>You are a young man named Lloyd from the frozen Northern mountains of Tordo, on the continent of Teege. After a youth spent learning magic, you and your girlfriend spent some time as bandits after your home was destroyed, but have recently taken a chance to escape that life into a legit one... As sellswords, admittedly, but it's better than nothing.
>Your exact goal will change from thread to thread, most likely involving some job or another you've been sent on.
>The questmasters are Octoling (myself), and Grandflaw. There's no particular rhyme or reason to who posts when, and sometimes one of us might not appear all.
>Character Death is always a possibility and sometimes an inevitability (this is Fire Emblem after all), but your actions can very easily influence who lives and who dies.
>Voting periods will last an average of ten to fifteen minutes, but this may be increased, decreased, or generally changed at any given moment based on voter turnout.
>The previous threads are archived on suptg. A link to the most recent (coupled with summary and a handy list of names) is pasted http://pastebin.com/SKzBHthe
>Our update twitter is https://twitter.com/qmgrandflocto and you can shoot us questions at http://ask.fm/qmgrandflocto
>An up-to-date link to all threads currently archived, both for this quest and its precursor: http://pastebin.com/Q77ts75m
You barely got any sleep thanks to Yone trying to narrate himself to sleep all night. You woke up a lot after those last moments drifting off to sleep.
You're a light sleeper anyway (Leigh would get up way earlier, but while she's out, she is OUT), but this just puts you in a bit of an unpleasant mood when it's time to officially rise and shine.
Yone's voice narrates his own awakening. "This ceiling represents a new beginning... From today onwards, I'm gonna be the greatest sellsword this desert has ever known!"
>A. Impolitely insist he cut that out
>B. Ignore him
>C. Say something encouraging?
You really don't have time for this.
Reacquainting your half-asleep self with the room you woke up in, you go about what needs to be done to start a given day before stepping out and heading for the... What'd they call the dining hall? Eh, you'll call it that.
You ditch Yone. Might as well, all things considered.
Some rather nondescript guy walks past you without saying hello or even really acknowledging your presence, clearly not a man of conversation, followed by a man who of average height with long hair dressed rather garishly, looking all-around unhappy in general. Despite this, he still seems like he'll be better conversation than that other guy who you've... Already forgotten the appearance of.
>A. Don't bother with any of them. Just go get food
>B. Try to talk to someone
>C. Begrudgingly wait for Yone
Noting the fellow unhappy-looking fellow, you decide to make some light conversation on the way up.
"Uh... Hey," you start.
He grumbles what might be a hello, you suppose.
"Er... I'm Lloyd," you say, somewhat unnerved, before adding, "I get it, though, it's morning, some new guy is bothering you... We can get acquainted later, I guess."
"My name's Ansi," the man says, "and yeah, don't talk to me right now."
"Okay, okay," you say, nodding and sidestepping away a bit.
It's a rather short walk to breakfast, where, after grabbing food, you naturally gravitate towards Leigh, currently sitting alone. She smiles at your approach.
"Heard you had to room with that kid," she says, sympathetically, before adding in a quieter tone, "he's not going to try anything about us being here, is he?"
>A. It doesn't look like it
>B. Worse: he's really annoying
>C. You're keeping an eye on him
>D. Don't respond
>E. Write-in dialogue
"Nah, it... Looks like he's realized that that wouldn't be in his best interests. Even worse, though, the guy is... Absolutely annoying."
"Real wacky bunch we've joined up with," Leigh observes, "I mean, some of the nicest people are here, like Irene or Yulea or Marrius himself, and then..."
You follow her gaze to that Ansi guy you spoke to earlier. Never has complete apathy looked so intimidating.
You turn back around and nod. "Like I said back in Tordo. This isn't some sort of tale."
Leigh also mentions how Marrius has offered to help her refine her sword skills/train in their off-time.
The next couple days are... Slow, to say the least, heavily dealing with actually working out formally joining the group, running some errands... Etc, so on, so forth. You learn via Irene that Ansi's deal is that he's a Summoner, and thus capable of conjuring monsters to fight for and aid himself.
Eventually, you hear Irene greet someone, "oh, hey, Calof, come in! Oh, and... Is that who I think it is?"
