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aristocrat 06/27/2022 (Mon) 13:20:29 Id:1252be No. 85
Witch of Fecundity is perhaps the biggest surprise that came out of any story I've written, even Impregnator Kings. What was intended to be a harmless little diversion to have a side-project with a gimmick took on a life of its own thanks to the choices and work of all of us through choices and shared ideas. What started as a tale of Duke Edward wanting to become an Impregnator King became Princess Edwys, who was already an Impregnated Princess. Then, the entire story began to change until finally it became Witch of Fecundity after Edwys ascended to become a witch thanks to the efforts of both Beatrice and Erika. I will again summarize briefly the main plot points for those interested in reading Witch of Fecundity but unsure what to expect: Castle Valachia: destroyed. All inhabitants killed. Collapsed into a giant sinkhole so that nothing remained. Edwys: sacrificed her child as part of the ritual to become a witch. Enabled by Beatrice. The only option to "obtain the blood of a recently killed blood relative" called for in the ritual. Beatrice and Erika: formed an Unholy Alliance where they would work together to eliminate King Vlad as a threat and get revenge for his crusade. It continues for the time being as Edwys matures, but its future is unknown. Daniella: dead. Trapped in a situation where King Vlad executed her. King Vlad: practically dead. Given the ultimate punishment of having his body destroyed, but he lives on as a pair of eyeballs that will exist. Kept alive by Erika's magic so he can observe what she wants him to observe for all eternity. He will not die unless Erika allows it, even if his eyes are crushed to nothing, they are a part of Erika's being. Tharja: As a male, being kept alive, but made comatose through primitive 'lobotomy' to act as 'research material' for Edwys. Edwys has embraced the name of Witch of Fecundity. She must now navigate the expectations of witch society, acquire her own magical power, and interact with Beatrice and Erika who currently all share the same roof. She has aspirations of reforming the Pax Bernkastel, achieving magical power to rival the strongest witches in the world, and altering her body to ensure she can get pregnant as much as she wants. She currently has the ability to carry a child past her due date and then go into labor whenever she chooses, without side effects. She can also choose when she 'drops'. Unfortunately further changes require human body parts to experiment with, and that means going out 'harvesting'... Thread #1 can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20210619220445/https://pregchan.com/d/res/17526.html Thread #2 can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20220620222910/https://pregchan.com/d/res/92907.html (or here until the original pregchan goes away: https://pregchan.com/d/res/92907.html ) The change in boards necessitates a new thread, but hopefully it will catch up. Oh, and I believe the last vote was ready to be tabulated. I will do that now. >1 vote for option one, learn how to cast the red truth. >4 votes for option three, hear about the Bernkastel-Lambdadelta conflict. From Erika's point-of-view. Hear about the conflict which led to the creation of the Pax Bernkastel. Poll closed. Update soon. Furthermore, if you care to post emotional reactions or long term strategy, feel free to use the chat thread which will be used for both Impregnator Kings and Witch of Fecundity. It is located here: https://new.pregchan.com/c/res/36.html I hope the story is enjoyable.
The Bernkastel-Lambdadelta conflict... Beatrice and Erika swore they wouldn't talk about it while in the same room. Only Erika is in the room. Now is your opportunity to hear her side. You feel a little bit of apprehension at knowing you won't hear Beatrice tell it to you first, but... you should trust Erika, too. You'll start with the history, you say to her. You want to know about the Bernkastel-Lambdadelta conflict. "..." Erika tilts her head, lips twisting into a little frown. "Who told you the name 'Lambdadelta'? Did Beatrice already discuss that?" ...Oh. Right. Erika didn't hear Beatrice tell you. You clarify. Beatrice offered to teach you about the... event. When she did, she spoke that name. But, you decided to postpone it and continue practicing and studying. You exercise caution with your words, not sure which part Erika is most concerned about. If it's that Beatrice shared her side first, or the mention of the name 'Lambdadelta'. "..." Erika gives a little shrug. "In that case, I'll be telling my side first," she says. --Yes, you reply. Yes, that's what you mean to say. Erika nods. "'Scuse me a sec, newbie." She raises her book and shakes it. Ichor begins to fly out as if truly being flung from it left and right. It sticks to the walls, the furniture, the ground, and even the ceiling. From each spot appears some type of furniture. A lovely tapestry with an elegant design hanging from the wall. A carpet. A candlestick for multiple candles, all lit. A shelf full of clothing that looks like Erika's tastes. Vases. A carved wooden statue of some ornate shape. A bowl on the table in front of you full of various fruits. Two more chairs join yours at the table. And finally, an impressive little bed with fine sheets and pillows. Erika finally stops shaking and affects a sigh. Her eyes shut as if in contemplation. ... Um. Should you ask, you say? Erika waves a hand. "Don't mind me. I'm just going to need things to throw and break before I'm done telling this story." ...Ah. It seems all this decorating is purely to give Erika ammunition for her emotional outbreak which telling this story will provoke. You'll just have to keep calm, for now. >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.
