kisser responsible for managing, and probably selling, access to the second most important individual in the tower was… much smaller. And very quickly nodded his understanding whe the old man, smoke curling from his nostrils, loomed over him.

    Once they were through, he turned to the Warden Marshall and laughed.

    “By the Root, they’ve got a lot of spineless idiots up here don’t they!”

    She nodded in agreement.

    “Indeed. Fortunately, I can shoot them out of a cannon if they interfere with my office. And I’m being quite literal too. A previous Marshall had a contract drawn up that allows for some rather absurd punishments. And because he entangled it with another dozen odd treaties no one is willing to put in the effort to get it voided.”

    Rather impressed, the old man began to stroke his beard after politely knocking on the Vice Director’s door, Dominka taking the opportunity to give Dolores’s shoulder a squeeze and show the girl a small smile. It would have been improper to plan anything out, but the woman was on the heiress’s side.

    “Perhaps I should see about getting the same done for us. Maybe anyone who delays us needlessly gets to be involved in our experiments? Something nice and vague and- Ah! Vice Director, thank you for receiving us today.”

    Sitting at a massive desk, with each fixture, stack of papers, and tome perfectly aligned and oriented to every other piece on the desk, was a brown haired woman. It was no matter of speech to say that everything was perfectly aligned around her. Not a slip of paper out of place. The tempo of the ceiling fan and the grandfather clock ticking by the left wall.

    And there, present at the very center of the perfectly measured microcosmos. Was the Vice Director.








    Dressed like an equestrian, the only oddities to her appearance, other than being a rather striking woman, was the large crimson tie sitting over much of her upper chest, and the single metal glove currently on her right hand.

    ‘To be perfectly honest, I always thought she was a bit of a boring egocentric.’

    Suibhine, now in her spirit form, chuckled silently at Dolores’s assessment of the almost neurotically prideful woman. That thinking those thoughts could get her killed was moot. Especially by entering what was effectively a domain tied to the woman's authority in question.

    Her brain was about to be scanned anyways - and it was only Harfang’s force of personality that would keep her secrets secret.

    “Warden Marshall Dominika von Martinitz reporting with Master Shaman Harfang B. Kingsworth and Shaman Dolores Morello.”

    Curtsying, the last Morello bent her head.

    “Tch. I was in the middle of delivering my report. If you’d be so kind as to wait outside, I will be finished shortly.”

    None of the trio visibly reacted to Bellefronte’s appearance. The Magus dressed in a simple pinstripe suit was currently standing off to the side of the vice director, leafing through several pages of what looked like legalistic gibberish, and gave the trio a glare before cutting his eyes back to the leader of his department.

    Very pointedly not commenting on the smoke leaking out of Harfang’s mouth.

    “As I was saying ma’am, the total assets seized represent around ninety percent of all debts claimed and sixty percent of total debts owed. However, our records suggest that the Morello’s had hidden at least three properties. One in France, one in Italy, and one in London itself. We also located neither the primary nor secondary family crests and it was only the stored assets at the Clocktower itself that were recovered intact." He pinned Dolores with an appraising stare, as if trying to appraise the price of her head.

    What he said next, however, caused the young shaman's heart to freeze.


    "Thankfully, that included several hundred tomes of varying value, several reams of notes, a number of mystic codes, two items which could be valued as family relics, and all the liquid currency, stocks, bonds, and other investments their family had title or deed too. All of which have been either distributed to cover the relevant debts or are being held for valuation and auction.”


    Her fingers twitched. Magic circuits roaring to life. The electric lights that lit the room flickered and then flared, the bulbs in the faux chandeliers exploding. And, as the room was cast into shadows, the sounds of hissing and scrabbling was heard. Red embers began to flicker in the eyes of the larger shaman while the smaller pulled her lips back, displaying a mouthful of sharp fangs. A deep growl filled the whole room, shaking the fixtures in place, while a high pitched hiss cut through the sound like a knife.

    “That will be quite enough.”

    Not even looking up, Bartholemeloi flared her own magic. And as a wave of almost physical force struck everyone in the room, the shadows stopped moving, light once more poured in through the windows, and Dolores fell to her hands and knees - gasping and choking for breath.

