|Location||Temple of Mallach|
Drawing close, you find Darius over by the instruments Barney's set up, fiddling with them and jotting down notes on a crude notepad made from several strips of paper fastened together with a metal ring. He looks adequately thoughtful throughout the process, so much so that he doesn't notice you stepping up to him.
"Ah! Would you please make some noise when you move, [pc.name]? I nearly knocked over the flux analyser with my tail!"
Darius is a Salamander researcher who came to the Temple of Mallach to help study the portal. His earliest memories are of being a slave in Jassira, though after escaping a cruel owner he started travelling, which is how he became friends with Barney and Rune. Darius spent some time with his own kind in Tychris before Barney requested he come up to Hawkethorne to assist with his magical research into the portal.
"Of course, we met during my adventures... and got drunk one time and felt so embarrassed afterward. But that's just like any siblings, you know? I came all this way to the north with him, but the craziest part is just how constant he is. Despite all the bandits, the cultists, and my treasure blunders, Darius keeps me safe and backs me up with those big arms!"
Darius is a seven-foot frostscale salamander — tall for one of his people, but not exactly athletic or broad as stereotypical for those of his kind. Instead, the young 'mander is built a little lanky, perhaps from spending too much time indoors, or perhaps from not eating enough of the right things in his youth — either way, the effect's quite like a beansprout that's been grown in darkness, tall but thin. He's wearing a loose-fitting white shift over his body, bound at the waist with a rope belt; the man is clearly used to cheap, practical clothing in which he can move.
The 'mander's styled his purple-blue hair loosely, trimming it just under his shoulders; the flowing style goes very well with the pair of ash-black 'mander horns that flow away and back from his head. Flecks of frostmander scale adorn his face about yellow slitted eyes, and like others of his race, he's sporting a pair of frilled ears, one of them pierced with bronze rings.
And speaking of bronze, Darius is wearing more of it about his wrists and ankles in the form of bracers and anklets. Plain and unadorned, they don't appear to be jewelry — or at least, jewelry should be flashier, so you can only wonder at what functional purpose they have. The 'mander's forearms and feet are reptilian and scaly, although the claws that adorn his fingertips are carefully filed and don't get in the way of his handling of the books and arcane instruments that fill his life here in Barney's makeshift lab. Of course, there's also the standard-issue frostmander tail with its aurora flame, although like the rest of him, it's a little thinner and lankier than one would expect for one of its length.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Darius' appearance would be the scar on his chest — while it's mostly hidden by his shift, you can catch it peeking out from about the hem from time to time, a gash of pale white on his skin. While you wouldn't have expected someone like him to have come into violence, the scar's a reminder that appearances can indeed by wholly deceiving...
When you're walking up to the Temple of Mallach you see Barney and Salwah arguing, with Cait trying to mediate if she's not in your party. They're fighting over whether Darius can stay at the temple while he studies the portal, which Cait quickly invites him to do when he explains he'd rather stay at the temple near the portal than down in Hawkethorne. Darius seems quietly embarrassed to have been the cause of a scene as Barney takes him into the temple to explore his laboratory in part of Cait's quarters.
Darius nods. "It's stabilised for now, which means we can safely investigate it, but it would probably start to unravel again within a year to a decade if left unattended. That's another reason why Tychris is so interested in it as well — an unattended, open portal is a dangerous thing, to say the least, not just to its immediate vicinity but the region as well. Our first priority is to find a way to open or close it at will, or failing that, permanently seal it; my understanding is that the cult that used to operate here relied on a yearly astrological event to activate the portal, which is frankly quite stupid.
"Another thing is — and forgive me for being direct — I would like to study you."
When you meet Darius next, he introduces himself, gives a little of his backstory, and quickly gets into how he'd be interested in performing experiments on you to see how the portal affected you. Nothing too invasive, he promises. It's just that due to your mutability and transformations you're very interesting. He can be encountered in his laboratory in Cait's quarters between 8:00 and 18:00.
- Chat: You'd like to listen to what's on Darius' mind.
- Himself: You'd like to get to know him better.
- Barney: What exactly is his relationship to Barney, anyway?
- Laboratory: This setup they've got going in Cait's private quarters, what's up with it?
- Temple: How's temple life treating him?
- Hawkethorne: What does he think of the town?
- Order Astrida: When you met him, he mentioned the Order Astrida. What's that all about? (one-time, unlocks codex entry)
- Rune: So, is he friends with the wine-red kitten? (requires having met Rune)
- Help Out: See if you can't help out around the lab. (requires being a White Mage or Black Mage)
- Experiment: Agree to let Darius examine you. For science, of course.
- "Experiment": Agree to let Darius examine you in a more, uh, invasive manner than what's strictly required. (requires being between 16:00 to 19:00, leads to Sex)
"It's for science."
If you to choose to allow Darius to experiment on you, he can poke and prod at you for science. Depending on which scene procs, he can do things like take some of your blood, give you a physical, or use a magic camera to photograph your aura. Each experiment will progress time to 18:00 as he leaves to study your results.
"I do believe the day is drawing to a close," he begins, carefully enunciating each word and blatantly stalling for time. "Most of my routine duties are dispensed with, and I do not see the harm in it, I suppose... and the temple itself surely has within its walls any more specialised apparatus I may require for such a invasive and thorough examination of your person."
If you approach Darius between 16:00 and 18:00, you can approach him for an 'invasive and thorough' experience. He will, however, decline intercourse with you if you have a tone above 50 or femininity below 50. Actual gender doesn't matter, just the femininity score.
- Bind & Spank: Have Darius tie you up and spank you all over until you cum. You are into this sort of thing, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be asking Darius to do this to you?
- Spells: Allow Darius to test the mutability of your body with a couple of his spells. This will result in some breast expansion and/or lactation induction.
- Selima: See if Selima can't help with a certain experiment the 'mander mage has in mind. (requires having completed Missing Meows and having kept the Cat Harem for yourself)
- Rune: Wrap up the bimbo catgirl in magical tentacles while the both of you take her from either end. (requires having fucked Rune)