seems the entire world shakes itself apart as Strife claws its way out
of the bones gathered around it. It spreads seven massive wings and in
one mighty beat flies through the seemingly endless cave, smashing
through the mountainside into the sky.
The sun is setting.
On this entire world.
You now stand upon Strife. Undead Draconequus, Death of Civilization.
The good news is, those crystals work again.
I don't care about language anymore
"PRINCESS, WE FUCKED UP HARD, STRIFE HAS AWAKENED, WE NEED YOUR HELP!"
Look at the sun, and try to gain Power from itRolled 8 = 8
I look for anything that looks like a weak point, then cast Fireball on it.Rolled 6 = 6
STORMHERALD IS EN ROUTE
HOLD ON UP THERE
You assess the situation.
Strife's main body is two massive ancient dragons twisted into a double helix shape, with extra limbs built from various other creatures. The head is located at the end of a long neck made of skulls.
There are at least three main hearts bound deep inside the ribcages.
You can see runes at the joining points of the spine, the places where each wing connects to the body, every limb, and a separate heart on each skull on the neck.
There are also smaller hearts scattered around and within the main body. You burst a few and realize they might be powering smaller undead Strife is carrying within him.
Suddenly, an echoing blast is heard, and one of the dozens of arms is blasted clean off.
Trusty is still on his rooftop, the undead kid helping him reload. You have ranged support at least.
These runes seem much sturdier than before.
But the Runesword and the Hammer of the Sun seem to bite into them as hard as ever.
After some hard beating, two wing runes burst, showering the area with shrapnel and magic gas.
As the wings plummet down, Strife roars out
>YOU THINK TO BEST ME SO EASILY? YOU ARE BUT GNATS TO ME!
Roll to hold the fuck on.
As the mighty draconequich rolls in the air you are flung off. You plummet towards the earth, >>6320
Dawn too slow to catch you.
All seems lost
AS THE SUN SUDDENLY GRANTS A FINAL BOON BEFORE IT SETS PAST THE HORIZON.
YOU FEEL YOUR BODY LIGHTEN.
Celestia has granted the ENTIRE PARTY wings for this encounter.
You hear another shot echo in the distance.
Strife quickly twists his neck to dodge, but the round blows off two of his horns.
>INSOLENT BASTARD OF A PONY
The bone titan's eyes flare up for a moment with magic, and you see a distant explosion on a rooftop in Canterlot.
Strife then twists around in the air and faces you.
>THIS TIME THE TABLES HAVE TURNED. NO MORE TIME MAGES. NO MORE BEYONDERS. YOUR WEAPONS ARE SPENT, MINE ARE NOT. PREPARE TO FACE YOUR DEMISE.
Roll for initiative.
"THANK YOU CELESTIA! I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING!"
Aura of Protection on everyone!Rolled 3 = 3
I continue to slam away at his wing runes.
Does this mean I get an extra pair, or some other crazy nonsense like corona breath or somethingRolled 6 = 6
Think a few genuine thoughts of appreciation for the Paladin before flying towards the target, greatsword ready to cleave.Rolled 9 = 9
Strife smashes you all aside with ease. He is a god that has defeated death. What hope could mere mortals like you ha-
Strife slowly turns to look at what force in this universe could match him.
It is Max.
"I may not be a dragon like I intended to be when I face you. But mark. My. Words. The sun is my witness this day. I will EARN my redeption. NOW RETURN TO DEATH!"
He flies around the limb he just blocked and sinks the Runesword deep into the crystal holding it in place. With a mighty blast the arm comes and Strife reels back.
Another shot. The rune of a third wing cracks on impact.
Engulfed in flames after a misfired round, horribly burned and nearer to death than ever, Trusty is still shooting. And he is still hitting his mark.
The child is still giving him ammo. It seems they have talked this over and neither is distressed any longer.
Perhaps they will never get to move to that nice cabin in the woods and live life away from the world that does not understand them. But they will at least go together to their gods.
You also cleave off two more limbs.
In retaliation, Strife releases four Skeleton Pegasi.
Leap up and Smite down one more Wing Rune.
I try to communicate with my stone.
"Trusty, you must get to a cleric right now! That's an order!"
I feel like I should try and use my powers to help Trusty, but that would be pointless because Nasse and the DM want him gone.Rolled 7 = 7
This is the first time Trusty's done anything all night. We got sidetracked arguing behind the back of the badguy and staring at big buttons with signs warning us not to push them.
That asshole fucked us in the ass so hard.
I'm never trusting anyone ever again in DM quests.
