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944457 No. 944457 ID: 4075a1

69 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 945835 ID: af1a4b

Dunno, i’d like to believe but I’m having trouble without proof that any of it is real. It’s not like we see miracles just happen in front of us.
No. 945844 ID: a13082

"Absolutely", in a sarcastic tone. "And you?"
No. 945845 ID: 977456

Well... there was that time a couple year's back when Carn The Prude went Main Street Turning people inside-out for wolf-whistling at him. It was pretty convincing...
No. 945849 ID: ce39da

"That's the best answer you're getting. I never bothered with thinking about whether it was all real, 'cause there's only one way to find out for sure. And I'm fine not knowing until I finally kick it."
No. 945853 ID: 8d4593

They's too convenient.
They're the candle in the dark that paints our world in a flickering light, but when day comes we still only see the shadows.
No. 945863 ID: e7c7d3

I believe in the statues, but not in the guy at the podium.
No. 945868 ID: a9af05

No. 945923 ID: 162b79

No. 945957 ID: 2df440

No. 946002 ID: e5e15e
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>”One of our envious Lords more important titles is Pedagogue. As Their children we must strive to exceed even Their lofty expectations of us. To take more than is given. To grow until we have no need to turn from the face of the Pedagogue and towards the face of the Executioner. I am getting ahead of myself, however. We must explore the lesson first.”

“I’ve never seen a miracle, but maybe Nine Eyes just decided we don’t need none. Going on and on about her like a diamond ain’t gonna do anyone no good, and they don’t say anything new anyway.” I shrug. “Why do you care if I believe in them statues anyway?”

“I don’t know. You wouldn’t lie, I guess. And if you believed in it than I could too.”
No. 946005 ID: 8d4593

Well then I'll say this:
I'm not one to question the gods, I'm sure they watch over us somehow when we die... but that man down there, the Preceptor.
Look at his face.
That's not the face of an honest man.

The god's live in the scriptures and in the heart. Not in the mouths of those who look down on us.
No. 946009 ID: 0fae41

Are you simply looking for a way to rationalize your faith in gods? Believe in them if you wish, or don't. The gods believe in you.
No. 946010 ID: b1b4f3

Find your own belief. This one's mine.
No. 946014 ID: 15a025

If it keeps you out of trouble more, than the answer you seek is yes.
No. 946015 ID: 977456

Well, there is the fact that you aren't sure if they exist, and the fact that you aren't sure if this is what they want. That means that they either won't, or can't, offer convincing guidance. If they won't, then they are presenting a test without providing the means of succeeding, and know that many will fail, and carry on regardless, which makes them... it's not fair, kind, nor helpful, they're not the sort of beings we want to associate with.

If they can't, wither because they don't exist or just don't have the means, then either they lack the means to provide what we need, or at least lack the means to give us a chance to get it, which is tragic, but we can only work with what we have. It doesn't matter that we can fly if we don't know how and nobody can show us.
No. 946016 ID: e7848c

There's a lot of things in life you have to figure out for yourself. Your faith is one of them.
No. 946017 ID: 094652

"The priests would kill anyone who claims their faith in the gods comes from the actions of other mortals. That says a lot. Including shut the hell up and we'll talk about this out of earshot."
No. 946090 ID: e6c422

So, what else do you know about this Steel person?
No. 946163 ID: 2df440

kome, I’m actually pretty sure we’re out of earshot if anyone down below
No. 946169 ID: e5e15e
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>”Seven tribes followed the Prophet here. Five tribes entered to stay. Toiler. Artisan. Martinet. Preceptor. Monger. The brothers and sisters that stand next to you. There is wisdom to be found in all of Their works, but to find the meaning behind this outcome we must ask ourselves: Why did two tribes not make it?”

“Fingers… I don’t know more than you about this stuff. If she’s around she’s around, with or without you or me worryin’ about her. I’m fine leavin’ and being left alone but… maybe you can find her for yourself? Keep yourself busy doing that instead of stealin’ if it bothers you this much.”

