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About Demented

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  1. Spending some time working on Spare Me Your Alpha Nonsense's chapter today.
  2. I'd like to imagine the man never stole a purse in his life, and he tries it one time and just gets his shit rocked by literally everybody.
  3. Demented

    Chapter 23

    Duke Bertolde walking into the meeting area like:
  4. Demented

    Chapter One

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. This isn't like a modern day romance where a rich guy can just have a lover and not worry about having an heir. Kingdoms notoriously care about their bloodlines, and that is going to be an ever present thorn in the side of this relationship if there is going to be one. Even if he 'changed the law' it isn't going to change the fact that he'll need an heir that Noah simply cannot provide. If he intends on keeping that crown and not having a power struggle on his hands, Noah here will have to be relegated to something akin to a male concubine at best, and given the text of this first chapter I'm not sure our cross dressing hero would be fine with such an arrangement. I'll be keeping an eye on this one, there's a lot of potential for melodrama and political intrigue in its future!
  5. I actually stumbled upon the MICE Quotient while plowing through a lecture series by Brandon Sanderson that was relatively recent. He had a guest speaker in one of the videos that talked about it. I've found it's super useful with figuring out what a scene's purpose is in the greater story and what the goals are of that specific scene. I think you're right about adding that caveat about narrowing the set up and pay off requirements to elements you're investing time in with the story. That said, the proverbial cigar can say a lot about a character depending on how you use it. What KIND of cigar is the character smoking? How long have they been smoking them? Has it changed their voice any? What is the setting they are in opinions on smoking? What is the characters opinion on their own smoking habit if they even have one in the first place? There's a lot you can play around with and make payoffs for later with something as simple as a cigar.
  6. Teabag quartet, meet the Galactic Mermaid
  7. Demented

    Chapter 23

    Marigold’s facsimile of a face hardened upon seeing the last person she intended to meet on the Bertolde Estate, or anywhere else for that matter. If the magic item had a heart, it would no doubt be beating much faster seeing the avatar of High King Vinal sitting down in the meeting room they had been directed to. The High King did not seem very pleased to see her either, as his eyes took on a much sharper and colder glint to them the second they rested on her form. They said nothing at first as the Priestess moved into the room and sat down at the table opposite of the high elf gigantes. She barely took note of the fact that both their entourages responded to the increased tension in the room and fanned out to protect their respective charges. The High King’s men wore gear that was made from thick leaves from the gigantes’s vines. The intricate design resembled full plate armor with many segmented layers. They wore skirted leaves around their waist, adding further protection to their bodies. The High Priestess knew from first hand experience that the armor the High Elf soldiers were wearing were far more effective than one would initially think leaf mail like that would be. Not only were the components that made up their armor stronger than any non MageCrafted metal, they were alive and would naturally heal damage on their own provided it wasn't extensive enough. They also acted with the wearer, offering a non magical variety of strength enhancement which allowed the user to lean on the strength of their armor instead of wasting their own energy in combat or labor situations. There were benefits to having access to living material that simply did not exist with other types of MageCrafting. “I didn’t realize the Golden Maiden’s Gift Shop delivered. I was not expecting to see one of her trinkets here.” The avatar of High King Vinal said with barely concealed disdain in his voice as he took a sip out of a rose goblet he conjured up for himself. Marigold gripped her gloved hand in frustration at that jab at her being a Magic Item, and her Paladins and Clerics took deep offense to having their vaunted High Priestess belittled to something as insignificant as a trinket from a gift shop. “What brings you out from your Lair High King Vinal? You haven’t taken interest in affairs outside of your lair in thousands of years.” Marigold asked, trying to keep her tone light and conversational. She did not want to get into another argument with the High King. It was clear his animosity towards her had not waned at all in these thousands of years, but she still wanted to keep things as civil as possible. “I’m here regarding family matters. Not that a hunk of metal would know anything about that.” He added that last part with some venom in his tone before taking a sip of his goblet. The normally aloof and flirtatious tone that the High King employed had long since dropped off his face upon seeing the High Priestess. Neither his own guards nor the paladins and clerics behind Marigold understood the hostility between their two charges, yet the tension in the air was palpable. “I suppose I should have expected you to stick your nose in affairs that don’t concern you however. That is how you operate isn’t it Trinket.” He emphasized the name he gave her, making it quite clear that he did not want to refer to her by her name or title. Her more aggressive paladins were beginning to reach for their weapons at the continuous insulting of their High Priestess, but she waved for them to stand down. Marigold steadied herself, hoping against hope that Baldric and Kotik would be coming soon to alleviate this awful tension in the room as she tried to navigate this minefield. Though no one in the room other than the two who were having this terse exchange knew what their animosity was about, several of the more perceptive members on either side could surmise that it stemmed from something that happened long ago. “Jayceon would not have wanted us to be like this…” Marigold started to say in a placating tone. However the High King's eyes immediately flared bright white as his face contorted into a snarl. Her paladins and Clerics immediately responded, pulling out their weapons and books in preparation for combat. Meanwhile the guards of the High king unsheathed razor sharp and quite massive leaf blades that she knew had quite devastating qualities to them. Should one of those weapons even graze one of her paladins or clerics skin, the resulting allergic reaction would almost certainly be fatal. “Don’t you say Jayceon’s name to me or tell me what he would have wanted, you vile traitorous hunk of trash! Don’t you dare speak his name like you didn’t betray him when he needed you most!” The rose goblet that had been in the High King's hand was now far larger than