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Erika shakes her head like a swinging pendulum. "Where to begin?" she says, musing out loud. ...At the beginning, you offer? She gives you a scathing look. "Thanks, newbie." You give a nervous laugh. It was a sort of stupidly obvious suggestion.. "..." Erika finally lets out a long sigh, her mouth open enough to let her tongue slip between her teeth. "Witch Bernkastel was my Master." Her eyelids peel back and her lips turn into a stark smile. "The Master was kind!" She speaks in a praiseful lilt, as if a devoted believer speaking of their God. "My Master was fair! She was beautiful and powerful and everything that is good in the world!" There's tears in her eyes, and drool coming down the side of her mouth. It's... interesting. You're not sure what to make of it other than it seems more than an apprentice and student relationship, Erika worshipped her. Perhaps so far as to worship the grass she walked on. Perhaps... perhaps it makes sense? Bernkastel was the Witch of Miracles, after all. You can picture a Witch embodying the concept of Miracles being very caring. You don't have time to reflect about it. Erika's expression sublimates into anger. Her teeth gritting as she hisses an intake of breath. "But it all turned to shit--!" She grabs the bowl on the table and flings it carelessly across the room. The fruits inside of it fly out in various directions. One of them hits the wall with a 'splat' sound. The wood bowl is vaguely heard wobbling on the floor from being spun. It got your attention, at least. She shakes with what you're guessing is rage after that angry outburst. An extreme emotion, for sure. ... Maybe you should react, just to let Erika know you're listening. Choice time: >Add humor via sarcasm. Interject that it was a nice throw, but you might have liked one of those fruit to nibble on as she talked. >Add humor via deadpan. The kind of shit... worth breaking things over. >Add humor via nonchalance. How awful for Erika. You do hope it turned out okay. >Actually, this might be a good time for blunt honesty: What is Erika's problem?? >...No, no. Just sit and let her go on.
>>208 Option 5
Option 5
>>208 Option 1
Option 5.
>>208 Option 5. We get snarky, and we get disemboweled.
Option 5. I question if it's the smartest move because Aristo could have easily gone on with us being quiet without player input, but I think it best not to snark right now.
>1 vote for option one, inject humor via sarcasm. >5 votes for option five, just let her go on without comment, for now. You'll let this go. It's a little too early to derail the talk into side comments. Even if that was rather comical in its grandiosity. If you're going to be the type of witch who one day brings together all of your sisters and reforms the Pax Bernkastel... You're going to need to suffer a little melodrama and keep the cooler head. The focused head that remains on-task. You watch Erika seethe and huff and gasp through her clenched teeth. "...Anyway," she says, voice strained. >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.
"So... I think I mentioned we used to throw parties, right newbie?" Oh. Yes. You think they did mention that. Not only that, but Maria's books mentioned things like that. Erika nods, while shrugging her arm and making a little dismissive gesture. "Yeah. That was before the Pax Bernkastel. Parties typically came in two forms, newbie... some witches sent out their experiments with invitations, the slow route, and sometimes a group of witches would just show up at your home and tell you that you're throwing a party, now." You can't help but give a snort of amusement. Really? Just barge into a witch's manor and expect to be entertained? "Yep! Bad form for the hostess to kick everyone out. That happened less to witches who made it a point to throw parties regularly, of course." --Oh, all right. It seems a bit like forcing another witch to have some minimum standard of interaction with witch society. Erika steeples her hands in front of her face, her eyes shut. "The point is, it was at one of those parties my Master met... her. Lambdadelta, the Witch of Certainty." Ah. And they hated each other and wrecked up the place? Erika raises an eyebrow, opening her eyes again. "Newbie, I wasn't there for their meeting. I dunno who you could ask what their first meeting was like. They probably wouldn't want to cop to witnessing it." ...Why not? It's just a meeting. Even if it started the mess, why would that be a taboo? Erika's features start to turn grim. Her grin spreads in a wide smile you don't like. Plenty of teeth. "Ah. But how does one explain... newbie. I want you to imagine you're one of the most powerful witches in existence." --Okay. You're not sure if that's how far your studies will take you, per se... but you'll imagine it. "Now imagine you meet some other 'most powerful' witch in existence." Her fingers steeple again. "Now, suppose that both of you have claimed completely opposite concepts to embody. The powerful witch of Fecundity meets the powerful witch of Barrenness. Infertility. Sterility." That idea gives you a jolt. Beyond having an emotional and intellectual revulsion to the idea, it almost feels like your book wants to shy away from the thought. Your entire state of being. Why? There's no need of a witch like that! "..." Erika... shrugs. She's smiling again, this time much more smugly, as if she made her point. "That's the situation my Master and Lambdadelta found themselves in!" ...Ah. Even then, you can't concentrate on the epiphany. Your mind races with the example Erika has given you. The unease of the prospect starts to gnaw at you. That of a witch possibly learning magic that cancels out your spells. You clutch your book tight at the thought. You mentally whisper to it that it won't happen. No, no, never. Erika meanwhile watches you with a bit of amusement. "I see. You're getting it, aren't you?" ... Yes. You finally calm yourself and let yourself relax. So that was the cause of the Bernkastel and Lambdadelta conflict. "Mmmmmm-- Basicaaaa~lly! There's a lot more nuance there. Though as Bernkastel's apprentice, I'm not sure just how much to divulge." She tilts her head, as if appraising you. ... There's definitely more to this story, but Erika needs some sort of nudge. Your first instinct is to tell her that since Bernkastel is dead, she's under no obligation to keep any more secrets. Wouldn't revealing them all fit with her being the Witch of Truth? --But, no. That's the wrong argument. It'll just make her mad. You'll get nothing more than Erika throwing around more furniture if you say something like that. So, how should you frame it... Choice time: >Prompt Erika with seemingly innocuous details. Did her Master and Lambdadelta meet... often? >Steer toward a clarification of scope. Was this always a problem? It seems like it hardly needed to have affected every witch. >Bring up the rule you heard before. Who was the 'third at the table' for Bernkastel and Lambdadelta?
