/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!

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535128

It's cold.
The feeling seeps inside your mind, ever present, nagging and biting at your thoughts while you ride in the creeking wooden carriage through what the Wanderer describes as "…the last mile of your old lives.".
It's white.
Snow covers pines so tall they cloud the sky all around the badly kept path that leads to solace. To forgivness. To glory.
The Wanderer, the grey-coated pony who took care to recruit all of you from whatever hole you were sulking in or whatever fancy table you were sitting at, mutters something looking at the sky, his breath and his words as if carved in the air as they form a shimmering cloud of steam.

"We are not there yet, but you can see it from here."

535129

>>535128
"Home sweet home…" I mutter.

535130

>>535128
Grasp my wooden stick and listen to the sounds of the forest.
The spirits of this place are unfamiliar.
It will take time to know them.
Look ahead, what is this wall the pony speaks of?

535131

>>535128
Look curiously ahead. Can I really see anyone up there? '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

535132

>>535129
A few of your ride companions don't seem to agree with your feelings, and snort, looking away, down at the cart.
Others, though, are too taken by what's just come into view to comment.
>>535130
You all know the story of The Wall. Its endless watch, how the gods themselves were said to have meant it…
But few are the ponies who actually dare come this far. Fewer the zebras. The harsh winds cut your face much like the sandy winds of the deepest south leashed against your ancestors, and keeping your eyes open is painful and hard.
>>535131
A griffon could not spot its prey, that's how far you are. And still…

There, you can see it. The massive shape of what equine cannot name anything but, The Wall.
For hundreads of feet it rises into the sky, challenging the sun itself with its frozen splendor, as if daring the big globe of fire to melt him.
But down here, the sun has no power. Down here, there's only the wall.
Its frozen shape extends as far as the eye can see, only barely noticeable is a black massing at its feet, so far it's hard to make out, so small it looks like an ant scraping against the ivory towers of Canterlot.

535133

>>535132
I snort.

535134

>>535132
Offer a tiny smile and look outside. Might as well take in the full view.

535135

>>535132
Take a deep breath.
"Its a lot nicer than the songs make it sound."

535136

>>535135
"It look tiny."

535137

>>535136
"Its just far away.
You know everypony says its big, but..
Its really huge."

535138

>>535133
A snoflake in your nose. The cold sensation freezing your brain.
Words echoing, someone's asked a question you didn't hear, and got an answer you didn't understand.
>>535134
Someone's talking.
One of your travel companions.
"Where are you even leading us, in the middle of nowhere?"
Wanderer snorts.
"Look into the distance. That's the Watch's Home. Your home."
He points at the dark point in the distance.
>>535135
"It's good you like it-"
Your guide answers.
"-because you will spend a lot of time there."
And chuckles.

535139

>>535137
"Still tiny."

535140

>>535138
laugh a bit nervously.
"Yea, its inspiring even."
>>535139
"Not easily impressed huh? That's good, it means you have some common sense. A rare trait."

535141

>>535140
"The pony talks much."

535142

>>535138
"It'll probably be our resting place too."

Introduce myself to him. "Name's Ogaden."

535143

>>535140
The carriage keeps slumbering down the iced road, the polar bear pulling it grunting and growling at every hill, his large paws making quick work of the uneasy road.
>>535142
Just to be clear, to Wanderer, the guy who actually recruited and led you all this way up here, to the pony who asked the question, or to the other pcs?

535144

>>535141
Shrug
"The silence was driving me nuts."

535145

>>535143
To the pony who asked. Might as well meet my fellow inmates.

535146

>>535144
"Nuts? The pony is hungry?"

535147

>>535143
Oh good, we're getting closer.
>>535146
"..no..no.. well maybe a little, I could go for a nice potato soup, or warm cider.."
>>535145
wave at you. "I'm Fortune Star, nice to see there is a normalish equine here."

535148

>>535147
"The Star seems strange."

>>535142
"This one greets the Ogaden."

535149

>>535147
"As normal as anyone sent to the wall candy be."

>>535148
Nod my head towards this one.

"What's your name?"

535150

>>535149
"This one is Baron Legoba."

535151

>>535145
She's a light orange girl, her head shaved and face rough and edged by malnourishment.
As you talk to her, she jerks back, giving you the stinkeye. Then, a second later, recomposes herself.
"Name's Season."
>>535147
>>535148
The small black dot in the distance is now close enough to give you insight on its shape. The likeness of a castle happear out of the frozen ice of the wall, as if the building itself was trying to cling onto it for protection against the cold winds.
Grey walls of stone painted white by the ice and snow silently rest ahead, but you can already see fires burning on top of them.

Wanderer speaks up.
"Look sharp kids. Almost there."

535152

>>535151
"Oh, crap, I forgot to pack any books… the place does have a library, right?"

535153

>>535152
Wander snickers.
"Oh, you can read? That must be nice."

535154

>>535148
start to mock you as you talk but stop when the Wanderer speaks to us.
>>535149
>>535151
"Nice to meet you both."
Straighten up a bit and look ahead.

535155

>>535150
"A Baron? I'd recommend keeping that close to you. Some types don't take nicely to those with titles."

535156

>>535151
"Nyet, books always first to be used as fuel for fire when cold."

535157

>>535153
"I'm pretty sure that's a no then."

535158

>>535154
"The Star is funny."

>>535155
"This one has no fear."

535159

>>535151
Acknowledge her answer.

>>535156
"Try to save 'em. This place doesn't strike me as having much to do in any spare time we get."

>>535157
"I take it you're one of those upper crust learned types? Only those would be worried about books at a time like this."

>>535158
"Good. From what I heard about the Wall, that'll get you killed."

535160

>>535157
"I know some stories. I could tell you sometime.
We're going to spending quite a bit of time up here."
>>535158
Smile at you. "I try at least."

535161

>>535159
"This one is well protected."

535162

>>535160
"At least here no one will be bugging me about doing my job."

>>535159
"I would show you my doctor's certificate, but I forgot to bring it."

535163

>>535159
"There is always vodka, friend."

535164

>>535156
"Oh boy…
You don't know the first thing about making a fire, do you?"
>>535157
"Don't worry, there are books. If you are into that.
But after a day's work I've seen few who just wouldn't rather sleep, than read."
>>535154
>>535159
Season nods, a bit absentedly.
"Yeah, nice to meet'ya."

Massive and dark in its appearence, a gate stands in front of you, coasted side by side by two watchtowers flying the banner of the Night's Watch, a sword shining under the silver moon on the snowy plains of the north.
From one of them, a pony looks down, exchanges looks and nods with Wanderer, and disappears.
The cart has stopped.

535165

>>535161
"Good to know in a place like this."

>>535162
"You sure it wasn't just a scrap of paper you found floating in the river?"

Give him a courteous laugh.

>>535163
"Of course. Where there are hooves, alcohol shortly follows. If you can make it, you've got a hoof up on most of us."

>>535164
"This our stop?"

535166

>>535165
"This one asks for your shadow."

>>535164
I walk out.

535167

>>535165
"I only got it for the title."

535168

>>535164
How many shadows can I have at once?

535169

>>535164
"Paper burns well enough, comrade. Could show it to you if you had a book."

>>535165
"Hooves? Gryphons good drinkers as well."

535170

>>535165
"Nah, we're headed for the next Night's Watch post, on the other wall." roll my eyes

535171

>>535165
Wanderer doesn't reply, whilst season snorts again, clinging tighter to the piece of cloth covering her.
"You see any other civilization in fucking miles?"
>>535166
You step out of the cart and into the icy, frozen grund. Instantly, your hooves feel very, very still.
Wanderer turns as you do so.
"What do you think you are doing?"
The door in front of the cart is still closed.
>>535168
You don't have Raise Dead. So zero.

535172

>>535169
"Too well. Now ush, they are about to open the door."

535173

>>535171
wait WHAT?

535174

>>535171
"Civilization is where you take it."

535175

>>535166
"Go ahead. Not much it'll do for me now."

>>535167
"Hahaha. As long as you have the skill to back it up, I don't mind where your degree is or where you got it from. What can you do?"

>>535169
"You know, I've never tried the stuff from wherever you're from. What's it like compared to the stuff from around here."

>>535171
"It's a big wall. Maybe there's another stop?" I respond non-nonchalantly.

535176

>>535172
"Not with the right trick."

535177

>>535175
"A little bit of this and that. I'm not the medic kind of doctor though."

535178

>>535177
give you an uneasy stare.

535179

>>535178
"That doesn't mean I can't try, does it?"
Grin.

535180

>>535179
"…sure thing buddy.."
stop talking and look for the Wanderer to come back.

535181

>>535175
Shove a bottle in his hooves.
"Try."

535182

>>535172
Raise Ogadens Shadow '1d10+3'
I'm not clear if we're inside our outside the fort, if outside, ignore the +1 from Gaia.
Move him to me and slide beside me.

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8

535183

>>535177
"You keep getting more interesting, Doc. I'm wondering what type of Doctor you really are."

>>535181
Drink.

How's it taste? '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

535184

>>535183
"All in due time."

535185

>>535181
"It's incredible. Where'd you get it?"

535186

>>535174
"Go make your civilization of one if you want it so much."
>>535175
Wanderer laughs.
"A few hundread miles down the side, sure. Good luck making it there."
>>535176
"Talking to you is like talking to Sudden."
>>535183
>>535181
Sweet as nectar. But your travel companions grow restless as soon as they see it and start murmiring, inciting you to share it around.
>>535182
With a distinct shine of your eyes, the shadow shrudders and comes to life.
Heeeeey old pal. It's freezing up here. Got clothes?
It's electing to hide, not giving away its true nature just yet, and acting like any other shadow would.

Then, the door opens.
And as it does, the oh-so-elusive warmth you lacked for the whole of the trip embraces you all.
Inside, you can make out what could be a training field, that ends in a modest two-story building with a balcony on it.

535187

>>535186
The bold part is heard only by Legoba.

535188

>>535186
No need to start trouble now. Look at Volodski and see if he's okay with passing it around.
>>535181

535189

>>535186
"Well.. I doubt I'll forget this.."
Look towards the wanderer, what's he up too.

535190

>>535186
This one hopes fire inside.

Trot inside.

535191

>>535185
"Is vodka from Yuri's store."

>>535188
Sure

535192

>>535186
Let's head inside then!

535193

Follow the others inside.

>>535191
Share the alcohol to others then.

"Maybe one day I'll be able to get you another bottle."

535194

>>535189
He's still sitting at the head of the carriage, and gives a stern look at Legoba as he makes his way inside the castle's walls.
Then, he shakes the reins.
>>535192
>>535193
You two leaving the cart aswell and make your way through a few feets of cold as cold can be snow before touching the stone insides of the castle.
But not before leaving the bottle on the cart with the others.
>>535190
You are joined by two more ponies, those who just a moment ago shared the carriage with you.
Oh yeah babe, you know I like it loooong.

The carriage finally moves inside, only to find an empty plaza waiting for it.
Here, stone upon stone, is the remains of an once great military fort, now only a former memory, a barely used husk that houses the few hollow souls who are here to greet you.

Ponies and donkeys and dogs and griffons and even goats all are here, all under the same banner, under the same uniform, some standing in the middle of the stone plaza sword in their hoof, some lurking in the shadows with shady demeanors, some perching on rooftops licking their beaks.
All looking at you.

535195

>>535194
"Quite the welcoming party they have for us."

535196

>>535194
"Yes, yes, the Doctor is in!"

535197

>>535195
Wanderer steps out of the carriage and joins you.
The rest of your travel companions start unloading aswell.
"They like to take a look before it's too late. Most of you won't live past the winter."
He's got something akin to a smirk on his face.
>>535196
Everyone ignores the crazy zebra talking on his own.
Roll Perception.

535198

>>535194
What is this?
Buildings?
Of stone?
How idiotic.

>>535197
I'm a perceptive zebra '1d10+1'

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

535199

>>535194
>>535197
Try to smile at anyone who makes eye contact with me as I follow the others.
"Wonderful."

535200

>>535194
Raise a bottle to greet them
"Preevyet!"

535201

>>535197
!

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

535202

>>535197
"Is that so? How often will we be seeing replacements?"

535203

>>535198
>>535201
Perceptive zebras see nothing wrong.
>>535202
"Winter is coming. Not even bears can pull a carriage from the southern kingdoms all the way up here.
Afraid you will be the last ones in quite a while."
>>535200
>>535199
"Don't worry too much, if you have guts you will get the glory, they say.
As long as you are not nightborns and pull your weight, nobody here will give you too much shit."

Then, as everyone is finally down in the plaza, you can see the small, metal door of the building in front of you open.
Out of it squeezes through, almost comically, a massive diamond dog in the clothes of the Night's Watch.
The many soldiers watching the scene immediatly stand on attention.
The dog is looking down at you, but a moment later sidesteps and allows a mare not even half his height to step out.
Wearing a long dark mantle ornated in white fur near the neck, she starts walking down from the balcony at a slow, martial pace, each hoofbeat echoing as if metal was striking metal.
Finally, she comes to a stop a dozen feet away from Wanderer, who bows down.
The dog stands by her side, giving a death-glare to all of you.

Her secure, well reharsed voice cuts through this tense silence like it was paper.

"You are all dead.
Dead to your kings, dead to your enemies, dead to your families.
This is your hell."

535204

>>535203
Listen quietly.
So this is the head mare.
Her threats are meaningless before the spirits.

535205

>>535203
Shrug.
Guess it's just the cold.

"Hell is supposed to be warm. I must have made some miscalculations."

535206

>>535203
Keep my snout shut. Sooner she's done talking, sooner we can be free of her.

535207

>>535203
Try not to look completely lost, glance around a bit and figure out what to do, should I be bowing as well?

535208

>>535203
"Govno…"

535209

>>535205
You hear the sound of coins passing hoof. Someone just won a bet.
And you are entirely ignored.
>>535207
No one else is, and Wanderer already stood up. He's on a side, looks like all you newbies have been rounded up in the middle of the plaza now.
Entirely encircled.
>>535204
>>535206
>>535208
The mare starts pacing back and forth.
"Because only death can prepare you for what's to come.
I will be surprised if more than half of you will survive training before running back crying into your mother's womb.
But the few that will, their is the duty to protect everypony that lives, lived, and ever will live from the Night Eternal."
Her eyes peer into the distance, completely glancing over the whole lot of you.
And without another word, she turns around and leaves, in the same silence she came with.
The large dog steps up.
"Questions?"

535210

>>535209
"This one wants to know what is night eternal?"

535211

>>535209
"Where is the lab?"

535212

>>535209
Shake my head slowly.
"Can we get out of the cold now?"

535213

>>535209
Ask coldly: "When do we start?"

535214

>>535209
"When does the winter start?"

535215

>>535210
Eh raises a brow, and then points to a dark-blue unicorn.
"Him.
He's the Archivist and Chapelan.
Those questions, you ask him. After this."
>>535211
"What are you, a smith?"
>>535212
"No."
>>535213
"Tomorrow."
>>535214
"In weeks. Months if you are lucky."

535216

>>535215
"Not of weapons, but sort of. Do you even know what a lab is?"

535217

>>535215
"Will we be taken to quarters now?"

535218

>>535215
Frown. "Okay. What do you want us to do in the mean time?"

535219

>>535216
"Yes."
>>535217
"No."
>>535218
"Wait for the questions to end. It's your only chance."

535220

>>535215
I nod.

535221

>>535219
Look around at the snow a bit.
"…How do you get food up here?"

535222

>>535219
I'll take the hint from what he told Fortune Star.

535223

>>535215
"What's your name again, comrade?"

535224

>>535219
"So, where is it?"

535225

>>535221
"You will learn to like smoked vegetables."
>>535223
"Grog."
>>535224
"There is not one."
>>535222
>>535220
Other questions include where they can get some food and when they will be out of the cold.
Again.
Then, finally, Grog clears his throat.

"Let me ask you, how long has it been since your last real meal?"

535226

>>535225
Snort.
"Just my luck…"
Shrug.
"Why, you have a fancy dinner party waiting for us?"

535227

>>535219
"This one has not eaten for days."

535228

>>535225
"Too long."

535229

>>535225
"Many clockticks ago."

535230

>>535225
Stare at him a little hopefully.

535231

>>535226
"I have two."
He smirks.
The soldiers on the various side exchange funny looks aswell.
>>535227
>>535228
Swinging a paw behind his back and clinging a huge, impressive axe over his head, he shouts to all of you.
"Then earn your next meal and the right to eat like a king for just this one day!
All of you, against me!
Those who pass me will feast like champions!"

Inbetween you and him there is a large open space. And on your side, two dozen hungry ponies.

>>535228
Season approaches you.
"This guy's crazy!"

535232

>>535229
>>535230
Forgot to link you two to
>Swinging

535233

>>535231
>>535232
"…" '1d10' get that doppelganger out here.

Roll #1 9 = 9

535234

>>535231
Run to him, then jump over him like a pro '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

535235

>>535231
"The last time I was invited to a dinner party I had to get rid of a corpse, so I'll just stick with some regular lunch."
Clear my throat, and snicker.
Look through my bags, and around me.
Can I Engineer anything that would simply get that dog off his feet and keep him down? He didn't say it had to be combat.

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

535236

>>535231
"Stay back, then dart ahead."

I don't care about the food, let's see how hardy the people here are.

