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CYOA: The Dying Kingdom


DragonFlames
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1 minute ago, Dayni said:

I'll confess that you have me on the first one.

Ah-HA! I knew it!

2 minutes ago, Dayni said:

On the female axe part, I must confess I picked staff initially, but hey why not both eventually?

If I go the full FE route with this, there may be a promotion later. Maybe she can get axes then.
It's definitely something to keep in mind. I'll add it to my notes, so I don't forget!

3 minutes ago, Dayni said:

As for the sister, I wanted there to be a sister and younger just had me going "It might be another of a certain stereotype" and I just avoided it mentally.

You mean the typical demure little sister stereotype that goes "big brother" and variations all the time, right?
If there had been a younger sister, I probably would have avoided making her that, too. Not that I have any particularly strong aversions against that, but it just wouldn't have fitted into the setting very well.

5 minutes ago, Dayni said:

Accidentally making Lissa was a surprise to be sure but a welcome one.

I realized it halfway through writing this second chapter and found it so funny/interesting that I just had to share it.

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Just now, Shrimperor said:

What i expected: Extra detailed bath scene that will make most bath CGs look normal

What i got: super fast shower

Why did you expect that from me? XD
I could have gone into more detail of course, but I decided to keep it brief, since I wanted to introduce the older sister character this chapter.

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So, with Shrimperor's blessing, I am happy to announce that your choices so far have "unlocked" a gaiden chapter! Enjoy Chapter 2x!

CYOA - The Dying Kingdom Chapter 2x: Determination of a prince

- five years ago -

Rain falls as a torrent from the sky, making the canyon even more slippery and dangerous than usual. The roar of thunder is amplified by the echo bouncing off of the steep cliffs surrounding us. The occasional lightning bolt lights up the area for a short while, every time one hits, it sends our horses into a near panic.
Carefully, we tread forward, our mountain horses nervous and our men constantly on egde. It is only thanks to strict training that our steeds have yet to run away in fear.

This is my first mission as Supreme Commander of the Royal Army, a title my father has given me only a few days prior. There are only twenty of us, rising tension with the other nations has necessitated an increase of border security and thus only few remained to take on this task of investigating rumors of mysterious figues seen around the Dragon's Maw, a steep and perilous canyon that leads to the southwestern territories of the Raganorian Empire.

As the rain keeps getting worse, I spot a potential shelter underneath a rock formation protruding from the wall above us. Deeming it too dangerous to advance, I raise my hand.
"We will stop here", I order my men and we gather underneath the rock. Indeed, it provides some reprieve from the water peltering us from above.
"Mylord?" I am approached by one of my men, whom I recognize as a recruit who had only just joined the army. He is the same age as my youngest sister, Sophia, and he has been hanging out with her a lot ever since the two of them were young children.
"Yes, Finley. What is it?" I ask him.
He hesitates for a second before he politely bows. Is he really that much of a stranger to being called by name...?
"Excuse the question, Your Highness, but why did we stop here? I-Is it not our mission to investigate this area...?", he asks with fear and hesitation in his voice, as if he was afraid of death for questioning my orders.
"As the weather currently is, it is too dangerous to go on", I explain to him in a calm manner, in the hopes of alleviating his fears. "You may not know this, but Dragon's Maw is one of the most dangerous canyons in the kingdom. Though it used to be a trade route to the Empire, many merchants have met their ends due to the unpredictable weather and unstable ground. It is not safe for us to continue with this much rain and so we must wait it out."
"I-I see."
I place a hand on his shoulder, which makes him flinch. "Calm yourself", I tell him. "There is no need to rush."
"O-of course, Your Highness. I'm sorry."
I shake my head, but it seems he will not let go of his stiffness anytime soon. What did Sophia tell him about me, I wonder...?

I hear my men discussing amongst themselves as I observe the weather conditions.
"The rain will not make this easy for us..." I muse. Lightning strikes and the horses neigh as the rolling thunder hits. Mountain horses are more used to harsh terrain than their counterparts the other nations' cavalries use, but their fear of thunder is unchanged. Were they wild horses, they would have never considered entering this canyon.
They would have been too smart to do so...

Out of the corner of my eye, for the briefest of moments as the canyon is lit up by yet another lightning bolt, I see a shadow vanish around the corner.
Was it an animal? Was it a person? Either way, we are not alone here.

"Get ready, men!" I shout and unsheath my rapier, the Hail Slicer. "There is something nearby!"
Immediately, we form up around the two priests we brought along to serve as healers. Everyone has their weapons ready, but the terrain is everything but on our side. The path is narrow, there are not many places to retreat to or hide. But the same holds true for our would-be enemies, so I believe we should be fine here.
... Or so I thought, before our fatal blind spot comes to mind.