>>274 Option three. I haven't thought about that before, but I'm immediately curious.
>>274 Option 3
>>274 Agreed, Option 3.
Option three
>4 votes for option three, bring up the "three at a table" rule. What about the third at Bernkastel and Lambdadelta's table? Nuance. If you think about it logically, then at the case of parties, Bernkastel and Lambdadelta would sit together? Who would be the third to sit with them? It's have to be someone who could add balance... that's your way of thinking, at least. "..." Erika's lips contort in a sneer. "Who sat with them? No one sat with them."  She shakes her head. "You're sitting across from someone, someone opposed to what you're choosing to embody. Are you going to let anyone interfere?" --Isn't that the whole point? That fights would go on forever with witches in similar strength, until some other witch intervened? You don't think they'd appreciate it either. Well, maybe you would have if Beatrice shot Erika with a stake while you jumped on her, but Erika likely wouldn't have liked it. "..." Erika raises an eyebrow. "Who says they fought?" ...You're completely lost. Erika digs a fingernail in her ear. "Maybe you're too young to get it. It's not that they were scared of each other, but neither of them were going to fight. They were just going to stare at each other without directly acting." She takes the nail out and rubs the bit of filth up into her headpiece, right into one of King Vlad's eyes, where it sticks. ... At any rate, you say, this sounds like a very strange conflict. Erika shrugs. "My Master and Lambdadelta fought in their own way, the rest of us fought in our way." Parties with Witch Bernkastel and Lambdadelta became tense. Knowing both of them were powerful and a real fight between them would be an impressive battle, all witches waited for either to act. With tense, bated breath. When Bernkastel and Lambdadelta didn't act... they became restless. Boredom began to creep in. Sooner or later, fights would break out, with either Bernkastel or Lambdadelta deciding to intervene. They'd guarantee victory for one side over the other. Their magic was special, it wasn't as if either of them fired a projectile at one of dueling witches. Either Bernkastel's boon or Lambdadelta's boon would enable one witch to achieve absolute victory over the other. "...That's powerful stuff, newbie. Facing someone of equal strength and intellectually knowing you're in for a long fight, but instead you're able to just cleave through them and savor your own victory." Eventually, Bernkastel and Lambdadelta were being invited to every party. Eventually, all witches at those parties were taking sides with one of them. Eventually they started taking sides and stayed there consistently, becoming now known as 'Bernkastel's pawn,' or 'Lambdadelta's piece.' Fights became more contrived and witches who tried to become neutral or go back to being neutral had to be bribed in again. "--Honestly I quite liked it. It was chaos, it was crazy, but it wasn't like anything was stopping anyone from walking away. It gives a rush to win a duel, newbie. They're fun. No one knew who had the upper hand, either." ... It's hard to imagine. But, given the exhilaration you've felt, both in losing and almost-winning-before-losing fights... you think you can sympathize. Would you personally be able to walk away? For very long? You're not sure. Erika suddenly stands up, the squeak of her chair dragging across stone making you jump. "And then it came...!" She marches over to the lit candlesticks and picks up the holder. "The biiii~iiig, big, betrayal came!!" She turns it around like she's wielding a large hammer. She swings it over head until the side with the candles hits the ground with a hard sound of wax meeting stone. Light jumps across the room as flame flickers and jumps everywhere. One candle rolls near the carpet and you can smell fabric burning. Not done, Erika raises it and smashes it again, dislodging the last candle which had clung on for dear life. The stick thoroughly bent and ruined, she tosses it off to the side before turning her attention to the fallen candles. Wordless raging rings throughout the room as she crushes each of them beneath her heel. It leaves a mess of debris in cracked wax and burning wick. One is even kicked against the wall where the force finally extinguishes it. "...Gimme a minute," she says, exhaling. Given, you tell her, crisply. >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.