Leap of Faith at his paws. '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

535237

>>535231
Shoot his axe with magic bolt.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

535238

>>535233
A tired, dirty, shivering stallion comes to life.
He's your spitting image.
>>535234
>>535236
Not eating for days is killer on your physical prowness.
He drops the axe, and with a twist grabs the zebra in one arm and swinging around sends you tumbling back into the group of novices.
Right into Ogaden, stopping his heroic leap and making you both fall like sacks of potatoes to the ground.
>>535235
Nopony is paying attention to your very witty response. Too busy worrying about their food.
Or lives.
You can see basic supplies here. The reins, the carriages whole, rocks and rope and the odd arrow laying around.
The dog's fighting style relies on his hands mostly, so if those were busy…
If you want to build something you have to specify what at least. And use things that are plausibly found here.
>>535237
With a surprisingly clear mind for all the alcohol that must be running in your body, you shoot the axe away from the ground next to him and onto the door behind, hitting with the sharp edge the lock, which shatters in a dozen pieces and fings the door open as the axe rattles to the ground.

535239

>>535238
Wait here and look for an opening.

535240

>>535238
Give him a kick after removing the Baron. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

535241

>>535238
That's easy then, let's just make a pair of bolas out of the big rocks and the ropes!
Can I use that 9?

535242

>>535239
'1d12' other ponies try to rush him.

Roll #1 9 = 9

535243

>>535238
'1d10' wonderful, send him ahead. And I'll go around the other side and try to hit him with a a magic bolt, lighting. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 4 = 4

535244

>>535242
Haha, now is my chance to sneak by the wall '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

535245

>>535238
Now charge. Hit him with the mace.

Roll #1 10 = 10

535246

>>535242
1s make it through to the door behind him.
'9d4'
>>535241
Yes.
Bolastones acquired.
>>535243
The pony of dust and dreams makes a rush for it and boops the dog on the nose, catching his attention for just long enough to allow you a breather as strength fails you.
>>535244
Let's see.
Roll 1d4. Same rule as above applies to you.
You actually can make it on DC4 just because of the others distracting him.
>>535245
You have no mace, all your weapons were taken away beforehand!
And really, who would hit an unarmed combatant with a weapon, you'd have to be some kind of crimin-
Oh. Carry on.
Still no mace, but you make do bringing both your hooves down on his unarmored foot.
He's stumbling!
But quickly recovers his footing.
He spares a glance for you. A very through glance.

Roll #1 1, 3, 4, 1, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1 = 18

535247

>>535246
4 ponies make it through. 8 won't try again.
12 are too scared to act.

535248

>>535246
'1d4'

Roll #1 2 = 2

535249

>>535246
Alright, I forgot.
Shoot him again then with a magic bolt volley

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

535250

>>535248
You are pushed back. Can take another action this turn.

535251

>>535246
Swing them around and throw them at his legs and arms!
Tangle him entirely!

Roll #1 9 = 9

535252

>>535247
"Oy, you're already here for the long run, might as well join in and start off with a good meal!" I yell to the others behind us.

Give another kick to the Dog. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

535253

>>535250
This one is stronk '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

535254

>>535253
Sorry wrong roll '1d4'

Roll #1 3 = 3

535255

>>535246
'1d10+2' I can do better than this. Inspire myself and maybe some others with an amusing song.
'1d10' doppelganger keeps him distracted.

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10

535256

>>535249
He has only a split second to realize what's about to hit him, and completely forsaking attacks of any kind swings around, lunging for his axe, and that's the last thing you see before the barrage of red-glowing shots blows up right on target, creating a cloud of pink smoke.
>>535251
Towards which you fire blindly the makeshift weapon like a crazy zigger, as if that wasn't overkill enough!
>>535252
As the bolts are about to inpact, you buck yourself off the dog with a powerful flip-kick into the folds of his plate that sends you flying back and surely left his mark.
>>535253
>>535254
This one is smart too, and decides to stay away from the exploding doge.
>>535255
The mood shifts dramatically.
What were scared and starving ponies are now the heroes of the arena as everyone cheers for you. The mob gathers behind your shoulders and your copycat jumps into the pink cloud uncaring of danger.

When the smoke clears, the cheers die down, and sudden quiet falls upon the battlefield, you can see Grog stand, using a paw to keep himself upright against one of the supports of the balcony, and axe in the other, as it glows a soft blue. Scorch marks are left on his armor and his feet are tied together by some unholy mix between a rope and two stones.
A tiny Star is beating on his armored knees, but he disregards it and instead focuses on you, panthing.
He lifts his axe.
"Now or never, little ponies."

535257

>>535256
Time to make a slingshot out of the reigns.

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

535258

>>535256
That one is stronk.
But this is no matter to call in my friends over.
Just…hit him with a stick '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

535259

>>535256
He is strong.
Yank his axe with telekinesis, try to disrupt his balance and disarm him.

Roll #1 1 = 1

535260

>>535256
Smile back at the crowd "Charge!"
'2d10+1' the double and I jump at him.

Roll #1 9, 3 + 1 = 13

535261

>>535260
"You heard him, CHARGE!"

>>535256
Rush in and kick him again. '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

535262

>>535257
Very decent sling acquired.
[Ranged] tag.
>>535258
You try to cover the distance between you two but he rears a powerful blow with his axe and swings it in the air.
The wind itself is enough to knock you off your ass, but no serious injury was done.
>>535260
They don't wait around.
All 12 of them charge, and
'1d12' make it through.
But at the same time you are stopped in place by the menacing creeping of his axe.
>>535261
As the axe comes to a rest, you use it as a ramp to jump right into his face and place a kick under his chin, sending him flying back, tumbling to the ground.

He's down, panthing heavily, and lets go of the axe, raising a paw in an open gesture.

Suddenly, the crowd erupts in a cheer.

Roll #1 3 = 3

535263

>>535262
Well these are very strange practices.

535264

>>535262
Look up at the crowd. And then down at the dog.
"So.. we passed?"

535265

>>535262
Approach the dog and offer him a hoof up.

"Can we expect the same out of everyone else here?"

535266

>>535264
>>535265
He's sitting back against the wall, cutting his way out of the ropes at his feet with one of his sharp claws.
"Yes. You passed.
And no, this won't bear repeating.
It's a test of character. No use doing it twice."

535267

>>535266
"I can hazard a guess, but tell us what you were testing us on."

535268

>>535266
"Okay. Can we eat now?"

535269

>>535268
He just motions with a thumb towards the door of the main building, the one that was smashed by the axe.
>>535267
"You are better off guessing, kid. Now go have dinner."

535270

>>535269
"Very well, but I'll get an answer out of you yet."

Head towards where he's pointing us. What's it look like?

535271

>>535269
trot inside confidently.

535272

>>535269
Time for food.
This was educational.

535273

>>535270
Season finds you as you enter.
"Hey. Nice… Thing, there."
>>535271
>>535272
It's not quite Valhalla, but this mead hall comes damn close.
Slightly buried into the ground, the place takes up the whole first floor of the building and is warmly lit by lanters that give off a pleasant orange light everywhere.
Four long tables run the length of the hall.
The place is filling with the soldiers who watched you fight, most of them stopping to pat your back once for "the nice show" and then going off to one of the many tables covered in mead and food.
Food for all races and all tastes, on top of that. You might want to skip the griffon table.
And at the other end of the hall, a fifth table set perpendicular to the others, with a large chair cut in a chunk of crystal standing in the middle of it.
Still, nobody seats at that table.

535274

Also, #PAUSE

535275

>>535273
Peculiar.
Sit down and take some food silently.
Observe the patrons.

535276

>>535273
"You're welcome. Come on, the food is going to get cold."

536618

As you sit, a door opens in the back of the hall, and out of it comes a tiny milk-white pony in armor that's too large for him, holding it open for…
The same mare you saw earlier, the one who gave the speech and promptly left, steps in with royal gait, ignoring the commotion and pulsing life of the hall, long black coat over her shoulders, and nearly as long brown and lush mane running at her side.
She sits amidst the general indifference on the crystal throne, staring down on the hall with tired eyes.
A moment later, a unicorn which you can recognise as the chaplain walks in through the same door, and sits at one of the three seats coasting the same table, leaving the one on the throne's right side empty.
This is when the dog you fought outside walks in with a zebra mare on wrong side of her thirties, and instantly, as if a spell was broken, the chatter and festivities in the hall end, everyone staring at the bandaged dog as he silently walks up to the table, bows briefly to the mare on the throne and sits to her right.
The zebra fits the last empty chair.
After a few seconds of lingering silence, the mare on the throne raises a glass.
"To those who joined us today, Fear Not The Night!"
The silence lingers still until Grog raises his own glass, and echoes her.
"Fear Not!"
Followed by everyone else's echo, that in one big rumble of cheers go back to their previous activities.
>>535275
Most of them wear the baggy but poor black-uniform you saw the guards outside wear.
Indeed, most of them are those very same guards. Others wear a white-colored variant of that.
All of them are currently enjoying what must be quite the feast so far up north.
Fresh soup and carameled apples.

536624

>>536618
Black, good color.
Unlike purple.

536626

>>536618
Oh, more zebras!
Well, how about that food?

536630

>>536618
Well, if they are trying to make us feel welcome its working. Eat and drink with everyone, try to listen in on a conversation that might be interesting. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

536635

>>536624
Same color as the Night.
Season sits between you and Ogaden.
You can hear her talk alound, maybe to him, maybe to both of you.
"They are crazy here. It looks time out at the old place. Newbies in the middle and everyone staring!"
>>536626
You aren't eating yet.
Which is a lot to say about your self-control because you haven't had anything to eat in days.
Everyone's too busy digging in to give you any sort of stinkeye for letting the food go to waste.
>>536630
You hear Season aswell.
Turns out, not many ponies talk when they haven't seen soup in days. Also, looks like all you newbies are bunched up at this one table.

536638

>>536635
What are the options for food!
And eat something, I need to be healthy to be at my mental finest!

536639

>>536635
"They are just curious. I wonder if we did better than the previous groups." eat some more soup, its so warm.
"I wonder if we'll do anything worth singing about."

536640

>>536635
"This strange prison."

536647

>>536638
Soup and carameled apple.
Half a medium sized bowl of green-ish soup and a single apple covered in a thin layer of carameled sugar.
And that's it.
You gobble down on them and are left with the sugary taste in your mouth and an almost full stomach that purrs happily.
>>536639
She's now chomping down on the apple and replies back with a full mouth of the thing.
"Ought ask t'kno, amharaight?"
>>536640
She nods, but a cyan stallion from over the table interjects.
"That's because it's not a prison, damnit."

536648

>>536647
Wash it down with something then.
I don't suppose they have anything other than water, do they?

536650

>>536648
A mead hall doesn't get this name from nothing.
There actually is no water whatsoever, and your wooden mug is filled with the sugary thing.

536651

>>536650
Better!
This place might not suck as much as I thought it would.
Bottoms up!

536653

>>536647
"Yea, maybe we should ask. In the morning."
Man, there is so much food here! I just have to try it all.

536656

Most ponies are done eating and drinking, starting up conversations or leaving the place altogether.
>>536651
It flushes down straight to your stomach and then rushes back up to the brain, leaving you sleepy and happy.
>>536653
So much, in fact, it's already gone.
But it was good while it lasted, at least!
Ponies are starting to chat it up, and your seat-neighbour tries to catch your attention.
He's a medium-sized goat, with dark, as if scorched, horns.
"Hey. Hey, pony. I was talking to you."

536658

>>536656
Whoa, not good, I need that brain!
Let's stand up then.
"Where are the rooms or wherever we will be staying?"

536659

>>536656
turn towards him. "Oh, sorry I was lost in thought. What's on your mind goat?"

536661

>>536658
The mare who traveled with you on the cart looks up as you stand, and her eyes go wide with worry as she looks behind your back.
>>536659
"I asked you what you're here for."
He smirks.
"I've killed tewnty-five, count'em, twenty five guards with one toothpick!"

536662

>>536647
"No? This punishment."

536663

>>536661
"That sounds like quite the story. Why don't you tell me about it." pretend to be interested.

536664

>>536662
He's getting all fired up. You can see now that, unlike most of the others, he's well dressed and well fed.
Looks even remarkably strong.
"You should not be speaking like this about the noblest order of the North!"

536665

>>536661
Blink.
"What got you so spooked?"
Look behind myself.

536667

>>536664
"Legoba no understand. What order?"

536672

>>536667
"..Its like a bunch of guards."

536673

>>536663
Ponies around roll their eyes and the goat grins.
"I had just stolen the Germane's king crown-"
Somepony from behind interrupts.
"Wasn't it the Emperor's?"
The goat ushes him. "Details! You are missing the greater picture!"
And he starts mimicking a stabbing motion with his hoof.
>>536665
It's Grog. Standing right behind you with his imposing diamond dog self, blocking your way.
"Leaving already?"
>>536667
>>536672
"The Night's Watch, damnit!
Possible everypony here-"
He catches himself as he looks at you.
"-everyone here doesn't have a bit of honor left?
It's not just guards, we are bound to be the ones that protect the world from the Night!
Can't you understand how important that is?"

536674

>>536672
I laugh
"We guards?"

536675

>>536673
"Night happens every…night."

536676

>>536673
"I'm finished eating, what's stopping me?"

536677

>>536673
snicker a bit at the goat.

"Legoba is a little slow, I don't think he'd understand the epic ballad that it would take to cover the importance and history of the Night's Watch." look as serious as possible when saying that.

536680

>>536676
"The Lady Commander has not given you her blessing yet."
He puts a paw on your shoulder, pressing down a bit.
>>536675
"The Night with a capital enne, you uncultured swine!"
>>536677
>>536675
The goat seems pleased and goes off to tell the tale to yet another neighbour.
The young stallion looks back at you, and settles down into his seat once more, calming himself.
"If he-"
Then stops, and shakes if head.
"If any of you is here just because he fears death, well he's a sorry fool.
There's much, much worse than death waiting for us beyond that wall. It happened before and it will happen again.
It's just a matter of time."
Ponies around elect to turn the other way and ignore him, but he's staring straight at you two.

536683

>>536680
Stare back at him. "I plan on surviving the winter."

536684

>>536683
He's focusing on you now, his black eyes never flinching.
"What's your name?"

536685

>>536680
Sigh.
"Can we speed this up then, I'm a busy person!"
Sit back down.

536686

>>536684
"Fortune Star. And yours?"

536687

>>536685
How obedient of you.
Grog smiles mischieviously.
"You wouldn't want to leave without knowing where the bunks are, would you?"

536688

>>536687
"I was guessing someone would show me."

536690

>>536686
"Culling Sea, Secondborn Of House Maneria."
Then, he looks down, but catches himself a moment later.
"Or I was, I guess.
Not anymore, not now.
Now we are all going to be brothers.
You say you want to survive the winter, Fortune Star?
Are you trained in combat?"
>>536688
"Not if I tell them not to.
Now, enjoy this time to rest. You will miss it."

536692

>>536690
Roll my eyes.
What stuff are there on the table?

536693

>>536692
Empty bowls at empty tables.
Plenty of ponies though, and someone having a pretty passionate conversation with the cyan pony sitting beside you.

536695

>>536690
Nod with respect to him and then shake my head slowly.
"No, not really Mi' lord.. I'm decent with a bow, and I can do a few magic tricks."

536696

>>536680
"Why Night dangerous?"

536697

>>536693
Perk ears, listen in!

536702

>>536695
>>536696
He's about to say something, but the thundering sound of metal on metal stops him.
He looks up to the throne and then whispers quickly to you.
"Tomorrow morning, as train starts, find me. Both of you."
>>536697
Seems like they are on a date.
Also, the 'Lady Commander' is standing, after beating what looks like a broken sword hilt againt the throne.
The mead hall goes silent.

"My second, Grog-"
She shakes a hoof towards the dog, who smiles proudly and fills himself up.
"Would like my to say a few words for the newcomers.
But I have none.
Tomorrow at dawn you will all be called for general training.
I pray you are strong enough to make it through the winter.
This is all."
And in one large swipe, amidst the general silence, she chugs down her mug of mead, every gulp puncturing the stillness of the room.
After emptying the drink, she puts the mug on the table with a loud sound of wood hitting wood, and turns around without a second word, back through the door.
Grog seems mildly disappointed, but still nopony dares to speak or move. They are all waiting for his word.
He then moves towards the larger table.
"What are you others waiting for? Nighttime's here.
First evening watch, go."
These words break the spell of silence cast upon the room as ponies start to scram for their positions.

536704

>>536702
Well that was worth it for sure.
Stand up.
Now where?

536706

>>536704
You should ask.

536708

>>536702
Culling Sea, perhaps I've made a friend.
"Excuse me! Where do we sleep?"

536709

>>536706
Well, the dog seems to know where's what.
Walk there.
"So, where now?"

536710

>>536708
Who you asking to?

536712

>>536710
To Grog.

536713

>>536702
"Me come."

536715

>>536709
"To bed. Or you could help the night crew sweep, that'd be nice of you."
You get the idea he might be ironic…
>>536712
"First building on the left.
Take any one unclaimed bunk."
>>536713
Sea nods to you.
"You do that. And learn about the Night."

536718

>>536715
"I'm sure they'll be fine. Where are the rooms?"

536719

>>536715
"Legoba wants to learn. Understand night"

536720

>>536718
"You deaf?"
He just explained that to Fortune Star, who was standing right beside you.
>>536719
"You might want to find books or something for that.
Or a priest."

536722

>>536715
"See you in the morning."

give a brief eye contact to Sea as I leave to the building on the left.

536726

>>536720
"Priest knows little."

536727

>>536720
I see. Nod and leave.
Let's go over there.
Gotta find me a sweet little bunk.

Roll #1 2 = 2

536733

Fucking hell, what did I miss?