You and Marrius end up being the first on the scene of the commotion. A rather short, slightly round guy with glasses and blue hair, accompanied by a guy with wings and sandy-colored hair. You figure he's one of the "Vautou" you've heard about, so surprisingly he's the least interesting of the two newcomers you see, despite the lazy manner of dress of the blue-haired fellow.
"Yeah," the bird guy-Calof, presumably-says, turning to Marrius, "Sir Eyven here said there was something he wanted to see you about?"
>A. Say something (specify)
>B. Keep quiet
"Ah, Eyven. Er... Condolences about your grandmother," Marrius responds.
Closing his eyes, the little guy responds, "well, actually that was what I was hoping to talk about. See, with the way things have gotten, Neir can't spare that many knights for an escort, and my brother Welles was sort of... Left alone, thanks to this. He's fine, of course, but it would really be good for everyone's peace of mind if he had an escort of some kind. Something elite and heroic for someone so elite and heroic, y'know?"
"I see... Where is your brother, then?"
"He'll be here pretty soon." Eyven very slightly shifts his neck. He's wearing something around it, but you can't tell what. "My ride only seats one, see, and he prefers the long way anyway. He'll be able to travel back with the rest of the family after the funeral in Gravern, but..."
Marrius nods. "When do you think your brother will be here?"
"Momentarily. I'll go write down some numbers with Irene here, so you guys make him feel at home, alright?"
Eyven and Irene walk off to her office after that, and shortly after, a tall, blue-haired fellow with braided hair, dressed somewhat nobly, enters.
"Ah, Marrius! How wondrous is to meet in person!" He says to... You. "Honestly, I was expecting somebody... Larger, such as that guy," he glances at Marrius, "but this shows the dangers of assumption, I suppose!"
>B. Ask if he's serious
>C. Introduce yourself for real
>D. Play along
>F. Bewildered silence
You laugh, probably harder than you should. "Y-yes, that's... That's me, Captain Marrius h-himself..." You can barely finish the sentence.
Welles grins, looking between Marrius, Calof, and some other people who have gathered. "This guy appreciates my humor, see? I hope this one is among the escort Eyven mentioned!"
After you don't stop laughing, he looks almost concerned. "Are you alright? Am I TOO hilarious?"
Finally, you calm down, a bit embarrassed at the scene, uncertain if some of the onlookers were laughing at the joke or at you.
"A-anyway, I'm Lloyd... Bit new to... Places that aren't the mountains, so... Who are you and Eyven, exactly?"
"They're nephews of the king of Neir," Marrius explains, "and grandchildren of Empress Alexia of Dain. She... Recently passed on, so a lot of important people have been traveling out to Dain lately. Figured someone might require our services in time."
Apparently you, Leigh, Ansi, and Calof are set to handle this particular job. You're also assured that Welles "need not be coddled" should you be attacked on the way.
Eyven will apparently meet you guys in Gravern, according to Irene's briefing.
>A. You didn't question this
>B. How would he beat you there
>C. Why doesn't he come with you guys
>D. You really don't feel like doing this
>E. Write-in questions/comments/concerns
"Wait... How's he gonna get there before us?"
Irene answers. "Well, you see, Eyven inherited something from his mother. It's... A Witch Pendant, like you've been told about, but it's sort of busted up. Princess Salia, she'd discovered that it still worked perfectly fine... But it could only transport one person at a time due to the damages I mentioned, and couldn't exactly be repaired."
"Right, right... Why not come with his brother, then?"
"I'm a bit lazy," Eyven's voice rings behind you, leading you to jump in shock and turn around to see him chuckling. He approaches and offers Irene a high-five, which she accepts with a grin. "Anyway, though, thanks a bunch for doing this last-minute," Eyven adds, shooting Ansi in particular a look, "I'm certain there won't be any problems."
And with that, Eyven approaches an open window and vanishes out of it, suddenly waving at you all from a rooftop parallel to said window before walking off again.
Leigh turns towards Ansi, asking, "why was he looking at you in particular?"
Calof very bluntly responds, "he doesn't play well with others."
>A. Skip to departure
>B. Say something more
>C. Talk to someone before leaving (specify)
Soon enough, you're all departing, getting to enjoy the pleasure of trekking through the desert once again, this time with bird person and nobility in tow instead of Marrius, Yancy, Yulea, Lyeim, and Yone.