before, coiling around the High King menacingly as its flowered head almost hissed at the High Priestess like a snake. She could already tell the inside of the flower was now packed with deadly pollen that could easily be violently ejected into the room and deal massive damage and even death to her guardians. “If it wasn’t for the fact that you almost immediately ran and connected yourself with another kingdom, I would have rid this realm of your filth ages ago. It is only the fact that destroying you would cause all out war between our two nations that is holding me back from doing so. Do not press your luck with me any further than it already has been!” Each side of the table stood in battle ready stances for quite some time, the warriors on each side staring each other down on behalf of their respective rulers. They were fully prepared to lay down their lives in combat should either of their leaders give the order to do so. Thankfully neither the High King nor the High Priestess seemed willing to take it to that last step. The threat of all out war between the two nations was just enough to keep their personal grievances in check for now. What killed Marigold was she knew that the High King didn’t used to be like this, and it was largely her fault that he was so filled with rage, and perhaps why he hasn’t seen fit to leave his Lair in quite some time. If she could fix the mistakes of the past she would, but such power was not hers to wield. Not anymore. *** Kotik felt a bit unnerved seeing the copy of himself in the bedroom. Lord Baldric’s creation didn’t move just yet, he was still working on the interior of the illusory figure’s body, but it held an uncanny resemblance to the Lynxian. The younger teen couldn’t help but walk around the copy of himself, looking at it up and down while his tail swished about curiously. Several of the people within the room took quite a bit of appreciation at the sight, finding his adorably inquisitive and wide eyed expressions rather cute. “I’ll be basing this copy’s behaviors and mannerisms off of what I’ve seen from you so far,” Lord Baldric said with a bit of a grin on his face. Despite the seriousness of the situation he was quite enamored with his love circling around his copy and looking at it from every angle like he was. He had been like that himself when he first learned how to make illusions of himself. The sensation was sort of akin to looking at a three dimensional reflection of yourself instead of a mere two dimensional one that you would find in a mirror. “It’s not going to be a perfect copy of you since it won’t have your mind, but it should be enough to fool my father at the very least.” Shahnaz grew a dastardly grin on her face as she shimmied over to her master and whispered something in his ear. Lord Baldric’s face nearly broke almost immediately upon hearing her idea, and though the situation demanded a certain level of seriousness his more youthful teenager impulses ended up winning out. Within an instant, the copy of Kotik took on an exaggerated, romantic gaze as it reached out to lord Baldric. “Oh Lord Baldric, my one true love! Please hold me in your arms forever and ever!” The false Kotik spoke in such an effeminate way, swaying his hips back and forth and clasping his hands together in an almost pleading manner. The real Kotik’s face lit up bright red with embarrassment at his copy’s behavior and stood in front of the figure, yelling at it like it was sentient. “H-hey! What’s the big idea! I don’t act like that at all! Cut that out you!” “Oh Lord Baldric, My heart yearns for you my love!” swooned the false Kotik. “Q-QUIT IT!” He was blushing to the tips of both his ears now as he tried to cover his doppelganger's mouth and prevent him from saying any more truly embarrassing stuff with his own voice. The other three in the room were beside themselves with giggles at the antics, happy for the distraction of the dire news they had been speaking about moments earlier. It was at that moment that the door opened and another version of Lord Baldric slipped into the room. “We’ll be out in a moment, father, let me just get Kotik ready and we’ll head down to the meeting room.” The double said, making sure not to open the door very wide before closing the door and locking it for good measure. There were now two versions of Lord Baldric and Kotik within the room and despite the bed chambers size it was starting to feel a bit cramped with the doubles presence. Kotik found the double of Lord Baldric especially strange since it carried itself and acted so much like the Baldric he knew and loved. It also seemed to have something else that struck Kotik as very strange. “Lord Baldric, why does your copy have emotions?” He asked the young lord inquisitively, absentmindedly keeping his hands over the false Kotik’s mouth as he did so. The double of Lord Baldric was the one who chose to answer. “I am Lord Baldric. My mind is a copy of his and I carry all his thoughts and feelings inside of me just like he does.” “Y-You can copy your mind? I don’t think you told me you could do that!” Kotik said with some alarm in his voice, not sure how he should feel about this. Lord Baldric decided to head off questions before they really started piling up as they did not have much time to go into explanations. “Yes I can, I can make a whole bunch of them in fact. I’ll make sure to include an explanation about it in one of our magic lessons in the future. Right now however we need to get our plan moving.” With that the others in the room crowded around Lord Baldric as the copies of himself and Kotik moved towards the door together. Before the door opened, Lord Baldric encased the four of them in a hollow dome of liquid with very interesting properties to it. Though those inside of the bubble could only barely see what the dome was doing, it was in effect projecting the room around it onto its surface in such a way that it made itself nearly invisible. No matter what angle someone would look at the dome, it would be barely perceptible. The clone of Baldric made a point of opening the door wide as he led the false Kotik out with him. The stressed and frazzled Duke did not take much notice of what was happening at all as he led the illusory clones away from the room at a brisk clip, lecturing the two of them about being on their best behavior during the meeting. He certainly did not see the nigh invisible dome moving out of the room and heading in another direction. Kotik and the others at first thought they would be walking down the hall on the floor, avoiding maids and such as they moved their dome down the various corridors towards the lair, however they were soon met with a much different answer. The dome they were inside did not only serve as a method of concealing them. It also highlighted a vapor stairwell that was originally not visible to them when they had came into the room in the first place. Much to their surprise, they were able to plant their feet tentatively on the vapor stairs as they followed the young lord higher and higher into the air until they came to a whole different pane of ice made