536734

>>536722
He's talking to Legoba, but repays your look.
>>536727
>>536722
You both make it to the other building after a very brief walk in the snow.
Many ponies here are asleep already, and a thing you notice instantly is how the bunks have no sort of separation, be it of race or gender.
Smells of all kind hit you and almost make Camain faint. Something's rotting in here, but you have no idea what or where.
Both of you find an entirely empty bunk bed somewhere near a dark and dusty corner.
>>536726
"Maybe. But what's your other opinion? All I know I know second hoof from priests of the Light."
>>536733
Everyone had a mug of fresh soup and a carameled apple. And a mug of mead, you must have enjoyed that quite a while.
Then the lady commander had a very brief 'talk' and left, now the dog, Grog, is chatting with the few remaining ponies here.
And he's stealing glances at you.

536735

>>536734
>>536727
"Cozy huh.." I whisper to him and snuggle in under the blanket.

536736

>>536734
"Priests worship big pony in the sky. But big pony in sky never helps. Friends help."

536737

>>536734
I shall find out what and make use of it, but later.
Let's settle down.

>>536735
Keep my voice low.
"A bit too bunched up for my tastes. Could use some walls too."

536738

>>536735
The mattress is hard. But with a little help, you fall asl-
ZzzzzZZZzzz
It's been a tiring day.
Mind waiting until I send everyone to bed?

536739

>>536734
Yeah I bet he's mad as shit.
Soup's nice though, warms the bones.
Waggle over to the dog.
"Tovariiiich. You fight good and well."

536740

>>536738
sure I will just whisper to my 'friend' here
>>536737
"yea, but there are a lot of us. It makes sense. You're Camain right?"

536741

>>536736
"You must have never seen a paladin in action then.
Ever heard of the Lights Below?"
>>536737
You unpack and put your stuff in the trunk in front of your bed.
Top or bottom?
>>536739
"You are not a pushover either.
Is being drunk the trick?"

536742

536743

>>536741
Beat my chest with a hoof a few times
"Strong northern genes are. And a little bit of vodka, da."

536744

>>536741
Top of course, gotta' have that vantage!

536749

>>536742
"They are a bunch of diamond dogs, you'd think, foulest of creatures-"
He's whispering low.
"But they are actually great paladins, all of them. Travelling tunnels saving miners from cave ins and monsters and such.
It's said each of them carries a vial infused with the Light itself. A vial that never goes out, gift of their god."
>>536743
"But can you do that without alcohol?"
He seems interested.
>>536744
Top bunk acquired.

536753

>>536749
Shrug.
"Never tried it before."

536756

>>536753
"Tomorrow, training begins.
You seem cut from the right cloth.
A born ranger."

536760

>>536749
"Dogs are foul creatures. They make slave of zebra."

536762

>>536756
"Spaseeba! I will sleep then. Paka."

536763

>>536760
"They…"
He cocks his head.
"Where are you from, again?"

536764

>>536762
"Walk straight."
He points you to the building on the left, where the bunks are.

536766

>>536763
"Far to the south.
Dogs there attack zebra and make them slave.
But zebra fight back.
With help of friends."

536768

>>536766
"You better make friends quickly then. Because there's worse than a few savage tribes of diamond dogs here."

536769

>>536768
"I have friends.
Many friends in black."

536770

>>536764
"Da."
Go there then. Walk straight

Roll #1 2 = 2

536773

>>536769
He looks surprised, as if he didn't understad.
"They joined the watch aswell?
Oh, it was… Star, was it?"
>>536770
You hit the door and suddenly are legs up in one of the few unoccupaied beds.

536775

>>536773
Good enough
I can rest now. Hide a bottle of vodka under my pillow in case of emergencies

536776

>>536775
Running low on vodka there, my friend.
Before blacking out, the bottle whispers something to you.
"Watch over me with your life!"
ZzzzzZZZzzz

536777

>>536773
"No…Ogaden."

536779

>>536777
"Not met him yet, I'm afraid. He could train with us aswell, though."
Then, he looks around and notices the empty room.
"The hour is late. We should depart."

536780

>>536779
"Yes."
I walk up and go to my bed. Where is that?

536781

>>536780
Both you and Sea make it to the building on the left and find bunks in a slightly dark corner.
Far too tired to think straight, you both crawl into a bunk each, falling asleep.

536782

>>536781
>implying

I meditate all night, pleb.

536783

>>536782
Free to. Roll 1d10 for how high your negative modifier will be in the morning.

536784

>>536783
If you'll be like that I'll sleep.
I'll just have it noted that to expert meditators meditation is more refreshing than sleeping.

536787

#Pause

537222

The roaring sound of steel clashing against steel wakes you up suddenly, each blast echoing into your ears as the sound comes closer and closer.
After actually looking at what's going on, you realize there's no battle in your bedroom, but instead it's Grog, and a small court of guards, smashing with their iron swords against their shields.
The dog shouts on top of his lungs, giving you no chance to rest.
"Wake up pansies, it's training season!"

537233

>>537222
Bleh, get up '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

537237

>>537235
Pull the pillow over my head and ignore it

537239

>>537222
"Da, I did not freeze to death tonight!"
Roll out of bed.
"Where am I again?"

Roll #1 3 = 3

537242

>>537233
Looks like sleep instead of your usual meditation wasn't the best way to spend the night, and you find yourself fall over and out of the bed, into the dusty wooden floor.
At least it was the bottom bunk.
>>537237
Muffled sounds reach you for a few instants…
Until the soldiers start clanking their armors again, and the sound pierces through your thin feather pillow, right into your brain.
>>537239
On the floor, apparently.
"Where you will stay quiet, that's where."

Grog growls again.
"Five minutes troop. Get dressed and out of that door or I will personally throw you out into the snow as you are."
As he says this, the ponies you came here with start scrambling franctically for the trunks on the sides of the beds, imitating the example of more seasoned soldiers that are slowly and methodically getting dressed already.

537244

>>537242
Eh….I'll play along with this silly game, for now.
Get into these black clothes '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

537245

>>537242
"Urgh, some place this is."
Get out of bed I guess.

537246

>>537242
Baaah
Fine, put on my clothes and my ushanka. Take the bottle.

Roll #1 3 = 3

537247

>>537244
The ones you find in the trunk are grey, baggy and warm, but a bit too large for your size.
>>537245
"The fuck were you expecting?"
It's the bald mare from yesterday, casually saying that as she slips into her grey clothes.
>>537246
They are incredibly similar to the ones of your homeland, heavy and baggy, some pieces of fur here and there…
And suddenly you realize, fighting in these is gonna be a pain in the ass.

537248

>>537247
Oh well, put them on.
Not like I care.

537249

>>537247
"I'm here to work, not to do physical excercise!"

537250

>>537247
I'm a little used to it by now.
Stagger outside.
"Dobraye ootro!"

537251

>>537248
Comfy though. You suddenly feel much warmer.
>>537249
She snorts in contempt and starts leaving.
"Good luck with that. I'm just gonna look as others pick your tender, I-don't-do-physical-work ass."
>>537250
One of the already-armored ponies points you to the middle of the training square, where everyone's gathering and forming small groups, and then eyes your vodka bottle.
"Hey, what are you hiding there?"
He's coming your way.

"Clock is ticking! Three minutes!"

537252

>>537251
Time to go outside.

537253

>>537252
Your attention gets piqued as the pony with the strange accent is stopped by a guard.
He's one of those you fought alongside with the day before.

537254

>>537253
He drink fire water.

537256

>>537254
"Move along already."
One of the other guards is telling you to move it, and you can't seem to find the donkey from last night anywhere.
But Sea is coming out of the door now, wearing the same clothes as you, and stops by your side.
"Ready for today?"

537257

>>537251
Get dressed, then walk outside I guess.
I haven't even had a chance to look at the lab yet!

537258

>>537256
"Legoba is ready, what about pony?"

537259

>>537251
"I hide nothing, tovarich."

537260

>>537257
You don't even know where the lab is! Or if there is one!
Buncha ponies here, gathering in the training square, forming tiny groups.
You should try joining one, seems like they are all waiting for the one dog.
>>537258
"I have been waiting for this since my sixteenth birthday.
I'm ready.
Time to show them what I'm made of."
Seems like there's some commotion ahead, the fire water pony is hacing a discussion with the guard.
>>537259
"Bullshit, I saw that sparkle, give me the bottle!"
He comes closer and tries to pull the bottle out.
'1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

537261

>>537259
>>537260
I should add. Roll above to react.

537262

>>537260
Let's walk over to the other zebra. At least their faces are familiar.

537263

>>537260
The fuck does this guy think he is?
"S'mine!"
Mine!

Roll #1 1 = 1

537264

>>537260
"Why pony wait for this?"

537265


>>537260
Look for culling sea

537266

>>537262
You join him and a cyan colored, blonde maned stallion standing with him.
"Hello there.
I remember you, from the fighting. And the dining table.
You were…"
>>537264
"You didn't ask about the Night yet, have you?"
>>537263
He puts a hoof inside your clothes, and you try to shove him away, but he grasps onto them and pulls you down on the icy ground with him, the bottle rolling out of your reach.
Just as Grog comes out of the bunks with a half-dressed goat in his paw, throwing him out on the ground.
He then stares at you, and stops the rolling bottle with a foot.
The guard seems scared.
>>537265
He's out here chatting with the two zebras, but suddenly everyone goes silent as [what's described above] happens.

537267

537268

>>537266
"Camain. Doctor."

537269

>>537266
Stare back at him, then at the bottle.
"… Shtoh?"

537270

>>537266
….stand behind culling sea

537271

>>537267
>>537268
>>537270
"Shouldn't we…"
He points at the commotion between Volodski, the guard, and Grog.
"…Isn't he the one who helped you yesterday?
Shouldn't we help him?"
>>537269
Grog speaks up.
"One chance to explain. You."
He points at the guard, who promptly stands back up and dusts himself off.
"Sir. He was carrying alcohol, I tried to confiscate it but he hit me, s-"
He doesn't even wait for the guard to finish before pointing the same finger at you.
"You."

537272

>>537271
"This one see if pony needs help."

537273

>>537271
Well, walk closer to those two, but let's see if the pony answers first.

537274

>>537271
"He tried to take my bottle without asking. So greedy."

537275

>>537271
"..how can we help?"

537276

>>537272
"I swear, at times I don't understand you at all, Legoba.
How far did you say you came from, again?"
Sea squints as he asks this.
>>537273
Looks like he did.
>>537274
"Beause you shouldn't have it in the first place."
Then he turns to the guard
"And you know why he had it?"
The guard promptly answers.
"Beause he snuck it in, of course!"
But the dry "No." from Grog makes him grow pale.
"Do you think I didn't notice it?"
Grog looks at you again.
"Why do you think I left you keep that bottle?"
>>537275
His voice lowers to a whisper.
"Silence might be the best course of action for now…
But if worse comes to worse, we could vouche for him.
"

537277

>>537276
Nod slowly. splitting the punishment does not mean it will be easier…

537278

>>537276
"A pony needs his drink. Dogs to too."

537279

>>537277
He seems slightly pleased.
"Splitting punishments? You might just survive after all…"
>>537278
"Not exactly. No.
You were strong. Maybe the stronger pony around the batch of greens that came in yesterday."
He picks up the bottle and walks up to you, throwing it back into your lap.
"If you are so strong, defend it."
He's got a wicked smirk on his face as he walks away.
>>537277
Sea whispers to you.
"Might be the right moment to approach him."

"Listen up.
You are all weak and unarmored and ready to drop dead at the first sneeze. I'm here to teach you how avoid that.
There will be no repetitions.
Now. Pick those wooden weapons and form groups, quick.
"

537280

>>537276
"Very far. No need to get involved now. Maybe later."

537281

>>537278
>>537279
"You seem strong allright. Want to make a team? You can cover me while I cover you."

537283

>>537279
Take a small swig as a pick me up, then stow the bottle away.

>>537281
"Da, what's your name tovarich?"

537284

>>537279
Oh yeah, take a weapon too.

537285

>>537283
"Dr. Camain."
Pick up a weapon.

537286

>>537279
Grab a weapon and stand somewhere near that drunken fool just in case.

537287

>>537284
"You're a bold one aren't you." Smile at him

537288

There are wooden weapons of all kinds on racks right behind the dog, leaning against one of the outside walls.
>>537280
"There is a lesson to be learnt here, you know."
He starts trotting towards the weapons, and Volodski.
"Got any preferences?"
>>537283
Ponies start eyeing you all the wrong ways.
One certain group, though, doesn't. And from that group, a cyan colored stallion, very young in face, approaches you.
"Protecting a bottle of fine alcohol in this place might be a tall order for a lone pony."
>>537286
Which kind of weapon?

537289

>>537288
Grab a spear or something similar.

537290

>>537288
"Knife"

537291

>>537288
Oh.. bow I guess

537292

>>537288
"I'm not alone, tovarich. Sasha not here right now, but she could be."

>>537287
"If he wants vodka, he could ask for vodka. He tries to take vodka, I prevent it. Simple."

537293

Grog talks again.
"Once you are done, form couples. I want to see how you dance!"
Which would surely put smiles on the face of the more gutter-minded individuals here, if only they weren't the ones forced to do this aswell.
>>537289
Long wooden spear acquired.
[Great] and [Non-Lethal] tags.
>>537290
Short knife acquire.
[Normal] and [Non-Lethal].
>>537291
Wooden bow acquired.
[Ranged].
Practise arrows acquired. They are sticks with a padded end.
[Non-lethal].
>>537292
"Sasha? Well damn, looks like I really am the only one coming to the Wall on my own."
He extends a hoof.
"Culling Sea."

537294

>>537292
"Simple enough. You remember me right? We talked on the way up here."

537296

>>537293
"Volodski."
Grab his hoof and pull him close for a hug.
"From Stalliongrad."

>>537294
"Eh…"
look him over.
"Da, I do remember."

537297

>>537293
Hmm.
"This weapon would need some serious makeovers to be useful."

537298

>>537293
"Well how should we pair up?"
What kind of weapon did sea choose. Also kind of look toward him with a friendly face.

537299

>>537296
He doesn't seem fazed. Instead, answers with a laugh and a pat on your back.
"Up in the north, like me!"
Then lets go.
>>537297
New Season, the bald mare from before, joins your lot carrying a simple sword on her back.
"I guess that's the point?"
>>537298
Dude, that's gay.
He picked up a broadsword, of the kind ponies use with their mouth.
"I did promise to pair with you after all. This leaves…"
He looks around and starts counting.
"The two zebra, Volodsky, and…"
He looks to the newcomer mare, who promptly answers.
"New Season."
"New Season. You four should try facing off against each other."

Meanwhile, ponies are starting to face themselves in the training pit, Grog just looking silently at them.

537301

>>537299
Look at her like she was stupid.
She probably is, too.
"You don't understand, but I can't blame you for it."

537303

>>537296
Nod. "Good luck."
>>537299
"Right I'm ready when you all are."

537305

>>537293
"This good.
Pony try to hit this one."

537306

>>537299
I got a great mace right?
"Only use weapons?"

537307

>>537301
"I…"
She blinks a few moments, then unsceathes her sword and points it at you.
"Hey! Are you calling me dumb?"
>>537303
"Right, let's see what you can do."
>>537306
>>537305
Sea looks at Camain and Season already enaging in combat, and then at you two.
"You two should try facing against each other."
Grog walks over aswell.
"Stick to the wooden weapons.
I don't want to send anyone to an early grave.
No magic."
He's looking at Volodski reeeeal deep.
And yes, Volodski's got a wooden [Great][Non-Lethal] mace.

537308

>>537307
"Pony kept his bottle safe."

537309

>>537307
Raise a brow, but smile.
"Am I?"

537310

>>537308
Grog comments.
"You are making dangerous friends."

537311

>>537307
"Sorry Sasha."

>>537308
"Da. Remember, no magic."
CHARGE
SWINGING THE MACE

Roll #1 7 = 7

537312

>>537309
She's getting all worked up.
"C'mon, draw!"
And pokes you with the sword, an angry frown on her face.

537313

>>537310
I perk an eyebrow.

>>537311
Step aside, and block '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

537314

>>537307
'1d10' "ready …go!" Fire an arrow at him

Roll #1 5 = 5

537315

>>537312
Take a step back, and keep that sword at distance with my spear.
"Getting angry?"

537316

>>537313
Grog just walks away.
>>537311
>>537313
The reckless charge meets Legoba ready hooves, as he quickly sidesteps and pokes Volodski with the small knife on a flank.
>>537314
He rushes for you, trying to close the distance between you two in a single leap and slash.
'1d10'
>>537315
"You said I'm dumb! Take that back!"
She flails at you.
'1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 10 = 10

537317

>>537316
>>537314
His charge is stopped short by one of your arrows hitting him on the forehooves, and tranpling him.
He stands again and tries to slash at you from the distance.
'1d10'
>>537316
>>537315
Roll to defend.

Roll #1 8 = 8

537318

>>537316
"Pony fast." Hit him over the head '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

537319

>>537316
Keep up the heat! Don't give him the time of day to counter!

Roll #1 1 = 1

537320

>>537317
>>537316
Good, good, let the dumb flow though you!
Sweep her legs out of under her with the spear.

Roll #1 5 = 5

537322

>>537319
"But not fast enough."

537324

>>537317
'1d10' keep up the pressure, I have the advantage here anyway.

Roll #1 6 = 6

537326

>>537318
>>537319
Volodsky reckless movements allow Legoba an easy and safe strike on his unarmored head, and the blunt force alone is enough to send the northener stumbling back.
>>537320
You had no chances to begin with.
In trying the dexterous manouver required to trample her, you lower your head to better handle 'dat spear, but her wild and maniacal flailing hits you square in the head and sends you KO on the cold ground.
The sky above you is filled with clouds, and it's such a nice day… You could just lie here forever…
Look, stars!
>>537324
He's not getting caught dead a second time, and swats your arrow out of the bow before heaving a slow blow to your side.