Between the winged guy, two mages, and the unshakably active Welles, Leigh is outright the slowest person in the group during your travels through the desert.
She smiles and begins to thank Ansi when he summons some sort of canine monstrosity, only to cut herself off when he gets onto it himself.
"Uh, excuse me, Ansi, right? Did you maybe wanna... I dunno, summon more?"
Leigh huffs. "Well, it's just that it would make this easier for everyone else!"
"Wow! We've barely left Elza Oasis and already this trip is really awkward!" Welles exclaims to a snickering Calof as they observe the situation in question.
>A. Intervene. Just end the discussion/argument
>B. Intervene on Ansi's behalf. He doesn't need to do that
>C. Intervene on Leigh's behalf. Ansi's being bad
>E. Stay out of this
You opt to make small talk with Calof instead, Welles taking it upon himself to break up the argument.
"So... You ever been to Tordo?"
He shakes his head. "Not many people have. Undead are the worst there, so... that's lessened whatever travel there already was."
"So... Not gonna get much worse than my home, that's what you're saying?"
"Basically, yes. Wonder who has it out with the Ice Authority."
When it looks like Welles has accomplished nothing aside from make Ansi less pissed off at your girlfriend's insistence, you opt to take over, also very strongly considering learning to summon in the future. You're a bit of a ways away from any sort of upgrade in magical classes, though.
"Alright, just... Lay off, alright? This isn't gonna end until one of you backs down, but it's just a total waste of time otherwise."
"That's what I've been trying to say," Ansi huffs.
"You've just been saying 'no' repeatedly!"
"Wow, this Lloyd fellow certainly has good ideas! Tell me, friend, what is this beast you've summoned?"
At Welles' question, Ansi begins to discuss the Mauthe Doog, and you and Leigh walk a bit of a ways away.
"I can't believe it! He just... Sits around all creepy and refuses to help anyone. How is he a part of Marrius' Group?!"
>A. You have no idea
>B. He's probably good at what he does
>C. You aren't thinking about it
>D. Write-in response
"He's... Probably good at what he does. Marrius' Group can clearly put up with a lot if Yulea's so casual about finding out we were bandits." You swear you see Ansi's head perk up a bit at hearing that, though it's not exactly a secret. Yulea told Marrius at some point, he confronted you and Leigh on it, decided he could still definitely trust you. Yancy probably knows too, judging by how close she and Yulea are, and you reckon Irene does as well. Lowering your voice, you continue, "I dunno, maybe he was in a similar boat as we were. Just because you've gone straight doesn't mean you're nice, either."
Leigh sighs. "Yeah, I guess... Still, I don't like needing to work with him."
"It's only for a little while. After this job, we might never work with him again."
You have no way of knowing if that's at all a valid statement, but it seems to reassure Leigh anyway.
"At least Welles seems like a really great guy," she says as you overhear him discussing cuisine with Ansi. "I mean, he's managing to get that guy to get along with him!"
>A. Yeah he's pretty alright
>B. You think he's sort of lame
>C. He seems suspiciously nice
>D. You don't like him
>E. No opinion
"Yeah, I can see why his brother talked him up so much."
You and Leigh share a nod. You wish you could spend more time getting to know this Welles guy, but for the most part he spends time with Calof discussing codes of personal honor, valor and the like, or keeping Ansi tolerable.
A couple days into your trip, however, he's sharing a story over a fire. Ansi's Mauthe Doog lies around on the outskirts of your camp, keeping watch on his summoner's behalf.
"...and every one of them surrendered after my speech! That's how they started up a nice little industry in what used to be called the Garou Mountains. Tourism thrives there, especially among history buffs, and since most of the locals are so strong nobody dies when zombies attack!" He chuckles. "Dad in particular loved to visit it after that. The guy was a massive buff on culture and history!"
"Oh, uh, I'd like to hear about your family," Calof says. "Eyven doesn't talk about his heritage much, but you seem really proud of it."
Before Welles can continue, however, the Mauthe Doog growls at something. Ansi shoots it a quick glance before fishing out a tome of light magic, opening it, and firing off a spell at some rock.
