Long ago, the gods lived alongside mortals, watching over them and guiding the ancient civilizations to prosperity. In time, the ancients started worshipping the gods, showering them with prayers and carrying out their every whim in hopes of gaining their favor.
The gods were many, and each had their own perspective on the world, mortals and the future. Some desired to rule over the ancients, so that they could obtain true happiness. Some were content to watch from afar, marveling at the perilous lives of mortals. Some had distanced themselves from civilization, living in the untamed wilds far from the eyes of mortals and their fellow gods. Some walked among the ancients themselves, whether disguised as common people or openly flaunting their true nature, befriending mortals, forming families and living ordinary lives.
Inevitably, rifts formed between the gods, and before long, they were in open conflict with one another. The ancient civilizations, which worshiped different gods, were eager to be drawn into the conflict and, in their desire to reign over all mortals as champions of their chosen gods, they soon embarked on a total war, a journey from which there was no return. The Great Holy War, better known in modern times as The Tragedy of the Ancients, lasted for 17 years and saw destruction on an unfathomable scale. Towards the end, the remnants of the once great armies were engaged in one depraved crime after another, no longer making any distinction between enemies, allies and innocents. The war had no victors, as all of the ancient civilizations had collapsed by its’ end. It is estimated that, ultimately, the war and the following famines caused the deaths of two thirds of the ancient world’s population.
Of course, the gods, being immortal, had survived the ordeal, although some endured severe harm. Upon surveying the damage to the mortal world, they decided that they had failed the mortals and were unfit to remain in their presence. They exiled themselves to a new realm from which they could never return. However, they thought that the wounds they inflicted were far too great to heal on their own. Therefore, they chose 9 mortals, granted them a fraction of their own power and tasked them with watching over, aiding and guiding the other mortals.
The chosen were long-lived, but still mortal. Whenever one of them died, their power would emerge in some unrelated youth, who would eventually take their place.
These powerful mortals were called Overseers. They, collectively, have carried out their mandate for 1253 years, and you are about to join them.
This CYOA is about time-management, magic powers, fantasy politics, crime fighting and helping people. If any of that sounds like something that you might be interested in, read onward.
First of all, I need the thread to decide our protagonist's name, gender and background (from the ones listed):
a) Born to a slave in the Sigdian Archipelago, you spent your childhood helping out your uncle, a fisherman, and barely getting by.
b) You are the second child of Duchess Amelia Vareux of Groenkries in the Kingdom of Colvir.
c) Your father was a Vephyr miner, who died of lung cancer when you were 14 years old. You have no clue what life is like outside this small village in the Colvirian countryside.
d) Your have no idea what your family did before they were forced to flee your "homeland" of Rierta to escape the endless clashes between local warlords. You childhood was spent moving from one refugee camp to another, before finally settling in an independent town in Dehra.
e) As an orphan, you had to take care of yourself in the crime-infested streets of the Phireti capital, while keeping out of the way of the many protests, riots, coups and revolutions that have plagued it in recent years.
f) Your father was a tailor with some impressive clientele, so you were able to take full advantage of the famed universal education system in the Viurian Empire, and even got accepted to the prestigious Viurian Academy of Natural Sciences.
g) Raised on a farm in an isolated rural community in the Finvarian countryside, you moved to the nearest city on your 13th birthday and started working in one of the new factories to help support your family.
h) Your parents were Averian actors. You spent your childhood traveling with their troupe and assisting with their performances.
i) Your mother was a clerk employed by the City State of Rivercross. This made it very easy for you to secure a job in their nascent postal service, despite the lack of prior experience.
This is the first time I have ever attempted something like this, so hopefully this goes well.
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 13:35|
|# ? Mar 22, 2018 04:06|
All stats are displayed in the “[name] ([rank]): [progression points]” format. The rank is what matters for story purposes.
Unless otherwise specified, the “rank up” thresholds for all stats are at 5, 15, 30, 50 and 80 points.
Stats for August of 1254:
Place of Residence: None
Abilities and Power Mastery:
- Physical Aspect (Unaffected): 4
- Perceptual Aspect (Primitive): 6
- Connective Aspect (Primitive): 5
- Conceptual Aspect (Significant): 15
Unlike other stats, abilities only have 3 ranks at the thresholds of 5, 25 and 50.
Every 5 points you get in an ability will give you 1 point in all associated power aspects.
- Ability - Passive Conceptual Mechanisms (Limited): 5
* Conceptual Aspect (Primitive)
- Ability - Communication Connection (Inconsistent): 3
* Connective Aspect (Primitive)
- Ability - Targeted Illusion (Inconsistent): 4
* Perceptual Aspect (Primitive)
- Ability - Dimensional Passage (Inconsistent): 0
* Physical Aspect (Advanced)
* Connective Aspect (Advanced)
- Ability - Artificial Construct (Inconsistent): 2
* Physical Aspect (Primitive)
* Conceptual Aspect (Significant)
- Ability - Self-Replicating Conceptual Mechanisms (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Intrinsic)
- Ability - Conceptual Computer (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Comprehensive)
- Ability - Conceptual Database (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Advanced)
- Ability - Move Air (Inconsistent): 2
* Physical Aspect (Primitive)
- Ability - Perceptual Connection (Inconsistent): 0
* Perceptual Aspect (Significant)
* Connective Aspect (Significant)
- Ability - Perceptual Parasite (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Significant)
* Perceptual Aspect (Advanced)
* Connective Aspect (Significant)
- Ability - Enhanced Senses (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Significant)
* Perceptual Aspect (Significant)
- Ability - Area Observation (Inconsistent): 0
* Conceptual Aspect (Advanced)
* Perceptual Aspect (Significant)
- Vivid Dreams
- Studying (Competent): 17
- Research (Novice): 9
- Natural Sciences (Basic): 8
- Viurian Politics (Ignorant): 3
- Viurian Culture (Basic): 10
- Colviri Politics (Basic): 7
- Colviri Culture (Basic): 7
- Layout - Lissburg (Basic): 6
- Layout - Sudfurt (Basic): 13
- Layout - Hugelfurt (Ignorant): 1
- Layout - Ir (Ignorant): 3
- Viurian (Literate): 67
- Finvarian (Unknown): 0
- Vahr (Unknown): 0
AFancyQuestionMark fucked around with this message at Nov 18, 2017 around 09:55
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 13:37|
Reserved for other things.
