May Exceptional Story: The Queen of the Elephants

[color=#ff3366]Exceptional Story for May: The Queen of the Elephants[/color]
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&quotIt’s not in the newspapers, or in the gossip at the salons. It’s the last thing to come up in conversation in polite company. But in impolite company? It’s the talk of the town. Urchins, criminals and other gutter-lurkers all have one name on their lips. The streets are abuzz with talk of the Forty Elephants.&quot
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[color=#ff3366]Meet Queen Mary, the fashionable thief taking London’s underworld by storm. Accompany her and her Forty Elephants on an audacious heist that stretches the bounds of the possible, learn of the Queen of Elephants’ true ambitions, and face up to the fearsome nightmare that made her who she is today. [/color]
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[/color][color=#ff3366]Writing: Harry Tuffs[/color]
[color=#ff3366]Editing and QA: Luke van den Barselaar[/color]
[color=#ff3366]Art: Erion Makuo[/color]
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[/color][color=#ff3366]EXCEPTIONAL FRIENDSHIP[/color]
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[/color][color=#ff3366]In addition to a new, substantial, stand-alone story every month, Exceptional Friends enjoy:[/color]

[ul][li][color=#ff3366]Access to the House of Chimes: an exclusive private member’s club on the Stolen River, packed with content[/color]
[/li][li][color=#ff3366]Access to Mr Chimes’ Lost & Found, a shop in the Bazaar where you can exchange currency earned through playing Exceptional Stories for exclusive companions and items[/color]
[/li][li][color=#ff3366]Two additional outfit slots[/color]
[/li][li][color=#ff3366]An expanded opportunity deck of ten cards instead of six![/color]
[/li][li][color=#ff3366]A second candle: Twice the actions! 40 at once![/color]
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[/color][color=#ff3366]You no longer need to log in to claim your Exceptional Stories! If you have an active subscription when one is available, you’ll receive it automatically.[/color]

Oh! She’s stunning why is it that every time I play an ES (I’m only an occasional subscriber) I come away wishing I had a new companion? Excited for this one!

Indeed, the character art is heavily reminiscent of Natalie Dormer, not that that’s a bad thing!

Ooh, unique option for the Vake steed! Nice.

Edit 1: Having progressed a little further, I find it interesting that hearing out the Vagrant’s plan for revenge is labelled an important decision that will mark you as Queen Mary’s enemy. But actually reporting her to the Constables ISN’T? It’s not exactly a critique, but in previous ESes my experience has been quite the opposite; normally I feel like I can hear out everyone’s opinion, but actually handing over sensitive info to somebody tends to lock you into a certain path.

Edit 2: Huh. I’ve become so used to every NPC having a sob story that I kind of expected QM to launch into a monologue about her childhood trauma and how she has a dream that has carried her through a hard life on the cobblestones or whatever. I was not expecting &quotGo on, pick a side&quot with no further attempt to out-charisma me, especially when half her MO seems to be winning the hearts and minds of those she plies with her ill-gotten gains.

Edit 3: Earlier today I did many terrible things in the name of money and power through homicide. It’s nice to end an ES by inflicting a bloodbath, for a change.

edited by Captain Blood Storm on 4/28/2022
edited by Captain Blood Storm on 4/28/2022
edited by Captain Blood Storm on 4/29/2022

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I missed their debut on Mistress of the Skies because I was newly back to FL, but I wanted to commend Erion Makuo for their excellent artwork. I hope to see more of them here in the future.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy I think I have one choice left to make and then I’m done; I really enjoyed this! I took an extended FL break a while back so I’ve not seen much of the two main characters in London proper, but once I properly meet them I will definitely reset this and play the other side too! I think I have missed some very juicy lore opportunities. eyes Really fun, I love mucking about in Parabola.

Special option for Mr Cards and the Humbug.

I think I missed something. I’m unable to get more info and when I spoke to the non-QM faction hoping that would unlock other info-gathering options it just moved the story forward.

