/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!

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 No.602073[Last 50 Posts]

The year is 289.

We live in quiet times as our natural enemies occupy themselves with matters that do not concern our borders. With the empire nearing it's 300th anniversary, its people are reasonably happy. Summer is coming and the priests have predicted a bountiful harvest this year. The plebeians has celebrated this blessing and left sacrifices to show their gratitude to the Mother. The patricians rest easy, knowing their people are happy once again after a string of mediocre harvests the last few years. Today is Adomideis, the last day of the week. Your father has returned from a visit to Cantria, the capital of your theme, this morning after a lengthy visit and has called all of you to a family meeting in the great hall of the castle.

 No.602074

>>602073
>14 years of age

Well, the old man is finally back. Let's go to see him.

 No.602075

>>602073
"Livia chmon we have to goooo!"
Jump up and down the bedroom, waiting for my sister to be ready!

 No.602076

>>602073
I suppose I should stop napping and go see him.
Appear calm, don't let the outside world know how excited I really am that he is back.

 No.602077

>>602074
Your brother Niphon joins you on the way there.
"Hey, do you think father will have brought us presents? I wrote him like five letters about it but he never replied!"

>>602075
"These togas are really hard to put on! I don't know which end goes where!"
Your twin sister eventually finishes putting her toga on with the help of one of your maids, who ushers you both out of the room.
"Hurry now, little ladies. Your lord father is no doubt waiting for you."

>>602076
You move your way through the halls of the lower castle, prompting many servants to jump out of the way as you pass by. Things look very active today, they're no doubt preparing a feast for the night of sorts.

 No.602078

>>602077
"I think we'll be lucky if he says he missed us." I say dryly.

 No.602079

>>602077
"We can't be late!"
Take Livia by her hoof and rush along with my tiny hooves down the corridor, trying to be as quick as can be while still avoiding to run.

 No.602080

>>602077
A feast? That is something I can get behind.
I just hope I get a place close to him.

 No.602081

>>602078
"He's been gone for weeks! He must be happy to be back home!"

You arrive at the great hall, where your father usually holds court and, occasionally, a feast for a special occasion. This appears to be the case today as servants of various kinds are busying themselves with setting up tables and extra decorations around the room. Your parents are in the back, overseeing the operation.

>>602079
You run into >>602080 in front of the doors leading to the great hall. Your twin gulps audibly.

Through the doorway you can see the hall is being prepared for a feast!

 No.602082

>>602081
>>602081
I gulp along!
"Mereghyl!
Did father summon you as well?"
Keep moving, now with a slow and composed pace, past the doorway leading to the hall.

 No.602083

>>602081
>>602082
"Of course he did. Why would he not?"
Stop, and stand a bit to the side, motioning at the door with a large claw, a sly glint of amusement in my eyes.
"Little ladies first."
They are the children of Him, after all.

 No.602084

>>602083
Smile, clearly pleased, and trot in hoof in hoof with my sister, head up high.

 No.602085

>>602081
I take a deep breath, here we go.
I walk to him. "Father…you're back."

 No.602086

>>602084
Follow, into the great hall, after they are inside.

 No.602087

>>602086
"Out of my way, Mereghyl. I need room to walk too."
Anthe, the eldest daughter, walks past you with a cocky smile.

>>602084
Livia follows your pace. You see Marcus and Niphon have already reached father.

Anthe passes by the two of you, not even giving you the time of day.

>>602085
Your mother looks somewhat disgruntled for some reason.
"Marcus, Niphon, my sons. I have returned from Cantria bearing news from the Doux."
He looks past you.
"It appears the others are arriving as well."

 No.602088

>>602087
I smile as I see Flavia and Livia coming.
Anthe doesn't need my smile I'm sure.

 No.602089

>>602087
Big sis has always had bigger things than me and Livia on her mind…
Trot up, in line behind Marcus and Niphon to see father.

 No.602090

>>602087
Blow some smoke from my nose at the passage of Anthe, then in I go! I'd rush to Him if it wasn't for all the people in the way.

 No.602091

>>602088
Anthe stops next to you. Using her sweetest voice to address your father.
"Hello father."

He only gives her a simple look in return.

>>602089
>>602090
"It seems all of you are here then."
He glances at your mother, then looks at one of the guards standing watch in the room.
"Leave us."
The guards clear the hall along with all the servants, closing the door behind them and leaving you all to yourself.
"As I said, I bring news from Cantria. Good news. The Doux has requested my help."

 No.602092

>>602091
Nod.
Be patient…
Just listen for now.

 No.602093

>>602091
Just as expected of father, so great even the Doux asks for his help!
Listen on, starry eyed.

 No.602094

>>602091
That suckup, Anthe.
I raise a brow.
That is news.
"Are we going to war?" I say quickly.

 No.602095

>>602092
>>602093
>>602094
He shakes his head.
"No war. He has offered me the position of sakellarios, the treasurer in charge of financial affairs in our theme. I will help him manage his treasury back in Cantria. A very important position… but it does mean my presence in the capital will be needed far more often. I'm sure you'll all understand."

 No.602096

>>602095
I won't frown, only on the inside.
Nod again.

 No.602097

>>602095
Gasp and exchange a worried look with Livia, trying in a split second to reach for Big Bro's eyes, and then settling on father's, worry on my face.

 No.602098

>>602095
I take this in for a moment.
Not as glorious as I had thought…but still…
"That's…great news."

 No.602099

>>602097
Livia blinks a few times, then frowns.
"Does this mean you'll be gone for a long time more often…?"
Anthe rolls her eyes.
"That's what he just said, dumbo."
Your father holds up his hoof.
"I will be part of the Doux's council, which means I'm expected to attend certain meetings."

>>602096
>>602098
"Furthermore…"
His eyes fall on Marcus.
"I met with the Doux of Peneia during my stay in Cantria. You will be leaving us for a while, Marcus. To go study under the lord scholar in the city of Peneios."

 No.602100

>>602099
That floors me. And I lose my composure.
"To Peneia? Father I wish to be here. You need somepony here in our house while you're away. Now more than ever!"

 No.602101

>>602099
Look at Marcus.
Then back to Him.
…then at his daughters, maybe he has something for them too.

 No.602102

>>602099
Quickly cut after Anthe-
"Don't call my sister dumb!"
But grow immediately silent again and focus on father as he speaks.
"But you will come back from time to time, right?"
Only to gasp again!
"Are you sending Marcus away too?!"

 No.602103

>>602100
>>602102
"Silence now. Your brother Niphon will remain here, as will your sisters and mother. And Mereghyl is always around to protect you. I will only be gone from time to time when the Doux calls for my presence."

Your mother speaks up as your father pauses. You can see in her eyes that she is not pleased with this development either.
"Your uncle Prokopios is on his way here as well, he will be moving in with his retinue. You… haven't seen him in years, of course."

 No.602104

>>602103
Shake my head very slowly at that, but grow very silent and move closer to Livia.

 No.602105

>>602103
"No.
Why my?
I-I'm the oldest! I should be here."

 No.602106

>>602103
Nod and proudly puff out my chest.
"No pony can hurt this family as long as I breathe."

 No.602107


 No.602108

>>602104
Livia looks sad, but she doesn't seem to dare speak up anymore. Anthe is giving her mean glares.

>>602105
"As my eldest son and heir, you are to be prepared for your future duties as the lord of this castle. As a boy, my father sent me away to study in Saddlonica as well. You must broaden your horizons and see different parts of the empire. This will be a very important learning experience for you."

>>602106
"Between you and the guards, there is little to worry about. Perhaps once the children are older, you could accompany me some time, Mereghyl."

 No.602109

>>602108
I can allow myself a smile at that.
"I would be more than happy to do so."

 No.602110

>>602108
Try to meanly stare back at Anthe!

 No.602111

>>602108
I search for words and look over at mother.

 No.602112

>>602109
"It's been years since you've seen Cantria, I know you're eager to see it again some time."

>>602110
Your older sister is not impressed. Niphon scrunches innocently and gives her a stealthy shove, prompting her to redirect her attention to him.

>>602111
She closes her eyes and softly shakes her head.
"Marcus… your father is right. I know it is not easy leaving everything behind, but you must do as told."

 No.602113

>>602112
Smile a bit…
Then turn to Livia.
"Why is everything so crazy today?"

 No.602114

>>602112
I look at Mereghyl, at Nophis…at Flavia and Livia, even at Anthe for a tiny second.
Then I realize there's nothing to change it.
I turn to father and nod without looking him in the eye.

 No.602115

>>602113
She looks sullen.
"You mean why is everything so sad today…"

>>602114
"Good. You will leave at the arrival of the next moon."

 No.602116

>>602115
I just nod.

 No.602117


 No.602118

>>602112
"I am ready at any time. It might have been years, but I remember enjoying it."

 No.602119

>>602116
>>602117
>>602118
"Now, leave us. Go about your business. We can speak more once the preparations for the feast are done."

 No.602120

>>602119
I walk off…towards….I dunno where. Just walking.

 No.602121

>>602119
Scoot away, trying to shadow Markus as he leaves the room.

 No.602122

>>602120
Ponies who go -just walking- get what's coming for them.
In this case, a filly rushing towards you, squeezing tight one of your legs, trying not to cry!
"Big bro!"

 No.602123

>>602120
You leave along with the rest. Anthe smacks Niphon as soon as they're out of sight of their parents.
"Dumbass!"
"Hey!"

>>602122
>>602120
Livia does the same.
"Don't leave!"

 No.602124

>>602122
>>602123
I give you a sad smile and a hug.
"I don't want to leave all of you…"

 No.602125

>>602124
Remain silent and hug back.
"Maybe we can come with you…"

 No.602126

>>602119
>>602123
Now that the others are mostly gone…
Take a step closer, and lover my head completely right beside Him, in the hope of some headscratches… only He can do it the way I like it, ever since the day I hatched!

 No.602127

>>602125
"No, I don't think so. you heard dad."

 No.602128

>>602127
"Yes! He said you have to go, didn't say we have to stay!"
Look at him with hope in my eyes.

 No.602129

>>602128
I smile.
"I would love for you both to come.
But you need to be here. To look after mom and Mereghyl and Niphon."

 No.602130

>>602126
lower*

 No.602131

>>602126
He does so, but before he can say more his wife speaks up.
"I think this is a mistake, Odyris. Peneios is leagues away… how long will I have to miss my firstborn son? What if… what if a war breaks out and he's stuck there? They could take him hostage…"

>>602127
"We could sneak along without him knowing!"

 No.602132

>>602129
Smile excited, pulling back.
"Yes! That's…"
But then flop my hears and shake my head.
"…Something which would make mom very very sad."

 No.602133

>>602131
Close my eyes…
"I really missed you… when can I go with you? Just say the word and I am ready to leave."
Open them and look at her.
"Ponies probably know better than to try and insult our family with that."

 No.602134

>>602132
>>602131
Give you both a hug.
"It will turn out fine. I'll write both of you, I promise."

 No.602135

>>602133
"Some time… but not while my children are still so young. Enough things are changing for them already as is."

She shakes her head.
"Ponies will do anything to get to those they don't like."

>>602134
Livia nuzzles you.
"I'll miss you…"

 No.602136

>>602134
Nuzzle him and let go of the hug.
"I will keep practising, okay?"

 No.602137

>>602135
"As you wish."

When she speaks, snort smoke and raise my head, curling my tail agressively.
"The day they try to harm any of you is the day they die."

 No.602138

>>602135
>>602136
"I'll miss both of you. I won't leave yet. It's not yet new moon."
I want to propose a game to play in the next IC day, but I can't think of any byzantine games.

 No.602139

>>602138
Minigolf sounds very byzantine. We will have servants acting as the obstacles!

 No.602140

>>602137
"That won't put my child in any less harm."

"Evanthia, the Doux of Penaia is a sensible mare. She will not let harm come to a ward that was entrusted to her."

 No.602141

>>602139
Some minigolf then.
I'm ready to timeskip

 No.602142

>>602140
Nod.
"I know you are worried, but do not let it consume you."
Strange, how much these ponies can worry over futures that may never even exist.

 No.602143

>>602142
She shakes her head and takes her leave. The servants enter the hall once again, continuing their preparations.

 No.602144

>>602143
I'll be just content with spending some more time with Him then

 No.602145

>>602144
Very well.

Three week timeskip imminent. Give me 5.

 No.602147

Three weeks later…

It is the eve before Marcus' departure. Dinner time will be upon you soon. Tomorrow, Marcus will join your father to Cantria, where he will leave by ship to Peneia.

Flavia
You and both your sisters are in the dining room. The table is being prepared by servants. Anthe is playing on her lyre and singing softly, occasionally pausing to give one of the servants grief.

Marcus
You're packing the last of your things in your room when a knock is heard on your door.

Mereghyl

You've assisted the blacksmith in the forgery today and are now returning to the castle. The sun is setting, but the outside is still pleasantly warm. Summer is definitely here now. You know dinner will be called soon.

 No.602152

>>602147
Spread my wings and enjoy the warmth for just a bit more…

But let's not be late. There will be time for that, once He and Marcus are gone.

 No.602153

>>602147
"Come in."

 No.602158

>>602147
Scoot slowly over to Anthe as she plays dragging Livia along, and begin dancing along to her soft tune, hoof in hoof with my sister, putting into practice the many hours of our morning lessons.
If father will be gone starting tomorrow, we can't make this a sad day.

 No.602164

>>602152
You enter the castle proper. You can easily reach the dining room from here. In a few decades, that may become a harder task. You smell food being prepared by the servants in the kitchens if you'd rather go and get an early taste.

>>602153
The door opens. It's your mother. She closes the door behind her and looks around your empty room.
"You've… finished packing I see."

>>602158
The two of you dance as gracefully as your tiny hooves allow, the servants making sure they don't walk in your way as they go about their business.

 No.602166

>>602164
"I guess I am…"
Look at her sadly.

 No.602167

>>602164
I suppose they will have to make the doors fit me then.

For now… a first taste to make sure the food is not, hehe, poisionous or something cannot hurt.

 No.602169

>>602164
Turn to look at big sis once our dance is done, hoping for a smile, a nod, or any sign of approval.

 No.602173

>>602166
She moves forward and embraces you silently.

>>602167
The kitchens are actually fairly big and impressive. The cooks are too busy to give pause upon your appearance. Several filled cauldrons are boiling and steaming. Most of the food here is vegetables, of course, with the exception of yours which is being prepared by a cook using a different cauldron.

>>602169
She actually smiles and ruffles both your manes! She quickly snaps her attention to one of the servants as she catches eye of something though.
"What are you doing? You better not be slacking or I'll tell my father! He'll feed you to his dragon!"

 No.602175

>>602173
Snicker at that, everypony knows Mereghyl is just a big baby! He'd not hurt a fly.

 No.602178

>>602173
Lean closer to said cook with a toothy grin, oblivious to the fact that might be unnerving him.
"Smells lovely."

 No.602179

>>602173
Hug her tightly.
My voice trembles a bit.
"I'll miss you, mother."

 No.602183

>>602175
From the looks some give him, you reckon not everyone knows that.

>>602178
He doesn't seem too fazed. He knows you enjoy his cooking.
"So I've been told. You're lucky, it's fresh as can be."

>>602179
Her breathing trembles as well before she speaks up.
"And I'll miss you… By Ignis I'll miss you…"

 No.602184

>>602183
Can't cry. '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.602186

>>602183
Too bad for them.
"Big sis, where do you think father is right now?"

 No.602190

>>602184
Guess my eyes just get watery a bit.
"I'll write you mother, any time I can."

 No.602192

>>602183
Sniff the air again.
"What is it?"

 No.602197

>>602184
>>602190
She sobs softly.
"You take care out there, alright? Be on guard but… don't forget to enjoy yourself either."

>>602186
"How am I supposed to know? He's been busy all day! Didn't even have time to listen to which kind of clothes I want him to bring back from Cantria!" she whines.

>>602192
"Marlin, fished up this morning from the bay. This is a Pursian recipe I'm trying out, those birds know their fish."

 No.602200

>>602197
"Maybe me and Livia can find him!"

 No.602201

>>602197
"I could always taste it to be sure."

 No.602202

>>602197
I give her a kiss on the cheek.
"I'll take care. Don't worry, mother. I'll be back before you know it."

 No.602231

>>602202
"Big bro, wake up!"
It's the day after! And this little filly is tugging at your sheets!

 No.602232

>>602231
Snoring.
I sit upright and look at you drowsily.
"Mmmm, w-what? What's going on?"

 No.602233

>>602232
Pull the sheets away entirely and jump up and down across your room!
"It's tomorrow big bro! You promised we'd play! Before you are gone!"

 No.602234

>>602233
Quickly cover myself!
"Sis! I'm naked!"

 No.602235

>>602234
Giggle.
"I am too! Clothes are too hot right now!"

 No.602236

>>602235
Grumble.
"You're not gonna let me sleep another hour, are you?"

 No.602237

>>602236
Shake my head.
"Morning sun is best sun!"

 No.602238

>>602237
"Fine, fine. Just let me comb my mane and get some breakfast first."

 No.602239

>>602238
"Uuuuh! I wanna help you comb!"

 No.602240

>>602239
Give you the comb.
"Okay, just be careful."

 No.602241

>>602240
"Sit by the mirror, I will make you the prettiest pony ever!"
Beam with joy as I take the comb, smiling excited as my tail wiggles.

 No.602242

>>602241
I sit in front of the mirror

 No.602243

>>602242
Trot over and pile up your books atop a stool, to reach aaaall the way up to your mane!
Once there, clumsily, try to find a solid balance against your back, eeping and squeaking before finally managing to hold still, and bringing the comb up in my weak magic.
"Now hold you still…"

 No.602244

>>602243
I hold very still.
Praying silently you don't rustle my mane.

 No.602245

>>602244
Bring the comb forward just a bit…
"Now close your eyes!"

 No.602246

>>602245
Closing them

 No.602247

>>602246
You feel the lightest rustle of your hairs, as if something was being dropped atop them.
Maybe it's the comb?
"Done!"
Squeal in triumphant delight, jumping off as the pile of books falls to the ground.
"You can open your eyes now!"
There's a tiny pink bow in your mane.

 No.602248

>>602247
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

 No.602249

>>602248
Giggle and start running circles around you!
"Doyourlikeitdoyoudoyoudoyoudoyoudoyou?"

 No.602250

>>602249
"No, why this bow!" get it off me '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.602251

>>602250
Stop hopping around and catch the bow, growing sad, my lip quivering a bit.
"Y-you don't like it?"

 No.602252

>>602251
Look at you.
"I-it's not…stallionly…"

 No.602253

>>602252
"But it's my favourite bow…
And you are leaving…
And I wanted something you could remember me by…"
Trace circles in the ground with my tiny hoof, looking sad at the bow laid down in front of me.

 No.602254

>>602253
Look at you with that mix of heartache and hatred only a big brother knows "F-fine, I'll keep it on my clothes, how about that?"

 No.602255

>>602254
"You can hide it too, that's fine!
All that matters is that you keep it with you all the time!"

 No.602256

>>602255
"I promise."

 No.602257

>>602256
Smile so wide my eyes have to go shut to make way for my upside-down frown!
And then rush big bro for another hug.
A very long hug.

 No.602258

>>602257
Huggity hug.
"Now…wanna get some breakfast?"

 No.602259

>>602258
Nod and let go, offering you a tiny hoof.

 No.602260

>>602259
take the hoof and go to breakfast

 No.602261

>>602260
"What are we gonna do after breakfast, big bro?"

 No.602262

>>602261
"play golf?"

 No.602263

>>602262
"YAY!"
Wanna do the breakfast?

 No.602264

>>602263
what would we talk about?

 No.602265

>>602264
The thing is, I know nothing about our parents or siblings which we could know of IC. Normally I'd ask why you think father wants you to go and such.
But on the other hand, the quest just started and we have nothing objective to faff about that's not our characters themselves.