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 14:49|
I think I'll pick: F
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 15:30|
E orphan street urchin sounds interesting
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 15:32|
Anne Shirley, Female, G
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 15:36|
Veruna Twice-Blessed, female, F
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 15:44|
B, Nathan Vareux of Groenkries
Born with a silver spoon in our mouth we are in an excellent place to understand the common man, we will Make Colvir Great Again.
Lets be an evil shitheel, making the world a better place one diplomatic gently caress up after another.
Edit: Did I say evil? I meant loud, brash, selfish, self absorbed jackass.
Outrail fucked around with this message at Sep 14, 2017 around 18:40
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 15:54|
B, Nathan Vareux of Groenkries
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 16:46|
Veruna Twice-Blessed, female, F
Change my vote to this, forgot to put a name and sex on my vote earlier.
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 17:58|
Shalare sen Istna, female, background I
|# ? Sep 14, 2017 20:35|
Anne Shirley, Female, G
This, hero of the proletariat, go go go!
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 06:47|
It seems we have a three-way tie.
I'll let the vote run for another hour, in the hopes of a tie-breaker, or maybe we will get a four-way or five-way tie instead.
If there's still a tie an hour from now, I'll pick one of the options at random.
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 08:52|
street urchin go
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 08:55|
So, we have a four-way tie between B, E, F and G.
RNG chose F, so our protagonist will be Veruna Twice-Blessed, a new student at the Viurian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Update will appear in about 2.5 hours time.
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 10:57|
You grew up in a small but cozy house in Sudfurt, one of the Empire’s major trade hubs.
Your father makes his living as a tailor, and, when you were just born, word of his talents was starting to spread among the upper classes. The faces of many famous and influential figures could be seen regularly in his small store, which rapidly increased his reputation among the social climbers of the city.
His success ensured that you and your sister never wanted for anything while growing up. Sure, you didn’t have access to many luxuries, and you had to do the housework by yourself, but, looking back, it was a pretty happy childhood.
The school you were enrolled in enforced strict discipline, and went above and beyond the government’s required curriculum. You were at the top of your class since the very beginning, taking your father’s words about education being “the key to success” to heart. You were especially interested in the Natural Sciences, which presented the world as a wild frontier, filled to the brim with mysteries and hidden laws, waiting for intrepid scholars to uncover its’ secrets and turn them to humanity’s benefit. Half a year ago, you were finally accepted into the prestigious Viurian Academy of Natural Sciences, made your way by train over to Lissburg, the distant imperial capital, and started the incredibly challenging, but, to you, infinitely fascinating coursework of the Academy.
Leaving your family and friends behind and moving to a new city with no friends or even distant acquaintances was terrifying, but you adjusted relatively quickly. You even managed to make a couple of new friends.
All things considered, your life seems to be headed in a good, albeit somewhat challenging, direction, as you set your sights on becoming a successful researcher. If only you could get rid of these strange dreams that have wormed their way into your mind…
You wake up in a bizarre state of mind – the cheap blanket over you feels different, its’ texture somehow sharper and more real, while the small closet-sized room which you have come to call home over these last six months, feels overbearing and suffocating, as if the walls are about to close in on you. The tiny window overlooking the stone path that weaves its’ way throughout the campus suddenly seems, in your mind, like a portal to some distant world, unreachable to mere mortals. You hear a soft but persistent sound, as if someone right next to you was quietly humming some strange wistful melody.
You shake your head from side to side, and the feeling subsides, the world around you seemingly returning to normality. You rise up from bed and start putting on your clothes, which are strewn around the room in a haphazard fashion.
This feeling has become very familiar to you over the last few days, since it greets you every morning, without fail. You suspect that it might be an aftereffect of the dreams.
Even now your mind is still flooded with various fleeting images, echoes of tonight’s dream.
They started a week ago – short but somehow tense, and incredibly vivid, they depict many strange people, doing strange things and speaking in strange (or maybe just foreign) languages.
On the few occasions when you actually understood the words they were saying, the conversations were cryptic and utterly impenetrable. They seemed like consultations between colleagues in some obscure field, referencing terms and concepts that only they themselves understood. Tonight’s dream seemed like a culmination of some sort, as all of the people from the other dreams were seating around a table, engaged in deep discussion. There was some sort of vote, but it appeared to be merely a formality, to satisfy some unseen audience.
You would find all of this very interesting, if not for the fact that you have an assignment in Formal Logic due tomorrow, and you can’t afford to get distracted. Especially not for the sake of vague dreams that don’t even bother to explain what they’re showing.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a loud knock on your door. It repeats, steady but insistent.
It sounds more like someone repeatedly hitting your door with a small metal ball, rather than a person trying to get your attention.
You quickly try to make yourself look as presentable as possible and move to open it.
On the other side is a woman wearing a fancy crimson-shaded uniform, holding an ornate envelope in her extended hand. You instantly recognize the design on it as the one used by the Imperial government to signify official high-priority correspondence.
“This is for me?” you ask, uncertain.
“For you.” the woman replies, in an odd, detached tone.
You take it from her hands and open it, careful not to damage the soft paper inside. It reads:
Miss Veruna Twice-Blessed,
By order of the relevant authority, your presence is hereby demanded at the Office of the Viurian Overseer, Ancien Plaza 9, Lissburg, on the 4th of February, 1254, at 11:00.
Receipt of this letter means acknowledgment of the above directive.
Noncompliance may result in criminal liability, subject to provisions of the relevant laws and decrees.
Printed in confidence,
The Department of Urgent Directives,
The Ministry of Information
You are barely able to contain your astonishment as you direct your gaze towards the messenger, who regards you with an expression that seems like it could pierce your very soul.
“This…but, the 4th is today!” you exclaim before you can even begin to process the situation.
