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Y2 WIP Adventures (come and proof-read!)

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The Endless Section Library, stage 9b:

 

Today you'll be going with Durand to visit the Temple of Iudocia, in hopes of getting Lynari petals or at least discovering something about what Lynari truly is. Durand says he went through the Venalicium again - how he can go through an entire library section twice without going nuts you'll never understand - but even so he still couldn't find anything. "And that leaves us with no choice but to get the answers from the temple itself.". Durand is right, you know Durand is right, but you're still feeling uneasy about all this. Neither of you know anything about Lynari, and none of the Academagia books says anything about it. Why does it all sound like the perfect recipe for disaster? Well, it's not like you have any other choices, so with clear hesitation you keep walking. Durand looks less like a prisoner walking to his imminent execution, which is probably a good thing, although perhaps he's the one misjudging the situation. This is one of those rare times you really hope you're the one that's wrong. "There's the temple, shall we go in?". Well, here goes nothing. You walk inside, after Durand, and take a look around. Nothing has really changed since you were here last, same benches, same staff, same plants, same...wait, plants? Durand walks up to one of the priests, currently watering some flowers, and he motions you to come along. You sigh, and resign yourself to your imminent fate, whatever that might be. "Sorry, could we ask you a few questions?". The priest turns to Durand and eyes his robe. With a rather pleasant looking smile he nods. "Oh, of course. What do you wish to ask?". You walk up next to Durand, trying your best to hide your nerves. You're pretty sure you're not succeeding too well. "We're looking for Lynari petals. Someone asked us to gather a few ingredients for a potion, and the petals are one of them.". The priest looks at Durand curiously, after which he looks you over. "Do you two know what this potion will do once brewed?". You shake your head, and Durand says "No, the one that asked for the potion didn't say what it was for. But we're sure it's nothing malicious, it's to be a present for a family member If I remember right.". You remind Durand that Filia said something about it being a "surprise", but you back up Durand's claim that it's not for anything malicious. The priest nods, and asks "As for the other ingredients, would they happen to be Batu-Te-Rem petals, pure pearl dust, Rose Thorn and Vulcanus mushroom spores?". Both you and Durand looks surprised at the priest, who seems amused with his successful guess. "I thought as much. Most people that ask about Lynari ask because they need it's petals for that particular potion, actually.". Durand looks like he's got a flood of questions ready, but for once you actually beat him to it. "I suppose there's a reason we weren't told about what the potion does, or why these Lynari plants aren't anywhere in the Academagia's libraries?". The priest nods, and says "It's nothing illegal, I assure you, it's just not really appropriate to discuss in public. As for why you two couldn't find it in the Academagia's libraries, well, I suppose you two haven't looked through restricted sections?". You shake your head, and Durand says he noticed the uses for Vulcanus mushroom spores were kept in the Restricted Section, but he naturally didn't have access to that. The priest nods in response. He seems like he's had this conversation before, though he doesn't look bored of it. "In any case I do have a few Lynaris, though I would like to know exactly for who you need them.". Of course there'd be some sort of test to see if you're "worthy" or something, there always is. How are you going to convince the priest to help you?

 

[brute Strength]: Offer the priest to help with some chores.
-While Durand is trying his best to answer the priest's question you take a look around the temple, looking for something to prove your worth. Inspiration hits you when you see a very large and muscular man enter the temple with a large wooden bench, placing it down near a wall and moving over to take one of the older benches outside. "Is someone moving in or out?". Both Durand and the priest turn to you, confused at the sudden question. You point to the crate and repeat your question. The priest shrugs and says "Oh, actually we're replacing some old furniture right now. Some of the benches are showing signs of the wood rotting, I'm afraid, so we've decided to replace them before it becomes a problem.". "Do you think that man could use our help?". The priest looks at the man and yells over to him, asking if he needs a hand. "A hand would be appreciated, actually. These here benches are heavier than they look, and the rotten wood doesn't make the old benches any lighter.". Durand draws his wand and says "I know how to solve that problem.", and he walks over to the bench the man is about to pick up. A quick Negation later the bench is levitating, and although moving it through the air - turning it, especially - still takes some effort it's much easier to move out of the temple. The coordinated effort of Durand casting Negations and you working with the mover to make sure the benches are rotated as they should be makes the job significantly easier, and in record time all the temple's old benches have been replaced with new ones. When the work is done the mover heartily thanks you for the help, and the priest from earlier hands Durand a handful of flower petals. "Those are the Lynari petals you asked for. You've certainly earned them.". Durand happily puts them away in the pouch he showed you earlier, and you say goodbye to the priest. On your way back to the Academagia you ask Durand what comes next. "Rose Thorn. Speaking of, I have good news and I have bad news.". There's always bad news to go with the good news, isn't there? At least it's not bad news and worse news, that's always a fun variation. "Good news is that we've got enough spare ingredients to sell on the market to cover for the cost of importing the mushroom spores. Unfortunately, we don't have enough to also cover the Rose Thorn, so we'll have to get that ourselves. At least we won't have to worry about getting allot of it, but...". But Rose Thorn is a poison that comes from Emperor's Trail, which only grows in the very much off-limits Imperial Reserve. That promises to be an interesting field trip.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-Before you can say a word you hear someone behind you yell "Ey, magic kids, could you two give me a hand?". A heavily muscled tower of a man, standing next to an out-of-place bench, motions to you and Durand to come over to him. Without further input you run over and start helping the man carry things around, but even with the two of you the benches are heavy to lift and difficult to carry. Durand pitches in, using a Negation to make the benches float, but it's still hard work and you end up straining a muscle. Thankfully by then the man and Durand can finish moving the rest of the benches, while you sit down on one of the new ones and try to nurse your wound. It being your casting arm, though, there's little you can do. After a while Durand walks up to you and uses his own wand to Negate the pain. "Sorry, I'm not really sure how to Negate the injury itself, but at least it should stop hurting for a while.". "Thanks. Did you get the Lynari?". Durand nods and shows you the same pouch he showed you earlier. "Enough for the potion, so...". You're not sure why Durand suddenly looks nervous, you're pretty sure he didn't get himself injured. "So what, Durand? Speak up.". "So...next is the Rose Thorn. You remember that, right?". Right, that means a trip to the Imperial Reserve to try and get poison from a vine. That promises to be a fun field trip.
-- -3 Vitality, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[befriend]: Be polite and hope the priest isn't expecting a miracle.
-Without really thinking about it you start talking about Filia, mentioning whatever you remember about her in a way that makes he sound worthy of whatever the priest wants her (and by extension, you and Durand) to be worthy of. To your own ears your little speech rings as hollow as a politician's promise, but the priest seems to approve of it. "Ah, yes, of course. Stolas, that was her name, now I remember. Alright, if you two will wait here for a moment I'll go get some Lynari petals.". You nod, feeling a bit smug, and Durand nods as well. He looks a bit confused, and after slowly turning his head to you he asks "So...what was that all about?". You shrug, and an even more confused Durand waves it off. A minute later the priest returns with a handful of Lynari petals, which he hands to Durand. "Here you go, and don't worry about Filia. I'll go talk to her myself later today.". You nod, not really sure if that's a good thing or not, but you're sure you can trust a priest to do the right thing. Durand nods as well, and after saying goodbye to the priest Durand asks you if you remember what the next ingredient is. You nod, and say you can discuss that while walking back to the Academagia. Durand nods in response, and once outside the temple he asks what you remember. "About Rose Thorn? Well, that getting a sample of it isn't going to be painful just because it's poisonous, for starters.". Durand looks around nervously, and he nods. "Do you have a plan?". "I do, and I'll tell you when it's ready.".
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You try to politely convince the priest to help you as best you can, but you're unable to hide how nervous you are. Durand actually steps in and finishes your argument before you start noticeably choking on your words. The priest, thankfully, just looks concerned rather than disappointed and he says he'll fetch some Lynari petals. Durand turns to you and asks if you want to wait outside and catch some fresh air in the mean time. You sigh and take him up on his offer, waiting outside for a minute or two before Durand walks out of the temple holding the pouch he showed you earlier. "Are you alright?". "Perfectly fine, Durand, thank you for your concern.". Durand doesn't look convinced. Frankly, you're not entirely convinced, but you don't want to make an even bigger deal out of this than it already is. "Anyway...", Durand hesitantly says, "I got enough Lynari for the potion, but unfortunately we don't have enough spare ingredients to sell to buy the Rose Thorn and the mushroom spores off of the market. We have enough for the mushroom spores, thankfully, but, well, that still means we're going to need to get Rose Thorn the hard way.". Durand clearly isn't pleased that you two will have to sneak into the Imperial Reserve, but you're sure you'll manage. You just hope you'll manage to get the Rose Thorn.
-- +3 Stress, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[Character Study]: Why is this priest asking who, exactly, you need the ingredient for?
-Now that you get a better look at him, the priest doesn't actually look like he either wants or intends to withhold the Lynari petals from you. Maybe you were a bit hasty in your judgement and he really just wants to know exactly who wants the potion. Come to think of it, you still don't know what this potion will do. The priest himself said it's nothing illegal, and he definitely doesn't look like he was lying about it, but....maybe he has business with whoever is to drink the potion, somehow? It's not too big of a stretch, you don't think. The temples are the best source of Lynari, and to get it's petals you do need holy water, which again the temples are the best source of. You're starting to piece everything together, but even so the bigger picture escapes you for now. In any case, you're sure the priest will be happy to help you if you can simply answer his question.
-- UNLOCK [Memorization] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You can't think of any reason other than it being a test of some sort. Looks like you'll have to show him what you're worth.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[CONDITION: PC HAS MEMORY [Filia's Story]
-[Memorization]: Tell Filia's story to the priest.
--Despite it having been a while the meeting with Filia is still fresh in your mind. For better or worse, she's left an impression on you. You share what you remember about Filia with the priest, who is dutifully paying attention to every word. Durand, meanwhile, stares at you a bit confused as he apparently doesn't remember anything about Filia at all. You briefly wonder why, but soon you remember that Durand was under a Glamour the entire time you spoke with Filia. Once you're done explaining what Filia told you, to Durand as well as the priest, the latter nods. "I see, I see. Alright, please follow me.". The priest leads you and Durand to his personal room, where a few strange-looking potted flowers are standing near the window on a table. You don't recognise the plant, especially because it looks like it's not in bloom. Before you can even think to yourself that it's probably the Lynari the priest opens a small desk and takes out a small vial. Carefully he pours the content of the vial onto the plant, which suddenly grows flowers. Durand, who is a little more impressed than he probably should be, notes that the plant must be Lynari. You bite back a sarcastic jab and patiently wait for the priest to collect a handful of petals. With a smile he hands them to Durand. "That should be enough. And don't worry about Filia, I'll be sure not to spoil her surprise gift.". Durand puts the petals away in the enchanted pouch he showed you earlier, and not really expecting an answer you ask the priest just what the potion is for, anyway. Unsurprisingly, he shakes his head. "I shouldn't be the one to tell you that, child. Ask Filia once you hand her the ingredients.". You nod and thank the priest for his help, Durand doing the same and saying goodbye. On the way back to the Academagia you ask Durand what ingredient is next. He looks a little nervous, and after some hesitation he answers "The Rose Thorn. I, eh, I was hoping that we'd get enough spare ingredients to buy it off of the market along with the mushroom spores, but sadly it looks like we'll only have enough to cover the cost of the last one. So we're going to need to...well, eh, I mean, we'll...need to get some ourselves.". Of course, that means sneaking into the Imperial Reserve, and that makes Durand nervous. Than again, maybe it's the fact that Rose Thorn is actually poison that makes him nervous. You're going to have to prepare for the trip either way.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

ELSE:
-[Memorization]: Try to remember what you can about Filia.
--You ask Durand what he remembers about Filia, but he shrugs. Right, he was under a Glamour the entire time, wasn't he? You briefly wonder what the point is of consulting with an Astrologer when the person can't remember it afterwards because of a Glamour, but then you remember that Filia wasn't exactly skilled with Glamour, so that's probably the reason why. After a sigh you try to remember what you can about Filia, her grandmother's store and how to get there, as well as other details. It ends up being a bit of a scatterbrained account, but the priest nods near the end of it. "Ah, right, Filia Stolas, now I remember her. She has you two looking for Lynari?". You nod, and Durand mentions that you two were send to Filia by Kane, although the potion is for Filia. The priest nods again. "I see, I see. Alright, please follow me.". The priest leads you to the back of the temple, where a small garden is dutifully being tended to by a monk. Upon seeing the priest he nods and bows, asking how he may be of service. "These two children are here for Lynari petals, for Filia Stolas.". The monk nods and heads into a small tool shack in the garden, attached to the temple. About half a minute later he returns with a handful of petals, which Durand takes. The monk nods, and returns to tending to the garden. You thank the priest for his help, and with Durand you start walking back to the Academagia. "So what's the next ingredient?". Durand's cheery dispositions fades immediately after you ask that questions. Half-choking on his words he nevertheless manages to answer "Rose Thorn, since we don't have enough to buy it and the mushroom spores.". "Do we have enough for the spores alone or are we going to have to get extra Rose Thorn?". Durand shakes his head, much to your relief. "Thankfully not, but, well, we do need Rose Thorn.". Right, poison from a vine that only grows in the Imperial Reserve. You'll need to prepare for that.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You try to remember what you can about Filia, but beyond her first name pretty much everything escapes you right now. This...may be a problem.
--- CHOOSE AGAIN
END]

 

 

Those five days were not spend typing this, for the record. For some reason I felt like being merciful this time, so, eh, here's an adventure stage you can fail without stopping the adventure in it's tracks. Bit painful to do so, but there you have it. The "Filia's Story" memory I ninja'd into stage 5b, for those not paying attention to the edit times. I figured having to pass two moderately difficult rolls at the end of the first (continuous) adventure chain is worth a pass here...after unlocking the option to do so through a difficult roll. "Oh, that's not hard at all, I have high enough attributes to pass those rolls comfortably"? Famous last words, not to mention foolish ones if you're really going to trust a game's RNG.

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The Endless Section Library, stage 10a:

 

The trip to the vampire's domain has become completely routine by this point. Durand doesn't even need to lead the way anymore, you've memorized the paths and turns that lead to the vampire's tower. Unfortunately that doesn't make the trip shorter, but honestly you don't mind that in this case. You did some research earlier, trying to figure out who the vampire might really be, but you couldn't find any answers to that question. Whether that's because people have long since forgotten about him or whether that's because information on him is restricted...for whatever reason...you're not sure, but considering what he keeps in his garden you're afraid it's the latter case. The next item both you and Durand need is a vial of vampire blood though, and he's the only vampire that you're currently on speaking terms with. Whatever it is that you're about to figure out you're not going to escape it, especially because the vampire's tower is just coming into view. Finally, after over an hour of silently walking, Durand finally opens his mouth. "So, [PC FIRST NAME], are you sure about this?". You give Durand a confident nod, although you're not sure where the confidence comes from. The tower's door opens just as easily as it did before, and through the same hallway you start to walk to the centre chamber. Durand takes the opportunity to admire the architecture some more and again he tries to place it, but he's still unable to tell anything beyond that it's at least a century old. Once inside the centre chamber you walk up the raised podium and look up. The enchanted lights are just as bright, and beyond a certain point, blinding, as before. Durand, after admiring the stonework some more, runs up the podium and asks if you see anyone. You don't, but than you can't see everything from where you're standing. Both you and Durand look around, but there's no trace of the vampire to be seen. Suddenly a voice being magically projected downward from far above says "Impressive. Few of your age have been clever enough to acquire what you have. And without violating traditions, at that.". Curiosity gets the better of you, and you ask the vampire (who you assume is projecting the voice) what he means by "traditions". "As you've no doubt noticed the animals within my domain are not 'animals', exactly. Is it not tradition for one human not to kill another of his kind?". Your expression turns from disbelief to fearful shock as the realization dawns on you that the Ganesha, Athena and Nanna really aren't magical creatures. At least, not originally. Durand apparently hasn't put the pieces together yet, and he asks you what's wrong. You can't bring yourself to answer the question, at least not before the vampire interrupts. "That knowledge shall come soon, as I will gladly share the history of the library. I am much older than Kane is, rest assured, and no less studied even without the extra years I've had.". This doesn't really put you at ease, and by the looks of Durand's reaction, it doesn't put him at ease either. "Now, you two must search for the fourth ingredient. Two vials of my own blood, given willingly. As you have not violated any traditions within my domain, you shall get mine on only a single condition - that you come to the top of my tower, where I am waiting for you now, and collect the vials personally.". For a minute you and Durand silently stare at each other, listening to the sound of the water flowing below you. "So...", Durand slowly says, "I mean...eh...where do we...how?". He seems confused, but you're not entirely sure why. The top of the tower shouldn't be difficult to reach, since it looks like this room goes all the way up to it. Well, you'll need to levitate up to it, but Durand should know Negation well enough to accomplish that. Nevertheless, you ask Durand what's bothering him. "Eh, about that stuff the vampire said earlier...about 'traditions'...what was that about?". You shake you head, and ask Durand if he can cast a Negation that'll let you levitate to the top of this room. Durand shrugs. "I don't know. I really don't. I don't know how high up this room goes, whether the enchanted lights might interfere or whether we might interfere with them, what the vampire may or may not do, whether there's other enchantments around, I...I'm not sure. I think it'd be safer to find a staircase.". You'll admit that if Durand's magic stops working when you're twenty stories above this podium you're not going to survive the fall, you can't polymorph into a bat while in freefall after all, but wandering around this tower could take forever. There must be a faster way to get to the top without breaking your neck.

 

[Wits]: Try and figure out what shows the right path to the top of the tower.
-You look up the centre chamber, all the way up to the point where the many lights make it impossible to see beyond. "You know Durand, as sure as I am that those lights aren't going to make a mess of our spells we probably shouldn't risk our lives needlessly.". A visibly relieved Durand nods, but with a frown you add "That said, we don't know how to reach the top otherwise, either. Do you have a plan?". Durand points to a hallway at the other end of the room. "We entered from, well, from the hallway behind us, and there's no other way to go from here other than that hallway in front of us. If there's a way up, it'll be there.". You let Durand take the lead, and indeed the hallway he pointed out does lead to a staircase which brings you to the second floor walkway. Only there's another 7 hallways that this walkway connects to, and outside of the one you exited from none of them seem any more or less likely to lead to a staircase leading to the next floor. "Well, Durand, which hallway do we want this time?" Durand takes a look around and walks around the room once while you stand still and wait for his marvellous insight. Suddenly Durand looks like an idea hit him, and he runs up to you. "Hey, do you have something worthless in your knapsack?". Confused, you respond "I don't make a habit of carrying around dead weight, Durand. Why, do you have a plan?". Durand nods, but you're pretty sure the grin on his face isn't deserved. "I figure there's a pattern here somewhere, so if we check each hallway and mark which ones are wrong we might figure it out. What do you think?". You imagine there's a pattern, but such a trial-and-error way to find it will just waste too much time. You walk up to the railing and take a look, not expecting anything but hoping that perhaps the podium is a clue. Actually, when you take a close look at it, you notice that the hallway that leads to the staircase to the second floor is located between the Griffon and the Sphinx. Yet somehow, the hallway you just came out of faces the Dragon. You thought that staircase was a bit strange, but you're surprised it turned you around so well without you noticing. That's some clever architecture. Durand walks up to you and asks "Have you figured something out?". You point to the hallway between the Sphinx and the Griffon and say "That way.". Durand looks confused, and you point to the podium below. Durand sees the trick immediately. "Brilliant thinking, [PC FIRST NAME]. Do you want to take lead?". You look at Durand, sceptical, and then up the centre chamber. "Durand, once we reach up high enough we won't be able to see the podium anymore. How will we orient ourselves then?". Durand looks confused, for a moment, and then says "Oh! One of us stays behind and we take turns waiting by the correct hallway. Then we can just tell each other where to go.". You're not sure if that's really the best plan, and Durand notices that you're sceptical. Without hesitation he adds "That way we can also take regular breaks. I don't know about you but I don't think I'll be able to walk up a dozen or so staircases without them.". Of course, poor Durand. You've noticed his lack of endurance a few times, especially during the walk back to the Academagia. You agree to Durand's plan, and it works perfectly. It's slower going than you'd like, but after about ten staircases worth of floors you find yourself appreciating the chance to sit down more than you should. It also doesn't help that past the dozen or so floors you can see from the podium below there's another dozen floors to walk up. You and Durand do reach the top floor easily enough, although you're both tired after walking up over two dozen staircases. The top floor is also the only floor, other than the first floor with the podium, to only connect to two hallways. Not only that, but the one you don't enter the room from is behind the first door you've seen inside the actual tower. That must be where the vampire is waiting. "Ready?", you ask Durand. He nods. You can tell he's more tired than you are, but he nods all the same. "Let's go.".
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-Finding a staircase up to the second floor is easy, but once you're standing on the walkway above the podium you notice that it connects to another eight hallways, none of which even look at all distinct. A few hours of wandering around later and you've only managed to come up to the fourth floor, out of at least a dozen, maybe more. With no other choice you and Durand start making your way back down, since the trip back to the Academagia is a long one and you don't want to be gone so long that you'll be missed. By guards and nosy professors, at least.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[incantation]: Jump up the centre room, one level at a time.
-If Durand isn't willing to bet on his Negation, perhaps he's willing to bet on his Incantation. You start tracing Phemes, and after finishing your spell you ask Durand what he thinks of jumping up to the top. He looks confused. "Wait, you mean...all the way up? Just...a single jump? How?". With a confident smirk you reply "Like this.", and with some help from your Incantation you gracefully jump from the podium up to the walkway a floor above you. Well, gracefully up until you nearly fail to clear the railing, but quick thinking and reflexes allow you to land safely nevertheless. Durand is staring wide-eyed at you from the podium, while you tell him to grab his wand and come along. Durand shakes his head, he looks nervous. "I'm not sure...I mean I know Incantation well enough to mimic that, but, is that really your plan? What happens when we're a dozen floors up and we fail a jump?". "Incant a safety net, maybe? These railing are thick and made of solid stone, I'm pretty sure they can hold our weight.". Durand still looks sceptical, but he's at least tracing the Phemes for his own jump spell. "Alright, I'll try to jump up at least one floor. Get ready to catch me just in case, alright?". You roll your eyes and step aside, giving Durand room to land with his feet on the floor rather than on top of you. Durand finishes his spell and a moment later he jumps up, clearing the walkway's railing better than you did. Durand looks a bit shocked that he just did that and survived, but you're sure he'll get used to it. Without really paying attention to you Durand says "I...heh...I, eh, I made it. But...you're not really planning to-", but he interrupts himself when he sees you standing in the middle of the room, on a rather nicely Incanted safety net. "You were saying, Durand? Now do you want to jump to the second floor first or shall I?". You could swear that you just saw one of Durand's eyes twitch, but that could have been you seeing things. Durand nods, and jumps up to the second floor. You jump up to the second floor yourself, dispel the net on the first floor, Incant a new one on the second, and Durand jumps up to the third floor. This process repeats until you and Durand have jumped up at least two dozen floors, with you ironically landing on the net more often than Durand does. Thankfully neither of you really injure yourself on your trip to the top of the tower, although you're both worn out once you finally reach it. On the top floor you see that the walkway connects to only two hallways, one of which is behind a door that has been decorated quite extensively. Clearly the room the vampire is waiting in. "Hey, [PC FIRST NAME]...". Durand is sitting on the floor, against the wall. "How about...we catch our breath before...talking to the vampire?". You're breathing rather heavily yourself, so you sit down as well. You and Durand managed to jump up the tower in less than an hour, so you've got time to take a rest break before talking to the vampire.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-You explain your plan to Durand, but he looks a little sceptical. You assure him that it'll work, and not waiting for permission you start casting the first spell despite Durand's silent protest. You trace the Phemes perfectly, but unfortunately your aim apparently needs some work as the spell launches you right into a pillar, after which you fall a level down rather hard on the cold stone podium. Durand shakes his head and says "I suppose you were right. The spell, after all, worked perfectly fine.". Biting back some choice words for Durand you try to stand up, but that crash against the pillar followed by the crash-landing on the floor did a number on you. Durand walks up to you and Negates what injuries he can, which thankfully allows you to stand, but you can tell that you'll be limping for the next hour at least. Not really a condition in which to jump around or climb about a dozen or two staircases. Durand seems disappointed that this little adventure is over before it could begin, but a little relieved as well.
-- -3 Vitality, STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Theory of Enchantment]: Are the enchanted lights going to interfere?
-You take a closer look at the enchanted lights and trace a few detection spells. You ultimately conclude that these enchanted lights are just basic, simple, run-of-the-mill enchanted lights without any special tricks to them. So long as you're not casting Negations around them, since that might interfere with the enchanted lights just by nature of being near a second-year student's Negation spell, they shouldn't affect your spellcasting at all. Of course, they also won't pull any tricks should you decide to try and get to the top of the tower the non-magic way.
-- +CoS, CHOOSE AGAIN.

 

-You're not sure what, if anything, the enchanted lights are going to do. They might interfere with spellcasting, they might not. The might do something when triggered by close proximity to a living human, they might not. You don't know.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN.

 

 

Yes, "proceed". Rest assured that the next "stage" on the A path is just the chat with the vampire that I didn't want to copy-paste into the success texts, since that would turn both into massive blocks of texts and I'd probably type them twice because I like to torture myself and...yeah. This is the better option, where stage 10a leads to 10aOutro which leads to 11a. The B path probably won't have this, not that it can't but because I'm not feeling that spiteful (and/or like putting in effort for a failure - you probably noticed I don't make a habit of doing so). The stage and turn minimum counts remain at 12 and 7 respectively.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 10aOutro

 

A short rest break later you and Durand are standing in front of the door (presumably) leading to the vampire's room, anxious about going through, and about what awaits once you step through. Durand "bravely" steps aside and gives you the "honor" of opening the door, which you nevertheless take him up on. Your trip up to the top kept your head occupied, but now that that's behind you the reason you're here has once again filled your mind. The history of the library, of the creatures that live in the vampire's domain, even the vampire himself. Hesitantly you open the door, and without making any sound at all it slowly swings open. Behind it is another hallway, build in the same style as the one that connects the entrance to the centre room. Only the statues decorating both sides of the wall here look different than the ones below. Not like they were made by a different sculptor, but like they once showed a different side to whatever the statues below were meant to. Unfortunately these statues have also been left battered by centuries of wear and tear, now they only show a creepy vision of the tower seemingly mourning the loss of it's former glory. You're freaked out by it, but Durand practically runs into the hallway to observe the stonework and architecture up close. You slowly walk up to him, and without saying a word walk past him towards where the vampire is waiting. Durand follows behind you, but he's completely enchanted by the hallway. You'll admit it looks pretty, creepiness aside, but even so. A short walk later you reach the end of the hallway, and the large bedroom it leads to. Inside is the vampire, staring outside through a small window with a wistful look on his face. The furniture inside the room looks a little worn, but it's definitely in much better shape than the statues in the hallway. Most significant is the small table standing behind the vampire, upon which stand two small vials filled with a red liquid. "Have you figured it out yet? The line connecting the library, my domain, and the creatures that reside inside of it?". You can't place the vampire's tone, but you do at least know the answer to his question. "Gates magic. Kane confirmed that the library has a history with it, although that's apparently been 'fixed'.". Durand, who's currently hiding behind you a little, asks what you're talking about. The vampire sighs, and says that if you're willing to listen, he'll explain what he knows.