“Don’t bother me. Nothin’ bothers me. I just want to know if here is the best I got.” He flexes his three fingers. “If she’s real then she gotta want me down here for a reason. If she ain’t then I got born wrong. I coulda been dropped out of a momma where the sun shines and at least caught a glance at it before I die.”
No. 946171 ID: 0fae41

You'll have plenty of time left to find the sun if you stop squandering it, you know. Go forth, and create opportunity!
No. 946172 ID: e7c7d3

We all want to know our purpose in this world. 'Cause we all want something better than we got, and not end up like those five, decorations on the end of a rope.
No. 946173 ID: 977456

Maybe tomorrow some rich bozo will pop in and give you all the world's riches and a solid-gold ticket to the sunniest spot in the world. Is it worth hoping for? Sure, Doesn't cost a thing! Doesn't make sense to plan for it though. Best you can do is plan for what you know, hope for what you want, and brace for the rest. If you want it to all be worth something, or for some miracle to make everything good? Then sure, of course it'll happen, but don't plan for it, and brace for all the folk who you hate to have gotten there first and taken all the best spots for themselves. We can't know what's right, just what's the right choice given what we know, which is nothin' about the dead and everythin' about me not getting though all this peeling...
No. 946174 ID: 8d4593

You try'na tell me you wanna run away to another world, fingers? You could do it, but what if you don't like what you find up there? You'll need to be prepared. More prepared than you've ever been. Supplies to get you by indefinitely, even if there's no people to steal from. Food, waterskins, huntin supplies, buildin tools.

You could also use a wingman to keep you from gettin yourself killed, if you know what I mean...
No. 946175 ID: 83bf07

I guess you have to change the world if you want to see the sun. Are you going to change the world from in this hole?
No. 946214 ID: 81cd19

Ask him if he tried desecrating the Nine Eyes' shrines and statues yet.
No. 946395 ID: e5e15e
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>”Wait. I know what you are thinking. They were deficient. They lacked the fortitude to survive the borderlands and make it to our new home. But that is incorrect. One by one each laprine is molded by The Sculptor, and our lost siblings are no exception. None that They make can be less than perfectly suited for the tasks They bestow, for are we not Their own image? Made to adapt and overcome!”

“You ain’t… messed with anything of hers, right?”

“No. I ain’t dumb Asher.”

“‘Cause…” I throw a thumb at the condemned.

“No shit.”

“If you wanna go outside one day there are toiler jobs that’ll put you up top. You got the time to impress the right guys if you-”

“Ain’t no good adult detail gonna take me missin’ two. I’m goin' to the mines.”

“...So what, you try'na tell me you wanna run away?” He doesn’t answer back.
No. 946396 ID: e7c7d3

Are you going to have to go and protect him?
No. 946398 ID: 0fae41

Try prosthetics, and maybe gloves. Lying, cheating and stealing has got you this far, right?
No. 946400 ID: 8d4593

What do you think you'll find up there?

Do you think the greater world more, or less disgusting than what's going on down there?

Gods. Look at them. At least two of them did nothing wrong this time.

The guy in the middle's gonna end up choking to death if he keeps squirming like that.
No. 946413 ID: af1a4b

Oh shit you are gonna run away...
I ain’t gonna tell you not to but you better think long and hard about this.
Just think If it’s the right choice for you and what you need to do it right i guess.
No. 946415 ID: 977456

Wow, look at the ears on her! Not too happy about how, uhh, tortured some of them look. Do they really need to rough them up on the way to the gallows?
No. 946450 ID: 83bf07

Do you guys have anything tying you to your current lives here?
No. 946451 ID: 91ee5f

All of these guys look pretty beat up. Except for that fat guy on the far right, he doesn’t look like he got beat up at all. Why is that?
No. 946463 ID: 81cd19

Tell him to think twice before he does anything dangerous next time.
No. 946560 ID: fd5772

The kid needs to take his mind off how sucky not having three fingers is. Start a guessing game 'bout what them five did wrong to end up on the gallows. I bet the fat one is a monger who did some thievery worse than Fingers would ever dream a doing. That one on the left looks defiant, like maybe she said something wrong but think its true. Like some sorta heretic. Maybe they're all heretics?
No. 946565 ID: c15cc3

Well for starters, which one is the one you specifically came here to see die?
No. 946592 ID: 15a025

You even got some kind of plan for that fingers?
No. 946652 ID: e5e15e
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>”I say to look to ourselves instead. The five remaining tribes. Do we not make a perfect society? Strength, skill, integrity, intelligence, and... endurance. The answer to why the other two tribes fell to the wayside is because they were not needed. We united and have thrived for centuries because we balanced ourselves, expelling those who would unsteady us. Stability requires work! Sacrifice! Selflessness! They taught us this lesson... and that is why we find ourselves here today.”