 No.602266

>>602265
Exactly, that makes this kinda hard. I do think we established some good things like the bow and the golf. But I'm out of material

 No.602267

>>602266
I had fun anyway. Thanks for the faff.

 No.602268

>>602267
You too~

 No.602368

MARCUS

You joined your father on a trip to Cantria, the capital of your theme, where you boarded a ship headed for Peneia. The journey was long and the days hot, but eight days after setting off from port the ship finally arrived in the harbor of Peneios, the capital city of thema Peneia. From what you understand, the city is fairly different from home. Far busier as well, you notice even from afar. You can hear distant music coming from the city's direction. After docking, your belongings are loaded onto a cart. A mare in light blue robes made from finest silk approaches you.
"Master Hippoi, your arrival is most timely. Welcome to Peneios. I am here to escort you into the city."

 No.602369

>>602368
By her clothing does she seem like a pleb or a noble?

 No.602370

>>602369
It looks expensive, you doubt many plebs could afford such clothing… save for rich merchants.

 No.602371

>>602370
I bow my head for a second.
"Thank you, my lady. I didn't expect a Lady of Penios to come pick me up personally."
Look around, where are her guards?

 No.602372

>>602371
The cart is being pulled by two armored ponies. There's two more waiting further down the dock you're on.
"I am one of the doux's ladies-in-waiting. Her grace wanted to make sure you were in good hooves. Perhaps you will meet her later today, if you are so lucky."

 No.602373

>>602372
"Ah, thank you. Lead the way."

 No.602374

>>602373
She motions you to follow and walks down the dock toward the city. The cart follows closely behind the two of you. The other two guards split up, one walking in front of you while the other takes the back.

By the time you reach the gates of the city, you can hear the music very clearly. Harps, lyres and other stringed instruments fill the atmosphere around the city with soothing tunes. You've very clearly entered the merchant's district, filled with warehouses, stores, taverns and public forums. Ponies are moving wares in and out of the harbor, ranging from barrels filled with wine to amphoraes holding oils and other foodstuff. There's a strong scent of incense in the air, tickling your nose slightly.
"The gymnasium is located in the inner city, where you'll be spending your time studying under one of the tutors."

 No.602375

>>602374
I silently observe the comings and goings.
A bit uncomfortable in these new surroundings.
So this is where I'll stay for all that time…

 No.602376

>>602375
You eventually leave the merchant's quarter behind and enter the inner city. While it is still very crowded here, the ponies walking about seem more reserved. The scent of incense is replaced by a subtle hint of perfume. You pass by several impressive buildings, amphitheaters, temples, libraries, theaters, bathhouses, courthouses… all painted colorfully and shining under the blazing sun.
"There are plenty of things for a young lord to do during your leisure time. You are also always welcome at court, of course."

 No.602377

>>602376
How is it compared to my old town?

 No.602378

>>602377
Your own hold? It's far more colorful and massive compared to that.

Cantria is also really big, but way less flamboyant.

 No.602379

>>602378
I look at all the colorful buildings.
"This is so different from home…"

 No.602380

>>602379
"It can be a bit overwhelming for a foreigner, but Peneios is a fine city to live in. You can experience pleasures here which you will find no place else."
Your little caravan stops in front of a large building. It appears to be rectangular, with decorated pillars surrounding the whole thing. Like most buildings, the roof is colored blue.

 No.602381

>>602380
"Is this the palace?"

 No.602382

>>602381
She laughs.
"No, this is the gymnasium."
She signals the guards pulling the cart and they begin to unload your possessions, carrying them inside the building.
"One of the rooms here has been prepared for your stay. You'll have servants who will make sure all your needs are fulfilled. Your private lessons commence tomorrow."

 No.602383

>>602382
"I thought I'd be staying with the Lord, at court…"

 No.602384

>>602383
"You are a guest of her grace, yes. As such you are welcome to visit her court as you please. But for the sake of convenience, your stay will be here in the gymnasium of the lord scholar until you are older."

 No.602385

>>602384
"Can I visit her now? I'd like to meet the pony who I'll be staying with…"

 No.602386

>>602385
"If you wish to see her, she will be able to receive you in the coming of the eve. I suggest you rest until then, you must be tired from the journey."

 No.602387

>>602386
I frown.
"I understand. Thank you, Lady…I'm sorry I'm afraid I don't know your name."

 No.602388

>>602387
"Lady Athanasia."
The two guards return from their task. She gestures at them.
"They will be your acting guards for the time being. This is a safe place, but the Doux still asks you to not venture anywhere in the city on your own."

 No.602389

>>602388
I step out of the cart and go over to the gymnasium

 No.602390

>>602389
The two guards follow your lead. The building itself is very clean, you could definitely eat off of this marble floor. As mentioned before, the building is of rectangular shape. In the middle is a large open courtyard where ponies practice their physical abilities, it's entirely possible that some of these ponies are up-and-coming athletes for the Pindosian Games. You notice no one here is wearing any clothing whatsoever. Most ponies attending range from your age to young adults.

If you wish, you can go to your room and rest until the evening, when you can visit court.

 No.602391

>>602390
I'll do that.
I don't feel like socializing right now.

 No.602392

>>602391
Very well. The room you were assigned to is quite spacious, about as big as your room back home! It's far more open and decorated, however. You have a nice balcony, a bed with various kinds of sheets appropriate for various kinds of temperatures, a marble bathtub, a large bowl of fruit and a small drinking fountain.

One of the guards stays outside to guard the door while the other heads off elsewhere for now.

 No.602393

>>602392
Let's take a bath and timeskip to tonight

 No.602394

>>602393
Alright. Eve falls, temperatures drop slightly as the sun begins its descend to the horizon. It's still summer, so they days are nice and long. It'll still be light outside for a while longer.

The guard posted outside can lead you to the palace of the Doux if you ask.

 No.602395

>>602394
Put on my best suit and go outside the room to the guard.
"Take me to the court."

 No.602396

>>602395
The stallion (or mare? Hard to tell with all the armor…) nods silently and sets off, leading you out of the gymnasium to the palace. The palace is a different building altogether, surrounded by a massive garden and a wall with a fence on top of it. The building itself looks roughly as illustrated, but has a blue roof.

The large gates to the estate are opened to you by the guards and you venture along the path through the garden while thousands of different flowery scents assault your nose. Some other earth ponies are taking a stroll through the garden but seemingly don't care for you whatsoever.

 No.602397

File: 1414182696826.jpg (69.63 KB, 1024x768, fishbourne-palace.jpg) ImgOps Exif Google


 No.602398

>>602396
I concentrate.
I'm representing my house here.
Gotta make a good impression to the Lady.

 No.602399

>>602398
You certainly don't want to appear weak here!

You finally reach the building itself after having traversed the garden and enter the entrance halls of the palace estate. More ponies are walking around here, most of them obviously plebeian servants. Your guard leads you through the right hallway until you reach the end, where the doors open into a dining hall. The so called triclinium, where ponies eat dinner while lying sideways on cushioned couches. The room is lit up by various golden bowls holding fire while a bard is providing music using the lyre. There are only two ponies currently lying down for dinner here. You recognize the doux quite easily, as she's wearing a formal headband made from gold.

 No.602400

>>602399
I step forward and bow my head waiting for her to speak.

 No.602401

>>602400
Your guard bows as well and whispers something to the the Doux.
"Hm? Ah, Odyris' boy."
There's a small pause.
"Well? Are you going to keep standing there? You needn't be shy around here. Not in Peneios."

 No.602402

>>602401
Uh…what should I say around here?
Hmmm, how would dad handle this?
"Lady Toxias, it's a pleasure to meet you."
That's not bad…I think…

 No.602403

>>602402
The other mare, which you assume to be another lady-in-waiting giggles.
"He's adorable! A proper little lord!"
The Doux smiles at your courtesy and pats the empty couch next to hers.
"Come and sit. Have you eaten dinner yet? You look hungry."

 No.602404

>>602403
I am very hungry.
Take a seat quickly and take a bit of the food!

 No.602405

>>602404
Roll a d20.

 No.602406

>>602405
'1d20'

Roll #1 18 = 18

 No.602407

>>602406
You grab a toasted piece of bread with cheese and tomato toppings and eat it. After a few bites, you nearly cry out in surprise as the spices seemingly burn your throat. You remember the stories, about how the Peneians are said to mix small traces of poison in their food to give it some more kick. It seems they were right after all. That being said, it is really delicious despite how spicy it is.

Hypatia watches you as she casually eats some grapes, gauging for a reaction perhaps?
"How old are you, boy?"

 No.602408

>>602407
This is good!
Nom nom more, eat some more!
"14."

 No.602409

>>602408
"Do you like the food? Some find it too… spicy. It takes a real stallion of your age to handle it."
She offers you a cup of rose water.

 No.602410

>>602409
Nom nom! "It's really tasty!" I say with a full mouth.
Ah shit. Swallow.
"It's really delicious. Thank you." Sniff the cup and take a sip.

 No.602411

>>602410
It's just rosewater. Made from rose petals. Very tasty as well!
"What a pleasant surprise."
She takes a sip from her own cup.
"I hear from one of my ladies that you are not content with your place in the gymnasium? That you would rather stay here in my palace?"

 No.602412

>>602411
I guess this will do.
More spicy food!

"Uhm yes my lady, back home I liked to watch the ponies at court to learn how to rule one day." Look at her.
"The gymnasium seems a nice place but…I don't think I can learn how to be a lord from books."

 No.602413

>>602412
"Is that so? I had hoped to spare you from attending my court until you were older, but seeing how you are so eager… well, perhaps I can make an exception."

 No.602414

>>602413
I grin.
"Thank you, I promise you won't regret it."

 No.602415

>>602414
"I trust I won't."

The other mare whispers something in her ear and giggles.
"You would be so cruel," the Doux responds in kind, turning back to look you in the eyes. She's not particularly beautiful to your adolescent mind. Her looks are fairly average, but she radiates confidence. You'd wager her presence would dominate in any company.

 No.602416

>>602415
I'm not really sure what's going on with the whispering.
But look back and hold her gaze.

 No.602417

>>602416
What if they're laughing at you? What if they think you're just a dumb child? A weakling? Can you hold your gaze and not avert your eyes?

 No.602418

>>602417
Lemme see.
If I do a sense motive check can I use me lvl 4 bonus?

 No.602419

>>602418
Yes. I'll allow that.

 No.602420

>>602419
Look into her eyes…
Sense Motive '1d20+9'

Roll #1 6 + 9 = 15

 No.602421

>>602420
You feel like she's just trying to get under your skin and see who she's dealing with here. You believe this is more of a facade rather than her real self. Like how your father isn't just dad anymore when he assumes his role as lord Hippoi. She's confident, sure, but given how she's looks like she's only in her early twenties, she can't be that experienced, right?

 No.602422

>>602421
Yes, that does make sense…just like dad.
I should get under that. Perhaps with a more personal question.
"Have you been Lady of Peneia for a long time?"

 No.602423

>>602422
She raises an eyebrow in mild surprise.
"There was a regency period when the last Doux died of illness years ago. I started ruling when I came of age at the age of 16. You are almost fit to rule as well, aren't you?"

 No.602424

>>602423
"Yes, but my father doesn't think I'm fit yet."

 No.602425

>>602424
"Well, Odyris was still alive and well the last I saw him. He spoke quite highly of you, you know. Why, if I did not know any better I'd think he was hoping to arrange a betrothal between the two of us."
Roll another Sense motive roll.

 No.602426

>>602425
'1d20+9'
I chuckle.

Roll #1 4 + 9 = 13

 No.602427

>>602426
You're not sure if she's speaking the truth there or not… Is she serious about this? Is that why your father sent you here? Or is she just gauging for reactions again?

 No.602428

>>602426
>>602425
Let's play it off.
I chuckle.
"So what do you think? Do we make a good match?" Take another bite of my spicy food.

 No.602429

>>602428
"Your title is fairly low, but then, you are set to inherit your father's position. Does anything else matter to you?"

 No.602430

>>602429
Is she actually serious…
"You're pulling my leg, aren't you?"

 No.602431

>>602430
"Why did you come here, Marcus? To my court? To stay in my palace? Only because you wished to see the workings of court? Why not go to Cantria for that? Or Saddlonica?"

 No.602432

>>602431
"Why don't you tell me? It was you and my father who agreed I'd be sent here."

 No.602433

>>602432
She smiles and leans in closer.
"Because Peneios knows their trade better than anypony else around. Before the empire was formed, Peneios was the wealthiest city-state on the continent. Today, we are one of the most important trade hubs in the empire. But we did not manage this on our own. Cantria and Saddlonica were our partners in ancient times and that shows even today. The Saddlonicans have their ingenuity, the Cantrians their diligence and we… we have our perspicaciousness."

 No.602434

>>602433
Look a bit flabbergasted
"Perpica…perspipaciousness…what does that mean?"

 No.602435

>>602434
"Shrewdness."

 No.602436

>>602435
"So you're saying Peneios became so wealthy because of its shrewdness? Because you make the best deals?"

 No.602437

>>602436
"We became so wealthy because we were capable of employing foresight, recognizing patterns and perceiving the ambiguous. Cantria produced more than we did, Saddlonica had a superior fleet, but we knew how to manage everything better as a whole."

 No.602438

>>602437
Look at the rich decorations and back at her.
"And I'm here to learn how to manage as well?"

 No.602439

>>602438
"That seems more likely than a betrothal, does it not?"
She winks at you.

 No.602440

>>602439
I chuckle.
"You almost had me."
Raise my cup.

 No.602441

>>602440
"Worried, were you? I saw you sweating back there for a moment."

 No.602442

>>602441
"I'm not ready for a betrothal yet." I grin.

 No.602443

>>602442
She sips from her wine.
"Spouses are all well and good, but I have no need to waste money on one yet. One of the perks of being your own matriarch is the fact that nopony is breathing down your neck about marriage at the age of 16."

 No.602444

>>602443
"I imagine you must have tons of suitors."

 No.602445

>>602444
"Of course. Plenty of families would like to see their sons join mine. I'm the right age, an unmarried Doux. I like to think I'm not hideous either. "

 No.602446

>>602445
I chuckle.
"But I'm sure you're gonna leave them waiting for a while longer."

 No.602447

>>602446
"Well, until my brothers or sister start to get uppity at least. You have a few siblings as well, don't you? You're bound to get into trouble with one of them at some point, I can tell you right now."

 No.602448

>>602447
Dat foreshadowing
Take a bite of some spiced apple and think about home.
"I get along well with them…"

 No.602449

>>602448
"They're young. You're young. Mine are young too. Time can change anypony. Just pray none of them are the jealous or ambitious type."

 No.602450

>>602449
Think of Anthe and frown.
"Nothing I can do about that now, I suppose. I'll see when I get back."

 No.602482

>>602450
"Just remember that power and the desire for it can turn ponies into monster. There's a certain amount of people out there who would love to plunge a dagger into my back."

 No.602487

>>602482
Frown.
"That's horrible!"

 No.602498

>>602487
"That's reality. You can't escape it, you can only operate around it. When you eventually inherit your father's position, you'll find yourself in a similar position. With power, comes risk. And the more power you have, the more at risk you are. I don't envy the Empress one bit. Maybe you'll find yourself in a civil war at some point. Or facing a Saddle-Arabian invasion. All in the name if gaining more power."

 No.602503

>>602498
Puff my chest
"I don't fear the Saddle-Arabians, and if another house in our theme wants to mess with me, they're welcome to try!"

 No.602507

>>602503
"And what if Peneia and Agria pick opposite sides in a civil war one day?"
She drinks from her wine cup.

 No.602509

>>602507
"Then we'll revisit the betrothal option."

 No.602511

>>602509
She laughs.
"Not the answer I was looking for, but an amusing thought nonetheless."

 No.602520

>>602511
I must have really stuffed myself full of spicy food by now.
"It was a lovely meal, but I'd like to retire to my chamber."

 No.602527

>>602520
"Of course. Thank you for joining us. Life is busy, but hopefully we can converse again soon."
The Doux signals two of her servants to come over.
"Show the little lord the way to one of the prepared chambers. And arrange to have his belongings transferred there as soon as possible. Oh and find out where lady Athanasia is. Tell her master Hippoi has moved to the palace."

The servants both bow, one leaving the room in a hurry while the other turns to you.
"My lord. Follow me please."

 No.602528

>>602527
Nod at the guard and follow him.
"What's your name?"

 No.602532

>>602528
Not a guard, just a maidservant.
"Cassiphia, my lord."

She leads you out of the room into a hallway, up a large set of marble stairs to the second floor, walking down another hallway before stopping in front of a set of wooden doors with silver handles. She procures a key and unlocks the doors, opening them up and allowing you to go inside first.

 No.602723

Nearly four years have passed since Marcus left for Peneia. During this time, Odyris has had to leave for Cantria on various occasions, leaving the rest of you sometimes for weeks on end. You've seen the relationship between the lord and his wife deteriorate during this time. You sometimes wonder if they love one another at all anymore. The children have grown as well, Anthe has seemingly mellowed out somewhat but is growing more slothful by the day while Niphon has begun to train his martial skills more and more. The twins are in their full teenage years with all the consequences that brings with it.

Today is Hestaradeis or 'Priest's day'. The patriarch and his council are holding court while lady Hippoi lies ill in her chambers. Niphon is out squiring for one of the lord's knights and the twins have left for a visit to a nearby village with an entourage. Anthe is about, but you're not sure where.

 No.602725

>>602723
I wonder if they'd mind if I had a look at what they are doing in the court.

 No.602731

>>602725
Court is held often and it's always open during this time. You could go check on it if you so desired.

 No.602732

>>602731
Go check on it then.

 No.602736

>>602732
You head out to see the court hall. The doors are open and guards are posted at set intervals.There's a queue of plebeians awaiting their turn to make an appeal or speak to the lord. The lord himself is seated behind a large table with his younger brother, Prokopios, and a few other of his assistants.

Two plebs appear to be in a heated discussion with each other in front of them.

 No.602741

>>602736
Slither closer, near the table, but not in their way, and hear what their quarrel is about.

 No.602743

>>602741
You get a few looks, but get close enough to listen along.
"- and our name is clearly engraved on the bucket!"
"Carved you mean! You just used a knife to carve your name into it after you stole it from our water well!"
"How dare you implicate me like that! I run an honest business!"
"A business of taking buckets!?"
"You're nothing but a swindler trying to defecate my name!"
"That's rich coming from a thief like yourself!"
"You take that back!"
"Not before I take back my bucket!"

The lord is rubbing his temples in annoyance. His brother appears somewhat more amused.

 No.602745

>>602743
I have an idea, but let's see if the lord can settle it.
If not, I might be able to help…

 No.602749

>>602745
The lord eventually stands up.
"Enough. I grow irate listening to this endless hoof pointing. We will have your bucket compensated for. In the future, don't bother the court with such trivial matters or we will take the bucket for ourselves."
He motions them to leave, which they do rather quickly.
"Bring in the next one."

 No.602750

>>602749
He did handle it then.
Look at the court with amusement, see what's the next one.

 No.602754

>>602750
An older stallion this time. Judging by the smell, he's from the nearby fishing village.
"My liege, my liege…"
He bows, shivering a little.
"I was harvesting seaweed during yesterday's twilight when I was assaulted by a band of marauding seaponies!"

Prokopios raises a brow.
"Marauding seaponies, you say?"

The old stallion nods quickly in return.
"Yes! They… They destroyed my boat and tried to devour me whole!"

 No.602756

>>602754
Seaponies?
Now this is interesting.
Lean closer and try to tell if he's honest or not.

 No.602758

>>602756
You could try to roll a sense motive roll, though since you don't have a sheet yet it'll just be a d20.

 No.602759

>>602758
I'm still a young dragon, my senses are not so honed just yet
'1d20'

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.602770

>>602759
You have no idea whether or not this fellow is speaking the truth.
"The empire has never had trouble with seaponies before because they tend to keep to themselves. Did you anger them in some way that caused them to become aggressive?"