As if I had jinxed it, we hear maniacal laughter echo through the canyon, coming from seemingly every direction.
"Eee-hee-hee-hee-hee, they walked right into it!" A shrill voice, filled with sadistic glee, reaches my ears.
"They did! They did! They did!", chants a veritable choir of voices and a terrifying realization dawns on me.

We are outnumbered.

My companions, having seemingly come to the same conclusion, go pale. The fear of death is written all over their faces.
"Stay vigilant!" I try to rally my troops, try to keep morale up. "We don't know where they will attack from!"
My comrades do not respond to my words. Paralyzed with fear, they stand there, staring into empty space. And even I can no longer shake this paralyzing fear.

I hear that cackling laugh again.
"Eee-hee-hee-hee-hee. Are you afraid?"
"They fear us! They fear us! They fear us!"
Their chanting almost seems... otherworldly. Their voices almost inhuman.

Only too late do I realize that a cloaked figure has materialized right in the middle of our troops. With a black and red curved shortsword, the figure cuts down two of my men before vanishing again.
"Eee-hee-hee-hee-hee. Two down."

Black lightning bolts suddenly crack through the rock above us. Hurriedly, we jump out of the way, but not everyone makes it in time.
Our horses as well as our supplies are caught in the avalanche and tumble down into the abyss below.

I try to assess our situation, but the white-clad figure suddenly reemerges  and attacks me. Without thinking, I charge my rapier with dark magic and skewer my opponent, after which a hundred dark spikes pierce the figure's body. Its body spasms and contorts and to my horror, it starts laughing again before vanishing, leaving behind the white cloth, now punctured by many holes. My blade shows no sign of the enemy's blood, either.
"What in the name of Heaven are they...?"
"Mylord! Look out!" I hear Finley's voice calling to me and just in time, I can dodge a throwing knife. It managed to slash my arm, and the wound, although small, hurts to an unnatural degree. It is as if my left arm is paralyzed. Poison? No... no poison in the world acts that fast.

"Eee-hee-hee-hee-hee."
Their laughter echoes as one by one, my men fall. They come and go so fast, I can barely keep track of their movements. Are they using Teleportation magic? No matter where we try to retreat to, we are assaulted by one or more of them and one of my men dies. Like a cruel cycle, this pattern repeats itself until it is only me, Finley, and one of the priests left. My men are now corpses, strewn across the path we took to get here. And all three of us are wounded as well.

We catch our breaths as the attackers seemed to have ceased their assault for now, apparently satisfied with the carnage they caused.
But who are they? Why did they suddenly stop attacking us?
Nothing about this is natural, I conclude. Their weapons cause wounds too severe, their spells, though reminiscent of magic I am familiar with, were nothing I have ever seen before.
I look to Finley, who was on the verge of tears, his entire body shaking. I can see now that it was a mistake to bring him along.
The priest has healed some of our wounds, but we were far from healthy. Their weapons seem to be capable of inflicting wounds that are difficult to heal... if they ever healed at all, that is.

A sudden sense of dread snaps me back into reality. A dagger, infused with black lightning, heads straight for Finley. I act without thinking.
"Look out!" I push the boy aside.
A sharp, agonizing pain crushes me, as the dagger buries itself in my left eye socket. My world suddenly goes red. The last thing I register before everything goes dark is a faint, distant voice.
"Now... your fate begins... Prince of Revolution..."

---

I awake to worried faces of my family staring at me. The tear-stained face of my youngest sister Sophia immediately brightens as my eyes open.
"Big brother!!!", she squeals and hugs me tightly. It is a crushing hug that hurts, but I do not push her away. I do not have the strength to do so.
"You're okay..." Melissa sighs in relief, wiping away tears of her own. "I really thought we lost you..."
"I am... sorry to... have worried you..." Speaking still proved painful. I cannot feel the left side of my face at all, and closing my right eye made everything go dark again.
My father's words confirm my suspicion.
"The doctors could not salvage your left eye." He places a hand on my shoulder, holding back his own tears.
I bring my hand to my face and feel a strange, metallic object covering the left half of it.
"You will have to live like this from now on", says my mother. "No amount of healing could fix how disfigured it was..." She looks away and closes her eyes.
"I am sorry, my son..." My father says, his voice shaking.

...
No. I am the one who should apologize. I failed to carry out my mission. I failed as a commander. I failed as a crown prince, whose role it is to protect his subjects. My men died because I was careless. Because I was not strong enough. Had I only the same skill and talent in swordsmanship as Melissa... maybe things would have turned out differently.
My sisters cry for me... But I do not feel as though I deserve their tears.

Those who attacked us... who are they?