Suddenly-
BWAAAAAAAAAAA
A horn blows.
Grog's ears, and those of nearly ever other guard, perk up.
"So early?"
Everyone is starting to head towards the great iron gate in the Wall.

537328

>>537326
Count the stars!

Roll #1 5 = 5

537329

>>537328
Five. There are five stars!
One, Two, Three, Four….
One's missing!
And now that's two!
Might it be you are coming to?

You notice the crowd rushing for the inner gate aswell.

537330

>>537326
"..what is going on?" '1d10' try to get a look without getting too close

Roll #1 2 = 2

537331

>>537326
"Now whaaaat?"

537332

>>537330
There's a whole lot of ponies here. You will have to make your way though or miss out.
Sea drops his weapon.
>>537331
"We should check. Doesn't seem anything good."
Sea starts heading in.

537333

>>537329
Stand up….
This mare could be useful.
Yeeees, definitely.

537334

>>537331
"Pony did not bad."

537335

>>537332
>>537334
"Fight more later then! Let's go!"

537336

>>537333
She's snorting and keeping her head up high in satisfation.
"Now who's the stupid!"
>>537334
>>537335
You two start pushing and showing ponies, donkeys and griffons and goats and dogs out of the way, until you reach the edge of the crowd.
A polar bear, one of those used here as mounts, is back.
But its rider is nowhere to be seen.
Grog is holding the scared beast down.
"Quick! Get Saud here!"
A few guards scramble out.

537337

>>537336
Rub my nose.
"It's still you, yes, thank you for the confirmation."

537338

>>537337
"Well fuck you."
She throws the sword away and rushes to see what all the commotion is about, but can't quite make it past the crowd.

537339

>>537336
"When do we get bear?"

537341

>>537339
Who you talking to?
Meanwhile, a jenny is trying to push through, right behind you.
"Excuseme!
Important!"

537342

>>537338
I just don't bother picking the spear up.
Walk over there as well.
"That said, you can still be useful."

537343

>>537336
Seems important.

537346

>>537332
Go deeper in. Try to stay close to culling sea.

537347

>>537341
To everyone!
Let her get through.

537349

>>537342
"Not talking to you!"
She's trying real bad to get a look, but able to grasp anything.
You might be able to help her.
>>537343
>>537346
You two make it right beside Sea and Volodsky, pushing and shoving your way to the front of the row.
>>537347
"When you become a ranger, bruv."
You let her pass.

A jenny dashes inside the ring, to the scared bear, and instantly extends her hooves as to try and calm him.
She mutters something nigh-unintellegible to him Lagoba can roll to understand and the bear calms down, almost immediatly.
Then, she takes slow, quiet steps forwards. Her hoofbeats are so soft they are almost impossible to hear.
Lying her head onto the bear, whispering a few more words, she goes silent.
This is when most of the newcomers gasp in surprise as the bear growls softly back, as if answering the jenny.
She nods, and steps aside, walking up to Grog and extending a hoof for the reins.
"He's dead.
The village, he says."

537350

>>537349
Well, if there is some glass, a few sticks and stones lying around, I could engineer a periscope.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

537351

537353

>>537349
"Village?"

537354

>>537349
I perk my ears.
Friends, can you help me understand that? '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

537357

>>537350
You try to 'loan' a few high-quality glasses off the local armory.
A sharp sound of iron being drawn stops you dead on your tracks, and a squeeking voice comes from the darkness.
"Put that back right now."
>>537354
The Jenny said a few words, like a nursery rhyme, to calm the bear down.
The beast, scared and confused, started crying in front of her.
Something about a village, about eating, about being alone and running.
>>537353
>>537351
There's a deadly silence in the keep right now.
The only sound is the jenny leading the bear off to the stables, Grog stare hardening as he tightens his jaw.
Then, first low as a whisper and then loud as thunder, a mumbling begins between the soldiers.
There's talk of war.
There's talk of broken truces.
There's talk, of Winter.

#Pause

537359

>>537357
"I saw no sign that says I can't use it."

538961

Suddenly, fervor takes over the fort, dozens of ponies chatting loudly, whispering in worry, gritting their teeth as they nervously look at the sky for a sign, as if waiting for the stars to turn red and the Wall itself to crumble.
Grog leaves without a word and heads for the Lady Commander's office.
Sea shakes his head.
New Season finally manages to regroup with you, and her worried eyes beg silently for an explanation.
>>537359
"Keepin' dat shing 'ight here 'nto may hoof."
The figure in the darkness take one more step, his long, dark iron sword shining in the light.

538962

>>538961
Don't move a muscle, for better or worse.
"You're going to have to speak more clearly if you want me to understand you."

538963

>>538961
"Trouble." I tell her. "Seems it might just be coming to us."

538964

>>538961
"Bad omen."

538965

>>538962
"Tak'a stiep beck."
Even if the accent is strange and foreign to you, the wiggling of the sharp iron in front of your throat is enough to let you understand what he might be suggesting.
>>538963
>>538964
"B-but…"
Her ears flop down, and she seems about to cry, but in a decent show of self-restraint gulps down all that worry and shuts up.
Sea clears his throat.
"If the wild tribes really did attack one of our riders…
They would just be signing their own death warrant."

538966

>>538961
"Some pony died." I tell her

538967

>>538965
"Dark juju in the air. Strange happenings."

538968

>>538965
Back it up.
"I can be a logopedist if you want me to be. I'm a doctor."

538969

>>538965
"Even so, I'd rather not just stand around waiting for an attack. They should be putting us on high alert soon, judging by the way Grog took off."

538970

>>538965
"Maybe it was some pony working alone." I suggest

538972

>>538970
"We're out here in the middle of nowhere. Someone would have to go out of their way to even meet, let alone attack someone."

538973

>>538970
"Would have be a strong pony. Polar bear dangerous."

538975

>>538968
"Ain't no need fer ya tricks.
Dat's just da way ah spoke. Always!"
The blade does its best to stay close to your throat, almost if mesmerized by it…
And as you step back, the frail figure of a young stallion steps into the light. He must not be older than sixteen, and most of those years weren't spent training his phisique, you'd guess.
>>538969
>>538972
>>538973
"It m-must have been the Night then! They are back!"
New squeks these words in a low pitch, almost shaking in fear. You can see how she's not the only one.
Sea seems displeased by this.
"We could make conjectures like everypony else or we could try and find out."

538977

>>538975
"Whoa, sonny, are your parents okay with you handling this sharp piece of metal? I don't want to get in trouble for that."

538978

>>538973
>>538972
"I have heard tales of monsters in the body of ponies. Their strength only matched by their brutality towards their victims.. maybe it was one of those."

538979

>>538975
"Mare needs to relax."

538984

>>538975
"I don't think they'd be letting us out anytime soon, but has this happened before? Any ideas on if they'll increase armed patrols or try to keep everyone inside?"

>>538978
"There's a monster in everyone. But like Sea said, we shouldn't try to guess from here. We should get ready for orders. Grog and the Commander don't seem the type to just take the loss sitting down."

538987

>>538979
>>538978
New nods veemently at Star's remark.
"See!
He knows aswell!"
Sea just shakes his head and gives up.
>>538977
He narrows his eyes, as if you insulted him.
"Ol' man thaugth mhe how, ya shit-striped-cum-encrusted sub-equine bag'o rot!"
You might have made him angry.

538988

>>538984
"…you think they will send us out? We are just new recruits!" Look around for a place to hide!'1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

538989

>>538987
Clear my throat.
"If you have issues I can talk you over it. That's what doctors do. Aside from the experiments."

538990

>>538987
"It must be true!" I say quickly before hiding

538991

>>538987
Pimp slap the mare. '1d10'
"Mare must calm down."

Roll #1 4 = 4

538993

>>538988
>>538990
>>538987
"Wait, you're all inside a fortress filled with weapons and food and you mean to tell me the lot of you are afraid? Think for a second."

538996

>>538984
Sea seems relieved.
"Not in hundreads of years.
The northern tribes used to be quite the headache, but then…
Something happened to most of them."
His eyes meet yours.
"And dark voices go around as to who or what that was."
>>538989
"Isshues wi'ya.
Stealin' in MAY forge!"
>>538991
The slap doesn't even make New flinch… She's got a damn strong jaw.
But she does blink, and turn to look at you with an ashamed expression and a coy smile.
>>538993
Star ran off. Bad omen.
Sea just sighs.
"As I was saying.
The tribes have more to fear from us than us from them."
>>538990
If your superior officers saw you, they'd call you a deserter.
Sea just shakes his head and sighs before going back to talking with Ogaden.

538998

>>538996
"Mare must focus. We find out what killed ponies first. No panic now."

539000

>>538996
Its a good thing he is too busy to notice then!

539001

>>538998
"…"
Her expression is blank, but she nods.

539003

>>539000
So, do you plan of ever leaving this hiding spot under the bear's belly or…

539004

>>538996
"I'm pretty sure it's not may, if it was, people wouldn't be talking of the coming winter. And I'm not stealing!"

539006

>>539004
"Y'know ho' long took me to blow 'dat glass jus' right?"

539007

>>539001
"Here."
Shove the bottle in her hooves.
"Liquid courage."

539008

>>539003
…okay.. go back toward the buildings.

539009

>>538996
"Knowing most, they'd probably arm and group us together. They know they won't be getting much reinforcements, so everyone here has value. Anything they they think of to do will have that in mind. Right now, we're all just waiting for orders."

539013

>>539006
"Yes, it's perfect, so why just have it sit around here instead of being used? What good is a perfect glass if not used? That's like a pretty nun that's never fucked. A real shame."

539015

>>539001
Good she's out of her mare craziness.
Look at the others.
"Plan?"

539020

>>539007
She pick it up and takes a sip.
Kind of a deep one.
Then hooves it back to you, wiping her nuzzle.
"I was fine though. But thanks for the warmer up.
Your other pal might need it a bit more…"
He looks over your shoulder, where you notice a beated down Star walk sadly along the outer edges of the fort.
>>539008
You slide away from the smelly underside of the white bear and start heading out of the stables, under the kinda-shocked look of the jenny from earlier.
Out in the training plaza again.
Your 'friends' are not so far away.
>>539009
"If they do something like this…
Don't lose your head, okay?
Any of you.
We need to band together, in case they send us out."
Sea seems nervous.
>>539015
Sea answers up.
"Ogaden makes a point.
We might be seeing a real assignment any day now.
If there's anything you don't feel sure about, if there's anything you still want to say to your gods…
I think it's time you do that."
>>539013
"Ah've plans."
He lowers the sword, planting it on the ground.
"Great plans."

539023

>>539020
"Why talk to gods? We can see them every day."

539024

>>539023
He lets out a sour chuckle.
"I'd rather see them later than sooner."

539025

>>539020
"I'm sure they are quite impressive. Do enlighten me."

539027

>>539024
I look puzzled at him.
"Gods are friends."

539028

>>539020
>>539008
Waggle after him.
"Tovarich! Where you go to?"

539031

>>539020
..right.. I should. Take a breath and come back.. '1d10+2' maybe I can calm myself as I walk over to my 'friends' even of they are suicidal..

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

539032

>>539025
He scoffs and picks the sword up again, going back inside.
"Ye shit-fer-brains wouldn't undarstand anyway."
>>539027
"They are, but seeing them…
For ponies like me at least, seeing them is a privilege only bestowed upon us at the end of times."

539034

>>539028
"…oh. I was.. looking at the snow. Yea. Its still there!" Laugh nervously.

539035

>>539020
"I don't think I've offered a prayer in a long while, and I reckon we won't have to. 'Cept for the poor pony we already lost, everyone here knows their duty here."

>>539032
"Oy, it'll be a long time 'fore that happens to you or anyone else, ya' hear me. Focus on the task at hoof and we'll all be fine, got it?"

539036

>>539032
"Just what I thought."
Oh, sweet, that means I get to keep it, right?

539038

>>539031
>>539028
Star's back, and he's looking rather pale.
And smelling like manure, which is to say, only slightly worse than everyone else here.
Barely noticeable.
Sea looks at him as he returns, ignoring his comment on the snow.
"We were just talking about what might happen if we are sent out."
>>539035
The young stallion scoffs, but puts on a cocky smile and reaches with a hoof for your shoulder.
"Please, I'm not worried about my life.
Dying like this would be a honor."
>>539036
You never got to pick it up to begin with.

539039

>>539032
I look confused.
"Pony hasn't seen gods? Then why worship gods?"

539040

>>539038
Didn't I?
He told me to put it back!

539041

>>539038
"…which would be?"

539042

>>539034
"Drink some liquid courage, da?"
Show him the bottle.

539043

>>539039
He seems to be caught by surprise.
"Because my parents did!"
>>539040
And I assumed you did. Otherwise, he wouldn't have let you off the hook.
>>539041
He's locked in phylosophical debate over the meaning of religious worship with the zebra.
New Season answers instead.
"Take up arms.
Defend ourselves."

539045

>>539043
"Has gods helped pony?"

539046

>>539043
Fiiiiiiiine

539047

>>539038
"Well call me a heretic because I intend to delay that death. When you go, I want you loaded up on stories to tell whoever is waiting for ya."

>>539041
"You're getting worried over something we can't deal with until it happens. Steel your resolve in the moment, we'll all be working together."

539048

>>539045
He nods.
"Of course they have, all through my life!"
>>539046
Head back or…?

539050

>>539048
"How?"

539051

>>539047
He stops a moment from his arguing to give you the faintest nod back.
There's something of a flame in his eyes.
>>539050
"Gave me well being and strength and all their favors!
Made me grow strong, kept my father safe and my mother wise, lightened my path in darkness!
You can't measure the greatness of the gods!
It's like…"
He winces.
"Look, maybe you should ask all these questions to a priest."

539054

>>539048
Head back now.

539055

>>539051
"Everyone still mortal, tovarich."

539061

>>539051
Good, we're gonna need motivated people to get through this. Give him a sly smile in response.

539064

>>539054
Back to the others.
They are discussing the current events. Which you missed entirely.
>>539055
"But what do we say to the god of Death?"
>>539061
He knows you've got his back.
New Season, meanwhile, groans.
"Okay, I need a recap here!"

539065

>>539051
"Why is pony scared of these questions?"

539068

>>539065
"I'm not!"
He's getting defensive, taking a step back and raising his voice slightly.

539069

>>539064
>>539065
>>539068
I'm sure it must have been fascinating.
"What did I miss?"

539070

>>539064
"I'm not friends with him, don't know."

539072

>>539043
>>539042
>>539047
Drink a bit from the bottle and calm down. "This is all so sudden.. won't we die if they don't let us train?"

539073

>>539068
"This one understands pony is scared. This one will cease questions."

>>539069
"This one was asking questions. What does curious pony want?"

539074

>>539070
>>539073
Sea exhales deeply and recomposes himself.
Then turns to Volodski
"Not today."
>>539069
The bald mare from the day before answers you in a sarcastic tone.
"Fun."
>>539072
"This is why we must make best use of the time we have now."

539075

>>539064
>>539064
"You apologize for being so late and burdening him with so many others you sent to him before you finally bucked it, that's what. Let's focus, we've lost only one rider so far, but we've got plenty of weapons to go about and I don't doubt they'll be assigning us to patrol in groups to make sure we all get through this."

>>539072
"We we're already training earlier, it just happened to get interrupted. We'll probably step that up, but I'm sure everyone here will be grateful for knowing how to kill the other guy and not kill yourself with your weapon."

539079

>>539075
Sea chuckles at that.

"He's right.
If there's a time we can prepare for this storm, it's now.
Let's get down to it.
The first thing should be learn how to fight as a group."

539081

>>539070
"This one admires the northern pony."

539082

>>539074
>>539073
"What kind of fun?"

539084

>>539079
>>539075
>>539074
Brighten up a bit at the idea of working together.
"Okay. Where do we start?"

539085

>>539082
"Fun….Curious pony is curiouser."

539086

>>539073
"Thanks legoba.."

539088

>>539082
"We are going to war soon, that's what kind of fun.
One of the guards was killed by the wild tribes beyond the wall."
>>539084
Sea takes a few steps back, looking at all of you.
"Cold. How do you handle cold?"

539089

>>539086
I nod.

539091

>>539085
"Which pony?"

>>539088
"Tragic. Simply tragic. My condolences."

539093

>>539091
I point at you.

539096

>>539088
"Well enough. We knew what to expect when we knew we were coming here."

539099

>>539093
"Zigga do I look like one of them ponies to you?"
I'm a zebra too

539101

>>539088
"… why are you asking that?" '1d10' is he planning something.

Roll #1 7 = 7

539104

>>539091
She looks at you strange.
"The heck you on about, I didn't know him!"
Then turns to reply to Sea.
"Get warm clothes?"
>>539096
"Oh nonono, my friend, the question is deeper!
I'm not talking of this cold. See the sun, up there?"
He points at the sky.
"It always shines on this side of the wall for six months and more, each year.
That's what they call summer.
But see how low on the horizon it is?
This means, on the other side of the wall, the sun never shines.
There's an everlasting shadow."
>>539101
"Because, before the tribes, before the wild animals, before the giants and even before the Night, the cold will be our first enemy, on the other side of the wall!"

539105

>>539088
>>539088
"Vodka and keeping Sasha close if possible."

539107

>>539104
"I meant I don't give a shit."

539112

>>539099
"You talk like pony. Race is only skin deep."