The stallion shakes his head fervently.
"No milord, I was just fishing for seaweed! No harm done!"

"Say you're speaking the truth, how did you escape from these seaponies?"

"I swam, milord! Swam as fast as I could I did!"

"How many of them were there?"

"Perhaps a dozen or more, it was hard to see. They moved so fast! One bit me!"
He shows one of his legs, which does have teethmarks in it.

 No.602771

>>602770
Take a closer look at the teethmarks.

They sound interesting, these seaponies…

 No.602776


 No.602777

>>602776
'1d20'

Roll #1 17 = 17

 No.602781

>>602777
Those bitemarks are definitely inflicted by a pony-like set of teeth…

 No.602782

>>602781
Slither closer.
"What were the teeth of these seaponies like?
Sharp?"

 No.602783

>>602782
His eyes widen.
"Those teeth sure stung if you ask me!"
He waves his hoof around.

 No.602785

>>602783
Glare my teeth.
"Were they like this, meant to rip and tear?"

 No.602786

>>602785
"No, no! They were seaponies, not sharkponies!"

 No.602787

>>602786
Lean closer.
"You are saying they were sharper than pony teeth still, are you not?"

 No.602788

>>602787
"I didn't see their teeth personally, it was getting dark and they stayed mostly submerged!"

 No.602789

>>602788
Point at his hoof.
"Those marks are from pony teeth."

 No.602790

>>602789
"Seapony teeth!"

 No.602791

>>602790
Look at him, then at the lord

 No.602792

>>602791
He looks back at you.
"Mereghyl, do you want to investigate this story?"

 No.602793

>>602792
Nod.
"I gladly would."

 No.602794

>>602793
"Good. Go and investigate these rumors. If this pony is speaking the truth and there are aggressive seaponies abound, we will need to take action against them."

 No.602795

>>602794
Turn to the pony.
"Tell me again, where did they attack you?"

 No.602796

>>602795
"Bazos bay! I was just fishing for seaweed!"

 No.602797

>>602796
Nod and turn tail without another word.

Leave the castle.

 No.602798

>>602797
You leave the court hall and ponies behind, leaving the castle. It's late afternoon now. Autumn. Outside temperature is beginning to drop. Bazos bay isn't too far away by flight, about twenty minutes.

 No.602799

>>602798
Spread my wings and spring away from the ground with a flap of them.

Fly over there.

 No.602800

>>602799
You set off and arrive at the bay a while later. It appears to be perfectly calm from your perspective. Across the bay you can see the fishing village the stallion must be from. There are a few rocky islands in the bay itself.

 No.602801

>>602800
Fly a few circles abovehead, and look for a rock island big enough for me to land on.

 No.602802

>>602801
The waters are calm… you land and perch on one of the islands. There's not much to them aside from rocks and sand.

Care to roll a knowledge check on seaponies? +6 modifier.

 No.602803

>>602802
Let's see what I know.
'1d20+6'

Roll #1 16 + 6 = 22

 No.602804

>>602803
Well, a few things at least. Seaponies are attracted to light and singing from what you know. They also like to make music themselves. You also know the seaponies have a civilization of their own called Pontlantis, an underwater kingdom somewhere in the sea south of here. You vaguely recall there being several sub-species of seaponies as well, but what exactly these are like you have no idea.

 No.602805

>>602804
Good thing it's getting late then, I can give them light.
I'm afraid I can't really sing for it, too.
Start breathing tiny bursts of fire into the air, just enough to light the area around me up, but not to set anything on fire.

 No.602806

>>602805
You breathe out tiny bursts of fire into the air periodically. Since this place is made from stone surrounded by water, lighting anything on fire is unlikely to happen.

You eventually realize it may be too bright out to lure them with light. Waiting for darkness to set in further may be wise.

 No.602807

>>602806
I guess a little nap can't hurt then

 No.602808

>>602807
You doze off for a while and awaken a while later to the sound of splashing water.

 No.602809

>>602808
Open my eyes and focus it on where I've heard that.

 No.602810

>>602809
Roll le perception.

 No.602811

>>602810
Le reptile eye
'1d20'

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.602812

Jump out of bed.
Today is the day.
Run through the hallways to Mereghyl.
"MEREGHYL! MEREGHYL!"

 No.602813

Looooooooong ago, in a distant land, I, Mereghyl… was taking a nap on top of my hoard.

 No.602814

>>602813
>>602812
You hear a tiny voice in the distance.
Certainly a dream.
"MEREGHYL, MEREGHYL!"

 No.602815

>>602814
Squint my eyes in my sleep, but pay it no heed or mind.
It will go away, I am sure.

 No.602816

>>602815
You feel something tiny tugging at your tail.
"MEREGHYL, MEREGHYL!"

 No.602817

>>602816
I'm sleeping… not going to be troubled with anything… Lift the end of my tail and give it a tiny shake.

 No.602818

>>602817
"WAH!"
Tumble down your hoard, but get back up again like only a tiny poni can.
Climb up your snout with a grin and stand in front of your eyes!
"MEREGHYL!"

 No.602819

>>602818
Slowly open both of my eyes, blinking once, then focusing both of them on you.
"Could you be less loud? Do you not see what I am doing?"
Close my eyes again.

 No.602820

>>602819
"You're being a lazy dragon again!"
Jump a bit on your nose.

 No.602821

>>602820
I snort, a bit of smoke coming out of my nostrils.
"Do you not need sleep?"

 No.602822

>>602821
"But the Sun is up already!"

 No.602823

>>602822
"The Sun is. I am not."

 No.602824

>>602823
"You promised to go flying with me today!"

 No.602825

>>602824
"Not while I was sleeping!"
Open my eyes again.

 No.602826

>>602825
"You said yesterday to go flying with me the next day!
The Sun is up. It's the next day now!"
Push a bit against your nose with my head.
"We're losing time!"

 No.602827

>>602826
Pick you up very gently with a claw and put you down in front of me.
Snort a puff of smoke at you in annoyance, but then let out a sigh.
"Fine."

 No.602828

>>602827
Rear my hooves!
"You're the best Mereghyl!"
Give your snout a tiny hug

 No.602829

>>602828
After coughing from the smoke.

 No.602830

>>602829
>>602828
Slowly stand up and rise to my full height after you finished hugging my snout, flicking my tail and spreading my wings as I stretch.
Look down at you.
"I am not putting you on my back when we fly, Marcus, I hope you do know that."

 No.602831

>>602830
Look confused.
"Uh….then how am I supposed to fly with you?"

 No.602832

>>602831
Show you one of my claws.
"I will hold you. It's too dangerous for you to be on my back. I do not want you to fall off."

 No.602833

>>602832
"What if hold on to one of your scales?"

 No.602834

>>602833
Shake my head.
"The wind would be too strong and your grip too weak."

 No.602835

>>602834
"Well, good then. But we'll fly really fast right!"

 No.602836

>>602835
Smirk at you.
"Really fast and really high."
Lower my head and neck next to you.
"You can climb on while we get outside, Marcus."

 No.602837

>>602836
"Yes!!! Let's go!"
Walk outside as fast as my tiny legs can carry me!

 No.602838

>>602837
I guess he'd rather walk, then!
I calmly walk behind you, matching your tinyrun with my longer steps.

 No.602839

>>602838
Climb on now!

 No.602840

>>602839
Raise my head once you are on top of it and walk proudly, holding it high with a smirk as we head outside.
"The servants look smaller from up here, do they not?"

 No.602841

>>602840
"Everything looks so small!
Wow you're so big Mereghyl!"

 No.602842

>>602841
Let out a chuckle.
"I am still young. In your pony terms, I am barely your age. I will grow even larger in time."

 No.602843

>>602842
"How big do dragons grow?"

 No.602844

>>602843
"Even I do not know."
You can see a glint of pride and mischievousness in my eye.
"Larger than castles when they are adults, or so I have been told."

 No.602845

>>602844
"Wow, you'll be bigger than our palace!
We'll have to make a bigger home for you!"

 No.602846

>>602845
"We have more than enough time to worry about that later, Marcus."
Once we are outside, I spread my wings, showing them off for you.

 No.602847

>>602846
Hold on tight!

 No.602848

>>602847
No matter how tight you hold on, though, it won't stop me from lifting you off of me and holding you in my claw, forming a safe cage for you.
"You won't fall or drop this way. I am sure your father would be most displeased if you were to have an accident while flying with me."

Spring into the air and lift off, hovering above the castle at first.

 No.602849

>>602848
I look down at the castle, like I've never seen it before.
"It looks so small!"

 No.602850

>>602849
Keep flapping my wings to stay in place.
"Wave for your father, mother and siblings. They are all in there."

 No.602851

>>602850
Wave my hoof.
"Do you think they see me?"

 No.602852

>>602851
"If they are looking out of their windows. I am sure your father and mother are thinking of you all the time, however."

Start flying higher and higher.

 No.602853

>>602852
I can see everything!
"Can you fly to that mountain?"

 No.602854

>>602853
"We can, yes."
Once I'm high enough, surprise you by stopping the beats of my wings, and start gliding towards the mountain you saw at a high speed, using the altitude to my advantage.

 No.602855

>>602854
Scream!

 No.602856

>>602855
Keep gliding, only occasionally flapping my wings to get higher just so I can glide again.
"Enjoying the tour so far, Marcus?"

 No.602857

>>602856
"YEAH! CAN WE FLY OVER THE LAKE?"

 No.602858

>>602857
"As you wish."
Make a sharp turn to fly towards the lake.
"Do you want to see waves, Marcus?"

 No.602859

>>602858
"What do you mean? The lake doesn't have waves…"

 No.602860

>>602859
Let out an echoing laugh.
"We will make waves."
Once I'm above the lake, fly very close to it, close enough that you could reach out with a hoof from between my claws to touch the water… then lower my tail, splitting the water as I fly and stirring up large waves behind us.

 No.602861

>>602860
I laugh.
"Mereghyl…could you breath fire? There's nopony here…."

 No.602862

>>602861
Stop, hovering above the water.
"Yes… but I will have to make you are safe from it."
You can hear something in my voice, more sly than usual.

 No.602863

>>602862
"Okay. I'll be really really really careful!"

 No.602864

>>602863
"No, you do not understand. Let me help."
Submerge my claw that is carrying you into the water, dunking and drenching you completely, pulling up a second or two later.

 No.602865

>>602864
I cough.
"HEY!"

 No.602866

>>602865
Let out a small laugh.
"Now, Marcus, you are safe."

 No.602867

>>602866
"You *cough* could have wa*cough* warned me!"

 No.602868

>>602867
"I did, did I not? You were just not paying attention!"

 No.602869

>>602868
I scrunch!

 No.602870

>>602869
Time to make up for that prank.
Take a large breath, then unleash a torrent of fire above the lake.
Not like I can set anything ablaze here, so don't hold back.

 No.602871

>>602870
Watch with mouth agape!

 No.602872

>>602871
I have a little idea…
Fly just a tiny bit higher, and take another breath, focusing the fire on the water itself now.
Let's see if I can boil any of it.

 No.602873

>>602872
"It's bubbling!"

 No.602874

>>602873
Stop the fire for now.
"Have you ever seen the chefs and servants work in the kitchen? They do this to water too, on a smaller scale."

 No.602875

>>602874
"Yes, but I've never seen it in a lake before.
Your fire must be…..superhot!"

 No.602876

>>602875
"It is dragon's flame, after all."
Start flying again, back towards the castle.

 No.602877

>>602876
"Are we going back?"

 No.602878

>>602877
"Are there not sights to see to the other side of the castle?"

 No.602879

>>602878
I shout more happily!
"Oh! YES! There's the hills and the farms!"

 No.602880

>>602879
"You will enjoy the vista of the farms from above. They look just like the tiles of a bathhouse."

Fly above and over the castle.

 No.602881

>>602880
Wave down.
"Mom! Dad!"

 No.602882

>>602881
Make sure to cast a shadow with wide spread wings over the nearby houses.

 No.602883

>>602882
"Look at all the tiny ponies!"

 No.602884

>>602883
"I believe they are looking back."

 No.602885

>>602884
Wave to them too!
"They look so small!"

 No.602886

>>602885
Start dipping downwards, making them look less small.
"Do you see how you view ponies may change drastically by where you stand?"

 No.602887

>>602886
Point to one of them.
"Yes, I thought he was a colt but he's actually a big farmer!"

 No.602888

>>602887
Keep flying above their farms.
"This will be true in the court too, once you grow. However, the difference won't be in sizes there."

 No.602889

>>602888
"What do you mean?"

 No.602890

>>602889
"With you ponies, the looks can be decieving. If you could have gifted that pony something, you might have given him a toy, because you thought he was a colt. What would a big farmer stallion do with a colt's toy?"

 No.602891

>>602890
"I don't know….maybe he likes toys?"

 No.602892

>>602891
"He probably likes feeding his family more."

 No.602893

>>602892
"Oh…but he's a farmer, doesn't he have enough food?"

 No.602894

>>602893
"The food he makes is what you eat. What the ponies nearby eat. And if he wants to keep working, he must sell all that food so he can buy tools to make more food he can sell again. Strange, is it not?"

 No.602895

>>602894
Scrunch.
"He should have food too!"

 No.602896

>>602895
"He does, yet there is only so much food to go around. If there is a bad harvest, some ponies ought to be hungry."

 No.602897

>>602896
"Why does Mother Nature give bad harvests?"

 No.602898

>>602897
"Why does the Sun and Moon rise each day?"

 No.602899

>>602898
Think.
"…I don't know?"

 No.602900

>>602899
"Why does the wind blow and why does the rain fall? We cannot have all the answers."

 No.602901

>>602900
"Why are you telling me all this?"

 No.602902

>>602901
Since we flown quite a lot, start circling the hills.
"Because wisdom is power."

 No.602903

>>602902
Think about all this.
"Is that why you're so strong, because you know a lot?"

 No.602904

>>602903
"No. That is because I am a dragon."
Let out a loud laugh.

 No.602905

>>602904
"You're a smart dragon!"

 No.602906

>>602905
"And you are a smart colt."

 No.602907

>>602906
I snicker.
"Thanks!"

 No.602908

>>602907
Do a larger circle, and turn to fly towards the castle.
"Are you ready to head home now?"

 No.602909

>>602908
"Yes…let's go. I'm getting hungry…"

 No.602910

>>602909
"Let us hope your mother is not worried"

 No.602911

>>602910
Fly back to the castle
Stop here?

 No.602912

>>602911
I got nothing more at the moment
It was fun though!

 No.602913


 No.603026

MARCUS
You've been in Peneios for a couple of months now. So far, the city has actually been quite nice! The food is great, the city and natural sights are beautiful, not to mention there's a lot of fun stuff going on like theater plays, battle tournaments and other forms of entertainment.

The palace itself is quite interesting too. People from all over pass through here with tales from other parts of the empire. You certainly feel a lot more in touch with the rest of the world here than you did back home. Today is the last day of the week, so court is not being held. The patricians are enjoying their day of rest. What do you want to do?

FLAVIA
Marcus has been gone for a few months now. It's certainly weird not having him around anymore at all. You're not sure when you'll get to see him again… but at least today is the last day of the week! That means neither of your parents will be holding court today! No stitching or language lessons for you either on this day.

Still, strangely enough, your father has called you and and your sister to his working office. You're not entirely sure why he would be at work right now.

MEREGHYL
>>602811
You open your eyes and focus on the direction the splashing came from. Unfortunately, there's nothing there but a few ripples in the water. It may very well have been a fish for all you know.

On the upside, it's dark out now! You see a few dimmed lights in the distance around the village, but most houses are dark by now.

 No.603027

>>603026
All the better. Let's do the small fireball trick again.

 No.603028


 No.603029

>>603026
I forgot her name!
"Maybe we are going out for a picnic! Imagine that!"
Drag her along excited and quick on my hooves.

 No.603030

>>603028
'1d20'

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.603031

>>603026
This is all turning out better than expected.

I'd like to see a…
Does Anathasia like theater plays?

 No.603032

>>603029
Livia. Your older sister is Anthe.
"I don't know, it's pretty windy out today… it could be another kind of surprise though!"
You drag her along the halls until you reach the door leading to your father's office. At times when you were called here, it was for your father to berate you in private for doing something bad…

>>603030
You're quite the sleepyhead and your reaction times aren't good enough. You hear splashing from around you again but every time you look at where it came from, there's nothing.

Eventually though, you hear a voice. Singing? Almost whispering the song. It sounds beautiful. A little bit haunting even. Where is it coming from? It's almost as if the water and evening fog is carrying the sound from elsewhere…

>>603031
She has joined the lady to go see a few plays in the past that you know of.

 No.603033

>>603032
I should ask her.
Can't go alone!
I'll see if I can't find her.

 No.603034

>>603032
Try to look around the nearby rocky islands, maybe.
'1d20'

Roll #1 16 = 16

 No.603035

>>603033
You find her in the garden, reading a tome on a bench overlooking the pond. This seems to be a spot she favors to relax in.

>>603034
You glide around the bay and finally spot the source of the singing. A pony, but not quite a pony, resting on one of the rocks sticking out of the water. Her upper body looks exactly like the ponies you've seen on land, but her lower body is completely different, looking like that of a fish.

 No.603036

>>603032
Okay, that deserves a slower, worried trot.

 No.603037

>>603035
Trot up.
"Good afternoon, my lady or may I say Anathasia?"

 No.603038

>>603035
Yes! A seapony! Is there room nearby on another rock for me to land on?

 No.603039

>>603036
Your twin sister tentatively knocks on the door with a hoof and enters. Your father is sitting at his desk, scribbling away on a piece of parchment with his trusty quill. He looks up momentarily to meet your eyes, then focuses back on his writing.
"Girls. Come in. There's something I'd like to discuss with you both."

>>603037
She looks up from her reading and perks up slightly.
"I think the rules of court dictate we are to address each other with our titles. But we're not really in court right now, so we can use first names if you're comfortable with that."

>>603038
You can land and perch yourself on the rock, yes.

 No.603040

>>603039
Grin.
"Yes. So Anathasia, I wondered if you wanted to join me to watch a play?"

 No.603041

>>603039
Do so, then.
Stay silent and listen to the song.

 No.603042

>>603039
Move over to the table and tentatively climb onto a seat, looking at father in silence.

 No.603043

>>603040
She slowly closes her book and looks at you. She's wearing her light blue toga again.
"I do enjoy a good tragic play every now and then. I have no duties to the Doux today so I'm free to."

>>603041
You've heard ponies sing before, from bards and minstrels whom are capable of producing beautiful songs for their audience. This is something else entirely though, it seems to reach out and touch your very soul. You suspect her singing must be magic of sorts, more than just mere music.

She doesn't seem to be stopping either.

>>603042
He lays down his quill and looks at both of you in silence for a moment before starting.
"You… both of you. My youngest daughters. According to the laws of our dynasty, you are my last two children in the line of succession. This means you are unlikely to ever become matriarch of our family. Flavia, you were officially 'born' right after your twin sister, so she surpasses you in succession even if it came down to you two. How does that make you feel?"

 No.603044

>>603043
It would be rude for me to interrupt her song.
If seaponies do like light, however, I can provide a lightshow.
Breath out tiny tongues of flame straight upwards every now and then to the rythm of the song.

 No.603045

>>603043
"Perfect. I've heard of a new play in town. Shall we go?" Offer her a hoof.

 No.603046

>>603044
The fire seems to startle her from this close. In a show of amazing agility, she immediately backflips into the air and flops down into the water.

>>603045
She cracks a smile and takes your hoof after putting away her tome.
"That's a very courtly of you, Marcus. You're learning well."

 No.603047

>>603046
Damnation.
I don't suppose she'll come back if I wait… but unlike ponies, I have all the time in the world.
So wait.