[listen to this when you read this next part]

After that, my father launched a large scale investigation based on mine and Finley's testimonies. I only learned after recuperating that the priest who survived had gone insane and taken his own life.
I am sure it is thanks to him that I am still here.
Ultimately, the investigation proved fruitless. No sign of the mysterious white-robed figures were found and the rumors surrounding the Dragon's Maw and people therein soon died down.

One day, I will find out who did this.
Until that time comes, I will have to dedicate myself to becoming stronger, better. Stronger as a warrior and as a commander to prove myself worthy of my title as Supreme Commander. Better as a person and leader to prove myself worthy as the heir to the throne of Vales.
I have to become worthy of the Exalted Blade housed within the castle walls; the Tyrant's Wing Fragarach. With it, I will cut down those who threaten the lives of my people. With it, I shall attain the strength necessary to secure peace for my kingdom and safety for my family.

I, Elliot von Vales, hereby vow to making this wish come true.

---

Alright, ending it here! I hope you enjoyed this Gaiden chapter that details what happened on "that day" spoken of in Chapter 2.
As always, let me know what you think, if you'd like to see more of this, and I hope to see you in the next "main" chapter!

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15 minutes ago, Shrimperor said:

Also you don't need my blessings for anything, it's not like i invented the format xD

I just figured I'd ask you first to make sure.
Not that I'd expect you to get mad at me for doing this, of course.
I guess I just wanted to avoid coming across as shamelessly copying the format you chose.

15 minutes ago, Shrimperor said:

Also did you give him a dark spikes Rapier? *Lysdrool*

Yup, I sure did. Six-times effectiveness against mounted units, let's go!
I got the idea for it while thinking about what a piercing weapon like a rapier could do when it's infused with dark-elemental magic and that was what came to mind first.

Also, I see we have our first tie.
Now what to do?

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52 minutes ago, DragonFlames said:

Alright, ending it here! I hope you enjoyed this Gaiden chapter that details what happened on "that day" spoken of in Chapter 2.
As always, let me know what you think, if you'd like to see more of this, and I hope to see you in the next "main" chapter!

Definitely enjoyed the gaiden chapter. Now you've got me wondering who the big bad is going to be and what Elliot's arc will develop into alongside his sister's story. Nice job!

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6 minutes ago, twilitfalchion said:

Definitely enjoyed the gaiden chapter. Now you've got me wondering who the big bad is going to be and what Elliot's arc will develop into alongside his sister's story. Nice job!

Thank you! ^^

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1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

"Mylord?" I am approached by one of my men, whom I recognize as a recruit who had only just joined the army. He is the same age as my youngest sister, Sophia, and he has been hanging out with her a lot ever since the two of them were young children.

So Finley was involved in The Incident at 13?

That's some confidence or stretching of resources there.

1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

A sharp, agonizing pain crushes me, as the dagger buries itself in my left eye socket. My world suddenly goes red. The last thing I register before everything goes dark is a faint, distant voice.
"Now... your fate begins... Prince of Revolution..."

Sheesh, that's one way for an ambush to end. There's no way that wasn't part of the plan. Prince of Revolution, wonder if that's some prophesied title.

Also, that's a death flag.

1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

I have to become worthy of the Exalted Blade housed within the castle walls; the Tyrant's Wing Fragarach.

With this and Elliot's use of dark magic (dark spikes rapier, which I missed the obvious reference to) are we the baddies?

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32 minutes ago, Dayni said:

So Finley was involved in The Incident at 13?

That's some confidence or stretching of resources there.

Sheesh, that's one way for an ambush to end. There's no way that wasn't part of the plan. Prince of Revolution, wonder if that's some prophesied title.

Also, that's a death flag.

With this and Elliot's use of dark magic (dark spikes rapier, which I missed the obvious reference to) are we the baddies?

All will be explained in due time! ^^
I'd answer your questions, but I don't want to spoil anything for the obvious reasons.

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7 hours ago, CustardPudding said:

This whole story is very interesting so far! 

I have a feeling that either Elliot is the big baddie or is going to work for him...or maybe Sophia will? 

Love it! 

Thank you!

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Since we had a Gaiden chapter yesterday, and the votes were tied, I could only write the new main chapter earlier today.
Enjoy!

CYOA - The Dying Kingdom Chapter 3: Mission

"Can't we just talk on the way to the throne room?" you ask after weighing your options and deciding that your curiosity about Elliot's report and your desire to speak with your childhood friend were equally strong.
"Is it alright for me to accompany you?" Finleys question was directed at Melissa, who gives a friendly nod and smiles.
"Of course it is. You don't even have to ask". She heads off and you follow, with Finley in tow.