539114

>>539104
"It only means we have to make sure we pack our snuggly blankets. We can prepare for the cold, it's everything else you mentioned that I don't like."

539115

>>539104
"..oh." stare at the horizon a moment. "I normally build a fire and pile on blankets. …I have a feeling something more may be required here mi'lord"

539131

>>539105
"Good. Vodka is a nice solution. Just watch not to finish that bottle."
He then scratches his head.
"And… It's the second time you mention Sasha.
Who's he?"
>>539114
>>539115
"The main thing to watch out for are your hooves.
Walking through the snow saps all your strength out. It's the reason the Watch uses bears fo-"
He's distracted by Camain.
>>539107
Sea turns to you.
"Hey.
Are you listening to a word of what we say?"

539133

>>539112
"How am I supposed to talk? Cryptic? That always annoyed me. Are you racist?"

539135

>>539131
"Ignore them for now. Why does the Watch use bears? What helps them navigate the snow better?"

539137

>>539133
"This one is rascist against idiots."

539138

>>539131
"No Sasha without a fire, Tovarich. She likes fires."

539139

>>539131
"Not really, no. You're going to war. And this concerns me why?"

>>539137
"That makes two of us."

539140

>>539135
Sea shakes his head and focuses back.
"Paws. And fur, lots of fur.
They are native of these zones. Some say they are giants' favorite pets."
>>539138
"…How big a fire?"

539141

>>539140
"Giants have come up a couple of times since you started. What can we expect from them, just how big are they?"

539142

>>539139
For a few seconds I'm silent.
Then a deep laugh bellows up from me.
"You funny."

539144

>>539142
Smile.
"I've been told, brother."

539145

>>539139
"We are going to war.
Or being dragged into one.
So it concerns you aswell."
>>539141
"They are all stories. Nopony's seen one in centuries, but I'm sure there have to be books about them, here in the Fort."

539146

>>539140
"A torch would do."

539147

>>539146
There are dozen of lit torches around the stone walls of almost every building, burning in magical fire.

539148

>>539146
>>539147
Sea looks around, taking sight of them, and then back at you, a brow raised questioningly.

539149

>>539145
"Let's leave that for later then, but I was kind of hoping that the staff here would know a little more about what we might face. Is there anything else we should be ready to bring out, or what else might be waiting for us?"

539151

>>539145
Snort.
"Why would they send me into a war?"

539153

>>539149
"Once the rush dies down we should definitely investigate.
Maybe talk to the stable keeper, or check with the local archivist."
He shakes his head.
"Your best warface might work. If we are against something that knows fear, that is."
>>539151
"That's why you are here for.
What we are all here for."

539154

>>539147
>>539148
"I'm not cold… she won't like it if I ask her to come out without a reason. You know how mares are, da? But I guess I could try to bring her out at least once, no promises she will want to come."
Raise dead on one of the fires.

Roll #1 7 = 7

539155

>>539139
>>539131
"Well no one ever said this would be easy…"

539157

>>539144
"What curious pony think of this?"

539161

>>539141
Maybe I can remember a story about giants '1d10+2'

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

539162

>>539157
>>539155
"I'm still deciding on what to think on this."

>>539153
"I came here to experiment in peace."

539164

>>539155
"Won't be hard either. This Wall's been up for so long and it won't fall while we're here. Work with us and we'll make it through."

>>539162
"Just think of all the new things we'll meet and put down. We'll be needing someone to catalogue and work on it. Think of all the new things you'll have to work with."

539165

>>539164
"As long I get the equipment for it, that doesn't sound too bad."

539167

>>539154
As if mag-
No scratch that.
By magic, by your magic, the flame is mesmerized.
The dancing of the lantern stops its erratic pattern and twists and turns, piercing the white and cold world imprisoning you, slipping through the iron bars imprisoning it.
In front of you, a mare stands. And at the same time, fire stands.
The shape, the thought, the feeling of her is there, but the alien image in front of you is instead of burning, twisting flames with no boundaries, turning and eating and consuming all, while standing still as a breath held for too long.
The energic, faceless form walks up to you, and with a tongue of fire, she roars.
And bows to Volodski.

Everyone in the Fort is staring at the summoned essence and has stopped doing whatever they were doing a moment before.

539168

>>539165
"We gotta earn it first, but do your best and I wouldn't be non-plussed to build whatever ye be needing. You just gotta toughen up a little, since you might be the one who has to put things down before you can haul 'em over here to open up."

539169

>>539167
"Sasha! You came!"

539170

>>539167
I look at it.
I knew I sensed something about the northern pony.

539171

>>539169
She burns a shade brighter just because of that.
But stands still in place.
Sea, terrified, slips by you.
"Is that Sasha?"
You can hear tension in his voice.

539172

>>539164
Look unsure "…maybe they were not kidding when we were told most of us will die in winter.."
>>539162
"Decide fast.. we might not have long. "
>>539167
"Whoa… I want one!"

539173

>>539167
"Hm… how do you do that?"

>>539172
"Don't worry, I can improvise."

539174

>>539171
"Da, of course. She's a little bit shy."
Motion her to come closer.

>>539173
"Magic practice."

539175

The ponies around are unsure on how to react.
Some bow slightly to the happarison, others back away.
You can see one of them run for the Commander's office.

539176

>>539172
"That was to scare you into working hard, pony. With skills to make a flaming horse like this on our side, we WILL all survive, got it? Not just that, prosper. This is our new home, and I don't intend to let the Cold of Night take it without a fight."

539178

>>539176
Huff a bit and make a doppleganger " having two of me has not made me less squishy" '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

539181

>>539178
Try to hide my own amazement. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

539182

>>539174
>>539178
Raise a brow.
"Fascinating."

539184

>>539181
>>539178
"Well then, I hope you doubled your courage with that." I say with eyes wide open.

539188

>>539178
Rub my eyes.
"Shtoh? I think I drink too much again."

539189

>>539184
>>539182
"…" stand behind my double

539190

>>539178
Your horn shimmers the color of twilight, and the universe shrinks.
Right beside you, reality stretches and bends and turns and fights itself to stand still, as you break her with nothing more than your Will.
In an instant, the whole thing falls apart and shatters and squirms, almost if shrieking in pain, silently.
Then, a second before all of this, You happear beside you.

539192

>>539189
Sea turns to you, scared.
"Star, you too…"

539193

>>539178
I raise a brow.

539197

>>539192
"Day full of surprises."

539199

>>539189
>>539192
"Relax, it's still Star, right?"

Touch the first one near me and let out a little Spellbreaker. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

539200

>>539192
"You look pale."

539201

>>539192
>>539190
"..I told you I could do magic…" stay hiding behind my copy

539207

Suddenly, Grog bursts out of the Commander's office, throwing open the door already ajar with a mighty kick.
"What's the meaning of this?"
He's embracing his large axe in a paw, and looking down.
>>539199
Just as the might of Truth flows through your hooves, and with little more than some pressure you shatter the illusion, which vanishes without a word, and make Star fall on the ground as a result.
>>539201
The copy's gone, donkey's popped it!
WITH MAGIC!
>>539200
That's the face of someone who's seen a monster.
But there's another face you should worry about. Grog's.
He's staring at you from the balcony of the Commander's office.
For the whole lot of one split second.
With a mighty leap, using a paw and the railing to help himself, he jumps to the ground, his armor clanging heavily.
But he doesn't rest and instead rushes forward, axe first, as if possessed, and races past you, slicing Sasha effortlessly in half, a blue shimmer on his axe the only trace of the strike.

Grog turns to your whole group, growling.
"One chance to explain."

539210

>>539207
"Magic."

539211

>>539207
"It was clearly magic. You're not very astute, are you?"

539213

>>539207
"Sasha!"
Look at him like he's just killed a small child!
"Why do that!? Now I will have to explain this to her next time she comes out!"

539214

>>539207
"..I..did we break a rule?" Back away slowly

539216

>>539207
"Is this why we were all brought here?"

539218

>>539210
>>539211
"You two, shut up.
Especially you."
He points to Camain.
>>539213
>>539214
>>539216
"You three."
He points at all of you.
"Never pull a stunt like that again."

539220

>>539218
Gulp hard "sorry sir."

539221

>>539218
Look at him smugly.

539222

>>539218
"Shtoh? Why not? Do you not like Sasha?"

539223

>>539218
"I guess, yes, sir!"

"I just touched it, is all." I mumble to myself.

539224

>>539218
I'm silent.
Glance at ogadens shadow for a second and than back.

539225

>>539223
Look kind of scared of you.

539227

>>539225
It goes over my head with how you've been acting all day.
"Hmm, what is it?"

539233

>>539220
>>539222
>>539223
"No more discussion about this."
He raises to his feet, slings the axe behind his back and walks to the middle of the training square.
"Back to work.
There's training to be done.
"
>>539223
If you were wondering, the magic was visible. Spellbreak always is.
>>539224
The shadow glances back, a wicked smile on its lips.
If it had lips.
>>539221
"Get some better friends. Friends that won't get you killed."

After Grog leaves, everypony's eyes still linger on you, but they do their best to return to normality.
New Season is the first to approach.
"That was…
Awesome!"
Her eyes are starry as she speaks, she might even have cried.

539235

>>539233
Who the hell does this guy think he is?
Stupid mutt.
Volodski is thoroughly pissed now.

539236

>>539222
"Northern pony is powerful. Baron respects northern pony. Baron hopes he and the northern pony can be allies."
I bow my head for a second.

539237

>>539233
"Oh gods. What if he really does send us out sooner because of this? I.. we aren't ready!"
>>539227
"You got rid of my copy so fast.."

539239

>>539233
"It was impressive, even I have to admit."

539240

>>539236
Shake a hoof at where that dog went.
"He killed Sasha!"

539241

>>539233
"Hopefully, this speaks well of what the future holds for us."

>>539237
"Sorry, but I just had to try. Took me by surprise too."

539242

>>539240
"The Sasha spirit will be back. The Baron knows."

539244

>>539237
Sea answers you quite readily, in a stern tone.
"Then you will be ready, no doubt."
>>539239
"Zigger, you blind?
Everypony was staring! It was the best thing ever!"
>>539241
"You are totally going places.
Everypony will want to know you now!"
>>539240
Sea snorts.
"It's just a trick of flames. She'll be back."

539245

>>539242
"Da, but she will be aaaangry. She has big temper!"

539246

>>539241
Shake my head slowly. "This is not good.." try shakily to pick up the bow again.

539248

>>539244
"..I hope so mi'lord.."

539249

>>539244
"Just wait until I can set a lab up!"

539251

>>539245
"The fire mare does?"

539252

>>539244
"No, she more than trick of flames."

>>539251
"Da."

539258

>>539246
"Whoa there. Look, whatever you think I might be doing, I meant what I said earlier. We'll all get through this, even if I have to take charge 'n train ya."

I'll pick up a pair of sticks then.

"Here, maybe something happen that I ain't gonna pry into, so I'll let you shoot me to let it out. Whatever you think of me, I'm just right here, so go ahead and let it out. Try to shoot me while I try to block it."

539264

>>539258
Breath deeply a few times "it did not hurt me.. not like volodski was hurt.. and thanks.. this is just training. " focus and shoot a practice arrow at you '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

539290

>>539252
"This one has found that mares usually calm down when this one slaps them back to reality."

539298

>>539290
"Sasha is very hot to the touch."

539299

>>539290
"You want to slap fire?"

539304

>>539298
>>539299
"The baron has his methods. Perhaps this one could rub his hooves with snow first."

539306

>>539248
"Tsk.
You were hiding something like that all along, I'm suddenly a lot less scared about your survival."
>>539249
"You keep saying that zigger. But nopony will bend over to give one to you."
She smirks.
>>539252
"Oh sure, she's your magic and all.
I'm sure you have a lot of good words for her.
All I know is she's gonna save all of your asses, on the other side of the wall."
>>539258
Sea turns to you.
"And you.
That thing with your hoof…
What was that, disintegration?
Did you pop the real Star and leave behind the copy?"

539312

>>539306
"Hiding? No mi'lord I did not hide it. I used it in that fight when we first got here too."

539313

>>539306
"Oh you would, if you saw what I'm capable of."

539315

>>539313
"Too bad here, you are just like all of us normal ponies."
She sticks her tongue out to you.

539316

>>539304
"Sasha saves many asses. Burns a lot of asses too."

539317

>>539264
"Not bad, but pull it back a bit more. And here, I'll drop the sticks, try to get me dead center."

>>539306
"For some reason, it felt more like the Truth was getting out. That one wasn't the real one, what came out of me just couldn't accept it."

539318

>>539316
"This one found many mares are happy when this one does it. Gives the mares a reason to calm down."

539321

>>539316
woops, meant to link to >>539306

539325

>>539317
"..if you're sure.."
'1d10' try again.

Roll #1 6 = 6

539330

>>539315
Snort.
"I can work without a lab, it's just less effective.
I can make anything work out of anything you name."

539331

>>539325
"That's better. A little more force behind the next one."

539337

>>539312
"Incredible nopony noticed that."
His stern expression remains.
>>539316
"Is that a threat?"
>>539317
He shakes his head with a little smirk.
"…No matter how much I want to despise you for that magic, I just can't."
>>539330
"Big deal!"

539340

>>539337
"Shtoh? Nyet. Who to threaten?"

539342

>>539337
"As always, you are too dump to comprehend!"

539343

>>539340
He waves a hoof.
"This day is getting to me.
Please, forgive me."

539344

>>539342
She sticks her tongue out again!
Sea, insteead, walks beside you.
"You have been going on about this laboratory all day."

539345

>>539337
"Why not, go ahead and put in to the table, or floor, or training area, you know what I mean. Just like Fortune here, I'd rather take your blows and opinions head on."

539347

>>539345
"…You should not be roped into my grudges.
And besides, you are now my best chance of coming out of this war alive."

539354

>>539337
Look kind of depressed. "..yea.. amazing.."

>>539331
'1d10' put all my focus behind it.

Roll #1 7 = 7

539357

>>539354
"Star, maybe we should talk about this. Later."

539358

>>539344
"I joined this miserable pile of ponies on my own, so I wouldn't be disturbed. I thought this place is remote enough."

539359

>>539344
I will have to be careful around here.
Let's see, the pony who is threatening the northern pony, raise his shadow, but keep him on the ground as well.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

539360

>>539347
"As long as those improved chances don't include throwing me to the lions, I'm fine with it."

>>539354
"Ow. That might leave a mark. You're getting better."

539362

>>539358
"This place just became one of the busiest in the world, isolation or not."
>>539359
Who is threatening Volodsky?
You mean Sea Culling?

539364

>>539343
"I forgive."

539366

>>539362
"Then they will need my inventions."

539367

>>539362
Grog, that one.
Or is he gone already?
If so, raise Sea's shadow.

539369

>>539364
He nods.
"Now, we should finish that training…"
>>539366
"You should show them that."
>>539367
He's gone since long.
You raise his shadow, and a feminine, warm sensation reaches to you from it.

539370

>>539357
Nod slowly "certainly mi'lord"
>>539360
Smile softly "hey fight back so I can get some real practice in."

539378

>>539370
"Your mood's certainly improved. Alright, how about this."

Just move around, trying to not be a still target. '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

539380

>>539369
"I would have, but they didn't let me take stuff from the armory!"

539381

#Pause

539407

>>539378
'1d10' "wow you're fast."

Roll #1 8 = 8

539411

>>539407
"You got close, though. Let me change it up."

Plant my hooves and try to just move my upper body. '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

539415

>>539411
"Don't trip yourself." '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

539419

>>539415
I faceplant onto the floor.

"You did a good enough job doing that by hitting me right in the face. Once more before we await for orders."

Try to do some short hops this time. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

539428

>>539419
'1d10' hit him once more. "Okay. I feel a little more confident yea."

Roll #1 9 = 9

539438

>>539428
"Glad to see that, but you could have been more careful. Almost poked an eye out there."

539443

>>539438
Grab a practice arrow and show you. "Then end is not sharp. It can't hurt you."

539450

>>539443
"Doesn't mean they aren't gonna try. 'Sides, the eye isn't exactly the most strongest part of the body."

539499

>>539450
"Okay. How many of me do you see?" Grin confidently.

551602

A cry in the cold wakes you all up as the rooster flexes his mighty voice.
It's the dawn of the next day in the almost empty bunkhouse.
Nobody's here to wake you up this time.
The old troop goes through its classic, well oiled routine with uneasy tension, maybe a hint of fear in the uncertainty of their future.
The door opens, and through it, Grog comes in.
Legoba
You can't move, your every bone is as if frozen in place, despite the heavy sheets you are sleeping under.

551605

>>551602
Let's make sure whatever uniform they have us wear is adjusted properly.

551606

>>551605
The grey colored, baggy uniforms are soft to the touch and warm on your skin.
You see Grog heading silently and slowly this way, inspecting bunks as he does.

551607

>>551602
A scientists needs sleep

551608

>>551602
Uhh get up quick and make the bed. '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

551609

>>551606
Same thing as every day before the wall then, but no wife to tend to the bed this time. Get to making it look trim and proper.

551611

>>551602
"Hey, need help!"

551613

>>551608
>>551609
The beds are tied enough to leave officers who would care satisfied.
Seems like the large dog, though, isn't here for the beds.
He stops to look at the sleeping zebra.
>>551607
Without a word, you feel your world turn. Next thing you know, you are standing upside down, being lifted up by Grog by the back legs.
He's glaring daggers at you.
>>551611
Grog growls lowly.
"You will get yours in due time."

551614

>>551613
Look at him with tired eyes.
"Whatever you are doing right now better involve coffee"

551616

>>551613
"Can't feel legs."