Erika finally gets a hole of herself and pulls herself back to the table. It truly does look like recounting all of this to you is taking a toll on her. If she were a mortal, you'd swear she'd gone for days without sleep. "So. Let's not beat around the bush: the betrayer was Beatrice." She brings up a hand to her face, rubs it, then lets it trail up to her head. She seems to remember King Vlad's eyes are on top of her headpiece again, as her hands clench in a fist and bop one of them as if she were drilling her own fist in her head. "She did it. It was all her. By herself. And no one is going to let her forget that." She smacks her lips. "She waited until Bernkastel and Lambdadelta were having a tense stand-off with each other... and then destroyed her book." ...The words send a shudder through your body. A chill down your spine. You experience a deja vu as you draw your book close to yourself. She re-directs her attention toward you. "I don't even have to explain it to you, do I, newbie?" --That losing her book would kill her? No. "Right." ... That's wrong. No, no, no. The kind of killing you suffered from Beatrice and Erika, that was all in good fun. Killing another witch... permanently? Attacking her book? You can feel the revulsion run through you. How'd she do it...? Erika shrugs. "I dunno. I wasn't there to watch her do it. From what I hear it shocked everyone in the room. Before anyone knew what happened, Witch Lambdadelta had fallen over like a detached marionette." --Why? Erika hacks a cough and asks you to repeat yourself. You voice again: why? You can't be more precise than that. "..." Erika shrugs. "I've got three theories, newbie. One... that she thought my Master would reward her for killing her so-called enemy. That's the 'Beatrice is an Idiot' theory." "Two, she was tired of being involved in the struggle, but rather than try to detach herself like someone with half a spine, she just murdered Lambdadelta instead. That's the 'Beatrice is a Coward' theory." ... You want to speak up a word in Beatrice's defense, but you can't muster the courage. "Three!" Erika counts on her third finger. "Beatrice heard some other witches during a 'cool-down' period who started bitching about not having the time to study by themselves anymore. That 'maybe it'd be better if Lambdadelta really died.' That's the 'Beatrice is an ignorant twit who can't tell the difference between idiots saying stupid shit to blow off steam instead of actually wishing something would happen.'" She shakes her little fists and bangs them on the table. "Either way! Beatrice killed Lambdadelta. And you know the funny part? She could have gotten away with it in the chaos of the moment if she hadn't announced it proudly and punctuated it with an indignant 'Now can we please go back to normal??'" Her tone is mocking and actually a passable impression of Beatrice. "But, of course, my Master was not going to forgive that." She lets out a shuddering little sigh, giving a lapse in her talk. It's emotional for you too, but... Isn't there a problem with this story? You run over the details Erika just told you. Choice time: >Why didn't Bernkastel kill Beatrice on the spot in retaliation? If you had watched a friend die, you think revenge would be your immediate concern. >Did Beatrice really act completely alone? Her words after kill Lambdadelta suggest she had some people on her side. >Why wasn't Erika there? If Erika was Bernkastel's apprentice, why did she leave her side? >You'll save questions for the end. Maybe something will explain it.
Option one. It seems a bit naive, but I don't think Erika can answer 2 because she wasn't there, and 3 she probably beats herself up about.
>>310 Option one, with a side of three. Maybe phrase it as "Why didn't Bernkastel kill her, then? Or for that matter, why didn't you?" or something along those lines.
>>310 Option 1
>Bring up the question of why Bernkastel didn't kill Beatrice immediately. Point out the first apparent contradiction you see in the story involving why Beatrice wasn't immediately punished if she truly suddenly murdered Lambdadelta so violently and unambiguously, with many witnesses. Poll closed. Update soon.
That sort of brings the obvious question to the situation, doesn't it? Why didn't Bernkastel just obliterate Beatrice right there, then? "..." Erika... shrugs. "Who knows? Maybe she thought others would stop her. Maybe she was still stunned at seeing her rival killed in front of her. Maybe she wasn't entirely sure it was Beatrice..." You listen, nodding your head. You note that Erika has apparently mentally ruled out that Beatrice could have defended herself. She smacks her lips. "If I had to guess, it'd be the last one. Especially with what happened next." She tells you the next part of Bernkastel's actions. Her announcement. "My Master is very good at getting people's attention. She let everyone know that she would be confronting those who had participated in the betrayal. It was all a scare technique, of course. There was only one witch really responsible... Beatrice." 'Good at getting people's attention,' you ask? Erika deflects your question, telling you it's not her secret to reveal. Maybe Beatrice knows? At any rate, no one had anything to worry about. Some... may have gotten ideas, but they were completely unjustified." You get the impression Erika is intentionally leaving things out. That's not very like the Witch of Truth. It's when she drums her fingers on the table and seems to contemplate what to destroy next that you intervene. Choice time: >Ask Erika if she were involved with confronting anyone. She would have been, surely, as her closest apprentice? >Why would Bernkastel need to scare everyone? It sounds strange. You may get little more than her opinion, but that is something to consider. >Just ask her openly what happened next. She might break something else, but it's collateral damage at this point.
Option 2. Even if it's an opinion, it gives us something to think about.
>>640 Agreed. Option 2.
>>618 Option 1 I don’t think we’ve heard about Erika’s actions during this time yet and i’m curious.
>>618 Option three. I don't think what Bernkastel was trying to do matters, since the Pax Bernkastel happened anyway.
>1 vote for option one, ask what Erika's actions were at this time. >2 votes for option two, ask why Bernkastel needed to scare anyone. >1 vote for option three, just prompt her to continue with what she wants to say. Interrupt and ask why Bernkastel needed to scare any witch other than Beatrice. Poll closed. Update soon.