"So, how has your training been going? Are you able to actually use heal staves for healing yet?", he asks, hitting a sore spot.
"Well, not exactly", you answer, trying your best to not let his obvious jab get to you. "But I can smash wood pretty easily now!" You stick your nose into the air in an effort to appear proud of that, but in truth, you wish for things to be different.
Finley laughs. "So, should I call you the 'Merciless Woodcrusher', then?"
That title again.
"You're the worst, Fiffy..."
"Stop calling me that!" His face goes red with embarrassment.
"Hmm... Nope!"
You grin triumphantly at him and he gives a sigh in defeat.  "To be fair, I brought that one upon myself there, didn't I?" he admits.
"So you do learn!", you theatrically bring a hand to your mouth in shock.

"You two get along so well", says Melissa, who seems to be enjoying herself, that much is clear to you.
"Are we entertainment now or what?", you ask sarcastically and Melissa and Finley start laughing.

"Anyway, Fiffy".
The young man cringes, which makes you feel giddy.
"You act all high and mighty because I can't heal people with my staff yet, but what have you been doing all this time? I heard you were stationed at Fort Hector for the past two months. How's that been going?"
"Oh you know... so, so", Finley replies. "Nothing really happened there, so me and some others got sent home. I arrived here yesterday".
"Well, you could have said 'hi' in that case..." You cross your arms, slightly offended.
Before Finley can say anything in his defense, Melissa speaks up.
"Speaking of, how is General Cynthia doing?", she asks.
"I never talked to her much, but she seems to be doing well", Finley replies. "If only her methods weren't so strict, though..." He slumps over slightly, seemingly remembering a tough training regimen.
As she is close to Elliot, you know General Cynthia von Mallas fairly personally. One of the strongest Generals in the kingdom, she is known as the Silver Valkyrie. Occasionally, she would help you train or hang out with you when she is in the castle. You do not remember her methods being all that tough, though. Nor do you remember her being all that strict, either.
"Maybe you're just too soft?" You give a teasing grin.
"Well at least MY weapon does what it's supposed to!", Finley counters.
"You're lucky I don't have my staff with me, or else I'd be the 'Merciless Fiffy-crusher' right now..." you say in a low, threatening tone.
"Alright, alright, I get it. Sheesh". Finley laughs and you laugh with him.

While you continue to chat with Finley and Melissa, you reach the large stairway that greets every visitor to the castle. At the top of it is a red door that leads to the throne room.
"Here we are", says Melissa.
"Well, I'll be waiting right here", says Finley, knowing that whatever King Gwendal wished to talk to you about was not for the ears of a 'mere soldier' like him.
"Alright, I'll see you later!", you tell him as you ascend the stairs slightly behind your older sister. The two guards open the door and you enter the throne room, by far the largest hall in the entire castle. Mighty pillars support the high roof and from the ceiling hang the banners of the kingdom, proudly displaying a black wyvern coiling around a sword on a blood red background.
"It is nice to see you, Melissa and Sophia!", your father, King Gwendal's friendly voice greets you as you approach the throne.
"Good morning, father and mother!", you greet your parents, then your eyes meet the gaze of the exceptionally beautiful woman sitting at Gwendal's side.
Your mother, Lucille von Harmun.
She averts her eyes in silence as she continues to apathetically wave her gaudy paper fan. Your heart sinks a bit.
"You wanted to speak with us?", asks Melissa, as she gently places a hand on your shoulder.
"Yes", the king replies. "It concerns the mission I gave to Elliot in the Empire. Elliot, if you would".
"Of course". The crown prince nods and steps forward. "In short, it was a failure", he says. "Raganor is... unwilling to share their supplies with us. I had the opportunity to speak with the Emperor himself, and he seemed taken to our plea, but his senate vehemently advised against it, saying that they have their own circumstances to consider".
"And what circumstances would that be?", asks Melissa.
"Apparently, Raganor is in the middle of preparations for war", Lucille replies. "Seems the island nation of Falba provoked them somehow, the poor fools".
"War?!?" Melissa stares at your mother in shock. "But why?"
"Falba is a nation of proud warriors. Maybe they wished to show their strength by challenging the Empire". After everything you heard about the distant island nation from Melissa, Elliot's suggested reason for the war seems plausible to you. Meanwhile, you wonder if her concern and interest in a war between two different nations comes from the fact that the one who lead Melissa on the way of the sword was a wandering swordsman, whose birthplace was Falba, the very archipelago that is now going to war against the continent's mightiest nation.
"It is likely", says Gwendal. "Be that as it may, we should consider our own steps forward. Now that Raganor has refused their aid, we are once again left alone in our plight".
"That Liphia would refuse us was almost a given, given our history", says Lucille nonchalantly. "But now that the Empire has denied our request, we are running out of options. And fast".
"The duchy of Liphia has very fertile soil", says Melissa. "But their territory is too small. I'm sure they need everything they have to keep their own people fed".