“Do you think what's down here is less dangerous than outside?” I snap. “What do you even think you'll find up there? Do you think it’ll be better when there won’t be Ma’am or Junkyard around to protect you? You got plans to deal with the brutes and devils?”

He stares down at the stage. I’m not even sure if he’s still listening.

“You got friends down here, right? You want to leave us and everything else we know? Think this through, for once in your life.” I point below. “That fat bastard down there caught you once doing something stupid, you think you won’t get caught again and hung like the thumbs?”

“I wasn’t lyin’,” He whispers. “He didn’t catch me. I didn’t do nothin’ for him to catch.”
No. 946655 ID: e7c7d3

That's even worse, getting in trouble for what you didn't even do. You clearly want something better. But running away with nothing isn't how you get there.
No. 946658 ID: 094652

>Strength, Skill, Integrity, Intelligence, and... endurance.
Ten internet points says the priests are controlling everyone by hoarding a monopoly in those other two remaining stats. Like charisma and wisdom.

>“He didn’t catch me. I didn’t do nothin’ for him to catch.”
"He doesn't need evidence or a working brain to take more than your limbs. Please stay far away from him period."
No. 946659 ID: b1b4f3

If he's dead set on leaving, maybe he can bring someone with him.
Do you have a reason to stay, yourself?
No. 946661 ID: 8d4593

You done any thinkin about this?
Cuz if you want me to go along with this you best make a good damn argument for why you wanna go.
Curiosity aint good enough. I ain't gonna let you get yourself killed cuz you wasn't thinkin.
No. 946679 ID: 81cd19

If you're gonna leave... you're gonna need to be prepared.

>down here is less dangerous than outside
I'm confused. What is "down here"? What is up and what is down?
No. 947016 ID: 15a025

Well lying or telling the truth, he's bad news fingers. Stay away from him if anything.

You even got survival skills? Know how to start a fire, find food and shelter on the go. Without stealing any of it? Not knocking you so much for it, but outside there might not be anyone or anything to steal from. You latching onto anything I'm saying here?
No. 947228 ID: e5e15e
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>”Artisan Moon Fon. We welcomed you into our bosoms from the wastes almost twenty years ago, over my own objections. You healed us when we were sick and injured and we gave you succor and sustenance. Yet you betrayed us and stole the lives of three brave Martinets attempting to escape justice. Your face tells me they took some small manner of retribution. The rest of us take our recompense now.”

“I was still on kid detail, doing all that little stuff the adults and teens don’t got time for. Cleanin’ rooms in the fuckin’ Monger Manor with them ignorin’ me like they do everyone.”
No. 947229 ID: e5e15e
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>”The three of you, criminals four times over, left your posts in the mine with stolen supplies and gold. Did you want to join the barbarians we saved Moon Fon from? Did you simply give in to your base laziness, shedding your yokes so your Toiler siblings had to carry more weight? It matters not. You have used up all your chances.”

“There was some yellin’ and Redkho comes bangin’ in, grabs my hand, and slams it on a table.”
No. 947230 ID: e5e15e
File 157122468308.png - (1.01MB , 1000x1000 , GD Update 25.png )

>”You did not care.”

“I don’t even think he meant to take two. Just had shit aim.”
No. 947231 ID: e5e15e
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>”You’ve nothing left.”

“I’m bleedin’ and holdin’ my stumps on the floor and get to hear him whine to a Diamond that he had ‘punished the thief’. Figured out he offered me up as a quick excuse once I wasn’t cryin’.”
No. 947233 ID: e5e15e
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>”So you hang. Now. Finally. Monger Redkho.”