​You have a question, you signal to Erika. "What is it?" she replies. Her attention is more on her own thoughts than you. Why would Bernkastel need to 'scare' anyone? It gets Erika's attention. She squints her eyes at you, as if wondering what you're getting at, before sighing. "I would suppose it was to make everyone more concerned for their own skin than Beatrice's." --Meaning? "If my Master had announced she planned to kill Beatrice instead of going after all of them, some other witches may have decided something stupid. 'That's not fair. Let's just call it all off.' ...That sort of thing. By threatening everyone, she got them thinking she'd go after them one by one. So, they'd be busy preparing for her instead of gathering around to protect any specific target. --Of which the most likely one was Beatrice." Ah. So she's saying Beatrice's friends may have saved her. Erika shoots you a look. "Beatrice didn't have a lot of friends after her betrayal." Is she really so sure of that? "..." Erika pauses for a long time while she stares at you. Before she finally gives a shrug. "Whatever. I wasn't one of them." You tell her the contradiction you noticed. Erika knew Beatrice announced she had killed Lambdadelta to everyone when she did so, but Erika also said she wasn't around to see that exact moment. How did she know if Beatrice really said that, or if it was true? "...Huh. Not bad, newbie. Yes, I was told after the fact. By my Master. She had no reason to lie. Beatrice has never denied killing Lambdadelta, either." Aha. And then, Bernkastel would've had the opportunity to ask for Erika's help, but didn't. You keep that observation to yourself. At any rate, all of it does make sense. Bernkastel's magic was in 'miracles' not outright obliterating everything. ...It seems if other witches truly resisted her promises of victory, she may have had trouble defending herself. "Hone that intellect and attention to detail, newbie. It'll help you just as much as magic." You thank her for the compliment and let her continue.​​ >No choice yet, further update coming soon.
​Erika starts squirming in her seat. You notice her teeth are clenched. It's unlike the little fit she's been throwing. It feels less like blind anger and more like... nerves? "...This next part was not my Master's finest moment." Erika exhales a harsh breath. "I know. I know. Beatrice is and has always been a coward..." --Hey, can Erika really say that after Beatrice infiltrated the castle? Erika stops and fixes her eyes on you. "Something which she only did after I concocted a plan that would let her hide. I had the much less fun job of spying outside of the castle and making sure no outsider affected the plan. This included intercepting agents from that other country and spying on your... research material." She gives a little insincere smile. "You're welcome, by the way." All right, this isn't the time to defend Beatrice. You apologize and thank her. She gives you a satisfied nod. "Back to our conversation. My Master had scared away potential allies from helping Beatrice... but what's to stop Beatrice from just running away? There's many ways any witch can hide." She lists a few. She could just alter her shape to pose as a mortal. She could just run and never stop running. She could dig a hole in the ground and never come out of it. You can't imagine Beatrice living in a literal hole, so you take that one as a metaphor. "My Master... she had a plan. A drastic plan. One, I didn't know about. I would have gladly fought with Master, but-- She needed this." You tilt your head. You believe Erika is speculating. Perhaps putting her own expectations on Bernkastel to meet the image of her in her head. Erika sighs. "But, she did something to get Beatrice's attention. She took away her favorite toy." "That was... Maria." "She went to Maria's personal space and killed Maria." ... You can't hold back your gasp of surprise. What's surely a look of horror on your face. Bernkastel... killed Maria? After everything about 'witches don't kill each other'? Why? --No. Your intelligence asserts itself immediately, though your emotional state needs a little more time. Maria was Beatrice's apprentice. Beatrice was obviously still obsessed with, and attached to, Maria. To the point she hoarded Maria's books as mementos. Your heart melts at the feeling... Beatrice must have truly bonded with you to part with a piece of Maria's memory. To give you Maria's book. It's as if a part of you carries Maria. ...Though thinking back to the experience in King Vlad's tower, maybe that's not an entirely good thing. --You cough. You understand, you tell Erika. Maria was so precious to Beatrice, it'd send her into a rage and she'd search Bernkastel out for a fight... is that right? Erika... shrugs. "That's the general idea, yeah." For no other reason. That's cruel. You state your judgment immediately. "So was Beatrice killing Lambdadelta," she says back. Her tone's surprisingly more even at the moment. "Maybe if Beatrice had thought about what she was doing, for a change, nothing like that would've happened." --Ugh. Erika does have a point, there. Killing a mature and powerful witch when she's distracted in a fight she doesn't expect to become deadly... one with many friends... that is bad. Versus killing an innocent witch who describes all parties as 'fun', yet apparently is looked at as only a 'toy' for Beatrice... and therefore is killed to provoke Beatrice... ... You want to defend Beatrice. You've seen how much losing Maria has hurt her. But, who's to say Lambdadelta's death hurt no one? It certainly seemed to hurt Bernkastel. "I see what you're thinking, newbie." Erika's eyes have an edge to them, though her tone is much more smooth and even. "Who's got the moral high ground? It's got to be Beatrice, right? If Maria was innocent. And... she was. But it's different, and here's why." "My Master knew she was doing something wrong." "Beatrice acted like she deserved an accolade. That people would start applauding." "That's why what she did was called 'betrayal'. More than a few just call her 'betrayer'. --I'm generous and use her actual name, and title." Erika smiles. ...Then she raises her book, grabs a vase with magic, and flings it against the wall. You're a bit desensitized to the display, but it still makes you jump. It's a good punctuation for th​​e end of that talk, you guess. Fine. Bernkastel's killing of Maria was beyond wrong. You know the extent of Beatrice's pain. But, you also understand... other people were pained by Lambdadelta's murder, too. "..." Erika's face gets a look of surprise before turning to irritation. "Don't give me that look, newbie." She shakes her head, sighing. "So, my Master's plan worked. Beatrice basically threw open the doors of her manor and dared my Master to enter, promising a duel to the death. But this is where things get tricky..." >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.