“So it appears.” her tone is completely nonchalant, her eyes remain glued to yours throughout the entire exchange, “Do you know the way? Or shall I escort you there now?”
After an awkward pause, you manage to force out “There is no need…I will be there shortly!”
“Very well. Have a pleasant day.” she turns around and walks away, leaving you standing there, with an open door, staring at the wall, in a state of absolute bewilderment.
As you approach the old palace at the edge of Ancien Plaza, you can’t help but be swept away by the sudden wave of doubt and uncertainty that rolls through your mind.
You never had any direct contact with the government before, let alone something like this!
What sort of trouble have you gotten into now? From what little you know about the Overseer, who advises the highest levels of government, including the Regent herself, you can think of no reason she would want to see you. What possible business could a person like that have with an ordinary first-year student at the Academy?
Wait. You vaguely recall hearing that the Overseer also responds to petitions from ordinary citizens. Could this be related to something like that? But it doesn’t make any sense. Why would anyone care about you?
No matter how much you try, you can’t find even a hint of any possible reason for this sudden summons. Nevermind your Formal Logic assignment, which you certainly won’t have time to finish before tomorrow.
Despite everything, you need to keep calm. You haven’t done anything wrong, so you can’t be in trouble…Right?
You take a deep breath, and head towards your destination with quick, determined steps.
The old palace, constructed by some long forgotten (at least, by ordinary people) noble, back when this city was merely a provincial capital and this empire still had nobility, has a certain timeless atmosphere that is very hard to pin down. It looks to be in remarkably good condition, considering its’ age. So much so, that one could easily mistake it for a recent development, if not for its’ long obsolete ostentatious architecture.
The front gate is flanked by two bronze statues with modern rifles. They move at your approach, barring your way in. These must be members of the infamous Bronze Battalion, soulless metal puppets that move at the Overseer’s command. You show them the letter and they let you past.
In the foyer, a woman with an elegant ribbon and a purple uniform, who looks to be only a couple of years older than you, bids you to follow her. After a short walk through the immaculately polished halls of the palace, and climbing up a grand staircase, you find yourself in a small (well, relatively speaking) parlor overlooking the plaza, where a woman who must be the Overseer is waiting for you.
She has a dignified air about her, but her expression seems relaxed and even welcoming. She looks to be in her late thirties, but that can’t be right. From what you remember form primary school, she must have occupied her post for 50 years, at the very least.
“Veruna?” her tone is soft and inviting.
“Yes, Your Excellency.” You fire back instinctively.
Is that the right form of address? Should you bow? Or, maybe, curtsey?
You have never interacted with someone wielding even a fraction of the authority she has at her disposal. How does one behave in a situation like this? What is the accepted etiquette here? You have no idea, which only fuels your sense of unease.
“Evelyn is fine. Come, sit. Laura here prepared some of her delicious tea for us.” she nods at the woman with the ribbon.
Somewhat hesitantly, you sit down and sip some tea, which is, indeed, delicious. It manages to slightly calm you, as you wait for the Overseer to advance the conversation.
“You are an Academy student, are you not? How is old Professor Sireux doing these days?”
A casual question, probably intended to ease you into the conversation. Obviously, she knows who you are perfectly well.
“I am, indeed. The Professor is quite well, the very picture of health and vigor.”
You’ve only seen the Academy’s Director once, at the opening ceremony, but she doesn’t need to know that.
An awkward lull in the conversation passes, as the Overseer sips her tea.
“You know, I almost pity you.” she says in her casual tone, “I heard the entrance exam is even harder these days.”
You briefly recall the long months you spent preparing for the exam. The restless nights, the constant stress and never-ending anxiety had definitely taken their toll on your health, back then.
“It wasn’t that difficult, I think.” the words leave your mouth before you can even think of what to say. Hopefully, they won’t be interpreted as boastful or arrogant. You really aren’t very good at this kind of small talk.
“Be that as it may,” she looks you over carefully before continuing “it is a shame that you won’t be able to continue your studies.”
What? Did you hear that right? You won’t be able to continue your studies?
Why? Was everything you did so far not enough? Did you make some kind of mistake?
You sit in silence, as you desperately try to hold on to your imagined future, your hopes and desires as they rapidly slip through your fingers.
No. There must be something more to this. There is no reason for the Overseer to care about your academic prospects. She must have called you here for a reason. Maybe she intends to offer you a position in her service (well, more like, order you to take it, from the sound of things)?
Why? You don’t even know much about what the people here even do.
“Perhaps you could return to the Academy at some later time.” her tone shifts in some barely perceptible way, as she says “Even if not, I am sure you will find something of equal interest to study soon. After all, becoming an Overseer reveals many fascinating truths about the world, as you will soon see for yourself.”
Her words leave you in a state of utter confusion. If she means what you think she means, this day will turn your life upside down. Even in your wildest fantasies, you never saw yourself approaching the authority, responsibility and significance a position like that enjoys.
“There is no need to be nervous. Relax, take your time.” she takes on a reassuring tone “I am here to soothe your worries and address your concerns. Ask away, whenever you’re ready.”
How should you respond to this?
I will try to incorporate as many of the thread's replies to the situation as possible into the next update. Ask questions, express your feelings and say whatever you wish to say. If some replies are contradictory, I will try to go with the thread consensus, so speak up if you don’t like what someone else has to say. There will be time after the next update for any possible follow-up questions to the Overseer’s answers.
AFancyQuestionMark fucked around with this message at Sep 16, 2017 around 04:55
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 18:37|
Obey. Do not be nervous, relax, take our time. Let our worries be soothed and our concerns addressed.
"Why have I been made an overseer? What is expected of me? Do I have a direct predecessor, and if so, what happened to them and why?"
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 19:08|
Obey. Do not be nervous, relax, take our time. Let our worries be soothed and our concerns addressed.
I hemmed and hawed around a lot about how to respond but this sums it up nicely.
Also, "Won't people perceive me as being a little, I don't know, underqualified having not even completed my education at the Academy?"
|# ? Sep 15, 2017 19:22|
Obey. Do not be nervous, relax, take our time. Let our worries be soothed and our concerns addressed.