 

Listen to what the vampire has to say.
-"The public records of the library's history are lost. Once it was common knowledge, but a certain event convinced a certain group of people to get rid of that knowledge as best they could. They succeeded, for the most part, although they did not succeed completely. I, for one, still recall what my history teacher taught me so very long ago.". That's not what you expected to hear. Confused, you ask who tried to destroy that knowledge. And why. "The surviving practitioners of Gates magic. As for why, it was in response to the most recent ban that proscribed Gates as well as Mastery. Why they choose to respond in that manner I cannot say, their motives are a mystery to me. But they did.". "So what is the library's actual history?". The vampire sighs and walks up to a bookcase that looks like it should have collapsed into splinters a hundred times over, but through what must be magic it's still intact. The vampire casually looks through it, and after a moment turns back to you. "The history that was taught to me is that the library was build in Cyve, before the Exile. The building, constructed with Gates to make it as easy to hide as possible, housed the knowledge that Man had gained in their struggle. The knowledge of how to fight their enemy, the Dragons.". That really was not what you were expecting to hear. Without thinking you blurt out "Wait, so, how old are you exactly?", sheepishly looking away after realizing what you asked. The vampire, thankfully, takes no offence. "Not so old to have witnessed the Exile, but old enough to have witnessed the event that the practitioners of Gates magic uphold as the 'true' founding of the Endless Section. They claim that an Emperor during the Early Empire, tired of the secrecy that held all mages - his servants, that is - back, ordered a library build that would record all magical discoveries and freely distribute them. To whoever received the Emperor's favor.". With a sarcastic tone Durand asks "You're sure that was during the Early Empire?", and the vampire nods. "So what really happened?". "In truth this emperor only re-discovered the library. It was believed that it had remained behind on Cyve during the Exile, but evidently it did not. The strange thing was, when the library was rediscovered it was found half-destroyed...and completely empty.". Both you and Durand, in unison, let out a surprised "What?" which seems to amuse the vampire. "Hence why the library now only houses the knowledge that it does. As for where the missing books went, no one knows. Some claim they remained behind on Cyve due to the Exile interfering with the library's magic, other say that the books were 'acquired' by the masters of Gates and they ultimately ended in the hands of Schohanwicht, some claim the emperor took personal possession of them and secured them inside a secret chamber in the Imperial Palace, others still claim that they were stolen and sold on the underground market by someone who discovered the library before the emperor did. It's a mystery, and one that I have no desire to solve.". "So where do the creatures within your domain come in? They're not natural, are they?". The vampire shakes his head. "No, that they are not. They are the descendants of the first group of wizards that tried to fix the magic of the library, which had become unstable due to the Exile, under orders of the emperor. Their failure, which some saw as a political tool, was swiped under the rug and they were 'retired' far into Elumia Proper. What went wrong exactly I doubt even Schohanwicht could understand, but either way a part of their body is necessary to create a map that allows someone to enter the library and get out later, to this day.". Durand looks completely lost, and you don't blame him. You're mostly scared right now, as this is pretty...heavy information. "What went wrong...do you know if that was that just an accident?". The vampire shakes his head, as you figured he would, and you decide to stop asking questions you probably don't want to know the answer to. "And the blood? Why are...wait, you don't mean...". The vampire shakes his head again, to your considerable relief. "The blood of a vampire carries with it the curse of longevity, and the blood of a werewolf carries with it the curse - or gift, depending on who you ask - of dual nature. Or so Kane told me before. If you wish greater detail I suggest you ask him, although I doubt you would understand without a professor's knowledge of Enchanting.". You take a quick look at Durand, who seems more than ready to end this conversation and leave. You're feeling about the same right now, despite you having yet more questions to ask. For now, though, there's only one thing left to ask. "Do you know where to get werewolf blood?". The vampire nods, as you expected. "My domain used to belong to a werewolf tribe, but they left for reasons unknown, before I or my herd took up residence. That's not to say you can't find werewolf blood within my domain, just that getting it...will be an ordeal in and on itself.". Of course, it can never be easy can it? You thank the vampire for everything so far, who turns to look at the vials of blood standing on the table. "Kane insists that any who use his library make good use of their knowledge. See to it that you treat my knowledge likewise.". You nod, and walk up to the table. Durand slowly walk up to you, and you hand him one of the vials. "Take good care of that.". Durand, who looks even more tired than you do, simply nods. "Don't worry, I will.".
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

 

That's interpretation v1.0 of the library and everything surrounding it. Of course there's more to come (why, yes, this is not enough text for my purposes) so even if I didn't show off my stupidity here I'll have a chance to do so later. If anything is clearly wrong and needs to be corrected someone less stupid than myself (cough Legate cough) can correct me.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 10b

 

"Illustration? Check. Empty vial? Check. Gloves...oh, where did I put them? [PC FAMILIAR FIRST NAME], do you know where I put those gloves?.". A soft knock on your door interrupts before your Familiar can answer, and from the hallway you hear Durand's voice. "[PC FIRST NAME], I got good news!". Good news? Really? Actual, honest-to-goodness good news? It's been so long since you've heard anything of the sort that you've forgotten what it's like. You open the door with some hesitation, just in case the good news isn't what it's advertised to be. Durand is indeed standing behind your door, looking as excited as he sounded a moment ago. You were half-expecting to see Lambert trying to divert attention away from Jere running out the hallway, honestly. "I just heard that Professor Leith received a shipment of brewing supplies from his supplier in Mineta, including several bottles worth of Rose Thorn. He always stocks more than he strictly needs so if we can get some from him we don't have to go to the Imperial Reserve and mess with Emperor's Trail.". That is certainly interesting news, although you're not sure if it's good news just yet. You close your door behind you and continue discussing things with Durand in the surprisingly empty common room. "Okay Durand, so what is your plan? How are you going to convince the professor to give us a vial?". Durand sheepishly looks around the room, and you instinctively know that this is going to be an ordeal in it's own right. "Well, see, I kind of...actually, I don't have a plan. I just heard about it when I was in Mineta earlier, trying to see if there really wasn't a shop that could sell Rose Thorn on the cheap. Still, this is better than having to sneak into the Imperial Reserve, right?". Considering that Durand isn't very good at sneaking around this is indeed a better situation, you're just not sure how to respond to it yet. "Do you know why the professor bought a stock of Rose Thorn? What does he need it for?". Durand shrugs, although he seems more confident than usual. You ask Durand if he really doesn't know, and he takes a book out of his knapsack. While staring curiously at the cover Durand says "Well, the amount that the professor bought makes me sure that it's going to be used in Brewing class. The thing is, Rose Thorn isn't actually used for much. Not that it can't be, but because the Imperial Reserve has the only legal supply of it it's not often used over alternatives. So the question is 'what will it be used for?'. And I think I know the answer to that.". A little surprised you ask "So explain, what will it be used for?". There's a subtle grin on Durand's face, he's obviously pleased with himself and his deductions. "Before Rose Thorn can be used as a potion ingredient you have to extract the poison in a certain way. And I'm willing to bet that's why the professor bought a stock of it: As a test for the second-year Brew class. As for why he chose Rose Thorn, it's so that the students wouldn't know what to do beforehand, at least not exactly. Rose Thorn isn't a common ingredient, I doubt they worked with it before in class.". Durand's theory makes a great deal of sense, and you don't have a better one, but you're not quite willing to believe it just because it makes sense. Even if it's true that does leave one question, though. "So how are we going to convince the professor to part with a vial?". Durand puts his book back in his knapsack and says "Well...honestly I was hoping you would know the answer to that. I mean it would probably be best to just ask him, but I'm not really sure how to convince him.". In theory it sounds like a simple task, but you're not too sure if it will be. At least it won't be as...interesting as sneaking around the Imperial Reserve with the sneak-challenged Durand. What would be the best way to convince the professor to part with a vial of Rose Thorn?

 

[Persuasion]: Be honest and hope the professor is feeling generous.
-"I have an idea. Come along, Durand.". He stands up and follows you out of the common room, asking where you're going. "We're going to ask Professor Leith for a vial. He should know what the potion does and what it means to Filia, so I'm sure we can just ask him for a vial. Rose Thorn isn't that hard to get, is it?". "Well...I suppose it's much easier for an Academagia professor to get a hold of a sample than it would be for a student, at least.". You hope that's true. It's a short walk to Professor Leith's office, the door of which is actually open. You carefully take a look inside while Durand waits behind you, but the office is empty. "Oh, Professor Leith.". You turn around and see the professor walking down the hallway, carrying a large crate. "Do you need a hand with that?". "Eh, yes, actually. Could you open the door to my office?". You hold the door open while Professor Leith carries the large crate inside and drops it down in front of his desk. "Thanks, did you two need me for something? Oh, let me guess, it's about the upcoming brew test, right?". You shake your head and explain that you need a vial of Rose Thorn, for Filia. The professor seems confused, and a little alarmed as well. "Rose Thorn, huh? That's not something you use for most potions, are you sure you need it?". "Yes, it's...actually, we don't know what the potion will end up doing. Filia said it was a surprise for a relative, I think.". The professor seems even more confused. "Well, what are the other ingredients?". Durand answers that question, and the professor's eyebrows lift up a little higher with each ingredient he names. "That'd certainly be a surprise, if her relative doesn't know about it. Do you know Filia's last name, by chance?". "Stolas, as far as I know. Do you know her?". The professor apparently tries to remember her, and it doesn't take long before he does. "Ah, right, Stolas. That girl. She was a student at the Academagia, you know. She graduated...I think just last year, in fact. Wait, she's the person that has you two looking around everywhere for ingredients? I've heard about that, actually.". You slowly nod, rather confused about where this conversation is going. The professor seems amused, so at least you know it's not going the wrong direction. "Right, right, good old Filia Stolas. An Avila student through and through, there was just one thing she needed that would make Professor Badcrumble roll in her grave.". The professor stares you in the eye. "Don't tell her I said that.". You sake your head, and Professor Leith rather joyfully walks over to his desk and takes out a vial of green-ish liquid. He hands it to you, and says "Unprocessed Rose Thorn, which is what she'll need for that potion. And be sure to tell her that, it's important.". You nod and hand the vial to Durand, who carefully puts it away in his knapsack. "Oh, and you two? Try not to spread word about, you know, me having Rose Thorn.". With a smile you say "We won't.", and you leave the office along with Durand. That leaves just one last ingredient, the mushroom spores.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You head to Professor Leith's office and notice a note pinned on his door. "Gone for today due to business in Mineta, will be back tomorrow - Professor Leith.". Great. Looks like you won't be able to talk to him until tomorrow.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[brew]: Show off with your knowledge of brewing.
-Thinking about it, you do remember reading something interesting about Rose Thorn. Before it's processed, which is to say before the poisonous elements are removed, it's useless for potion brewing. However, the elements extracted can also be processed, making them useful for very few select potions. One use of which, not coincidentally you imagine, isn't knowledge that you have access to in the Venalicium. "I think I know how to get what we need. Come along, Durand, we're going to talk with Professor Leith.". Durand nods, and you both go to Professor Leith's office. Only, there's a small wall of students standing before it, most of them wearing Vernin robes. You tab one on the shoulder, who turns out to be Rui da Casga. "[PC FIRST NAME]? Let me guess, here for the upcoming brew test?". You shake your head, a little confused. "Is that why everyone is here? Why? Professor Leith teaches Enchant to the first years, doesn't he?". "He does, but the brew professor is busy looking for his notes, so the next best professor to ask is Professor Leith.". You get the idea that this is more because most people here know Professor Leith from last year, Enchant is a required class for first year Vernin students after all, than the professor's actual knowledge of brewing. "Speaking off, where is Professor Leith?". Rui frowns. "Good question, that's what I want to know. And not just me, either.". Before you can respond the mass of students suddenly start running off into the hallway, towards a very surprised Professor Leith. Rui smiles and says "Well, that's my cue." before turning around and joining the stampede of students. You and Durand follow behind it, since you do have to talk to the professor. He now seems amused and holds up his hands. "I know, everyone, the upcoming brew test. I've reserved the brew classroom, so you can all head there. I just need to get a few things from my office, so I'll be there in five minutes.". The mass of students run off, leaving only you and Durand behind. The professor looks at you and says "If you two need help with Enchant I'm afraid you'll have to find Regent Alazzo. I'm kinda busy, as...actually, [PC FULL NAME] and Durand de Thiomines, right? Are you two here to ask about one of the ingredients I've heard you two have been looking for?". You nod, a little surprised the professor knows about that, and say "If it's not too much to ask, could you spare some processed Rose Thorn residue?.". Durand looks at you confused, while the professor seems impressed. "Good to see you've done your homework, although I think you'd be better with a vial of unprocessed Rose Thorn. It's a tricky ingredient to work with, you see. Wait here for a moment, I think I got some in my office, actually.". You wait, and a minute later the Professor comes out of his office with a few books in one hand, and a vial of green-ish liquid in the other. "One vial of unprocessed Rose Thorn, and be sure to tell Filia that. It's important.". Durand nods and happily takes the vial, apparently having missed the obvious question that begs. "Professor, how do you know the potion is for Filia? Do you know her?". The professor nods while Durand looks at you surprised. Apparently he really didn't notice. "Filia was a student at the Academagia, she graduated just last year. But before she did she asked me about the potion you're now collection ingredients for. Very few potions use processed Rose Thorn residue, and the one she needs is...well, memorable, let's just say that.". You're not even going to try to get more information out of Professor Leith, it'd be a futile effort and you know it, so you simply thank the professor for the help. "No problem. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a class worth of slightly doomed Brew students to lecture.". You're just going to ignore that last bit and instead be happy that you got another ingredient. That just leaves the mushroom spores.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-While on your way to Professor Leith's office you run into a group of second-year Brew students, mulling over their textbooks. The student that seems ready to give up and hang himself now rather than waiting for the test to do it looks up to you. "Going to Professor Leith's office?". You nod, looking a bit confused at the student. "Don't be surprised, with the big test coming up everyone's looking for him. He's away on business in Mineta, though. He won't be back until tomorrow.". Well, there goes that plan. At least you won't have to wait for long.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Observation]: Is Durand's theory actually correct?
-You take a quick trip to the Venalicium and look through the Brew section. "Coincidentally" most of the books that describe the basic extraction of poisonous elements from a potion ingredient are not on their shelves. Instead they're spread out over the library, being shared by second year students that have formed study groups and a few individuals that are privately studying them in the cubicles. While you're looking around the brew section for a book on that subject which hasn't been taken yet one of the librarians walks up to you, funnily enough it's the same librarian that told you about the Endless Section library a while back. "Let me guess, you're looking for books on poison extraction?". He seems amused, as if he knows you're not here to study. Than again, you're the only student in the Brew section that doesn't look like someone stuck a snake in their robe. With an amused grin of your own you reply "Perhaps. I didn't know it was such a popular subject, honestly.". The librarian shakes his head and points to the one of the more lively (which is to say "doomed") study groups. "It is now. The second year's Brew class has an important test coming up about extracting poison from ingredients. There's a rumor going around that the teacher lost some grading notes, and that if he doesn't find it the students will instead be graded on how long they can stand up after drinking their test result.". You're pretty sure that's just a rumor...but with this school you can never be sure. "Thanks, I guess I'll have to look that up later. Although, could you please answer one quick question?". "If I can, certainly.". "Do you know if poison extraction follows a mostly standard method, or does the method depend on the ingredient?". The librarian looks a bit strangely at you, but for no more than a moment. "Good question. To simplify it somewhat there actually are a set of standard methods, both magical and non-magical. The trick, beyond learning them all, is finding out which ones you need to apply and in what order. It's a surprisingly broad subject, but an important one. So to the chagrin of all students enrolled in brew, and the detriment of most, I imagine, it's tested thoroughly and tested often.". Not even bothering to disguise your increasingly larger grin you thank the librarian for his help, and you return to the common room where Durand is reading his book. "Found anything out?". You sit down and with that same massive grin you answer "A: There's a big test coming up and the brew students are going nuts. B: That test resolves around extracting the poison from a certain ingredient, and if you know the ingredient you're working with it's much easier to do so. Needless to say that's most likely why Professor Leith bought and brought in the supply of Rose Thorn.". Durand looks quite impressed, and he nods. "Good job gathering information. I guess that gives us a few more options, so...how exactly are we going to get a vial of Rose Thorn?". The answer to that question is...
-- UNLOCK [blackmail] OPTION, UNLOCK [sleuthing] OPTION, +CoS, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You quickly learn that Professor Leith is busy in Mineta with unrelated matters, which unfortunately means that you won't be able to find out whether Durand's theory is acctually correct. Well, unless you want to risk breaking into his office and rooting through his stuff to hopefully find written confirmation, but you don't.
-- cHOOSE AGAIN

 

[blackmail]: Spin a nice story that leaves the professor with no choice but to be generous.
--"I have an idea, come along Durand.". He nods and follows you to Professor Leith's office, where you see the professor himself just walking inside as you approach. He looks even more lost than usual, although his robes are as clean as they can be. Before either you or Durand can say anything Professor Leith says "Let me guess, here about the brew test?". Durand looks at you, not sure how to answer, and with a grin you say "Yes and no, it's kind of complicated.". Professor Leith looks a bit confused, and motions for your two to come into his office. Once inside and seated the professor asks "So what did you need me for?". "It's about the brew test, sort of. Durand here found out earlier today that you get a supply of, well, of a certain ingredient containing mostly harmless poison, right?". Professor Leith look a bit shocked and he stares at Durand, who meekly explains that he was just asking around town about Rose Thorn. The professor sighs. "Please don't tell me you spread this story around. It'll ruin the test if you did.". Durand looks nervous, but you confidently shake your head. "Actually, Durand was only asking around in Mineta because, as luck would have it, we're looking for Rose Thorn ourselves. And about the test, no one knows how much of the stuff you bought, right?". Professor Leith slowly shakes his head, keeping a curious eye on you. You don't let it bother you. "Right, my idea was that if you gave us 'the single vial of Rose Thorn you acquired to help with our ingredient hunt' no one would question you buying Rose Thorn too much. You've heard about our search for ingredients, right?". The professor nods with a mixture of relief and suspicion, but you know you've got this in the bag. "Now that you mention it, I do recall hearing about that. That you two were trying to assemble the ingredients for a potion, was it?". Durand nods, and you decide to mention what Filia told you before listing the other ingredients. Your caution pays off, because after listing the ingredients the professor is clearly relieved that you and Durand are only gathering them for someone else. "Alright, I see. Okay, I'll give you two a vial's worth, just make sure that if anyone asks it was to help you two all along, okay?". You respond with a confident and very, very smug nod while Durand takes a vial filled with a green-ish looking liquid. "That should be enough Rose Thorn for the potion. Tell Filia that this sample hasn't had the poison removed yet - it's important for the potion she's trying to brew.". You see Durand search his knapsack for something to write that down on, while you turn to the professor and ask "I'm not expecting an answer, professor, but I have to ask: What will that potion actually end up doing? All we've been told is that it's something legal, but that it shouldn't be discussed in public.". The professor sighs again, and he looks you in the eyes when answering your question. "Nothing you need to concern yourself with. I've heard of that potion, since it's effects are an academic curiosity, but rest assured that you two are better off not learning about it.". Yeah, you're not surprised with that answer. You got what you wanted, so you're happy with what you accomplished.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--While ideas are flying through your head you walk to Professor Leith's office, only to be stopped when you see a note pinned on the door. "Gone for today due to business in Mineta, will be back tomorrow - Professor Leith.". Foiled by an errant, wonderful. Hopefully it really is just an errant and not part of the professor's plan, whatever that might be.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[sleuthing]: Try to find the missing notes.
--"We're going to look for the teacher's notes.". Durand looks confused, and you mention the missing notes as well as the trouble it might cause. It seems silly, but somehow you get the idea that the brew teacher wasn't kidding about his notes vanishing. Or about his students having to drink their test results if he can't find them. Durand doesn't seem convinced that this is the best idea, but he's willing to trust you far enough that he'll help you search for the notes. "So where to we begin looking? I mean the professor must have looked for them himself.". Considering that losing the notes is what got his students to study you're honestly not willing to bet on how hard he tried to find them. Or on how careful he was about not losing them in the first place. Either way, the notes have to be somewhere the professor was recently. "Let's start by asking around, see if the professor has been busy with something recently.". Durand agrees, although he's clearly not sure about the whole plan. Nevertheless he does help you ask around, and you both quickly learn that the brew professor has been busy in his spare time helping the gardeners deal with a slight worm infestation. "Perfect, let's scour the gardens and see if the professor lost his notes somewhere in the dirt.". Durand looks like a kid that was just told to go to bed, until you ask him whether he'd rather go through the dirt in the Imperial Reserve. After that he rather excitedly starts trudging through the garden, with you right next to him. A gruelling half hour of looking later you suddenly notice a dirty scroll hiding under an overgrown bush. You unroll the parchment and take a look, after which you yell "Hey, Durand! I found it!". Durand comes running, surprised and clearly unsure of whether he should believe you, and you hand him the parchment. With some hesitation Durand unrolls it and starts to read it. "Grading scale for second-year level poison extraction tests, last reviewed and approved by the Praetexta Court on Athonos Juvenalia, 1658. That's...I guess I can't say this isn't it, but...does this mean those brew students really would have had to drink their own test results?". You shrug, and say that only one person can answer that. "True, but I think we should hand this to Professor Leith instead.". "Why? He doesn't teach Brew, it's not his scroll.". "For one, you said you weren't sure that the brew professor wanted this to be found. Second, Professor Leith has the actual supply of Rose Thorn.". Right, you forgot about that. With Durand leading you both walk up to Professor Leith's office, who responds quickly when you knock on his door. "Yes? Do you need some help with Enchanting?". You shake your head and poke Durand, who hands Professor Leith the scroll. His eyes widen when he reads it. "Ah! The brew test notes, you've found them! Where were they?". "Under a bush in the Academagia's gardens, actually.". The professor nods, clearly pleased. "Excellent find, I'll be sure to hand this scroll back. I guess our forgetful brew professor is not in his office?". A vivid image of a pot and a kettle flash into your mind for a brief moment before you shake out of it and ask Professor Leith if he so happens to have a vial of Rose Thorn he can spare. "I...perhaps, what do you need Rose Thorn for?". You tell the professor about Filia, and her need for a potion. The professor nods in understanding. "Ah, right, I heard that you two have been hunting for ingredients lately. Alright, I'm pretty sure I have a vial of Rose Thorn around here somewhere.". Rather quickly, suspiciously so if you didn't already know about the supply Professor Leith got just this morning, he hands you a vial of a green-ish liquid. "Be sure to tell Filia that this is raw Rose Thorn, not processed Rose Thorn.". You nod and hand the vial to Durand, who says you can talk to him tomorrow about the mushroom spores.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--A thorough search of every location the Brew professor is likely to have been, that you and Durand have access to at least, later and you're left with nothing but the ever-increasing possibility that the professor was lying about the whole thing to scare his students into studying. Or that he just lost it in his office drawer. One of the two.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Not going to lie, I rather like how this stage turned out. Plenty of options, believable twist you probably didn't see coming at all, silly humor, the lot.

 

As for what this potion will actually do, since I imagine more than a few people are curious about that, well, I'm honestly not entirely sure. That said I'm sure that people can make a...let's say "reasonable guess" as to which adventure is going to indirectly reveal that.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 11a

 

Today's trip to the vampire's domain seems more difficult than the first. There's a heavy atmosphere around you that you're pretty sure is completely unrelated to the Current of Embers. You've got mixed feelings about this trip. If all goes well this trip will be the last and you'll finally have gathered everything you needed for the map...but at the same time there's a history to this area you haven't uncovered yet, and one you're not sure you want to uncover. One of the early emperors, Gates magic, political intrigue and now werewolves? You're pretty sure this place is just plain cursed. Well, you're going to find out sooner rather than later, since the vampire's tower is coming into view. Now that you get a good luck at it, it seems incredibly out of place. Everything around is is a sea of color and life, whereas the tower looks like someone took a giant lump of coal and chiselled a tower out of it. It's clearly man-made, and clearly not part of the natural environment. You wonder if the vampire thinks of it that way, but you sure don't plan to ask him. Through the same front door and the same hallway you and Durand walk into the tower, towards the centre chamber and up to the centre of the podium. Surprisingly, the vampire is actually standing on the podium himself, carefully observing the engraving of the Sphinx. "Ready for the final test?". You nod, not really feeling confident but not feeling like you should run either. Durand nods as well, but his doubt and confusion is clearly written all over his face. Still, he doesn't step back either. "Good. Now, it's time to show you why this tower was build where it currently stands.". You share a confused look with Durand as the vampire begins stringing Phemes together, ending with a spell that seems to...do nothing. You're about to ask what that accomplished when suddenly the ground begins to shake, and the podium you're all standing on raises up to the first walkway. "The door back down is through the hallway facing the Dragon. I hope you are prepared for what comes next, students of Kane.". You slowly nod, and turn towards the engraving of the Dragon. You can't help but shudder a little when you look at it, and Durand looks like he's just as unnerved as you are. Back down on what you thought was the lowest floor you see that inside the raised podium is a staircase going further down. In stark contrast to the brightly lit room, the staircase quickly goes completely dark as there's no lights to be seen anywhere. You turn to Durand and ask "Ready?". Durand nods and casts the best light spell he can while you do the same, and you both start walking down the staircase. "So, Durand, what do you think of this stonework?". Durand takes a look around, and shrugs. "I think this is natural stone chiselled into shape. As for the walls and ceiling, well, this honestly looks like a cave more than a man-made tunnel.". True to Durand's suspicions the staircase leads into a cave, although part of it is definitely man-made. Werewolf-made? Whichever, it's not natural is the point. Durand shines his light around, scaring a few bats who thankfully don't attack you two. "So...this is from the werewolf tribe that used to live here? What was this cave used for, you think?". "Storage, I guess? Maybe a hideout? Look around, maybe we'll find a hint.". You and Durand walk around, carefully observing every nook and cranny, but there's precious little to suggest what this cave was used for. It clearly was worked so it must have had some purpose, but what you're not sure of. Maybe it's unfinished? "Hey, Durand, did you think of something?". "Other than 'I have no idea what this all means', no. I'm still wond-ey, wait! I found something!". You run over to Durand, very slowly because your wands are the only sources of light in here, and ask what he found. Durand points to a small pedestal carved out of stone. "What's this?". Durand shines his light around, and reveals a circle of stones with runes inscribed on them. Somehow, you don't think those are Glamour runes. "We...don't want to look at this any longer than we absolutely have to, do we?". Durand nods slowly and walks off, but you stay behind. This is the answer, it must be. But how to...convince it to give you two vials of werewolf blood? Great, not only do you have to literally draw blood from a stone, not only do you have to draw werewolf blood specifically, but you also have to make sure the stone gives it to you willingly. You've done some pretty crazy things this past year and some change, but this is still setting new records. Now what?