Gwendal sighs heavily. "If our situation doesn't improve, we have a dark future ahead of us. What is left for us to do now?"
"This is getting us nowhere", says Elliot, frustrated. "While we are sitting around here hesitating, our people out there are dying of starvation! It will not be long that their patience reaches its limits. Is it not now that we, as the royal family, must act?!?"
"I appreciate your enthusiasm, Elliot, but what do you suggest we do?"
Lucille speaks up. "Well, there is one solution...", she says calmly and gives the king a knowing look. "You of all people should know best of which I speak, yes?"
"NO! Absolutely not!" All of a sudden, the king rises from his throne. "I have walked that path once already and all it has brought us is suffering! I have no intentions of repeating that mistake!"

"What path?" you wonder to yourself, then look at your siblings' faces for answers, but you receive none. And from the grave tone in your father's voice, you'd rather not pry any further into the subject.

"And Elliot, if this was your suggestion, then I beseech you to reconsider. That road only leads to ruin, and our kingdom in its current state can ill afford wasting resources like this!"
Elliot says nothing. It seems he and your mother really did have the same idea.
"I will discuss this matter with the council later on", the king sighs and sits back down, now calmer. "I was planning to do so, anyway. But I wished to hear your thoughts first. Melissa, what do you think?"
"I share your opinion, father", she says calmly. "It would be in our best interest to stay calm and not take action out of desperation". She looks directly at Elliot and he meets her gaze. "Desperate times necessitate desperate measures, yes, but we should calmly assess our situation and weigh our options carefully. It might be our duty to take action to ease the people's worries, but it is just as much our duty to make calm, thought-out decisions. If we panic, how can we expect our people not to do the same?"

You gulp, as the atmosphere in the room threatens to suffocate you.

"You're right", Elliot gives in. "I apologize for being rash".
"It is nothing you have to apologize for", says Gwendal. "Melissa is right. For now, all we can do is alleviate the people's worries and take steps to tackle the problem at its core. On that note: I have a mission for you, Sophia".
"F-For me?" You flinch, not expecting to suddenly be included in the conversation like that.
"Yes. Earlier, we received a request for help from a village located in the woods just outside of town. Apparently, some of the villagers went missing and they have asked us for help in finding them. It is not too dangerous a mission, but as things currently are, I cannot spare many forces for this task. Hence, I would like you to go there and investigate".
"You can bring along that friend of yours along, if you want", Lucille adds with a bored expression.
"Of course. I did not plan on sending you out on your own, that is why I have hired someone to help you out. He should already be in the village, waiting for you. I hope you understand that I can offer no more aid than this". He looks at you apologetically. Meanwhile, Melissa and Elliot once again exchange looks.
"I get it", you accept the mission. "Thank you for entrusting me with this, father. I promise, I won't let you down!" You say your goodbyes to your family as you leave the throne room to prepare for the coming excursion.

At the entrance, you are greeted by Finley.
"So, how did it go?"
"We have a mission, Fiffy!", you inform him. "We're supposed to find some missing villagers".
"Wait, alone?!?" Finley stares at you in disbelief.
"Well, there is apparently someone who will help us already on site, so it should be fine, right? I mean... it's just looking for people. I doubt we'll be fighting anyone". Your words do little to console him.
"Still, shouldn't we at least ask someone else for help?", he asks. "I'm sure Prince Elliot or Lady Melissa would be happy to help you, don't you think?"
"Yeah, probably, but I'm sure they have their own tasks to do", you say.
"That we do", you hear a voice and Melissa and Elliot approach you.
"But it's just paperwork and participation in a council meeting", Elliot continues. "And I think one of us should be enough to complete that".
"Which means the other is free to help you out", Melissa finishes the sentence for him. "It's not that we don't trust your abilities to accomplish your mission on your own, but we'd feel more at ease knowing one of us was there to keep you safe".
"Is it just me, or is it kinda creepy that they finish each other's sentences?", you whisper to Finley, who only nods.

"So, Sophia, what do you say?", asks Melissa.
"Well..."

Who will you ask to accompany you?

Choice 1: Ask Melissa
Choice 2: Ask Elliot
Choice 3: Go alone with Finley.

As usual, vote your preferred option in the poll!
A little bit longer than usual today, since there was a lot of plot to introduce. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I'll see you in the next one!

Edited by DragonFlames
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My mom would have loved reading this since she loves kingdom stories.

That said I enjoy it too.