What do we already know about the station of Overseer? Duties, procedures, latitudes, and restraints prescribed in Imperial administrative code; how thy tend to discharge their duties; the reactions and assessments of their performance by the public (and by the Imperial bureaucracy, iff we have any means or cause to know this), etc.
|# ? Sep 16, 2017 01:19|
Think about how much of our valuable time this job is going to take.
|# ? Sep 16, 2017 01:40|
Do I have a choice?
|# ? Sep 16, 2017 05:31|
You take a deep breath. The Overseer regards you with a comforting expression as she sips her tea, as if to say that you can take as much time as you need. And you need quite some time.
While you have managed to calm yourself down somewhat, your head is still filled to the brim with questions, doubts and fears. Nevertheless, you decide to try your best to clear them away and focus on processing the situation.
You recall all you know about the Overseers. Most of what you know comes from primary school, where you’ve gone over the aftermath of The Tragedy of the Ancients, the slow recovery of civilization and the 9 chosen Overseers that were tasked with “watching over, aiding and guiding the other mortals”. However, it strikes you now, in retrospect, just how vague and incomplete the account of the Overseers’ lives and roles in the recovery of civilization was.
Aside from individual events when the Overseers used their power to do something like heal crops or subjugate hostile tribes, you know almost nothing about them. You don’t know when or how they died, who their successors were and how they were chosen.
The modern Overseers outside of Viuria were only ever mentioned in passing, when discussing recent wars, when they, as always, acted as mediators and oversaw the closing negotiations.
You know that the Viurian Overseer has a close relationship with the Imperial Government, advising it on policy, representing individual citizens and, most importantly, selecting the next Emperor from among eligible members of the Imperial family.
Unfortunately, you’ve never paid much attention to politics, so you don’t know much about the current Viurian Overseer (did she say her name was Evelyn?) or her infamous Bronze Battalion.
Before today, she didn’t enter your thoughts even once.
And yet, despite your overwhelming ignorance of the subject, here you are, being invited (or ordered) to join their ranks. Why?
You take another deep breath and ask “Why me? Why have I been chosen?”
“I don’t know.” her calm tone seems somehow soothing “No one does. You, like each of us, gained the power of an Overseer by the grace of some unknowable mechanism left behind by the gods. We - that is, me and the other Overseers - have ways of finding manifestations of such a power, and they led us to you. There was no particular reason to reject you, so here you are.”
She gives you a reassuring smile.
Her words give you pause. Apparently, you were selected by divine forces beyond anyone’s comprehension, possibly entirely arbitrarily, and are now expected to take on the mantle of an Overseer and every bit of responsibility that entails. How are you supposed to react? How does anyone react, when faced with circumstances as insane as these?
One day is all it took for your place in this world to permanently change. You are increasingly getting the impression that this bell can’t be unrung, that your life has taken a new, unexpected course entirely divorced from your expectations.
As you ponder all of this, a sudden, niggling doubt rises to the surface of your thoughts. If what you recall from primary school is correct…
You gather all your courage and ask “I had a predecessor, right? What… what happened to them?”
“She…retired.” the Overseer lets out a small sigh as she meets your gaze with hers “She was older than any of us. Carrying out the mandate since long before I was born…I imagine she was tired. She elected to quit her position, in the only possible way.”
Death. There is no other possible interpretation of what you just heard. Your predecessor chose to end her own life to get away from her responsibilities. The implications are clear.
“I have no choice, then? I have to accept this position?” you voice has a slight tremble to it as you force out the words.
“I suppose so. None of us had a choice.” she shows you a small, wistful smile “No one has a choice in being born, either, but society expects each and every one of us to fulfill our responsibilities all the same. After all, there are others – our family, our friends and our neighbors - that depend on our cooperation. The same is true, perhaps even more so, about the position of Overseer.”
There is a lengthy pause as you consider her words. You have never thought of yourself as a selfish person. There is definitely some truth in what she said. A part of you has already accepted this turn of events. Well, it doesn’t really matter now, does it?
The Overseer looks you over, probably assessing your reaction. Suddenly, she says “There is no reason to be apprehensive. I understand your concern, at all of the responsibility being suddenly thrust upon you at such a young age. But, you are not on your own. Each of us went through the same experience, in our own way, and we are ready to stand by your side and support you, until you can confidently stand alone.”
Her words are reassuring, but they remind you of something important that you have neglected to ask.
“So…What is expected of me? I mean, as an Overseer. I don’t have a clear picture of your…of our duties.”
“Our only duty is to do our utmost in helping as many people as possible to avoid suffering and persecution and preserve their safety, health and happiness. Each of us uses different methods to achieve this goal. Some are more unorthodox than others.” she smirks, as if recalling some private joke, “Once you finish your training, you will decide for yourself what methods are most suitable for you. Aside from that, I, personally, have many other duties, courtesy of the Imperial Government, but there is no need to concern yourself with them.”
She calls over the woman with the ribbon (Laura, was it?) and asks for a refill of her tea.
“Is there anything else bothering you? Any further questions you want to ask? Concerns you want to voice?”
This is the time for any follow-up questions and reactions to the Overseer’s answers.
|# ? Sep 17, 2017 09:15|
"Is there anything you wish you'd been told about the job when you learned you were one? Come on, what am I really being forced into?"
Try to fake as much confidence as possible.
|# ? Sep 17, 2017 10:22|
That's a good question.
|# ? Sep 17, 2017 22:30|
What will I be trained in?
Will I be able to create things like your Bronze Battalion? How? When?
How will I be protected from those who will undoubtedly see me as a target for one reason or another?
Who are the others, and what are they like? What did you mean by "unorthodox?"
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 00:55|
It’s strange, but despite having just learned that your life will indeed be forcefully transformed into something entirely different, you feel somewhat steadier. Maybe it’s the sublime tea, the Overseer’s promise of support, or, perhaps, the comfort of knowing that you have no choice, but you feel that you can assess the situation much more calmly and rationally now.
If you’re going to be taking this position no matter what, might as well find out as much as you can about it, right?
“My training? What will I be trained in?”