    Harfang, though, stood tall.

    “You made your point, girl, now stop.”

    Surprisingly, the Vice Director did.

    “Your spirit is possessing you, isn’t it Harfang?”

    “That he is. And he’s telling me to punish the unruly brat who used to try to feed him apples. I’m disappointed you ended up a thief... Lorelei.”

    Openly gaping at the Master Shaman, Bellefronte, who had been slammed clean against the floor, snapped at the old man.

    “How dare you speak to her like that! Do you have no class? No dignity or respect for this Magus!?”

    With eyes that seemed to literally smoulder, the old man slowly turned his gaze to the upstart.

    “She was my student, child. Now be quiet while adults speak.”

    Still working on her paperwork, the Vice Director nodded.

    “You may answer the expected questions.”

    This got a snort from the old man.

    “Still just as much a stick in the mud as always. But very well.” He ran a hand over his face, visibly suppressing the volcano inside of him. “Our lovely Vice Director here is known as a wielder of the basics. And, naturally, I was the one who taught her the basics of Shamanism. She was never were cut out for dealing with them." He turned to adress the Barthomelloi woman. "I was still disappointed I couldn’t help you to find at least one partner. Maybe you wouldn’t have fallen so low as to steal from the dead and children.”

    Finally looking up, the rather… human looking Magus simply blinked.

    Dolores felt a pit open on her stomach.

    This woman, who was by all rights one of her fellow apprentices, did not seem the type who would put up with her teacher's mannerisms. Respected master or not, this was the individual even the Lords of the Clocktower feared displeasing. Even her teacher seemed more withheld than usual. Which spoke volumes of the woman's talent and skill.

    “The late Lord and Lady Morello were both full members of the Clock Tower, who signed our covenant, and agreed to our rules. At the time of their deaths, they had several debts outstanding relating to both contracts and business deals they were working on.”

    Her tone was matter of fact, simple, almost bored. She spoke to her once teacher, completely ignoring the other three individuals in the room, and continued working even as she spoke.

    “As the Heiress can not fulfill those obligations at the time the debts were called due, despite receiving the required grace period of one year and one day, as well as several additional months, this is both legal and required of Policies.”

    Bellefronte’s eyes flashed with victory, even as Harfang frowned. There seemed to be a quiet disappointment to the man as she spoke. As if something he had long feared was coming true.

    “Their contracts have been annulled where penalty clauses or reimbursement has been provided. All assets have been given estimated values by our Valuation Team and all fees, fines, and penalties were also covered by the initial seizure of assets. As such, only six contracts remain outstanding.”

    Literally shaking with emotion, Dolores had to force herself not to speak. She was biting her lip so hard it was bleeding and there were angry tears starting to prick at the corner of her eyes.

    “These represent the total remaining debt and, until the value of the family relics can be assessed, the ability of the Heiress to cover them without selling her own physical assets can not be determined.”

    The way thousands of years of research and investigation by a dozen iterations of her family was dismissed, the way her torture, violation, and parcelling out was so matter of factly state… it galled her. It cut straight to the core of the young woman and the urge to lash out grew ever stronger. There was, in her heart, another flicker of temptation to call up her family spirits. Every. Single. One.

    “As such, you shall be permitted to remain undetained until this final determination is made.” Finished with her current task, she took the still drying paper and set to the side, dipped her old fashioned quill into the inkwell again, and continued speaking. “And you, Lady Morello, still owe a great deal of money. I would suggest you attempt to find a way to cover that.”

    Even Dominika was a bit taken aback by the total dismissal of the situation. Of how this was clearly an exploitation of a terrible situation, and the stripping of an ancient house of its dignity, because of a technicality of the law. Every fiber of her sense of aristocratic propriety was offended. Lords and Ladies simply did not tear each other apart on the words of a common bureaucrat!

    “However, I am willing to grant you a form of clemency in due consideration to our shared instructor. This letter will also act as your recognition of having reached your majority, as your Master has declared you a full Shaman in good standing with the Faculty of Spiritual Evocation, and I shall personally write your writ of emancipation.”