“...Why ain’t Steel droppin' him?” I hear a tinge of fear in his voice.
No. 947234 ID: 094652

> Hanging
Yeah this is definitely a reign of terror. Even if they are guilty of mass theft of supplies, the least this smiling dickhead could do is let them speak before they're executed.

Poor kid didn't want to be a part of this.

> Is there anything you can do?
Well, you could shout and pretend to be snipers, so the forces will be further distracted. Other than that, leave.
No. 947235 ID: ad51b8

either he's about to let him go as a show of mercy to make himself look better and subtly let everyone now their lives are in his hands or the more likely option of he's about to make an example out of the last guy... we should probably leave.
No. 947236 ID: b233f0

Maybe a pardon o' sort? The powerful gotta show mercy every once a while. Not to mention, Redkho did seem sorta smug right up 'till the end there. Maybe he thought one was a-comin'.

... did you set Redkho up?

You'll want to stay low if he's let loose and they figged it all out. I can leave you the peels here when I head back with the 'taters so you got somethin' for chew. Got chores, but I'll come check on ya later, once I've seen if folks're up and lookin' for ya. Best I can do without puttin' my neck out there with that lot.
No. 947237 ID: 26ba84

If I got it right, we came specifically to watch this guy die, so no leaving.
No. 947240 ID: 91ee5f

Do you think those guards are going to skewer him with their spears before they drop him?
No. 947241 ID: a9af05

He might be too fat to fit through the hole when they drop him, so they have to execute him in a different way.

Or instead of dropping him, they're going to execute him differently to make an example out of him as a warning to all the rich people that're watching to let them know what'll happen to them if they fuck up.
No. 947251 ID: e7c7d3

If I'm understanding this correctly, from the first hanging they don't like citizens doing their own justice, so even if they were criminals she's still guilty of killing them. Then from the next hangings, it seems that there's a three-strikes rule, though all three strikes can happen in the same instance.

So when Redkho cut off Finger's fingers, that may have been a strike for him and Redkho's been on the edge of the law for a while now.

Either way, we just have to wait and see.
No. 947253 ID: b233f0

Ambiguous wording, but I think the first one who got hung was the one 'attempting to escape justice' from having 'betrayed' the locals. The three 'Brave Martinets' who died fighting them were probably local enforcers of some kind, and not the ones doing the attempted escaping.
No. 947261 ID: b1b4f3

I think that panicking guy got set up too.
Smug justice is the worst justice.
No. 947436 ID: 15a025

Well Fingers, just be glad you didn't end up where Redkho is now.
No. 948165 ID: e5e15e
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>“I notice none of your fellows deigned to attend, despite how unique this event is. It has been many years since one of your... prominence has needed to be punished. Before even my birth. My predecessor declared her punishment served after she survived being hung for over an hour. If you are half as hardy as she was I doubt they wanted to waste their valuable time waiting. Frankly, I agree.”

>Do you have a reason to stay, yourself?
Everyone I know is here, of course I want to stay.

“... did you set Redkho up?” I ask quietly.

“I didn’t have nothin’ to do with this.” He snaps back. He’s leaning forward and his nails are scraping on the rock.

“If he's let loose you need to stay far away from him.” I catch what that might sound like. “And I don’t mean leavin’. Running away ain’t gonna do you no good. You ain’t got any survival skills I know of, and if there’s no one out there to steal from you’ll starve in a week. I ain't gonna let you get yourself killed cuz you wasn't thinkin.”
No. 948170 ID: e7c7d3

What's his punishment going to be? Stockades? You could get your own justice here, Fingers.
No. 948173 ID: 0fae41

The speaker seeks a puppet. If you aren't ready to strike out on your own, there's no time like the present to prepare. Whether you take care of Redkho yourself before leaving is up to you.
No. 948236 ID: ce39da

Ah, so his kind are physically difficult to hang? Fun. If it does look like he's going to get released here, however...

Okay, first of all, get ready to preemptively cover your buddy's mouth if he even gives a hint of an imminent outburst, and shush into his ear so he doesn't get the wrong idea. If he's insistent on getting his own justice: "If you're serious about this, I'd like to be there to make sure you do it right. I'm not letting my friend get sent onto that platform."