“As I mentioned, you have manifested the Overseer’s power, which, some would say, is the ultimate source of our authority. The power could be used to accomplish many different things, but only if you are properly acquainted with its’ use. That is the primary purpose of your training. Additionally, you’ll be learning about the political, cultural and criminal situation in each region, so that you’ll be better equipped to do your work. Although, what you learn depends as much on your wishes as it does on ours.”
You consider this. The prospect of discovering more about the Overseer’s power, which, as far as you are aware, hasn’t yet been studied by scholars of the Natural Sciences, has a certain appeal to it. Perhaps this new direction for your life isn’t entirely disconnected from your imagined future after all.
“Will I be able to create things like your Bronze Battalion? How? When?”
“Perhaps. Our power’s capabilities are incredibly varied, so it requires some degree of specialization in order to be used effectively. If that’s the area you want to focus on, then you will indeed be able to create and control animated sculptures, and many things besides, if you persist. However, there is no need to copy our accomplishments. I am sure that, with enough imagination and effort, you could do things that have never been tried before. I believe that the Overseers as a whole will be that much more effective if each of us could cover different bases, so to speak. But, that is your choice to make.”
Her answer lends even more credence to the connection between the role which you have desired and the role into which you are currently being thrust. This is good. At least your hopes haven’t been entirely discarded.
“Can you tell me about the other Overseers? What are they like?”
After all, you can hardly work alongside people you don’t know anything about.
“The others are…a diverse bunch.” she smiles to herself “Each has a different perspective on the best way to carry out our mandate. I don’t think it’s my place to tell you about them, lest you develop any unnecessary preconceptions. You’ll meet all of them during the course of your training.”
As much as you are loath to broach this subject, there is something else you need to confirm. For your peace of mind, if nothing else.
“Will I be safe? I imagine you…we have many enemies.”
“There is no need to be overly concerned, at least at this point in time. Your escort is waiting just outside.”
“Escort?” you certainly weren’t expecting this.
“Her name is Cecilia. From now on, she will accompany you whenever you aren’t under the watch of an Overseer.”
You can’t really think of any objections, especially since you were the one who first broached the subject of security. However, this leaves you with nothing else to ask. After some consideration, you decide to try a different tactic.
“In retrospect, is there anything you wish you were told when you were in my position?”
Maybe this way you can coax some advice out of her.
“There is one thing.” her tone is unexpectedly firm “When I went through training, the Overseers of the time were more rigid and inflexible, they have instilled some bad habits in me that took me quite some time to discard. During your training, me and the other Overseers will likely say or do things, without even meaning to, that may give you the impression that our way of doing things is the correct one, that, at least within our respective regions and their current political context, no other method is better suited to carrying out the mandate. This is a false impression. Not a single one of us has a perfect answer to the challenges our work presents us. While taking our advice to heart, you should decide for yourself what methods are best suited for you. As long as you are earnestly carrying out your duty, none of us have any right to judge you.”
After taking another sip from her tea, she stands up and approaches you.
“Well, I think it’s best to end our conversation here.” she extends her hand for a handshake, which you respectfully return “Alyssa will be cross with me if I keep you here any longer. Cecilia has two passes for the government car at today’s midnight express to Colvir. Use this day to tie up any loose ends you need to and be at the train station on time. I hope that, when next we meet, you’ll be much more confident in your role. Farewell and have a safe trip!”
With that, she exits the room at a quick pace, with Laura following after her, leaving you alone with your thoughts.
As you approach the front gate, a bronze sculpture with feminine features greets you. When you examine its’ face more closely, you notice that its’ eyes, unlike the rest of its’ body, are made of amber.
“Miss Veruna? My name is Cecilia. I was assigned as your bodyguard. Please don’t pay me any mind as you go about your business.”
You blink, and suddenly, the sculpture has disappeared, replaced with an elegantly dressed young woman with a pistol and some sort of thin sword at her belt.
“Very well.” is all you can think to say.
Your mind is already weighed down with a myriad of doubts about the future and there are many things you’d like to do before getting on that midnight express to your new life. You can contemplate your new companion’s nature at a later time.
On the way back to the campus, you stop at the Imperial Library, which boasts one of the largest collections of books in the entire world. You spend some time walking among the shelves, with Cecilia following your every step, searching for anything that might improve your understanding of your new circumstances. Eventually, you decide to borrow Chronicle of the Overseers and Colvir: A Viurian Perspective, which will probably aid you in that goal. Well, “borrow” is overly optimistic, as it’s unlikely that you will be able to return them anytime soon. Luckily, your new position guarantees that you won’t feel the loss of your deposit, which you handed over back when you first registered for a library card. Now, the only thing you need to worry about is finding the time to actually read the books.
When you cross the threshold of your small room in the Fourth Dormitory, a deep sigh escapes you. This day has proved to be the most mentally exhausting day of your life so far, in part because you know that this is only a tiny glimpse of what it will be like from now on.
Since Cecilia is standing guard outside, you finally have some privacy and the space you need to come to terms with recent events. You have already accepted your fate, but you need to properly think about a very important thing:
How do you feel about it?
Here, like always, I will go with the thread’s consensus. You can write as much or as little as you want to, and I will try to incorporate it into the narrative.
Aside from that, you need to decide whether to write a letter to your family, and if so, what its’ contents will be.
Additionally, the train ride to Colvir will take about 8 hours, so you need to decide what you’ll do in that time. Pick two of the following options:
a) Sleep. You don’t know what awaits you in Colvir, but you should be fully refreshed and aware when you get there.
b) Talk with Cecilia. There is a lot you don’t know, both about her nature and her creator, which you could benefit from learning. Besides, this is your chance to get to know the person who you are entrusting your life to.
c) Read Chronicle of the Overseers. It can probably shed some light on your position, or at least on how its’ viewed by others.
d) Read Colvir: A Viurian Perspective. Seeing as you are likely going to spend a significant amount of time in a foreign country, it’s probably a good idea to learn a thing or two about it.
You will have other opportunities to do the last three options, but, naturally, it will be at the expense of other things, which could be considered more important.