>>1688 I'll get the booze. That won't be hard, there's like five liquor stores in my town. Who's bringing the popcorn?
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"As I said, my Master was very good at getting people's attention. She didn't just want people to know she killed Beatrice, she wanted to know she was going to erase every trace of Beatrice. There a great deal of 'neutral' witches around Beatrice's lair. --That's right, newbie. The one we're inside, right now," says Erika. ...You nod. At some time in the past, Beatrice and Bernkastel fought here. "My Master entered Beatrice's manor. She would let the observers know when Beatrice was dead because the house would crumble to dust. She wasn't going to be accused of stealing Beatrice's research." "So, they waited." "And waited." "And waited." "And started to become bored, but waited anyway." "Then... they became worried. Perhaps my Master and Beatrice had somehow killed each other? Or any other possibility." Erika wasn't present? She shrugs. "I wasn't invited. Probably she didn't think I'd be 'impartial.'" Hmm... you think that must be more projection, but you don't have time to think about it. "Anyway, as I'm sure you can guess, Beatrice... eventually... came out." "She announced she had killed Bernkastel, my Master." "And then?" "All hell broke loose." Erika describes how the utter shock that Beatrice had killed Bernkastel went through the whole community. "For some, there was relief... the cowards. For some, there was awe. Here she was, Beatrice, killer of two very powerful witches. And then there were those of use who were... incredulous. I was in that category." Erika crosses her legs and leans back in the chair sideways, so much her headpiece slides off her head and falls eyes-first onto the floor. "Beatrice? Beatrice, killing my Master, the great Witch of MIracles, in what was ostensibly a fair fight? Even if it was on her territory, on her terms, it was impossible!" ...Yet it happened. Erika hears your words and takes on a grimace like she wants to strangle something. At the same time, the wooden statue she had set up makes a sound of splitting wood, then tears itself in two. A shower of splinters flies everywhere nearby. "It... just... couldn't... be!" She sits up and stomps her feet. You realize after the first stamp of shoe on ground that she's deliberately stomping on King Vlad's eyes, which ooze viscera and muck all over the floor. "Lambdadelta? Okay. She was distracted and it was a sneak attack. That made sense. My Master? ...How!?" She scoots her chair back with a very loud squeak of wood against stone and stares you right in the eyes, practically frothing at the mouth. "Foul play. Trickery. Underhandedness... something! We accosted her. We had one simple request." She takes a breath, calming down. "...just one." "Use the red. Say how my Master, Bernkastel, died. Exactly how Beatrice won the fight. What happened in there." "Did my Master fall into a trap? Doubtful. She's not stupid. She'd be prepared for that. Did Beatrice make some alliance with a witch-hunter? Again, doubtful. No witch-hunter would do something like that. What about a random mortal? That makes even less sense. That left several options." She pushes her chair away fully and begins pacing. Slowly. "Number one... there was another witch helping her, inside. Which makes no sense. Why would anyone want to help Beatrice? Why didn't the so-called 'observing' witches see her? Remember, after my Master died, we all met to discuss what to do about the situation. A witch inside would've had to get out." Well... hm. You don't think that one is impossible, strictly speaking, but it does sound unlikely that, if their duel was to the death and everyone expected Bernkastel to win, that someone would help Beatrice. You'll rule that out completely. "Number two... my Master just made some stupid mistake. Tripped on a piece of furniture, I don't know. A completely undeliberate error on my Master's part might be explainable, but that's just stupid. My Master was not stupid." --You have to admit. The idea of a very powerful witch being so dumb as to just stumble during the middle of a death duel seems unlikely. "Number three... foul play. Of a kind we don't know what. Maybe she just kicked her?" A fight between witches is supposed to be done through witchcraft. That goes without saying. Where's the fun in just throwing aside all the power you're supposed to have built up and just punching each other? "That one... that one had legs. But, was it as simple as that? A hard kick and then burning her book? ...It would need deliberate planning." Erika explains there are ways to stop a book from being harmed, even when it's not being held by you. "Call them 'emergency spells' or whatever you want." Generally they exist in the form of making the book try to 'crawl' its way back to you. Or snap shut so it can't be opened. Or become so hot that anyone who touches it is burnt as if touching burning iron. "But those take a lot of work, and you have to set them to trigger when the book leaves your hands, so unless you're the type of witch who always carries your book in your hands at all times, you risk losing the spell if you just set it down on a table while you work with some physical research material." Hm. Come