However, I doubt it will come to that; that guy's smile disappeared the moment the preacher started hinting at no hanging. He could probably handle a hanging, after all, and I think he's right to not be liking the new direction this is going.
No. 948435 ID: e5e15e
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>“The mistake you made is thinking power in the hands of others can protect you. I failed to teach you this and that regret shall lay on both our souls.”
No. 948436 ID: e5e15e
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>”Monger Redkho, you are guilty of abusing your station to bring heretical materials into the sanctuary that is our home, Silverlock. I take solace in the fact that we were able to catch you before you distributed said filth. Worse than the other crimes we have punished today, you tried to plant a seed of rot within our very souls. There can be no mercy for this!”

Finger’s body tenses even more and he’s so focused on the stage I step closer to make sure he doesn’t fall out of the crack.
No. 948437 ID: e5e15e
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>“My friends. My comrades! I know the struggles you face. The chains of duty weigh each of us down with separate burdens.”
No. 948438 ID: e5e15e
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>”But the name of The Sculptor was not given to Them in jest! We were made, each of us, for the tasks we are given. We can rise to them together! We must excel, hand in hand! For They have given us only two options!”
No. 948439 ID: e5e15e
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No. 948442 ID: e5e15e
File 157248077690.png - (935.62KB , 1000x1000 , GD Update 34.png )

>”Or thrive with Them!”
No. 948443 ID: e5e15e
File 157248079432.png - (711.20KB , 1000x1000 , GD Update 35.png )

No. 948445 ID: e7c7d3

There you go, Fingers. Your justice. Now get any thoughts of blood out of your head and let's get back to the potatoes.
No. 948446 ID: ce39da

Oof looks like the preacher man got religion in Finger's show. Hard to even stay mad at this guy when his judge is wearing that shit-eating grin.

"It seems not everyone can find a third option to that question. That doesn't mean it's impossible, though. By the way, did I ever mention you kinda look like [INSERT ONE-EYED GOD'S NAME HERE]?"

Stay vigilant on keeping him from crying out, whether in victory or outrage (if there's another last-minute twist).
No. 948447 ID: 0fae41

Personally, I would see if there is a market for other gods. You know. Just thinking out loud.
No. 948452 ID: 3ed3c3

Well, Hell. Given a choice like that, you kinda wanna rebel out of sheer spite.
No. 948453 ID: 094652

This man is not being judged for theft or betrayal or indirect mass murder. The priest refuses to judge his inner circle for any real crime as he refuses to judge himself. This man is being punished for trying to spread ideas and give hope to others for once in his godforsaken life. If the priest truly had faith in his religion, he'd welcome the rot and enjoy curing it (with more hangings, of course) as a fun past-time.

And that's the reason for this spectacle; using cruelty as punishment to teach others the consequences of thinking one is above the law is bad enough, but somewhat understandable. Outright claiming that any simple reading material is worse than starving people to death, that the only alternative to unquestioning 'unity' is death? He doesn't want his faith to be the superior faith. He wants his faith to be the ONLY faith.

Stop this madness. Or at least try. Hide behind cover and begin screaming. Without the noose around his neck, Redkho will have enough time to escape. He'll likely be gunned down in the chase. But that will plant the right seed in these people: occasionally, the mouth of God has a stutter.
No. 948622 ID: 15a025

I think our show's over Fingers. Let's get heading back else they find an encore.
No. 948642 ID: 015bf2

No. 948772 ID: e5e15e
File 157298340290.png - (1.01MB , 1000x1000 , GD Update 36.png )

>By the way, did I ever mention you kinda look like [INSERT ONE-EYED GOD'S NAME HERE]?
>I would see if there is a market for other gods.
I’ve never heard of any god but Nine Eyes. If there are some they ain’t in Silverlock.

Tension leaks out of Fingers when Redkho’s head comes off, but not nearly enough of it. Steel is still talking but it’s all stuff I’ve heard before and I tune it out.

“Show’s over. You feelin’ better now?” I ask.


“Ready to head back?”