with the same properties the dome like bubble was. To those below, this ice floor that stood halfway from the ceiling and the floor was entirely invisible, perhaps even more so than the dome because of how stationary it was. This floor did not go from one end of the hall to the other either, rather it was it’s own mini corridor that snaked in the air above the stone floor below. “Whenever I need to move through the estate without being seen,” Baldric began, “I have these temporary halls constructed for me to walk through. Sometimes I make it into a tube and fill it with water to expedite myself towards the lair, but that takes more preparation than I had available to me. This is also the safest method.” “I always wondered where you vanished off to.” Shahnaz said as she walked along the path. Several were suffering from mild vertigo whenever they looked down at the floor below them, especially since they did not see their own shadows on the ground below. To anyone looking up, it would look like nothing was there at all. The vapor that had served as the stairwell up to the elevated floor was already gone before they even turned a corner. *** Berhanu tried to keep his tail from tucking between his legs as he stood with his fellow comrades in the meeting room. The tension between the High Priestess and this foreign ruler had been alarmingly potent and it was not clear whether or not they’d erupt into all out combat at any moment. They had thankfully brought the tension back to the point where they simply were not speaking to each other, but none of the soldiers on either side had sheathed their weapons since their heated exchanges. In some ways, The Werewolf Paladin could not believe he stood among the ranks of these noble holy warriors. He did not even think himself worthy enough to serve as the guardian of the Silbel Temple’s resident MageCrafter much less act as a guardian for someone as important as the High Priestess, yet that seemed to be where his life had been going ever since he had clawed out of Preja Bog all those years ago. It had actually been meeting that MageCrafter all that time ago that ended up setting him on the path that led him where he was today. Though the youthful MageCrafter of Liquefied Gold was not allowed outside of the Silbel Temple without heavy protection, there was a time when he lived on his own as something of a protector for his hidden village. Berhanu met the lad back when he was just an alchemist and blacksmith those years ago, almost directly after the werewolf had escaped from Preja Bog. He had been so lost and scared at the time when he had stumbled upon that secluded village of Goblins. Though much of the land surrounding Preja Bog is uninhabited save for some brave souls who mine for ore near her lands, that only applied to human settlements. The hidden villages that shrouded themselves so far outside of human eyes while still being outside of Babica’s Bog Lair was another matter entirely. They were the home of goblinoid and even some orcish races within Silbel that wanted to live outside of the reach of adventurers. It had been a long standing accusation from humans that Goblins were nothing more than Minions of Babica encroaching on human lands. They fail to point out that Goblins have a longer history in the country known as Silbel than humans do, and that the goblinoid races have faced a near genocidal purge on multiple occasions from various human kingdoms that have risen and fallen over the centuries. Silbel has a more passive approach to Goblins, merely allowing Adventuring guilds to put standing bounties on all Goblin heads, offering coins for every goblin ear an adventurer brings into the guild. Most humans in Silbel don’t even consider Goblins demi-humans, but simply some variety of mindless monster that infests areas instead of a thinking feeling being. This particular Goblin village was quite well protected, as he had discovered when he stepped on a trapped teleportation rune. One moment he was crawling through the woods, sneaking towards the village with the intention of stealing some food, and the next moment he was trapped in a cage in a cave somewhere else entirely. He was so scared thrashing in that cramped cage, yelping and trying to talk through the unfamiliar shape of his mouth. At the time he had only just started getting back his sense of self. He was not sure who or what he even was, all he knew was that the giant woman scared him and he didn’t want to go back. His thoughts were so simple and primal, driven by fear and a need to survive. His panic had only gotten more intense when a red skinned goblinoid peered around the corner with goggles and thick gloves to hear what the ruckus was about. “Who be making that racket in me cages?” Came the youthful voice of the goblinoid that Berhanu later learned was a juvenile hobgoblin. His ruddy red ears were enormous and flopped about expressively as he lifted up his goggles, revealing a smattering of monocles that magnified and enlarged his eyes. With some flicks of some switches on the side of his head the monocles all rotated out of the way while the goggles he had been wearing rested on his forehead. His irises were deeply purple and quite big on his rounded face as he approached the Wolf thrashing about in fright in the cage. Paired with his diminutive stature that was common with goblinoid races, he actually seemed quite adorable. “Why do The Babica pupper be tryin ta sneak into me village? Me teleportation runes only activate if ye be tryna steal or do other nefarious deeds within the borders of me village. What The Babica be playin at?” He leaned in and stroked his chin, squinting one eye and then another as he looked the werewolf over. “Unless ye not be workin fer The Babica? Ye face be screamin fear somethin fierce, and The Babica’s puppers normally just look heckin pissed and hungers.” Berhanu had shook his head fiercely at the time to indicate that he didn’t work for Babica. This made the Hobgoblin boy’s face light up with interest and curiosity while his ears flopped about excitedly. “Well me be damned, ye be understandin me speakin? Me don’t think me heard of one of The Babica Puppers gainin their thinkin brains back after she be workin her mojo on them. Can ye speak Pupper?” Berhanu had tried, but it only sounded like whines and barely formed half words more than anything else. It frustrated his excited nerves greatly even trying, as he was still quite mad at the time. The Hobgoblin lad raised his thickly gloved hands and gestured for him to calm down. “Relax yeself pupper, ye don’t need ta be sprintin before ye even learn how ta crawl again. She scrambled ye brain up good and changed ye mouth on top of that. Ye probably gonna need ta learn how ta speak all over again. Ye lucky ya ran inta me pupper, cause me no havin the love for The Babica that the other villagers have. Stick with me and me will get you back up and thinkin proper again lickity split like.” That chance meeting had set Berhanu on the path that ultimately led him to take his oaths as a Paladin of the Golden Maiden. He truly did not feel like he