A burly fellow yelps in pain and scurries away, but Ansi's summon keeps glancing around.
"Ah, so we've some uninvited guests..." Welles rubs his prominent chin, before snapping his fingers and smiling. "This is what I brought so much extra food along for! All of you, my escorts, let me handle this one!"
>A. Encourage Welles
>B. Say nothing on the matter
>C. Let us handle this
>D. That's a terrible idea, Welles
"With all due respect, Sir Welles, it would... Probably be in your best interest for us to try this our way. It is our job to keep you safe, after all."
"Very well, then. I'll be around should you require me for anything!"
"So you're not going to help us fight?" Leigh asks, eyeing a sheathed sword he's been carrying around this whole trip.
"Of course! What if I fought too well, and one of them was to die by my hand?" With that, Welles stands in place. "As my escorts, do what you think is best, but... I can take over should any of you require it!" Drawing his weapon, you can now tell rather clearly that it's a mere practice sword, nary a sharp edge in sight and probably not hard enough to hurt unless you were obscenely strong. Then he puts said sword away.
Closing his eyes, Ansi summons two other Mauthe Doogs and has the three of them run around, shutting his eyes. "Looks to be about seven of them. All big, most with axes, and a bishop, at least within my monsters' range. All coming from that direction." He says all this quickly and refuses to repeat it.
"Uh... Come again?" Leigh asks in response to said hard-to-hearness. When Ansi doesn't answer, Calof fills in, flapping his wings and rising just above the ground, taking out a Steel Bow.
"Alright," the flying man says, "anyone have a particular plan?"
>A. Hit them all really hard
>B. Stay close at each other's backs
>C. Let's try Welles' plan
>D. Just try to keep our distances
>F. You've got nothing
"Alright, just... Everyone stick close. They don't sound all that well-coordinated, and... I am really not a tactician. Who are we calling the leader here? They can refine on my idea. Just, uh... We should probably get the medic first."
"On it," Calof says, flying over towards the group in question and readying his bow.
"Well, as the one here with seniority... Focus on doing the job and surviving. It doesn't really matter to me what you do besides 'your job.'" With that, on top of his hounds, Ansi summons up a Bael to approach and guard Welles... who quickly turns it into his mount.
"Should you want me to take care of this, just say the word, alright?" Welles declares once again.
The one part of your plan, "stick close," is already falling apart thanks to your giving Ansi an excuse to be authoritative.
You can see Leigh visibly seething. She clutches her sword and turns towards you. "Well, since no one else is helping us... I'm gonna go make sure Calof's alright."
>A. Accompany Leigh
>B. Stick by Ansi
>C. Stay with Welles
You follow Leigh to Calof, catching up to him just in time to distract a big guy with a hand axe who rushed to the wounded bishop's aid. Calof flies back and joins the two of you, having failed to dispose of the bishop, though they at least run off to recover.
And now the big guy throws his weapon at Leigh, though with axes' inexplicable lessening in capability when swords are involved, she's able to dodge the toss handily and strike him across the chest once before he catches the returning weapon. In response, he shoves her into you, knocking both of you into the sand and attempting again to focus on Calof. Being up in the air, he seems to be fine for the moment, but another guy with an unusual axe approaches you and Leigh as you get up.
>A. Suggest hitting him REALLY hard
>B. Suggest falling back
>C. Suggest ignoring him
>D. Suggest Welles return to Plan A
"Leigh, I suggest you leave this guy to me."
"What? But... He's big and strong. How could you expect to-"
"Big, strong, and I don't like the look of that axe. Look at it, it's... tailor-made to counter swords."
"So we got a clever one here?" The Berserker says, "lot of luck that'll give when this goes through your head anyway!"
"Look, Leigh, just... Make sure no one interrupts, alright? You'll still be doing the lion's share of the fighting that way."
Still uncertain, she ultimately relents anyway, going off to stare down some other Berserkers with Calof.
In the meantime, you do your damnedest to keep your distance from this fellow while firing off blasts of Flux.
This involves a lot of walking backwards and some close shaves, but your increased maneuverability in the sand vs this non-magically-attuned fellow proves enough to keep you from being maimed.
Eventually, keeping this up, you manage to bring down the fellow with an axe. He'll die soon enough, you figure, and certainly isn't about to get up.