551618

>>551616
'1d10' "what's wrong" try to help him

Roll #1 6 = 6

551619

>>551613
>>551616
>>551618
"It's too early for all of this." Help Legoba with Star. '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

551620

>>551614
Hello face, meet window.
As you fly out of it, you can't help but notice how pretty the white snow looks.
And how freezing it is.
>>551616
Finally Grog comes to you.
"And what is your pr-"
He stops as he pulls out the sheets.
Then points at >>551618
"Find doc Barika. Now. Upstairs."

551622

>>551620
"This one thinks he needs some wine."

551624

>>551620
"What's going on with him, Grog?"

551625

>>551619
Grog stops you.
"He's frostbitten. Don't touch him or you might cut something."
And indeed, you see the zebra's coat is covered in ice, his hooves filled with cuts both light and deep.
>>551622
"You will need a coffin if the doc doesn't come soon enough.
What happened to you?"

551628

>>551620
Hurry upstairs

551630

>>551625
"Had a bad dream. Many mares presenting themselves to Legoba, then wake up and look at face of that one."
Point to Ogaden.

551634

>>551625
"How'd he get it and not us?"

>>551630
"What, you're saying I'm not pretty enough to wake up to?"

551635

>>551634
"Not pretty like mare. But except that exactly like mare."
Grin.

551637

>>551628
Upstairs, after a long hallway with dozens of doors, you end up in a tiny room, in a mix of bandages, oils and pots, where a single zebra mare sits, reading.
Your rushing manners make her turn around, her ice blue eyes, looking at you expectingly.
"Mh?"
>>551630
Grog just covers you back again and lets out a groan.
>>551634
"Do I look like I know that?
Maybe it's that damn magic you are all full of."

551639

>>551635
Just shrug and nod my head.
"Sometimes I wonder if even you know what you're saying."

551640

>>551637
"My friend has frostbite. Please help him."

551641

>>551637
Grin innocently '1d10'

>>551639
"This one says you are weak like mare."

Roll #1 4 = 4

551647

>>551640
"Damn idiots."
She puts down the book in a hurry and grabs a leather bag with her teeth, rushing down past you.
Only to stop at the end of the hallway, where she looks back at you.
"Whewe fo?"
>>551641
"Don't pop a boner, your dick would fall off.
And we need you all in one piece today."

551648

>>551641
"Oh, and which one of us is part ice right now? I didn't even feel the cold."

551651

>>551647
"The bunks." Lead her back to legoba

551653

>>551647
"Boner…fall off?"
Smile fading.

>>551648
"This one will throw you outside, then feel the cold."

551654

>>551653
"I'd like to see you try. I'd bet you'd freeze over completely if your delicate little hooves touched the outside."

551656

>>551651
As soon as you speak, she rushes down, leaving you without as much as a word.
>>551653
A zebra mare comes running to your bedside and Grog pulls the covers out to reveal your form to her.
She gasps and the bag she was carrying in her mouth falls off, to the ground in front of you.
"What on earth did you even do to end up like that!"

551659

>>551656
Run down after her.

551660

>>551656
"Maybe sheets too small? Maybe they didn't cover hooves?"

551663

>>551660
"Oy, oy, show the Doc some consideration. She's brought some candy to make the little filly feel better."

551664

>>551663
Perk a brow.
"Candy?"

551665

>>551660
"Your whole body's a mess, for the spirits!
Lemme get you up!"
That's a biiiiig needle she's pulling out of the bag!
>>551659
You see everyone around Legoba's bed, looking on as the zebra starts treating him.

"Bandages, warm syrup, unguents…"
Barika pulls a large set of tools and starts working on Legoba. This will take a while.

>>551659
>>551654
Grog turns to you two.
"You."
He's squinting, a hard stare on his face.

551666

>>551665
"Doc, this one won't lose his boner right?"

551667

>>551665
Just look back at him.
"Yes?"

551676

>>551665
"…yes sir?" Stare up at the diamond dog nervously

551678

>>551666
She winces.
"You will if you talk about that ever again."
She's climbed onto your bed, starting to pass the warm bandages all over your body, but you can't feel almost anything as her hooves run through your frozen coat.
>>551667
>>551676
Keeping up the hard stare, he talks.
"Follow me."
He turns around and leaves the bunkhouse.

551679

>>551678
Follow him. Clinging my coat tight to my body.

551680

>>551678
"Yes, sir." Follow behind him.

>>551676
"Wasn't me, I think. This ever happen to ya'?"

551681

>>551678
"Oof, then this one is glad. Thank you, doctor mare."

551682

>>551680
" what? No. I don't control ice. I didn't hurt legoba! " I whisper back defensively

551684

>>551679
>>551680
He leads you both in front of the commander's office, on the floor above the dining hall, and as you walk the balcony you can feel the stolen glances some of the other ponies are giving you.
Grog knocks, and a muttered reply can be heard from inside.
He opens the door.
"Go in."
The office is dark, and nothing can be seen from here.

551685

>>551682
"Not saying it was you. Just strange it happen to just 'im and not us."

551687

>>551684
Nothin' to do but do as we're told.

551688

>>551685
Shrug " maybe he was unlucky "
>>551684
Walk in to the dark slowly.

551702

>>551687
>>551688
The first thing you notice is, the place is much more vivid on the inside. The darkness which seemed to envelope it entirely disappears to give way to a warmly lit, well furbished and large office, with bookshelves on the walls, blazing lanterns burning all around and a large red and gold rug with the symbol of the night's watch emblazed upon it, above which stands a large ebony desk…
And behind the desk, stands the Lady Commander.
This tall Earth pony, her coat like dark amber and her mane long and flowing in its dull brown color, is seating on what seems the rest of the crystal throne from the dining hall, lazily slunched over as a hoof rubs her temple, and dark brown eyes peer deep into yours.
She doesn't speak.
>>551681
She's done patching you, and steps away as a warm sensation washes over your body.
"How did you even manage to hurt so much and make it back here?
Why not come to me instantly?"
You can move again!

551704

>>551702
"You asked for us, Commander?"

551705

>>551702
Shrug.
"This one is not sure what pony means. This one woke up like this."

551708

>>551702
Gulp hard and give her a bow " commander. You summoned us?"

551713

>>551704
>>551708
She nods, slow and methodical, her eyes glaring at you both as if full of hate.
"I saw your show, yesteday."
her voice is raspy and low, hard to understand at first glance.
>>551705
"You surely can't have frozen almost to death in your own bed!"
She no pony, she zebra.
Zebra in her 40s with eyes blue as ice.

551717

>>551713
"M-my apologises. I didn't realize it was against the rules.. it won't happen again."

551718

>>551713
"Zebra sister has special eyes."

551720

>>551713
"Well, it wasn't supposed to be that way, you know. It just, sorta happened. Should we stop, or somethin'?"

551726

>>551717
"It is not against the rules, no."
>>551720
She lunges slowly forward, putting both hooves over the black mogany table, staring at you both.
"You saw what happened yesterday. Beside your show."
>>551718
She blinks in mild surprise and starts packing her bag, not looking at you.
"Gift from my mother."

551728

>>551726
"I take it you're talking about how the rest of the place acted?"

551729

>>551726
"This one thinks those are very nice and thanks you for your help doctor."

551734

>>551728
She shakes her head.
"The lone mount. Returning with no rider."
>>551729
She grabs the bag in her mouth again and smiles happily.
"S'h mah shob!"
Finally, she trots upstairs back from where she came.

551735

>>551726
Look confused "…okay…"

551737

>>551735
"We need special ponies.
Ponies like you.
"

551739

>>551737
"I take it you got a plan in mind?"

551740

>>551737
".. what do you require of me commander?" Plainly terrified now.

551742

>>551734
Good.
Get up.
Now get on my clothes and go outside.

551748

>>551739
She nods.
"Winter is coming. I can't send anypony behind the wall. Too dangerous, too cold.
And if the tribes attack, I will need the veterans protecting our fort, teaching the younglings.
But you are not veterans, you are a group of ponies with a very particular set of skills.
Skills that can save yourselves.
Save us.
"
>>551742
Where did you put the dagger, yesterday?

551751

>>551748
In my butthole.
No seriously, under my matress.

551752

>>551748
"What would you have us do?"

551758

>>551751
Noted.
Once outside, Grog turns his head from the training to look at you.
Straaaaight in your eyes. The only not-bandaged part of your body, really.
Your mummy attire elicits a few giggles around.
>>551752
She puts two small dagger on the table, its black sheat lined with silver leaves and gold lines as decoration.
"Rangers.
Traveling north to uncover the truth about our missing raider.
"

551760

>>551758
"This one is cured."

551762

>>551758
"That doesn't sound too bad.."

551764

>>551758
"Solve the problem before it gets worse, right? Best option there is, even if we're the ones at risk now."

551767

>>551760
"You took too long pal.
Gotta wait for them to finish."
He points up, at the commander's office.
"I think you will hear news soon."
>>551762
She stares into your eyes.
"And you will lead them."
>>551764
"Find out what happened to the missing rider.
Find anyone involved.
Report back before you die in the cold.
And bring the others ones with you.

Dismissed.
"

551769

>>551767
"This one is ready for news.
This one has nothing to do."

551771

>>551767
"Yes, ma'am. We'll make sure to find out everything that happened."

551774

>>551767
"M-maim?! A-are you sure you m-mean me?" Rolling not to hyperventilate '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

551775

>>551769
"You look too frail to even stand, let alone fight.
I won't have anyone spar with you right now."
>>551771
She leans back on her crystal chair and waits silently.
>>551774
Her eyes are glacial and her tone cold.
"I said, dismissed."
But you just. Cannot. Move.

551779

>>551775
"Ey, time for us to go."

Tap Fortune on the shoulder. '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

551781

>>551779
You slap Fortune silly out of his chair.
At least he's out of his stupor now, albeit onto the floor.
The commander does not seem amused.

551782

>>551779
>>551775
That probably scared me even more. Try not to scream '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

551784

>>551782
Just grab Star and get out! '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

551785

>>551782
No, he outright slapped you silly. And it hurts.

551786

>>551775
"This one is okay with that."

551787

>>551785
>>551784
"…um sorry…" just back away. Or let this donkey drag me.

551788

>>551787
Grab the daggers and pull Fortune out with me.

551790

>>551785
'1d10' tk on both daggers to bring them with

Roll #1 10 = 10

551791

>>551787
You leave without even glancing at the commander and make it for the door.
>>551786
"So, how did'ya find yourself covered in ice?"
>>551790
>>551788
Finally regaining some basic composture, Fortune manages to assert himself over his fears and stands tall by the door, floating his dagger over to himself as Ogaden takes his and reaches him by the door.
"Assemble a team."

551794

>>551791
"This one woke up covered in ice."

551796

>>551794
"That's bullshit."
He's blunt and quick, almost disarming in his answering speed.

551798

>>551791
"Yes, Ma'am!"

Salute and step out.

551799

>>551791
"Yes maim." Hurry to find seas
'1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

551800

>>551796
"No, these are words."

551803

>>551798
Out.
You see Grog interrogating a mummy in the middle of the training fields.
>>551799
Sprinting like wind past a bandaged head to hoof Legoba, you tun to the same corner of the training fields where yesterday your little group sparred.
Here, Seas and New are chatting.
Or better, Seas is trying to hit New with a spear as she talks about girly things and dodges left and right with astounding ease.

551804

>>551798
"Come on. I know where to start."

551805

>>551804
"Makes my job easier. Lead on."

551808

>>551803
Stop and wait for a break in their training. Once I see it catch their attention. "Good morning mi'lord and miss new season. Do you have a moment to spare?"

551810

>>551808
Seas, exhausted, puts down the spear and stops for breath.
"I give up, what the hell is up with you this morning?"
"Had a good breakfast."
Then, both turn to you, and Seas' eyes go wide as he noties your new dagger.
But he stays queit.

551815

551817

>>551815
Whoops.
"Words. Lies."
He steps forwards, but relent.
"Seems like your pals came out already."

551820

>>551810
Give seas a smile.
"Mi'lord…You still want to be a ranger?"

551822

>>551820
He narrows his eyes and looks you over real careful.
"Where are you getting at, Star?"

551824

>>551822
"I was told to pick a team. And.. I pick you."

551825

>>551824
"As a ranger?
You?
What on earth is going on, Star?
One day you come out as some sort of prodigĂ© in magic and the next, you are a ranger, assembling a team for…
Something."

551827

>>551824
"I think she told…"

Just let Star continue.

551828

>>551817
"Pals?"

551829

>>551828
With a thumb, he points at Star and Ogaden.

551831

>>551827
New trots by you, kinda unfazed.
"What's happening now?"

551832

>>551829
Look at them and back at the commander.
"They…..came out? No don't ask don't tell here?"

551833

>>551832
"Damned if I know.
Ask them."

551834

>>551831
"It's exactly like you heard, more or less."

"What's your decision?"

551835

>>551825
Laugh nervously. "Its all very sudden but the commander made it so this very morning. She wants us to find out what happened out there." Point "behind the wall. To the rider. And I want someone I can trust. That's you seas." Smile at him " so.. what do you say?"

551837

>>551833
"Commander speaks in riddles, but this one will ask them."

551841

>>551834
"I know nothing, Ogaoga."
>>551834
>>551835
He takes a step back and shakes my head.
"Heck, you don't even have to ask me twice!
Of course I want to be a ranger!
But this is crazy, why are they even sendin you instead of somepony with experience?!"
>>551837
"I'm not the…"
He just groans and covers his face with a paw.

551844

>>551841
"What Star said, it's true. We, I've been tasked with getting a group together to investigate the missing rider."

551845

>>551841
Circle my hoof in the snow.
"Because we know magic? I don't know.. maybe she just wanted to kill us off. "

551848

>>551844
"Sounds fun.
More fun than this place at least.
"
>>551845
"Look, I don't even care anymore!"
He's excitedly picking weapons off the rack.
"We should get ready to head out!
Need food, and clothes, and a mount, and proper weapons, and tools, and medical supplies, and basic training…"
He keeps going on and on.
"We better start working on that right now!"

551849

>>551841
Salute him and walk to Ogaden.

>>551844
"Commander wants to know if you two do the gay?"

551852

>>551849
New Season shrugs.
"At times."

551855

>>551848
"Right!" Haha I feel better already. Follow after him. "Who else do we need?"

551856

>>551849
I'm just going to ignore that.

"The real Commander has an idea for us to go investigate what happened with the rider. If you think you're so strong, maybe you'd like to come with us into the barren wastelands with us?"

551860

>>551856
>>551855
"You two do the gays or not?"
Look both of you over.
Then point to ogaden.
"This one bets you be the mare."

551861

>>551855
"I'd get all of you… Magic guys."
He makes a motion with a hoof to include you, Lagobi and Ogaden.

551864

>>551861
"Right. All the magic…"
>>551860
"NO! "

551866

>>551864
"So…you the mare?"

551868

>>551866
Seas gives you a flat stare.
"You are really doing your best to find a partner for the gay, aren't you?"

551870

>>551868
"This one just asking a question."

551874

>>551866
"Not gay.
Now you want to go to the other side of the wall or what?!" I cry out at you.

551875

>>551874
"Good. This one wondering if there are boars there."

551876

>>551870
He just nods with a tiny smile.
"Sure thing pal."
>>551874
That got the attention of…
Just about everypony on the training grounds.
Staring at you.

551880

>>551876
"This one thinks the mare protest too much."

551882

#Pause

551885

>>551875
"I dunno maybe."

551890

>>551876
Cower behind the training weapons

555507

>>551880
"Hey!"
New frowns at you, but just leaves.
>>551890
A few ponies snicker. Others linger on you for a little more than you are comfortable with.
Most, just don't care.
But some…
Some have a different look in their eyes, when they realize what it is you are carrying.

You are currently gathered near the training weapons racks, Culling Sea was sparring with New Season, but they both stopped as Ogaden and Fortune Star came back from the Commander's office, with important news, and shining new daggers.
Sea speaks up, trying to grab everyone's attention.
"First of all, we will need real weapons."

555508

>>555507
"An astonishing discovery."

555509

>>555507
"Where do they keep those? And what types do they store around here?"

555510

>>555507
I point to my big stick.

555511

>>555508
New giggles, for whatever reason.
Sea gives you the stinkeye.
>>555509
"There should be an armory, but usually every new recruit gets his own sword at the end of the training period.
Which… We are skipping, I guess.
Maybe we should talk with the smith."

555512

>>555510
Season pokes it.
"You gonna slap the Night to death with that?"

555513

>>555512
Poke Season on the head with the stick '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

555514

>>555513
"Works fine."

555515

>>555511
"Or just take the weapons."

555516

>>555511
"We'll need to get some weapons reworked for us, so where is the Smith? Anything we should be aware of before we trapeze into his work room?"

555517

>>555507
I seem to have missed something here…

555518

>>555516
He shrugs.
"I've never met him, wouldn't know!"
>>555515
"Yes, we definitely should.
But maybe, by the time we come back, our proper weapons will be ready."
>>555513
>>555514
She rubs the bald off her head and winces at that, looking at you sideways.

555519

>>555507
"Of course. We should be able to get those easily." Smile with increasing confidence

555520

>>555518
"Does stick feel hard enough?"

555521

>>555518
"Honestly, everything has to be difficult with this place… I'll just ask around, or listen to a hammer smashing into stuff."

555522

>>555518
"Where are we going again?"