More interactions between Finley and Milessa would be interesting, so I voted first.

Edited by Falcom Knight
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2 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

"So, how has your training been going? Are you able to actually use heal staves for healing yet?", he asks, hitting a sore spot.
"Well, not exactly", you answer, trying your best to not let his obvious jab get to you. "But I can smash wood pretty easily now!" You stick your nose into the air in an effort to appear proud of that, but in truth, you wish for things to be different.
Finley laughs. "So, should I call you the 'Merciless Woodcrusher', then?"
That title again.
"You're the worst, Fiffy..."
"Stop calling me that!" His face goes red with embarrassment.
"Hmm... Nope!"
You grin triumphantly at him and he gives a sigh in defeat.  "To be fair, I brought that one upon myself there, didn't I?" he admits.
"So you do learn!", you theatrically bring a hand to your mouth in shock.

"You two get along so well", says Melissa, who seems to be enjoying herself, that much is clear to you.
"Are we entertainment now or what?", you ask sarcastically and Melissa and Finley start laughing.

Fiffy x Sophia? I ship it already. Their interactions are very cute!

______________________

Part of me wants to take Elliot because almost every FE story starts out with a Jagen unit (my headcanon that Elliot is a Jagen), but I kind of want to let Sophia have less beefy backup so she can handle more herself. Maybe bring Melissa?

2 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

A little bit longer than usual today, since there was a lot of plot to introduce. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I'll see you in the next one!

Another great chapter! I like the amount of plot development. It helps to get more invested in the characters. And the family dynamic is really sweet.

Edited by twilitfalchion
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3 hours ago, Falcom Knight said:

My mom would have loved reading this since she loves kingdom stories.

That said I enjoy it too.

Glad you're enjoying it!

1 hour ago, Shrimperor said:

EZZdZRqXQAMcFsp?format=jpg&name=4096x409

how i imagine one of the bad ends will be like xD

Nice! XD
If this was less serious in tone, I probably would make a joke ending or two.

1 hour ago, twilitfalchion said:

Fiffy x Sophia? I ship it already. Their interactions are very cute!

^^
Glad you enjoy them!

1 hour ago, twilitfalchion said:

(my headcanon that Elliot is a Jagen)

If this was an actual Fire Emblem game (and believe me, if I knew anything about programming and game design, I'd make it one once this was finished), it'd make sense for Elliot to be a promoted unit, considering his status in the army.

1 hour ago, twilitfalchion said:

Another great chapter! I like the amount of plot development. It helps to get more invested in the characters. And the family dynamic is really sweet.

Thank you!

---

You know what the worst part about all of this is? I'd love to engage in discussion about the points you guys mention beyond thanking you for the positive feedback, but at the same time, I fear I'll just needlessly spoil things for you and/or influence the way you guys vote.

Edited by DragonFlames
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New chapter incoming! Enjoy!

CYOA - The Dying Kingdom Chapter 4: Stories of the Founder

You glance at your siblings, then back at Finley.
"Elliot just got back from a mission, so he's probably still tired from travel...", you think to yourself. "And if there is going to be a council meeting later, he should probably be there as crown prince..." Taking both of these things into account, your decision is clear.
"Missy, can you come with me?"
"Of course", your older sister nods and smiles gently. "That is alright with you, isn't it, Elliot?"
"I have no objections". Elliot nods. "All I ask is that you three be careful out there. There is no telling what might happen".
"I promise, I'll make sure we come home alive and well", says Melissa determined, places a hand on your shoulder, and then gives Finley a reassuring look. "And that includes you, of course". Your childhood friend respectfully and gratefully bows his head.

After Elliot bids you farewell, the three of you go your seperate ways to prepare. You head off to your room for a change of clothes more suited to traveling, as well as to pick up your staff. You are both excited and anxious, this is your first mission given to you by your father, after all. Seeking comfort, your gaze lingers on the portrait of you grandmother, the person you strive to become. She who could bring back people from the brink of death and restore a body, no matter how broken, to its former state. She who was known as the Saint Queen for her kindness and exceptional healing skills.
"If I had that kind of ability, I could..." You let your mind wander as you stare at the memento your grandmother left you on her deathbed.

"Sophia, are you done yet?" Finley's impatient voice from the other side of your door snaps you back to reality.
"I'll be there in a second!", you reply to him, double check your preparedness and then exit your room. You are greeted by your childhood friend, bow and quiver strapped to his back and a dagger attached to his belt.
"There you are", he greets you and grins. "Took you long enough."
"Oh, be quiet, Fiffy", you say, playfully hitting him in the shoulder.
His face goes red. "S-Stop calling me that!"
Before you can make your usual triumphant retort, Melissa calls out to you.
"It seems you're both ready to go. Shall we?"
"Sure!" You nod firmly. You catch a glimpse of Melissa's longsword at her side, the now famous Zephyrblade, called such for the powerful wind magic it was imbued with, which in turn - along with her favorite style and color of clothing - gave her the nickname of "Purple Tempest". Only when you actually see her with her weapon do you remember that your older sister is renowned the strongest swordswoman in the kingdom. You should be safe on this mission.
"Our destination is not too far from here. We should reach it by noon", she says, as she walks ahead of you toward the castle's entrance.