to think of it, a spell like that would have been useful when Beatrice held you upside down. Something to make the book 'jump' to you... you could have healed yourself and kept fighting. The idea of Beatrice landing some chance blow against Bernkastel, or even just kicking her, then taking her book from her and trying everything she could to destroy it... Erika turns her head toward you and smiles. "Thinking out loud? That's what we thought was the most likely scenario. Oh, it'd really label Beatrice a terrible specimen... perhaps one worthy of her own punishment... if she's really trying to just slap you to try to get your book away from you, like she's some vile witch-hunter, then what won't she do?" ...The comparison to a witch-hunter's action sinks it in. You were about to object that it would certainly be 'unsporting,' but didn't making it a duel to the death mean everything nothing was off limits? But... Beatrice acting like Daniella in some fashion... No, you won't believe it. Erika's leaving out another possibility. Erika blinks her eyes, turning toward you. "Oh yeah? What's that?" ...Beatrice just won. And she won fairly. "..." Erika snorts, holding back a laugh, until she lets loose a wild guffaw. Rolling her neck back and staring at the ceiling as the giggles overwhelm her. Her hand moves to her eyes to wipe away tears. "Good one, newbie! No chance in hell...!" You're getting just as exasperated. You finally start yelling back, overcome with emotions. Well, Beatrice can't prove it, can she!? There's no way she can just tell... ...any... ...one... ... ...the red. The Red Truth, you say. The red truth would solve everything. Erika stops what she's doing, and smiles as if she were a teacher addressing a student. "Exactly!" ...And she hasn't? Erika's smile dissolves into one of indignation. "No. First we asked. Then we demanded. Then... some... pleaded. Then idle threats were made. Then potential real threats. Each time. 'Oh, that's against my dignity!' she said." She flares her nostrils. "Was that against my dignity when she demanded I use it back in the castle? She was trying to make sure I didn't pluck it from Maria's corpse, or steal it from her library, or anything else. The red truth is absolute... there's no weaseling out of it. There's no 'hidden meaning.' There's no 'exact words.' ...It's just the truth." "And the truth would solve everything." And the truth would solve everything. You speak the words at the same time. ...Erika smiles. A real, genuine, fond smile. "Yes. The truth solves everything. It forces you to look at yourself and see your flaws. It's only doing that when you can really start to fix them. ...But the truth is unforgiving. It gets in your face and never leaves. No one likes seeing the ugly parts of themselves." ...Therefore, Erika, the Witch of Truth. For the first time... you think you're beginning to really understand. The dramatics... they were to make you remember what she was saying. --And release steam, surely, for a sensitive topic. Erika waits patiently as you experience your epiphany until you nod to her. Simple and understated, but... there. Erika looks back at you with an expression of calm, if not serenity. Her face is stone cold. "So, Edwys, Witch of Fecundity... tell me? Why has this Beatrice, the Infinite Golden Witch, refused to use the red truth to settle the matter of how she defeated and killed my Master, Bernkastel, the Witch of Miracles, in a duel to the death? Which occurred in her manor, on her terms and conditions?" ...She's hiding something. "That is correct. And that something is...?" ...You can't say for sure. "Oh, of course! But... what is most likely?" ... Choice time: 1. Undetermined foul play, used against Bernkastel. Foul play that if revealed, would further destroy Beatrice's reputation as a witch. 2. She's hiding whatever magic research she accomplished that was able to overpower Bernkastel. She doesn't need to explain what spells she used. 3. Bernkastel committed some error and Beatrice doesn't want to admit she won from some complete fluke. She doesn't want to admit she only won because Bernkastel tripped over her shoelaces or something stupid. 4. It's for the sake of the witch community and making sure the wounds end and people can move on.
>>1693 Option 2. This is a judgement call of how well we know Beatrice and I'm not sure I trust myself. I like 4's optimism, but it also sounds naive. Erika wouldn't accept it anyway. 1 and 3 seem unlikely. Bernkastel wouldn't err easily, and Beatrice likely thinks such foul play beneath her. That leaves 2 as the most likely.
>>1693 Option 1 is my vote. This is likely what Beatrice was trying to talk to Edwys about earlier, but she got brushed off.
>>1693 Option 1 This option seems to be the conclusion that Erika is trying really hard to point us to.
>>1693 Option 1
>3 votes for option one, Beatrice refuses to use the red truth to hide undetermined foul play she used against Bernkastel. Foul play that if revealed, would further destroy Beatrice's reputation as a witch. >1 vote for option two, Beatrice refuses to use the red truth to protect her own magic research. Follow Erika's logic that the most likely explanation for why Beatrice won is through some sort of dishonety. cheating, or foul play.
Poll closed. Update soon.