 

[sleuthing]: Carefully look around for a clue.
-With your light spell being the only source of light (well, there's Durand's light spell but he's looking somewhere else entirely) it's not easy to look around the stone circle, but after you walk around a little you get the general idea. This circle of stones is actually on top of a sort of podium, like the podium inside the tower. There's a single sloped pathway that leads up to it, but for the rest it seems to be standing on top of an old-fashioned pyramid. This is clearly an important fixture of...whoever used this cave, but did werewolves really live here? "Hey, [PC FIRST NAME]! I found something!". Again? You casually walk over to Durand, who's standing on another raised platform overlooking the circle of stones. "Look here, a pedestal.". There's indeed a pedestal carved in the stone here, unfortunately it's empty. Clearly it's part of the room, whatever this room might be. "Nice find. By the way, any idea how old any of this is?". Durand shrugs. "I really have no idea. This could be pre-Exile or, heck, it could be pre-Captivity. I'm just surprised how clean this place is, there's not a single bit of dust or dirt here anywhere.". Yeah, you're starting to doubt that this place is as old and abandoned as it looks. You take a close look around the pedestal and sure enough, there's a cleverly hidden switch embedded in the wall behind it. "Hey, Durand, I think I found what we were looking for.". Durand walks over and asks "Really? What?". You toggle the hidden switch and quite suddenly a bunch of enchanted lights turn on all over the cave. Amidst the fluttering of startled bats there's a strange noise coming from behind you, coming from the Circle of stones. The runes engraved on it are now giving off a faint light, as if it's waiting for a command. Now that there's some decent light in the cave you can clearly see that the circle of stones is indeed build on a platform. This entire room just gives off the impression that it's not just a cave, it's a ritual room of some sort. While Durand is still admiring the area (or waiting until he can see again) you slowly walk up the slope to the circle of stones. With a neutral tone you didn't think you had right now you ask the circle of stones where you can find the blood of a werewolf, given willingly. It seems like a strange thing to do, but you've done much stranger things before during your time in the Academagia. Durand hurries up the slope and stops next to you, just in time to see the runes on the circle of stones get brighter. After a point they start to dim again, and the ghostly figure of a werewolf appears inside the circle of stones. Durand is completely speechless, but you don't let it faze you.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-Despite your best efforts you don't see anything useful, which you unashamedly blame on the darkness and not on your own sloppiness. Eventually you and Durand have to give up for today, after which you promise to look up better light spells.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Curiosity]: Against your better judgement, try to activate the runes.
-These runes are the answer. You know they are. Just...how to use them? You start casting spells to try and get the runes to react (in a manner that cannot be described as "violently"), but you're not making much progress. "Hey, [PC FIRST NAME]! I found something else!". You're starting to wonder why you're even here, honestly. Nevertheless you walk up to where Durand is and ask what he found. "This, a pedestal carved in the stone.". Durand shines his light on it, revealing an empty pedestal. It looks like there should be a book resting on it, but there's nothing on or around the pedestal that you can see. You do see that it has a nice view of the circle of stones, so perhaps this pedestal is the answer rather than the stones themselves? "Anything else, Durand?". He shakes his head and says "No, I'm afraid not. Why, do you have any ideas?". You point to the circle of stones, and immediately Durand's expression betrays his hesitation. "I know, Durand, but it's obviously the solution to this problem. We just have to activate it somehow.". Durand shrugs and says that his guess is as good as yours. You're pretty sure throwing spells at the pedestal isn't useful, it seems more likely that the circle doesn't work because the pedestal is empty. This place has a rather ritualistic feel, maybe it's just dormant unless everything is in place. "Keep looking around, maybe we can find the book that this pedestal once held.". Durand nods, and you both start looking. Eventually Durand yells "Found the book, [PC FIRST NAME]!". Since when is Durand so good at finding stuff anyway? No matter, you wait by the pedestal and Durand brings the book he found. It's quite an interesting looking tome, mostly because it appears to be made entirely of stone. "So do you think this is just a heavy key or is it under a spell?". Durand puts down the slab on the pedestal and says "Probably the latter, that thing is really heavy.". Before you can even think about trying to Negate that spell you hear something behind you click. Durand turns to look and asks "You heard that, right?". "Yeah, I'll take a look. You try Negating the spell on the book". Durand nods, but before he can even think about what spell to cast you call out to him. "Hey, Durand, there's a switch here.". "A switch? Can you press it?". You press the switch, and suddenly enchanted light all over the room reveal themselves, and the room that's now rather brightly lit. More importantly, the runes engraved on the circle of stones now give off a faint light of their own. You run towards the circle and anxiously wait for Durand to finally come over as well. He doesn't look too happy with the situation, although he does seem quite impressed with the room itself. "Let me guess, so many things to ask you don't know where to begin?". Durand sighs, his innocent grin betraying that you hit the mark. "Anyway, how do you intend to...eh, what do you even intend to do with this circle of stones [PC FIRST NAME]?". You turn to the circle of stones, and with a surprisingly neutral voice you ask where you can find the blood of a werewolf, given willingly. A moment later the runes start getting brighter, to the surprise of both yourself and Durand, and when they dim again the ghostly imagine of a werewolf is standing in the circle of stones. It's an amazing sight, and Durand seems equally impressed.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-You try to convince yourself otherwise, but you simply can't bring yourself to do try something quite so idiotic. Unfortunately you and Durand don't end up finding anything else, so perhaps it'll be your only choice. You really hope that's not the case.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[CONDITION: PC [Gates Theory] SKILL > 0
[Gates Theory]: Are these really Gates runes?
-After making sure Durand isn't looking in your direction you take a closer look at the runes. You're not sure what they once did or whether they'd still work, but they are definitely Gates runes. They're expertly grafted into the stone, and very well preserved. Actually...they're too well preserved. More than just having had a preservation spell cast on them, they look like someone is still maintaining them. The vampire? Unlikely, Kane isn't a fan of illegal magic and you're sure he wouldn't be friendly with a vampire that's secretly a master of Gates. Heck, him being friends with a vampire is where that story already sounds far fetched. More to the point, the vampire quite readily admitted what the old Gates masters tried to keep secret, and now he let you and Durand into this area with this Gates circle. You're sure he's not maintaining it, but there's no one else that could possibly come down here on a regular basis to maintain these runes, other than the vampire. So...is it because they see regular use? But how? Gates isn't exactly the most stable magic school out there, and even if the authorities ignore this area for fear of the vampire said vampire must notice if things regularly get messed up through unstable magic. Unless...this is a pre-Curse relic? Your intense curiosity makes you sad that Durand is here, since with him around you can't exactly study it openly. Than again, maybe he'll accept you experimenting foolishly trying to find the werewolf blood? You almost completely forgot that's why you're here to begin with.
-- +CoS%, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You're not sure what runes these are, and you're honestly not in the mood to look them up any time soon or any time not soon.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

ELSE:

[Magical Appraisal]: What are these runes?
-It takes a bit of effort to cast a detection spell that doesn't inform you that your light spell is still active, but after a few tries you manage. The circle of stones is packed to the granite with Gates residue, it's so thick you're honestly worried it's rubbed off on you. Still, such a thick residue means only one thing. This circle of stones has seen recent, if not necessarily frequent use. There has to be a way to activate this circle or...some clue laying around here somewhere.
-- +CoS%, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You're not sure what these runes are. They definitely have never been discussed in class, you're sure of that much. You cast a detection spell, but it just helpfully informs you that your light spell is still active. To douse your light spell and try casting something in pitch-black darkness or to not do something dumb? You'll go with the latter, at least for now.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN
END]

 

 

Yes, there'll be a stage 11aOutro. This one is kinda even more necessary than it was at stage 10a since I have a few loose ends to clean up, so look forwards to a bucket of plot.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 11aOutro

 

"Why have you called me?". The ghost's voice sounds raspy, almost like he's out of breath. Which is strange, seeing as how he's a ghost. Than again, perhaps he isn't. The werewolf looks like he's been standing inside the circle for much longer than the vampire has lived in the tower. It's fur (hair?) is long, dirty and a chaotic mess, colored a mixture of white and light shades of gray except for a few streaks of brown lining his arms, torso and one of his legs. Durand is too amazed (or scared, you're not really sure) to answer the ghost, so you turn to it and say "We are here in search of werewolf blood, given willingly.". The werewolf nods in understanding, and carefully observes both you and Durand. "Neither of you...fear me?". Durand shakes his head while perfectly maintaining that expression of amazement, which ends up looking a little uncanny. You shake your head as well. You're a bit unnerved, but that's mostly because you're standing right in front of what is clearly Gates magic. "I see. The race of Man has not changed. Curse the day that our Enemy pitted us against the race of Man, and curse the day we did not think to overthrow those who truly held our chains. Do you two know? What purpose this room once served?". Both you and Durand shake your head wordlessly, which makes the ghost's voice sound that much louder. "My tribe did not belong here, on this floating island that belonged to the coming Empire of Man. We used this circle of stones to return to the surface. To Cyve, to our home. I remained behind, willingly, to guard the path.". "Let me guess, no one heard of your tribe again?". The ghost shakes his head, his expression turning into something you can't read. "No. Of course, we never expected to. I alone call this place my home. The rest left nothing behind. They will not come back.". You don't want to think about what that means for this werewolf. "Learn from the mistakes of your past, descendants of Man, lest you become a slave of your Enemy once again.". Before you or Durand can respond the runes on the circle of stones become bright again, and once they dim enough to see the ghost is gone. Instead there stand two vials of blood in the circle, which you hesitantly grab and pick up. When you hand one to Durand he says "I cannot believe you actually stepped inside that circle.". "Neither can I, honestly. Anyway, you think it's about time to leave?". Durand nods, and you both start walking back up the staircase. Once you both step into the centre room the podium lowers again, showing the vampire still staring at the engraving of the Sphinx. "Interesting artefact, is it not? And to think that existed right on top of my tower all this time. You can't imagine my surprise when I found that the first time.". "So that cave is at least older than your tower?". The vampire nods, and walks to the centre of the podium. "You have gathered all that you needed, without violating a single tradition. The spirit of the werewolf did not see fit to test you, and so you are free to leave. Unless there is anything left for you to ask.". You can see Durand is ready to leave, but are you?

 

Head back to the Academagia.
-"That'll be all. Perhaps we'll meet again, eh...sorry, what's your name again?". You think you've heard the vampire's name before, but for the life of you you can't remember it. "As the vampire that holds this domain my name is Lord Krazoa.". "Right, than perhaps we'll meet again, Lord Krazoa.". With a grin the vampire says "Perhaps.", and after polymorphing into a bat he flies up the centre room out of sight. "Ready to go, Durand?". Durand nods, and you two start walking through the hallway back to the entrance of the tower. There's a strange atmosphere surrounding you and Durand, and the entire ordeal has left you with mixed feelings about everything you've learned. The trip back to the Academagia is likewise a little awkward, but at least you can freely talk about all that happened with Durand. Once you two are in sight of the Academagia Durand says that he'll bring everything to Kane, and that he'll inform you once the maps are ready. If all goes well, it's just a matter of time now.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[CONDITION: PC HAS MEMORY [The Vampire That Has Not All]:
"Did you really not know about the circle of stones?"
-The vampire looks a bit curiously at you. "I did not, at least not when I first came to live in this tower. Why do you ask?". You can't help but roll your eyes. "Three of the parts needed for the map being looked after by a creature that can provide the fourth part coincidentally living in a tower standing right above a circle of stones that can provide the fifth and last part? If you didn't set this up, than who did?". There's a grin on the vampire's face, which you're not sure is either good or bad news. "I did not believe that to be coincidence myself when I found out. As for who arranged it this way I cannot say for sure. It would have to be someone that knew of the circle of stones, which I myself did not at first, and someone who had the Emperor's ear. My domain, long ago, was used as a testing ground for those who sought the Emperor's favor, and access to the Endless Section library. What the Emperor demanded of his subjects back then is something you two could not hope to achieve now, but over time some traditions have changed. Others, however, have not.". "This...was a testing ground?". "It was the Emperor's way to ensure that the 'animals' within my domain - the Emperor's former servants - would not be confused for magical creatures, trophies or tools to form a Familiar's Bond with. That, as much as was possible with their changed form, they were given the respect the Emperor thought they deserved for their loyalty. Of course, I'm sure you know how things ended for the Empire.". Indeed, you can already imagine how the Empire's corruption affected this "test" near the Empire's end.
-- UNLOCK BELOW OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN
END]

 

[CONDITION: PC HAS MEMORY [The Specific Sphinx]:
"Is that engraving an imagine of the Emperor's Sphinx?"
--Now that you think about it, who arranged for this situation is pretty obvious. The vampire doesn't seem surprised either, he looks more like he was expecting the question. "I did not create these engravings myself, but yes, I have noticed a certain...resemblance to a certain member of the old Court. Even so I cannot say for sure whether said member was the creature that arranged for this. Even in all of my years I've only had the pleasure of meeting the Emperor's Sphinx twice. I cannot say how distinct individual Sphinxes are in terms of looks, and whether whoever created this tower simply had seen a painting of the Emperor's Sphinx at some point. Still, if anyone knew of the circle of stones below the tower, I would say it was the Emperor's spymaster. Perhaps you can get answers directly from the Sphinx's mouth? I do know that Sphinxes are long-lived, the same Sphinx that advised the Emperor so long ago still remains in the Imperial Palace last I heard.". Perhaps you'll ask, perhaps not. Either way it seems like right now you can't do more than speculate, and that isn't really going to accomplish much if anything.
--- CHOOSE AGAIN
END]

 

 

Not exactly world-shattering revelations here, but there's enough clues that could lead to something amazing...if the team cares to use them.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 11b

 

Today finds you sitting together with Durand in the Garden Gallery, discussing future plans. You have the Batu-Te-Rem, you have the pure pearl dust, you have the Lynari petals, you have the Rose Thorn, which means there's only one ingredient left. Unfortunately Durand has some bad news to share, mainly to do with how to get that last ingredient. "I asked around the dock a few days ago how much it would cost to import the mushroom spores. Most said that they wouldn't do it for the amount I could offer, but one crew promised that they'd happily make a round trip to Sae’on and back for what I could pay. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, that crew was recently arrested on charge of fraud, trespassing, theft, assault, blackmailing, disturbance of peace, resisting arrest, among a few other things. In short, they turned out to be pirates.". You can't help but shake your head at that. "Please, Durand, don't tell me you actually pay them.". There's a bit of a child-like grin on Durand's face that you aren't sure about whether it should fill you with laughter of terror. Thankfully, it turns out to be laughter. "Of course not, I'm not that stupid. That does leave us with a problem though. We don't have enough to pay a captain to go to Sae’on and back just for the mushroom spores - not that I was expecting that much - and airship travel to and from Sae’on is, well, light. We could end up waiting for a very long time before someone happens to go there and back. In short, we need a plan.". Of course things wouldn't be so easy, but at least they're simple. Paying out of pocket isn't something you want to do. In part because Durand looked a little pale when he mentioned the reputable captains wanted allot more, in part because walking around the dock with a giant bag of money just after a band of pirates roaming around there was arrested seems like a fantastic way to get mugged. Or worse. So how are you going to solve this issue without risking yourself needlessly?

 

[Economy]: Find a *reputable* captain willing to work on the cheap.
-You're pretty sure that in a city as big as Mineta there will be the odd captain scheduled for Sae'on here and there, the issue is finding one. Maybe the best place to start isn't the dock, but the market. Someone must sell imported merchandise from Sae'on, and that means having a supplier. With that plan in mind you head off to the Empire Market, and ask around for a merchant that sells stuff from Sae'on. Most people just shrug, but one upper class-looking woman has good information for you. "Stuff from Sae'on? Oh, try Saeen's Books, it's a bookstore that imports...well, books from Sae'on. If you're looking for something else, though, I don't know.". "Can you give me directions?". The woman nods and gives you directions, which you can easily follow. Saeen's Books on the outside looks a little bizarre. Like the owner had an intoxicated architect design the place and gave the plans to a four years old child for review and final adjustments. At the very least it does do it's job, the place is certainly hard to miss. The inside of the shop looks incredibly plain in comparison, although you suppose that's to make finding something less of a hassle. There's a few other people in the store, but you head straight for the guy behind the counter. "Sorry, but could I speak with the owner of this shop?". The man looks a bit strange, like he spends time on perfecting his appearance except he doesn't know what he actually wants. Maybe he's not from Mineta, which honestly might explain a few things. "You're looking at him. Are you looking for something specific?". "No, I...well, yes, actually. I'm looking for an airship captain that can buy something in Sae'on and have it delivered to a friend of mine in the Academy of Magic.". The man looks curiously at you. "And you're asking me about that...why? Do I look like a captain?". "You import things from Sae'on, right? I was hoping your supplier could help me. I'm kinda working on a tight budget here so I can't afford to send someone to Sae'on and back.". The man nods, he seems like he's been through this before. "That's certainly possible, what do you need purchased and to who do you need it delivered?". You explain what you need and how much, exactly. The latter's pretty difficult, seeing a how spores can't exactly be measured with a scale easily. When the guy asks how much you can pay for it you end up having to negotiate harder than you'd think, apparently the mushroom spores themselves cost more than you thought. You manage to avoid breaking your budget, though. With the deal made you hand the shop owner the money and inform Durand that they'll be delivered to him in the near future. Durand nods, although he looks a bit worried. "I'll contact you when they arrive so we can go and deliver it all to Filia.". If all goes well, you'll soon have a map.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-Asking around the docks you eventually confirm beyond a shadow of doubt that finding a reputable captain willing to work on the cheap is harder than it looks. You manage to get closer than Durand did, at least, but not close enough. This might require a different approach.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Gossip]: People know about your search, ask around if someone can help you.
-You head off to the Great Hall and start asking around for anyone that has heard about your ingredient hunt and might be able to help you with it. Most students just shrug and politely inform you they're busy with other things, but one points you in the direction of one of the groundskeepers. Specifically a bit of a social isolationist who's knowledge of Botany is second only to Professor Vickery, although his command of Revision is far greater than the Professor's. Or so he claims. Apparently he prides himself on his ability to grow everything - and he does mean everything - to the point where he's rumored to have a garden somewhere on or off campus which contains a vast number of plants that ordinarily won't grow on Elumia, or won't take to cultivation. You're pretty sure those are just rumors, but it probably won't hurt to ask anyway. Finding him is quite easy, as he's working in one of the greenhouses. For a supposed social isolationist he very quickly looks up when he sees you. "Hi there student, do you need help with something?". "Eh, yes, actually, I heard you've...got a not-so-secret garden with ingredients in...it?". You never give rumors full weight unless you've confirmed them yourself, but you also never assume that they're so completely wrong, either. The groundskeeper, for his part, just rolls his eyes. "Oh, certainly. I also have a secret zoo filled with zombies, Dragons and the Legate's long lost werewolf twin. Any other rumors you want to ask about?". You sputter out some incoherent mess of words before taking a moment to regain your composure. Not that the man is intimidating, but this was a situation you just weren't prepared for. "I, eh, I'm not here to discuss rumors, actually. I'm here because I need a certain ingredient, and, well, I heard you might have a sample.". The man shrugs, not really sure about, well, you. "Perhaps, what do you need and what for?". Either this guy doesn't know much about brewing or this might become a very awkward conversation. "Vulcanus mushroom spores, I need them for a...friend of mine.". The groundskeeper shrugs. "Vulcanus? I think I might still have a sample of that in my 'secret' garden, let me check.". You wait for five minutes, but the man comes back empty handed. "Sorry, fresh out. I can place an order if you really need it, but, eh, that's going to cost you.". It's refreshingly easy to "place an order", as the man put it, although unfortunately it does end up eating the entire budget. Apparently Vulcanus isn't actually cheap in it's own right, even where it naturally grows. "Alright, one potion's worth of Vulcanus delivered to Durand de Thiomines, paid up front. Anything else?". Well, since he's asking. "Actually, I was curious about one thing. Do you know about a plant called Batu-Te-Rem?". "Sure do, need a sample of that as well?". "No, no, I was just curious. Do you happen to know why it only grows where it does? Close to willow trees, I mean?". The man nods, and points to a bucket sitting next to the greenhouse entrance. The bucket is filled with, you assume, water. "I actually researched Batu-Te-Rem...oh, I think a year or two ago? My best guess is that they grow close to willow trees because the roots of a willow are so aggressive when it comes to finding every last bit of moisture in the ground. Thing is that if that's true than in theory you should find Batu-Te-Rem growing wherever there's trees close to an obvious source of water, since their roots would mimic the willow's aggressiveness. They don't, though. I've never found a Batu-Te-Rem not nearby a willow tree, and most of the ones I did find were near a river as well.". "Any idea why they don't take to cultivation at all?". The groundskeeper shrugs, and says he's tried to cultivate them, with and without magic, but it just wouldn't work. "I might go back to researching that one day, but not right now. Anything else?". You shake your head, thank him for his help and head off to see Durand. He seems happy that you've found a faculty member, if not exactly a professor as such, to supply the mushroom spores. "I'll contact you when they arrive, so we can both deliver them to Filia.". If all goes well you'll have your map, it's just a matter of time.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-Not willing to bet that you can find a captain willing to work on the cheap you start asking around if anyone might be willing to help you. The answers you get, in order, are "No", "Not likely", "How?", "Not for that amount of money", "Don't you have tests to study for?" and "Maybe, if you have that pirate gang convicted of impersonation through cross-dressing". That last one probably would have made sense in context, or so you can only hope. It didn't sound like a joke, but you're either way you're neither that curious or that desperate.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Transport]: Is there a different way to transport mushroom spores to Mineta?
-Ultimately there are other ways you could, in theory, transport the mushroom spores with, but none are as reliable as paying off a reputable airship captain. Depending on the airship they use and whether they have a wizard working for them, it might also be the fastest way. You don't have to worry about trying something else, the only thing you need to worry about is making this plan work.
-- +CoS%, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. You not sure and you don't really want to risk all that effort on something that might not work.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[PC HAS MEMORY [Oan's Shroom Emporium]
[society]: Find Oan and ask her for help.
-One way to look at this issue is the fact that an airship in Mineta would have to go to Sae’on and back to deliver the mushroom spores. This ends up being very costly due to the two trips, especially because it's not a trip most would make anyway. The solution is to send a message to someone in Sae’on that's bound for Mineta and ask for help. Without the return trip and without the inconvenience factor it'll end up being much cheaper. Affordable, that is. And who happens to have had someone from Sae’on as a mentor last year? Why, that might be you. Of course finding Oan isn't easy, fourth year students are certainly kept busy by their professors and who knows where they have to go for their homework, but thankfully you manage to eventually find Oan eating together with a few other fourth years in the Great Hall. Most of them see you coming and they don't look happy about it, but Oan has a smile on her face. "If it isn't [PC FIRST NAME]. Let me guess, you're here about your ingredient hunt?". "Y-yes, how did you know?". Oan's smile turns into a playful grin, and she playfully pokes one of the students next to her - a dishevelled looking male wearing Vernin colors that could very earily pass for Professor Leith after only a few basic Revisions or Glamours. Up until you hear his voice, which in stark contrast to Professor Leith sounds more like Professor Storey a month after he desired to never sleep again. "So you're [PC FULL NAME]? I heard about your potion hunt from Oan. Let me guess, the next ingredient you want is Vulcanus spores?". The way he says that makes it sound like you're doing something horribly wrong, and not in the "clumsy amateur" way. Oan notices your reaction and insists it's just his manner of speech. He simply nods in response, which honestly doesn't do much to put you at ease. Still feeling a bit nervous you say "I, well, yeah. Vulcanus spores are the last ingredient we need. How'd you know?". "Because I'm here to study brewing and I happen to know that recipe. You have no idea what potion you're collecting ingredients for, right?". You shake your head and the boy starts laughing. It honestly does nothing to make him sound less intimidating, if anything it makes him sound unhinged. Oan pokes him again, probably to quiet him down, and she turns to face you. "Don't mind him, [PC FIRST NAME]. Anyway, You need my help with importing the mushroom spores, right?". You nod, keeping a covert eye on the guy sitting next to Oan. Just in case. He either doesn't notice or he doesn't care, and the same is true for Oan. "Alright, I'll send a letter home and ask for some spores. I assume you'll want your friend to pick them up?". "Yeah, and, eh, Oan? Just...what is this potion for? Just about everyone I've talked to side-stepped the issue, can you tell me?". Oan shakes her head, which is disappointing. You really were hoping she'd tell you. "Sorry, [PC FIRST NAME]. The future master of forgetting where he put his perfect brew over here told me what it does, and, eh, yeah. I don't think anyone but your parents should talk with you about that, although I doubt they'd know about the potion. I imagine that most people you've talked with are at least budding brewers, since the recipe really isn't that well known.". You get the distinct impression that asking your parents about it would be an incredibly foolish mistake no matter how carefully you try to word it. At least Oan is going to help you with this, so you can be sure this matter will be resolved. "Thank you, Oan. If you need any help, just ask my friend, Durand de Thiomines. I'm sure you can guess what college he's in.". "College Aranaz, perhaps?". You can't help but laugh at that. Even Durand's name aside he's really not the kind of person that would do well in College Aranaz. Well, you suppose he would do well in History class, but that's about it. "No. Well, anyway, I assume you can handle things from here. Otherwise, you know where to find me.". Oan nods, and you head over to the campus of College Durand to inform Durand that Oan will pay him a visit soon. He seems impressed. "You know someone from Sae'on? When did you...? Well, in any event, with the mushroom spores it's just a matter of handing it all to Filia. I'll contact you when I have the mushroom spores, alright?". "Alright.". So very soon you'll have a map. It's all just a matter of time now.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You look around the Academagia and the Academagia Grounds but you don't end up finding Oan anywhere. Eventually you learn she's on an errant in Mineta, which while useful to know would have been slightly more useful to know a few hours earlier. Better late then never, you suppose.
-- STOP ADVENTURE
END]

 

 

Next two stages should be the last if all goes well, and I certainly don't plan for the PC and Durand to get randomly mugged just 'cuz I hate you, so they should. Once this adventure is done I'll probably continue posting WIP adventures here, since I do think the topic helps, but I'll see what happens then. I do expect updates to slow down as summer starts to show itself more if I do continue, because I hate summer. But the next adventure I'll most likely post is the Y2 follow-up to An Outing... which I've done much more work for than this one, so it should update faster. But I have to...kinda split that adventure up into two parts because it's, well, crazy long, so that'll slow down updates because I'll need to go through review and editing. For reference it's currently scheduled to be 14 stages with...I think 10 to 12 turns spend minimum? So yeah, going to split that. Splitting it will fit, story-wise, so that shouldn't be an issue.

 

What will happen and how is a mystery.

Edited by Metis

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The Endless Section Library: stage 12a:

 

"They're ready!". Durand's sudden exclamation nearly drops you out of your seat. It's hard not to be surprised when Durand is excited since he almost never is, at least he's rarely vocal about it. Right now, though? Excited, vocal, the works. "Durand, could you not yell so loudly? I'm not deaf, you know.". "Oh. Sorry. But the maps are ready, I just got word from Kane that we can come pick them up.". It's amazing how quickly you forget about Durand's lack of composure after hearing that. "Alright, let's go.". You and Durand rush off together, heading into Mineta and running...most of the way towards the Endless Section. Actually, Durand barely manages to run all the way to the main gate. You thought your repeated trips to the vampire's domain would have given him some measure of endurance, but apparently not. Still, he's walking as fast as his legs can reasonably handle for more than a minute. While passing by the statue of King Aranaz you see someone standing on a crate reciting the old King's role during the battle of Mallen Field. It's kind of sad how no one seems to miss or even remember Durand, but you're sure he's going to try and change that. From the statue it's a short walk to the Endless Section. When you knock on the door Kane opens it. He's not acting the roll of a century-old man like he was the first time you met, which is a relief. "Good to see you two again. Your maps are ready and waiting in the reception area, so follow me.". You and Durand follow the man down to the reception area, through the house and down the incredibly long staircase, where on the reception's desk there are two maps waiting. You pick one up and look it over. The map has the library's floor plan drawn on it, and a small red dot shows what you presume is your location. You take a look at Durand, who seems ready to run right into the library and stay there for the rest of the day. Before he can so something quite so stupid you walk over to him and tap him on the shoulder. "Before you run off, Durand, I think Kane has a few things to tell us first.". "That I do, actually.". Kane walks behind the reception, where he looks strangely fitting yet comically out of place at the same time. You're not sure why. "First off, you two shouldn't take those maps out of the library. Why is a long story, but rest assured there's no reason not to leave them here. Second, never forget to take them with you before going past the reception. Since you now have maps I can find you if you do get lost, but I'm not always here and if you get stuck while I'm visiting family in Meril you'll be here for a while.". Mental note; look up how to create wards and how to efficiently Incant food and water - in that order. "Third, this library does have a filing system and I'd appreciated it if you put books back where they below. It can be pretty difficult to remember where books belong due to the quirky nature of this library, but I'd appreciate it nonetheless. Remember to look at both the other books and the map, it helps.". And so Longshade is no longer the most confusing library you've ever seen. "Beyond that, I do think that's all. Any questions?".

 

Ask how the filing system works.
-"You mentioned the filing system before, how does it work exactly?". There's a playful smile on Kane's face as he explains the filing system, which you hope you'll be using often. The hunt is finally over, and the knowledge of the Endless Section Library is finally open to you.
-- +1 Insight, GAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO [Endless Section Library], GAIN ABILITY [Research At The Endless Section Library], END ADVENTURE

 

Ask where the history section is.
-"One question, actually. Where is the history section?". Kane looks at you a bit curiously, as does Durand. "Did you forget? Regent von Rupprecht still wants that paper about the battle of Mallen Field, you know.". "Funny, that's exactly what I wanted to look up too.". There's a smile on Durand's face that more closely matches your own than you'd expect. Kane is smiling as well, in his own way. "Alright, I'll show you where it is on the map".
-- +1 Intelligence, GAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO [Endless Section Library], GAIN ABILITY [Research At The Endless Section Library], END ADVENTURE

 

[CONDITION: PC IS STUDENT AT [schohanwicht]

See what the library's own books say about it's history, then get a second opinion from Schohanwicht.
-The vampire - Lord Krazoa, rather - said some interesting things about this library's history and the "history" that a very specific group of individuals want to be true. You're curious to find out more about this. "Just one. Where is the history section?". Kane point you to where it is, and without another word you're off. Navigating the library with the map is pretty unnerving, but you're used to worse. When you find the history section the book you want is thankfully in plain sight. "Library of the Endless Section - A Historic Overview". Reading through the book you confirm what Lord Krazoa said earlier. The Emperor's historians claim the Endless Section used to be on Cyve, was raised up along with the rest of Elumia during the Exile and had it's content thoroughly vanish due to the powerful magic involved in both the Exile and the library itself. Gates masters, who some suspected of stealing the content of the library rather than it being a side effect of the Exile's magic, insisted that it was the Emperor that had the library build during the Early Empire, using the myth of the so-called Dragon's Doom Library on Cyve to fabricate a history for it. Why the Emperor would fabricate a history is not mentioned, however. You think you're on the right track, putting the pieces of this library's history together, you just need to hear the last side of the argument. You put the book back and leave the library, going to a safe location where you can use the Portal Key to go to Schohanwicht. Once there you find one of the professors reading by himself in The Obranabú Library, who looks up when he hears you come in. "Yes, student? Can I help you with something?". "I'm trying to piece together the history of the Endless Section Library. I've met a...person, shall we say, that claims to have been alive when it was found or founded in the Early Empire. I'm only missing the last side of the story, the side of the old Gates masters.". The professor's eyebrows shoot up much higher than you expected. "Sit down and tell me everything.". You nod and sit down across from the professor, feeling strangely comfortable that you can talk about this. "The person in question is actually a vampire, he calls himself Lord Krazoa. He's on speaking terms with the current keeper of the Endless Section, Omoi Kane, and whoever wishes to enter his domain to gather the parts for the map you need to find your way in the Endless Section. He remembers the history of the library as he was taught, which is that it really is Dragon's Doom. As for the idea that the Emperor made that part up and founded the library himself, he said that was the result of Gates masters destroying public record of the library's history in response to the ban on Gates and Mastery. He doesn't know why, though.". You have the professor's complete, undivided attention. "Anything else?". "Well, first off he doesn't know who took the books that were missing after the Exile, or where they are. Second, the first group of mages that tried to fix the broken magic of the library had something happen to them. The vampire said he doubts even Schohanwicht could understand what went wrong, and I don't know if that was an exaggeration or not. Either way that incident was swiped under the political rug and the mages were 'retired' into Elumia Proper, to the area that would eventually become the vampire's domain. The 'animals' in that area - the Ganesha, Athena and Nanna - aren't actually animals, they're the descendants of the first group of mages that had bad things happen to them.". You didn't think the professor's eyebrows could go any higher, but they have. They're still attached to his head, but only barely. "That's...that's quite a bit of information I wasn't aware of. Anything else?". "Oh, yeah, that's not even the best part.". It seems the professor's eyebrows cannot go higher than they are currently, but not for a lack of effort. "Though the Emperor only discovered the library he did re-purpose it as a hall of knowledge for worthy servants. Someone within the Emperor's court set up the vampire's domain for that purpose - to test the Emperor's subject. That test involved getting the five things needed to create a map, and all five can be found within the vampire's domain. Even the last part, a vial of werewolf blood.". The professor looks confused. "So there's werewolves in that area as well?". "A werewolf, at least. The vampire's tower is actually standing right on top of a really old cave which used to belong to a werewolf tribe that lived in that area long before the vampire and his 'herd' arrived. That cave is a strange-looking ritual room with a circle of stones that can summon the...ghost, I think, of the last werewolf of that tribe. I'm not really sure, since he did give me a vial of blood for the map. Anyway, the rest of his tribe all used that circle of stones to return to the surface, at least they tried to, but they were never heard from again. Apparently no one was expecting to hear back from them, though, since they left for good reasons. Oh, and the vampire didn't know of the circle of stones at first. He discovered it after moving in, so to speak.". The professor stares at you for a long time before he finally speaks up. "I have to commend you for all you've uncovered, certainly it's a wealth of information and I'll see to it that this matter is investigated personally, but I'm afraid I must ask you to leave the investigation to us beyond this point. I will say there is a very good reason for why the public history of the Endless Section was attempted to be destroyed, and indeed it has to do with the old books from the Dragon's Doom library that went missing after the Exile, but rest assured that those books are not currently in this library.". You're a little disappointed by that, but really, you feel so good after blowing the professor's mind that you don't care at all. "Alright. If you need me to introduce you to Lord Krazoa - for what that's worth - just ask. He's not a friend by any means, but we're on speaking terms at least.". The professor nods and excuses himself, running off to presumably inform the others of what you've uncovered. You'll probably hear about this again later, when the investigation has been concluded.
-- +1 Charm, GAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO [Endless Section Library], GAIN ABILITY [Research At The Endless Section Library], END ADVENTURE
END]

 

 

And that concludes path A, in which you learn quite a bit about the library's history and some other history. Sorry for the doorstopper that is the last option but, well, there's a reason. You see, when you put all the pieces in place you get the picture that the adventure hands to you. When you put the pieces in different positions, well, you should still get a complete picture, just one that looks a bit...different. You're all "free" to try and piece this puzzle together, and do tell if you think you managed it.