You're a bit tired from all this shuffling around, though.
>A. Take a moment. Catch your breath
>B. Finish the guy off. Sure he's unconscious, but that's not down enough for peace of mind.
>C. Immediately join up with somebody
>D. Suggest Welles do his thing
>E. Survey the situation
You breathe in and out, not about to spring into action when you're winded like this. You do grab the Swordreaver (you mistake it for a Swordslayer at the time, but are later set straight by Calof), though. No axe-wielders in your party, but you can either sell it off or give it to one of your coworkers back in Elza Oasis.
Looking around, it appears that Welles has been attacked, resulting in the loss of the summoned spider he was riding, though he was impressively quick on the draw for his harmless weapon, downing his assailant in a manner of seconds... And promptly putting away his weapon and sternly, yet politely talking to him.
"...and foremost, this is a dangerous profession! I understand, times are difficult, but there are a myriad of ways besides this you could handle that!"
Someone else slips out of Ansi's notice, tries to blindside Welles... And promptly gets similarly disarmed and knocked down. "This applies to you as well, my friend! Is there nothing you would rather be doing more?"
Contrast Leigh, who, upon noticing another of the berserkers getting too close to Welles, unhesitatingly lops the man's arm off from behind.
Well, she's doing her job, anyway.
Calof is at a bit of a stalemate with the hand axe guy, both of them panting, aiming their weapons at each other, and not striking.
Ansi is terrorizing the two unmentioned berserkers, both mauled and disarmed by his summoned hounds (one of which is absent, presumably destroyed), and currently shuddering in fear as the beasts growl every step forward they attempt to take.
>A. Go to Calof
>B. Go to Leigh
>C. Go to Welles
>D. Go to Ansi
>E. Stay where you are
You start towards Calof to help.
Welles' voice calls out, "and look here! Your friend has been dismembered!" You assume he means the guy Leigh just struck. "Stop what you are doing, for his sake if not ours! Others here are wounded, and there is nothing to be gained from continuing down this path of life!"
Right as you approach the guy in a stalemate with Calof, raising your Flux tome, he glances towards the mentioned dismembered bandit. "B-Barry? Sh-shit, guys, Barry's bleeding out pretty bad!" The person in question shouts in the direction the bishop ran off. "Come back, dude! We're literally dying out here! You damned coward!"
"This is a dilemma... Ansi, my friend!"
"We're not friends, Welles."
"Now isn't the time to put yourself down! You've training in Staves, correct?"
"Well... Summoners can use them, but..."
"Excellent! I have a Mend staff in my things here!"
"Wait, I'm... Not about to-" Ansi groans, mumbling something to himself. "Gimme the staff."
Several minutes later, after Ansi has egged Welles into healing your foes, the bishop returns, only to promptly get slammed in the face by the Berserker Calof was fighting.
"O-ow! What the hell was that for?"
"Running away! You're there so we don't get our asses kicked like this, and you just... Hrgh!"
Leigh whispers to you, "I still don't like this... They're all gonna be healed-up, buddy-buddy... Then Welles is gonna get killed for his kindness."
Leigh always wants to be the hero so badly, but... She also has very firm views on who the villain is in absolutely any given altercation.
>A. She's probably right
>B. She's being too scathing/doubtful
>C. She'd be right if this Welles guy wasn't involved
>E. No comment/opinion
"I mean, I... distrust people as a rule, but at the very least Welles has proven he's not completely helpless with that toy sword of his. Keep your guard up, but... I don't think he can be blindsided."
"Yeah, yeah, at least you're right there..." She sighs, hand rested on the handle of her sword.
Much to everyone bar Welles' surprise, the altercation ends with zero fatalities (though that guy Leigh cut the arm off of is gonna need further attention than the immediate healing Ansi gave him. Healing magic is insanely convenient, but even it has its limits) and nobody being robbed.
Welles also offers them a basket of fruits he's apparently carried with him from Neir as a parting gift, and the bandits leave on fantastic terms, though terrified of and cautious in general acknowledging Leigh.
"Well, anyway, Calof," Welles says after they leave, "you wished to hear about my family?"
>B. Skip this
You listen intently to Welles, silently glad that you didn't need to be the one to ask.