Erika is leaving you a very thick trail of breadcrumbs to follow. Moreover, she's all but grabbing you by the head and shoving your face into them to make sure you see each individual chunk. ...You really don't want to think of Beatrice as capable of such a thing. Of coldly killing one witch, then stooping to new lows to beat Bernkastel. Your mind goes back to all the sweet times you spent together. How she was your only friend. And of course, how she helped you ascend. If Beatrice had died in her fight with Bernkastel... you have no idea how the world would look. --But there's also doubt regarding her. About how much Beatrice sees 'Maria' in you, rather than you for yourself. ... This is stupid. You're not deciding the objective truth right now. You're telling Erika what she wants to hear. If you can't learn to follow people's emotional needs and remove the tension from the situation by satisfying it, you'll never reform the Pax Bernkastel. And defending someone Erika is angry at when she just wants to hear you say 'that does sound suspicious' isn't going to satisfy her. Well... you say, leading into your next words. You take a moment to consider them carefully. There's a lot of 'what ifs' and 'maybes' and unknowns. But given what Erika has told her, and given there's no contradiction from Beatrice herself... ...the conclusion that Beatrice did use some foul play in her duel against Bernkastel does seem the mostly likely one to make. "..." Erika's entire face lights up. She claps, applauding. "I knew there was hope for you! ...Edwys." Oh. It seems you have fully graduated from 'newbie'. That was quick. You smile, and can't help a little blush. But, you go on to say to Erika, even if that's the most likely thing... what can they do about it? What can anyone do about it? Beatrice said she isn't going to use the red. It's not like there's evidence. So... what? "..." Erika gives a distasteful little groan. "Nothing. We can do nothing. And with each passing year, it's going to matter less and less. All Beatrice has to do is keep saying 'no'." You nod. In that case... Maybe it is time, just a little bit, to let Bernkastel go? "..." Erika stares at you, nonplussed. You're an outsider, you say. You didn't see the conflict. You don't know what it was like, and you never will. That's why it seems to you that it's better to focus on the here and now. At least, until there's evidence. Something that can actually allow you to know more. --Did convincing you, Edwys, Witch of Fecundity, make it more likely Erika will one day know the truth? "..." You get the feeling Erika really doesn't like this lesson. But... a part of it has sunk in. "No. I suppose not," she finally says. --That's right. It looks like Erika can accept that she has to rub the awful truth in her own face. Once in a while, at least. But more than that, you think this has been the cause of all the strain between Erika and Beatrice. All going back to bad blood between them over the Bernkastel and Lambdadelta conflict. The better you can get them both to move on, the stronger the Unholy Alliance will be. You think you made it stronger just now. On Erika's side, at least. Erika finally lets out a sigh. "All right, I guess we're done talking about what happened between Lambdadelta and my Master, for now." She picks up her headpiece and places it back on her head. King Vlad's eyes begin to turn from bloody viscera back into round, veiny organs. It continues to give you the creeps. "However..." "We're not done." >No choice yet. Further update coming soon.
You stay silent, waiting for Erika to prompt you. Your palms are a little sweaty in anticipation of what could be next. You've gone through a lot in the past hour or so, with all that recounting. The tension hangs as Erika stares at you, until: "Well?" ...Well, what, you ask? Did she expect some reaction from you? You have no idea what she wants. Erika gestures to the room with her free hand. "It's time to clean up, Edwys. You don't think I was just throwing a fit and breaking shit for no reason, did you?" ... Uh. You thought there was a reason, of course, but you thought that reason was to satisfy her emotional state. "..." Erika laughs at your straightforward answer, throwing her head back. "Oh, wow... that's funny. No, but seriously. Get to rebuilding the room. And use your magic, not your hair." ... You blush a bit. How do you do that, you ask? You don't think you strictly speaking know... "put together"... magic. "You tore the wood on those chairs, right? Just do that in reverse." ... Erika's being very serious. You get the feeling she's not joking. This is her way of trying to see if you can be pushed out of your nest. ... Well, why not? You're powerful. You're a witch. You're meant to take control of the world. You're not going to let broken furniture and knick knacks stand in your way. You ask Erika to stand back. She does, but while still facing you. Her eyes never leave your body as she steps backward very literally. You purse your lips together and survey the damage. How should you try this...? Choice time: 1. Smaller objects first that completely shattered. Build up your power by trying the small objects. 2. Objects that merely bent or chipped. If they're nearly whole, it could be easier to concentrate on them and get them back to their original condition. 3. Try to impress Erika. Repair them in order of how she broke them. ...It could take time and you'll look foolish if you slip, but she might be impressed by the ambitious attempt.
>>2082 Option three. Not because it would impress Erika, but because I think that the lesson here will be that size is irrelevant anyway. Witchcraft does not work with the usual rules. I think it matters more how much Edwys can focus than how big the object is or how much damage there is.
Option three. My usual caution doesn't feel like the right approach for this rp, so let's be a little bolder.
>>2082 Write in See if we can figure out a way to magically dispel the stuff that Erika broke. Since if I recall correctly the stuff she broke were objects she magically created from her book. Doing so will clean up the room to it's original state before Erika started telling the story.
>>2082 Option two. The less damaged stuff will give Edwys a good feel of what she's doing first.
Option 3
>1 vote for option two, focus your magical power on repairing objects that are nearly bent or chipped. The small practice will help you build up to bigger challenges. >3 votes for option three, Impress Erika with an ambitious attempt to repair each piece of furniture in the order she broke it. >Write-in, see if there's a way to dispel the magic Erika used to create the broken furniture. The room should just become instantly clean, indirectly fulfilling the request. That might get you points for abstract thinking, at least. Repair each piece of furniture in the order Erika broke it. Poll closed. Update soon.