 

BTW, Dragon's Doom is either the most awesome or the most hilariously over the top name for a library, but I figured it could use a name. And Legate, if any part of this adventure is clearly wrong in some way I'd rather it gets pointed out and fixed now than when (if ever) the team edits it.

Edited by Metis

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Dragon's Doom is also one of the most ambiguous names for a library...

 

Should you not get a relationship bonus with the Schohanwicht professor (or Eunycia) for the final option - if it is a proper "class2 in Yr 2 then it should have a professor, and thus relationship with same.

 

Durand might also be due a relationship gain, though I haven't summarised the adventure path to see its output.

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Apparently I deleted and never re-typed the information, but I intended for that library to have been founded, if indirectly, by King Aranaz. The ambiguity is most definitely intentional.

 

Yes to both relationship gains, but I don't really note all the minor details like skill step gains and relationship gains. It just makes things easier for me. Naturally you should get both when actually playing through the adventure, the latter from both Durand and the Schohanwicht professor, but I simply don't list them here.

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The Endless Section Library: stage 12b

 

You're wandering through the hallway, not really sure what to do, when suddenly Durand runs up from behind you. He's got a massive grin on his face and he's holding his enchanted pouch like a cat that just caught a mouse. "Let me guess, the spores arrived?". "That they did, which mean we now have everything. Want to go to Filia and drop these off?". "Why do you think I kept my schedule clear? Let's go, you remember the way to Filia's store, right?". Durand nods, which honestly surprises you a little since the last time you followed a bunch of convoluted directions you couldn't make heads or tails out of. Maybe he's discovered the secret, you don't really care to ask. "Alright, lead the way.". Durand, through what you can only imagine is his sheer desire to explore the library, effortlessly goes from the Academagia through all the little paths and twisted turns to Stolas' Astrological Insights. Actually, maybe it was the Glamour he was put under last time? Who knows. In any event you're both standing before the shop, with Durand waiting for you to go in first. You shrug and do so, not really caring enough to question why at this point. The shop looks like it did before, for the most part. A black dancing cube filled with trinkets that you can't begin to guess the use of. "The seekers arrive, will my dream finally become alive?". Durand mumbles "Someone hasn't enrolled in poetry class." under his breath, and you just go straight through into the curtained-off area. Filia is there, wearing the same oversized clothes she did before. You briefly wonder if she doesn't get hot in those clothes, but than you remember that she's a wizard. Wizards can solve that problem rather easily. "Come in, sit down. Have you collected everything?". Durand hands Filia the enchanted pouch before sitting down, and explains what it is. Filia take a look inside it, how she can see into it in this already-dark room you'll never understand, but she seems pleased. "Excellent, thank you. Now my worries can finally be put to rest.". If only for the sake of tradition, you once again ask "So...what does that potion do, anyway?". There's a playful grin on Filia's face that you're not sure is comforting or ominous, but frankly you'd guess the latter. "I really can't say, but now that you'll get a map why not look it up in the library if you're so curious?". Of course, why didn't you think of that earlier? "Kane already finished your maps, so you can go and pick them up. I know who can brew these ingredients for me, and I imagine you're eager to explore the library.". Durand practically flies out of the room, completely forgetting to say goodbye, which seems to amuse Filia. "Yeah, he's...he likes libraries, let's just put it that way. Oh, by the way, the Rose Thorn is unprocessed. Professor Leith said that was important.". Filia nods, successfully suppressing a laughing fit you'd guess. "That it is, thank you. For everything.". "Yeah...right. Goodbye, I guess, I got a library to explore.". Filia nods, and you leave the shop as well. Durand is nowhere to be found, but at least you know where he is. And indeed, you find him in the library's reception area, talking to Kane. They both look at you when they see you. "Hey [PC FIRST NAME], sorry about earlier but, well...". "You're in love with this library, am I right?". A very flustered Durand insists he is not, while Kane starts quietly laughing to himself. "Alright kids, settle down. Your maps are on the reception counter. I've explained everything you need to know to your friend here, so he'll fill you in on the details while you're both looking for historic facts about Mallen Field.". Right, von Rupprecht has been waiting on that paper for a while now, hasn't he? You definitely want to go and start on that, finally, but you have time. Maybe some...different research is in order?

 

Ignore the potion and research Mallen Field.
-When a priest, a professor and an astrologer tell you not to look something up, you think it's fair to assume that you don't want to look something up. "Lead the way, Durand.". "Will do.". While navigating the library, a more difficult task than you'd think, Durand explains the details of how the library and the map works. It's honestly nothing you couldn't have reasonably guessed, but it's nice to hear all the same. "Anyway, here's the History section. Want to start looking?". "That I do.".
-- +1 Insight, GAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO [Endless Section Library], GAIN ABILITY [Research At The Endless Section Library], END ADVENTURE

 

Take a look at the Brew section first.
-"You head on to the History section first, Durand. I've got a few things I need to look up first.". Durand shrugs and does just that while you look for the Brew section. It's not easy, even with the map, but you do eventually find it. The amount of books here on potions, poisons, brewing techniques, the history of brewing, ingredients and preparation methods is incredible, and it doesn't really make finding things any easier. Nevertheless in a catalogue for potions that don't share a theme that you can figure out you finally find the potion you're looking for. The recipe, brewing methods, effects and known uses of the potion who's ingredients you've collected, a Potion of Perfected Turning. A few minutes later you head back to Durand, who seems surprised by how you look. "What happened to you? You look like you just got run over by a carriage.". After promising yourself to never ignore the advice of so many people again, you only have one thing to say in response. "I don't want to talk about it.".
-- +1 Intelligence, GAIN VISITATION RIGHTS TO [Endless Section Library], GAIN ABILITY [Research At The Endless Section Library], ADD [Potion of Perfected Turing] LORE?, END ADVENTURE

 

 

For humor value I'll go with the second potential potion, which is by far the more brain bleach demanding one. That does mean that Filia's sister would also need the first possible potion, but than the list she handed to the PC did already have several ingredients crossed out, so that makes sense. This will also end up saying something about the An Outing... crew, but since it doesn't say anything unreasonable it's not really a problem. I really can only hope the theory behind the entire idea is sound, because otherwise, eh, well, vagueness ahoy?

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 0:

 

You're in the middle of organizing the last of your stuff, which you finally managed to unpack, when there's another interruption in the form of a knock on your door. It's not the first, and you imagine it won't be the last. Not really interested you half-heartedly ask who's there. "Leene Gressel. You remember me, right?". The name is one you certainly haven't forgotten, and surprised that she'd visit you here you walk over to open the door. True to her word Leene is standing behind it, a smile still on her face from what she apparently thought was a funny joke. "Long time no see [PC FIRST NAME], although I suppose it hasn't been that long. Sorry if you're still unpacking, but mind if I come in?". You shake your head, and after closing the door take a close look at Leene. She's still how you remember her, but thinking about how you met brings back a lot of old memories. Most of which you'd rather forget. Leene sits down on a chair and looks around the room, though nothing seems to catch her attention. "Sorry for dropping by unannounced like this, but, well, you remember what happened last year, right?". You sit down on your bed and sigh, saying you couldn't very wel forget. You notice Leene casting glances at your wrist, and her own, while speaking. "Nhordum's parents have...I'll be honest, they've gotten over the shock that someone as young as you managed to Embrace someone, even if it was only a surface Embrace. In fact, that's what they want you to focus on right now. Learning the finer points of the Embrace so that next time you'll be able to do more than what you did.". You nod and asks if there will be any tests associated with that. Leene, much to your chagrin, confidently nods in response. "Naturally. You've already proven that you know the House's basic principles as well as the basics of the craft itself, but before you can learn the finer points you need to study some skills that those finer points require to work. Also don't forget to pick up your studies of your basic skills where you left off, maybe go for a walk through Mineta again to prove to yourself that you really have learned as much as you can. Remember, this isn't a forgiving study of magic. Make a mistake, and it will cost you.". So...another series of tests. You're not looking forward to that, but you can't deny that Leene is right. "Can you help me with that?". Leene sighs and says "I can explain what skills you'll need to study and a bit about why you will need to later, but there's...trouble going on in the shop. Nothing you need to worry about, but I won't be able to teach you personally beyond that basic explanation. Don't worry about performing a full Embrace when you reach that point, I'll make time for that, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.". You slowly nod, staring very intently at Leene with a frown on your face. Perhaps it's just because Leene Embraced you twice before, experiences you'll never forget, but you don't doubt that the time you spend studying last year is paying off. Leene looks confused and asks what's wrong, a question you're all to willing to answer.

 

"You're lying."
-Leene looks completely dumbfounded, and you explain that you both noticed her body twitch and her tone change when she mentioned the trouble in the shop wasn't something you needed to worry about. Leene doesn't know how to respond at first, after which she suddenly starts giggling. And after that, laughing. You calm her down and say that it might just be your memories from her Embrace messing with you, but that was the impression you got. Leene, with a massive grin only barely concealed on her face, nods. "[PC FIRST NAME], it's because of those Embraces that I feel I can trust you. That means I can't bring myself to really try to hide things from you. Still, I didn't expect you to be able to see right through me like that. You've really improved.". You nod and asks what's really going on. Leene sighs, letting her worry really show. "It's Nhordum who's in trouble, but he won't talk about it. It's not unusual for him to run into something that bothers him, but he'd always at least tell me what's on his mind. We've Embraced each other so many times that there shouldn't be anything we can't talk about, but...for some reason he's clammed up.". Thinking about Nhordum and the impression he left on you you can't picture him not being direct about...anything, really. Why would he hide something? How would he hide something? Just as confused as Leene is, by the looks of it, you ask when this started. "A little while after Nhordum's family send us a message about what they'll be expecting from you. I don't know if what bothers him concerns you, but...well, he doesn't have the best relationship with his family. They might be angry at him about something.". "Should I try talking to him?". Leene isn't sure how to answer at first, but she ends up slowly nodding. "I think that'd be for the best, at least he should tell you whether you're in trouble or not.". You like to think Nhordum would have said something to Leene if you were, but if he's apparently hiding stuff you're not sure. You promise Leene you'll talk to him, and she doesn't try to hide how relieved she is. "Hey, don't worry about it. Nhordum's my friend too, sort of, even if he'd never admit it.". Leene, with am honest smile, thanks you for helping out, after which she says she has to return to the shop. You nod and after she leaves return to organizing your room. Nhordum having issues with his family. You really hope you're not involved in this. Yet, at least.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

 

Intro stage to the Y2 follow-up to An Outing..., part 1 since as I said before this adventure is going to be split into two separate ones. You'll notice that this one starts with stage 0 whereas the Endless Section started with stage 1. That's because this stage is technically the "intro text with one option that starts the adventure proper" stage Y1 adventures very much like to have. You'll also notices that, contrast to those intro stages, this one PAUSES rather than PROCEEDS. That's because I intended for this stage to auto-fire on Juvenalia, assuming the right conditions are met, meaning that it has to pause for the first two stages to actually take up a turn like normal.

 

I may change that later to having this stage proceed to stage 1 immediately and not auto-fire, so as to properly fit the mould, but that, as said, is for later. For now I'm just going to be doing some editing and posting what I have before making any massive changes.

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The Training Continues, stage 1:

 

Getting Involved

 

Third left, take a right turn, and...there is it. Gressel's Medications, the home of Leene, Lotus and Nhordum. Now that things have settled down you can take the time to visit and ask Nhordum about what, exactly, his family had to say about you. And whether it's related to why he's been acting weird lately. When you walk in you see Lotus standing behind the counter, putting away a stack of Pims. "Hey, here to see Leene?". You shake your head and walk up to her. "Nhordum, actually. Is he around?". Lotus shakes her head and says Leene's around, but Nhordum left a moment ago. "Do you know where he went?". Lotus shakes her head again, and Leene walks in from the back. "Hey there [PC FIRST NAME], here to talk to Nhordum?". Lotus repeats that he's just left, after which you shrug. Leene rather noticeably rolls her eyes, and offers you a cup of tea. "I don't know when Nhordum will be back, but there's a few things we need to talk about anyway.". You nod, and Leene takes you to the living room. The house looks just the same as before, no surprises there. When Leene brings you your tea you notice she seems to prepare tea the exact same way that Nhordum does. Thinking back you vaguely remember Professor Vickery mentioning that Lotus is the actual cook, so you imagine they both learned it from her. After both you and Leene had your fill she takes the empty cups to the kitchen, and comes back with a piece of paper. "I asked Nhordum about whether his acting weird had to do with you, but it doesn't seem like it does. Here's the letter he got from his family.". You take the letter and read through it, but you're not really sure about most of the content. Leene explains it for you. "The bit about your Mark having been approved refers to official paperwork. Basically, you're now officially registered as someone studying Synchronicity under House Kazus. The part about you being an 'accomplished' student would normally mean that you're allowed to practice your Embrace spell without supervision, but as you can see Nhordum's parents are against that. If you're wondering why it's because you've only managed a surface Embrace so far, and you trying to perform a full Embrace without supervision would be an...unhealthy idea.". You innocently say you weren't planning to, which puts a smile on Leene's face, although it does beg a question. "If I'm not ready, why am I noted as an 'accomplished' student anyway?". Leene rolls her eyes again, this time not as exaggerated as before, but still noticeably. "Because tradition says so. Normally a student of your level could be trusted to practice independently, but because you're so young you can't. Can't practice, I mean, not can't be trusted. Don't worry about it, alright?". You nod, not being a stranger to imperfect traditions, which puts Leene at ease probably more than it reasonably should. "Good. Now last year you learned what you need to perform an Embrace, so this year we'll focus on what you'll need to maintain and use that Embrace to do what you want it to do. This isn't a practice where you draw Phemes together and it does all the work for you, once you're linked you're going to have to do the rest yourself. And doing that in another person's mind isn't an easy task.". You think back to last year when you Embraced Girars, but that compared to when Leene first Embraced you makes it clear that there's still a lot for you to learn. Come to think of it, didn't Nhordum's parents say you'd need to be taught skills most students already know? You ask Leene about that, but she shakes her head. A small grin slowly forms on her face as she says "You're right, but we've decided to put that on hold. That does mean you'll be limited to practising your Embrace on myself, but trust me, it's for the best.". You notice that Leene is studiously observing you, although why you're not sure. She doesn't mention it, and instead continues with her lecture. "You'll need to learn three things, for now. Concentration, to focus on what you need and nothing else. Endurance, to maintain an Embrace and your focus. And lastly Willpower to slowly, and gently, be able to change a person's mind.". You get nervous when you hear that last one, which Leene notices and, apparently, finds amusing. "I know, [PC FIRST NAME], it's a lot more drastic than it sounds. You'll get used to it, don't worry. Now, which skill should I start with?".

 

Concentration.
-"I know about ignoring distractions, but how does that work when you're inside another person's mind?". Leene takes out her wand and lightly taps it on your forehead, it's a strange gesture. "There's far more going on in there at any given point than you think, and when you're in someone else's mind where everything is new to you it's easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Especially because an Embrace isn't just one mind.". Leene taps her own forehead for emphasis, which honestly looks even stranger. "While you're trying to focus on your patient your own head will want to go all over the place as well. And if you remember you instinct practice, it all happens much faster than any form of logic or rational thought can keep track of. With so many possible distractions and so much to search through, of which only so little is important, concentration is important.". You think back to when Leene first Embraced you, and you remember how it felt when the strain of everything overwhelmed you. You didn't know what was going on back then, but than again you didn't really have to do anything, either. Leene notices you're thinking about something and puts her wand away. "Thinking about when you Embraced the Morvidus kid, Girars I think his name was?". You explain what's actually on your mind, and Leene uses that incident as an example while describing how concentration fits into what she did. It brings back a few painful memories, but a few pleasant (if embarrassing) ones as well. She also briefly discusses the other two skills, which adds up to a good hour and a half of discussion. Leene eventually checks the clock and says that she needs to go back to work, so you stand up to leave. "Hold on, [PC FIRST NAME]. Are you skilled with Glamour?". You turn around, slightly confused. Leene has a wide grin on her face, and she says "There's a spell you'll probably run into while studying willpower called Strengthen Will, it's a simple Glamour spell. A useful thing to cast before an Embrace, but even more useful is it's bigger brother. Once you've studied up on those skills I'll show you how to cast it. I hope your Glamour is as well practised as your ears.". Given the immense confidence flowing from Leene's barely-disguised grin there's one thing you simply cannot resist asking. "Let me guess, you were enrolled in Glamour?". Leene nods, and feeling not even a hint of surprise you thank her for her help, and leave.
-- +1 SS [Concentration], INFORM Endurance, INFORM Willpower, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

Endurance.
-"You said that I'd need endurance to maintain an Embrace, but is it really that taxing? I mean it's not like I'll Embrace someone while...running like I did last year-I mean, usually, right?". Leene has a patronizing smile on her face, though it looks more amused than demeaning. "Maintaining an Embrace is more tiring than you'd think, while running or otherwise. It isn't unbearable until you have to do it for several hours, though.". Wait, hours? Leene nods, and briefly glances towards the door leading to the hallway before turning back to you. "Yes, hours. The longest I've maintained an Embrace was a little over two and a half hours. I, eh, I passed out before I could finish what I was doing.". You catch yourself glancing at the door, trying to figure out why Leene made the effort to look. "What happened to the patient?". Leene sighs and glances at the door again, apparently trying to decide whether to tell you the whole story. She ultimately chooses to do so. "To Lotus. As for what happened, Nhordum was there. He made sure I made no mistakes and finished what I started. Lotus actually didn't know until we later told her. You'll disconnect if you can't maintain the connection, say because you passed out, and if you leave something unfinished it can cause all kinds of trouble. However, that was my first proper Embrace, so Nhordum was there to double-check.". You're starting to understand why endurance is necessary, but one thing still confuses you. "Do I really have to learn this now?". Leene nods and talks about how Nhordum's family has a special room in their home furnished specifically for long Embrace sessions, named the Red Room. It's named such after a handcrafted piece of furniture that Leene describes as a cross between a bed and a couch. "I'll come back to that once we'll discuss the finer points of Embracing, but for now just keep it in mind.". She also briefly discusses the other two skills, which adds up to a good hour and a half of discussion. Leene eventually checks the clock and says that she needs to go back to work, so you stand up to leave. "Hold on, [PC FIRST NAME]. Are you skilled with Glamour?". You turn around, slightly confused. Leene has a wide grin on her face, and she says "There's a spell you'll probably run into while studying willpower called Strengthen Will, it's a simple Glamour spell. A useful thing to cast before an Embrace, but even more useful is it's bigger brother. Once you've studied up on those skills I'll show you how to cast it. I hope your Glamour is as well practised as your ears.". Given the immense confidence flowing from Leene's barely-disguised grin there's one thing you simply cannot resist asking. "Let me guess, you were enrolled in Glamour?". Leene nods, and feeling not even a hint of surprise you thank her for her help, and leave.
-- +1 SS [Endurance], INFORM Concentration, INFORM Willpower, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

Willpower.
-"As much I might not like to hear about it, how does manipulating another mind work? I mean I directed Girars' feelings towards me before, but, was that really something I just willed?". Leene nods, and you notice that the amused smile on her face is absent. Come to think of it she's probably excited to be teaching someone as she was taught years ago, but at the same time she must be uncomfortably aware of what you're here to study. Leene notices you staring at her, and the grin returns. It's at this point that you realize that what Leene told you about her trusting you earlier probably goes both ways, which may not be a good thing. Leene waves it off. "I know, [PC FIRST NAME]. Anyway, what you did to Girars was indeed something you willed to happen. Of course that's putting it rather simply, but explaining it in detail to you without you having done it before yourself is, well, it's just not something I really know how to put into words. One thing I can tell you it that it's a slow process, at least preferably. You basically have to pit yourself against your patient, and stare them down until they'll let you help them. Sorry it that makes little sense, it'll be much clearer once you do it yourself". Leene continues to talk about how changing someone's mind through an Embrace is a matter of slowly pushing the patient's feelings and memories in the direction you want it to, and gives you a few points to remember when studying. She also briefly discusses the other two skills, which adds up to a good hour and a half of discussion. Leene eventually checks the clock and says that she needs to go back to work, so you stand up to leave. "Hold on, [PC FIRST NAME]. Are you skilled with Glamour?". You turn around, slightly confused. Leene has a wide grin on her face, and she says "There's a spell you'll probably run into while studying willpower called Strengthen Will, it's a simple Glamour spell. A useful thing to cast before an Embrace, but even more useful is it's bigger brother. Once you've studied up on those skills I'll show you how to cast it. I hope your Glamour is as well practised as your ears.". Given the immense confidence flowing from Leene's barely-disguised grin there's one thing you simply cannot resist asking. "Let me guess, you were enrolled in Glamour?". Leene nods, and feeling not even a hint of surprise you thank her for her help, and leave.
-- +1 SS [Willpower], INFORM Concentration, INFORM Endurance, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

 

There will indeed be another three tests like there were during An Outing..., but if you're worried about them being random roadblocks for the sake of random roadblocks, well, ask Girars how random his roadblock was. I can't promise that all three will be meaningful this time around, but at least two will matter to the adventure itself. The third...well, you'll see.

 

The reason I went with those three skills in part is because the Y1 Sync skills unlock something that can be used to increase them. Not necessarily increase them efficiently, but I thought it would add credibility all the same. For the record I'm talking about Perform Mental Exercises (Action), Free Running (Ability) and Pain Management (Ability). Strengthen Will (Spell) was just a happy coincidence on top of that. Oh, and BTW:

The Strengthen Will spell is bugged - the Endurance increase cannot be targeted like the Concentration and Willpower increase, instead it defaults to an invalid target. If cast it will increase the PC's Endurance, so at least it does something.

 

Now here's a fun game: Guess how I found this out.

Now you know.

 

If anyone does have a question feel free to ask, I'm not as tight-lipped as the Legate (mostly because I have significantly fewer people standing behind me with mountains of things to hide, but, eh, details).

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 2:

 

Concentrate

 

"Interested in Caramel Chews? A dozen for only 540 Pims, it's a great deal!". You don't know why, but the Empire Market is absolutely packed today. Merchants of all kinds have set up an endless line of stalls that seems to go on forever. You only came here to buy some supplies and maybe look around, but at this rate you're going to be stuck here just because of all the traffic. You pass by several more stalls, stores and loud announcements of great deals that you're pretty sure are suspect at best, but finally you do manage to somehow worm your way into a general supply store. The man standing behind the counter notices you walk in and he looks rather amused. "Busy day outside?", the man asks with a voice so jovial he sounds like a jester making a joke. You personally don't see the humor in it. Slightly out of breath you respond "Oh, a little. Anyway, do you have ink?". The grin on the man's face widens despite him trying rather hard (though not hard enough) to hide it, and with an as neutral tone as he can manage he says "Sorry, just sold the last of the ink I had on the shelves. I'll ask if I got some in stock.". You just stare blankly at the man as he opens a door behind him and tells someone inside to fetch some ink. A moment later a woman around the man's age comes out from the door with a crate in both hands, and after putting it down next to the man she rather obviously stares at you with a surprised look on her face. She hastily returns into the back of the shop before you can comment, and the man gives her a curious look himself. You walk up to the counter to buy the ink, but your ears pick up the sound of the woman gossiping a bit too loudly about you with someone else in the back of the shop. The man appears to be trying to listen to it himself, so you easily overhear the entire conversation. "Hellen? Oh Hellen, you won't believe who I just saw.". The girl that responds sounds much younger, a teenager around your age you'd say. "Heh, the Emperor?". "No no, it's, eh, what's [his/her] name again? [PC LAST NAME], I think?". You hear the girl gasping, though you can't tell if she's surprised or just pretending to be. You'd guess the latter, as well as that she's not a great actor. Since when do random people know your name, anyway? The woman rather quickly adds "I know! Oh I do hope [s/he] won't do anything to us.". The girl suddenly rushes outside the back room and rather loudly asks "Hey [PC LAST NAME], are you still...here?". Needless to say she did not expect you to be standing in front of the counter, arms crossed and looking right at her. The man standing behind the counter (clearly the girl's father, given the resemblance) stares at her as well, saying "I was wondering when you two chatterboxes would remember that part about Gressel's lot being good at listening.". Hellen looks rather embarrassed, but she quickly recovers and starts asking you about "what Nhordum does". You just say that you can't talk about it, which doesn't come as a surprise to her, and you ask how she knows you anyway. "Huh? Oh, Nhordum often buys supplies from us. My dad sells good quality ink, and cheap to. Nhordum was just here, actually, he bought the last of our ink. Well, from what was on the shelves at least.". Normally you wouldn't care about where and when Nhordum buys ink, but you have been meaning to talk to him and he never seems to be around Gressel's Medications. Curiosity takes the better of you and you ask "Do you know where he went?". Hellen doesn't know, but her father says that he was going back home. You quickly buy your ink and go out the door, scanning the streets for Nhordum. Somehow you actually manage to spot him, but with all the noise and people around you're likely going to lose him just as quickly. Unless you make an even louder noise to get the attention of him and what looks like half of Mineta, but frankly the guards have enough reason to be suspicious of you as is without you disturbing the peace. How are you going to catch up to him without losing track of him?