deserved to be among all these strong and fearless men and women around him who carried the title of Paladin alongside him. However he tried to keep such thoughts off of his features as he focused on watching the hostile ruler and his green clad soldiers behind him. It had almost felt like an eternity in that standoff before the doors of the meeting room had opened up and revealed Duke Bertolde, Lord Baldric, and the mysterious Kotik that so many that were here were there to see. At least that’s what they looked like. However the Werewolf’s nose picked up something strange in the air about two of the three that had come inside the room, something he almost immediately could identify. The scent that was on Baldric and Kotik wasn’t real. There was an attempt to mask the subtle scent of ice and water in the two figures with an illusory smell, but his werewolf nose coupled with his lucid mind that was already on alert for trouble saw through it almost immediately. He was about to voice his concerns before Duke Bertolde Spoke. “Thank you all for coming today. My son and I would like to formally welcome you all to the Bertolde estate and Silbel. After we handle the matters that are on the table, my son has offered to open up his private showing of the Bavaram circus to those in attendance here as a show of good faith and good will between our respective nations.” The Duke sounded as noble and put together as he could, but it was clear he had been momentarily put off his game by the sight of so many drawn weapons. He even half considered dropping the offer considering the tone he was feeling in the room, but he had gone through with the prepared speech anyway to see if that would help ease some of the tensions. ‘High Priestess,’ Berhanu projected through his helmet to the High Priestess near him. This more than warranted direct mental communication with his superior instead of his next in command. ‘ I have a strong suspicion that the two lads with Duke Bertolde are impostors created by Lord Baldric.’ ‘I was under much the same impression, thank you for affirming my suspicion Paladin Berhanu.’ Marigold messaged back to him as she adjusted herself in her seat, figuring out how she was going to broach this topic. “THAT LOVE IS FALSE! IT’S A FALSE SILBEL STRANGLER! WHERE IS THE TRUE ONE!?” All turned to face the crazed shrieks of someone who had stepped out of a secluded area of the meeting place, holding onto what looked like a boy in acrobat tights as he got closer. It looked like a Hareling, a normally quite docile and friendly race of demi-human, however the expression on the pink Hareling’s face said he was anything but. The insanity and rage that etched on his features was so strange and unnerving on a race known for their warm hugs and friendly dispositions. They were almost stereotyped to be the friendliest race in the world, yet this creature radiated a murderous rage like nothing many of them had ever felt before. “IMPOSTOR! FALSE! GIVE ME MY LOVE NOW!” Several soldiers from both the High Kings and the High Priestess had moved up to deal with him, but at least a couple of each staggered where they stood with Exhaustion gripping them. The Hareling laughed maniacally in such an unhinged manner that it sparked a twinge of fear among a few of the soldiers, especially as they checked on their staggered comrades. “STAY WHERE YOU ARE, ALL OF YOU, UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS SOULS DEVOURED WHERE THEY STAND!” The High King let out a snort of derision, which made the Hareling almost lose his train of thought as he glared at the green haired ruler. “What, do you have something to add!? Hand over my love or your minions perish! You as well Duke,” The hareling pointed at Duke Bertolde, “I have my Geas inside of you as well now! If you do not get your son and my love in this room in the next ten minutes I will have my Geas devour your very soul! Do not try me!” “Enough of this farce.” High King Vinal said with a snarl as he gestured to his rose, which fired off one thorn from it’s vine directly towards the Hareling at high speeds. The hareling was hit right between the eyes with the thorn, and at first it didn’t seem to do much more than puncture into his forehead. However, to the horror of the Paladins and the Duke, and even some of his own soldiers, Vinal’s power became quite evident to everyone in the room. The pink eared bunny scraped and clawed at his forehead in panic as a blistering rash began to grow and boil on his head in a spiderweb pattern. The maddening itching was like nothing he had ever felt before and it only got worse as the thorn began to grow and spread out beneath his skin. No matter how much he scraped and clawed at his face it did not seem to alleviate the horrible painful itching at all, in fact his eyes soon became blinded with clear liquid and blood alike as his blistering skin burst explosively. The acrobat boy scrambled away from the shrieking Hareling, and even though some of the liquid had gotten onto his own skin it didn’t seem to do anything to the boy like it was doing to the hareling. Within moments the creature that had been trying to hold the room hostage began to gargle as his throat closed up and his bubbling and blistering flesh continued to explode mercilessly from the intense allergic reaction. Before he hit the floor, he didn’t even look like the hareling who had initially revealed himself, his face had become too bloated and blown apart by this point to even identify him. All that damage had come from one of the thorns from High King Vinal’s Rose Vine he had been using as a goblet not but a few minutes earlier. However Vinal was not simply sitting there as this was taking place. As the Hareling had died that horrible death, the High King had handed out flower cups much like his rose goblet from earlier to his own men. Each one who drank from the goblet felt their fear fall away from them with a warm glowing feeling in their body. They still had the curse of exhaustion inside of them, but the geas had been dissolved and dismantled in their bodies before they could do any more damage. Marigold had rushed as fast as she could across the room to the acrobat boy, touching her glove to his chest and hitting him with a warm golden glow that cured the lad of his fear and the geas inside of him before it ate his soul. Unlike her own Paladins and Clerics who had a layer of protection with their attunement slots, the boy had nothing of the sort safeguarding his soul. A normal person with a geas inside of them would face instant death of not only their body but their soul should they disobey someone like that horrible hareling. She had seen what creatures like him could do to people in the past, and it was the only reason why she had not said anything about how brutally the High King had chosen to kill the hareling. Anyone with that power was not someone to be shown mercy, she knew that much from her time in this world. “The little bastard was a FearCrafter, a wretched agent of the Dark God of Fear.” the High King spat on the floor towards the hareling, knowing that the creature must have