AFancyQuestionMark fucked around with this message at Sep 18, 2017 around 09:56
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 09:49|
I forgot to mention that if you choose option b, you should include some questions or conversation topics, so that we won't have to stop in the middle of the next update.
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 15:45|
I feel: anxiety
Letter: not yet, let's get to Colvir and take it all in before writing.
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 15:59|
No letter, they are our old life, and like it they're dead to us
Gotta be rested up for training, ask the automon about the other overseerers, casually making mental notes on possible weaknesses.
Iron fisted word domination is the only acceptable end goal.
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 17:04|
C, but only for an hour before going to sleep.
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 17:20|
CD, open-minded about the future, curious about my powers and my new potential.
Write them a letter informing them that we have been fast-tracked into well-paid government employ, and thanking them for their love, support and everything they've done for us.
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 19:08|
Eager to do science to our purported abilities--an unparalleled research opportunity has fallen into our lap!
Write a letter mentioning a vague but exciting extracurricular research opportunity we'll be pursuing, indicating that we may be out of touch for a while, assuring them we're fine, and giving them an address that can be used to reach us (ask Cecelia, and if she doesn't know, just say to send C/O the overseer's office)
|# ? Sep 18, 2017 19:10|
So, A and C are the options we'll be going with.
There is a tie on whether or not to write a letter. RNG chose yes, so there will be a letter with a combination of the proposed contents.
Update will arrive sometime later today.
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 10:00|
You take the time to calmly consider your fate and determine how you feel about it. It’s definitely an extreme departure from what you were trying for, and the vast but vague (to you) responsibilities inherent to your new position cause you significant anxiety.
However, from what the Overseer said, you apparently have a power which could be used to accomplish things like healing crops, subjugating enemies (if what you learned in primary school is accurate) and even creating seemingly sentient moving sculptures (as the existence of your new bodyguard demonstrates). To your knowledge, no research has been done on the Overseers’ power by any scholar of the Natural Sciences. This could be an unprecedented research opportunity, which may change many accepted truths about the laws that govern the natural world. All of which makes you incredibly excited. The position of Overseer is also not entirely unappealing to you. Therefore, you decide to keep an open mind about the future.
Having settled your feelings, you take one of the many pens strewn about on your desk, prepare a blank sheet of paper and start writing a letter to your family. You don’t want them to worry themselves to death over you, which is what will happen if you suddenly leave without notice. On the other hand, you think it premature to mention your new position, since it will likely make them worry even more. Instead, you write that you are “dropping out of the Academy to accept a lucrative and exciting research position from the government”, and that you “may be out of touch for awhile”. You also thank them for their love and support, because they deserve it.
It occurs to you that you should give them an address by which they could contact you, but you don’t know where you will be living from now on, or even whether it can be reached via post.
You open the door to your room and approach Cecilia, who is leaning against a nearby wall.
“Excuse me…” you start somewhat awkwardly (how is one supposed to interact with their bodyguard, anyway?) “Do you happen to know the address we’ll be staying at in Colvir?”
She looks you over with a mildly skeptical look and responds, “I do. However, if you are asking in order to give someone an address for correspondence, you should know that, according to my briefing, the Colviri postal service isn’t reliable enough for our purposes.”
You give her a questioning look. Our purposes? What does that even mean?
She continues, “If necessary, the Overseer’s office here in the Empire can manually deliver any letters or packages addressed to you.”
You decide to heed her advice and write down “Ancien Plaza 9, Lissburg” as the address for reaching you. You then carefully search the drawers of your desk for an envelope, seal your letter and head to the post office on campus. Cecilia doesn’t waste a moment in following you.
You spend the rest of the afternoon tracking down your few friends on campus and saying your goodbyes. They look surprised at your departure, but don’t press too hard for any concrete information. Afterwards, as much as it pains you to do so, you prepare a formal notice of withdrawal from your studies, and manually deliver it to the Office of Student Affairs.
For what may be the last time, you walk around the campus, with its’ ancient trees, stone paths and mildly overgrown grass fields, basking in the memories and wondering about a different future.
When evening arrives, you are ready to leave the Academy behind.
As the express train slows to a stop at exactly 23:40, you and Cecilia are already standing on the platform, with crimson-colored passes in hand. All of the items you’ve brought with you neatly fit into a small bag, which you are carrying over your shoulder.
As you head for the government car, a man with a rifle and a military uniform carefully examines both of your passes while giving you in particular an incredulous look, but ultimately lets you past.
The government car consists of a narrow carpeted passage flanked by several moderately sized compartments, each furnished with a wooden table, two high-quality (relative to your dormitory) beds and some comfortable seats. You go into an empty compartment and settle in. Soon, the train departs, and you can see the hilly landscape outside the window, looking oddly serene under the moon’s light, going by at a fast pace.
You take out Chronicle of the Overseers from your bag and prepare for an hour of quiet reading.
“The Overseers are the distinguishing feature of our age. Quite literally, as many cultures use the Averian Calendar which now counts the 1220th year of the Overseers’ Era. They have been a constant yet elusive presence throughout the centuries that have passed since the end of The Tragedy of the Ancients, faithfully carrying out their divine duty of helping the rest of us mortals. By all accounts, their help was critical for humanity’s recovery in The Tragedy’s aftermath, and even in modern times, their intervention often helps save the lives of countless people, as is exemplified by the recent war in what was once called Vahr. Nevertheless, despite these accomplishments and many others, much about the Overseers remains a mystery.
While there are countless accounts of the Overseers from many different primary sources throughout history, they are often vague and contradictory, and even doctrinal in nature. Many religious movements have claimed that the gods are still watching over humanity and that the souls of the departed will be judged by their conduct in this world. These movements have often painted the Overseers as the agents of gods in the mortal world, who punish sinners and aid the faithful in their time of need. Therefore, such accounts are often readily dismissed by modern historians, due to the dubious motives of their writers. They are often regarded as nothing more than a sort of mythological incentive for believers to abide by their religion’s tenets.
While such characterizations are frequently right on the mark, they tell us nothing more about the Overseers, failing to expand our knowledge of perhaps the most significant actors on the historical stage. Rather than doing that, I will try my best to present in this book a study of the historiography of the Overseers, based on commonalities among unrelated primary sources, and hope to shed some light on the many roles the Overseers have played throughout history, up to the modern day.