You have to meet the Mouse in Parabola first, then go back to the Elephants to sway them to your side. If you decide to meet the Mouse in London however, it will move the story forward.

I inadverdently progressed the story forward without swaying the Elephants to my side, but I think I prefer it this way. It gives me an excuse to throw all of them in jail, which is one of my many hobbies as a newborn Master.

Ohhh she looks so stunning and eerie! My good Doctor can’t wait to be in the same room as forty elephants

You have to meet the Mouse in Parabola first, then go back to the Elephants to sway them to your side. If you decide to meet the Mouse in London however, it will move the story forward.

I inadverdently progressed the story forward without swaying the Elephants to my side, but I think I prefer it this way. It gives me an excuse to throw all of them in jail, which is one of my many hobbies as a newborn Master.[/quote]

I saw no special &quotMeeting the Mouse&quot options in any part of the story. So… cool!

Aaand that is because I did not progress far enough.

In this case, I recommend modifying the story in some way to make it not look like people have missed something earlier.
edited by Toran on 4/29/2022

Oh, almost forgot to ask-to those of us who sided with the Beleaguered King in a previous ES, did you guys get any special interactions? Because as someone who got the Bloody-Handed Queen’s favour, I got a bit of a preview into her mood:

Imgur

One thing I really enjoyed about this story: you have the option to be extremely cruel, destructive, and capricious if you want to. Many ESes end up having several characters who are all fairly sympathetic and at the end nothing particularly horrible happens to any of them–or if it does, the tone of the narration is somewhat muted and euphemized, or perhaps there’s an air of inevitability to the horror that seems to make it moot–I’m struggling to put my finger exactly on what I’m sensing there.

Here, however, the range of possible outcomes between “nicest ending” and “most nightmarish ending” is so wide, that the choices I made (playing it through once each on my main (nice) and alt (horrible)) carried an exceptional emotional punch. Very pleasant surprise. Well done Harry Tuffs and the rest of the team on this one.

Really, really fantastic ES imo that I suspect will sit with me for a while. Mechanically, I loved that we got to go all over a bit, and how much my late game abilities/rare items really, really paid off and felt rewarded. I think this is maybe the strongest I’ve felt in an ES that it really was happening to MY character, that the things she’d done in the past matter in her day-to-day life still.
As far as the story itself, jeez, it was extremely well done, but I’m still dwelling on the ending I got. I started off by siding with Mary even though I didn’t really want to just because I liked her more, but I very quickly felt like what I was doing was not &quothelp&quot at all and switched sides, hoping there would be a way to not just sic her nightmares on her. I feel like all around the ending I got was very nice and I think I chose what I feel best about… but I can’t help but feel my Silverer has spent many nights since trying to find a way to help Mary regardless. Great character, as with so many others in the past year or two I hope we can somehow see more of her someday. Lore-wise, really just hammered home how impossible it is to truly win against the Red Queen. Loved it, and might actually play it again some day if I just have to see a different ending. (Which makes this the first time I really wish we could reset premium stories for free lol)

Phenomenal story. 10/10. So many meaningful choices and uses for items we otherwise never have as options.

I got to ask - can you show enough evidence (i.e. probably 3 times) to the elephants to get them to side with you?
Also, i now see that theres a whle side of the story that is available if you side with Mary and then switch ,and not just go with the vagrant from the start.
Amazing. one of the better stories.

And a special option if you have something you can get in Ambition: Light Fingers. But I don’t advise taking it!
edited by Azora Perlino on 5/1/2022

It might be another two years before it’s updated again, so write this down someplace you won’t lose it:

Querulous Mouse in Mr Chimes Lost & Found.

Or the Querulous Elephant. Either one, really. Mr Chimes is a little thin in the Transport slot, just sayin’.

And a special option if you have something you can get in Ambition: Light Fingers. But I don’t advise taking it!
edited by Azora Perlino on 5/1/2022[/quote]
And an option for Sympathetic About Ratly Concerns of 3 or more.

Does anyone have an echo of what happens if you try to reconcile the two groups, and foment class warfare?