 No.603048

>>603046
Walk to the town.
"The Peneian Court keeps me quite busy. It is nice to have a day off like this."

 No.603049

>>603047
Nothing…

You could try making some light again. She did show up last time, but didn't come too close to you.

>>603048
The palace is in the city! So you walk through the streets of the inner city. There's several theaters in the city, so you don't need to walk far.
"Fate's Day is as old as the empire itself, the patricians needed it and the empress knew it. I'm glad she decided to organize the week like this."

 No.603050

>>603049
Light it up again, then.
And look for the nearby rocks.
'1d20'

Roll #1 17 = 17

 No.603051

>>603049
"The Lady told me you're a scholar of Aquila…"

 No.603052

>>603051
>Aqualia

 No.603053

>>603043
"I… Don't understand, dad!
She's my sister, we share everything!"

 No.603054

>>603050
Sure enough, the singing starts up again minutes after. You spot the same seapony lying on a different rock this time elsewhere.

>>603051
"That is right. I study other things as well, but my knowledge on religion is good enough that the lady assigned me as her religious adviser."

>>603053
"There can only be one matriarch per family branch. Even though you are twins, she's been in this world mere minutes longer. This makes her older in the eyes of the succession law. But this will likely never matter, as you have brothers and sisters who are set to inherit my land and position before you."

 No.603055

>>603054
"Do you have a lot of work as religious advisor?"

 No.603056

>>603054
Lift off and land near her again.
"Seapony."

 No.603057

>>603054
"So… why are you telling us, dad?"

 No.603058

>>603055
"My function is fairly broad, so she relies on my support for quite a few things. I'm no busier than she is though."

>>603056
She stops her singing and opens her blue eyes to look at you. They look just like the eyes of a land pony.

She doesn't speak up in response, just observing you instead.

>>603057
Your sister nods.
"Yeah, I mean… there's nothing wrong with this is there? We can't help it being born last!"

He shakes his head.
"Your mother and I have been speaking about this for a while now… we feel it may be appropriate to let you both take the vows and join the Church of the Mother."

 No.603059

>>603058
Does my dad have a religious advisor?

 No.603060

>>603058
Slowly, not to startle her, bow my head at her.
"I did not mean to scare you, seapony. I am Mereghyl of House Hippoi. I wish to speak to you and your kin."

 No.603061

>>603059
He does. There's a temple keep that falls under his lands with the high priest that runs it being one of his vassals. Said high priest fulfills the role of Ecclesiarch, or in simple terms: religious adviser.

 No.603062

>>603058
"The… church?"

 No.603063

>>603060
"Mereghyl of House Hippoi, why do you wish to speak to me rather than hear my song? Not many dare to speak during our songs."
Her voice is very soft and soothing, almost a whisper, yet very clear to hear.

>>603062
He nods.
"The Mother is our patron deity. And of our entire theme. You've learned plenty about Her. To join the ranks of Her Church as a priestess is a great deed."

 No.603064

>>603058
"I didn't see our spiritual advisor much. He was too busy studying in his temple."

 No.603065

>>603063
"As beautiful as your song may be, I came here seeking the truth, so justice can be served. What is your name, seapony?"

 No.603066

>>603064
"Your patron deity is the Mother herself, correct? Most of thema Agria follows her. Her learnings are very diverse if you compare them to those of Aqualia. Reading and studying is enlightening for the mind, but it should not be all a devout follower does. I go to swim in the sea every evening, even if it is windy or chilly out during the winter months. There's nothing better than feeling the cool water of the sea all around you. I could never imagine living in a place far away from the sea where I couldn't do this."

>>603065
"My name is Neera. What do you seek justice for, Mereghyl?"

 No.603067

>>603066
"A pony came to the court of our house. A seaweed fisher. He claims that your kin attacked him and sank his vessel."

 No.603068

>>603066
"I…never swam in the sea before…"

 No.603069

>>603067
She cringes.
"The fallen float further and further by the cycle. I cannot help you with this."

>>603068
"It is safe here along the Peneian coast, you should do it when you see the chance."

 No.603070

>>603069
"I will not hold you responsible if you tell me what exactly happened, yet I cannot speak for the villagers. You must now how wrathful ponies can be when they are faced with something they do not understand."

 No.603071

>>603069
"I will."
Time for the play

 No.603072

>>603070
She shakes her head slowly.
"Those that attacked are detached and their songs are not ours to hear. Better it be to let their voices be lost in the winds of Aer."

>>603071
You go and observe a tragedy written by a Trotantine scholar from Clopantinople. There's dancing, singing and plain dialogue. Like all plays from this era, this goes on for many hours. Other patricians and even a few plebs are watching it with you. The marble seats are hard, but luckily cushions are provided to make it more comfortable for your butt during all those hours.

Do you wish to skip this and go to the evening?

 No.603073

>>603072
Let's do so.

 No.603074

>>603072
"They must be held responsible for their deeds."

 No.603075

>>603073
Hours later, the play comes to an end and wraps up. It's evening now.
"That was very good, Marcus. Thank you for taking me along to see it. I admittedly enjoyed your company more than I initially expected."

>>603074
"You cannot reach out to them. They live far and deep. Do not attempt to track them down, Mereghyl. A creature of Ignis will only find death in Aqualia's domain. Return to your house. Inform the ponies. Take precautions and defend if they come for you again."

 No.603076

>>603075
Focus my eyes on her.
"Do you and your kin find them dangerous, Neera?"

 No.603077

>>603075
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. I feel its always more fun to watch a play with company."

 No.603078

>>603076
"Yes. They've fallen out of favor. They are… heretics, in land pony terms."

>>603077
She nods.
"Say, you said you never swam in the sea before? It is evening now, would you care to join me?"

 No.603079

>>603078
"I'd love to actually. Perhaps we will see the seaponies.."

 No.603080

>>603078
"Then it serves your interest to remove them as much as it does to our House. Otherwise you may find yourself held responsible for the deeds of the fallen."

 No.603081

>>603079
She smiles.
"I've seen them at times… heard their songs as well. Some people from the inland tell tales of them being aggressive, but they are not. They are kind and beautiful creatures, blessed by Aqualia. Unfortunately, they're also fairly reclusive."

>>603080
"We cannot help you. Our plight lies elsewhere at this time."

 No.603082

>>603081
"How can you meet them?"

 No.603083

>>603081
"If you cannot lend me aid, the least you could do is tell me how to lure these fallen. I promise you that if you do, your trouble with them will cease."

 No.603084

>>603082
"They're attracted to light at night… and they love hearing singing as much as singing themselves. Sometimes they will approach swimming ponies as well, though most often they keep their distance. If they sense danger, they will flee quickly… I think they're just very pacifistic."
She sighs wistfully.
"I did speak with one of them once while I was enjoying the sea."

>>603083
"We have not tried to reason with them. And we do not try to understand them, lest we be corrupted ourselves. They have returned to their lair now, hidden deep beneath the waves. I hope they will stay there."

 No.603085

>>603084
"There must be a way to get to them!"

 No.603086

>>603084
"That must have been amazing."

 No.603087

>>603085
She looks at you expectantly.

>>603086
"It was quite the experience for someone who studies Aqualia. It's not unheard of at all for them to interact with us land ponies, but it's not something they do often. We spoke for a little, I asked some questions and so did she, then she left again. That was a few months ago… Hm, the day you arrived here if I recall correctly."

You've left the city limits by now and arrive at a small rocky beach. It's fall now, so it's not as warm as it would be during summer, but still very pleasant. The sun is setting, bathing the sea in a brilliant display of orange and red colors.

 No.603088

>>603063
"I know that father!"
Gasp surprised, my eyes wandering wildly as if still trying to understand the situation.
"There's so much I've learnt about the Mother, so much I've seen and read about!"

 No.603089

>>603087
"I suppose you would expect something in return?"

 No.603090

>>603087
"Heh, what a coincidence."

 No.603091

>>603088
Livia looks a little dazed.
"Does… this mean we're going to have to leave you guys behind as well to go to a temple somewhere?"

Your father shakes his head.
"Don't worry about it for now, girls. You can only officially enter priesthood at the age of 16, which is years away from now. Your mother and I feel it would be a good move for the family to dedicate some of us to the Church, that's all."

>>603089
"I cannot ask anything in return for something I cannot do. I cannot help you, not today. The creator may help you one day, but that day is not today."

>>603090
She loosens her toga and takes it off, dropping it on the rocks.
"Well… I hope I get to speak to her and her kind again some day. And I hope you will get the chance to as well."

 No.603092

>>603091
Lose my clothes and look over the sea.
"It's….endless…"

 No.603093

>>603091
"… I see. Thank you for your time, Neera."

 No.603094

>>603091
"But I always thought priestess had to be chosen by the Mother!"

 No.603095

>>603092
She chuckles as she starts to walk into the water, splashing into it with her hooves.
"Well… not really. But it is really expansive, I'll give you that. There's whole other nations beyond this sea."

>>603093
"Farewell, Mereghyl of House Hippoi. May the tides be favorable to you."

>>603094
He frowns.
"We're all children of the mother, Flavia. To gain the Mother's favor we must first show our devotion to her."

 No.603096

>>603095
Time to follow her in as well.

 No.603097

>>603095
I have nothing more to say.
Fly home.

 No.603098

>>603095
"Does this mean more classes, father?"

 No.603099

>>603096
The water is pleasantly cool, but not too cold yet. The seabreeze is truly something else, however. It feels like something you've been missing out on all your life further inland. You feel like this is something you could do more often to refresh yourself.

Athanasia dips her head underwater for a moment, then surfaces again, running a hoof through her wet mane.
"If this isn't divine, I don't know what is."

>>603097
You return home with your experience with the seapony, sharing it with the lord and informing him of your findings. Ultimately, he feels there is little to be done about the issue except for increasing naval activity around the area to safeguard the coast. You don't think this is the last you'll see of Neera and her kind at all.

End of chapter. Start another?

>>603098
He nods slowly.
"Yes. But they won't be on stitching or painting."

 No.603100

>>603099
"Flavia too?"

 No.603101

>>603099
I'm up for it

 No.603102

>>603099
I bet she looks pretty hot.

 No.603103

>>603100
Livia*

 No.603104

>>603100
"Yes, that's what I said. If you two show promise in a few years… I think we can stand to have two priestesses in the family. Don't worry too much about it yet, we won't be sending you away anywhere at this time. You're far too young."

>>603101
Alright. Several weeks later.

Today is Sephaltedeis. The day of learning and philosophy. You are supposed to be spending the day with Anthe to "entertain her."

>>603102
"Marcus? Are you feeling alright?"

 No.603105

>>603104
Snap out of it!
"Uhm…yes, I was entranced…by the water."

 No.603106

>>603104
It's one of those days again then… I don't suppose she is the one to come to me.

 No.603107

>>603104
Look at Livia with a tiny, hopeful smile, trying to sound positive.
"Maybe it will be fun?"

 No.603108

>>603105
She's fairly good looking, those that follow Aqualia value beauty after all, though she's a few years older than you are. Maybe your brain just needs to shut up.
"Huh… thinking about priesthood for Aqualia already after just a few hours with me?"

>>603106
Of course not. You should check the castle's garden for her perhaps.

>>603107
"I… guess? I mean it's nature, it can't be bad! She's the mother!"

 No.603109

>>603108
Nod quickly and turn back to father.
"What will we have to do?"

 No.603110

>>603108
It's not my brain!
"I don't think I'd be a good priest."

 No.603111

>>603108
Slither out there

 No.603112

>>603109
"For now? Just keep following your lessons dutifully. The rest will come in time. Now, go play and enjoy your day off, girls."

>>603110
Your dick then!
"Well, you'd be throwing away a lot. You're quite lucky as an heir to your father's position, you know. Not saying it's easy, being a lord or lady… I've observed the Doux enough to know that."

>>603111
Unsurprisingly, she's lazing around on the grass. She opens one eye as she hears your approach.
"There you are, I thought you had gone off to nap instead!"

 No.603113

>>603112
"Thank you father!"
Take a bow and run off, dragging Livia along!
Off to somewhere isolated, and make sure nopony's watching!
"Canyoubelieveit?"
Explode in a burst of joy.

 No.603114

>>603112
Hop at the waves.
"Have you ever been to the lands on the other side of the sea? The ones we trade with?"

 No.603115

>>603112
"It very well could have been the right decision."

 No.603116

PAUSE

 No.603117

>>603113
"Well… I can! It's exciting and all, but I'm really not sure if I can be a priestess!"

>>603114
"I haven't. And I don't really care to visit them either, I'm quite content here in the empire. I've been to Minos once though. It's a pretty unique place."

>>603115
"Why? Father would not be pleased."

 No.603118

>>603117
Sit down near her, coiling my tail around myself.
"He is understanding."

 No.603119

>>603117
"I've never been there. I've heard it's a maze."

 No.603120

>>603118
"You still have to listen to him, he's the lord of the castle, not you! Now pick me up, I want to go flying."

>>603119
She nods.
"Legend goes that their labyrinth cities used to be there as a prison to them put there by lord Discord, but over time they learned how to navigate through the mazes like nopony else."

 No.603121

>>603120
"He is, you are not. If you want to go flying, you could try saying please."

 No.603122

>>603120
"That must be so confusing…what are the Minotaurs like?"

 No.603123

>>603121
She frowns.
"I'm still a lady! The lord's eldest daughter!"

>>603122
"A little imposing, as you might expect. There's something unsettling about their size. I mean… I suppose it's more of a natural fright instinct of sorts, but I felt on edge the first few days. I got used to it afterwards though. They're good people."

 No.603124

>>603123
"How do they walk on two legs? That's really weird."

 No.603125

>>603123
"That does not excuse you from having manners. Not to mention I am decades older than you as it is."

 No.603126

>>603124
"Nature shaped them that way, She must have had her reasons."

>>603125
"Just because a pleb is older than me doesn't mean he's superior to me! Bah!"

 No.603127

>>603126
Look away from her, but spread my wings.
"I suppose that means you do not want to fly after. Such a shame, the weather seems to be perfect for the occasion."

 No.603128

>>603126
Swim a bit around.
"Seems like there's no seaponies around today…"

 No.603129

>>603127
"I do want to fly! Pick me up. Now!"

>>603128
"You could try… to sing to them."

 No.603130

>>603129
Snort some smoke.
"I am sorry, what was that? I am afraid I did not hear it properly."

 No.603131

>>603129
"I…uh…singing?"

 No.603132

>>603130
"You are unbelievable! What are you even good for? I'll tell mother about this!"

>>603131
"They like singing. Instrumental music too, but singing the most… Singing to them may bring them out."

 No.603133

>>603132
Turn to her and lower my head until I am at level with her.
"Do so. Perhaps she will finally beat some ethics into your skull."

 No.603134

>>603132
"Uh…if you say it will work, let's sing together."

 No.603135

>>603133
"Here I was thinking I could have a fun day out and now you ruined it by being difficult!"

>>603134
"Singing? Me? I'm not terribly good at it to be fair. I may do more harm than good. I can play the harp well, but that's no good out here."

 No.603136

>>603135
"You still do not realize you are causing all your woes yourself."

 No.603137

>>603135
"Could you try? I'm not terribly good myself. I feel I'd only embarrass myself singing alone."

 No.603138

>>603136
She rolls her eyes and closes them again, going back to her relaxed napping position.
"You are so incredibly dense. No wonder ponies hold all the power."

>>603137
"Well… it won't hurt to try I guess. Unless we actually make them angry by singing badly."
She lets out a chuckle.
"You start… I'll join in."

You've heard a fair few songs in your time, some of them famous all over the empire. You could try to sing one of those. Add your charisma modifier to the roll.

 No.603139

>>603138
I'll try one of my Agria songs I once heard a bard sing!
Clear my throat.
'1d20+5'

Roll #1 20 + 5 = 25

 No.603140

>>603139
If I have an action die, I'll crit that!

 No.603141

>>603138
"Do you feel you hold all the power?"

 No.603142

>>603140
One action die spent to crit that.

 No.603143

>>603139
Whoever said you couldn't sing? Despite your adolescence, you have a surprising control over your voice and manage to begin singing that familiar song without stumbling or voicecracking even once. You surprise Athanasia so much that she completely forgets to join in. But that's fine, your voice alone is good enough to be carried across the sea. Eventually the song ends and your female companion looks pretty impressed.
"Marcus… wow."

Before you can respond, you hear a song in response carried by the waves on the water. A beautiful female voice singing a strangely haunting song. A feeling of warmth and happiness seems to well up from deep inside you and your heart flutters. This music is definitely magical. Athanasia's ears twitch, but listen attentively to the song.

>>603141
"More power than you do, you overgrown lizard!"

 No.603144

>>603143
I take a look to where the music comes from.

 No.603145

>>603143
"Is that so?"
Carefully pick her up and put her on top of a tree.
"Do you still feel powerful?"

 No.603146

>>603144
There's a fog bank rolling over the sea nearby that wasn't there before… The singing is coming from there. It's coming closer.

>>603145
She trashes about when you pick her up.
"What do you think you're doing!? Leave me be! Get me down from here this instant!"

 No.603147

>>603146
Move a bit uneasy.
"Is this normal when a seapony comes?"

 No.603148

>>603146
Smirk smugly.
"You are so powerful, are you not, Anthe? I am sure you can manage yourself."

 No.603149

>>603147
"Seaponies are capable of creating fog above the sea and other bodies of water, just like how pegasi can manipulate clouds in the sky…"
The fog reaches you and surrounds you both, not allowing you to see further than a few meters. You hear splashing water nearby. The singing hasn't stopped yet.

>>603148
"You foul creature! If I fall down from here and get hurt you are going to be in a world of trouble!"

 No.603150

>>603149
"Let's stay close together. I don't want to get lost." Grab her hoof.

 No.603151

>>603149
"Stay put and do not fall down then. You can use the time to think. Maybe you will even learn something."

 No.603152

>>603150
She smiles slightly.
"It's just a bit of fog, Marcus. Calm down."

The song goes on for a little while longer before ending. As it stops, the head of a pony surfaces out of the water a few meters ahead of you. The pony's face looks just like any other land pony. Her features are gorgeous. She smiles at you but doesn't speak.

>>603151
"You are going to be in so much trouble once I get down! I'll tell everypony!"

 No.603153

>>603152
"Will you? You have to get down first."

 No.603154

>>603152
This is a seapony!
But they're really shy….

I smile at her.

 No.603155

>>603153
She gives you a shit eating grin before opening her mouth and letting out an earsplitting scream. And then another. And another.

Soon enough, several guards rush over.
"What's going on!?"
"We heard the sound of trouble!"
"Lady Anthe is stuck in a tree!"

>>603154
She doesn't seem to speak up. Athanasia lowers her head and takes a step forward. "Hello, I'm Athanasia… I'm a scholar who studies Aqualia. Your song was… beautiful."

The pony looks at her, then at you again with a silent smile.

 No.603156

>>603155
Turn to the guards.
"Lady Anthe desired some of the fresher air up high, and so I helped her."

 No.603157

>>603155
"I'm Marcus." I grin sheepishly.

 No.603158

>>603156
"That's not true! This monster put me up here and refuses to help me back down! You there!"
She points at the only pegasus among the guards.
"Get me back down right now! This is dangerous!"

The pegasus complies and flutters over to where she is…

>>603157
She comes closer, treading into the more shallow waters. You clearly see that while her top looks anatomically like that of a pony, her lower body looks like that of a fish!
"My name is Celye. I heard your beautiful song as well. I felt compelled to answer."

 No.603159

>>603158
[sweating intensifies]
Grin sheepishly.
"I'm glad you liked it…I never sang for ponies..or seaponies before…"

 No.603160

>>603159
>I'm glad you liked it, Celye

 No.603161

>>603158
Snort smoke at the guard as he flies.
Speak in a low, almost menacing tone.
"Are you sure you want to do that?"