The rune, being volatile, explodes after you cut a deep score into it with your fire.
Strife is down to four wings.
They are overwhelmed and badly beaten.
You wound an arm, but it does not break.
The Runeblade cuts deep, but the hearts are far sturdier than the runes. Strife grasps the knight from inside his ribs and tosses him back.
"No go on that beloved. This is my last stand. For you. For the kid. For Celestia. For equestria. And for myself."
You shatter the bony pony with ease.
"ALMOST THERE. HOLD ON JUST A BIT LONGER."
You strike the wounded arm rune and break it.
Ten arms remain
Three hearts remain
Four wings remain
Two spines remain
The head is still protected
Strife swoops higher and begins charging his breath attack
Roll to dodge
Rolling. I'll try to use my affinity with fire to extinguish the flames threatening Trusty and the kid.Rolled 9 = 9
"Take down those wings!"
I jump inside and Power Strike at one of the hearts.
"Trusty, you don't have to throw your life away!"Rolled 9 = 9
Nasse your call if you want to live or not.
I'll be waiting for that info before I continue
>no Nasse to be found
An arm smashes you aside. Strife seems very adamant about protecting those hearts.
You however make it past the arms, and bring tour weapon down upon the wounded one. It cracks heavily, but still just barely remains in one piece.
As Strife prepares to annihilate the slowest of the party, a massive volley strikes it in the back, destroying a whole wing.
The Stormherald is here.
Strife turns its head around and unleashes the mighty breath against the warship instead.
It's hard to tell the damage from behind the initial fireball.
However you see the attack ends short as the greatly wounded heart explodes.
Clinging to the last of his life, even with most of his face burned off, Trusty still landed a lethal shot.
Strife smashes your fireball like it was a soap bubble.
Meanwhile Zebro and his dragon loop past the arms and smash a deep cut into one of the remaining hearts
Max follows suit and sinks the Runesword into the same cut, causing the heart to freak out and beat madly
Finally, Radiant smashes the heart with the Sun Hammer, shattering it. The blast throws all of you out of range, as Strife wraps most of his remaining arms to shield the final heart.
Meanwhile on the back, Gaius wounds another wing rune.
"THIS IS THE STORMHERALD. WE HAVE TAKEN MASSIVE DAMAGE. WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STAY AIRBORNE FOR VERY LONG.
GIVE US A TARGET, AND GIVE IT FAST. WE WILL THROW EVERYTHING WE HAVE AT IT. EVERY. THING."
Six arms guard the last heart
Four wings remain, one wounded
Both spines remain
The head remains
"Shoot everything at the heart! Break through all those arms, and we will finish it off!"
Attack a few arms to distract them long enough for the Stormherald to hopefully land a finishing blow.
"SHOOT AT THE HEAD!"
I try to find the second spine Rune, and bring down a Power attack on it.Rolled 4 = 4
"We need not stay near the heart, but we must distract the arms! Whatever happens to us mean little if the ends fit…"
Fly around taking great swings at the arms whenever I can.
I don't know
I won't be able to play now anyway, I need to go to the graduation thingie at my school in an hour
So it seems. Well it matters not. The last heart is guarded. You cannot reach it.
"ACKNOWLEDGED. IT HAS BEEN AN HONOR SERVING AT YOUR SIDE. SKYBURNER - OVER AND OUT."
The massive airship makes a sluggish turn, large shards of wood and metal raining from the insides. It unleashes a massive volley of cannon fire at the head, which twists and writhes between the cannonballs.
>DID YOU TRULY EXPECT A GOD TO BE THAT WEAK AND SLOW? HAH.
"WE DID NOT, DEATHSPAWN. FIRST MATE SHEFFIELD. FIRE AT WILL."
A short silence follows, before the very air begins to crackle with energy. The main cannon of the Stormherald spins to life for the first, and last time, emptying all remaining power into a single focused beam that smashes into Strife.
Though it misses the skull, the beam is strong enough to explode all the runes binding the spine, tearing the entire creature in half, connected only by the neck and heart.
Strife makes a sharp turn and begins an approach on Canterlot Castle itself
>I AM THE DEATH OF CIVILIZATION. I AM STRIFE. THE FEAR OF MY ARRIVAL WILL DRIVE YOUR PEOPLE INTO WAR AND MADNESS. I WILL WATCH YOUR EMPIRE FALL, AND I WILL KILL YOUR WEAK GODS WITH MY OWN HANDS
Four wings remain
One heart remains
The head remains
Four arms remain
He will reach Canterlot in two turns.