"Both Elliot and Melissa are so amazing...", you muse, looking at your older sister's back. "Compared to them, I..."
"Something wrong, Sophia?", Finley suddenly asks you.
"What? N-no!", you panic a little, not having expected him to call out to you so suddenly. "I'm fine, really. You worry too much, Fiffy."
"If there is something worrying you, you should speak up about it. It is not good to keep it all bottled up. We're here for you", Melissa's words calm you down in an instant.
"Right, Finley?", she then adds, smiling at your childhood friend, who stares back at her, mouth slightly agape.
"I... I mean, of course. That's what friends are for, right?" He nervously scratches his head.

You reach the magic-fueled elevator that connects the castle to the city below. From inside it, you have a clear view of the surrounding cliffs as well as the houses below - or at least that would be the case if a thick fog was not covering the city.
Finley meanwhile averts his eyes and starts shaking. You cannot help but grin at him.
Melissa pulls the old lever and with a few admittedly unsettling creaking and crashing noises, the elevator begins its slow descend downwards.
"Pleasemakeitpleasemakeitpleasemakeitpleasemakeitpleasemakeit...", you hear Finley chanting in a small voice that shakes just about as much as his body does.
You want to tease him, but refrain from doing so. Instead, you try to comfort him.
"This elevator has been here for over two centuries", you inform him. "It never once malfunctioned or anything, so you're fine, Fiffy. Besides, it's not like this is the first time you've used it, is it?"
"I-it is..." he hesitantly admits. "I... I've been using the stairs that lead directly to the knight barracks to get into town..." Each noise the elevator makes him wince.
"Well, first time for everything, I guess". You shrug. "Come on now, you're a soon-to-be knight of Vales! Show some backbone, Fiffy!"
"I know... I know... but still...", Finley is shaking all over. He does not even react to your jabs, which leaves you genuinely concerned for his well-being.
You take a page out of Melissa's book and gently pat his back.

The streets of Fabunil are empty as you traverse them alongside Finley and Melissa. It is still raining, though it is not as bad as it was a few hours prior.
The only people you meet are guards on patrol who greet you and especially Melissa with reverence. Here and there, you can here the barking of a dog or the meowing of a cat, but otherwise, the sound of the pouring rain is all that breaks the silence. This is nothing unusual, as the inhabitants of Falba prefer a quiet lifestyle to the hustling and bustling of other cities around the continent. You only ever heard of that in stories, but you feel like you catch a glimpse of it whenever the merchants and farmers arrive in town to offer their wares once a month, after which the usual quietness returns.

Finley sighs in relief.
"Finally... we're back on solid ground", he says.
You giggle. "Um... we have been for a while now, silly!"
"I know. It's just... it only just now really occured to me, I guess", he replies, taking a deep breath.
"Quick on your feet, but slow on the uptake, I see? So that's how it is!" You laugh.
"Oh come on now, you know what I mean!"
"All I know is that you're not the fastest horse in the herd..."
"Are you calling me stupid?"
"I don't know what you're talking about~", you say in a honeyed voice and put on your best innocent face.
Finleys face, meanwhile, goes red, partially out of anger, partially out of embarrassment, but soon, the two of you share a laugh, making your earlier worries seem like a thing of the distant past.

Only a short time later, you arrive at the fountain at the heart of the city's main plaza. The fountain is crowned by a huge statue depicting a young woman alongside two men, all of whom are heroically brandishing their weapons, a greatsword, a halberd and a poleaxe, respectively. You and Finley both offer your respects to the statue depicting your ancestor, the founding queen of Vales, Queen Antonia, alongside her two most loyal companions during their final battle for Fabunil Valley a little over 400 years ago.

Melissa waits patiently for the two of you to finish, but pays no heed to the statue herself.