 No.603162

>>603159
Don't lose your cool now!
"You have a nice voice, you should sing more often and let the world hear it."

>>603161
"Yes he's sure! I order it! Get me down from here or I'll have you punished for disobeying me!"
The pegasus hesitates under your glare, but ultimately decides to go and grab the lady.

 No.603163

>>603162
"I hope you had fun, Ante."
I might actually get scorned for this… but I do not care.
Fly off, head towards the lake.

 No.603164

>>603162
I grin.
"Uh…I don't have much time for that…the place where I work, we don't sing often."

 No.603165

>>603163
You leave Anthe and the guards behind and fly away towards the lake.

You can end the chapter here if you want.

>>603164
She comes a little closer.
"You should make time, Marcus. More time for singing."

 No.603166

>>603165
Not much more to be done there.

 No.603167

>>603165
"I..will, I really will. I didn't know I could…sing like this."

 No.603168

>>603166
Very well. Do you wish to start a new chapter?

>>603167
She smiles happily at that. Athanasia remains quiet. You figure she wants to leave the experience to you, having already met a seapony before.

"Did you wish something of me, Marcus? Is that why you sung today?"

 No.603169

>>603168
Indeed.

 No.603170

>>603168
"I heard stories that seaponies are the most beautiful ponies in existence. I wondered if that was true and I was trying to call you….I'll admit I never really expected you'd really come."

 No.603171

>>603170
"We don't always hear the songs of land ponies being sung, but I was swimming nearby and could not resist singing back to you. You were lucky I was in the area, Marcus. Or perhaps Aqualia simply favors you."

 No.603172

>>603171
"Maybe. But I'm glad I see you, Celye. The stories really are true. If Aqualia did this, I'd have to give her an offering as thanks."

 No.603173

>>603172
"It is true, we do not come here often, but only because we have our own home to tend to under the sea. You never come to our home either, only passing over it with your vessels at times."

 No.603174

>>603173
"Your homes must be very beautiful if it's filled with seaponies like you."

 No.603175

>>603174
"Thank you. It is sad we cannot share our homes with our pony friends from the land. But it is the way it is."

 No.603176

>>603175
"I'm saddened but I believe the seas are far safer for you than the land even if it were possible."

 No.603177

>>603176
She wants to say something but the sound of a foghorn cuts her off. Somewhere in the fog , a ship must be approaching the harbor of Peneios further down the coast.

The seapony begins to slowly retreat back deeper into the water.

 No.603178

>>603177
"….farewell, Celye…"

 No.603179

>>603178
She drops back until only her head is above water again.
"You sound saddened."

 No.603180

>>603179
"I'll miss you."

 No.603181

>>603180
She smiles sweetly.
"I have many sisters roaming the seas. As long as you stay close to the waters, we will never be far away from you."

 No.603182

>>603181
"C-could I have something to remember you by?"

 No.603183

>>603182
She thinks for a moment, then removes a maneclip from her mane and tosses it over to you. It's shaped as a shell! Of course it is.

 No.603184

>>603183
"Thank you. I'll cherish it always."

 No.603185

>>603184
With that, she slowly sinks underwater before disappearing from sight, leaving you and Athanasia behind as the fog begins to drift apart.
"… It leaves quite the impression on you, doesn't it?"

 No.603186

>>603185
Grip the shell.
"You can say that again" I say quietly.

 No.603187

>>603186
"Thank you, Marcus. For allowing me to experience this again. I'm very grateful for that."

 No.603188

>>603187
"Couldn't have done it without you." I smile at her.

 No.603189

>>603188
She smiles back.
"We should probably get back to the palace… it is getting late."

 No.603190

>>603189
Walk to the beach.
"What do you think? May this really be a sign of Aqualia?"

 No.603191

>>603190
"It… could be. It's not always immediately clear to us what the gods are planning or expecting from us. If this was orchestrated by Aqualia, I'm not sure what her reasoning for it is. Perhaps we are yet to see it. Or perhaps it was mere coincidence and luck after all."

 No.603192

>>603191
"I should give her an offering tomorrow, just in case."

 No.603193

>>603192
She nods.
"It's always good to show respect to the gods."

 No.603194

>>603193
I chuckle.
"I can't believe a seapony liked my singing!"

 No.603195

>>603194
"It was good, I liked it too. I didn't expect you to be skilled at it."

 No.603196

>>603195
"Neither did I. I doubt it will serve me well in court."

 No.603197

>>603196
She shrugs.
"Be glad you have the talent for it. It may not help you in court, but it has allowed you to to experience that meeting."

 No.603198

>>603197
"I wonder if I'll see her again someday."

 No.603199

>>603198
"Only time will tell, Marcus. Better not to obsess over it."

 No.603200

>>603199
"Seaponies have cities underwater. Do you know about those, as a priestess of Aqualia?"

 No.603201

>>603200
"I'm not a priestess, Marcus. But yes, I have done some research on it. The seaponies have an underwater kingdom known to us as Pontlantis. They don't actually speak Imperial as their first language either. My knowledge of Pontlantic is limited to only basic vocabulary, unfortunately, no land pony alive today is fluent in their language. As you've noticed though, the sea ponies that venture outside their kingdom know our language quite well. I can't say I know how many seaponies there are living in this underwater kingdom these days and how many of those never venture outside of it."
She sighs.
"There used to be a academy… in the Skyrosian archipelago. They studied sea pony culture and documented it in detail over many years. Everything from their language to their biology was recorded there and written down. Unfortunately, this academy and all its records were completely destroyed almost 400 years ago during a conflict between Skyros, the Trotantine Trade League and Saddle-Arabia."

 No.603202

>>603201
"Could you tell me about Pontlantis sometime? In return I could sing and we could make some music together…"

 No.603203

>>603202
"Of course. I believe I do owe you that much."

 No.603204

>>603203
Back to the castle?
I guess this is over. What's next?

 No.603205

>>603204
Back to the palace. End of chapter.

And pause.

 No.603206

FLAVIA
>>603117
When we end this part, we will forward a few years to your first days as a priestess.

MARCUS
The year is 292. You've been in Peneios for three years now, learning the ropes of being a proper patrician at court. It's springtime and the Doux has funded the organization of a fair in the city! There's even more music being played and performances being shown. Acrobats, circuses, magicians, people from all over are visiting the city! The harbor is packed with docked ships and the streets are exceedingly busy.

 No.603207

>>603206
Neat.
My cousin isn't here I guess.
I'll visit the fair.
Do I need guards?

 No.603208

>>603117
>>603206
"Howcanyounot!"
Start trotting all around Livia, starry eyed and dreaming of things to come.

 No.603209

>>603207
Your cousin is doing other things. As for guards, depends where you go. The Inner city doesn't require you to bring along guards, you're old enough now. The fair is spread around the inner and outer city as well as the merchants quarter.

>>603208
"It's not easy, Flavia! You know how much they need to study and stuff!"

 No.603210

>>603209
But I want to see the outer city as well!
I'll bring some guards. Surely one or two are assigned to me.

 No.603211

>>603209
"Yeah but…"
Stop trotting all over and come to a halt beside her, nuzzling her side.
"Everything is okay because it's for Mother!"

 No.603212

>>603210
Indeed there are. You ask one of the guards to accompany you, to which she complies.

>>603211
Your twin sister scrunches.
"I just don't know if I'm smart enough for this…"

 No.603213

>>603212
Time to go. Let's take a stroll through the outer city fair

 No.603214

>>603212
Bump butts with her, winking with a smile.
"I've got your back on that, little sis!"

 No.603215

>>603213
The outer city, where many plebeian citizens live, has been decorated with all kinds of colors. Flags, streamers and candles brighten up the place even more than usual. There are street performers all over, some juggling, others breathing fire, others making tamed bears dance, it's extravagant! There aren't just ponies here either. Minotaurs, goats, zebras, donkies, griffons… just about every race on the continent and beyond you know of!

>>603214
Her face brightens up.
"… If you say so!"

 No.603216

>>603215
Nod cheerfully.
"It will be the best!"

 No.603217

>>603215
I think we are okay for this scene.

 No.603218

>>603215
I've heard zebras are all thieves!
And Goats are all crazy.
Anything that would catch my interest? Like a fortune teller or some special magical act going on?
Mereghyl can breath fire better than these plebs and jugglers and tamed bears I've certainly seen before.

 No.603219

>>603216
>>603217
"Let's do our best as well, I don't want to disappoint mother nature!"
Very well. End of chapter. The twins begin their paths to their destiny.

Five years later…

The year is 294. You and your sister have turned 14 a few months ago and have been steadily working your way further on the path of becoming a priestess during the last few years. Both of you have shown enough promise to be inaugurated into the Church of the Mother as priestesses. Now that you're fourteen, you're old enough to officially become a priestess. Though you've made great strides, the path ahead of you is still long.

You and your twin sister have joined your brother Niphon on a trip to Cantria, where you will be initiated, the final step before becoming a priestess of the Mother!

You and Livia are in a carriage being pulled. You can see the walls of Cantria approaching rapidly in the distance. Your older brother is trotting along next to your carriage.

>>603218
Fortune tellers are definitely around, you can visit one if you so desire.

 No.603220

>>603219
Let's do that!
That should be fun.

 No.603221

>>603219
Hold the Mother's icon close to my chest, looking in amazement at the walls of the city.
"I still can't believe we are here…"

 No.603222

>>603220
You enter a circular red tent where a fortune teller has set up shop. Your guard waits at the entrance without saying a word. Seems like she doesn't care enough to follow you in without being asked.

Inside the tent it's fairly dark. Several candles are lit here and there's incense burning. An elderly donkey jenny wearing red robes sits at a round table with a red orb on top of it.

>>603221
Your sister smiles a little. She's wearing a set of robes just like you. Over the years you've outshined her on most subjects of faith. She has grown more introverted during this time. Your brother Niphon on the other hand, has only gained confidence and turned into a competent military strategist.

 No.603223

>>603222
Poor gal.
Move a hoof around her neck, pulling her into a close hug, moving her head against my chest.
"You will do great, believe me."

 No.603224

>>603222
Look around.
"Greetings."

 No.603225

>>603223
She sighs.
"I sure hope so… We both worked so hard for this."

>>603224
The jenny puts her hood over her head and reaches out a hoof, motioning you over. In a ridiculously dramatic voice, she speaks up.
"Come hither, lord Hippoi."

 No.603226

>>603225
Typical.
"You know me! Was it the cards or the fact that everypony in town knows I live in the palace?"

 No.603227

>>603225
Place a little kiss on her forehead and a rub on her mane.
Turn away after giving her one last smile.
"Brother, are you alright?"

 No.603228

>>603226
She cackles dramatically and ignores your question!
"Welcome to my not-so-humble mystery tent! Come hither and sit… if you dare."

>>603227
Your brother is not in the carriage but walking along. He grins and nods.
"Just fine, my beloved little sister. Today is a big day for you two, so I'm pleased."

 No.603229

>>603228
"Will you have a seat in the front row, I wonder?"
Smile to him.

 No.603230

>>603228
At least she doesn't break character!
That's good.
Sit down. This gun b good.

 No.603231

>>603229
"I don't actually think I'm allowed to witness the initiation. It's only the two of you and probably a really boring old guy."
He lets out a laugh.
"Can't say I envy you there."

>>603230
"Hmmmm… hmmm…"
She moves her hooves over the red orb quickly, then reaches under her table and procures a mysterious black box with magically glowing runes carved into it! This must be some kind of a powerful magic tool!

She holds the box out to you and… shakes it. There's coins inside. … It's just a money box.
"For as little as ten denarii… I will predict your fate and future! Your destiny for ten denarii!"

 No.603232

>>603231
Snicker.
"It's okay, Mother Nature will be with us."

 No.603233

>>603231
"Sounds like a bargain."
Throw 10 denarii in there.

 No.603234

>>603232
"Let's hope She's up for the task."
He laughs again.

Your carriage reaches the city walls and drives through the city gate. It's just another busy hestaradeis here in Cantria.

>>603233
She sets the box down again and begins to move her hooves over the orb.
"Ooooooh…. Oooooooooooh…. Oh?"

 No.603235

>>603234
Ooooooh!
Look in amazement at the city's streets!

 No.603236

>>603234
She's good.
Wait.

 No.603237

>>603235
You're in the plebeian district right now. The plebs that can afford to buy a house in the city itself live here. There's all kinds of activity going on, storekeeps are selling their wares on the streets, children are playing their games and some ponies are leaving behind small sacrifices to Mother Nature on their doorsteps. It's Priest's day after all!

>>603236
"I see… fields of wheat. I see… a seapony. I see… dragon fire. I see… a hoofprints on the road."

 No.603238

>>603237
This is interesting.
"Yes…what else?"

 No.603239

>>603237
Poke at Livia's side and point that out, eyes filled with amazement!

 No.603240

>>603238
"I sense great feelings of envy… crushed ambition. Conflicted feelings… a shattered heart… broken dreams… But also… joy. And… kindness. Devotion… Friendship… Love."

>>603239
"There's so much life here… all co-existing."

 No.603241

>>603240
"A big city is so different from our tiny keep!"

 No.603242

>>603240
Aaand here we go off track.
"Any ideas where these conflicted feelings come from?"

 No.603243

>>603241
"Yeah… I'm not sure if I would like living here all my life."

>>603242
"Within the blood of your family. Shifting loyalties… conflict of the blood…"

 No.603244

>>603243
Don't worry about it, what does this donk know about my family.
"My family is close and strong. We would not turn on each other."

 No.603245

>>603243
"You haven't seen any of it yet!"

 No.603246

>>603244
She cackles dramatically again, throwing down what seems to be a small smoke bomb on the ground for effect.
"Lord Ignis knows all, master Hippoi! Your affinity with Lady Aqualia is strong! You carry… a small artifact aligned to her! I can sense her influence!"

>>603245
She scrunches.
"I've heard about Cantria though. It's a busy city and some parts are unsafe!"

 No.603247

>>603246
"But who would want to harm two priestess?"

 No.603248

>>603246
"Yes, I do. But why would my family turn against each other?"

 No.603249

>>603247
"… Heretics? I don't know…"

>>603248
She clops her hooves together hurriedly.
"Because… blood got mixed when it shouldn't have!"

 No.603250

>>603249
"That's…..what?"

 No.603251

>>603249
"Ush now, don't think about such silly things."
Smile and nudge her again, enjoying the carriage ride.

 No.603252

>>603250
"Black blood, master Hippoi. Bastardy blood."

>>603251
The carriage eventually stops as it arrives at the temple of the Mother. It's a fairly large building, surrounded by a big garden. The temple itself has vines snaking along the walls. The roof is shaped as a large white dome.

"We're here, girls."

 No.603253

>>603252
"That's…that's impossible!" I say angrily.

 No.603254

>>603252
Gasp and admire it.
"It's beautiful!"
Step off the carriage, approaching my brother.
"Will you be at least allowed to accompany us before the door?"

 No.603255

>>603253
"Lord Ignis has spoken!"
She throws down a smoke bomb again and coughs.

>>603254
He gives you a winning smile.
"Of course. Come on then."
He takes the lead and follows the path through the garden. Your guards stay behind. Livia looks to you, then follows her brother through the garden.

 No.603256

>>603255
Let's keep tight and close, admiring with endless wonder each and every new sight.

 No.603257

>>603255
Stand up and walk out without saying a word.
"We're off!" I say angrily to the guard as I pass her.
Walk…further through this fair.
That donk is lucky I don't have her flogged.

 No.603258

>>603256
There's all kinds of flowers and plants here, the various scents assaulting your nose too quickly to discern them all. At the end of the path, your brother stops and turns to you, gesturing at the large entrance doors to the temple.
"This is my stop, girls. Have fun in there! I'll be out here in the city… doing stuff."

>>603257
She wordlessly falls in line behind you as you walk further through the fair. You know your family has had bastard 'members' in the past… but as far as you know none are alive anymore today.

 No.603259

>>603258
"I have absolutely no idea what you mean, dear brother."
Smile a bit and pull him in a last hug.
"Once we are out of there, we will be new mares.
See you on the other side, brother."

 No.603260

>>603258
What do fortune tellers know anyway? And even if she was the real deal, she listens to Ignis, Ignis and Aqualia don't see eye to eye. It might all be a trick. No I have to trust in what I know.
Calm down a bit and look around the fair more.

 No.603261

>>603259
Livia hugs him as well.
"Be sure to behave in there. I don't want to be hearing any complaints about uncourtly behavior, you hear me?"
He grins and winks.

>>603260
You pass through a particularly busy street, nearly bumping into a few ponies as you go. As you look behind you to make sure your guard didn't lose you in the crowd, you are suddenly shoved aside as a young gryphon dives into you from the sky and grabs your coin purse! With a few powerful flaps of his wings, he immediately takes flight again… only to be tackled by another gryphon a few meters above the ground. The thief gryphon loses control and crashes into the side of a building. As he hits the ground, the gryphon hen is immediately on him, pinning him down.
"You little rat, what do you think you're doing? Stealing in broad daylight? You think you're slick?" the hen taunts at him with a noticeable accent.

 No.603262

>>603261
Nod at his silly comment, and turn to Livia, taking her hoof.
"Ready for this?"

 No.603263

>>603261
Wow. What just happened?
Get up again.
"You have my thanks, griffon. Guard!"

 No.603724

NOLIN
The year is 290 UE. You celebrated your 13th birthday mere weeks ago and are now on a ship headed for the city of Peneios, capital of Thema Peneia. Your cousin Marcus has been staying there for a year now and today it's your turn to join him. You left from Cantria a few days before and are now closing in on your destination. You were lucky enough to hitch a ride on a vessel of the imperial navy heading for Peneia.

It's evening and dark out. There's thousands of lights in the distance belonging to the city, the brightest one being from the lighthouse guiding the ship into the harbor. The captain shouts some orders, the sails being lowered to bleed off speed while the oars slow down as well. You'll be there soon… to meet your cousin.

MARCUS
You've been in Peneios for a year now. Today is a special day though, you've received news that your cousin, Nolin, is on his way here and will be arriving somewhere this evening. Perhaps you should go wait for him at the harbor! You don't know him that well and it's been a while since you last saw him, but he's still family!

 No.603725

>>603724
I should make him feel welcome.
Put on my best suit and go to the harbor.

 No.603726

>>603724
Wow. It looks like its a huge place. I can't wait to find out all its secrets.

 No.603727

>>603725
It's dark out already. You take one of the guards assigned to you with you. You know there will be more at the harbor to meet your cousin. Aeolia will be there as well, one of the Doux' ladies-in-waiting. You haven't spoken much to her thusfar, because she has a tendency to disappear for weeks at a time.

By the time you get there, there's a galley belonging to the imperial navy pulling into the harbor already. Aeolia is here with a few guards, one of them pulling a cart. She nods at you as you approach. The oars are raised and the ship docks and soon enough some of its crew begin leaving the vessel.

>>603726
You pull into the massive harbor of the city, there's ships everywhere, most of them look like they're merchant vessels. The oars are raised and you make your approach on one of the docks. You recognize your cousin standing together with a few guards and another patrician lady.

The captain pats you on the back.
"Peneios, city of arts and poison. End of the line, little lord."

 No.603728

>>603727
I smile. "Lets hope the destination is as grand as the journey captain."
And then trot over to my cousin.

 No.603729

>>603727
Nod to the lady.
"Lady Aeolia, it's good to see you again."

>>603728
I guess you'll notice us from afar.
Smile and greet you.
"Greetings, Nolin, it's been too long."

 No.603730

>>603729
"Likewise, lord Hippoi."
She tends to mumble her words when she speaks. It's not always easy to hear what she's saying.

She lets you go ahead and meet with Nolin first.

 No.603731

>>603729
"Marcus! You haven't changed at all have you? Well.. maybe your company has improved." do an eye gesture to Lady Aeolia.

