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A Curious Mutagen: Surviving Sucia [narrative Torment play-through; spoilers will be included]


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[This thread is to document what I hope will be an unusual take on Mutagen and an unusual play-through of the game on Torment. In part, based on a play through of the original that I started, but did not complete. Perhaps the journey will come to a more full-bodied conclusion this time. The following is some flavor text for my character. Excitement about the game got some creativity flowing, so I thought I'd share it here. After this initial post, expect the usual fare - screenshots with short captions, and a little more story if I can come up with something that fits the game lore.]

Call me Felix. My name means “lucky,” guess some would say I am. Like so much in life, it’s a matter of perspective. I grew up under the watchful eye of Grandmother, frying ornk and simmering stews at The Scholar’s Respite, a humble inn at the outskirts of a small town on the continent. Scholar’s Respite has been caring for and collecting coin from weary travelers for 36 years. 


Grandmother tells the story this way: An eccentric shaper bequeathed his prize collection of books “to the good people of Caerham, for the founding of a library” upon his death. People called it “egalitarian” – though I didn’t know what “egalitarian” (or “library”) meant for years. Three days later an Agent came to town and removed books deemed unsuitable for the masses—Grandma said anything to do with magic arts or shaping. Most of the town being illiterate, the “library” became a target of vandalism, a suspected meeting place for ne’er-do-wells, and so the Mayor put it up for public auction 1 year later. My grandparents bought the building, turned it into an inn, sold as many books as they could to offset the cost, and kept a few shelves full of ornate tomes in a corner room, more for decoration than use.


My grandfather taught me numbers before an illness ended his innkeeping, and I was apprenticed to an apothecary who taught me to read. A good job for a 10-year-old, carrying the promise of higher status… well, it was a good job, until the apothecary’s niece, Clarice, showed up at the door, orphaned, alone, 3 years older than me. She moved in and we shared the work, but within a week she knew her letters, in 2 months she could read as well as me. A fortnight after that it became clear I would not inherit the apothēca. I was angry, this was my future, I was an orphan too, and I didn’t know any women who mixed medicines. But grandmother slapped me the first time I complained about it and told me I would move back in with her, manage an inn, I would know how to cook – how many orphans would kill to be me? She was right, but the demotion from educated healer to innkeeper hurt, and after losing a chance to move up in the world I hungered for more.


There were books in the inn. Every night I read from the time the dishes were washed until my lamp ran out. I didn’t learn about magic or shaping, but I grew into a well-educated reader, and spent whatever money I earned from tips on parchment and ink, copying my favorite texts, essays, and stories until I could write. At 15 I took a second job drawing up legal documents and verifying contracts for the Mayor, for merchants, shapers, anyone who could pay. One shaper, Seon, developed a liking for my scrivening, then my cooking. When I turned 17, I asked for the biggest favor of my life – I wanted to sit for the exam to become a shaper. To sit for the exam one needed a letter from a full shaper, who could write exactly one recommendation per year. This letter commanded a high price. Gold, unwritten favors, and family connections were expected at a minimum. But Seon had no want of money and thus no need for bribes, no children of his own (and no need to forge connections with other parents), he tipped well, and he liked my cooking.


“Four seasons,” he said shortly, barely glancing up from his stew, as though he’d known I would ask. “I don’t pay for food for one year, and *if* you can write yourself a passable letter, I’ll sign.”

I was expecting him to ask for 2 years. This was a good start, “6 months, first class ornk belly and fresh vegetables aren’t cheap.”

“First you ask to join the ruling class of the world,” he chuckled, “you want the power to create life. You want wealth, status, education, a future – and I offer it to you” he looked up at me with a twinkle in his eye, “and you want to bargain me down to 6 months of stew?”


I knew he was joking, and he knew I knew. The winter exam was in 8 months, and if I passed, I wouldn’t stay in Caerham to cook.


“Ruling class of the world my arse! If I pass exams and survive training, I’ll be lucky if they let me work on famine-resistant cabbages. They won’t let the son of an innkeeper do anything important! Besides, if the Council knew how good my braised ornk belly tasted I’d be cooking in the capitol every night from tonight until my hair falls out, drowning in gold enough to buy 10 recommendations! You’re lucky you discovered me! You’re lucky I don’t hold you to 3 mon—”


A swift elbow below the ribs left me breathless. Seon looked sideways and grinned. “Keep running your mouth and you’ll run out of words for that letter. Tomorrow at dawn. Have it ready in place of my bill. If you’re still here after the winter exam, I’ll start paying for dinner again.” He smiled and tussled my hair, “You’re a lucky bastard you know? I’ve been offered 3 times as much in the last fortnight for this letter, but I don’t like wasting recommendations. You’re going to pass the exam.” He turned from his supper and looked me dead in the eyes, “But you’re also going to work harder than you ever imagined you could. This life won’t be easy.”


He had no idea. But then, neither did I.

Edited by Felix_Felicis
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