555523

>>555522
"Da, I would like to know this too"

555524

>>555517
Hard wake up, Ogaden and Star were led by Grog into the commander's office, they came back appointed rangers and have explained how all of you have been instructed to go on a mission outside the Wall, to find what happened to the missing rider.
>>555520
"I don't know, creepy fuck!
I'm not the Night!"
She keps rubbing and takes a step back.
>>555521
"Well, if you have to find him, that's easy…"
Sea lifts a hoof and points you to the nearby smithing stand, a modest workshop which faces out onto the training square, tools and unfinished works dangling off the roof.
>>555522
>>555523
"Onwards to our death, probably.
Other things we will need are mounts, provisons, maybe tools, and warm clothes.
Star and Ogaden know what our mission is better than me, they should explain."

555525

>>555524
"Pony asked."

555526

>>555524
I'll look around the stand while the rest look for weapons. Anyone nearby look like they might work there? '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

555527

>>555524
"Ok. Are there vodka provisions available?"

555528

>>555524
"I'd prefer not to die, to be honest."

555529

>>555524
"Well. Anyone got questions? "
>>555527
"Somehow I don't think so. But we can ask in the kitchen. "

555530

>>555526
You can hear a distinct hammering sound coming from somewhere near the heated-up forge, but beside the orange flames coming from it, shadows envelope the scene.
>>555527
Sea chuckles.
"If we are northbound?
You can bet your ass they are gonna let us take booze."
>>555529
Sea turns to you.
"You should decide on who's gona take care of which task before we leave.
To make this faster."
>>555528
"That is only up to you."
>>555525
"Not to hit me with it!"
She's getting angry.

555531

>>555529
>>555530
I smirk."Good, good, very good."
Who are these two NPCs again?

555532

>>555530
Might as well knock a few times. I hate getting interrupted while working.

"Open for business?"

555533

>>555528
"Are you saying you don't want to come? "
>>555530
Nod. "Good idea. Hmm."
>>555531
>>555530
"Hey new season. Legoba. Save it for the wildlings."

555534

>>555533
>>555530
"I'm saying I don't intend to die for some… I don't even know what they want us to do out there. Probably something pointless."

555535

>>555534
"We must discover the fate of the lost rider. A simple task really. And.. you said you were a doctor? Do you heal or…?"

555536

>>555535
"He's dead. Oh, hey, I discovered his fate!"

555537

>>555531
Culling Sea, you met him at the banquet two days ago, the night you first came here.
He introduced himself as secondborn of House Maneria, and is a well-dressed, well fed cyan unicorn.
And then there's New Season, a bald mare with a light orange coat, sporting the normal grey winter gear all of you have gotten from the lockers near your bunks.
You met her on the cart leading you here.
>>555532
There is no door in the workshop to knock on, since it's literally an open space under a roof, growing out of one of the side buildings and into a corner of the training square.
So instead you knock one of the supporting wooden poles keeping the roof up.
As you approach, you can make out a thin, equine figure.
"Fer a renger, elways."
The voice is raspy but high pitched.

555538

>>555533
"I will let you a moment to decide.
But it looks like Ogaden already went for the smith."

555539

>>555537
Alright, I remember now.
So… let's go look for vodka first. Kitchens maybe?

Roll #1 10 = 10

555540

>>555530
Shrug.
"If pony is afraid of pain, pony is less prepared for night than this one."

555541

>>555538
"Good. We need to see about weapons anyway."
What kind of jobs are there anyway?
>>555540
"Stop antogonizing her already. " roll my eyes.

555542

>>555537
Can I get a clearer vision on who we're dealing with?

"It's going to take a while to come to terms with that term, but I'm already liking it. I'm Ogaden, just came 'round to make sure there was a Smith ready 'fore we march out into the snow. I heard some hammerin', Mind if I ask what you're working on?"

555543

>>555541
"What does antatatonazing mean?"

555544

>>555539
You still have no proof of your status as ranger.
But this doesn't stop you from finding the kitchen without even asking for the way, simply stumpling into it by moving through the dinner hall and taking a left, a right, a left again, up and down the stairs and then a right.
And a left.
The kitchen staff, made up mostly by a few older mares and stallions, all turns to look at you, stopping their preparations for tonight's dinner.
>>555540
>>555541
"Hey, it's fine, I can take him!"
She picks up a wooden lance in her teeth, pointing it at Legoba.
"C'mon! I will beat you silly!"
>>555541
"For weapons, Ogaden's already working on that.
We need still bears, at the stable, and food, from the quartermaster, and maybe the blessing of the Three before leaving?"
He looks unsure on the last part.
"Oh, and clothes. And tools!"

555545

>>555543
"You know. Hitting with a stick when its not training time. Or pulling her mane. Or saying she is going to die."
>>555536
"We have to go see what killed him. What the situation is down there."

555546

>>555545
"Pony does not seem to need your help to defend her."

>>555544
Nod.
"This one accepts the ponies challenge."
Roll for initiative '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

555547

>>555546
'1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

555548

>>555545
"Sounds like a waste of time and resources to me, but fine."

555549

>>555547
AGAIN '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

555550

>>555546
>>555547
Incredibly, the first blow struck ends up in a cross-lock as your sticks meet in the air above your heads and lock in place, an angry expression on New's face.
>>555549
'1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

555551

>>555544
"Where is vodka?"

555552

>>555550
I heard the Smith hammering. What is she working on?
>>555542

555553

>>555547
>>555546
"Fine. But don't waste too much time."
>>555548
"Go help volodski see about travel rations."
>>555544
"I'll go to the stables you can see about tools. And we should all seek blessings together. "

555554

>>555550
Hmmph.
Poke her nuzzle '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

555555

>>555549
>>555550
As you try to overpower her, she simply let's go of the spear's handle for a moment, allowing it to rotate in her mouth and whip your stripy side as she hardens her grip once more.
Legoba 3/5
Season 5/3
>>555551
The old cuple looks at each other and just starts laughing.
>>555542
>>555552
Sorry.
Walking closer to the fire, you can see the flames cast their orange light on a thin, young pegasus.
You can't guess his coat color, as his face is covered in black spots of grease and smoke.
>>555553
"Gotcha."
He trots off towards one of the buildings.
The stable should be familiar to you, it's where you ran into hiding just yesterday!
>>555554
'1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

555556

>>555555
>>555554
You use the poor grip she had acquired on the weapon to juggle past her with your spear, and plant red marks on her legs.
Legoba 3/5
Season 3/3

555557

>>555555
"What's so funny?"

555558

>>555556
ENGAGE MIGHTY PIMP HOOF '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

555559

>>555555
"I heard some hammering, mind if I take a look at what you're makin'?"

555560

>>555542
>>555555
Forgot another part.
"Shom armour."
He doesn't lift his eyes from the anvil.

555561

>>555555
To the stables.

555562

>>555558
'1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

555563

>>555558
>>555562
Trying to use your vicinity at your advantage, you spin around and lift a hoof to hit her on the cheek, but as your body twists around you can feel the back of your neck burning and cracking, as the stick in Season's mouth hits you from your blindspot.
Legoba 0/5
Season 3/3
She smirks and stands in front of you, looking at your helpless form on the ground.
"Had 'nuff?"
>>555559
"Do dat."
Finally coming into view, you notice he's slaving away on a silver helmet, still in what might be considered the roughest of its shapes, lacking decorations or an even form yet.
But his eyes are focused.
"Y'need wepon y'say?"
>>555561
As you cut through the training square, you can feel everyone's stare on your back, all of them slowing down or stopping what they are doing to stare at the dagger stripped to your side, a slow murmur rising.
The stables are here, on the other side of the square…
The jenny from yesterday is feeding one of the bears.

555564

>>555563
Do a flip up again '1d10'
"This one is not done yet."

Roll #1 2 = 2

555565

>>555563
"We'll get what we can from the Armory, but we might need them fitted to us."

555566

555568

>>555564
She moves the spear right above your head, and as you try to flip, your head bonks into it.
With a giggle, she drops it.
"Now we are even."
>>555565
"Aye, e'rry ranger gets his sword. T's tradition. Might'a take your sizes."
>>555557
The old stallion turns to you, his mane white as snow and his coat a pale purple.
"We don't give alcohol to you bums. Go back to work."

555569

>>555568
"The pony fought well."

555570

>>555568
So, I visited the armory the other day, didn't I… maybe I can visit again.

555571

>>555568
"We need vodka to go north, tovarich."

555574

>>555563
Approach her with as much confidence as I can.
"Good day. I would like to see the availability of riding bears."

555576

>>555571
They both raise a brow.
"You.. What?
Is this about yesterday?"
>>555569
"You were beaten by a girl with a wooden stick instead! Shame on you!"
She offers you a hoof to stand up.
>>555570
You visited the smith's workshop actually.
It's nearby, and Ogaden is talking to the pony you met the other day.
>>555574
She looks up, gazing into your eyes as if trying to weight your soul through them.
"Oh, the new blood.
Is it about order, about glory, or about regret for you?"

555577

>>555576
Show her the dagger. "Its about orders."

555579

>>555577
She nods, moving forwards to put the large bag of meat away in an icechest.
"I have been told of you.
But I haven't been told of you.
These bears are moody. They might not like a rider who doesn't understand them."

555580

>>555576
"About today! Where is the vodka? Sasha will get angry if I don't keep warm and she is already very angry."

555581

>>555576
Well, are there any weapons that fit my tastes lying around?
Or any useful material?
'1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

555582

>>555576
Take it.
I'm not a sore loser.
I could have won anyway if I had called in the shadow police.

555584

>>555579
Look confused. "Oh. I see. Perhaps if I spend a moment with one? To help it understand me?"

555586

>>555580
"Whoa now, don't start throwing big words around!
We don't know about no mission planned, what's that you gotta do up north?"
>>555581
"Ah'm warnin' ya, don start sniffin' round my plashe like lasht time."
You do locate the door to the armory.
>>555582
She helps you up.
"Looks like the others are gone."
>>555584
She nods.
"Suit yourself."
There are at least two dozen bears here, each in his own little stall.
"Might want to start from one of the smallest ones. They are 'bout your size."

555587

>>555586
"I'm here on official business and whatnot."
Start inching towards that door.

555589

>>555586
"Then this one and the season pony must go too."

555590

>>555586
"Die if we don't have vodka. Ask the commander, not me."

555592

>>555586
Nod. "You can ask any questions if me to.. I mightas well answer them while I can."
Walk down to a smaller bear and try going i n the stall with it. "Hey there.. I'm fortune star."

555593

>>555587
He just shakes his head, and goes back talking to Ogaden.
You reach the armory's door, and open it.
Here, dozen of weapons of every kind, neatly categorized and lied out in racks create corridors narrow enough for only one pony at a time to walk.
What are you looking for?
>>555590
"Bah."
The mare speaks up.
"Let'him have it, if it's a cheat Grog's just gonna snap his neck."
"Yeah, could do that…"
The stallion smirks, stands up and brings you a crate of vodka.
With a smirk, he looks at you.
"Enough?"
>>555592
The small bear starts growling as you approach, baring his teeth and hinching closer, with eyes full of defiance.
"Maybe…
Not that one."
The jenny stands inbetween you two and immediatly the bear goes back into his place.
"No idea why he acted so angry…"

555596

>>555589
"Where to then?"
You saw ponies go for the armory, stable and kitchen already.
According to what Sea said, there's almost nothing left…
Then, suddenly, Sea comes out of a building.
"Damn him to hell."
He's fuming.

555597

>>555596
"What is the pony angry about?"

555598

>>555593
Lift it up with my telekinesis.
"For me, da. What about the others?"

555600

>>555597
"The quartermaster.
I can't find him anywhere and his idiotic assistant won't let me get the the tools."
>>555598
Roll persuasion.

555601

>>555593
Sit down here and look at the bear. "You don't want to be here either huh? That's not a choice we have anymore though.. so why not make the best of it?" Hum a little bit for the creature. '1d10+2'

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

555602

>>555600

Roll #1 10 = 10

555605

>>555593
The best looking weapon here, whatever it is!
'1d10+1'

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

555606

>>555602
The stallion looks at you, then at the old lady, then back at you.
"Heck yeah, drive yourself crazy! Not like we can't conjure this stuff."
And another crate it is, just as large as the other.
>>555601
Suddenly, the whole stable explodes in a mix of roars and whimpers as what you thought an almost unhaudible note sends the bears into a fit of rage and pain.
The jenny looks paniched, and is trying to calm them down.
'1d10'
The mayem can be heard clearly from the square.

Roll #1 10 = 10

555607

>>555606
"Spasibo, tovarich."
Let's get these crates back to the party.

555613

555614

>>555605
Best looking is really subjective.
Which kind of weapon do you want?
And keep in mind, the others need weapons aswell.
>>555613
>>555606
The young bear you were talking to bursts out of his stall and rushes for you, and instantly your fears sieze you up, your eyes shutting close and your body freezing in place…
Many seconds later, when you open your eyes again, silence greets you, the bears are calm…
And the jenny is standing inbetween you and the bear, gently hugging it as she hums something into his fur.
Finally, after what seems like forever, the bear relaxes and goes back into him stall, a low grunt leaving him mouth.
The jenny turns to you and sighs.
"You okay?"
>>555607
As you start heading back through the strange path, three stallions stand in your way before the last turn.
What looks like the leader, if nothing because he's at least twice as tall as the others, speaks up.
"Hey hey hey.
Look who's here. Grog's new buttpal."

555615

>>555614
Hmmm… I should get them weapons too then. Is there a cart or something nearby?

555616

>>555614
"Dobroe utro. Something you need, tovarich? I'm in a hurry."

555618

>>555614
"..yea.. I wasn't hurt" nod slowly trying to disguise my fear.

555619

>>555600
"Hmmmm. Does orange pony know where the quart master is?"

555621

>>555615
No cart. How ever shall a brilliant inventor like you do?
>>555616
They start circling you.
"What's in the crates?"
>>555618
She moves around and past you, ignoring your freezen posture.
"You must have done something to scare them so much.
The young one thought you were a threat, you know…"
Then, she looks back at you.
"You comin' or what?"
>>555619
Season shrudders.
"That guy's a creep.
I needed new boots and for some reason he had to feel all my hooves up!"

555622

>>555621
I frown, but look at the other pony.
"This one will look for the quart master."
Look around '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

555623

>>555621
I will build a cart! I'm sure some of the shelves can be repurposed for that reason.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

555624

>>555621
Follow her. "I guess I don't have your gift.."

555626

>>555621
"Spirits. Commanders orders to go North. Want to come too?"

555627

>>555621
Also take out a bottle

555628

>>555622
As you leave, New shouts after you.
"HE HANGS BY THE CHURCH!"
Go there?
With the corner of your eye, you can notice Sea lean near New.
"So…
Your hooves?"
But they are out of earshot by now.
>>555623
You do have the ability to build one, and have a base for the cart.
What use as wheels?
>>555624
"That's why I'm working with the bears, and not Grog. Or Sudden."
She seems pretty amused at the last name.
As you stop, one of the bears leans with his head out of his stall to sniff you over.
The jenny's eyes shoot wide and she motions you to stay as still as possible.
>>555626
>>555627
"We will take those."
The two smaller ponies are coming closer.

555630

>>555628
Stop.
"This one thought the pony needed to see quart master?"

555631

>>555628
I tilt my head.
"Nyet, they are not for yours. Can give you one though. Don't tell anyone."
Toss the bottle at them to catch.

555632

>>555628
Let him sniff.
'1d10' rolling for stillness. I should be good at that one.

Roll #1 1 = 1

555633

>>555628
Hmmm… maybe I don't need wheels. With all the snow around here, I can build it to have skis!
Which I can make out of swords!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

555635

>>555630
You backtracking.
Sea pulls away and acts as if nothing happened.
New, who actually thinks nothing happened, just shrugs.
"He's also the chaplain, wore loadsa holy stuff."
>>555632
Not even a bit. Having a bear head the size of your body sniff all over you triggers some primordial fear akin the lines of OHMYGODITSGONNAEATMEALIVE, and yous whole body shakes as shivers, your eyes refusing to open and your legs refusing to move under your control.
Then, suddenly, his large tongue licks your face.
>>555631
The leader picks up the bottle.
"Not good enough! We are three, and this is just one!
You have at least a dozen bottles in there!"
"Yeah!"
"Right!"
>>555633
A sleid.
Which would be perfect if it wasn't for the fact you are on stone right now!
No need to roll after the first success. Also, you can ask for a list of stuff around here.

555637

>>555635
Wince.
"This one will be careful."
Let's go with the pony this time

555638

>>555635
"You can ask more in kitchen, they very nice."

555639

>>555635
Laugh in sudden relief. "Hey there. " give him a gentle pat on the head '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

555640

>>555635
Well, give me that list!

555641

>>555637
"What, you want me to come?"
Sea looks confused.
>>555638
They laugh.
"No way tovabitch.
We can't get it there, Grog would kill us.
Two more bottles!"
>>555639
You turn to look at the bear and…
Instantly you notice the different fur color. Unlike all the others, he's a dark brown instead of a snow black, probably a different kind of bear entirely. And one of his eyes's missing.
This is exactly where you go poke him, and he lets out an angry growl, pushing you a few steps back.
The jenny looks impressed.
"He…
Didn't eat you?"

555642

>>555641
"Pony said pony was looking for quart master!"

555643

>>555640
Every kind of weapon that exists.
Weapon racks.
Ropes and crystals.
Candles.
A window.
A counter.
Closets.
A rug.
>>555642
He groans.
"Guess you are right. Let's go."

555644

>>555643
Can we finally go?

555645

>>555643
Well, if I place the ropes in an S shape I can make a rail for the cart to get it to the snow.
Now time to pack all kinds of weapons into it, let's not be picky.

555646

>>555641
Sasha pls, they're being mean to me.

Raise dead on a nearby torch, which I assume there are plenty of inside.
"Nyet."