But first, I must warn the reader that the identities of most pre-modern Overseers, save for a few notable exceptions, are completely unknown. In fact, it wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable to speculate that many of them have deliberately deceived their contemporaries, so as to carry out their mission with greater ease under the cover of obscurity…”
A glance at the table of contents confirms that the vast majority of the book is dedicated to exploring the role the Overseers have played in a variety of significant historical events, based on an analysis of contemporary accounts. While you could no doubt glean many useful insights about your current situation from this book, you certainly don’t have the time to read most of it now, if you plan to have a proper night’s sleep before you arrive at your destination. This reminds you of studying for an exam using library books that went above and beyond the material covered in class. You were quiet adept at it back then, so it shouldn’t be that difficult now.
You turn to the chapter entitled Overseers in Modern Times and skim it until you reach the following section:
“... [The modern Overseers] seem to be conducting themselves based on a system wherein each region is under the watch of a small group led by a senior Overseer. As of the time of writing, the regions and groups are as follows, where the leader is listed first:
*Averian Union and Kingdom of Phiret - Cornelius Vin, Baron Siegfried Gareux, Thomas Mill
*Viurian Empire and Kingdom of Colvir - Countess Alyssa Sortiel, Evelyn Alodiel-Phereux
*The Former Empire of Vahr - Victoria Oak, Gavin Ironside, H (full name unknown)
*Azure Sea - Theresa Diraneux”
You count nine names on that list, and considering that there are only ever nine Overseers at any given time, what Evelyn said about your predecessor and this book’s 1220 publishing date, it’s a certainty that one (and likely more) of these people is dead.
The chapter goes on to describe the Overseers’ actions during the Vahr civil war: evacuating civilians from besieged cities, overseeing negotiations between the belligerents, forcing adherence to the negotiated borders, etc.
It also lists what the author has managed to gather about their interactions with the governments of their respective regions: Cornelius’s parallel society – The Order of the Willing – is attempting to “propagate his ideals among the ruling classes of Averia”, Alyssa runs the Supporters’ Guild which polices fringe communities and helps “those who have nowhere left to turn”, Evelyn frequently advises the Imperial Council and has an unknown role within the Empire’s government, Gavin commands his own volunteer army which he uses to depose local warlords, and Theresa holds her own court which accepts petitions from all within her territory and where she acts as judge, jury and, if necessary, executioner. The others are either too recent (for the time) or too obscure (for the author) to have anything but extremely vague descriptions.
Somewhat reluctantly, you close the book and put it back in your bag. If you want to have a refreshing sleep, you can’t waste any more time.
Aside from the obvious knowledge about Overseers, this book has also expanded your vocabulary to include many academic terms you have never encountered before (Viurian +1), and also refreshed your studying habits in your mind (Studying +1). You can choose to read the historic portion of the book at a later time.
Cecilia seems to be looking at some distant point on the mountainous landscape outside the window.
“Do you mind if I turn off the light?” you ask.
“Go ahead.” she answers without turning to look at you.
“Aren’t you going to sleep?”
“I don’t need sleep.” she says in a calm but firm tone.
You decide to not dwell on her words too deeply, turn the Vephyr gas valve in the corner, and as the light begins to dim, tuck yourself into one of the beds.
What will tomorrow bring? You don’t get to think too much on that topic before you fall asleep.
When you wake, sunlight is streaming through the window, and Cecilia is still sitting in the same seat, seemingly absorbed in examining the ornate design on the compartment’s metal door.
Disregarding her, you recall the dream you had tonight – a vivid vision of an enormous crab with featherless wings soaring through the sky. Notwithstanding its’ weirdness, it had an oddly calming effect on you, making you feel all the more refreshed now. (Stress -1)
You quickly rise from your bed.
“Good morning!” you exclaim, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically.
“Good morning. We have passed the Colviri border some time ago. By my estimate, we should arrive in Hugelfurt in about half an hour.”
It seems you woke up at just the right time. You make yourself look as presentable as possible, and ask “Will someone meet us at the station?”
“Most likely.” you can’t discern anything from her calm tone.
As you exit the train, a couple of stern looking men in military uniforms approach, but after a cursory glance at your passes, they walk away. The station around you has a somewhat rustic atmosphere, as if it came from a much simpler time. Surprisingly, the platform is almost devoid of people, with only a few elaborately dressed figures sitting on a long metal bench which covers the entire length of the platform.
A woman with long black hair and a fancy coat, who looks to be in her early forties, stands up at your approach.
“Veruna Twice-Blessed. Cecilia. Allow me to welcome you to Colvir.”
Cecilia offers a small bow, and you follow her lead. It’s fairly obvious who this person must be.
“My name is Alyssa Sortiel, and I am the Overseer in charge of the initial portion of your training. Unless you have any objections, I’d like to begin as soon as possible.”
“Pleased to meet you. I concur.” you are eager to find out more about your power.
Cecilia says nothing.
“Please follow me.” the Overseer says in a determined tone.
As the three of you exit the station, she points you to a spacious coach waiting nearby. It’s colored in a deep purple and has what looks like a family crest engraved on its’ doors. You climb in, and the coach takes off.
“Let me take this opportunity to explain your training.” her voice has a strange sort of dignity in it, despite the mundane nature of her words, “You will spend the next six months living alongside me, which will allow me to teach the basics of using your power, and hopefully impart upon you something of the current state of events in this country. I will guide you at first, but soon you will be able to choose what aspects of your power you want to focus on and train in them on your own. After all, discovering new abilities and mastering them can be a joy like no other, which I wouldn’t want to rob you of. After six moths pass you will make your way over to the care of another Overseer, with whom you’ll spend the six months after that. This process will continue, until you have trained under every one of us.”
She crosses her legs, “Any questions?”
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 18:37|
What are the limits of my abilities, both as a novice and later when I'm more adept? Also, are there any costs to using them?