 No.603732

>>603731
Grin.
"You haven't changed a bit either.
Let me introduce you, Lady Aeolia"

 No.603733

>>603731
>>603732
She bows her head slightly. She's wearing a very dark blue hooded robe.
"Doux Hypatia sent me to welcome you to Peneios. I hope your journey was pleasant."
She makes a gesture to the guards, who promptly load your baggage onto a cart.

 No.603734

>>603732
>>603733
"Its a pleasure, Lady Aoelia, I trust the Doux is as well as yourself? And almost as charming." bow in return.

 No.603735

>>603734
"How was the journey?"

 No.603736

>>603734
"The Doux is well, but busy at this time. You will meet with her on the morrow."

 No.603737

>>603735
"Oh. It was great. The seas were fierce, the waves and skies fighting us, a seapony flipped out of the water. Just like in all the stories."

 No.603738

>>603736
"I look forward to it. But will you also be there?"

 No.603739

>>603737
Grin.
"You sure you're not embellishing a bit?"

 No.603740

>>603738
She nods.
"As one of her ladies-in-waiting, I spend most of my time around the Doux or handling business for her."

 No.603741

>>603740
"Then I have twice as many things to look forward too."
>>603739
"Okay, well it might have been just a big fish instead of a seapony." Grin back.

 No.603742

>>603741
She blinks and tilts her head somewhat, then mumbles something to herself and turns to the guards, motioning them to get moving.
"Please follow us."

 No.603743

>>603742
whispering? This place already has secrets. Amazing.
Follow her, and my stuff.

 No.603744

>>603742
>>603743
Back to the castle

 No.603745

>>603743
>>603744
Palace, not castle. You follow the guards and the lady through the city back to the palace. The city streets are still fairly busy despite it being so late. There's still music being played on many of the street corners you pass. By the time you reach the palace, there's several tunes stuck in your head.

The palace itself reminds you of Prokopios', Nolin's father, villa, except far, far grander and more extravagant. The Doux has several more estates like these, but likes this one best because she thinks it's small and cozy.

 No.603746

>>603745
>>603743
"It's very different from home, isn't it?"

 No.603747

>>603745
>>603746
"Different than home is exactly why I wanted to come here cousin. You know all the best places, you've got to show me around." nudge Marcus a bit.

 No.603748

>>603747
"If I remember you well, you'd like me to show the taverns first."

 No.603749

>>603748
"Well those are the most fun places aren't they?"

 No.603750

>>603746
>>603747
Your baggage is unloaded and brought to your room. It's right next to Marcus' room!

Your quarters are as extravagant and lush as the outside of the palace. Marble, gold, silver, no expense was spared building this place. It's bigger than your room back home for sure.

 No.603751

>>603749
>>603750
It's not too late to visit a tavern with fine mares, is it?

 No.603752

>>603750
Wow. This is it right? This is what we want. Big and fancy things for the family. Take a long moment to burn the visual into my mind, of the palace, the big halls, the large room..

 No.603753

>>603751
When is it ever too late?

>>603752
It's very impressive, no doubt set up exactly like this to impress any visitors, a common theme in Trotantine politics. You're fairly sure that this room alone is about as expensive as most of your villa.

 No.603754

>>603752
>>603753
"Let's go Nolin, we've got a lot to talk about."

 No.603755

>>603753
>>603754
We definitely need one then.
"Lead the way Marcus." Following my cousin.

 No.603756

>>603755
Lead him to a tavern.
Good one, with lots of qt mares.

 No.603757

>>603754
>>603755
Aeolia has disappeared, you're not sure how she managed to do that, but you head off into town nonetheless. Tomorrow is Fate's day - the last day of the week - anyway. Marcus brings you to Taverna Kryptos, a typical tavern where they serve everything from red wine to brown ale. Not a very patrician thing to do, but it's not like you're easy to spot between all the merchants wearing their garish and expensive clothing.

There's music in the tavern, a few ponies are playing their instruments out front.

 No.603758

>>603757
She's a mysterious mare, I'll have to try to get to know her.
Well.. its fine as long as we don't make trouble I'm sure.
Find a neat seat for us.
>>603756
"So, any mare in particular got your eye?"

 No.603759

>>603758
>>603757
Any qt mares I can point out?
Maybe one I already know?

 No.603760

>>603758
You settle down for a seat near the window overlooking the harbor in the distance. Quite the view on the sea from here.

>>603759
You know this tavern deals in pleasure mares, or stallions if that's your thing, for its patrons if they so desire. Prostitutes are pretty ambiguous sometimes, because they also act as serving girls, artists and musicians aside from their companionship. This is a fairly upper class tavern, so these pleasure mares won't come bother you unless you want them to. You could ask one of the serving girls…

 No.603761

>>603760
"The trouble here is not finding a mare that looks pleasing. It's the chosing." I laugh.

 No.603762

>>603761
>>603760
"True.. there is no shortage of mares here. Perhaps you've had your fill of them this past year? has the city been kind to you?"

 No.603763

>>603762
"Very much so. I need it. Work at the court is harder than I imagined."

 No.603764

>>603763
"Really? You mean its more than taking note of everyone's opinion?"

 No.603765

>>603764
"It's more than just taking note of everypony's opinion. It's taking note of everypony's real opinion."

 No.603766

>>603764
>>603765
One of the serving girls comes over to take your orders.

 No.603767

>>603766
"The house specialty of course."

 No.603768

>>603767
"That'd be the Viper's Blood, sweetie. It's a red wine from here in Peneia. I'll bring over a jug."
Doesn't sound like she knows you're nobility…

 No.603769

>>603765
"That.. does sound like a challenge. But an entertaining one if ladies like Aoelia are involved. Something about her is.. intriguing."

 No.603770

>>603768
…Well Its not like we came here for attention.
"Some cheese to go with it as well."

 No.603771

>>603770
"Sure thing. I'll be right over."
She leaves and returns a few minutes later with a jug of wine, some glasses and a bowl of cheese.

 No.603772

>>603769
"I'm afraid I know not much about her. She tends to disappear for weeks on end…I have some theories however."

>>603771
"Good choice, cousin."

 No.603773

>>603771
"Don't go too far, I might need some company by the night's end."
give her a slight wink.
>>603772
"Something more interesting than long business trips I hope?"

 No.603774

>>603773
She smirks knowingly.
"Why of course, sweetie. I'll be around, don't you worry~"

 No.603775

>>603774
time to try some wine and cheese while we talk.

 No.603776

>>603773
"I think I'd know if it were business trips, they are usually well known around the palace.
But nopony seems to know where she goes. I think she takes interest in more covert things.
Or so I think."

 No.603777

>>603775
It's feta cheese, of course. Very tasty! The wine is fairly vicious though, that's some really strong stuff! You recall your father once telling you about how the Peneians love to mix small traces of poison into their food and drinks to give it some extra kick.

 No.603778

>>603776
"All the more intriguing..
Did anything notable change during these trips of hers?"
>>603777
Ah, I have to get used to this style of drink or I'll look weak.. can't have that.

 No.603779

>>603778
"Honestly…I didn't keep track of it.
Enough minotaurdung in the court to keep me occupied."
Grin.
"How's the wine?"

 No.603780

>>603779
Take a big gulp and grin.
"Ahh tastes like poison."

 No.603781

>>603778
Let's hope you don't spend the night over the chamberpot…

 No.603782

>>603780
"It is." Wide grin.

 No.603783

>>603782
Laugh.
"Ah, this is it the life right cousin?"
>>603781
that would be unfortunate.

 No.603784

>>603783
"Cheers." Let's toast.

 No.603785

>>603784
"Cheers." Clink the glass and drink.

We could probably go to the next day if you want.

 No.603786

>>603785
Sure.
I'm not sure if Groves has anything planned for us

 No.603787

>>603785
>>603786
I can improvise. If Nolin wants he can meet the Doux the next day.

 No.603788

>>603787
You're the boss. Meeting up with her is fine with me.

 No.603789

>>603787
Honestly I'm a bit tired to come up with stuff. I'd rather sign off for now.

 No.603790

>>603788
>>603789
You drink the evening away with your cousin and head to bed, your stomach feeling only mildly upset over the wine. Maybe the cheese softened the blow or something?

I can keep going for sure, but if you'd rather do this together and pause for now, I'll stop.

 No.603791

>>603790
Keep going. I'm sleeping in.

 No.603792

>>603790
its pretty late for you guys? I'm cool with a pause for now.

 No.603793

>>603790
Well, that's a tip I should remember if that's the case. It would be embarrassing to be hung over for the meeting.

 No.603794

>>603791
As am I!

>>603792
You wake up with a mild hangover in the morning as a pair of servants enter your room and open the curtains. At least the unpleasant bowel activities have ceased…

The sun is shining outside, you slept in somewhat late it seems. One of the servants walks over with your toga, ready to help you put it on.

>>603791
You too are awoken by servants entering your room to do their work. No work for you today though, it's Fate's Day! You don't feel too bad either after the drinking from the night before. You're really getting used to the local cuisine.

 No.603795

>>603794
It's delicious.
Now the time has come.
Let's pester Nolin.
Get some servants to hoof me some clothes.
And get to his room.
Knock loudly on the door.

 No.603796

>>603794
Its nice to have help.
"Hey, you know if there's coffee? I could use a cup about now."
>>603795
"OH I WONDER WHO THAT IS" I shout in return to the knocks.

 No.603797

>>603796
"GET UP!"

 No.603798

>>603795
You put on a nice and clean toga with the aid of the servants. Feels good!

>>603796
The servants give you a look.
"There… may be, my lord."
Coffee is seen as a fairly exotic drink. It's very popular in Saddle-Arabia and Pursia, but less so here because it's seen as a bit of a barbarian drink.

 No.603799

>>603798
Frown. "Tea then?"
gasp! Guess I look like a barbarian now.
>>603797
Open the door as you're about to knock again in an attempt to make you fall inside the room.

 No.603800

>>603799
Some patricians drink it anyway because they like it. It's just seen as something a little bit… gauche.
"Herbal tea has been prepared, my lord. Are you feeling well?"

 No.603801

>>603800
"A tiny bit of a head ache is all. Nothing a walk won't cure."

 No.603802

>>603799
I won't fall
DEX for reflexes '1d20'

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.603803


 No.603804

>>603801
"Of course. The Doux would like to see you in the solarium before midday."

>>603802
You stumble and nearly fall over.

 No.603805

>>603804
Get up on my feet.
"You asking for barbarian drinks now? You must have been more drunk than I thought?"

 No.603806

>>603804
>>603802
Snicker. "Ah, nearly got you."
>>603804
"Right, Thanks for reminding me. But that mare will be there.. so how could I forget." Grin at the servants.

 No.603807

>>603805
"Nah, I just know how to be manly." flex a bit.

 No.603808

>>603806
They look at each other and then smile back, probably more out of politeness than anything.

 No.603809

>>603807
"Right, so manly you can barely handle your spiced wine."

 No.603810

>>603808
Oh well, they probably aren't used to being spoken to on the job.. Totally not because they already hate me.
>>603809
"I'll grow into it." I shrug and walk out.. Toward the dining hall.

 No.603811

>>603810
Time to go to the dining hall.

 No.603812

>>603810
You head on down to the dining hall. From the looks of it, there was a intense breakfast session held here earlier. There's still plenty of food for you left though! Aside from yourself, there's only one other patrician here, a stallion busying himself with lewdly fondling one of the servants.

True to their word, there's warm herbal tea here in a jug. Ponies tend to drink this stuff mostly because they want something to soothe their headaches after a night of heavy wine usage. It tastes good though!

 No.603813

>>603812
tea and light toast it is then.
try to ignore the lewdness, I need a clear mind to make a good impression, can't be thinking of those things.
>>603811
"Is every morning like this?"

 No.603814

>>603813
"Most of them aren't to be honest.
Lucky you, you're not gonna be in the court, I take it."

 No.603815

>>603814
"I don't believe so. We hardly need two young Hippoi there do we?"

 No.603816

>>603813
Tea, toast and jam, the old classic. The stallion eventually leaves with the servant, no doubt to a more private setting.

 No.603817

>>603815
"Would be too much for the court to handle."

 No.603818

>>603817
"Think of the poor mares. They'd be unable to control themselves." Smirk.
>>603816
Well.. Since I got a late start, I should head out.

 No.603819

>>603818
You head out to the solarium. As the name implies this room is designed to let in as much sunlight as possible, meaning it's very open. There's a small swimming pool in here as well, no doubt not the only one around here. A few ponies are busy swimming and enjoying the cool water under the sunlight. None of the ponies here are wearing clothing, because it is fairly warm in here.

The Doux is easy enough to recognize thanks to the golden headband she wears - not quite a crown, but still an indication of rank and power - she's relaxing on a reclining couch. Aeolia is here as well, along with another mare Marcus recognizes as Athanasia, keeping the Doux company and chattering away. Seems like they've already started drinking wine.

 No.603820

>>603818
>>603819
Am I supposed to go too?
I'd rather slp

 No.603821

>>603820
You probably should keep your cousin some company while he meets the lady, no?
I think I'll stop here as well, getting tired.

 No.603822

>>603819
but its not even noon, Oh well.
Go introduce myself with a bow. "Good day Doux Hypatia, I am Nolin Hippoi."
>>603820
>>603821
okay. Good night and thanks for the game.

 No.603823

>>603822
Some ponies never stop drinking wine…

The mares stop chatting and the Doux regards you from tip to toe.
"Well, there's certainly a resemblance between you and your cousin."
She gestures at a set of cushions lying on the ground and signals a servant to come over with wine for the two of you.
"Make yourself comfortable. The two of you were out and about late last night from what I hear. I should also welcome you to my humble palace, I hope you like the room you were given."

 No.603824

>>603262
She nods.
"Ready."
Your brother takes a few steps back, then turns around and leaves to rejoin the guards.

 No.603825

>>603824
In we go, head low in respect.

 No.603826

>>603825
Walk in with him.

 No.603827

>>603826
Wrong questline, dumbo!

 No.603828

>>603827
S-sorry

 No.603829

>>603828
>>603827
Bro just wanted to become a nun.

 No.603830

>>603823
Sit down on the cushions with a nod.
"Yes, the room was wonderful. And its certainly nice to see my cousin, and hear tales of the city."

 No.603831

>>603825
You push the doors open and enter the old temple. Inside, the flowery scent persists, perhaps even stronger than outside! The interior is pretty strange, the walls are rough and look like they're made entirely from tree bark, though you're fairly sure that's not actually the case and that it was just shaped to look that way. There are rows of wooden benches lined up along the west side of the room. To the east you see an altar, but this room is so spacious that it's actually a small walk to get over there. You know the positioning of the altar is traditionally on the east side of temples because that is where the Sun rises in the morning, allowing light to pour in from the windows behind the altar. You also notice there's a row of windows running along the ceiling, following the path of the Sun and Moon as they pass over during the day and night.

The floor is fairly rough as well, it almost looks like they just kept the original natural stone ground and built a temple on top of it, which is entirely possible for all you know. What's surprising to you is that nobody seems to be here right now, normally temples are packed with religious attendees on Priest's day.
"W-Where is everypony?"

>>603830
"I almost feel a little intimidated though with all these Hippoi's around. I'd almost started to suspect this is a sinister plot of sorts to overtake my domain."
She picks an apple from a nearby bowl of fruit and takes a slow bite from it.

 No.603832

>>603830
Sit down next to him

 No.603833

>>603831
Blink in confusion and then laugh a bit. "I'm glad to hear that your schedule hasn't caused you to lose your humor, My Lady."
>>603832
Scoot over a bit for you.

 No.603834

>>603831
"I don't know, sister. But stay close."
Take her by the hoof and slowly advance across the empty room, slowly turning my gaze to every corner, every bench, looking for signs of life.

 No.603835

>>603833
>>603832
She glances at another mare, Athanasia, who just raises a amused brow at the two of you as Nolin scoots closer together.
"Aren't they the most adorable cousins you ever saw, Athanasia? Perhaps they hope to dazzle me and catch me off guard."
"My lady, you'll give the poor boy a fright."
"Nonsense, if he is half as smart as Marcus is, he'll know better than to pay any heed to my ramblings."
Hm. You think she may just be slightly drunk. She focuses on Nolin again.
"How old are you, boy?"

>>603834
There's a few birds in here, flitting around. You also hear the sounds of skittering insects and see a salamander flee at the sight of you.

Yet there are no ponies to be seen…

 No.603836

>>603835
"This place looks… So peaceful."
Keep moving towards the altar.
"Look sister! Nature's everywhere!"

 No.603837

>>603835
Nolin can handle himself surely. I'll take a drink and will scoop in if necessary.

 No.603838

>>603835
"Ah, thirteen just a few weeks ago." sip the wine slowly.
"But I know Aeonlia, and now Athanasia too, are all your names as beautiful as yourselves?"

 No.603839

>>603836
She looks around, a little uneasy.
"This is strange. Did we come to the right temple? Or are we too early?"

The altar is an impressively detailed slab of marble, decorated with all kinds of intricate patterns and engravings. There's a few items lying on top of it: a cup, a ceremonial dagger and a piece of parchment.

>>603838
"Thirteen? You seem mature for your age… appears to be a common theme among the Hippoi's I have met thusfar."

Aeolia mumbles something incomprehensible at your compliment as the Doux continues on eating her apple.
Athanasia giggles in response. "What are you hoping to learn here in Peneios, Nolin? Matters of court like your cousin?"

 No.603840

>>603839
"Actually i'm more interested in learning the on-goings of trade and business. Court manners certainly are nice, and I'm certain I will pick up more than a few, but I feel I should be more practical.. besides I don't mean to overwhelm your court with hippoi charms." Smile and sip the wine.

 No.603841

>>603839
Is the parchment inscribed?
"This looks like the right temple if anything. Look, these are the relics used for the ceremony!"

 No.603842

>>603840
"Ah… of course not. Well, Peneios is one of the most important trading hubs in the empire, only surpassed by Clopantinople. If it's matters of trade you wish to learn, this is a good place to do so. Your father… he is lord Hippoi's mystikos, is he not? I expect he wants at least one of his children to follow in his hooftsteps."
Note: mystikos is a title given to someone in charge of matters of intrigue, also known as the spymaster.

>>603841
It is. It reads:

Vitae of life
Given to the mother
As She has given it to us
Shed your essence in the grail
And the path ahead of you will appear

 No.603843

>>603842
"Livia! It's a test!"
Look excited, and pick up the ritual knife, wondering how to best hold it.
Just to try, press the flat part of the blade against my hoof, to feel it's cold.
"We must spill our life essence into the cup!
Our blood!"

 No.603844

>>603842
"Why makes you say that?"

 No.603845

>>603842
"That he is.. If it turned out I had a talent for such things, father would be most pleased I'm certain."

 No.603846

>>603843
It's cold to the touch indeed.
"Oh… I guess that makes sense? I mean they could have just have someone tell us this instead. What do you think will happen?"

>>603844
Athanasia looks to you.
"Am I wrong? I'm only making an observation, lord Marcus."

 No.603847

>>603844
>what makes you

 No.603848

>>603846
Smile at her, taking her hoof.
"The path ahead of us will appear."
Cut my own hoof, only a bit, wincing at the blade's touch.
"Hold still now."
In the same fashion, hold Livia's hoof down and prick it with the blade, finally letting the fluids drop into the goblet.

 No.603849

>>603846
"No you're not wrong, but I mean isn't it a bit early to discuss such matters?"

 No.603850

>>603849
share a concerned look with you.

 No.603851

>>603849
>>603850
Athanasia shrugs.
"I don't know, I was just thinking out loud I suppose."
She winks at Marcus.

The Doux finishes her apple and throws away the core.
"In any case, you'll be educated well here in Peneia. We'll see about where your strengths lie and continue on from there. We will do our best to be a good host for you Agrians."