Roll #1 4 = 4

555647

>>555641
"Sorry about that big guy.." I say to the bear.
"..I guess not.. what happened to him?"

555648

>>555644
Off to the chapel!
It's a small, cobblestone-and-marble building with narrow and tall glassless windows, lines of wooden benches placed before three altars…
And it's incredibly empty.
Not a single decoration or image adorns it, not one celebration of the Three, not one candle, not one poem hanging from the walls…
Sitting in one of the benches, you see a dark coated unicorn.
New points at him, looks at you, and nods.
>>555646
Nyet is the answer you get from Sasha aswell, as the two smaller stallions move closer, to your sides.
The boss takes another step aswell, staring you down.
"I don't understand you fucked up tongue, so I'm gonna ask once more and once more only.
Give. Me. More. Bottles."
>>555647
He lets out a bear-shout in understanding and nudges towards the offending hoof.
"He's one of our oldest bears.
Retired by now."

555649

>>555645
You load the makeshift cart with straight swords, long lances, great maces and perfectly round shields before cutting up some perfectly good rope and finally bringing it out in the snow.
Where to?

555650

>>555648
The pony is weird, first he says he needs the quart master, now he doesn't.

Trot to the quart master.
"Pony is Quart Master?"

555651

>>555648
Fine.
Magic Bolt him in the face.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

555652

>>555649
Well, to the others, obviously!

555653

>>555648
Pet him normally.
"Seen a lot in his time I bet. Maybe he wants a song written about him. What do they call him?"

555654

>>555651
You try and charge your horn, but he's quicker, and jumps up to you flickering it with a hoof, as his two pals grab your legs and hold you still.
You can still try and use magic like this.
He punches you in the guts.
"Not so fast now, little bastard!"
>>555652
The others are all gone!

555656

>>555654
SASHA PLS
I NEED YOU
Unholy elementalist on a nearby torch.

Roll #1 5 = 5

555657

>>555650
The stallion looks up from his book and glances you over. Somehow, you feel unnerved by his stare.
"I am."
>>555653
"Boulder, the dark."
The jenny starts petting him aswell.
"I think he wants… To bite your hoof."
The bear keeps nudging your hoof with his nuzzle.
>>555656
One of the torches lets out a puff and grabs the attention of the boss, that stops hitting you.
"Hey!
You guys saw that?"

555658

>>555657
Show him my stick.
"Evil Eye Pony has better stick for this one?"

555660

>>555658
He looks perplex.
"What?"
Sea facepalms and trots up.
"We need supplies to move north."
"Oh."

555661

>>555657
"I'm sorry Sasha, I did not want you to get hurt!"
Again!

Roll #1 5 = 5

555662

>>555660
"Pony has good Evil Eye, this one respects that."
Bow my head.

555665

>>555661
You force another pop out of the torch, which falls to the ground and rolls near the vodka crates.
"Hey!"
The boss punches you in the guts again, blinding you for a moment.
"Stop that!"
>>555662
The unicorn looks at you in scorn.
"Stop that."
New seems amused.

555666

>>555665
"Yes."

555667

>>555657
"..you're the experienced one here.. but I don't get that feeling.. let me in with him?"

"Hey, boulder. You just want some attention?"

555668

>>555654
Well, pick out a spear or something.
The best one, obviously.

555669

>>555665
"She's getting veeeery angry…"
Come the fuck on you goddamn sack of dicks. Again.

Roll #1 7 = 7

555671

>>555666
He puts the book down.
"Now. Where are you going exactly?"
>>555667
"Not in a bad way, mind you. Probably just as a test of trust."
>>555668
They are all standard issue!
But this one looks shinier.
>>555669
"I don't fucking c-"
WHOOOOOMP!!
A fiery explosion envelopes the hallway as the torch's flame comes to life.
The heatwave pushes the two ponies holding you up off you, and forces the boss to turn…
Just to be petrified.
You have surprise on him. +2 this turn if you decide to attack.

555672

>>555671
The shinier the better.
Well, wait for the others I guess.
Not even that bald mare is around?

555673

>>555671
"Sasha!"
Just get myself out of their grip.

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

555674

>>555673
They had already let you go!
In fear, the two smaller ponies flee.
The boss turns to you as the flaming pony crackles happily, blocking his way.
"N-now, let's not do anything hasty!"

555675

>>555674
"Go away and leave my vodka alone."

555677

>>555671
"Over big wall"

555679

>>555671
Twitch "right.." go in with blouder and try touching his side.

555800

>>555675
"Y-yeah! I don't even want your stupid vodka anyway!"
He throws the bottle at you and runs away.
Roll to catch and tell me if you let him pass.
>>555677
"That much was obvious, dimwit.
What is your mission on the other side of the Wall, though, that much I need to know."
>>555679
She lets you in and closes the gate behind you, watching from the other side with a hopeful smile.
The bear is imposing, at least four times your size, his fur turning grey in a few spots.
As you enter, he steps back, giving you space, and staring at you with his one good eye.

555817

>>555800
For a supposedly full base and whatnot this place is pretty lonely

555822

>>555817
It's just your genius that made you complete that part of the quest before anyone else!
I might pause since so many people are missing.

555832

>>555822
I'm clever, no denying that.
Okay

555833

>>555800
"You must be a great warrior bear. To have so many scars." Extend a hoof towards him.

555836

>>555833
He sniffs it, moving forwards, and suddenly his mouth opens wide, as if he was trying to eat it whole!

555843

>>555836
Hold still.

555844

>>555800
Catch.
Let him go.
"Thank you Sasha. You can go now."

Roll #1 4 = 4

555851

>>555843
His maws close upon your hoof, and suddenly you regret this greatly…
But they do not bite into it, not ripping flesh from bone, no…
Instead, the old bear softly pokes your hoof with his teeth, as if trying to shake it, and then gives it a vigorous lick before letting go.
He rears back and lets out a happy growl, keeping his head up high.
>>555844
Almost, but you fumble a bit with it before getting a steady grip.
Sasha bows down gently and steps aside, allowing the big, bad baby to run away.

555855

>>555851
Pick up the crates again and head over to the party at last.

555860

>>555855
Unhindered in your remaining travels, you trot over to the meeting spot and find a very lonely looking Camain with a makeshift sleid full of weapons of all kinds waiting for you.
Do you dismiss Sasha or not?

555864

>>555860
I already dismissed her before!
Put the crates onto the sled.

555868

>>555864
It's made out of… A weapon rack!

555873

>>555868
Crafty, I like it.
Reminds me of good old homeland engineering.

555878

"Ah. So that is the game then. Are we friends now?" Try to pet him. Holding my breath a bit.

555884

>>555873
You are gonna love him then.
Pause here for you, I will finish Star's part an call it.
>>555878
He doesn't say a thing, but closes his good eye as your hoof reaches to pet him, letting you touch the fluff of his face.
The jenny is looking from a side, giving you two a smile.

555910

>>555884
"I'll take that as a yes." Smile and rub his fur as I let myself breath again.
To the jenny I smile back "so. Boulder here is retired?"

555915

>>555910
"He is. Where would you bring him?"

555922

I should science…

555924

>>555915
"To the village. To learn the truth of ghd rider's fate."

555928

>>555924
She looks saddened, but shifts into a serious expression a second later.
"Commander's orders?"

555939

>>555928
"Yes. …you know there are a lot of bears here.. and about 6 of us going."

555944

>>555939
She nods.
"That shouldn't be a problem.
The bears here all respect this old bag of fleas, you could take any six and they'd follow you to the Scar itself."

555952

>>555944
Nod "I can see why. He really has a strong presence."
Look at boulder again. "Thank you boulder. I think I understand a little better now."

555955

>>555952
The bear just snorts, and the jenny opens the gate to let you out of the stall.
"Come visit him often though."

555961

>>555955
"I will come share tales of my adventure with him."
Turn to boulder before leaving. "I promise."

555971

>>555961
He groans, but the jenny giggles a bit.
"He'll be ready to take you North by dawn."
She extends a hoof.
"Iriana."

555976

>>555971
"Fortune star." Shake her hoof. "Thanks for letting boulder go. "

555981

>>555976
"He's a warrior.
He deserves a death in battle, not rotting away in a stable."
She grins.
#Pause

556185

>>555800
"Find ponies who killed the patrol ponies."

556186

556189

>>556185
"Oh.
You are the ones."
He looks all of you over with a slightly disgusted look.
"A shame."
Then stands up.
"If you would follow me, please."

556204

>>556189
"Thank you."
I trot with him.

556218

>>556204
He leads your trio to a backdoor in the chapel, and pushing it open you find yourself in his 'office'.
Bookshelves cover the walls and a dim candelight sheads an orange hue on them.
A large, chunky desk lies near the end of the office, and paintings depicting strange medical practices are hanging behind it.
Strangerly, there are no chairs.
"Now. Let's take your order, shall we?"
He throws you a pen.
"Rope, some good old rope is always needed.
And food.
Warm clothes.
Vaseline.
Lots of alcohol and water to rehidratete you.
Shiny marbles to impress the natives.
A sleid to bring all of this.
Sleepbags.
A tent."
He stops and looks at you.
"Taking note?"

556224

>>556218
"Yes."
Write it down.

556225

>>556224
"Anything else I forgot?"

556227

>>556225
I go over the list.
"Torches."

556231

>>556227
"Torches.
Excellent.
What else?
I'm assuming the bears will be fed by you, is that right?
Oh yes, a map of the known north!"

556235

>>556231
"Good. Map is good.
What about compass?"

556241

>>556235
"Compass.
Very good.
But we only have two spares of those.
Now, would that be all?"

556242

>>556241
Look at all we've got.
"Yes."

556244

>>556242
"Good."
He takes the list and signs it.
"Now show this to my assistant, down by the requisition office.
And see to bring everything back."
In the back of your mind, you hear something, but it's hard to make out…
Roll.

556256

>>556244
'1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

556258

>>556256
It was the wind. Yes, definitely the wind.
He hurries you all out of his office, with the list.
Sea and New are looking at each other in confusion.

556260

>>556258
"Friendly stallion."

556261

>>556260
New is the first to speak.
"I don't like his eyes.."
Sea just scoffs.
"Give me that list, I'll go fetch the stuff.
You to regroup with the others."

556263

>>556261
"He's got Evil Eye. Very powerful technique.
Zebra necromancers respect that."

556268

>>556263
She yelps.
"That's not something I wanted to know."

556270

>>556268
"Why does the orange pony not want to know?"

556274

>>556270
"Necromancy is the creepiest thing!
They can suck your sould off you, or kill you with a stare and then use your body as a scarecrow!"
Her words and the unnatural emphasis she puts behind them echo in the empty stone chapel.

556282

>>556274
I hold my head sideways.
"Suck Soul? Only mare necromancers do that."

556286

>>556282
This doesn't help her disgusted expression and she grimaces, sticking her tongue out in disgust.

556294

>>556286
"…..this one thinks the orange pony and this one should go on our mission."

556300

>>556294
She nods.
"Yeah, let's regroup with the others."
#Pause

559660

>>555976
You hike back through the snowy ground, the grey clothes on your back just a little lighter than they were when you first put them on.
Back at the meeting point, Lagoba is just coming back, with Sea and New in tow.
Camain and Volodsky are here aswell, chatting it over a makeshift sleid full of weapons, made of weapons.

559672

>>559660
Look impressed at the weapon slied.
"That is.. creative."
To seas I smile "Welcome back mi'lord. Our mounts will be ready to ride in the morning."
"Things are starting to fall into place."

559674

>>559672
"You realize that I should be the one calling you mi'lord right now, right?"
He trots up to you and sits in the snow.

559684

>>559674
Blink in surprise "uh.. I didn't realize that actually.. "

559688

>>559684
He points at his empty waist, then at the dagger dangling off yours.
"Not a ranger yet.
What about those mounts?"

559698

>>559688
"Soon you will be. You're bound to prove yourself Seas." I say more relaxed. "And that will make us equals.. " I smile and sit next to him.
"As for the mounts it was exciting. " I start in a story telling voice "I went in and tried to talk to one of the bears a small one. I whistled a tune to try and calm the beast but then." I pause "they all started to freak out i mean really. I thought they were going to eat me!"

559700

>>559698
He looks you over, his face not entirely persuaded.
"And then you fended them all off by yourself, I imagine?"

559708

>>559700
"No. Then the jenny Iriana. Did the most amazing thing. She got them a to calm down with a mere wave of her hooves and a whisper. " I wave my hooves to illustrate "she is truly gifted I tell you."
"And then well. We still needed bears so she was walking me down the stables and this huge brown bear just leans over and sniffs me! Iriana was even scared for me. Thought he was angry still. And then then most amazing thing happened. He licked me! The big guy just licked me. "

559717

>>559708
His eyes narrow a bit, as if he had troubles processing what you were saying.
"You are either very lucky, or very very lucky."

559736

>>559717
"I always was a little too lucky for my own good" chuckle "born on the night of a falling star. "
"Well anyway. I tell iriana, to let me in there with him. And well.. to get a bear to trust you, you have to let him bite your hoof.. so. I went ahead and let him." Rub the back of my head "so old Boulder is is sort of my bear now. And all the others respect me because of it."
Nod as if finished.

559778

>>559736
"Old Boulder?
So wait, you got the alpha's approval?"
He starts to laugh, almost incredule.
"We are not dead yet maybe."

559792

"Its true. 100%. He's going with us tomorrow."
Laugh with him.

559796

>>559792
"Be I damned.
In the meanwhile, we got some food and weapons and other stuff.
Looks like the strong guy over there got a lot of alcohol, too."
He seems very… Methodical in this, and soon starts repeating the whole list as if chanting it.

559802

>>559796
Nod as he explains making mental note of it all.
"Then all we need is a bit of rest and some teamwork. "

559804

>>559802
He finally turns his head, staring into your eyes for a strangerly long time.
"Think you can lead them all?"

559810

>>559804
"All …six of us?" Nod "I don't have a choice but to succeed. "

559815

>>559810
"Six?"
He looks the group over.
"Me, you, New, Ogaden, the Strong Guy, the two zebras…
That's seven!"

559820

>>559815
"Camian is coming after all? I will have to get one more then."

559829

>>559820
"You are the one who has to pick the team.
But look at that stuff.
He build the sleid himself. Could be useful."

559833

>>559829
"He had turned me down last I knew. But if he has changed his mind then I'm glad.. maybe he will scare the wildlings with that 'nonmedical doctor ship ' " I add with a snicker.

559835

>>559833
Sea snickers with you, but his mind is clearly on something else.
"…What do you think is there, outside this wall?"

559839

>>559835
"Monsters. Wild ponies. Things that don't mind being cold." Try to think "there are stories so fanciful I dare not believe them."

559844

>>559839
"I was always scared by one…
Everyone knows about the Night, that's our world's anciest enemy…
But my nanny always used to tell me one special story, when I was a kid.
A story about what happens to ponies that die on the other side of the Wall."

559845

>>559844
"Really?" I listen curiously.

559854

>>559845
He nods.
"Maybe it's even happened to the ranger we are being sent to look for, who knows.
She used to say…
You change.
And don't die.
Not allowed to die.

559856

>>559854
Shake my head "sounds like a stretch of the truth. "

559860

>>559856
"WIth what's sealed away over there, you really think that's a stretch?"
He sighs.
"Maybe so."

559863

>>559860
Tilt my head "you want to fight undead seas? That doesn't seem like it would be fun.. the faces of ponies that were at your hoof in yesterday's battle now risen to fight you.."

559865

>>559863
He stares into your eyes.
"If I do die…"
But then waves a hoof.
"Nevermind.
Let's not think about this."

559867

>>559865
"You won't die. I'll make sure of it." I say confidently.

567454

>>555568
"O'course. I doubt some of the people we've been sent along with 'ave ever picked up a weapon, might as well get one that fits them to their needs."

567456

>>567454
"Washte o' iron I say.
Teach'em to feight or dun bothar me!
"
He goes back to hammering on the lump of iron besides him.

567457

>>567456
"Oy', oy', what do you think we've been doing? I took Star with me on the field, the others seem to be gettin' their own training by the boss dog. What more can I do?"

567458

>>567457
"Breing me pieces o' de weild things north of da waall. Earsh, teeth, wingsh, eynything ta show me you know ho' to kill!"

567459

>>567458
"You know most of us are 'ere for that very reason. Still, I'll make sure you get your special delivery soon enough."

567460

>>567459
"Guud.
Ah will shtart werkin' on yer stuff soon 'nuff.
Gemme a list of whaddaya want don.
"

567461

>>567460
"'Ere, when they sent us out on the training field, this is what the others grabbed."

I'll hand the Smith a list of the weapons I saw the others working on, but I'll omit mine for now.

"I'd like to work on my own weapon personally, if ya don't mind. Nothing against you, but I left a lot back to start again fresh here, I reckon I should even try out some new things while I'm at it."

567462

>>567461
He stops working to look up at you, leaning on a side and catching his breath.
"Ye a smith?"

567463

>>567462
"Possibly. Like I said, I left a lot back there. I'm just thinking out loud about what to keep. If I have your aid, I'll be leavin' ya to go keep an eye on that jumpy one. Who knows what he got himself into now."

567464

>>567463
"Ye think too much."
He goes back to working the iron, shaking his head as you leave.

The others are all gathered and seems like their tasks went well.
Somehow, you see Volodsky sitting on two whole crates of vodka.

567465

>>567464
"I wouldn't be surprised if he drunk the whole lot before we made it out the door…"

"'Ey, sorry to keep ya' waiting." I yell to the rest. Let them know how my time with the Smith went.


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