 

[Concentration]: Keep an eye on Nhordum.
-It's nearly impossible to keep an eye on him, and you actually do lose track of him several times, but thankfully you manage to find him again and quickly make up for lost grounds. When Nhordum finally stops walking he's just standing somewhere, probably catching his breath like you honestly would very much like to do yourself at this point. Unfortunately Nhordum didn't see you, so with a somewhat ragged voice you call out to him. He turns around and looks rather surprised when he sees you emerging from the flood of people. "[PC FIRST NAME]? How'd you-I mean, how long have you been following me?". You run up to Nhordum and confidently answer that you just kept your eyes on him while running through the packed streets, starting at the general store. Nhordum looks at the mob of people you've finally left behind you with an uncharacteristically clear expression of confusion. But soon after the familiar frown you know all too well returns. You finally take the time to catch your breath while Nhordum figures things out, as you honestly figured he would. "Oh, I see, Leene told you to work on your concentration, did she? I was honestly expecting you to work on that while studying for your exams.". Nhordum's last remark is obviously a joke, and you jokingly add that you needed a better challenge. Nhordum seems amused, and asks if there was a reason you followed him. This isn't going to be pretty no matter how you word it, so you might as well just be honest. "Leene told me you've been acting weird and refuse to talk about it, coincidentally I could never seem to get a hold of you. That wouldn't happen to involve me, would it?". Nhordum sighs, suddenly looks incredibly tired if not bored, and says "[PC FIRST NAME], I gave Leene the letter my parents send me. Did she forget to show you that?". You shake your head, and Nhordum shrugs. "So you already know everything there is to know. And about me not being around, well, believe it or not but I have things to do other than brew potions.". You'd question Nhordum further, but honestly you know it's futile at this point. If Leene can't shake anything loose, you certainly can't. You just smile and nod, asking Nhordum if he'll have time to teach you once you've learned enough of the basics. Again, Nhordum shrugs. "Afraid not, but I can make time for when you're ready for your first proper Embrace. I have to be there to make sure nothing goes wrong, you know.". You nod and say goodbye to Nhordum, wondering what is really bothering him. You get the impression that he's a more agitated than usual, especially when he mentioned he has things to do beyond brewing potions, but it's not like he shouldn't be after going through the Empire Market in it's current state. Without any real information to go on it's just Leene's word versus Nhordum's word, neither of which are unreasonable, yet if anyone is going to be able to lie to your face without you knowing...this requires more information. Far more information.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You try your best to keep an eye on Nhordum but the busy streets and all the people around you prove to be too much of a distraction to keep your eyes focussed on anyone. You'd go to Gressel's and wait for him, but thinking about it the path you did manage to follow him along doesn't actually go to the shop, so he probably isn't going there. You'll have to try another day.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Glamour]: Can a spell make the streets less noisy?
-It's difficult to cast a spell in these conditions, but you manage to find the time and room to piece together a Glamour that significantly reduces the amount of noise you hear. Admittedly that also includes Nhordum, but it's not like you could hear him over the crowd before anyway, so nothing of value was lost.
-- +CoS%, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-The market is so packed you can't find enough room to cast a spell without losing sight of Nhordum. Looks like you'll need to get through this the hard way.

-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Observation]: Does anything look off about Nhordum?
-Nothing seems off about Nhordum, but careful observation reveals that he is apparently not alone in trying to work his way through the crowd. A woman that doesn't seem much older than he is (although under these conditions it's hard to tell) is apparently walking with him. You don't recognise her, even though she definitely isn't Leene or Lotus, but that at least gives you a second person to keep track of.
-- UNLOCK BELOW [Concentration] OPTION, LOCK ABOVE [Concentration] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Nhordum's back isn't really that noteworthy to begin with, but with the busy streets obscuring three quarters of it on top of that? It's completely impossible to get a good look at him and see much of anything, let alone anything out of place.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Concentration]: Keep and eye on both Nhordum and his friend.
--You lose track of Nhordum several times, but thankfully whoever he's travelling with helps you stay on track. It's quite a chase, but eventually you do finally manage to catch up to him before what you imagine is the girl's house. She walks inside, and you call out to Nhordum, who turns around rather surprised. "[PC FIRST NAME]? How'd you...since when have you been following me?". You're still catching your breath, but you eventually manage to tell him you've been trying to catch up to him since the general store. Nhordum looks confused, or perhaps impressed, and he looks at the mess of people still walking around. "You tracked me all the way through that? How?". With a grin on your face you answer "I just kept an eye on you and your friend. It wasn't easy, but I managed.". Nhordum again looks at the crowd, you suspect he's wondering if he should believe you. You maintain a smug expression until he figures it out, which is when his expression returns to it's usual neutral look. "Oh, I get it, talked with Leene, did you? Well, good job maintaining your focus through that. Making progress on the rest?". You nod, and follow Nhordum as he starts walking towards the shop. You notice that he looks annoyed, but nothing that would make you worry about him. Than again, you imagine that Leene knows him much better than you do. "Sorry for being so forward, but Leene said that apparently something has been bothering you. That wouldn't happen to involve me, right?". Nhordum shrugs like he honestly doesn't know and says "So did you talk with Leene or didn't you? I gave her the letter, didn't she tell you what my family had to say about you? Did she forget?". You shake your head, which seems to confuse Nhordum. "I just wanted to double-check. But if it's not me, than what else is amiss?". Nhordum sighs, shakes his head and says "Please, [PC FIRST NAME], I get enough of it from Leene. There's nothing going on that you need to worry about, just focus on your studies and I'll see about showing you how to perform a proper Embrace. When, that is, you're ready.". Nhordum isn't lying as far as you can tell, but honestly that isn't saying much. If anyone if able to lie to your face without you noticing it, it'd be him. You decide not to push the issue further, since if Leene can't make him talk you doubt you can. Once you reach Gressel's you say goodbye to Nhordum and start wondering about whether there's really something wrong. And what, if anything, you could do about it.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You try your best to keep an eye on them both but the busy streets and all the people around you prove to be too much of a distraction to keep your eyes focussed on anyone. You'd go to Gressel's and wait for him, but thinking about it the path you did manage to follow him along doesn't actually go to the shop, so he probably isn't going there either. You'll have to try another day.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Concentration test. Current odds of Nhordum's friend being important are...well, one-sided to put it nicely. Also a rather mean start to the adventure, roll difficulty wise, but than you are given plenty of advanced warning of what you'll need to roll and I doubt many people don't have Concentration 10 from Y1's Longshade, so...

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 3:

 

Waterfall of Words

 

Though you're loathed to admit it, the incident at the general store made you to forget something. Thus you're going back there, although now that the streets are no longer packed it's much easier to do so. Still, the city of Mineta is as lively and busy as ever, and it takes a bit of pushing and moving to get to where you want to go. A rat running past you nearly causes you to lose your balance, and you start wondering whether this is worth it. Even the rats seem to have it out for you today. Thankfully you reach the shop without even once landing face-down into the dirt, which really should not be an accomplishment for a second-year Academagia student. The same man as before is standing behind the counter, and Hellen is around filling the shelves. She seems unreasonably happy to see you. "Hey there [PC FIRST NAME]. Eh, you don't mind me calling you [PC FIRST NAME], do you?". You would mind less if you actually knew this girl, honestly. You nevertheless shake your head, it is your name after all, and ask "How and why do you know me? Nhordum shopping here frequently I can understand, but he wasn't the conversational type last I checked.". Hellen's father chuckles, and sarcastically asks what gave you the idea. You shrug and stare at Hellen, still expecting an answer. She fidgets a little, clearly nervous, but ends up admitting that she wants Nhordum's help with something. Her father shakes his head, you can tell from his expression that he disagrees and has done so for a while. "Completely unnecessary, Hellen. Don't bother the poor [boy/girl] with stuff like that, [s/he] has enough things to worry about.". Hellen looks disappointed, and you turn to look at her father, asking what, exactly, she apparently doesn't need help with. The man gives you a blank stare, but it's nothing you haven't seen before. You insist you're just curious, but although the man doens't look convinced he shrugs and tells you anyway. "Hellen here, eh, I don't really know what to call her. 'Special', I guess. She supposedly has these 'nightmares' where she feels like she's still awake or something, but it's not something either my wife or myself have ever seen. Every time we checked she was sleeping like a log, no problem.". You look at Hellen, who doesn't seem like she's motivated enough to try and defend herself in front of her father. "What did Nhordum say?". Hellen looks away, and her father replies "Something like 'I'm not a Glamourist'. No clue what that means, though.". Probably that he wasn't enrolled in Glamour, but come to think of it didn't Leene say she was? And you also know that Regent Piaxenza is researching dreams. You slowly turn your head towards Hellen and wonder how the regent would feel about working together with someone practicing a variation of Mastery. Not well, you imagine. Hellen looks like she wants to get excited, but her father quickly defuses that by telling her to go back to work. She looks disappointed and drags herself back to the shelves while you casually walk up to the counter, and start talking to her father in a low voice so Hellen doesn't hear. "Are you sure it's all in her head?". The man casts a glance over at Hellen to make sure she didn't hear you, before answering your question with a low voice of his own. "I just sell school supplies, I never used them. Preta - Hellen's mother - took her to a doctor once. She said nothing was wrong with her.". The man casts another glance over at Hellen, checking again to make sure she can't hear the two of you. You can't see over the shelves yourself, but her father is satisfied that she's not listening in. He motions to you to come closer, and with an even lower voice he adds "That doctor was male, though. Preta claims the doctor said nothing was wrong with Hellen, but Hellen told me a different story. That she has a condition a Glamour can detect, but not treat. I can't believe my wife lied about it, but than I don't think Hellen did either.". You think back to last time you were here, and ask "Didn't Preta-eh, Miss Preta say 'I do hope [s/he] won't do anything to us' last time I was here?". The man glances at Hellen again, and nods. Looking and sounding rather suspicious you ask "Why 'us'? I can see why she'd be afraid for Hellen, but why would I do anything to her?". The man glances at the door leading to the back of the shop, there's suspicion written all over his face. "She loves rumors a bit too much, and I'm sure you heard what some people think about Gressel's. Though now that I think about it she's never worried about me being 'Mastered' or some such rubbish.". "And you're not?". The man picks up a pencil and points to your wrist. "I know better than that, though good luck trying to convince Preta of the same.". He's one of only a small group of people that do, probably. "Sorry to ask but, why not just ask the doctor yourself?". The man gets a very pained look on his face, you imagine he's got bad experiences with something or another. "I couldn't, because, well, ergh, reasons. Besides which I just can't imagine my wife would lie to me. About our daughter's health, no less.". The man's expression briefly turns from pained to nauseous, he looks seasick. You wave it off, leaving the man to shake it off, and casually walk over to where Hellen is. She's staring at a shelf, not moving or saying anything. Her father says she's just being difficult, but you're not too sure about that. What do you do?

 

Come back when Hellen is in a better mood.
-You're really not sure what's going on here anymore. You'll just come back later, hopefully Hellen will be in a better mood.

-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Empathy]: Is she just being difficult?
-Taking a closer look at Hellen makes it clear that she's not just being "difficult". You're not sure exactly what is wrong with her but she's clearly not just upset that her parents don't believe her. You call over Hellen's father, who doesn't seems either impressed or surprised at the situation. "The shelves aren't going to fill themselves, Hellen. Back to work with you.". Hellen's father tries to turn around and walk back to the counter, but you grab his sleeve and point to Hellen. Both of you see Hellen very slowly drag herself back to work, almost mechanically putting stuff mostly in the right places. With an almost mechanical tone Hellen mutters "Alright.", but looking at her she's clearly anything but "alright". Hellen's father walks over and tries to talk with her, but she just keeps muttering that she'll go back to work with that same mechanical tone. Hellen's father looks at you, confusion written all over his face, and you walk up to Hellen. It's not until you physically grab her hand that she finally stops moving around like a living machine. Once you do Hellen turns to face you, but she doesn't say anything. Not that she needs to. The expression on her face, while incredibly disturbing, is clear as day. Hellen's father asks what's wrong, and you can't help but shake your head before answering. "My best guess is that she's...sleepwalking, or something like that.". Hellen's father silently stares at you, clearly at a loss of what to say or at least at a loss for words. There's an awkward silence which last for a while, until you ultimately end up breaking it. "Sorry to say this, sir, but I think you should get a second opinion.". Hellen's father just shakes his head, and asks you to try and get any information you can from his wife. "I...I can't imagine that she'd lie about this, but with Hellen like this...I don't know. I really don't.". You nod and walk over to the back of the store, where Preta currently is. You're sure she won't simply confess, so how to, well, trick her into doing so?
-- UNLOCK [Endurance] OPTION, LOCK [Glamour] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You don't see anything out of the ordinary, just a teenager skulking over her father not wanting to believe her.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Glamour]: Can your magic clear this matter up?
-What better than your special brand of magic to solve this problem? You walk back to Hellen's father and explain your plan - you're going to cast a simple Glamour on Hellen. If she's being difficult she'll drop the act so the two of them can actually talk about it, and if she isn't, well, you'll go from there. Hellen's father doesn't seem happy about the situation, but he admits it's probably for the best. He doesn't object to you casting a Glamour and Hellen doesn't respond to you even when you tell her what you intend to do, so with Hellen's father standing behind you you take out your wand and cast a Subtle Calm. The spell goes off and you can see it affecting Hellen, only instead of her giving up on her act or, really, anything you expected she suddenly falls down on the floor, unconscious. You and Hellen's father share an awkward and, were you not in this situation yourself, amusing blank look before he walks up to Hellen and tries to wake her up. You cast a quick diagnostic spell and confirm she's perfectly fine, for the most part. "So...eh...did that spell fail or...what?". Hellen's father is completely at a loss, he naturally trusts his wife but he also trusts you as Nhordum's student. "My spell didn't fail, and my diagnostic spell says nothing is wrong with her. She's just asleep.". Hellen's father is at a loss for words, but you can reasonably guess what he wants to ask. And what you'll answer in response. "I think it's time to get a second opinion.". Hellen's father clearly doesn't know who or even what to believe anymore, he just shakes his head. "Listen, I...eh, look, please, go tell my wife about this. Tell...get her to tell you the truth about Hellen. I...I can't get the truth out of her, I know I can't.". It's clear as day that the man simply can't bring himself to suspect his wife lied about their daughter's health for who knows how long. You silently nod and slowly walk up to the back door, which is where Preta currently is, thinking about how to get the truth from her.
-- UNLOCK [Endurance] OPTION, LOCK [Observation] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You cast a few spells, but you're getting conflicting information. You're really not sure what to trust in this case.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Endurance]: Question Miss Preta.
--Putting the pieces together you figure out the perfect, if unusual, way to handle this. You rather casually open the door to the back of the shop, and you see Preta happily counting the content of a crate. Until she turns around to look who entered the room and sees you, at which point her cheery disposition fades pretty quickly. "Oh, eh...what are you-". You hold up your hand and briefly explain what happened - the subject of Hellen's supposed "condition" came up, she started acting difficult and your spell to calm her down instead made her fall asleep. Preta runs to the door and yells for her husband, who less loudly yells back that Hellen is fine, just asleep. Preta turns back to you and demands to know what happened. You explain what happened earlier again, more slowly and with more detail this time. It seems to calm Preta down, enough for you to notice that right now she's more afraid than anything. "Right, well, eh, did my husband ask you to tell me that?". You shake your head and calmly say "No, he asked me to find out the truth about your daughter's condition.". This seems to really frighten Preta, who appears ready to run out of the store if it means getting away from you. You simply stand there, and calmly ask why she's so afraid. What follows is an incoherent mess of words, which you take the time to piece together and discuss with Preta, one statement at a time. Various rumors, Hellen's condition, your special brand of magic and a few other subjects are thus discussed for a good two hours in total - Preta's fear makes her lose track of time, though for you it's all part of the plan. Mentally taxing, but it's more taxing physically as you can't allow yourself to be tired. Simply not showing it might not be enough, Preta is paranoid about you and would likely pick up on even the slightest hint. Your plan works - Preta looks tired and has slowed down a bit, while you're still standing perfectly fine, and she knows perfectly well why that is. She refuses to say it, but you're more than happy to tell her. "Miss Preta, no offence, but I think I understand what's going on here.". She isn't entirely convinced, so you explain your theory. "The reason why you're afraid of me, personally, while you're not afraid of your husband, and why you're tired right now whereas I'm not...it's because Hellen's condition is hereditary, right?". Preta doesn't say anything at first, but she realizes she's cornered and admits everything. She did lie about her daughter having some condition or another, the exact name of which she's forgotten, that's hereditary and that the doctor couldn't cure. She figured that Nhordum could, but given all the rumors that are floating around about him she didn't want to ask him. You just sigh and shake your head, asking if she still feels that way. She doesn't have an answer, and asks what you're going to do. "If you have that condition and would rather live with it than face Nhordum that's your choice, I won't ask you to face him if you'd rather not. But Hellen wants his help, and it's not right to pretend what's bothering her doesn't exist because you don't trust someone.". Preta slowly nods, and says she needs to be alone right now. You say you understand and walk back into the shop. Hellen's father asks what happened, and you tell him to talk to his wife after she's had time to think about things. He nods, a sad expression washing over his face, and you leave the shop to inform Nhordum that he'll have a visitor soon.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You have the perfect plan for getting the truth from Miss Preta, unfortunately you fail to actually execute it. She maintains that Hellen is just at a difficult age and absolutely refuses to budge on that point no matter what you say. Without anything that can show her she's wrong, you're forced to retreat for now and try again later.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Really not sure about this one. I like it but it's just...a mess, honestly. This has to be the Endurance test and not the Willpower one (you'll see why soon, gods willing), which really limited my options. In fact that's why there's no harder Endurance roll. I just could not think of a way to solve this mess with a harder Endurance roll. That in turn lead to a lot of time spend trying to make it work rather than, you know, actually making it clear that (if) it works. I might revisit this one later, but right now I'm kinda tired with this particular stage.

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 4:

 

Interrogation

 

Much to what you imagine will be your eternal chagrin and frustration, you recently remembered that because of the drama that unfolded in the general store you forgot to buy what you were there to buy. Again. Thankfully the streets are pretty empty, so it's a very easy and uneventful trip. You walk inside and see Hellen's father is standing behind the counter. He greets you with a warm smile. "Good to see you again, [PC FIRST NAME], and thanks for all the help. Leene's been coming over from time to time to help Hellen with her sleeping problem, and she says she's doing much better.". You cannot imagine that having to experience weekly Embraces would help anyone with anything other than rapidly becoming insane, but if Hellen says she's feeling better you're not going to question her. Before you forget a third time you quickly buy what you forgot earlier, and thankfully you're able to leave the shop without any further interruptions or chances to forget. Unfortunately as soon as you step out you're greeted by a strange rat, who's standing (as best it can) on it's hind legs and looking you over. Is this someone's Familiar? You don't recognise it, if it is. "Eh, do you want something?". The rat falls forward and lands on it's front legs, goes back to standing on it's hind legs, and then falls forwards again. You're not sure what the gesture is supposed to mean, but it at least supports the theory that this is indeed someone's Familiar. After that the rat runs off, stopping when it reaches a street corner and turning around to look at you. You decide to follow the rat, who leads you through a strangely familiar path through the Empire market, until you're ultimately lead to a residence. In front of the residence stands a young woman wearing what must be old College Godina student robes. She picks up the rat and briefly pets it before putting it down again. The woman is best described as Joana's bigger, meaner sister. She initially doesn't acknowledge you're standing there as she compliments her Familiar, which is something you suspect you'll soon wish would have lasted longer than it did. Your suspicions are proven right roughly one and a half seconds later, give or take a second. "Okay kid, I don't have all day so I'll get to the point. What'd you do to Nhordum?". Now you realize why the path seemed familiar, it's the same path Nhordum took when you followed him before. You see the rat scurry off, running into the building behind you. Is that where she lives? "I don't have all day, kid.". You suddenly see the woman has stepped closer, and she's definitely a former school bully because she's got Joana's techniques down to an art form. Nervously you answer "I don't know, I asked Nhordum what was bothering him but he said it didn't have anything to do with me.". She doesn't seem like she's buying it, and she doesn't look happy about that either. "Don't play games with me kid, I happen to know more than that.". Than it seems like she knows more than you do. And how does Nhordum even know this woman, anyway? Either way she looks very much like she wants answers, so how will you respond?

 

[Willpower]: Maintain that you don't know anything.
-It's difficult since the woman is far more stubborn than Preta ever will be (not to mention considerably more intimidating), but your own stubborness isn't something to be so easily discounted. The woman tries to intimidate you, threaten you, and a few other things, but you manage to keep your calm (somehow) and maintain that you don't know anything. The woman eventually gives up. "Fine, be that way. Just remember that if I even find out otherwise you'll be the first to hear.". The woman, clearly annoyed and agitated, turns around and walks into the building, leaving you standing on the road with all your limbs intact. It's most definitely time to start digging into Nhordum's problems, and perhaps this woman's identity as well.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You insist, repeatedly, that you don't know anything, but the woman doesn't seem to believe you. Rather, she seems to believe herself a great deal more. Let it never be said that she lacks self-confidence. With an increasingly hateful look in her eyes she suddenly turns around and says something about how she'll drag the truth out of you later. You, truth be told, doubt that. She's no longer in a position where if she breaks your arm she'll just get a reprimand and detention, although that doesn't make dealing with her any less stressful.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Character Study]: Is she really all that bad?
-She definitely looks, acts and sounds the part, but would Nhordum really get along with someone like her? More to the point, would he trust someone like her more than he trusts Leene? You can't imagine that he would and you definitely can't imagine him giving in to a bully without bad things happening to either person first, so despite there being considerable evidence to the contrary you have to assume that this is just an act played by a very skilled actor.
-- +CoS%, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Your experience with Joana tells you that, yes, you are currently in one of those positions where your choice of words have a significant impact on your immidiate chance of survival. Better choose carefully.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Reason]: Why does this girl know more than Leene?
-There's only one reason that you can think of why Nhordum would tell this woman more than Leene. And that's because she's involved with whatever is bothering Nhordum personally. You theorise that's how this woman "knows" you're involved - she heard it from Nhordum - but if that's true you're sure that Nhordum would have at least told you something when you asked him about it. Heck, you saw the letter his parents send, if there was anything Leene would have definitely seen it. It sounds more likely that this woman made a few incorrect assumptions and her patience simply gave out, it certainly seems that patience isn't one of her strongest skills (neither is it one of Joana's, come to think of it). You're sure this woman won't be easily convinced that she's made the wrong conclusions, but nevertheless she's probably is more willing to listen to reason than someone blindly pleading ignorance.
-- UNLOCK BELOW [Willpower] OPTION, LOCK ABOVE [Willpower] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-At this point your best guess is that she bullied it out of Nhordum, because she really does have the techniques down to an art form.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Willpower]: Maintain that if you were involved, you'd have been told.
--It takes a bit of convincing, but the woman eventually believes you. With a scowl that could make Joana run for the hills she says "Fine, beat it than.". With that she turns around and walks inside the building behind you, and you decide to take her advice before you'll come to regret not doing so. That was an...interesting encounter, but it did confirm that something is bothering Nhordum. And apparently that woman, at least, is part of it. It sounds like it's time to do some more digging.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--You make a very good point, you think, but the woman isn't buying it. With an increasingly hateful look in her eyes she suddenly turns around and says something about how she'll catch you later. You honestly doubt that. She's no longer in a position where if she breaks your leg she'll just get a reprimand and detention. Although that doesn't make dealing with her any less stressful.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

So here's why this cannot be the Endurance test. Because that would require a...mostly normal citizen (time before I spelled that right: 12 minutes) to torture the PC so as to justify the "Endurance" part. That's not to say it's impossible, but it would take a...slightly different set of circumstances and, well, it'd make a mess regardless. Suffice to say that (mostly) empty threats are a better idea and Rain - the woman's name, for those that care - knows it.

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The Training Continues, stage 5:

 

A Plan Ratted Out

 

After the incidents that started in the general store you think you've come a long way since Leene told you to practice your skills. You've decided to stop by Gressel's to see how much you've improved, as well as to get Leene's help with looking into Nhordum's issues now that you have a rather clear reason to believe that something is indeed bothering him. The trip is uneventful, and Lotus is tending to the shop as usual. "Hey [PC FIRST NAME]. You want to speak to Leene?". Maybe it's just your imagination, but you could swear that her voice sounds more upset than her expression shows. You nod and decide to ask Leene about that as well, since you don't really know Lotus too well. It might just be a personal quirk or incidental, or a mistake on your part, you're not sure. Leene's sitting in the living room, reading a letter while petting a cat that's happily taking a nap right next to her. You've seen that cat before, actually, is that Leene's Familiar? Leene turns her head to to see who walked in, and she smiles when she sees you. "Hey there [PC FIRST NAME], studies going well?". "As well as can be expected, I guess.". You never really understood this idea of "study, than test yourself when something random happens", so you're not entirely confident. Leene puts the letter down and takes out her wand. "Want me to check that?". You nod, sigh and sit down next to Leene. Her cat slowly gets up and stares at you for a bit, like you wronged it by distracting Leene. She seems amused, at least up until she starts drawing Phemes. This'll be the third time you'll be in Leene's Embrace, but you don't think you'll ever get used to it. It doesn't take long before a familiar feeling washes over you and the events that happened in the general store play out in your head, with Leene watching. First the time you heard about Nhordum and followed him through packed city streets, then your plan to force Preta to admit what she did, and lastly the confrontation with the woman that her rat lead you to. You can tell that Leene is immensely curious about to the woman and the rat, although why she's able to hide very effectively even during an Embrace. You can tell that she's satisfied with the progress you've made, which is good news. It takes a minute before you regain your senses, and once you do you see Leene staring at you without any sort or smile or playful grin on your face. It's a bit unnerving. "[PC FIRST NAME], do you know who that woman with the rat Familiar was?". You shake your head, asking if she has any idea. Leene briefly contemplates leaving you out of the loop, but she decides against it in the end. Mostly. "I have a theory, but...I'm not sure. But if she is involved...oh, Nhordum, what in Octavius' name have you been doing...". You note that Leene's tone sounds less like she's worried about Nhordum and more like she's worried about potentially having to set him on fire for...some reason. You stumble over your words trying to ask Leene for more details, but she waves it off. "Don't worry about it, [PC FIRST NAME], I'll look into that. As for your studies, well, you really are progressing faster than everyone expected. At this rate you'll be performing Embraces before I even started learning it when I was your age.". The way she says that makes you question whether that's something to be proud of. "So where to from here?". Leene's perpetually amused grin finally returns, and she taps your head with her wand. "Remember that I'd teach you Strengthen Will's bigger brother? I hope you're as good with Glamour as you said you were.". You take out your own wand and Leene shows you how to draw the three needed Phemes. Dispel, Superior Mind, and Omni. Once you managed to copy them perfectly (enough) Leene nods. "Good, now for the spell. It's called Cansfari's Embrace, I assume you've heard of the man?". You've come across that name before when studying Synchronicity, you don't know much but you know his name. Leene notices the questions written on your face and says "He's the one that placed the foundations for what would become our craft, many of the traditions we follow today were started by him. Anyway, I'll show you have to cast the spell.". Leene does just that, and you now have the Phemes and the spell. The question is...can you cast it?