>>603848
"Ow!"
A few trickles of her blood drop into the goblet. Nothing seems to happen for a moment, until the engravings in the altar begin to glow faintly.
"Wow… you were right, something's happening!"
Before you can respond, you are suddenly both enveloped by darkness and continue to black out completely, slipping out of consciousness.



You 'awaken' after an unknown amount of time and open your eyes. You're lying on the ground.

Your clothing and belongings are gone.

The altar is gone.

The temple is gone.

You're in the middle of… nature. A forest clearing to be precise. Where you are and how you got here, you have no idea. There's a babbling brook somewhere nearby by the sounds of it, which is good because you're parched for some reason. Your twin sister is nowhere in sight.

 No.603852

>>603851
Take a moment to look around, surprised and scared.
"Flavia!"
Cry out to the wild, heading for the brook.

 No.603853

>>603851
"Naturally, I am already enjoying the company here."
make eye contact with each of the ladies here as well.

 No.603854

>>603852
Your shouting your own name? Either way, no answer is heard. Nopony to be seen at the brook running down the hill you're on either. Just… trees and trees everywhere you look.

>>603853
None of them are particularly beautiful, but they're certainly not bad looking either. Their manes are well kept and styled, as is expected from patrician ladies. As mentioned before, none of them are clothed because of the heat.

The Doux chuckles.
"You're a charmer, Nolin Hippoi. Being around charmers while drinking wine is a recipe for things to come around me."

 No.603855

>>603854
Livia* won't mind if I stop for a moment then…
Quench my thirst by the brook, before following its stream downhill.

 No.603856

>>603854
"It runs in the family."

 No.603857

>>603854
A 13 year old is probably not that picky about naked ladies is he? Still I suppose this makes it easier to not ogle them

"Only good things I hope." I chuckle as well and drink more wine.

 No.603858

>>603855
You follow the brook downhill until you begin to hear the sound of music. It sounds like… a lyre being played. Somewhere to the east of you.

>>603856
>>603857
"Well boys… we won't bore you too much with our mindless talk. Today is your day off, so I won't keep you from spending it however you wish. Because today is also the last Adomideis of this Summer as well, there will be a grand feast tonight with lords and ladies from all over Peneia coming over to celebrate. Be sure to save some appetite for then, because food will be gratuitous after the successful harvest this year. And try not to tire yourself out too much if you choose to join the orgy tonight."
She chuckles and sips from her wine while Athanasia coughs awkwardly.

 No.603859

>>603858
Raise my head and flicker one ear as soon as the sound reaches me, instinctively turning for the source.
"LIVIA!"

 No.603860

>>603858
"I'm looking forward to the feast." Take a drink of my wine as well.

 No.603861

>>603858
>>603856
"Oh.. right. I should see more of the city before work steal away everyone's time. Its been most pleasant." Take my leave of this meeting.

 No.603862

>>603861
"I shall join you." Get up as well.

 No.603863

>>603859
No answer, the music keeps going undisturbed.

>>603860
>>603861
>>603862
"Enjoy your day out. Tomorrow work begins anew."

Stop here? Continue?

 No.603864

>>603863
Run after it!

 No.603865

>>603863
your choice!
>>603862
"So, that was pretty intense.."

 No.603866

>>603865
"You'll get used to it.
My first day here she was teasing me about a betrothal."

>>603863
I dunno.
I think I should move on with Karabi and perhaps Nolin should start his assassin duty to bang Aeolia.

 No.603867

>>603864
You run in the direction of the music and reach a clearing where you can see the source. What must be one of the most gorgeous mares you've ever seen is sitting under a tree, playing a golden lyre. You've never seen her before, but you immediately sense this is by no means a normal pony. This creature is clearly a dryad, a spirit of nature often compared to Aqualia's seaponies, yet far more powerful than said sea dwelling ponies are. They're known to various other religions as well, each of them having their own take on these tree spirits.

They're a very rare sight because they tend to live in remote natural places and don't seek out ponies on their own.

>>603865
>>603866
I can stretch this part out some more if you guys wish, or do as Sion said.

 No.603868

>>603867
Nolin is a bro, but I'd rather get on with the show.

 No.603869

>>603867
Halt myself, edging perfectly still by the borders of the clearing, not daring to draw breath.

It's just like that time Elw√ę met Melian!

But I might not have dozen years to wait unmoving…

 No.603870

>>603868
Very well. End of chapter.

 No.603871

>>603866
Snicker at that.
"I wouldn't mind being tied to one of those ladies. They seem fun."
>>603870
okay.

 No.604442

>>603263
The guard manages to push through the crowd and detain the gryphon.

She looks to you, expression hidden by her helmet.
"Shall I bring him to the dungeons, my lord?"

 No.604443

>>604442
"At once!"
Turn to the Griffon that helped me.
"You have my thanks, Griffon. What is your name?"

 No.604445

>>604443
The guard nods and takes the thief away from you.

The gryphon hen tosses your coinpurse back to you.
"My name is Karabi, lordling."

 No.604446

>>603869
She stops playing the lyra and looks at you, speaking up in a tone that suggests worry.
"Is there something I can help you with, Flavia? You seem lost."

 No.604447

>>604446
"We…
I'm looking for my sister, oh most venerable!"
Bow my head as i speak to her!

 No.604449

>>604447
You hear her putting the lyre back down.
"Your sister is elsewhere right now. You came to this place on your own. Do you know where we are?"

 No.604450

>>604449
"It's in the whispers of the trees around us, in the wind blowing on my coat, in the notes of your lyre.
This is the Mother's domain, the place closest to Her."
Find the strength to look back up, admiring the dryad's features.

 No.604451

>>604445
"Karabi, I thank you for your help. Such diligence should be rewarded."

 No.604455

>>604450
"Hmmm, but isn't the whole world Her domain? She made it. She made everything. To those who truly know Her domain, her influence can be felt from the deepest ocean trenches to the highest mountain peaks. But you are not wrong, this place is more special than others."
She actually looks very much like a normal pony, young and beautiful, just like how dryads were always described to you. Aside from her lyre, all she has on her is a laurel wreath resting on top of her head. While her physical attributes could make you mistake her for a normal pony, she has a certain aura to her which alerts all your senses that this is no mere pony.

Dryads are immortal in the sense that they simply don't age, yet they are still susceptible to death in various other forms.

>>604451
She flexes her talons and keeps her gaze locked on you. Those are some keen looking eyes.
"Continue."

 No.604460

>>604455
"O-of course!
Then, noble spirit of Her will, would you mind showing me where we truly are?"

 No.604461

>>604455
How many bits is like a months pay on average?

 No.604466

>>604461
Bits don't exist. The coin used in the empire is called the denarius, denarii in plural. These coins are made of silver and sometimes just referred to as 'silvers'.

Either way, it depends. The guard who was accompanying you has a wage of about 50 silvers a month.

>>604460
She gets up from her seating position under the tree and approaches you.
"I could tell and show you many things, Flavia, but I fear all that must wait. You will come to learn more in time. For now, I must admit to you the reason I brought you here. The land you live in is in grave danger."

 No.604468

>>604466
Gasp and take a step back, clearly distressed.
"What?!
I thought this was simply part of the initiation!"

 No.604470

>>604466
If I carry that much, I'll give her 50 denarii.

 No.604479

>>604468
"No… not quite. But please, do not be scared. I have sensed an ever growing presence of corruption among the ranks of your empire's church. This is dangerous for many reasons."

>>604470
You give her a pouch with 50 coins in it. She looks at it, then bags it slowly.
"You carry a lot of silver to a place like this, lordling. You should know better."

 No.604481

>>604479
Nod slightly, with worried but knowing eyes.

 No.604482

>>604479
"I figured my guard would have been keeping her eyes open more.
Say, you seem like you can handle yourself. Are you perhaps interested in a job?"

 No.604489

>>604481
"I feel you will be important to the integrity of the empire's church in the future to come. I cannot say for sure what has caused this… unrest or who exactly is involved, but I can sense it brooding. It is as clear as day to me. For now, I cannot expect you alone to put an end to this, but I wanted to make you aware of it. We do not usually interfere with the politics of ponies, but something about this particular case fills me with dread. Tread carefully, Flavia."

>>604482
"In a crowd of ponies? There are thieves lurking everywhere. You were lucky this one was so bold to make himself seen."
She considers you for a moment.
"And maybe I am, maybe I'm not. Do you not trust your own guards anymore? You Trotantines have a tendency not to."

 No.604490

>>604489
"My effort will be neverending in bringing peace to our world. Do you have a name, spirit?"

 No.604492

>>604489
"You saw how that one acted. Interested in nothing but her monthly pay."
Sense Motive '1d20+9'

Roll #1 13 + 9 = 22

 No.604495

>>604490
"My name is Eurydice."

>>604492
You're not sure what to make of her. She's a foreigner of course, and you're not that familiar with gryphons and their culture at your age. You do think she has a strong liking to money though.
"Nothing wrong with an economical mindset. Who are you exactly?"

 No.604496

>>604495
Bow my head respectfully.
"I will hold thee name close to my thoughts and my prayers, Eurydice."

 No.604498

>>604495
"There is, if that mindset means one does just enough to get paid just enough to eat this month and get booze after hours.
I'm more interested in someone who can give it their all and is well payed for that.
My name is Marcus Hippoi."

 No.606252

NOLIN

It has been three years. Four years after you first set hoof here in Peneia. During this time you've been educated by several people in matters ranging from court politics to combat. Sensing your talents for the intrigue and psychology, your guardians have since been focusing their efforts on improving them.

Aeolia, as it turns out, is not actually the Doux' spymaster. As far as you can gather, she is involved in foreign affairs but you're not entirely clear on what this exactly entails.

In any case, you have been summoned by the actual spymaster today, who has been one of the driving forces behind your education for the past few years. You are expected in the council room immediately. Better hurry!

>>604496
"I am not the one who requires prayer. Not unless this corruption takes root. But I trust in you, Flavia Hippoi. I know I have made the right choice with you. All I ask of you is to never lose sight of the path you walk. Walking blindly is a dangerous thing to do indeed, rocks and gaps are plentiful on life's road."

>>604498
She considers your words for a moment before speaking further.
"Where are you from, Hippoi? Not from Peneia, I can hear that much."

 No.606253

>>606252
"I will not let Mother's name be ever tarnished, oh fair Eurydice."

 No.606255

>>606252
Naturally, I'd hurry down there.
I know the fastest way into that room by now anyway.

 No.606256

>>606252
"You have a good ear. I'm from Agria."

 No.606258

>>606253
"Then you are ready to move on and return to your sister. You will be trained in the way of the priest in the following years. Pay close attention to the lessons you will be taught, they will be crucial if you wish to survive the dangerous game your kind so enjoys."

>>606255
The front door just so happens to remain the quickest way to enter a room!

You knock and enter. The spymaster is a middle-aged earth pony stallion. An unlanded noble from the Doux' court who has been in the position for quite some time now. Despite his lack of lands, he is quite wealthy thanks to the generous contributions from lady Toxias. That wealth does not stay with him of course, the rumors surrounding the number of ponies on his payroll are staggering.
"Nolin, come in. And close the door."

>>606256
"A lordling from Agria at that… So, you're expecting me to leave the city of Peneios behind and follow you to that collection of farms for a bit of coin?"

 No.606260

>>606258
"A bit of coin and my legendary wit. But if a position at the side of a lordling is below you, I'm afraid we'll have to part ways again. It was nice to meet you, Karabi."

 No.606261

>>606258
Bow my head again, in silent understanding.
"I will keep both of us safe."

 No.606265

>>606258
If I could be that rich.. I know my dad would be proud.
Enter in with a smile and close the door.
Come to think of it I don't even know his name.. how can I..
"A pleasure to see you my lord."

 No.606268

>>606260
"I never said no, lord Hippoi."

>>606261
She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, then reaches out with a hoof to touch your forehead.

With a start, you immediately find yourself back in the temple, standing behind the altar just like before. Your sister is here as well, she's looking at you curiously.
"… Well? How was it?"

You notice there are a few other ponies wearing robes here as well now. Priests. One you even recognize as a High Priest. You know there is a land-owning High Priest who is a vassal to the Agrian Doux like your father, so you assume that pony must be it.

>>606265
"Please, go ahead and sit. I'll jump straight to the point, what do you know about Skyros?"
Roll knowledge check if you want to know. d20+INT modifier.

 No.606271

>>606268
'1d20' Do I know about it?

Roll #1 15 = 15

 No.606272

>>606268
Look around me, still astonished, before settling my eyes on Livia again.
"Like nothing I ever saw before…"

 No.606274

>>606271
You know it used to be an independent citystate located in an archipelago to the southeast. You know it was conquered by the Saddle-Arabians after the caliphate inflicted a crushing defeat on the Peneians and their allies who were protecting Skyros back before the empire was formed.

And you know that following a large rebellion, Skyros became an independent emirate from the Saddle-Arabian caliphate some years back.

>>606272
She smiles at you.
"You passed the test as well then, great!"

The High Priest steps forward.
"So we have sensed. So we have judged. Congratulations, both of you. Starting today, you are priestesses in training. If the Mother wills it, both of you will become part of the next generation of servants in our Church. You will take the vows and live the life of devoted disciples of Mother Nature."

 No.606275

>>606268
"Does this mean you'll take my offer?"

 No.606276

>>606274
"Ah.. Skyros, finally recovered from their rebellion aren't they? Seems like a troubled state in history." sit nearby him.

 No.606277

>>606275
"Before I do, let me make it crystal clear that I'm not going to be wiping your ass and milording you whenever you ask something. I can watch your back, but don't think I'll be a slave to some pony lord like yourself. If you don't like this, then tough luck."

>>606276
"Yes they have. Not quite the ally they used to be, but they're no longer in Arabian chains. We've begun trading with them again since a few months ago and there's a trade convoy expected to arrive here in port tonight."

 No.606278

>>606277
"Sounds like a very good thing for everyone." Raise a brow as if asking him to continue.

 No.606279

>>606277
"I won't ask that of you, Karabi. Watching my back is all I require."

 No.606280

>>606278
"Yes, well, the Doux is interested in bringing Skyros back into the fold. Before the empire was formed, Peneia was one of the driving forces behind the Trotantine Trade League after all. We failed to protect our partner back then, so we feel bringing them under imperial control would be a wise move to protect them from the Caliphate. I'm certain the Empress would agree as well.

That's why I called you here. We have reason to believe that the Skyrosians are pouring all their resources into rebuilding their navy. If they manage to do this, it may become harder for us to… persuade them to swear fealty to the Doux in the future. So, what I would ask of you is to infiltrate the flagship of this trade convoy and find their business ledger where they keep track of transactions. If our suspicions are correct, we would see a very noticeable increase in recent timber purchases."

>>606279
"Good. Then I think we can have an agreement, Hippoi."

 No.606281

>>606280
"Very well, I suppose you need some time to settle your affairs? Perhaps we could meet tomorrow in the palace. I'll notify the guards of your arrival."

 No.606282

>>606280
"I see.. is this a request from you, or from the Doux?"

 No.606283

>>606281
"Which palace? There are several, but I suppose you mean the one where the Doux loves to spent most of her time."

>>606282
He looks you in the eyes.
"Does it matter?"

 No.606284

>>606283
"Good guess."

 No.606285

>>606283
Stare back. "I'd simply like to know who I'm working for."

 No.606286

>>606284
With a powerful flap of her wings, she takes to the air.
"I'll see you tomorrow then. Try not to make me regret this, Hippoi. I usually don't work for ponies."

>>606285
He keeps looking you in the eye for a moment longer, then gets up and walks over to a cabinet.
"As I said, the Doux wishes to return them to the fold. As her spymaster, it is my job to keep tabs on any threats that may complicate Peneian interests. If you are successful in this endeavor, I can brief her on the subject."

 No.606287

>>606286
I watch her fly off.
Interesting Griffon.
Let's see what she's made off.
In any case, I'm here all alone, I should start getting back to the inner city.

 No.606288

>>606286
"Alright, I'll get to work on that. You know where to find me." turn to leave.

 No.606289

>>606287
Yes, your guard has taken the thief to the dungeons. You can leave it up to the city guard what to do with him or deal with him yourself.

>>606288
"Do you even know the name of the ship you're looking for?"

 No.606291

>>606289
Guess I'll sit back down "..You have a plan then?"

 No.606292

>>606274
I assume the formal proceeding requires a bow, now?

 No.606293

>>606291
"I'll leave the plan up to you, but the ship you're looking for is the Tabuk. It's a simple cog type tradeship."

>>606292
Bowing would probably a good sign of respect!
"Disciple Flavia?"

 No.606294

>>606293
After bowing down raise my head, looking up at him.
"Yes, your holyness?"

 No.606297

>>606293
"And its going to be in the harbor today?"

 No.606300

>>606289
Should I waste time on a common criminal?
Let the guard deal with him.

 No.607294

>>606294
"I myself will tutor you for the coming months. I am told you are quite bright, so I will personally do all I can to unlock your full potential. When the time comes, you will return home as a learned mare. Of course, even after your time here ends you will need to continue to learn more, such is the plight of a priestess."

 No.607295

>>607294
Do another short, proper bow.
"Wisdom is what makes us appreciate the joy in Mother's eyes."

 No.607296

>>607295
"Once you are older, you will both need to perform a pilgrimage to visit the holy sites of our faith. It will put that wisdom to the test."

He turns to your sister.
"Disciple Livia. You will travel to the town of Tervantos and study under the high priest there until you are ready."

She gulps.
"Tervantos? That's all the way up north of Agria…"

 No.607297

>>607296
"Don't worry Livia, we will be close as always!"
Smile at her.

 No.607298

>>607297
She looks down, then nods.
"Right… of course. Thank you, father."

"Then I urge you to say your goodbyes. You may not see one another for several months. The training can be very taxing on one's mind."

 No.607299

>>607298
Turn to Livia with a large, hopeful, but kind of shy smile, looking back and forth from her hooves to her eyes.
"Livia, I…"
Hug her.
Just give her a quick, hasty hug, whispering in her ear.
"Be safe up there."

 No.607300

>>607299
The High Priest and the other three priests take their leave from the hall in silence.

Livia returns the hug shakily.
"You too… I'll miss you, sister. We should try to keep in touch…"

 No.607301

>>607300
Hold one of her trembling hooves in mine, moving closer, resting my forehead on hers.
"I will write. Will you write? Do you promise?"

 No.607302

>>607301
She quickly nods.
"Of course I'll write back! I promise! As often as I can."

 No.607303

>>607302
"Then so will I."
And in one last, soft hug, I will step away from her.

 No.607304

>>607303
"I'll do my best… I promise I won't disappoint you. I can do this."

 No.607305

>>607304
Give her a warm, confident smile in reply to that.

 No.607306

>>607305
She takes a deep breath, then walks off after the other priests, leaving you alone in the room.


Your twin sister leaves the city of Cantria soon after. After a final meeting with your brother Niphon, he returns home as well. For months, you are personally tutored by the high priest while keeping in touch with Livia. The days are long and not easy, but the letters coming your way from your sister and the occasional visit from your father does a lot to ease up the experience.

Eventually, the high priest deems you worthy of the full title of priest and releases you from discipleship. Your return home to reunite with your family soon after, though you know your struggles are far from over. Weeks after your arrival at home, your sister returns a priestess as well.

Prologue ends.

 No.613666

Marcus

It's been a while, a few years in fact. Time goes by fast when you're enjoying yourself and the four years you've spent here seem to have flown by. You've learned a lot about courtly life so far, meeting many ponies along the way. You've even managed to win over Karabi, your foreign gryphon bodyguard. Though there are still many things unknown to you surrounding her.

The palace is buzzing with activity today, there's supposedly a very important guest arriving later today and tonight marks the end of the harvest season which will be celebrated with a fancy ball. You've just had breakfast, served in bed no less. Best to get dressed for the day!

 No.613667

>>613666
Get the servants to fetch me my best clothes.
Do I have any idea who said important guest is?