agreed to commit some truly heinous deeds to acquire such power, “Haven’t seen one of their ilk in a long time. Normally they are a pest to deal with, however if you find a way to rid yourself of all fear inside of your body either magically or through willpower it will break apart the geas inside of you. It’s easier if you use a magical aid to just temporarily make you immune to fear when handling these cretins, then they have no power over you at all..” Duke Bertolde felt himself stagger from the exhaustion curse that had hit several of the soldiers earlier, and he noticed with some alarm that the High King hadn’t handed one of the cures over to him. High King Vinal did not address The Duke, instead turning to his son. “I can easily cure your father of his Geas as well, but I will need you to stop playing games with me. Why are you trying to keep my nephew from me boy? Your answer had better be good if you expect me to save your father’s soul. I don’t know what time limit that psychotic hareling put on that Geas your father has inside of him so you better start either coming up with answers or bringing my nephew into this meeting place as soon as possible.” Marigold turned on the High King with alarm and disgust on her face at his proclamation. “You wouldn’t dare allow the duke’s soul to be destroyed when you could have done something to prevent it!” The High King turned on the High Priestess with his eyes glowing menacingly. “Don’t you tell me what I dare to do or not to do trinket! This welp tried to trick me, keep my nephew from me and take him Pantheon knows where! What obligation do I have to save his father when he won’t even face me in person!” The Duke’s breathing came so haggardly as his second attunement slot was destroyed. His face lit up with confusion and alarm as he gripped his son’s shoulders before crumbling to the floor. His body trembled with powerful exhaustion that made it hard to even breathe properly as he tried to stay conscious. He could almost feel whatever that terrifying Hareling had done battering at his third attunement slot even now as he lay drooling on his own stone floor. “Answer me quick boy! Your father doesn’t have much time!” Vinal yelled forcefully at the Copy of Lord Baldric while he prevented Marigold from approaching the Duke. The High Priestess responded to being blocked from aiding the duke by spreading her arms wide and summoning forth an array of hovering gauntlets of enormous size, each made of glowing gold and seemed to be under her direct command. “Stand aside Vinal!” She roared threateningly at the High King, “I will not allow you to let a foreign dignitary die during a diplomatic meeting when it could be prevented! You will start war if you allow such a thing to transpire!” “W-Wait!” The illusory Baldric said, finally finding his voice and raising his hands up in alarm. He had been so lost the second the Hareling had made his appearance and started yelling so loudly about the Silbel Strangler. It had hit the copy of Baldric like a dear in headlights seeing someone that not only knew that dark secret about Kotik, but claimed to be Kotik's lover. What did that even mean? Then there was the Geas that had been made inside of himself. Thanks to his awareness of the nature of magic items and his nature as a copy of Lord Baldric, he had been able to immediately identify when the Hareling had crafted the item inside of his body. He had figured out enough to know that this Geas wanted to attack his attunement slots. In a desperate move, the copy cut off himself from the Main body's attunement slots and isolated the Geas inside of his crafted body. The creation didn't have any attunment slots to attack, so it writhed about inside him as a concentrated being of fear that the copy of Lord Baldric didn't know how to deal with. He couldn't even reach out to the main body for help because the Geas could potentially hop over to his main body and attack his attunment slots if he did so. This version of Baldric's mind was effectively cut off from the rest of the copies until he got rid of this geas inside of him and it terrified him to think about. Terror that only seemed to make the geas stronger inside of him. He tried desperately to quash the fear as he focused on saving his father. “Pl-please save my father! I-I don’t know how to do this myself!" He hated how strangled and frightened his voice sounded as he pleaded to Vinal, "I promise you High King, I am not doing this to spite you! I have to do this! I have to take Kotik!” “Then answer my question boy!” Vinal Spat at the Illusory copy of Baldric who was now stooping over his father and cradling his head in his arms. The Duke shuddered and lost consciousness as his third attunement slot was eaten through, paralyzing his body entirely. The frantic clone of lord Baldric who was trying to process everything that had been happening so fast finally couldn’t hold it back any longer as he shrieked in panic at the High King. “Cernunnos told me to do this okay!? I-I met his avatar! I met him in a Tavern! He told me Kotik had to stay with me! He said I couldn’t let anyone else have him! You have to believe me! Please don’t let my father die!” Baldric had been so distant with his father lately. He had felt so detached from him, not even meeting with the man in person. Yet in this moment as his father lay so helpless in his grasp he felt so scared about losing him. More scared than he ever felt in his life. All his power meant nothing cause he didn’t know how to cure fear like these two high rulers seemed to know almost instinctively. Tears of relief came out of the doppelganger's eyes as Vinal growled and stepped aside for Marigold to rush in and cure his father of his Geas. However, the damage had long since been done to his attunement slots. It would take the Duke months to recover from the paralyzed state he was in now thanks to him losing all three attunements in so short a time. The illusory Baldric’s body was trembling as he hugged his father, wishing that he was doing so with his own body instead of this false copy. High Priestess Marigold turned on Vinal with her facsimile of a face contorted in rage. “We could have prevented this! Either one of us could have! What do you have to say for yourself!?” Vinal glowered at the High Priestess before looking down at the illusory copy of the boy. “I expect an explanation from you, In person, about your meeting with my Uncle Cernunnos. Kotik is my nephew, boy, and even if he’s been entrusted to you I am not going to just let you slink away with him and pretend I don’t know he exists. Where is your real body going to be?” “W-we are heading to the Undersea Kingdom of Triton. I am the Vicar of the Pantheon of Water…” A noise of recognition came into his voice. “I notice you said Vicar and not MageCrafter. That lends some credence to what you say boy. So that would make you the Emperor of the Seas eh boy? Well then that should make this easy. Arrange an audience in your throne room and we’ll discuss this like proper rulers. Send that invitation quickly though, boy, this day has made me quite aggravated.”