“Not yet. Go on ahead, Asher. ”

“I can’t leave until you do, I gotta close the entrance back up.” I pick up the last potato and finish peeling it.

“Just leave a crack open for me to slip through and I’ll be fine. I wanna be alone for a bit. Anyway Junkyard told me she wanted to see you, like, an hour ago.” He says.

“What? You couldn’t have told me that earlier?” He gives a half-hearted shrug.

After I drop these potatoes off I was going to go back to my regular work detail, trash collecting with Mash, but if Junkyard wants to see me it’s probably important. But then again Mash can be real… touchy about schedules, and doesn’t like it when people are late, which I might already be. Or I could stay a little bit longer and try to get through to Fingers again, but I got no idea what he needs me to say. I think it’s best Ma’am hears what Fingers has been talking about, sooner rather than later. He might need more help than I can give.
No. 948780 ID: 28dc04

If you're already late, go meet Junkyard.
No. 948791 ID: 0fae41

Make Fingers help you carry the potatoes back. You only brought one lightstone, and your hands are full. Plenty of places to be alone that aren't prone to cavein.
No. 948804 ID: b1b4f3

Don't make Fingers do anything. Go talk to Junkyard after delivering the potatoes, tell Mash you're late since Junkyard needed to speak with you. It's half-true!
No. 948841 ID: 094652

Go do the thing with Junkyard. If your boss gives you trouble for not sticking to schedule, she can pay for it.
No. 948842 ID: 977456

Fingers is clearly in no headspace to recall anything. Assume that anything you don't do yourself will not be done.
No. 949149 ID: 15a025

Make a compromise with Fingers. You don't mind leaving him be for a bit, but this isn't exactly a good place to be alone. What's he going to do if someone else comes by and moves the rock shut on him?
No. 949448 ID: e5e15e
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I pick up the bag and drop it in Finger’s arms. I ain’t gonna leave him to stew in the dark at least. He cusses me out, but walks. We don’t really speak on the way back but his expression is softer by the time I’ve rolled the rock back into place. I tell him to go tell Mash I’ll be late and head to drop off Pole’s potatoes. I’ll talk to Ma’am about him later. She’ll know what to do.
No. 949449 ID: e5e15e
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I’m hoping, if I’m sneaky enough, I can drop these things off and not have to deal with the chef again.
No. 949450 ID: e5e15e
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...Ah shit.
No. 949451 ID: e5e15e
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No. 949452 ID: e5e15e
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No. 949453 ID: e5e15e
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No. 949454 ID: e5e15e
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Well, Pole’s pissed.
No. 949455 ID: e5e15e
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I head straight over to the quarry Junkyard has been working in the last few weeks and spot her doing all the hard work like normal.

Sometimes I look at tats or sticklers struggling to pick stuff up and I wonder how they can live being so weak. Junkyards gotta think that all the time about the rest of us lankies.
No. 949456 ID: e5e15e
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“Where’ve you been?” She grunts. “I sent Fingers to find you an hour ago and that boy ain’t slow, outta everything else he is. Was he fuckin’ around playing or some shit?”
No. 949458 ID: 0fae41

He wanted to go see the old bastard Red get hung. He was too fat for it and they had to bring out the meat cleaver.
No. 949460 ID: b1b4f3

Yes. Say this.
No. 949464 ID: 015bf2

Some shit and he wanted you along for it - the hangings. Didn't mention the meeting until after. You get the impression he's troubled, our boy Fingers. You'll talk to Ma'am about it later, see what she thinks - if there's aught anyone can do for him.

Anyway, thanks to that detour you're liable to have pissed off both Pole and Mash before the day is done. What can you do for her, lest you make it three?
No. 949469 ID: 094652

Tell her they finally whacked Redkho, but they used the execution as a sham to show that nobles don't follow the same rules as commoners, and that nobles trying to help commoners makes them even more guilty than commoners.

So yeah, what do we need to do today?
No. 949470 ID: 8d4593

Fuckin' around? Sure. He thought it important though. He'll take whatever you wanna dish out at him well enough.

What's up?
No. 949702 ID: 15a025

He was hanging around the executions. Thankfully not on the other end of it.
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