"Queen Antonia sure was amazing, wasn't she?"
Finley strikes up another conversation as you approach the city gates.
"She gathered an army out of practically nothing and established her own kingdom just like that! Not to mention she was outnumbered for pretty much every battle she fought! It's absolutely awe-inspiring, don't you think, Sophia?"
You know of the almost goddess-like status the founding queen Antonia has among the people of Vales in general, and you know of the tradition to pray to her for safe travels and safe battles, but...
"I mean, sure... she's basically the reason we're all here right now, but do you have to gush about her like that every time we visit the statue? Yeah, she's Vales' greatest hero, but I think you're overdoing it a little, wouldn't you say?"
"Sorry, but I can't help myself", Finley says, embarrassed. "I grew up on the story of her rising above her status as a farm girl and becoming queen, striving to bring an end to an era of chaos and uncertainty..."
"We all did", says Melissa dejected. "Still, it would be wise not to idolize her too much".
"How do you mean, Your Highness?", Finley asks, taken aback by the bitterness with which she spoke. You, too, wonder about the sudden shift in her usually gentle and calm demeanor.
"No, nevermind". Melissa shakes her head and sigh. "I shouldn't be saying these things. Let us focus on the task at hand, instead".
"Missy, what's wrong?", you ask, concerned, but you receive no answer. Your older sister merely shakes her head again. Taking the hint, you decide not to pry further into the subject.

As Melissa predicted, you reach your destination, a small village in a forest just south of Fabunil, at noon.
"So... what do we do now?", asks Finley.
"We should probably look for the person father hired to help us out", you suggest. "Oh, and also the one who sent the request for aid in the first place. They should know we're here to help, right?"
"Let me take care of that", Melissa says. "The request was written to us by the village elder. I happen to know where he lives, since I've been here a few times. You two should see if you can find our assistance and gather information of the missing villagers in the meantime. That should be the most efficient method of going about this".
"Alright then!", you agree with your sister's proposal. She wishes you luck as she walks off toward the village elder's house with the promise of meeting you again later on.
"Now... where do we check first?", you reflect on your possible options.
"There seems to be a tavern here", Finley informs you after taking a quick look around the area. "Taverns are usually good places to start looking for people and information... Or so I've heard, anyway".
"We could also just ask around the village", you suggest. "Luckily, it doesn't rain anymore". You turn your gaze skyward and silently threaten the dark clouds hanging there not to open the floodgates on you for a while longer. 
"In any case, I think splitting up should allow us to cover more ground", you continue.
"Good, then... One of us goes to the tavern, the other asks around the village", Finley sums up your plan of action. "Which do you want to do?"
"Good question...", you ponder. "What should I do?"

What will you do?
Choice 1: Go to the tavern.
Choice 2: Ask around the village.

Vote for your preferred option in the poll!

---

Sorry if this chapter is once again on the slower side. I thought just skipping to the mission would be too jarring, so I added a bit more world-building in there.
Connecting scenes and setpieces is one of my Kryptonites when it comes to writing in general; these "transition bits", as I like to call them, give me by far the most difficulty.

So, as always, let me know what you think, vote for how you want the story to continue and I'll see you in the next one!

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1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

Sorry if this chapter is once again on the slower side. I thought just skipping to the mission would be too jarring, so I added a bit more world-building in there.
Connecting scenes and setpieces is one of my Kryptonites when it comes to writing in general; these "transition bits", as I like to call them, give me by far the most difficulty.

It's always good to take time to develop the characters and setting in your story. It makes the story more meaningful. I think you wrote the transition very well. Looking forward to what happens next!

Probably too dangerous for a young girl like Sophia to be going to a tavern. Best to send Fiffy.

Edited by twilitfalchion
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3 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

You reach the magic-fueled elevator that connects the castle to the city below. From inside it, you have a clear view of the surrounding cliffs as well as the houses below - or at least that would be the case if a thick fog was not covering the city.

Magic elevators?

That's some future shit right there.

3 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

"We all did", says Melissa dejected. "Still, it would be wise not to idolize her too much".
"How do you mean, Your Highness?", Finley asks, taken aback by the bitterness with which she spoke. You, too, wonder about the sudden shift in her usually gentle and calm demeanor.
"No, nevermind". Melissa shakes her head and sigh. "I shouldn't be saying these things. Let us focus on the task at hand, instead".

Let me guess, there's a dark history in the kingdom's early days they don't want to deal with coming out.

Is this related to that dark rapier?

Or the dark cult who showed up at the Dragon's Maw?

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16 hours ago, twilitfalchion said:

It's always good to take time to develop the characters and setting in your story. It makes the story more meaningful. I think you wrote the transition very well. Looking forward to what happens next!

Thanks! Glad you liked it! ^^

16 hours ago, Shrimperor said:

Magical elevators huh. Interesting.

13 hours ago, Dayni said:

Magic elevators?

That's some future shit right there.

That idea came to me when I suddenly realized that there needed to be some way to go from the castle to the city.
And it allowed me to explore some more practical usage for magic than just different ways to kill (or alternatively, heal) someone.

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