  8. Demented

    Chapter 22

    Daaaaw thank you! Happy Turkey day to you as well!
  9. Nice to hear Florida Man is using his powers for good!
  10. Demented

    Chapter 22

    I'd be kinda worried about a person who'd say "You know who MY favorite MageCrafter character is? The psycho stalker bunny boy!" lol
  11. Demented

    Chapter 22

    Lord Baldric felt uneasy as he held Kotik against him while they lay in bed. At first, he had thought he had been using sex as a way of distracting his love from his worries, but in the afterglow he found himself troubled with his own concerns. First on his mind was Kotik’s recent awakening. He now had access to an entire realm of MageCrafting that Baldric could not help him with. He had no real experience with Esoteric MageCrafting like the Art of the Barbarian. If Kotik got into trouble with an item he made inside of him there would be little he could do to help him with that with the knowledge he currently had. What was worse, it seemed to augment the range and potency of his dominion over wood, which caused a whole other host of issues. How was he supposed to give Kotik a safe environment to train if Kotik had such diverse ways to make magic items? He could stumble into some serious problem with an item and trigger an Exhaustion curse or worse. As he lightly stroked Kotik’s head he couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by this growing responsibility he had over the boy. Cernunnos had made it very clear, Kotik’s protection and happiness was his responsibility now. He had to protect him from all comers that may try to take Kotik from him. “Are you sure The Old Man isn’t mad at me?” Kotik asked without looking up at Baldric. The old man had given him a simple cover story before he faded away. Due to his store being destroyed and his downturn in business, he was going to go back to where he came from for a while to build back up his funds. However he said that he would be able to see Kotik again eventually, so he didn’t have to worry or anything. Kotik, when he had realized he had destroyed the Tavern, blamed himself for The Old Man going away. This only deepened his depression from choking someone to death after so long. As much as the boy tried to rationalize that it was Babica, a truly evil woman, the way in which he killed her really ate him up inside. “Of course he isn’t mad at you. He cares very deeply about you. Just like I care about you.” It killed him that he couldn’t tell Kotik that the old man was his father. As far as Kotik knew he was just Giant Blooded. Thankfully the secret of the Old Man’s identity was going to be relatively simple to keep. At that moment, Baldric’s eyes went wide and a shiver went down his spine. The parallel mind that had been speaking with his father reconnected with him and it brought the worst news imaginable. There was so much bad news that happened in that one meeting alone that it was hard to process it all. Kotik’s awakening hadn’t just been enormous for one thing. His awakening had apparently been felt by every magic user and MageCrafter in the world, and international politics had gone into an absolute uproar when Baldric hadn’t been looking. How did he miss this? How did something this massive fly under his information network? Yet it didn’t stop there either. The High King of Felsalvia had decided to not only take a personal interest in this, he had sent a very threatening letter to the Silbel government and the Bertolde estate about how Kotik was his nephew and that he should be relinquished into his custody immediately. The High King never took interest in any affairs outside of his lair. Not since the Dark Age Wars. Yet he not only took a personal interest in this situation he seemed to know for a fact that he was related to Kotik. Which was almost certainly true considering the High King was a Gigantes and a True Dominion MageCrafter of Vines. His father might very well be blood related to Cernunnos. The sheer forcefulness of the letter and the speed in which his Ambassador was supposed to be arriving at the estate alarmed him greatly. “Lord Baldric? Are you alright?” Kotik turned around to look up at Baldric after he had felt him tense up while he lay against the older teen. Baldric tried to answer that he was fine, but then other Parallel minds started reporting in on the guests that were arriving. The guests that were arriving today. How had this gotten past his information network?! Baldric’s face went pale as images of the supposed Ambassador came into his mind. He knew what the High King looked like from investigations into the heroes of Old through interviews with citizens of the various undersea kingdoms. That was no ambassador. That was High King Vinal’s Avatar. He knew how to make a fully fledged avatar like the gods themselves. Not the pale imitation that Baldric could make with his ice and illusions. A true Avatar. This was not like with Babica Preja at all. Babica was a decrepit warlord who had long since lost the prime of her youth and the sharpness of her mind, and even with that it took years of preparations and study to make sure the victory was assured. High King Vinal appeared to be still in his relative teenage years despite being one of the heroes of old from the Dark Age Wars. Since he was both a Gigantes and a High Elf, he aged exceptionally slow even for a normal High Elf. He was genuinely powerful as well, as he had been one of the heavy hitters among the Heroes of Old who dealt the most damage against the necromancers with his weaponized Vines. The only reason why Felsalvia wasn’t named after him was because he delegated rulership to the Queen instead. She was his subordinate, and they didn’t even seem to like each other from the way she told it. He had to get up, putting Kotik to the side as more alarmed parallel minds of his started feeding in images and intelligence into his mind. High King Vinal was not the only one arriving at the estate. High Priestess Marigold from the Central Temple of the Golden Maiden was here, flanked by a company of paladins and clerics. This was in some ways even more alarming than Vinal himself because he knew so little about the High Priestess. He knew so little in fact he wasn’t sure if Marigold was