 

No thanks, you're not that good.
-You shake your head. "Sorry, but I'm not that good with Glamour.". Leene looks...not exactly disappointed, rather...unamused? You thought you understood her pretty well, but after that last Embrace you're not too sure. "You really should put some more effort into Glamour, you don't need to be able to cast a senior Hedi student under the table but it's something you should spend some time studying regardless.". You'll look into Glamour later, maybe, you've kinda got a few things going on right now. Your Synchronicity studies, to name one example. "Anyway, after I find the time to study up on Glamour, if I find the time, what then?". Leene looks like she tries to be her usually, perpetually amused self but something is stopping her. It's unnerving. "After you've studied enough to be able to perform a proper Embrace you'll try out your skills on me, and we'll go from there. If you can manage to perform a full Embrace perfectly we'll let the lessons sink in for a while, and next year we'll work on your ability to handle the emotional strain that comes with performing Embraces.". You stare at Leene confused for a moment. "Are you quite sure you got the order right? First I learn how to perform a full Embrace, and after that I learn how to cope with it?". "That's right. There's reasons for that, the short version is that Nhordum's family doesn't think you're mature enough to learn how to cope with Embracing yet. And if you actually are - you've certainly exceeded their expectations in the past - they think it's best to let your emotions develop on their own before we interfere with it.". That implies to you that learning how to cope involves being Embraced, and that is a worrying possibility. Leene, naturally, notices your growing nerves. "What are you worried about, [PC FIRST NAME]?". If she's going to notice and question you on it anyway you might as well just ask. "Learning how to cope, does that involve, well, being Embraced?". Leene's expression changes to something you can't begin to place, all you can say for sure is that her cheerful disposition is simply not there right now. "It might, that depends on what exactly you want to learn and how. You don't have to, though, it's just something you can choose to do.". That thankfully puts you at ease, after which Leene asks if that's all. You nod, say goodbye and try to leave the shop. "Try" because Lotus interrupts you before you can step out. "Oh, wait, eh, [PC FIRST NAME], right?". You turn around and nod, looking at Lotus a bit confused as you're pretty sure she knows your name. Now that you get a good look at her Lotus seems...incredibly upset, but she's holding it back. "Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to...I mean, you, eh, you haven't...you don't know about...Nhordum, right? What's bothering him, I mean.". You slowly shake your head, and after some effort to find the right words Lotus asks you to tell her should you hear anything. You vaguely recall Lotus sounding upset when you walked in earlier, but she definitely wasn't this upset. You nod and step outside, thinking about the situation. First Leene, than that bigger and meaner Joana, and now Lotus? It's time to find Nhordum and ask him what's going on. This issue, whatever it is, clearly can't wait much longer.
-- PROCEED WITH NEXT ADVENTURE STAGE

 

[Glamour]: Give it a try.
-You think you're good enough with Glamour to do this, so you trace the Phemes and bind them together. The spell goes off correctly, and you immidiately feel it's effects. This actually would have been rather nice to have earlier, come to think of it. Leene seems pleased and puts her wand away. "Good job. Cansfari's Embrace doesn't last as long as Strengthen Will does, but for that it's better at what it does. Very helpful thing to cast before an Embrace session that lasts over two and a half hours, and you better believe I know that from experience.". You really, really hope you don't ever end up having to maintain an Embrace for that long, but that's probably a pipe dream. At least you now have a spell to help you with that. "So now I continue with studying Synchronicity until I'll be ready to perform a proper Embrace?". Leene briefly looks like she's doubting the answer to that question, but she recovers quickly. "Pretty much. Sorry I can't train you personally, but, you know, Nhordum. Anyway, once you're ready come back here and you can give me an Embrace, for once.". You, Embracing Leene? That's not something you're looking forward to. Leene seems to notice your nerves, and she puts her hand on your shoulder. "[PC FIRST NAME], I don't want to make you feel worse but you're right to be afraid of having to Embrace someone, especially when you're still learning it. That said, don't worry too much about it. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, and I'm sure Nhordum will be there as well, like he was during my first Embrace. Don't worry about it too much, just stay focussed and try to do the best you can.". You're not sure if that's really comforting, but knowing that Leene won't be at any real risk does put you at ease. You stand up to leave, and Leene says "Once you're able to perform a full Embrace we'll give you some time to let it all sink in, and next year we'll start to work on being able to handle the emotional strain that comes with performing Embraces. For that reason, [PC FIRST NAME], please avoid Embracing others as best you can until then.". You can definitely imagine that performing routine Embraces takes some out of you, but come to think of it your, eh, session with Girars last year didn't seem to affect you too badly. You decide to tell Leene about that and ask why nothing seemed to happen back then. It doesn't take long for Leene to answer. "You remember your own operation? When you didn't trust me at first, but ultimately gave in?". You slowly nod, really not wanting to remember that time. "Girars didn't trust you a year ago and he never opened up to you, so neither of you were subjected to much. I'll be honest, I don't expect you to succeed at Embracing me without going through a little emotional breakdown afterwards.". You frown at that, and Leene's perpetually amused expression is replaced with a more serious one. "The same thing happened to me when I woke up from my first Embrace, [PC FIRST NAME]. Nhordum was there for me, and I'll be there for you. You've been through worse, don't worry about it.". You're not sure if that's encouraging, but you nod and start to leave. Before you can, though, Lotus calls for you. "Ah, eh, [PC FIRST NAME], was it?". You nod, a little confused as you are pretty sure that Lotus knows your name. Lotus seems...off, now that you get a good look at her. She's clearly trying, and failing, to hide it, but she seems incredibly upset. Was she like this this when you entered the shop a while ago? With a bit of a strained voice, clearly she has to work hard to stay composed, Lotus asks you to if you know anything about Nhordum acting weird lately. You slowly shake your head, doing your best to try and figure out what's wrong with Lotus. She slowly nods and goes back to tending to the shop, quietly asking you to tell her if you find out something is bothering Nhordum. You just say you will, walk out the shop and try to figure out what that was all about. The short version is that you don't know, but you figure that it might be time to question Nhordum again. First Leene, than the bigger version of Joana, and now Lotus? You'll have to put your studies on hold for a bit and get to the bottom of this first.
-- PROCEED WITH NEXT ADVENTURE STAGE

 

-You trace the Phemes and cast the spell...only for your hair to suddenly turn bright pink. You do feel a bit more focussed, but that mostly comes from the fact that you have something new and unusual to focus on. It, needless to say, looks a bit odd. Leene succeeds rather well at not breaking down in a fit of laughter, although not well enough. There's an unmistakable grin on her face as she casts a basic Negation and dispels the unintended hair dye. Still grinning she says "Not a color that suits you I'm afraid, but a good reason to get some more practice in.". You're not sure how to react. In fact, not reacting seems to be the correct choice here. If nothing else you did show that some more practice is indeed in order. You decide it's time to make an excuse and leave, but Leene notices your plan and tells you to wait before you can even think of an excuse. It's scary how she does that, and something you honestly wouldn't mind being able to do yourself. "We still have to talk about where to go from here, [PC FIRST NAME].". You nod and ask, well, where to go from here. Leene, still amused and sounding just slightly more jovial than she did a moment ago, says "Right now you can work on your Synchronicity - and Glamour - skills until you're ready to try a proper Embrace. That spell is a lifesaver for long lasting Embrace sessions, and you're going to be doing those eventually.". You're a bit sceptical about that, but at least your homework is clear enough. Homework you'd kinda want to get started on right now, for...no special reason. Leene, predictably, doesn't buy it, but she nods anyway. "[PC FIRST NAME], try not to get embarrassed to much, at least around me. That Embrace you'll be performing, well, I'll tell you when you're ready for it.". Ominous, but you just nod and stand up to leave. Leene doesn't interrupt you further, but while passing by Lotus she actually asks something. "Ah, eh, [PC FIRST NAME], was it?". You nod, a little confused as you're pretty sure that Lotus knows your name. Lotus seems...off, now that you get a good look at her. She's clearly trying, and failing, to hide it but she seems incredibly upset. Was she like this this when you entered the shop a while ago? Wait, right, you were going to ask Leene about that weren't you? Well, too late for that now. With a bit of a strained voice, clearly Lotus has to work hard to stay composed, she asks you to if you know anything about Nhordum acting weird lately. You slowly shake your head, carefully observing Lotus. You don't end up noticing anything noteworthy, though. She slowly nods and goes back to tending to the shop, quietly asking you to tell her if you find out something is bothering Nhordum. You just say you will, walk out the shop and try to figure out what that was all about. You don't know, but you figure that it might be time to question Nhordum again. First Leene, than the bigger version of Joana, and now Lotus? You'll have to put your Synchronicity - and Glamour - studies on hold for a bit, you're going to have to get to the bottom of this first.
-- PROCEED WITH NEXT ADVENTURE STAGE

 

What else does Leene know of Oneto Canasfari?
-Leene scratches her head and is about to say something, but suddenly she seems to remember something else and stands up. She walks over to a bookcase and picks an old book off of a shelf. "It should be in here...somewhere...here it is!". She pulls a few old pieces of parchment out of the book, and puts it on the table. It's a bit difficult to read, but thankfully Leene seems to know exactly what it is. "This is a history essay that Nhordum once worked on for his History class, about Oneto Canasfari, but he never finished it. He said that even with access to his family's archives he couldn't find enough information. The fact that most of the man's history is littered with Mastery probably is the reason why.". You can't even begin to imagine how Professor Viada would have reacted to being handed this essay, especially because he must have known about Nhordum's family. Leene looks through the pages, giving you the opportunity to take a peek as well, but just glancing it over you don't see much information about the man himself. Leene notices your disappointment, and stands up after putting the parchment back in the book. "Yeah, there's just not a lot of information we could find about the man. Maybe if we'd have been given access to the Venalicium's Forbidden Archives, but we weren't, we only had the public area and the historic records from Nhordum's family to work with. The public area in the Venalicium was a complete bust, and the history of Nhordum's family just doesn't go back so far.". Unfortunate, but that does beg a question. "How far back does their history go?". "Of Nhordum's family? If I remember right it started with two Academagia graduates from College Kazus. They both changed their family name to Kazus when they got married and dedicated their time to further the basics of what the Academagia taught them. In so doing they started what would eventually become Nhordum's family. That was a long while back, definitely before the final ban on Mastery three centuries or so ago, but they lived long after Cansfari was already dead and buried. He discovered and laid the foundation for what would become our craft, while the two graduates started the family tradition of practising and advancing it.". You ask if Cansfari's Embrace is a spell that the man himself discovered, and Leene shrugs. "I'm not sure, all I know is that the two founders at some point learned how to cast it and recorded that information, where they learned it from I don't know. Speaking of which, do you think you can cast it?".
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

 

New gimmick: A Cyan option signifies that the difficulty refers to something that hasn't yet been defined. In this case, it'd be whatever it would take to cast Cansfari's Embrace (if the team even adds the spell). Strengthen Will (Spell), for reference, is Intelligence/Glamour v. 4. Notice, BTW, that this stage PROCEEDS regardless of success or failure, so you only get one chance to not turn your hair bright pink.

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The Training Continues, stage 6:

 

Search

 

With Lotus' bizarre behaviour still fresh in mind you decide to track down Nhordum and confront him again, only with more actual confrontation this time around. There is, of course, one problem with this plan. Nhordum isn't in the shop, and you have no idea where he could be, so how and where are you going to find him?

 

Try finding him another day.
-Perhaps waiting is the right option. Nhordum lives in the shop, he's going to be there at some point. Eventually. You just have to catch him, and it's not like he consistantly wakes up at dawn to...go wherever he needs to go, wherever that is. You might need to devise a plan B after all.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Astrology]: See if the stars know where he is.
-If you want to find someone, you use Astrology. You walk to a quiet place and start putting together a fairly simple, though powerful, finding spell. The spell points you to...a residence a few blocks away from the Empire Market. That's where the bigger, meaner Joana lives who interrogated you before, if you remember right. Nhordum's there? As reluctant as you are to go there again you don't really have any other idea where Nhordum might be, so you slowly drag yourself back to the home of the bigger, meaner Joana. A casual inspection of the house and the surrounding area confirms that this is indeed the place your Astrology spell pointed to. Suddenly you see a rather familiar (or, perhaps, Familiar) looking-rat run past you, and through a small hole into the house. You turn around and sure enough, there's the bigger, meaner Joana from earlier. She's standing on the other side of the street, looking a bit surprised at you with a predatory grin. Looking entirely too pleased with herself she casually walks up to you and says "Well if it isn't, oh, what was your name again, [PC FIRST NAME]? No matter, you've picked a really good time to walk right into the lion's den all the same.". She doesn't sound like you're about to die, but you're going to reserve judgement on that until later anyway. Just in case. Suddenly you hear the front door of the house open, and turning around to look (that may have been a mistake) you see the woman's rat inside pushing open the door. It's admittedly a rather large rat, but that's still an impressive feat. "Come along inside kid, I got a visitor who's expecting you.". She what? A visitor, for you? That can only be Nhordum, you can't imagine anyone else who would be expecting you here, of all places. Furthermore, you can tell from the woman's expression that she's not lying. She's entirely too pleased with herself for this situation to be anything except things neatly falling into place for her. The bigger question is whether that's good news for you. "Hey, kid, are you going to stand around here daydreaming or what?". The sudden remark snaps you out of your thoughts, and you see the woman standing in the doorway. If nothing else you trust your skill with Astrology and it pointed you here, so you nod and walk inside the "lion's den", as she called it. The woman follows you inside, and her rat actually closer the door behind her, as well as opening the door to the living room. You'll admit, you're impressed. The woman notices, and she points to her Familiar. "You'd be amazed how strong rats are, especially well-trained Familiars. I may not have been a Morvidus kid, but trust me when I say that I trained that little guy well.". Still maintaining that smug expression she walks into the living room. "Hey, Nhordum, I got a visitor for you.". With a smug expression of your own you walk into the living room yourself, looks like your Astrology was correct after all...n-not that you ever doubted that.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-You're looking for something, so Astrology seems to be the obvious solution. You trace a few Phemes, cast a spell, and...apparently Nhordum is in roughly 15 places at once, including one that's not actually on Elumia itself. You try again and you manage to narrow it down to only a dozen locations, of which only three are logically impossible. You may have to brush up on your Astrology before you can find Nhordum this way.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[social Skills]: Ask Hellen's father if he knows where Nhordum is.
-You think your best option for finding Nhordum would be to ask around, but who would he actually talk to at all? Actually, Hellen's father seemed to know Nhordum well enough. He knows more than you do, at least. It's a long shot but he might know something. You make your way to the general store, through the crowds people shopping around in the Empire Market, and worm your way in. Hellen's father is standing behind the counter, though you don't see Hellen herself or Preta anyway. "Hey there [PC FIRST NAME], what do you need?". "Information, actually. Do you know where Nhordum is?". Hellen's father shrugs. "Nope, he doesn't exactly leave his schedule here. Rain was here earlier, though, you can try asking her.". From your confused expression Hellen's father correctly guesses that you don't know who Rain is, and he answers your question before you can ask it. "Rain is one of Nhordum's long-term patients. Or at least, so I've been told, I don't exactly know the details of what he does. Anyway, Rain lives a few blocks from the Empire Market, it's easy to find.". Hellen's father gives you exact directions that you're pretty certain you've followed twice before. You thank Hellen's father for his help and start walking to Rain's house. You don't exactly want to, but it's the only lead you have. When you walk up to the house you notice a very familiar, and very Familiar, rat sitting on the roof. He's looking left and right like a guard in a guard tower, and when he sees you he suddenly runs into the house through a hole in the roof. You briefly contemplate running away while you still can, but you really don't have any other leads and you've dealt with Rain before, if necessary you can deal with her again. You walk up to Rain's door, which she opens in short order. "[PC FIRST NAME], is it? How very nice of you to visit me, that saves me the trouble of looking for you.". "I'm not here for a fight, I'm here because-". "Because of Nhordum, right?". You blink in surprise a few times, giving Rain the chance to talk. "I've heard about it, kid. Come on in, I've got a visitor who's waiting for you.". That has to be Nhordum, it just has to be. You nod and walk in, figuring that if she wanted to murder you she'd have done so already. You notice Rain's rat closing the front door behind you, a rather impressive trick you must admit, while Rain walks into what you assume is the living room saying "Hey Nhordum, I've got a visitor for you.". That took a lot less effort than you though, and that's a good thing.
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-It's a bit of a tricky walk to the general store, since the streets appear to be packed once again, but you eventually manage to enter the store. Only Hellen's father says he doesn't know where Nhordum is or might be. It was worth a try, but getting back out of the packed Empire Market is enough effort spend on nothing for one day.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Reason]: Where would Nhordum have reason to go?
-Nhordum being a brewer and a member of his family he could potentially have a reason to go to every last corner in Mineta. That said, if Lotus' behaviour is any indication, you imagine that whatever is troubling him is probably getting worse. And if Nhordum didn't deal with it beforehand he probably didn't because he couldn't, which means he probably can't deal with it now any more than he could earlier. In that situation you would assume that he'd talk about it with Leene, but she hasn't been told anything. You remember that Nhordum doesn't have the best relationship with his family, so he probably wouldn't discuss things with them. Then you suddenly remember the bigger, meaner version of Joana that accused you of being involved with whatever is messing with Nhordum. She apparently knows more than you or even Leene does, and you can't imagine that she found out that information on her own. Nhordum must have told her, and if so he might be there to share his problems again. You'd really rather not visit the bigger, meaner Joana again if you can help it, but as far as you can tell it's the most likely place where Nhordum would be. And if he isn't, well, maybe you can talk to the meaner, bigger Joana and exchange notes or something. She might assume otherwise, but if she wants to help Nhordum with his issues - whatever those are - than you two have the same goal.
-- UNLOCK [Confidence] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You don't know Nhordum well enough to guess where he'd go on a regular bases, much less his exact schedule. If he even has a regular schedule with all this nonsense about an "issue" going on.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Confidence]: Ask the bigger, meaner Joana where Nhordum is.
--You'd say that this is the stupidest idea you've ever had, but deciding to look for a flower year rather than just looking it up in the Venalicium like a normal student still trumps this in terms of stupidity. You remember where the bigger, meaner Joana lives (you really should have asked for her name when you had the chance, in hindsight), so getting there isn't a problem even though the streets appear to be packed again. You do need to decide how to approach her, though. You consider your options, but even when you're standing in front of her door you're still not sure. Then you notice a large rat running around your legs. Actually, this isn't just a rat, is it? You turn around and sure enough, there's the bigger, meaner version of Joana standing right in front of you. She seems rather happy, like someone just dropped a treat in front of her. "Well look who we've run into again, if it isn't, eh, [PC FIRST NAME], was it? Just the [boy/girl] I wanted to see.". You're getting rather uncomfortable with all of these people knowing your name, truth be told. Especially considering she is apparently expecting you. Why is she, anyway? The woman commands her rat to go ahead and open the door, and you see the rat run into the woman's house through a small hole. A moment later the door actually opens from the inside, with the rat standing behind it waiting for it's master. That's a rather impressive trick, you'll admit. The woman walks past you and inside the house, pausing long enough to turn her head and say "Come along inside, kid, I've got a visitor waiting for you.". You're not sure if that's a good idea, but if your earlier reasoning is correct than that visitor should be Nhordum. More to the point, who but Nhordum would be waiting for you in this woman's house, of all places? You feel confident in your reasoning, so you nod and follow the woman inside her house. Once you're in you see the rat close the door behind you, using nothing but it's own body. It's a rather large rat truth be told, but that doesn't look like a flimsy door either. "Impressed, kid?". The woman's sudden comment takes you by surprise, and you can't help but nod. With a smug grin the woman walks into the living room, with the rat running past her, saying to someone inside "Hey Nhordum, I got a visitor for you.". After hearing that you've having trouble suppressing a smug grin of your own. Looks like you found him.
--- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

--Try as you might your body just will not move in the direction of the bigger, meaner Joana's house. Apparently you're not as confident in your own reasoning as you thought.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Very short stage, but that's because this is the second of three phases that go one after the other and while the first of those three was long, the third one is going to be a doorstopper. It also may or may not be the end of part one of the adventure, since on second thought there's more phases than stages than I remember there being. Maybe the adventure doesn't have to be split, but than again, maybe it does.

 

Stage 0 and 1 take one turn (we'll say for sake of ease); stage 2, 3 and 4 all take one turn each; stage 5, 6 and 7 take one turn; stage 8 takes one turn; stage 9 and 10 take one turn; stage 11 and 12 take one turn; stage 13 and 14...probably will only take one turn. So that's 9 turns for 14 stages if it's one great big adventure.

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The Training Continues, stage 7:

 

Broken Line

 

From the living room you hear Nhordum ask who she's talking about, and a moment later you step into view. Nhordum goes from looking surprised to looking unamused beyond measure, an expression you're all to capable of making yourself at this point. "You two play nice together, and by the way, my name's Rain.". Rain has a playful grin on her face, though you'd guess that she'd be entirely willing to throw around a Mastery spell if that's what necessary to keep you and Nhordum from fighting. She walks into the kitchen and puts down a old leather bag you hadn't noticed before, which appears to contain a few groceries. It's...surprisingly mundane, honestly. You turn your attention to Nhordum, who's staring at you in equal parts confusion and annoyance. You decide to cut to the chase and say "You've been acting weird, Leen's worried, Lotus is worried and I'm worried as well. What's-". Before you can say anything more Rain interrupts with "Hey, kid, how about you take a seat first?". You nod a take a seat and you see that Nhordum suddenly looks surprised, rather than annoyed. "Wait, wait, wait. Lotus is worried? Did she tell you that?". You nod and tell Nhordum of her odd behaviour. He seems afraid to hear it, in fact his face becomes a bit pale. He sighs and shakes his head, saying "And now you're here. I...I really didn't want things to come to this.". Rain returns with three drinks, and she reminds Nhordum to play nice. Nhordum has his face buried in his hands, but you can tell that he's upset and not planning to murder anyone. Rain turns to you, but you just shrug. You really don't know anything about what's going on. Rain nods and sits down next to Nhordum and proceeds to try and shake him out of it. Literally. Nhordum shakes his head in response (although that might just be Rain, she looks pretty strong), and he says that he'll talk. Nhordum apparently can't bring himself to look up, but at least he's willing to explain himself. "I...I got a letter from my father, one separate from the letter about [PC FIRST NAME]'s training. It was a letter to remind me that he'll soon reach the age where he's to name his successor, who will inherit the family after his death and who is to be trained by my father, personally, until he's ready to step down as the head of the family.". From what you remember Nhordum's father isn't that old, so why name a successor already? And why "name" a successor anyway, isn't Nhordum his son? Rain asks Nhordum if he wants to inherit his family, but he shakes his head in response. "I went against their wishes and joined College Vernin because I wanted to follow my own path in life. I don't want to see them crash and burn, I wouldn't mind helping them if they asked, but I don't want to be under their thumb anymore.". Rain, with a disapproving look, asks Nhordum if he ever thought to simply refuse. You suspect it's not actually simple, and Nhordum quickly confirms you're right. "I know, and the named successor has a right to refuse. But my father mentioned in the letter that if I did he'd need to find another successor, and the next in line after me is Leene.". You're not sure what to make of that, but Rain looks shocked and not a little bit either. "Wait, Leene is the next in line? You mean she's your sister?". Nhordum shakes his head before you can even think about that. "No, no, no, we're not related, it has to do with our Mark. I currently hold the highest ranking Mark, next to my father, and the next in line after me is Leene.". Wait, does he mean the Master's Mark? Nhordum notices your confused look, and he takes out his wand to dispel the Glamour on his Mark. You stand up and look closely at his Mark, and indeed there's one particular section that looks different from yours. "The authorities don't know, aside from maybe the Captain, but this Mark isn't just a sign of good faith. It's also the house sigil of my family, and this area right here denotes the holder's position in the House.". You dispel the Glamour on your own Mark and place it next to Nhordum's just to check, and one section indeed is different. Nhordum points to your Mark with his wand, and says "See this single, straight, broken line right here? That denotes the holder is an unrelated student-in-training with the House, and has been granted the right of independent practice. Well, ordinarily it does. [PC FIRST NAME] here's actually an exception to that rule but that's not important.". Nhordum points to his own Mark, where it instead shows two unbroken lines dancing around each other in a spiral. "This denotes the holder as a fully-trained and licensed blood relative to both of the leaders of the House, and by extension the first to be considered for succession.". Nhordum recasts the Glamour, and puts away his wand. "Leene's Mark has a two straight lines, which means she's fully trained and licensed with the House's backing, but she's not related to the House by blood. She has the next highest rank after mine, and so she's second in line for the succession.". You ask Nhordum if Leene is the only person with that rank, and he shakes his head. "No, but there's precious few others and Leene is the most skilled of them. My father won't trust anyone below her with the succession. And if Leene inherits the family, than...". Nhordum can't even bring himself to finish the thought, but you can assume it means that the life Nhordum's build will crumble from under his feet. It seems like it's time to say something, but what?

 

Ask Nhordum if he has other relatives.
-"Do you have any other relatives? A cousin, or something?". Nhordum shakes his head, and says that if he has his parents have done a fantastic job of making sure he never heard about it. Rain clearly doesn't believe that idea, and neither do you for that matter. "What happens if your father can't find a successor?". Nhordum shakes his head again, looking even more upset than before. "Than the Emperor - or whoever speaks for the Emperor in this case - will appoint a successor, and you can bet that won't end well for anyone involved.". You briefly share a concerned look with Rain, who suddenly blurts out "Well, what about [PC FIRST NAME] over here? She's a great kid with that Mark, right?". You cannot think of anything to say in response to that, and Nhordum just turns his head and silently stares at Rain with his usual grumpy expression. Having to take considerable time to find the right words Nhordum slowly says "Technically, I suppose, but that would...sort of...not...work.". Rain looks at you but you just shake your head, you fully agree with Nhordum on that point. Rain seems to understand, thankfully, and she turns back to Nhordum. "Have you talked with your father about this?". Nhordum shakes his head, and says that if his father had anything to say he'd have written him a letter. "I'm not the only one with a Familiar than can fly, I'll have you know.". You're afraid to ask, but it's it's not like you'll be making headway if you don't, so you reluctantly ask Nhordum what House Kazus is worth, politically speaking. Rain gives you a bit of a funny look, and Nhordum shrugs. Not looking quite as anguished as you thought he would, thank the gods, Nhordum says "House Kazus has political influence as far as I've heard, but I never bothered to keep track of that. I wanted to become a brewer, and I did. I didn't care about titles of nobility way back when, and I never will unless I find out a way to dissolve one in a potion and drink it.". It sounds silly, but given what you've seen at the Academagia you're not going to call it impossible. Rain suddenly says she has a plan, and asks Nhordum if his family keeps records of their members. Nhordum half-nods, confusedly asking why she wants to know. Rain excitedly says "Look, if we - and by 'we' I mean 'you' because I've seen enough books for one lifetime - look through those records you can probably find someone who's a worthy successor. I might be a long shot, but if your family is that afraid of outsiders interfering than it's the best chance you have, right?". While thinking it over Nhordum slowly says that he can get access to those records, and that it's really not a bad idea. "For lack of competition, mostly.". That's the Nhordum you know and...silently appreciate, really. Rain is clearly pleased with herself, and she tells Nhordum to get a move on. "Before that,", you suddenly say, "I think Nhordum should inform Leene and Lotus. They'll be able to help with the search, and you owe them an explanation.". Nhordum sighs, clearly not looking forwards to telling them, and he asks if you'll come along as well. "For the record search yes, but I kinda have plans for today and I imagine that Leene will have a few things to say about...everything, so sorry, but when it comes to informing those two you're kinda on your own. Mind, I doubt you need my help with that.". Rain narrows her eyes at Nhordum, clearly expecting a specific answer from him, but as you both expected Nhordum nods. "That's fine, and it actually works out for me anyway. I know Leene, she'll want to hear everything I have to say about everything and, well, there's a few details you shouldn't hear.". You notice Nhordum cast a quick glance at Rain when mentioning that last part, and Rain slowly shakes her head. "Well, get to informing them then. The faster the better, I imagine.". Nhordum nods and you do as well, after which you thank Rain for the help and take your leave. Nhordum says he'll contact you when Leene's cooled down enough to search the records. You nod in response, stand up and walk out the door.
-- CONTINUE ON ADVENTURE PATH A

 

Suggest that Nhordum inform Leene and Lotus of this. As in, now.
-"Nhordum, go inform Leene and Lotus of this. They know full well something is bothering you and they're worried sick about it, so tell them what's going on.". Nhordum clearly doesn't like the idea, but between you and Rain even the corner he's backed into is moving against him. He's got no choice. Rain sighs and tells Nhordum that it's probably well past time to tell those two the truth anyway. Nhordum shakes his head and says he will with the most non-committal voice you've ever heard. As forcefully as you can without sounding like you're trying too hard you say "Good, I'll see to it that it happens.". Nhordum stands up and asks Rain if she wants to come along. "Why would she need to?", you ask, wondering how she's involved with the succession issue. Nhordum frowns at you, and you get the idea you stepped on a nerve. "The succession issue isn't the only thing I've kept from Leene and Lotus, but that's all you need to know.". Oh...that certainly sheds some new light on a few things. Rain sighs and lowers her head, you can tell that something is on her mind as well. "No, I'll talk to those two on my own time. And, Nhordum? Tell Lotus I'm sorry for the prank I pulled, you know the one.". With a smirk you'd think is condescending Nhordum says he will, but Rain doesn't appear to take offence. Both Nhordum and yourself say goodbye to Rain and head to Gressel's, where Lotus is tending to the shop. She tries, and fails, to greet Nhordum as if nothing is wrong. Nhordum tries, and mostly succeeds, at hiding how shocking it is to see that. You have no idea why, you assume you're missing some context, but now is not really the time to ask. "Anyway, is Leene here?". Lotus nods and says she's in the living room. Nhordum starts walking, but you interrupt him by asking "Aren't you forgetting something?". Nhordum shakes his head and says Rain's apology will have to wait until later. "Suffice to say that'll be a very long story.". Lotus looks confused and asks "Rain? Eh...do I know her?". Nhordum shrugs and rather casually says "Case in point." before walking into the house with you following right behind him. Leene is indeed there, and she starts staring holes through Nhordum as soon as he walks in. He sighs, sits down and says "Yeah, I know. I got some explaining to do and at this point...I don't have a choice either. I tried to fix it on my own and leave you two out of it, but...that didn't work out.". You sit down as well, next to Leene, and try to blend in as well as you can. Leene sighs, and quietly asks "First off, what was that about...Rain...apologizing?". Leene's voice sounds cold to start with, but when she mentions Rain it freezes over so much it's unnerving. Her usual joyful disposition is just not there to the point where you'd doubt that it's actually Leene sitting next to you. Nhordum shrugs and says "Rain wanted me to pass along an apology for the stunt she pulled in Hionoshi. Not that Lotus remembers it.". The mention of this "stunt" very clearly upsets Leene, although she doesn't let it show for long. "That isn't what is important right now, at least I seriously hope it isn't. What else have you been hiding?". Nhordum sighs, hangs his head and explains the letter he got about the succession issue. Leene is initially confused and asks if he can't simply refuse it, but when Nhordum explains that if he refuses she is the next to be considered she quickly starts to piece everything together. There's an awkward silence while Leene figures it all out, but one that is over relatively quickly. With a mixture of understanding and held back anger in Leene's voice she tells Nhordum that they can discuss the details about Rain at length later, for now she wants to know how they're going to solve this succession issue. Nhordum shrugs, which does little to put Leene at ease. "I already checked at least a dozen people and asked Rain to keep an ear open for any political options, for what that was worth, but neither of us managed to get anywhere.". Leene shakes her head and with that same cold voice says "Nhordum, send a message to your parents asking for access to their personal library. I don't care if we have to trace a line all the way back to Gladris and Evence themselves, we're going to find a successor to solve this issue and you're going to help.". Nhordum says he can do that, and walks into the kitchen. Leene turns to you and says "Thanks for the help, [PC FIRST NAME], but I think you should return to your studies. I want to know exactly how and why Nhordum's still in contact with Rain and I doubt that'll be a conversation you should hear. Sorry.". You just nod and say you understand, and before saying goodbye you ask Leene to send you a message when she'll be diving into the books since you'd like to help with that. Leene nods, and thanks you for the help. While you're leaving Lotus gives you a rather concerned look and asks if everything is alright. You reassure Lotus that it will be, and she says she'll ask about it later. Nodding at the suggestion you leave, hoping that message will arrive sooner rather than later.
-- CONTINUE ON ADVENTURE PATH A

 

[CONDITION: PC HAS Black Sheep BACKGROUND]
Indirectly ask Nhordum if it would be possible for you to inherit the family.
-"So possession of the Mark is what makes people eligible for being the successor, right?". Rain looks at you a little funny, but Nhordum just answer your question. "Well, that's one requirement, but there's others. Why?". You managed to keep your cool, if only because Nhordum is too upset to pay close attention to you right now, and you casually mention that if you knew what a successor needs you'd all be that much closer to finding one. Nhordum doesn't seem convinced, but Rain is quick to whip him back into shape by pointing out that doing something is at least better than sitting around. Nhordum agrees, and he tries to remember the various things a successor needs. Surprisingly, it's a very short list. "Though my family are technically nobles, our succession isn't hereditary. There's reasons for that, but those aren't important right now. What is important is that a viable candidate for succession must be in possession of a Mark regardless of it's rank, have the blessings of the head of the house, which is presently my father, and...actually, that's pretty much all I know of. The rest is handled by the head of the house, and I don't know anything about what my father would want in a successor.". That sounds like you yourself are a viable candidate, and if you can convince Nhordum's father that you're the right candidate...you're cautious, but this might just work. With a suppressed grin on your face you say "What would your father be looking for? You said he wouldn't trust others below Leene with the succession, so what makes her stand out?". Nhordum thinks about it, and slowly nods as he answers "If I had to guess I'd say her honest desire to want to help others with what she can do, and nothing more. Others aren't always content with what they have and if they're suddenly named a successor, that might lead to unfortunate decisions. Leene, though? She wants to live a happy life with her family, and nothing more.". You nod, secretly taking in the information, and at that point you get a brilliant idea. "Hey, Nhordum, does your family keep a record of it's family members?". Nhordum nods, looking rather confused and asking why you want to know. "Why don't we look through it? If there's any place where we might find a suitable successor higher on the succession ladder than Leene it'd be there, right?". Nhordum sighs, says that he can get access to those records, and asks both you and Rain if you want to come along. Rain apparently isn't interested, saying she's seen enough books to last a lifetime, but you're obviously interested. Nhordum nods, and you both make plans to look into the family history later, which will give you the chance to do some very important research on the side.
-- CONTINUE ON ADVENTURE PATH B
END]

 

 

And that is about the end of where I have complete stages already as opposed to vague ideas and one or two exits typed out, so all aboard the slow update train. As for the stage itself, well, it's a stage. This is the point where Black Sheep PCs could maybe go for the...alternative method for working off the flaw, assuming the team actually adds it, otherwise it's just a stage. It'd add more variety than that, but just those two paths are work enough as is. I really don't need a C path, at least before path A and B are finished.