"So, first, a historical context: since the first ruler of Neir, Queen Hauteclere, defeated the vile Gerxel Empire with the aid of the Tarvosian nomads, the ruling bodies of both cultures have enjoyed immense friendship, and the Tarvos are in control of the valley that makes up most of the region the Neir capital is located in. As a show of mutual trust, children of the ruling families would traditionally be sent to live with either ruler. For a... Lot of other reasons, then-king Drasma's daughter, my mother, Salia, wound up living in Tarvos Valley at a much earlier age than usual, granting her plenty of time to grow up alongside my father, Quidel. They always said they'd known how they felt about each other for the vast majority of their lives, and similarly-mushy things it's embarrassing to hear your parents talk about!"
"So... Do they still do that?"
"Why yes, in fact! Prince Cargia has been like the son Chief Antiman never had, by all indication, and of course there's Eyven and I. Living representations of the bonds shared! It's actually surprising that it took centuries for anything but a purely platonic alliance to arise out of this closeness!"
>A. Inquire about the past-tense involving his parents
>B. Ask some other question (specify)
>C. That's pretty interesting
>D. You wish you hadn't paid attention
"'Was...' Hey, what happened to them?"
Leigh shoots you a look. "You don't just ask somebody that!"
"No, no, it is a... Genuine question!" His smile falters before returning. You feel only now that you've brought up a poor subject. "You see, my parents were in charge of Tarvos Valley for awhile, ruled it side-by-side, helped work alongside Chief Dama for exceptionally high integration of Garou populations... Then this whole zombie thing occurred! Tarvos Valley was hit hard early on, and many of Neir's best and brightest ultimately sacrificed themselves to save the region. They were... Among them."
Something about the way Welles says that makes you wonder just how many of these "best and brightest" he or his relatives knew.
"Luckily," he adds, sounding a bit more upbeat, "due to this, only a small handful of people fell. Then one of the nation's greatest champions traveled up North to investigate a possible source of all this... She hasn't come back yet, but I'm certain she will!"
"That would be, er... Ellen, right? I think I remember Marrius saying something about her..." Leigh says. "Something about her being trained by his dad."
"Yes, Ellen's who I meant! I'm sure you would like her, Leigh!"
>A. Small world
>B. Why's that
>C. No comment
>D. Seems improbable
>E. lmao she dead
>F. You don't care (think it, don't say it)
"Why do you suppose?"
"It's... Somewhat of a long story!" Welles yawns. "Anyway, we should be able to reach Traban Outpost by tomorrow, and from there we can get to Gravern easily-peasily! Of course, this will require the typically bright-and-early wakeup!"
Everyone heads off to their respective quarters, minus Calof, who ends up getting volunteered to keep watch. You and Leigh have been the only ones who've needed to share a tent, though neither of you minds. This has been your life for awhile anyway.
"He's... Really good at keeping the mood up," Leigh says in the midst of a discussion about Welles. "You almost forget that we're bringing him to his grandmother's funeral."
After a bit more humorous observations of the sort, darker conversation rolls around.
"The way those guys looked at me after I cut one of their arms off... It was like I was some kind of monster or something. Can you believe it? The nerve, after they attacked our camp!"
>B. Agree (lying)
>C. She was a bit excessive
>D. Try to spin this into hitting on her
>E. You don't know
>F. Write-in response
"Yeah, absolutely. We knew the risks when we were bandits. We could get hurt or worse trying, and we would deserve it. All of them are lucky they made it out. If Welles weren't here, they... Wouldn't have."
"Why do you care so much anyway? They weren't gonna like you anyway."
"I don't, I'm just... Appalled at the hypocrisy here!"
This leads into a bit of a philosophical discussion, which Leigh ends up leading into increasingly innuendo-laden places, which ends up with the thread ending before this gets weird to write.
>To be continued next thread
I figure most of the arcs in the early part of the quest will last all of two or three threads apiece like this one and the last (as in, this one's going to conclude with you guys in Dain, then returning to the desert in time for the next thing to happen). Figure the quest as a whole is more approachable that way.
Thanks for playing. As always, you can follow our update twitter @qmgrandflocto, send questions and the like to http://ask.fm/qmgrandflocto, or just talk after the thread for awhile.