a singular person or a title that has been passed down over the centuries since the Dark Age Wars. He knew she wasn’t a Hero of Old, but she arrived shortly after the Dark Age Wars and has been a central figure of the Goddess of Gold’s temple ever since. Count Raudh, who had taken a nap after their lurid threesome, woke up groggily at the sudden movement that was taking place in the room. Baldric could not pay much attention to that however, because his mind was being inundated by so many updates from his panicked parallel minds it was everything he could do to sift through the information. From what he understood, the meeting with these diplomats was going to happen soon. The Parralel mind assigned to his father was buying them time to think of a plan, walking slower than normal as he made his way back to his room, but the writing was on the wall. Lord Baldric needed to figure something out and he needed to figure something out fast. “My friend, what has come over you? I dare say I have not seen you in such a state before.” “Lord Baldric? Did I do something wrong?” Baldric snapped to attention, gesturing his hand to assuage Kotik. “No my sweet. It’s just…” His words hitched in his throat as he truly tried to process the ramifications of what he was contemplating here. Should he move forward with his contingency plan right now, he would in effect be kidnapping the nephew of a High Royal of another nation. Kidnapping that would be already on top of the enslavement that has already pissed off a very powerful Gigantes. Silbel would not stand by him to keep Kotik, but they doubly wouldn’t stand by him should he go through with this plan. Yet Cernunnos had left no room for question. Kotik was to remain with him. He could not just hand him over to the High King even if he was his Uncle. Surely such a god would not overlook such a thing from happening. If he had to choose between angering earthly nations and angering a literal god, he was going to go with the lesser of two evils on that front. There was more to it besides that. He could not bear the thought of giving up Kotik like this. Kotik was his to protect, his responsibility. “Shahnaz, could you come inside the room please?” Baldric called out to the door as he stood there with an expression that spoke to how hard he was thinking right then. Even as the tiefling entered the room the only thing that was on Baldric’s mind was how to go about this without jumpstarting a repeat of the Dark Age Wars. He was dancing so tentatively on the edge of making an international incident by trying to keep Kotik from Vinal. “Uh oh, I haven’t seen that look on your face in a long while.” Shahnaz said apprehensively as she closed the door. “What happened?” “It’s not good Shahnaz.” Baldric said, pinching the bridge of his nose as he did so, “We’re going to need to move up the time table. By a lot.” “Timetable? What timetable do you speak of Baldric?” Count Raudh asked with a raised eyebrow, “You’re speaking quite cryptically at the moment my friend.” “Lord Baldric, what’s going on? Why do you look so nervous?” Kotik asked as he clambered off the bed and got closer to him. The only person in the room who seemed to have a clue of what Baldric was even talking about was Shahnaz. She did not look too pleased with what he was suggesting. “Are you nuts? Right now? You realize we got foriegn dignitaries on our doorstep right now? The Maid’s have been shooting messages about it with each other all morning.” “They’re here to take Kotik Shahnaz, I can’t let that happen.” Baldric said as he began to pace again. He had his hands behind his back with an expression that was deep in thought, weighing the pros and cons about what he was going to do. “Yet at the same time I cannot just leave without saying a word either.” “Now hold on, why would they want Kotik?” Shahnaz asked with befuddlement evident on her features “Is this cause of that insane awakening of his?” “So this really is my fault.” Kotik slumped dejectedly as his fears were confirmed. “Not exactly.” He hesitated, wondering how exactly to broach this topic with Kotik around. Part of him feared that Kotik might actually want to go with Vinal the second he found out that he was his uncle. He never had a family like that up till now, and he craved and desired attention. Plus Vinal was someone who probably knew how to handle Kotik’s burgeoning powers better than Baldric did. Yet the words of Cernunnos quashed that train of thought. He was supposed to be the one to care for Kotik. He couldn’t just hand over Kotik to Vinal and expect things to work out. Especially not with their mission regarding silbel. “Alright everyone.” Baldric began with a deep intake of breath. “I cannot get into everything at the moment as it would take too much time to explain,” Not a lie, but still rather deceitful, “However what I can say is there are very powerful diplomats that are at our doorstep, one of whom has already made it clear that he’s coming to take Kotik away from us. We cannot allow that to happen.” “Alright my friend, what plan do you propose to not let such a thing transpire? Do you plan on meeting with this person to negotiate for Kotik?” “Something like that Raudh. I’m going to have a copy of myself and Kotik meet with them, however I am almost certain they will be able to see through my illusory creations almost immediately. When that happens I’ll have to hope they’ll hear my copy out about setting up a more neutral meeting place to talk. As a duke's son I have next to no negotiation power in this situation.” “What are we going to do while the copies are talking to them? Where will we go? To a teleportation cart?” Kotik looked quite alarmed about what was happening. Baldric shook his head at that. “No. We will be heading to my Lair, at which point I will take care of everything from there. However we have to move to the lair without being seen so the copies look convincing.” The bluish white haired lad faced the count and took a deep breath. “You do not have to come if you do not want. This is almost certainly going to cause an international incident to one degree or another, and coming with us is going to cause problems for you with your family.” “You know I am with you my friend, though I would appreciate