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 19:12|
No questions, but commence keeping a mental note of strength, capabilities and any potential weaknesses, both physical, mental and social (i.e. does she care about any particular persons to the point their wellbeing could be used as leverage).
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 23:25|
Ask something completely unexpected such as: "what have you been dreaming about lately?"
I just want to see how she reacts to an abrupt change of topic.
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 23:37|
With whom did you train that I will not have the chance to?
|# ? Sep 19, 2017 23:50|
How friendly are relations between overseers? How long have they been that way? How stable are they? How are conflicts between overseers resolved? What prevents overseers from seizing political power or otherwise acting non-neutrally?
Were all current overseers trained in the same manner? How long has this method of training been in use? Do you feel that it has any shortcomings?
Ralith fucked around with this message at Sep 20, 2017 around 00:46
|# ? Sep 20, 2017 00:44|
|# ? Mar 22, 2018 04:06|
You decide to use this opportunity to find out as much as you can, starting with your power.
“Does my power have limits, both now and after I finish my training? Is there some kind of cost to using it?”
“The full extent of our power’s capabilities is unknown. I myself have developed many abilities that our predecessors would have thought to be beyond our reach. As far as I am concerned, the only limits to our power are the creativity, proficiency and persistence of its’ wielders. The cost is, of course, the enormous amount of time and effort necessary to perfect your mastery of even the most basic abilities, until they become a part of you, and using them becomes as simple as lifting a finger.”
She lifts one of her fingers and, as if on cue, a small flame appears on its’ end. A small movement of air, originating from somewhere to your side (with the windows closed?), puts the flame out. You smell a faint hint of smoke, but her finger seems undamaged.
As curious as you are about the secret behind this little trick, it seems like something that she’ll explain during your training, so you decide to turn your attention to the topic of the other Overseers. It would probably be best to find out which of the names listed in the Chronicle of the Overseers are no longer relevant.
“With whom did you train that I will not have the chance to?”
For a brief moment, she gains a wistful look in her eyes, but the moment passes and the look disappears. “There are many of them. The majority of the Overseers present during my training are no longer with us. Incidentally, something you should know about us Overseers is that we tend to be somewhat older than we appear. I see little point in revisiting the past at this time.”
It seems that you’ll have to direct your inquiries elsewhere.
“How friendly are relations between Overseers? If there are any conflicts, how are they resolved?”
“I would say that we are fairly friendly with one another. We may sometimes criticize each other’s methods and decisions, but we work independently most of the time, so that sort of thing almost never rises above the level of minor arguments at our annual meeting. There haven’t been many conflicts, especially in recent decades, but any major disagreements can be resolved via a vote among all of us.”
You decide to follow up on this topic.
“How long has it been this way?”
“I can’t speak about the far past, but when I first got my position, our operations were far more… hierarchical. We were divided into groups that worked closely together, under the supervision of a senior Overseer. Disagreements and conflicts were much more common back then, which is probably one of the reasons why that organizational structure gradually eroded away over the decades. However,” her tone grows slightly firmer “I think that’s enough on this topic for now.”
You decide not to press the issue, and shift to a new avenue of approach.
“Were all current overseers trained in the same manner?”
“No. In fact, you are only the fourth Overseer to be trained via this system.”
“Do you feel that this training method has any shortcomings?”
“Not especially. Some say that the training period is too short, but I believe that an Overseer is much more effective if they develop most of their abilities and methods on their own, rather than being too reliant on the guidance of others.”
You can’t really think of any other relevant questions, so you try to confirm a feeling you’ve had since you first learned about your new power. It’s also a great way to evaluate how the Overseer reacts to a sudden change of topic.
“What have you been dreaming about lately?”
“Lately? You, mainly.” she says without even a moment of hesitation.
This catches you off guard.
Her mouth curls into a small smile, “You see, our dreams aren’t really dreams in the usual sense. They are a window into the lives of other Overseers, letting us keep track of each other across great distances. I imagine you won’t be able to make much sense of them, at first.”
Now you truly don’t have anything left to ask.
“I think that’s all.” you say in a confident tone.
“Good. You seem to be adjusting well already. We should be stopping soon.”
You glance out of the window. The cobblestone streets of the city have long been replaced by a narrow dirt road flanked by a thick forest on both sides.
Without warning, the coach stops at the side of the road. You follow the Overseer out, look around and see nothing but trees in all directions. The Overseer makes some kind of motion in the driver’s direction and the coach turn around to return to the city. She then bids you and Cecilia to follow her into the forest.
You walk at a brisk pace. Ten minutes or so pass before you arrive at a small clearing. At the center lies an enormous atlas beetle, which looks to be the size of four coaches put together. On top of its’ head is a small gazebo-like structure, which looks to be an extension of the beetle’s shell. Leaning against the beetle is a young woman with bat-like wings protruding from her back and bare feet that end with lengthy sharp claws. Closer examination reveals that, in addition to her arms and legs, her wings contain two bat-like limbs which end with claws as well. She looks up from the book she has been reading and begins to approach the three of you.
Frozen in place, you can only look on in bewilderment. You have been expecting to see some strange sights ever since you learned about your new position, but this…this exceeds even the wildest of your imaginings. To think that, all this time, there were things like these in this world, simply waiting for you to discover them.
Seemingly unconcerned with your very visible state of shock, the woman extends her hand to you in greeting. As if in a daze, you slowly extend your own hand and clasp it in hers.
“My name is Emily Gale, and I am eager to begin my work as your new assistant.” she gives you a genuine smile.
“Please to meet you.” is all you manage to force out.
The Overseer looks at you with a mildly pitying expression, “Emily and Bruno here…” she points to the enormous atlas beetle “…are Overseer Lillian’s welcoming gifts for you. To be honest, I am a bit envious. I certainly never received anything nearly as nice when I started my own training. I guess it’s another benefit of the newer method. Regardless, I hope you agree to give me a ride, at least this one time.”
“Of course.” you say, before you can fully process her words.
This is probably going to get some getting used to.
Is there anything you wish to say to, or ask, any of the characters present?
Note that Bruno can’t speak and you don’t have the time for a long conversation.
|# ? Sep 20, 2017 15:06|