    Dolores questioned whether she should feel grateful or not. Being emancipated meant that she was free to maintain her own affairs, but it also meant she would be held accountable by all actions of her predecessors without the excuse of being a minor.

    If Policies ruled that the relics stolen from her family weren’t enough to settle the debt, the rest would be taken from her skin.

    It benefitted Policies far more than it did her. An excuse to try her as an adult.

    “As such, you shall inherit all remaining rights, responsibilities, privileges, assets, contracts, debts, and liabilities of your family name.” The vice director flipped through a file. “I consider this issue resolved and over. Thank you for your time. Warden, please speak now.”

    “My pardons, Vice Director.” The small man stepped in, the same perverse smile on his face that he’d been wearing in the limousine. “But might I request an indulgence?” At the infinitesimal inclination of her head, he bowed and continued. “To properly assess the value of the relics in question, I believe an interview with Heiress - I mean Lady Morello is called for.”

    They meant to take her away, again. It was clear as day that both Victorio and this slime of a bootlicker had been expecting the Vice Director to rule in such a way. And planned to use it as an excuse to have her escorted under their careful watch.

    It was… a painfully amateur way to go about it.

    And, fortunately, something they had foreseen.

    “Unfortunately, Lady Morello is still required as a witness for our meeting, Vice Director.” The Warden approached the woman with practiced poise and pride befitting a blooded warrior. “After being separated from Mr. Bellefronte’s custody, she bore witness to the following battle against the Heroic Spirit and claimed to have been subject to a vision related to the event.”

    “And was Lady Morello capable of verifying those claims?”

    “She has the needed family background. And our investigation has indeed found the remains of a safehouse kept underneath the Tower of London.”

    Bellefronte scoffed.

    “That could have been set up to lend credibility to her story.”

    “And what of the swarm of undead we found littering our tunnels?”

    And just like that, Lady Martinitz had the Vice Director’s full attention. Because if there was one thing that every magus in the Association knew was of the woman’s notorious and illogical hatred for anything resembling her enemies, the Dead Apostles. If there was a single whiff of a possibility of their involvement, she would pounce upon it like a bloodhound.

    “Continue, Lady Martinitz.” It was not a request.

    “The greatest taboo of Shamanism is the meddling with human souls. Necromancy is a practice reviled by their group. And we have indeed found remains of a large scale summoning ritual which was set up underneath the Tower.”


    Lady Barthomelloi was tutored in shaman practices by her own teacher. She knew the taboos and limitations of the practice. And that meant she was willing to consider their shared tutelage a form of character witness on favor of Dolores.

    “And what, Lady Morello, did you see down there?”

    To her chagrin, the Vice Director had turned to address her directly for the first time since their arrival. Dolores shivered at those piercing orbs drilled through her, the room growing tense and imposing, but she didn’t tremble, instead steeling her spine as she met the gaze of the Vice Director and responded.

    Choice Time!
    Your property, resources, and family history have seized and largely sold off to who knows where. This woman has condemned you by freeing you and, should it be decided, your very mind, body, and soul will be torn apart to extract as much wealth from you as possible.

    She could, if given the right incentive, also decide to spare you. The choice will be in how to respond, though, truthfully, you have no real choice to refuse to do so. Such a thing would lead swiftly to torutre, interrogation, and then the rendering down of your body. A definite Bad End, no matter how much Harfang would try to defend you.

    - BUSTER: Bitter and sullen. This narcissistic elite has all but condemned you to death. So what if she fought back a Servant! She’ll get the absolute bare minimum and no more.

    - ARTS: Helpful and subdued. The truth is, the game was rigged from the start. You knew this, or something like it, was coming. It’s just another lump you’ll have to take. And, so long as you live, there’s a chance to recover your lost family treasures. Or, at least, take revenge on your enemies.

    - QUICK: Resigned and eager to leave. Cut to the quick of things. Give her what she wants and get out as quickly as possible. If nothing else, this would give you a chance to regroup and, perhaps, recruit allies with more pull. The Wizard Marshall is powerful and her private army is too. But there is always a bigger fish.
    Last edited by Wyvern; September 5th, 2020 at 09:28 PM.

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