a bit more elaboration on what we plan on doing.” Lord Baldric took a deep breath. He knew Kotik wasn’t going to like this one bit, but it was better to rip this bandaid off now before they actually started sneaking. “Once we are inside the Lair, I am going to activate it’s emergency teleportation feature and transport the entirety of it into the Undersea Kingdom of Triton.” “WAIT WHAT?!” *** The pink eared Hareling had quite the satisfied expression on his face as he snuck into the port city near the Bertolde Estate. The family he had traveled with had brought him a great deal of amusement as they each keeled over one after another. He had cruelly told the boy he had been petting in his arms that he would let the little guy live. The whole time they were traveling in that cart towards the port city, he told the child the exact moment their loved one was going to fall over dead, relishing and stoking the fear inside of the youngster as he watched one family member after another die in such a horrifyingly sudden way. Yet the boy was too scared to warn whatever family member was next, cause he was warned by the bunny boy who held him that doing so would kill himself. The boy had tried so hard not to get killed, crying silently even as his father finally fell over while leading their horses by the reigns, followed by the horses themselves keeling over and dying while still connected to the cart. "Go ahead little one! You were such a good little boy. Go run and be free now. Don't worry! You're safe now! You are You are! Be free!" Yelled this with mock friendliness as he ushered the boy to run away. The sobbing youngster actually thanked him as he turned and fled. The Hareling watched with such glee on his face as the little thing sprint away crying as fast as his little legs could carry him. He fled right until the Gias inside of him struck like a snake in the bushes, making the fleeing boy tumble lifeless into the ground. It had been so funny watching these humans be so afraid of him. These evil, awful humans who had made his life miserable for all those decades. Now he was their nightmare, not the other way around. He was the one with the power now! With that thought filling his mind he rushed forward and infiltrated the port city near the Bertolde Estate. While Harelings upper bodies were about the same strength as a human of a similar size and build, their legs were another matter entirely. They had rather impressive jumping abilities which allowed them to travel rather quickly over short distances and leap onto small buildings. They did not have the climbing ability of a Lynxian, but with some training they could maneuver around city rooftops with superhuman ability. The Hareling was also quite adept with using fear to manipulate crowds around him. Even hints of fear could be nudged in one direction or another. When he placed himself intentionally in a slave auction, he could exploit the bidder’s fear of not being able to purchase their frightened prize and compel them to fork over much more coin than they intended on spending. Sometimes he would stalk outside of a human family’s home for weeks, figuring out what fears gripped their family with his Hareling ears. Sometimes a spouse feared that their love was cheating. The Hareling had been able to take that fear and stoke it, growing it into a full blown paranoia which led to such delightful results. He had driven almost a dozen people in various territories in Silbel to slaughter their whole family and then themselves without even showing his face to the family or crafting a magic item inside of them. He knew for a fact that the Silbel government has been growing more on edge lately due to his efforts. He had used his abilities to terrorize everything from merchants to the barracks of low ranking soldiers and guards. Sometimes he would even scope out a prospective target to become one of his fear crazed super strong minions who would slaughter and keep slaughtering until they were put down like a rabid animal. It didn’t matter to the Hareling how long the minion lived. Even if the minion failed and was killed right away, it would raise fears and concerns among their ranks about traitors in their midst. Fears that the Hareling could stoke up into greater and greater realms of hysteria until they were executing each other for imagined treason. He was not here to play like that however. No, he was on a much more serious mission this time. His love was nearby and he had to find him and finally be together with his Silbel Strangler. He was so excited to see his love after so long. He wondered how much the lovely little cherub had grown since the last time he had seen him. He had been such an adorable little angel when he had choked that fat horrible man to death all those years ago, it was almost certain he had grown into a true beauty since then. There was quite a lot of fear and uneasiness in town. As his ears felt and listened around, he picked up that something had happened. He could tell it had to do with when his love called out to him with his fear and his power so forcefully. He had called to the hareling so loudly that everyone heard it as well! How romantic! His love wanted the world to know they were meant to be together! He was only too eager to listen and find out where his love was. Every fleck of fear in the air painted more of a picture for him to work with. The Bertolde estate had a Lynxian did they? A lynxian with Blue eyes you say? That had to be his love! He never broke into a noble estate before. Those were normally so heavily guarded. Normally he'd not even chance it, but for his love he would risk it all to be together with him! Then he heard them. Circus performers, his ears tuned into them and their light fears about how their private performance at the Bertolde estate was going to go. His grin widened so broadly as he crouched on the rooftop and prepared to sneak into the festive procession towards the estate. His love will not have to wait much longer! His love was coming to save him from these filthy humans!
  12. Working on the most recent chapter of MageCrafter. This one's got quite a few moving parts to it so It'll take a little bit.
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