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The Training Continues, stage 8a:

 

The Greatest Prank Never Told

 

Earlier today you got a letter from Nhordum, delivered by his owl, and so you're currently sitting in a chariot, being driven to Nhordum's house. It's time to raid th-read through his parent's library, in the hope of finding a worthy successor. No one says anything during the trip. It's just you, Lotus, Nhordum and Leene, silently staring at Mineta as it passes by. Except for Leene, who's staring holes through Nhordum the entire time. You've never seen Leene this upset before, heck this might be the first time you've ever seen her upset at all, but she is and she's making no effort to hide it. You'd ask what Nhordum all admitted to, but you don't want to make this trip any more awkward than it already is. Thankfully the driver manages to make good time so you all arrive pretty quickly. Nhordum's old home looks just the same as it did before. On the outside it's a warehouse that looks a bit out of place, but not especially so. Inside, however, it is unmistakably a mansion belonging to House Kazus. You follow Nhordum and the other inside, and you see the same entrance hall as last year. To add to the, frankly, unwelcome familiarity Nhordum's parents are both standing on the second-floor balcony. You can't imagine what is going through Nhordum's mind right now, but you're having uncomfortable flashbacks to last year. Without showing any expression beyond his usual frown Nhordum steps forward and says "Son and Daughter of Noble Mind, we have come to access the family archives.". Nhordum's parents don't move or change expression at all, except for a single nod. "Permission granted. May you find what you're looking for, son...". With that Nhordum's father turns around, and his wife follows behind him. Nhordum turns back to the rest of you and says the library is in the east wing, but his expression just seems...wrong. There's nothing beyond his usual frown, but you're pretty sure that only because he's not showing anything. Leene certainly seems to think so, since she walks up to Nhordum and throws an arm around him. No words are exchanged, but the two of them seem to understand each other anyway. The walk to the library is short, and it's honestly not overly impressive. That's not to say it's a small or unimpressive library, but compared to the Venalicium it's just...not impressive. After what feels like an eternity Nhordum finally says something to the three of you. "I recommend we split up and search different sections individually. Four people reading the same book isn't going to work very well.". Leene and Lotus both nod, and walk off in different directions. Lotus, you notice, walks right to where the registry is kept, but Leene walks right into the library. Apparently she's been here before since she seems to know where to go. Nhordum stands around for a bit, sighs, and slowly walks off, leaving you standing there alone with no clue where to look. There's an entire library in front of you, but where are you going to find the information you need?

 

[Filing]: Look for a good book to check out.
-You walk to what would be the reception and look through one of the registries. Lotus is looking through another, but libraries tend to have at least two of them in case one gets lost or is currently in use (as is the case now, in fact). The registry contains a large number of titles you don't recognise and you quickly realize that any book with a promising title must have already been picked up by Leene or Nhordum. How are you going to find the right book in circumstances like these? You don't need to look for obviously useful titles, you don't know what even qualifies as a less obviously useful title, you can't narrow it down by section since this library's books are filed entirely alphabetically and not by subject...wait, you can search through a list of authors. Maybe an author of one of the useful books also penned a more obscure work that contains the hint you need. It's a sound plan, and it allows you to quickly search through something that Leene or Nhordum can't. Sticking to your strengths while your friends stick to theirs, who knew there was strategy involved with something as simple as finding a book? You go to the list of authors and look through it, to see if any of them stick out. And one does. Raul da Casga, who wrote a book titled A Modern History of Medicine. You don't know if this book will help resolve the succession issue, but you're too curious not to take a look. Finding where the book is in the library is childishly easy, not that you'd want it any other way of course, so you walk to the shelf it's located on. You find the book where it should be and look it over. The cover is plain-looking and not really memorable, but you've learned not to judge a book on it's cover. You take it with you and look around for Nhordum, wanting to ask where the nearest reading chair is. You end up running into Leene before you run into Nhordum, who's staring at the shelf in front of her like she's engaged in a staring contest. When she hears you approach she turns to look, and her expression softens a little when she sees it's you. "Ah, hi [PC FIRST NAME], did you...huh? What is that book you're holding?". Leene's expression shows that she's curious, but still guarded. Whatever happened between her and Nhordum is apparently something that'll take some time to work through, but that's not your concern right now (if it ever will be). "This is a copy of A Modern History of Medicine. Do you-actually, have you heard of it?". You show Leene the books, who looks it over. "This? I...actually, I think I have read this book before. Yeah, back when I was still at the Academagia I read it. Why, is it going to help us with the succession issues?". You have no idea, you're mostly just curious because it was written by someone who shares Rui da Casga's family name. "Maybe, what do you know about the author?". You can see that Leene is gradually dropping her guard, but her perpetually amused self doesn't return just yet. "Raul da Casga? There were some rumors about him going around when this book was published, but I don't remember the details. Again, how is this going to help us solve the succession issue?". Like you figured out earlier, if Leene hasn't found anything there's likely nothing to find in this library. That means you need to find another source of information, and you happen to know someone that can probably get you in contact with Raul da Casga. Whether he can or even is willing to help you is another story, but you can't think of a better idea. "Long story, don't worry, I know what I'm doing. Do you know where Nhordum's parents are?". Leene slowly nods and says they should be somewhere in the mansion. You briefly leave the library to find them and ask if you can borrow the copy of A Modern History of Medicine. They're fine with it, and you return to the library to help Leene find books until it's time to leave. Leene doesn't end up finding anything worthwhile, but you're going home with a (temporary) prize.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You read through the library's registry and look through a number of interesting sounding books, but unfortunately none of them contain the information what you need. Perhaps you shouldn't judge a book on it's cover - or title, as the case would be - after all.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Astrology]: Maybe the stars can point you in the right direction.
-You grab your wand when suddenly something occurs to you. Leene, Lotus and Nhordum all graduated from the Academagia, maybe one of them was enrolled in Astrology? You walk up to Lotus, who's still looking through the registry, and ask about it. She looks at you confused for a few seconds before turning her head back to the registry. "Oh, eh, I wasn't enrolled in Astrology and neither was Nhordum, but I'm pretty sure Leene was, actually. So I guess you should talk to her.". You get the impression that Lotus is acting differently than how she usually does. Admittedly, you've rarely seen her beyond the times where she was tending to the store. Only last year's operation springs to mind, but then you couldn't really see Lotus due to your...position. Either way you shake it off and walk in the direction that Leene walked off to. You easily find her, browsing shelves that have no significance to you. She doesn't react at first, until she sees it's you. "Hey [PC FIRST NAME], do you need help?". Leene has to try to be as close to her usual amused self as she currently is, and the effort shows. As much as you want to ask about Nhordum's secrets, you're sure that trying to do so would only be wasted effort, at best. "Lotus said you were enrolled in Astrology, is that right?". Leene narrows her eyes at you, something you don't think you've ever seen her do before. "I was, early on. Why?". Leene's voice sounds even colder then it did a moment ago, although you don't know why. "I was just thinking, we're looking for something specific that we don't know where to find. Why don't we use Astrology?". Leene continues to stare at you with narrowed eyes, and for a moment you wonder if you accidentally stirred up a bee's nest. Leene turns her head back to the shelves before answering your question. "I don't remember enough about Astrology to try that myself, you can try it if you wish.". Leene tries very hard to hide it and she succeeds pretty well at not showing it, but you've obviously struck a nerve of some kind. That said this is...clearly not the time to question her about that, so you walk off and find a quiet place to try some Astrology. You find a quiet place quite easily, and your spell goes off without a hitch. You see a vision of a book sitting on a table, flying off to the side where it turns into a...stinkbomb. Okay. It is launched through the use of a spring-loaded trap, flying off further into the distance until it hits a girl wearing Avila robes. The girl disappears in the resulting smoke, and is replaced by the shade of an adult man that's talking to the shade of a teenager. The adult's shade vanishes, and you see the teenager holding a spring-loaded trap in his hand which turns back into the book you saw before. After that the vision ends, and you notice Leene standing next to you. She looks concerned, her earlier coldness isn't immediately apparent if it's still there. When Leene speaks you can tell it's not, she's honestly concerned and perhaps a bit more. "You really shouldn't play with magic like that, you know.". It takes you a few moments for you to lift your jaw after hearing that. "You're the last person that should tell me that. Again, I might add.". Leene sits down next to you, and asks if you learned anything. You're just going to answer Leene's questions and hope it gets you out of this awkward situation faster, because you've given up trying to make sense of this. "I'm...not sure. That vision was clear as mud. The only thing I saw that I could find in this library is a book.". Leene looks at you with a curious expression you can't read. "A book? That's it, just 'a book'? No title, author, anything?". "I...I did see the title, briefly. Eh, history, medicine, modern, oh what else did it contain...". While you try and remember Leene stands up and walks off. A while later she returns with a book in hand. "A Modern History of Medicine?". She gives you the book, which looks exactly like the one you saw. You excitedly tell Leene as much, but she looks less than impressed. "So...how exactly is that books going to help us find a successor?". Good question. You look at the book's cover, which is plain and not overly memorable, and then you looks at the book's author. Suddenly, everything makes sense. "A Modern History of Medicine, by Raul da Casga. I think I know where we can find a successor, although for the life of me I can't imagine how.". You've certainly heard about Rui da Casga, and if anyone is going to throw a stinkbomb at an Avila girl that, in hindsight, resembled Cosetta Re it's him. But how and why is he connected to...any of this, really? Leene looks confused, but you stand up with a confident expression. Where the confidence comes from you're not entirely sure. "Do you know where Nhordum's parents are?". "Somewhere in the mansion, I'm sure. Why?". "Nothing major, just going to need to borrow this book for a bit". Leene shrugs, and you head off to find Nhordum's parents. They're easy to find, and they're fine with you borrowing the copy of the book. Now you have what you need to confront who can help you with the succession issue, hopefully.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You successfully cast your spell, at least you're pretty sure you did, but the results are...conflicting. You can't make heads of tails of this, so you resign yourself to looking through the library the old-fashioned way, trying to make sense of what your Astrology told you. You end up with nothing but a headache and a serious case of confusion.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Empathy]: Is Nhordum acting weird again?
-You carefully examine Nhordum, and while to most he probably just seems like the same old grumpy Nhordum he actually has a distant feel about him. You guess it might be the stress getting to him, but bad habits don't tend to break easily (heck, even with an Embrace they don't break easily) so you walk up to him and ask if anything is bothering him. Nhordum slowly turns his head and glares at you, but you put your foot down and show you're not fooled. He sighs, and after checking to make sure Leene and Lotus are out of earshot he quietly says "This is useless. I can't imagine that my father didn't go through this library himself looking for a successor. What are we supposed to find that he, the current leader of the house and owner of this library, couldn't?". You don't have an answer to that which Nhordum wouldn't be better off not hearing. You can tell you have to say something, though, so you blurt out the first reasonable thing that comes to mind. "Do you know where your father reads? If we can look through what he checked than we can see if he missed something. All things considered he might have overlooked something.". Nhordum shrugs, but you can tell that he agrees with your idea. "It's as good an idea as any other, all things considered. And yes, I do know where my father likes to read, actually.". Nhordum starts walking off somewhere, and while he did say to split up earlier perhaps you should follow him.
-- UNLOCK [Observation] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-Nhordum seems like his usual, grumpy self as far as you can tell. And if he's not you figure the best way to fix that problem would be to get this succession issue solved.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[Observation]: Stick with Nhordum.
--You follow Nhordum, who doesn't seem to care enough about his own "split up" idea to tell you otherwise. After a while you both arrive at a rather secluded part of the library with a comfortable chair and a table next to it. On the table is a book, which Nhordum reluctantly picks up. The title reads "House Kazus Family History - Held in Embrace". Nhordum sits down on the chair (which looks more like a one-man couch), somewhat awkwardly to make space for you. You sit down next to him and ask "So...what's this book?". Nhordum sighs and says "It's the family history, from our founders to 1650.". Nhordum opens the book, and it opens on a bookmarked page. The page shows a family tree, quite long and convoluted. At the bottom of it is Nhordum himself, and at the top are two people named Gladris and Evence Kazus, the founders of House Kazus. Nhordum sighs and mumbles something about his father, but after moment his eyes suddenly widen. You ask if he noticed something, and Nhordum points to his name on the page. The way the family history is set up, with the family heads all listed in a single line, makes it difficult to trace anyone's ancestry. But nevertheless Nhordum traces a direct line all the way from himself back to the founders. So Nhordum is a descendant of the family founders? You're not sure you see the relevance, honestly. Nhorudm looks surprised, and so you ask what's the matter. After shaking his head Nhordum says "I was sure the founder's line was dead, not that I was a part of that. I...I didn't know.". You can tell that this is shocking news to Nhordum, but you honestly don't see why it matters. At least it's not important at the moment, so you ask Nhordum if he sees any suitable successors. Nhordum shakes his head and puts the book down. "If there was a successor to be found here you can bet my father would have found one already.". You take a look around the little reading room you're in, and say "We need a successor and a direct successor doesn't exist, so maybe a willing indirect successor?". Nhordum gives you a curious look, and with an almost condescending tone says "It's true there have been leaders of the House with no blood relation to the founders, and their descendants aren't listed in our family history. The problem isn't whether they're 'willing', though, it's whether they're 'capable'. So unless you have a magical million sided dice we're going to need to find out who's decent.". You're pretty sure Cirillo Laziosi has such a dice, actually. Nhordum stands up and starts pacing around. "We've got a library worth of books, where do you want to start?". You give it some thought, and you say "Well, House Kazus is all about it's 'craft', so the successor would have to know and respect that.". Nhordum sarcastically remarks "One would assume so, yes.". Looking a little cross and sounding the part you say "Well, grab a book about Canasfari and start looking.". Nhordum nods and takes out a book, seemingly at random, and holds it up for you to see. "This one work for you?". You're not sure why Nhordum thinks you'd be picky at this point, even so you read the title. "A Modern History of Medicine, by Rui da Casga.". Wait, what!? You suddenly stand up and rush over, grabbing the book from Nhordum's hands. "That good?". Reading the title and author again you're disappointed to see you misread the author's name, it's actually Raul da Casga, but still. What would Rui's family name be doing on a book like this? You turn to Nhordum and ask if he knows the author. He shrugs, and for once he does that while actually looking like he's confused. "Raul da Casga? I might have met him once but I don't remember. You know the guy?". "No, but, what's this book about? Anything about Canasfari?". Nhordum takes a casual look at the book and says "Nothing mind blowing but it's a good history lesson on Canasfari, among a few others. I vaguely remember hearing that the author approached House Kazus and asked for a history lesson mostly so that his book would be noticed, being about such a controversial topic and all, but that was a while back. If ever.". You stare at the book and after a moment you ask Nhordum "Would your parents mind if I...borrowed this book for a bit?". "Do I look like their librarian? If you want to borrow a book from them than ask them.". You thank Nhordum and run off with the book, leaving him standing there more confused than you've ever seen him before. You manage to find his parents and they don't mind you borrowing the book, they don't even ask questions (probably because they know what you're planning already). You weren't able to find a successor, but at least you aren't leaving empty handed.
--- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

--After a few moments of indecision you go to where Nhordum walked off to. He's sitting in a small reading room, mostly secluded from the rest of the library. He looks like just saw a ghost, but when you ask about it he waves it off. "Never mind about that, grab a book and start looking.". Rude, but true. Unfortunately neither of you end up finding anything that would point you to a successor. Still, this library is the only chance you have. You'll have to come raid it again later.
--- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

Two delays later, have a stage. A very wordy stage. You may or may not be able to see it, but there's actually a lot going on in this stage that's going to come up later. Much later, in some cases.

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 8b:

 

The Other Plan

 

Today finds you with Nhordum, Leene and Lotus in a chariot, being driven to his old home. Nhordum apparently admitted everything to them while you were busy scheming. You're not too concerned about that though, you've got your own agenda and you're going to see it through. Actually, there's one thing that does concern you. Leene's attempt at an icy glare directed towards Nhordum is...uncanny. It looks like she's never had to glare at anyone before in her life and yet somehow she instinctively knows how to do it. Mostly. Needless to say the ride over to Nhordum's old house is quite an awkward trip, which is becoming quite the theme since it seems like it's always an awkward trip. Once you arrive (finally) you see the same house you saw last year. It looks like a misplaced warehouse on the outside, but the inside looks unmistakably like a mansion, and Nhordum's parents are actually standing on the second floor balcony, wearily watching the four of you walk inside (well, five if you wish to count the driver). It's bringing back rather uncomfortable memories of last year, and it seems like things haven't changed. Nhordum walks up to them and says "Son and Daughter of Noble Mind, we have come to access the family archives.". Nhordum's parents stare at him, showing no emotions or reaction. Neither did Nhordum, come to think of it. Nhordum's father, who gives away nothing to reveal his feelings other than a tired voice, answers "Your request is granted. I hope you'll find what you're looking for...son.". With that the man turns around and walks out of the room, with his wife wordlessly following behind him. Nhordum turns back to the three of you, and very clearly hiding his emotions he says the library is in the east section of the building. Leene walks up to him and throws an arm around him as he leads you all to the library, and you're honestly more than happy to not ask any more questions. Those two can resolve their own issues, you've got yours to deal with. The library itself is rather small, although that's mostly because you're used to being in the Venalicium. Otherwise this would probably be one of the bigger libraries you've seen, but as it stands it's just a room in a building containing more books than usual. Nhordum suggests that the four of you split up and start looking through different sections of the library, since four people reading the same book isn't exactly going to accomplish much. Everyone nods, you a little more firmly than you probably should have, and all three go their own way. Time to do some research for your own plot. You've thought about it, but the only thing you're managed to reason out so far is that this succession issue is more complicated than it looks. For example, your age seems like an obvious reason why you wouldn't be named, or even qualify, for being the successor. But is that really true? Nhordum said that the chosen successor is to be trained personally by the head of the family, to eventually inherit his position. You don't know how old Nhordum's father is, but you'd say he could easily oversee the family for another or decade or two. Heck, he's a wizard, he could live another century or two if he wanted that badly. You're, let's say, a decade younger than Nhordum or Leene, which makes it sound like you're not a viable candidate. But if Nhordum's father keeps his position for another twenty years you'd succeed him when you're in your thirties - older than Nhordum and Leene were when they qualified for succession. Time clearly isn't the issue, so what is? You've got stacks and stacks of books in front of you, so you can secretly do some research into what you need. But how are you going to find the right book?

 

[Filing]: Look through the registry for promising material.
-You walk over to what would be the reception, were this a public library, and take out a registry to look at. Of course beyond that point everything is guesswork, since you have no idea what book to look for, but you figure that if you look through a list of titles you're sure to come across something useful sooner or later. It takes a while, but eventually you do come across a promising title. "House Kazus Family History", a comprehensive list and historic write-up of the history of House Kazus and it's founders, as well as those that continued their traditions. You nod to yourself and look where that book is kept, and it looks like there's actually two copies of it in the library. You don't know why that is, but no matter, you can make perfect sense of this library's filing system so you easily find one of the copies. The book itself is definitely worth the effort of finding it. An historic overview of House Kazus' founders, a list of the heads of the family that followed them along with a small overview of how and how well they ended up leading the family, there's a lot of things. Better still, the book goes all the way from the House's founders down to Nhordum and his parents, so there's no shortage of examples to follow or avoid. You don't find anything that would point you to a suitable successor that Leene and Nhordum (and probably his parents) are expecting, but that's not something you're worried about anymore. You have your information, you know what you need. It's just a matter of putting your plan in action, because another successor shows up and takes away your chance.
-- ADD LORE?, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You look through the registry, but you don't end up finding even a single book that's useful to you. Well, you do find a book called A Modern History of Medicine written by one Raul da Casga, which was an interesting find, but it sadly doesn't have the information you need right now.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Astrology]: Let the stars point you in the right direction.
-You've seen more of the Venalicium that you'd have liked to in one lifetime already, so it's time to apply some magic to this problem. You need to know what book in this library is going to show you what you need to be named House Kazus' successor, and you have just the bit of Astrology to make that happen. You wait for Leene and Nhordum to walk off, and casually walk off into a different direction. It must be hell to find a book in a library that has this many places where a person, much less a book, could hide but you sure aren't complaining about that fact now. You sit down in a nice, quiet place and you start putting together your spell. It's takes a bit of work, since you're looking for something specific without any clue as to where it might be other than "somewhere inside this library, probably", but despite the difficult task you manage to successfully cast your spell and receive a vision. At first you only see a book standing on a bookshelf - such a useful hint - but after a while you start seeing more of the book. It's shape, the cover, and finally the title. "House Kazus Family History". You stand up and let your spell guide you to the book, which takes a bit of guesswork, but very soon you're standing in front of it. So this is the book with the information you need? Well, time to dig in. From the very start it's clear that, yes, this is the book you need. True to what the title claims the book contains a comprehensive historic overview of House Kazus, including a lengthy account of it's founders and a more brief record of every person that's been the leader of the House since the founders, well, founded it, all the way down to Nhordum's father. You have to give your own spellcasting a well-deserved complement, this is everything you've asked for and than some. With all this information it's easy to see what would make you a suitable successor, now it's just a matter of convincing Nhordum's parents that you really are all this and more. If you can do that, the succession issue will be over.
-- ADD LORE?, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-You manage to get a spell off, but you're not able to interpret the results. Maybe if you sleep on it for a night, but you doubt it. That's the issue with Astrology, really. Getting information but not knowing what to do with it.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

[Empathy]: Does something feel off here?
-You stare at Nhordum, and you can't shake the feeling that something is bothering him. Again. You wait for Leene and Lotus to be out of earshot, and with a low voice ask him what's bothering him. "Again, [PC FIRST NAME]?". Nhordum looks and sounds tired, funnily enough it makes him look just like his father. You nod, and tell Nhordum to just open up. He's apparently too tired to even bother, and after casting a glance at Leene and Lotus he shakes his head. "I can't imagine that my father didn't go through this library himself, and that if he had found a suitable successor he or she'd have already been named such. This is just a waste of time, and yet there's nothing else we can do.". You nod, since you do agree with Nhordum, but you're not sure how to interpret that. You doubt that Nhordum's father would have considered you for the succession, so if he looked for a successor than he must have looked through something that didn't include you. Or did he and he just ignored you? Where would your name be in this library anyway? Does Nhordum's father have personal records not kept in this library? You're going to need every hint and edge you can get, if your plan is to succeed. "You got a plan?". Nhordum's sudden remark catches you by surprise, and after a moment to compose yourself you shake your head. Nhordum doesn't look convinced, so you quickly think of something helpful to blurt out to cover for yourself (for what that's worth). "If we knew what your father looked through, we could double-check to see if he missed someone. It's a long shot, but he might have missed someone.". You have trouble not going pale as you realize exactly what you just suggested, but Nhordum apparently doesn't know. He nods in agreement, and starts walking off in a seemingly random direction. He probably knows where his father likes to read and maybe keeps the important books, which you're rather interested in reading yourself truth be told. You're definitely going to have to be more careful about not giving yourself away like that, though.
-- UNLOCK [social Skills] OPTION, CHOOSE AGAIN

 

-You honestly don't know. This succession issue is clearly not a simple as it seems, and you don't have enough information to even know where to begin. You'll need to hit the books and see what you can dig up.
-- CHOOSE AGAIN

 

[social Skills]: Go with Nhordum and see what he digs up.
--You follow Nhordum, quietly wondering what happened to the idea of splitting up. Either way he leads you to a mostly enclosed section of the library, clearly a private reading room, with a comfortable chair and a lone book just laying on a table next to it. Nhordum mumbles something to himself, and he picks up the book. The title reads "House Kazus Family History - Held In Embrace.", and the back lists the years the book covers, from the House's founding to 1650. Nhordum sighs and sits down on the chair, rather awkwardly to make room for you. "What does that last part mean?". Nhordum opens the book, and finds that a particular page has been bookmarked. With a tired voice Nhordum sighs, again, and says "That last part is the family motto, 'Held In Embrace'. As for the bookmark, I think my father left this for me.". As good as Nhordum is at hiding his emotions you still get the idea that he's holding back tears at this point, but you're not going to confirm whether that's true or not. Instead you take a look at the book, and the page bookmarked is a very long family tree, listing every head of the house all the way back to it's founders - Gladris and Evence Kazus. One thing you notice is that the family tree is a mess with many house leaders not being related to either Gladius or Evence, making the layout of the tree pretty damn confusing. The second thing you notice is that despite this, if you trace Nhordum's line back you do actually arrive at the two founders, meaning he's a descendant of both. The third things you notice is that Nhordum seems quite surprised, but you're not sure why. "Anything useful?". It takes a few tries to get Nhordum's attention, but when you do he seems strangely excited to explain. "The fact that our founder's bloodline is still alive is news to me. As for the succession, though? Nothing, at least nothing that I can see.". You feel a bit guilty about manipulating Nhordum, but under the pretence of trying to find a suitable successor you start asking question about what a proper successor would need and what he knows about what made the old heads a success (or not). You manage to get a great deal of information out of Nhordum that way, especially since the book acts as quite a useful reference tool. By the end of it you have a much better idea of what a proper successor should be. With that information in hand you politely excuse yourself, since it looks like Nhordum could use some space and it's not like you actually want to help him find a successor anyhow (a fact that, you note, feels bad to say to yourself in these circumstances). You spend the rest of your time in the library accomplishing nothing, much like the others in fact, but with that information you know it's just a matter of convincing Nhordum's parents that you're a worthy successor. That, however, is going to take some serious preparations.
--- ADD LORE?, PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

-After a few moments of indecision you walk up to Nhordum, but when you see him sitting in a chair staring wide-eyed at a book in front of him you're going to assume this isn't the best time. In fact, you've made yourself suspicious enough for one day. If Leene or Nhordum find out about your plan they'll undoubtedly try to talk you out of it, and that is something you don't want, so you're going to play it carefully. You've got time, no need to rush.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

You'll notice significantly less actually spoken text and significantly less ability to see what the NPC crew is(n't) doing. It intentional, since I figure the PC doesn't actually care about such details at that point, and so the player doesn't see it either. And if that makes no sense, the answer instead is "lazy". Besides which, there's going to be wonderful opportunities for info dumps - yes, plural - in B path's very near future. I just hope it matters in the end.