 No.613668

>>613667
This was something on very short notice it seems, which isn't too unusual. The maid who brought you breakfast said something about it, but it was clear she only heard it through rumors. You can ask someone who's up-to-date on the matter though. The Doux herself could no doubt tell you, or one of her lady-in-waitings. The postmaster, commander of the guards, steward or one of the other nobles could probably tell you more as well.

Anyway, your prepared clothes are brought to you.

 No.613669

>>613668
Put them on, or have the servant mare put them on me, whichever is more appropriate.
Then I'll go to see my favorite lady in waiting whose name I forgot

 No.613670

>>613669
Athanasia. It's been a while. You find her in her personal study in the west wing of the palace. She doesn't notice you enter, as she's hunched over her desk busily writing away in a large tome with a blue quill.

 No.613671

>>613670
Uh…how familiar am I with her by now?

 No.613672

>>613671
I'd say pretty familiar, but I'll actually leave it up to you exactly how close.

 No.613673

>>613672
Hmm, how about familiar enough to do this?
Sneakily sneak up on her and pat her on the shoulder to startle her.

Prestidigation for sneaky pon '1d20+1'

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.613674

>>613673
An action die to boost my result a bit! '1d4'

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.613675

>>613673
>>613674
Scratch that. I change my mind while sneaking and cough.

 No.613676

>>613675
She snaps her attention from the book to you.
"Oh Marcus. I didn't hear you enter!"
She glances over at one of the windows in her study, sunlight piercing through a crack in the curtains.
"… Good morning."
Her eyes are pretty bloodshot.

 No.613677

>>613676
Walk over to her.
"Were you up all night?"

 No.613678

>>613677
"… Maybe. Look, nights are short during summer okay?"
She was working on a very intricate looking initial letter at the top of the page, as you see so often in books.

 No.613679

>>613678
"I didn't know you were so good at calligraphy."

 No.613680

>>613679
"It's my duty as a scientist to spread my knowledge."
She puts the quill down and steps away carefully from the book.
"Maybe I'm a little too zealous about it at times, but I find it easy to get drawn in completely by my work."

 No.613681

>>613680
"What's the title of the book?"

 No.613682

>>613681
"Three Treatises on Imperial Military Expeditions. I didn't write it, I'm copying this."

 No.613683

>>613682
Hmm. "Looks like you're doing the original justice."
Look at her.
"I was dropping by to see if you wanted to meet our important guest together."

 No.613684

>>613683
"Uh…"
She looks lost.

 No.613685

>>613684
"Oh, you didn't know? I'll have to be honest I don't know much myself yet, the whole palace is buzzing about it."

 No.613686

>>613685
She rubs her eyes with bop-th hooves.
"Honestly, I've been in here all night so I'm not so sure what you're talking about."

 No.613687

>>613686
"Ah well, I've heard the servants say that we're expecting an important guest on short notice. But I don't know more than that."

 No.613688

>>613687
"If it's on short notice it might be important… probably a member of high nobility."

 No.613689

>>613688
Do they have coffee or tea yet?

 No.613690

>>613689
You can get either if you want. Coffee is a mudslime drink though.

 No.613691

>>613690
>>613688
"Then it's time we should get you some tea and go see what the fuzz is all about."

 No.613692

>>613691
"Sorry but… I think I'll finish this up first and then just rest for a while. I need to be awake for the ball this evening and I don't think tea is going to cut it."

 No.613693

>>613692
"Very well. Have a good rest. I'll be sure to tell you everything that happened tonight."

 No.613694

>>613693
"I'll be there though! Just need to… finish this page…"
She turns back to her tome.

 No.613695

>>613694
(I meant it as in 'I'll tell you all about it during the ball)
I'll leave her to her insanity.
Time to go see what the fuss is about.
Go to the court.

 No.613696

>>613695
As you leave the room you bump into Karibi waiting on you in the hallway. She looks as alert as ever, eyeing you keenly but not speaking up.

 No.613697

>>613696
Karabi*

 No.613698

>>613696
I'll never know how she keeps finding me so easily.
"I would bet a 100 bits that you already know who this important guest is."

 No.613699

>>613698
She narrows her eyes to slits.
"You do not? Prince Arcadius of house Lavinia. One of your Empresses child spawn."


Roll knowledge if you want to check what you know about him already. If not, you can just ask.

 No.613700

>>613699
'1d20+5'

Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12

 No.613701

>>613700
You don't know a whole lot about him actually. As a stallion he's pretty far down the succession line so it's very unlikely he'll ever be crowned emperor. You know he's in his midtwenties and still single, but has already proven to be a fairly successful navy commander.

 No.613702

>>613701
>>613699
"Oh. Why on earth would he come here?"

 No.613703

>>613702
"The fools would have you believe he's here as a token of respect for Peneia from the empress herself."

 No.613704

>>613703
"But you don't believe that…"

 No.613705

>>613704
She grabs your head and directs it to a painting hanging on the wall behind you. It's a portrait of an earth pony filly, no older than twelve. Her eyes betray a youthful mischievousness and she's wearing a large grin on her face. Below the painting, a small plaque reads Hypatia Toxias. The doux of Peneia.

 No.613706

>>613705
"Oh…oooooooh! Arcadius, you naughty devil."

 No.613707

>>613706
"Arcadius wont rule, so he finds a mare who rules already."

 No.613708

>>613707
"We should go and watch him greet the Doux."

"You can let my head go now."

 No.613709

>>613708
She lets go.
"He will arrive in mere hours by ship, probably accompanied by other ships from your imperial fleet. And a whole host of varangian guards."

 No.613710

>>613709
"Do you know where the Doux is?"

 No.613711

>>613710
"I saw her relaxing by the pool, letting everyone else deal with worrying about what's to come."

 No.613712

>>613711
"I know one thing, if he's going for her panties, she's gonna make sure he'll pay plenty for the privilege."

 No.613713

>>613712
"You could find a way to stop it from happening. You are going to need a mate as well some day."

 No.613714

>>613713
Think about this.
An alliance between Agria and Peneia would certainly benefit both families.
And the Doux isn't that bad at all.
"If we get spotted, we'll have made a powerful enemy."

 No.613715

>>613714
"Yes. You could help him instead and make a friend if he succeeds."

 No.613716

>>613715
"Let's leave our cards open. Karabi, when the Prince arrives, I'd like you to be at the docks. Try to see what he's bringing with him. If he's here to impress, I'm sure he'll be bringing gifts."

 No.613717

>>613716
"Oh he will. I will watch him like a hawk. What will you do?"

 No.613718

>>613717
"Directly approaching the Doux might make her suspicious. I'll go take a look around to see what is planned for the Prince's arrival. Before we can plan anything, we need to know our options. And then act quick."

 No.613719

>>613718
Karabi nods silently and takes off towards the exit.

 No.613720

>>613719
Now, let's take a look around and do some investigating on what exactly is planned
'1d20+8'

Roll #1 3 + 8 = 11

 No.613721

>>613720
The ball itself will take place in the ball room and court hall, which are situated next to each other. The doux has ordered an extravagant amount of food be prepared for the feast as well as a whole host of performers and artists. Security will be doubled as well as a precaution to the prince's visit and the arrival of various Peneian lords and ladies to the capital. The number of attendees is expected to be well over a hundred, not counting bodyguards or other retinues.

 No.613722

>>613720
Hmmm….that's a lot.
Who's in charge of the preparations.

 No.613723

>>613722
That would be the steward of Peneia and the Doux's father, Lord Fyllo.

 No.613724

>>613723
Approach him.
"Greetings, Lord Fyllo."

 No.613725

>>613724
>my Lord
No Fylo!!!

 No.613726

>>613724
You've spoken to the lord on occasion before and you always found his mannerisms very strange. He's an older stallion, older than your own father, tall and lithe. The lord always wears yellow, whether it be a toga or more ceremonial robes. From what you understand he disliked his late wife in the times before she passed away. It was a mutual dislike, built on thousands of little disagreements ranging from rulership to the ideal temperature of the pool. Despite his peculiarisms, he and his daughter get along splendidly.

The lord is standing in the middle of the ballroom, surrounded by servants busily preparing the room with decorations and cleaning products. His eyes are closed as you approach him and he makes a gesture asking you to stop.
"Shhh, shhh, shhh…"

 No.613727

>>613726
Be quiet and look around.

 No.613728

>>613727
He takes a deep breath and stays still for a moment, then opens his eyes, looking to a few servants working together to put up banners on the wall.
"No, no, NO! The aura is all wrong! And that smell! That PUTRID smell! What is that, roses? Wash the smell out! I don't want any stinking ROSE smell in this ballroom!"

The servants look at each other exasperated and begin taking down the offending banner.

 No.613729

>>613728
"We can't have any bad vibrations in this party." I agree.

 No.613730

>>613729
He snaps his attention to you.
"You there, boy. What do you need? I can sense you are on a mission."

 No.613731

>>613730
"You would sense right, my Lord. This whole party is being organized on such short notice. Is there any way I can help the preparations? Remove the bad vibrations?"

 No.613732

>>613731
"The party was planned weeks ago. But that PRINCE! Ugh! He changes everything! His presence requires a totally different aura to be present here! My poor daughter must be beyond despair from all the stress! She probably needs all the aid and support she can get right now!"

Somehow you don't think that's the case at all given how you were told she's sunbathing outside.

 No.613733

>>613732
"Are you looking forward to the Prince's visit?"

 No.613734

>>613733
"As long as he doesn't cause trouble. I hope he realizes this is Peneia and not Nouplos. Those Nouplosians have no taste and they still have the guts to look down on Peneia at times, bah!"

 No.613735

Mereghyl

It's been five years since Marcus left home… You're beginning to really miss him. Though from what you understand he appears to be enjoying himself in Peneia. It won't be much longer until he returns home.

The lord has asked your presence on the courtyard, so you've been waiting there on his arrival. He doesn't make you wait very long as he approaches you flanked by two guards.

 No.613736

>>613735
Sit with my head tall and proud, wings partially opened and my tail coiled around me.
Wait for him to speak.

 No.613737

>>613736
He stops in front of you, looking you over in silence for a moment before speaking up.
"Mereghyl, I need your assistance with something. Are you feeling up for a little investigation?"

 No.613738

>>613737
Nod.
"What do you require of me?"

 No.613739

>>613738
"There's been troubling reports coming in from up north. An old cemetery dating from before the empire is said to be experiencing supernatural activities, however there are also rumors that graverobbers are at work there. Whatever it may be, it's causing unrest and I can't have that. The graves of our ancestors cannot be defiled without punishment."

 No.613740

>>613739
Nod slowly.
"Supernatural or merely driven by greed, you want the disturbances to stop.
I can depart and assure that happens immediately."

 No.613741

>>613740
"It's located about thirty minutes north of here by flight, so you'll be there quick. If these are indeed graverobbers and they refuse to be detained, burn them until they do."
You know the cemetery's location, you've flown over it on occasion throughout the years. It's pretty desolate though.

 No.613742

>>613741
All the better. No need to worry about any accidental tresspassers.
Nod again, then take flight.
Head there right away.

 No.613743

>>613742
You fly up and away, leaving the castle behind you as a tiny speck in the distance.

About half an hour later, you spot the graveyard below you and start to make your descent. The graveyard is surrounded by a rusty metal fence and has a small temple accompanying it. The temple is pretty ruined though, clearly decayed over the years without maintenance.

Note: It's evening now and the sun has just set. If there are graverobbers on the loose it's likely they operate when it's dark out.

 No.613744

>>613743
Try to find a spot where I can comfortable sit without stepping on any graves or such, and lie in wait, as if I was just sleeping on my hoard. If I sat upright, even in the dark I would be a bit too obvious.
Keep an eye and ear out to any movement as night falls.

 No.613745

>>613744
Lie on the roof of the temple?

 No.613746

>>613745
Can it sustain my weight?

 No.613747

>>613745
Actually no that's a bad idea.

You lie down in one of the corners of the graveyard instead. Stand-by.

 No.613748

>>613747
You settle down and prepare for the long wait, hoping you'll solve this before dawn arrives. As it so happens, it doesn't take long for something to occur.

You may roll a notice check yourself.

 No.613749

>>613748
And I will roll for something else.

Roll #1 10 + 17 = 27

 No.613750

>>613748
'1d20+8'
My senses rarely fail me.

Roll #1 5 + 8 = 13

 No.613751

>>613750
Hm. In the middle of the graveyard stands an old fountain. In olden times water would pour out of the monolithical rock and splash down into the basin below, but nowadays it has run completely dry.

You see, however, a faintly glowing silhouette walking between the gravestones before disappearing from sight behind the fountain.

 No.613752

>>613751
Walk over to the fountain.
Not like I can be stealthy even if I tried.
Is who or whatever I saw still there, or is it gone?

 No.613753

>>613752
There's nothing here…

From the corner of your eye, you spot a source of light appearing on the roof of the temple: it's a small ball of light dancing around and illuminating the roof around it seemingly without a care in the world.

 No.613754

>>613753
Hmmm… Could the old fountain be used as some sort of tunnel?
Take to the air and fly over to the temple, and hover above it to see what is going on there.

 No.613755

>>613754
You circle over the temple, looking down at the light dancing around on the roof. It doesn't seem bothered about the fact that it's being scrutinized.

You spot the silhouette again! It just jumped behind a small crypt on the cemetery!

 No.613756

>>613755
It's just some light?
How peculiar.
Still now that I'm in the air, I can be faster. After the next circle, fly over to that crypt!

 No.613757

>>613756
You sweep down over the crypt…

Roll #1 20 + 17 = 37

 No.613758

>>613756
>>613757
And get to roll a reflex save.

 No.613759

>>613758
'1d20+3'
Woah there.

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13

 No.613760

>>613759
Close but no cigar, rolling for damage first…

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.613761

>>613760
As you swoop down over the crypt, you are met with an unexpected sight. A pony is standing next to it waiting on you, casting a spell as it's too late for you to dodge. A wave of cold hits you right in the underbelly, though as luck would have it the spell is JUST too weak to pierce through your thick natural armor.

You land in front of the pony, whom to your surprise doesn't seem entirely… there. Her legs certainly aren't. Instead of hooves, her legs just kind of end in some sort of wispy ethereal essence. Her coat is pale and her entire body is partially see-through.

You are confronting a ghost pony. If you wish to attack her, roll initiative.

 No.613762

>>613761
I am not sure if even my breath would be effective against a ghost, so I will only resort to combat if there is no other way.
There must be a reason why this ghost pony is here in the first place.
"I recommend you do not do that again. Why are you here, restless spirit?"
I'm not sure if I have to roll anything with this, since it's either indimidation or impress

 No.613763

>>613762
Then roll whichever you prefer. Both can work.

 No.613764

>>613763
I guess intimidate since the spell pretty much whiffed against me.
'1d20+9'

Roll #1 17 + 9 = 26

 No.613765

>>613764
Aye.

She looks furious, but relents under your intimidating posture. She responds in an echoey voice.
"Why are you here, dragon? Leave this place or suffer my wrath!"

 No.613766

>>613765
"I am here to end whatever is causing disturbances to this graveyard. This place belongs to the ancestors of the ponies who live here, not you alone."

 No.613767

>>613766
"I do not buy this trickery, a dragon protecting a pony graveyard? You lie! You are here to hoard!"

 No.613768

>>613767
"I live among ponies, who give me more than enough to expand my hoard in return of my assistance. Something, which I assume is you, is causing unrest here. I have no need to steal from this graveyard, I only need to put an end do the cause of that unrest and earn my reward back home."

 No.613769

>>613768
"You lie! You lie! You are another thief here to steal!"

She prepares to attack. Roll initiative if you want to attack her. Or not if you're confident she can't hurt you.

Roll #1 18 + 5 = 23

 No.613770

>>613769
I still won't attack.
Puff out my chest though, since that is my least vulnerable spot, so she'll hit there if she hits me.
"Do not make me attack you."

 No.613771

>>613770
She casts a spell…

Roll #1 2 + 17 = 19

 No.613772

>>613771
>>613770
Roll a Fortitude save!
'1d6'

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.613773

>>613772
'1d20+6'

Roll #1 1 + 6 = 7

 No.613774

>>613771
>>613772
An ice cold gust of wind starts sweeping towards you… and hits, feeling like a thousand needles piercing your skin at once. You're officially chilly.

Roll initiative if you wish to attack.

http://pyromancers.com/media/view/main.swf?round_id=101282

 No.613775

>>613774
Let out a roar.
"You leave me no choice!"
Initiative roll
'1d20+3'

Roll #1 17 + 3 = 20

 No.613776

>>613775
'1d20+5' Initiative…

Roll #1 6 + 5 = 11

 No.613777

>>613776
Inhale deeply and let breathe fire all over the ghost and her surroundings.
'1d20+5'

Roll #1 15 + 5 = 20

 No.613778

>>613777
She narrowly dodges your fiery breath.

The wind continues to buffer against you… '2d6'
She casts another spell… '1d20+17'

Roll #1 2, 5 = 7 / Roll #2 10 + 17 = 27

 No.613779

>>613778
>>613777
Roll a will save, she's doing something scary!

 No.613780

>>613779
'1d20+4'

Roll #1 6 + 4 = 10

 No.613781

>>613780
'1d6'

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.613782

>>613781
>>613780
>>613779
She conjures up a terrifying phantasmal horror which scares the living crap out of you. You are frightened for one round and may not attack, you must spend this round moving away from her.

 No.613783


 No.613784

>>613783
You calm down again. You're also out of the the wind zone, which is good because by the sounds of it it just reached its climax.

The ghost does not appear to be chasing you… yet? You can't see her from here.

 No.613785

>>613784
Finish flying over to the temple and hover above it.
Talk loudly so the ghost can hear.
"I will give you one last chance to stop before I burn your precious graveyard to the ground."
Intimidate.
'1d20+9'

Roll #1 13 + 9 = 22

 No.613786

>>613785
She hovers up very slowly and lands on the roof of the crypt.
"Do not!"

 No.613787

>>613786
"You will have to stop trying to hurt me then. You will also have to believe I have no interest in any treasures that may be in this graveyard."
Be on the ready in case she tries to use any spells again.

 No.613788

>>613787
She glares at you. She doesn't seem to be casting any more spells.

 No.613789

>>613788
"Would I try and reason with you if I did? Wouldn't I have attacked the moment you first tried to hit me?"
Keep hovering.
"Something has made you agressive."

 No.613790

>>613789
"Thieves!"
You notice the light from before has reappeared, flying over to her and dancing around the crypt. The ghost pony sinks through the roof of the crypt and disappears from sight. The metal doorway is open.

 No.613791

>>613790
Cautiosuly fly over to the crypt.
Peek inside.
"So the rumor about graverobbers is true. I can make sure justice is served to them one way or the other, if we can find them."

 No.613792

>>613791
One of the tombs has been slid open… the ghost pony stands next to it with an angry expression.
"They come here and steal! I try to stop them but they wear protection! What can I do then?"

 No.613793

>>613792
"What kind of protection do they wear? And when do they come here? Maybe I can be of assistance."

 No.613794

>>613793
"Special clothes against cold! They come under the cover of the night and I await them every time. But every time they destroy me!"

 No.613795

>>613794
"Let us wait for them. They will come, confident they can destroy you again, but I will be here. I will try to make them talk about where they have taken the treasure. If they do not speak, they shall find their end in this graveyard."

 No.613796

>>613795
"I know where they hide. They have a home in the forest where they live!"

 No.613797

>>613796
"Can you show me? Or tell me? I can pay them a visit, and even return what they took from you."

 No.613798

>>613797
She floats up and disappears through the roof again.

 No.613799

>>613798
Stand up from my position of peeking through the crypt.

 No.613800

>>613799
She floats off slowly, away from the graveyard towards the forest.

 No.613801

>>613800
Follow her.

 No.613802

Pause.

 No.637887

Moved to >>>/g/134596.



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