 

Also, you'll notice the call to add a lore. That lore would be an excerpt from House Kazus Family History listing the three skills the PC can roll to actually convince Nhordum's parents - Befriend, Heraldry or Synchronicity - in stage 9b. That may chance later, so I'm just going to leave that lore as a note and not as an actually defined thing just yet. Also because lazy, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

Edited by Metis

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The Training Continues, stage 9a:

 

Confronting the Prankster

 

With your (borrowed) copy of A Modern History of Medicine on you you're looking around campus, trying to find prankster extraordinary Rui da Casga. You're a little worried this plan will go catastrophically wrong, be fruitless or both, but you're determined to get answers. That said you're honestly not sure why you're so determined. It's not like Rui would know a convenient way to solve the succession issue. Or maybe he will? You're not sure, and being honest with yourself right now you're so desperate you're willing to confront Rui with something mostly to completely unrelated and unimportant to him that, for all you know, he's never even heard about himself. Because there's that slight chance you'll get something useful out of it, and it's a chance you're willing to take. Which brings you to your current position of standing in the Great Hall, trying to find Rui da Casga after already having searched the Vernin campus top to bottom. At least any location he's likely to be, which isn't saying much when you're looking for a prankster. You're about to leave and start making runs of the classrooms when lady luck smiles on you, Rui suddenly walks in and walks right down the stairs into the Great Hall! Did he hear that you're looking for him? You haven't exactly been looking quietly. Actually, thinking back, you really haven't been looking quietly. Setting that aside you run straight towards Rui, who sees you and starts to consider his options, but ultimately he decides to stay put. Probably because he figures (correctly, in his defence) that if he runs now you're just going to run after him. Rather out of breath from all the running around you've done you catch up with Rui and say "Hey, Rui...we...need to...talk.". There's a grin on Rui's face which nevertheless betrays his suspicions. "Before or after you catch your breath?". Rui carefully observes you while you catch your breath, but unlike him you've been practising. "After. Anyway, do you mind if we talk in a more private location? Say the study cubicles in the Venalicium?". Rui confidently smiles at the suggestion, and he leads you to a cubicle of his choosing. Once inside and with the door closed behind you both he asks "Okay, so why are you looking for me?". You take out the book and hand it to Rui. He looks at it, and with a frown on his face he puts it down on what passes for this cubicle's desk. "That book? Maybe you misread it but the author's name is Raul. Mine is Rui, in case you forgot.". You can hear Rui's unease, being ineffectively masked by his passive-aggressive sarcasm. You sit down and stare right at him, which would probably be more intimidating if you didn't look so tired and uneasy yourself. "I don't know too many people with 'da Casga' as their family name, Rui. You, more so than most I suspect, know what kind of magic I've been studying on the side so you would also know who I hang out with. I only need some information, Rui. Nothing more.". The frown on Rui's face lessens, but doesn't go away entirely. "What you want is personal information, and honestly I don't want to talk about it. Raul isn't my biggest fan and I'm not his, so this isn't as simple as you make it sound.". You can tell that he's not lying or trying to hide anything, so you have to concede that he's got a point. Still, you need that information, so how will you get it?

 

[CONDITION: RELATIONSHIP WITH Rui da Casga > 6
Rui's your friend. Annoyed as he is you know he'll help you if you ask politely.
-You let out a sigh and let your head fall, that façade of confidence wasn't working anyway. "Rui, I'm really sorry to push you into a mess like this, but I'm stuck in the middle of an even bigger mess and I really need your help with this.". Rui stares at you for a bit, and then sits down on the other chair. "Than how about this: You tell me what this 'trouble' is all about, and I'll talk about Raul. Deal?". You nod and spill the beans to Rui about the succession issue, answering every question he has for you. He's curious, unpredictable and a prankster, but he's still your friend and a good person at heart, ultimately. After having said your piece Rui definitely seems more relaxed himself, and after a moment he nods to himself. Now that you look him over he seems increasingly confident, and you noticed he seemed to already know about the succession issue. At least the general idea of it. Whatever his reasons Rui sighs and stares at the copy of A Modern History of Medicine. "I guess it's my turn, and from what you've told me you and your friends really don't know what's going on behind the scenes of this succession issue.". You slowly shake your head, blinking in equal parts surprise and fear. Rui hangs his head a little, not out of shame but rather out of fatigue. "Raul, well, I don't want to talk about him too much but he's a relative of mine. Not the type to appreciate a good prank over a boring old history book, so we don't have much in common. Still, he send me a letter a while ago about this succession issue, asking me to keep an ear open for any candidates popping up in the Academagia and promising to put in a good word with my parents if I did.". Wait, what? Rui can't help but break out a smile when he sees your utterly confused face. "Told you things are happening behind the scenes. I honestly couldn't be bothered to look, though. I mean, if he wanted someone to tattle on people he should have asked Cosetta Re. It was an interesting letter, though, especially since I figured you might be a candidate, after what happened to you last year. Not that I told Raul that.". "Why did you never talk with me about this?". You can't believe Rui knew about this all along. You'd question whether this is part of an elaborate prank, but you know Rui wouldn't pull such a mean-spirited prank on you. Rui shrugs, he doesn't appear like he feels he did something wrong. "I didn't think it mattered. Raul asked me to keep an ear out for 'competition', but, well, I don't know anything about, eh, what's his name, Cantaferris? Him or any of his tricks. I figured if I was useful for anything you'd have come and asked me.". "Canasfari...", you slowly correct, and after a pained sigh you ask Rui what he meant by there being "competition". "Rumor among nobility is that House Kazus currently doesn't have a successor, and it'll soon be the time for that House's master to announce one. From what you told me earlier, it seems like those rumors are well-founded. People after the position are trying to get the attention of the House's master, for whatever reason. Nothing I care about personally, but if it's that important to you and you need my help, just ask.". You take a moment to let the information sink in, and ask Rui if he can get in contact with Raul. Without missing a beat Rui says "Sure, easily. The guy lives in Mineta, you know, just not a short walk from the Academagia. Why do you want to meet him, though?". You hang you head, and not even attempting to hide how upset you are about this, say "Because I want this succession issue resolved and right now I need outside help. House Kazus' own library doesn't have a successor hiding in it, Raul...he's the last hope I have.". Rui pats you on the shoulder, which is a strange if not suspicious gesture coming from him, and he says "Than grab your book and we'll go see him, for what that'll be worth.". You thank Rui, grab your book and follow him into Mineta.
-- PROCEED WITH NEXT ADVENTURE STEP
END]

 

[Practical Jokes]: Help Rui pull a "harmless" prank.
-"How's this: I help you pull a prank on someone who isn't going to lose any sleep over it, and in return you talk about what I want to know?". Rui stares at you a confused. "That's a pretty specific prank, and likely not a fun one either. Why the condition? No one's ever died from a prank, at least none that I pulled.". You stare Rui right in the eye and say "Because I don't want to make ripples that could turn into waves. When you get as close to people as I've been, you...just can't risk it anymore.". Rui looks unimpressed, until the corners of his mouth slowly curl into a grin. His reply is but a single word, "deal". You look confused at Rui, who in turn looks offended. "Look, I don't care about rules or people's petty feelings, but I don't want to hurt someone so badly it takes Mastery just to make them forget about it. Or whatever it is that you experienced. I'm a prankster, not an attempted murderer.". You nod, and Rui's grin returns. "So for a target, how about Joana Lio y Rossollo? I still need to get back at her for a prank she pulled on me a few days back, and you cannot say she's so fragile she'll lose sleep over it, right?". You're pretty sure if you claimed that Joana would personally - and violently - correct you. You might find out differently if you Embraced her - Rain certainly isn't all she appears to be - but...really? Joana, a fragile, sad and isolated girl deep down inside? No, that's just...no. You nod and agree to help Rui with the prank. He's happy to hear it. "Good, I've already got the perfect plan, so open those trained ears and listen.". The prank is pretty straightforward, and definitely not something Joana can't handle, so you leave the cubicle with Rui and start setting up. The plan is relatively simple - Rui will set a small trap in the hallway, which will trigger if a tripwire is either broken or stepped on. You will casually cast a few simple Glamours to relax Joana, making sure she's not alert enough to notice it. When she steps on or breaks the wire she'll get a face full of mud, after which you dispel your Glamour, suddenly making Joana really mad, enough for her to start chasing after Rui (which is to say, Rui-shaped Glamours) without thinking things through first. You honestly can't say you care too much for using your calming spells this way, but whatever, Joana can certainly handle it and it's not like you're the only person in the Academagia that casts Glamours. Heck, Rui casting a bunch is part of the plan. You go to the fateful hallway and take a seat on a bench, holding the copy of A Modern History of Medicine in front of you as a means to hide yourself. At the predicted time Joana suddenly walks into the hallway (how did Rui know when she'd arrive here?), and she's looking around suspiciously. After taking a look at the book you're holding in front of you she deems you're not interesting, and once her back is turned you hold the book up with one hand and calmly trace the Phemes for a nice relaxing spell with the other. You covertly target Joana, and the spell hits without Joana noticing. After that you return to "reading" your book, and watch as a much more relaxed Joana walks right towards the tripwire. Just before she triggers the trap you dismiss your spell, and a suddenly very energetic Joana gets hit by a face full of mud. With murder in her eyes she looks around and suddenly runs off in a seemingly random direction, away from you and from sight. You stand up and walk back to the Cubicle, actually reading the book for a half hour or so until Rui walks in. He looks like Joana chased him from one end of the Academagia to the other and back, but there's a very wide grin on his face nevertheless. "That worked perfectly, good casting there. Pretty much the entire school saw a mud-covered Joana run after a rather obvious Glamour, and guess who reprimanded her for breach of conduct and dress code violations.". You nod and ask if if was Regent Storey, but Rui sits down and shakes his head. "Nope, Professor Vickery. Joana made a dive for my Glamour and landed right in a flower field, making a huge mess of herself and the field. Man, was he mad.". You'll admit that you're happy the plan did work out, and you close the book "So, Raul?". Rui nods and says "Yeah, about that. Look, Raul is a relative of mine, if not one I can relate to much. I know he lives in Mineta, though, so I can take you to him if you want.". You get the distinct impression Rui would rather not visit him, were it not for the fact that there's at least one very angry Botany professor looking for a certain prankster that Joana was chasing. You grab the book and together with Rui you quickly leave the Academagia, before said angry Botany professor drags Rui off to sit in detention along with Joana (and to his death, most likely).

-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-You offer Rui to help him with one of his pranks, in return for the information. Rui agrees. Your part in the prank is pretty simple, all you need to do is covertly cast a spell at Joana, while Rui does the rest. You manage to go to your designated location and covertly cast your spell easily enough, so you head back to the study cubicle and wait for Rui to come back. Only about forty minutes later it's not Rui that walks in, rather it's Lambert Cobo. There's an unmistakeable grin on his face, which you assume is bad news for you. "[PC FIRST NAME], I have a message for you from your dear partner in pranks, Rui da Casga.". Rather than comment on Lambert's choice of words you take a page from Rui's book, namely the part about hiding everything behind passive-aggressive sarcasm, or something. "I wasn't aware passing along messages was such a fulfilling pastime, Lambert. What's the message?". Lambert frowns at you for a moment before recovering his grin. "Let's see, I believe it was 'Professor Vickery happened, we'll discuss personal matters later'. Now do tell me, what 'personal' matters are going on between you and Rui?". You're tempted to make up a ridiculously elaborate lie on the spot about how you and Rui are actually secretly royal siblings from far away or something, but you decide against it. You also decide to spend less time listening to Miya's tall tales, if possible. "Nothing you'd be interested in, Lambert.". Lambert's grin only widens, which doesn't sound right. "Oh, that's a shame. I actually have other things to say, but, well, I don't want to be the only one talking.". When did Lambert take a page from Reitz' book? Or did he just happen to overhear something useful - for once - and he's decided that simply bragging about it won't inflate his ego enough? Either way you maintain a perfectly neutral face in front of Lambert, and while wondering whether this is why Nhordum always has that frown on him you look around for inspiration. And you find it, the copy of A Modern History of Medicine. "Alright Lambert, how can I be sure that this information of yours is useful?". Lambert's grin doesn't move, although you get the impression that if it doesn't Lambert is going to end up hurting himself. "I guess I don't have anything to give you that can prove it will be useful, but I can promise you that it will be.". You can easily tell that Lambert is being sincere, which admittedly only tells you that he believes you'll find it useful, but no matter. You've got a bargaining chip you're not going to miss so you might as well. "Fine, see this book here?". You hold up the book while carefully obscuring the author's name. Lambert carefully observes it, either he doesn't see or ignores you hiding information. "That's what Rui and I will be discussing, good enough for you?". You can see Lambert thinking and whatever he's thinking about isn't going his way. Your face remains perfectly straight, and you wait for Lambert to speak up first. "Eh, alright, that'll do. As for the information I have for you, word is that Joana is looking for you. And I don't mean 'wants to say hi' looking for you, I mean 'wants to throw you into a swamp' looking for you.". You frown and glare at Lambert, who quickly says he's not done yet. "I also happen to know that she's not going to be doing anything herself - she has detention along with Rui for ruining Professor Vickory's garden. That rumor that she's coming after you is meant for Philippe, as a not-so-subtle hint that if he wants to impress her he should take revenge in her place. And Philippe recently let slip something about a 'plan' that involved Joana, but you didn't hear that from me. Point is, ignore Joana and watch out for Philippe, at least for the next few hours. He's, eh 'looking' for you right now, you see.". That is actually worthwhile information, and you thank Lambert for the warning. "Oh, and eh, [PC FIRST NAME], would you happen to know where I can find a copy of that book?". You honestly don't know, for sure, but there's one obvious answer. "You're standing in the Venalicium, Lambert. Look for it, I'm going to stay here and read this until Philippe goes off the war path.". Lambert's grin finally drops and he runs off, presumably looking for the book. You're not worried. Lambert is one of those students that can't navigate a library to save his life, and even if he can this is one book that you're pretty sure the Venalicium doesn't have a copy of.
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

[Persuasion]: Convince Rui it's in his best interest to cooperate.
-"Rui, I don't believe that you're completely ignorant of the situation. Still, this doesn't just have to be me asking for information, you know. If you're willing to help me I'll return the favor, you must be able to get someone out of this situation yourself.". Rui's frown remains, and he does his best to appear curious. "What situation, and why are you so sure that I'm personally involved with it anyway? Just because someone sharing my family name wrote a book about your, eh, 'friends' a while back?". It's at this point that you realize you're really grasping at straws, and that Rui is lying through his teeth. "Rui, please, don't lie to me.". You can tell Rui wasn't expecting his lies to work, but he doesn't seem willing to spill the beans either. You can't help but sigh, both because you're tired after flipping the Vernin campus upside-down to look for him and because you have a lying, cage-y prankster to try and get information from. "Before you decide that I'm not worth talking to, Rui, do you think it might be a good idea for us to exchange notes and figure out what is going on with who at which point? I wouldn't mind talking about why I dragged you here, and I'm sure you must be curious about that.". Rui nods, and this time he genuinely seems curious. Without any fanfare he sits down and says "Okay, so what's going on?". "If I tell you everything, will you talk about Raul?". Rui frowns again and seems to consider his options. "I can't promise I'll tell you everything.". Well, he's being honest, as you asked. You mention the succession issue to Rui, just mention it, and Rui's face immediately gives away that he's heard of it. You can't help but frown, and a bit sheepishly Rui says he'll talk when it's his turn. "I'll hold you to that.". You tell Rui the details of the succession issue - that Nhordum's father is to name a successor but neither his son nor his second choice would accept being named such - and throughout the entire thing Rui doesn't look surprised once. In fact, he seems to get increasingly more excited. "Ha, I knew that you'd be involved with that mess.". You blink a few times in confusion, which only seems to further amuse Rui. "I guess I owe you an explanation.". You nod, still blinking and looking confused. "The short version is that people know about that succession issue, and nobles that want to get closer to House Kazus are trying to use that succession issue to their advantage. Raul does as well, for his own reasons, and he actually send me a latter a while back, asking me to keep an eye out for any potential successors that popped up in the Academagia.". You cannot believe that Rui, of all people, knew about this situation. "And you did...what?". "Nothing. Like I said, Raul and I aren't on good terms. I'm not going to help him just because he suddenly needs me, the poor fool.". "I hate to say it, Rui, but I need that poor fool's help. Nhordum and Leene really don't want to be named the successor, so we need to find another one. Another good one.". Rui is far more amused by this than he ought to be. "You need to find a good successor, so where does Raul come in? The guy's a snake, [PC FIRST NAME], you have no idea how often he ratted me out whenever I was practising pranks way back when.". You can perfectly imagine a six-year-old Rui trying to climb a stepladder with a bucket of water to place it on top of a door, it's a disturbingly cute imagine. As far as Raul's ability to actually help you with the succession issue is concerned, you weren't able to find anything useful (well, Leene, Nhordum and Lotus weren't) in House Kazus' library, so you're going to need outside help to find a worthy successor. "And if anyone can help me with that it'd be a historian who's familiar with Canasfari, and how squabbling nobility aren't good for anyone's health.". Rui shrugs, he clearly isn't in his element here. "Fine, grab your book and we'll go see Raul. I have business with him anyway, if you're really going to drag me into this.". You stand up and nod, saying "Lead the way."
-- PROCEED WITH ADVENTURE

 

-You argue with Rui for a while, but you're not able to convince him to speak up. You'll quit bothering him for today and ask again later, one of these days his patience is going to give out...hopefully.
-- STOP ADVENTURE

 

 

You'll see that the Practical Jokes option can't fail. What you don't see is that, per the text, failing that option should tick off both Joana and Philippe in addition to costing you a turn, so it's not a free pass by any stretch. It's there because Rui just loves practical jokes that much, and to compensate for the fact that there's not really a whole lot of options here. This is also one of those stages that went through a few revisions during typing because I repeatedly realized something that the PC would have known from the start, so I had to go through everything like three times to fix those issues.

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Just a suggestion, don't make your adventure to long or it might end like my Negation Wand adventure chain and get some parts cut.

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Just a suggestion, don't make your adventure to long or it might end like my Negation Wand adventure chain and get some parts cut.

I don't think you can really compare one adventure to a chain of three of them, especially because Crafting the Negation Wand is silly with how complex it is. The Training Continues is planned to be 9 turn/14 stage/2 path adventure, and although I don't believe it necessary it can be cut in half for one 5 turn/8 stage/1 path adventure and one 4 turn/7 stage/2 path adventure if that's too long.

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The Training Continues, stage 10a:

 

Pawns Before The Knight

 

A long walk through Mineta later and Rui has taken you past the Temple of Octavius to where Raul currently "holes up", as Rui calls it - an inn puzzlingly called the Distressed Damsel. There's probably some history behind that, but you're currently not interested. Rui casually walks inside like he owns the place, you follow behind him a little more cautiously. The room you enter into looks more like a restaurant than an inn, with clean chairs and tables strewn around the place, but there's also counter with a guestbook sitting on top, and a staircase leading to the second floor next to it. Rui walks up to the woman standing behind the counter and asks "Excuse me, but is Raul da Casga staying here?". The woman gives Rui a once-over and nods. "Yes, he's upstairs. A moment, please.". The woman walks over to a cabinet placed behind the counter and opens it. Inside are a myriad of buttons, and she pushes one before closing the cabinet again. "Raul will be down in a moment, feel free to take a seat and order food or drink if you wish.". Both you and Rui walk to a distant table, and a man excitedly runs down the stairs before either of you can sit down. He takes one look around and runs right towards you when he spots Rui. "Ah, Rui, long time no see. I assume you don't mind if I take a seat?". Rui shakes his head, there's a scowl on his face that he's not trying hard enough to hide. Raul looks like a friendly man that's seen some interesting things and can't wait to share it with those willing to listen, but to Rui's credit you can see that some of that friendliness isn't entirely genuine when Raul turns to face him. You, though, are apparently unworthy of his disapproval, for better or worse. "I'm very glad to see you've decided to pay me a visit, Rui. I was beginning to worry that letter of mine didn't reach you.". Rui just shrugs, and Raul turns to you. "My name is Raul da Casga. Historian, researcher and author. And you're...?". The woman from before walks up and interrupts before you can answer, asking if any of you want something. "I'll have a drink, my usual.". Raul look at the two of you, but you both shake your head. The woman smiles and nods. "Alright, so one orange juice. Call me if you want anything else, the name's Mirtha.". Everyone nods, and Raul turns to you again. "Rui's friend, I'm...here to ask for your help.". Raul seems confused. "My help? Well I'll be glad to help if I can, what's troubling you?". You sigh and look at Rui, who nods in understanding. "Remember how you asked me to keep a look out for succession candidates? It's about that.". Raul's interest has definitely been piqued, but so has his suspicions. "Truth be told, Rui, I didn't expect you'd-wait, you mean [s/he's] a candidate? Your friend is a candidate?". Rui smirks, but you question how real that smirk is. "I hope now you understand why I didn't send a reply.". Raul stares at Rui, and then slowly turns to you. You get the impression it's best to play along with Rui here, so you nod. Raul seems impressed, and he studies you again. "I guess that changes things, but you're a bit young to succeed anyone, aren't you? Do you expect to be named a successor-in-waiting?". You shake your head, unsure of what that means. Raul nods to himself and says "I see, so that help you mentioned before? What do you need my help with?". You share one last look with Rui, wondering if you can really trust this guy. Ultimately, you decide that you can. If Rui da Casga, of all students, knows about this issues than it's no longer a secret. "In short, I need a successor. It's true that House Kazus' first choices don't want it, and that the nobles that are suddenly sweet on them aren't good choices either. You're a historian, I'm sure you know what political infighting can cause.". Raul nods in understanding, which is strange but seeing as how it spares you from a long explanation not entirely unwelcome. "I see, I thought as much but House Kazus has been trying to keep it under wraps, so I wasn't sure. Don't worry about it [PC FIRST NAME], I have a few contacts that can put this information to good use. Actual good use, I mean. I don't want to see House Kazus fall.". Rui looks more sceptical than surprised, something you sadly agree with. "Who, if I might ask?". Raul takes out a small notebook and flips through it. "A man named Avgustus Mellion, Academagia graduate from College Hedi and a natural at the magic school of Glamour. He lives in Renaglia, though not on this particular island, and is employed as a doctor specializing in mental maladies. Ones that manifest through or otherwise affect dreams especially, I've heard, but I imagine you know that better than I do. Either way even his Glamour has a limit and he's said to want to 'go beyond them', but, well, he doesn't want to break the law either, if you know what I mean.". You shake a look with Rui, but he nods in understanding as well. "Now Avgustus is a wealthy man, but he has no title to claim other than 'doctor' and he's weary of trying to enter nobility since, well, he knows all to well how a few rumors could be a problem for him. But this succession issue might change his mind. If so, he'd be a worthy successor for House Kazus.". You'd question whether he's young enough to "succeed", but if he's a wizard his age doesn't really say much. Further, if he's weary of showing his face in front of nobles and doesn't even live on this island you can understand why House Kazus' library doesn't mention him. Just perhaps this will actually work out. Suddenly Mirtha walks up with a glass of orange juice, which she puts down on the table. "Sorry for the delay, but someone needs to learn how to keep better track of our food stores.". Raul nods and drink the entire glass in one go. He seems on edge, and quite a bit more energetic then before. "Sorry to cut this discussion short but, well, I've got some news to deliver. Anything you wish to ask of me before I leave?". You look at Rui, who shakes his head. Do you have anything left to ask?

 

One thing, actually...
-You glance at Rui, briefly wondering if you should bring it up, but this isn't something you can afford not to bring up. "One thing, actually. How did you know my name?". Raul looks confused, as does Rui. "Didn't you introduce yourself earlier?". You shake your head. "I only introduced myself as Rui's friend after Mirtha interrupted, so how do you know my name?". Raul's face becomes pale as he remembers that you indeed never mentioned your name, while Rui stares holes through him. Raul stutters out some form of response you can't make heads or tails out of, but apparently Rui can since he suddenly says "Sorry, but no. I told you earlier I never send you a reply.". Rui is probably talking about the letter he got, and the fact that he didn't tell Raul anything so he couldn't know your name from him. As Raul looks increasingly more nervous - and guilty, for that matter - Rui, who is enjoying this far too much, reminds Raul of all the times he told others about any and all pranks that Rui was planning on pulling. And with a bitter tone in his voice that betrays he still holds a grudge Rui "advises" Raul to do as he so often told him to do - be honest rather than try to trick others. Raul looks at you, maybe thinking that you'll bail him out for whatever reason, but you nod at Rui's suggestion. Raul sighs, wipes some sweat from his forehead and hangs his head a little. "Oh alright, fine, I've heard of you before. Seen you before, even, though I suppose you didn't see me.". "When did you?". You notice Rui is intently listening to what Raul says, even though you're sure he's not interested in what happened to you so much as in what Raul did. "I, eh, I actually visited Gregory first thing when I arrived here in Mineta a while back. I was there to ask him whether the rumors about the succession issue were true, but he mostly just dodged my questions. The only thing he told me - and I couldn't even check if it was true or not - was that even if his son and, eh, the other girl refused the succession he still had a potential successor in mind. But he didn't tell me who.". You're putting good odds on Gregory being (the name of) Nhordum's father, in which case that statement was most certainly a lie. Rui narrows his eyes at Raul, but you can tell that Raul is telling the truth and you assume Rui comes to the same conclusion. You also notice that Rui suddenly seems curious about the matter, although you're not sure why. "So that's why you send me that letter? You figured that if such a successor existed, he or she would attend the Academagia?". Raul shakes his head. "That was just a guess, and honestly I still think it was a correct one.". "Wait...what? What do you mean, who's this supposed third choice than?". Rui is clearly confused, but you know what's coming. "[PC FIRST NAME] [him/herself], obviously.". Yep, you knew that was coming. Rui looks at you completely shocked, but ironically enough you're not shocked at all. "So why would I be this third choice?". Raul, with an expression that's honestly a bit too smug, cheerfully says "Oh, that's simple. If you're named successor, you'd become a successor-in-waiting, so this whole successor circus would start over again on your eighteenth birthday. That's when you're old enough to start preparing for taking over the reigns from the current head of the house, and not incidentally when you're old enough to raise some objection and refuse succession after all. If Gregory really had a good successor standing in line Octavius knows he'd have named him or her that by now.". You agree with Raul's words, if not with his tone. "Anyway, you two don't need to worry about that. I'll make sure that Avgustus hears of the opportunity that's up for grabs and convince him to take it, you can be sure that I can do that.". You don't doubt that he can, you doubt how. But you've talked enough with Raul for one day. Heck, for a lifetime maybe. "Right, I guess you'd better get going then.". Raul nods, walks over to Mirtha and drops a few Pims on the counter before running off. You stand up and look at Rui, who stands up himself. He looks like someone just stabbed him in the back with the handle of a hatchet. "Thanks for the help, Rui, for what it - for what Raul, I should say - is worth.". Rui starts walking off, and you follow him outside. "At least he'll do something useful. He wasn't lying when he said he doesn't want House Kazus to fall over, at least.". You shouldn't, but curiosity gets the better of you. "Do you know why?". "I don't know, but I don't trust a man that seems intent to line up favors for no clear reason, especially when it's favors from House Kazus. No offence.". You look at Rui and after what must have been far to long show him a smile. "None taken. You want to go grab a drink before we go back to the Academagia?". Rui smiles back, and finally he doesn't look like someone poisoned his drink. "Deal.".
-- PAUSE ADVENTURE

 

 

I got a bit stuck on stage 9b so I'll need to go over and finish it later with the anvil-welded-to-the-end-of-a-sledgehammer treatment. Then I got a bit stuck on this because 1: I don't know jack about Raul other than the one lore in Y1, so I have to type him in character without knowing his character beyond "Rui doesn't like him. Probably". And of course 2: I had to think of some way that Raul could immediately fix the succession issue because stage 11 is where the successor is named. Without breaking his character that I know nothing about. Or the game world's internal logic. And without making it a complete and total Deus ex Machina.

 

I'm pretty sure as things currently stand I failed that last requirement, but a few ninja-edits to Hellen's medical chart should fix that issue. :ph34r:. Also I do hope at least a few people noticed the, eh, "twist" in this stage without it either being impossible to see or impossible to miss. With me it tends to be one or the other (which I'm usually fine with, but, eh...), or both, somehow.

Edited by Metis

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