Zebro use unmake on the heart, if the heart is shielded he use it on the wing.Rolled 3 = 3
"Mark my words, beast. Nothing, no god, nor demon has any fucking chance of defeating mortals with wills to live."
Scream and attack the heart, and any arms that try to get in the way.Rolled 6 = 6
>Your highness we need help Strife is almost in canterlot
Use one of my bombs on the wing rune.Rolled 6 = 6
I WON'T LET YOU! I WON'T! I WON'T LET THAT VISION COME TRUE! I WON'T LET YOU NEAR HER! YOU WON'T HURT HER! NOOOOOO!
CELESTIA I BEG YOU TO RAISE A SHIELD AROUND CANTERLOT!"
I leap out of the heart chamber as fast and bring down all my might upon one of the wing runes.Rolled 7 = 7
The last of the arms are still enough to smack you away from your targets
You manage to shatter one of the arms and crack the heart, but not nearly hard enough to shatter it.
The anti magic blade sings into the rune like butter
and a bomb blasts it apart.
The Sun Hammer lands with a blast not much unlike an exploding volcano of devout rage, taking along with it another wing.
And the head remain
Strife will reach canterlot after one turn.
**"This is Skyburner. The crew requests permission for one final act of service"
This is probably the first time you remember him not shouting.**
"DON'T YOU DARE TO THINK ANYTHING SUICIDAL!
CELESTIA, RAISE A DAMN SHIELD ALREADY! I WON'T LOSE YOU LIKE IN THAT DREAM!"
Try to ignore the tears of anxiety and Power Strike another wing Rune.
"YOU WILL NOT HURT HER!"Rolled 6 = 6
I wasn't sure on whether or not I got one of those pendants, so just ignore this if I didn't.
"You do what must be done, Captain. Godspeed to you and your crew."
I divebomb the heart with as much velocity as I can muster.Rolled 8 = 8
The wing runes are leaking magic and crystal fragments everywhere as Strife goes in for the final pass. He is nearly above Canterlot Castle, as you see the Stormherald fly past you.
Most of the hull is on fire. Many of the engines are offline. Parts are falling out.
The crew is standing on deck. They all turn to you as the ship passes. They salute silently and don't even bother to brace for impact.
The massive warship crashes into Strife, exploding in a magnificent ball of fire and lightning. The blast obliterates the wings and cracks the heart. Strife lands at the bottom of Canterlot Mountain with a massive impact that can be felt deep inside the city.
He is up almost immediately.
Slithering forward on twin tails that were once his spines, he begins clawing his way up the cliff
>MY AGENTS AND CULTISTS HAVE SOWN THE SEEDS OF DISTRUST AND TERROR. NOW IS THE TIME FOR ME TO REAP THE HARVEST OF STRIFE. NEIGHBOR TURNED AGAINST NEIGHBOR, BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER, RULER AGAINST SUBJECT. SUCH IS THE DEATH OF CIVILIZATION. NOT A MIGHTY UNITED BANG, BUT A SAD, DIVIDED WHIMPER.
"And that is where you are wrong, Strife"
As the massive if broken Draconequus claws his way onto the walls of Canterlot, he does not see the terror and chaos he expected. All he sees is a united front of determined faces.
The griffons of the north
The unicorns of Canterlot
The pegasi and earth ponies
The dragon, Noise
The undead, Gracious Glory
The alicorn, Celestia
All united by a common foe, rather than driven apart.
Now is your chance.
Valaince removes his helmet
"Let this be my final moment of glory. My proof of purity. Let the sins of four hundred years be washed away here and now.
WITH ME, HEROES OF EQUESTRIA! STRIKE IT DOWN, BUT LEAVE THE SKULL OF ME."
"It is exactly through strife, through conflict, that bonds of infinite strength are allow to take root, be forged and show their might. And it is you who have given us these bonds, through your own attempts to sow discord…"
Cast one finishing swing into the heart.
Guess I'll have to roll up a new mageRolled 3 = 3
**Also think a little more of stallionface than I should while attacking in berserk furyRolled 6 = 6
I don't know in which direction I want to take this, hope you'll be in next campaignRolled 5 = 5
You dive onto the Draconequus, smashing it off the wall and down the cliff, shattering the final heart which explodes, destroying the last connecting piece of the bone titan.
The neck shatters into a hundreds of individual rolling skulls, and at the end of the shattered row, Valiance lands to pick up the skull of Strife, still hissing and spitting curses at him.
He presents it to Celestia, kneels, and asks how she wishes to deal with it.
Well, his tactic:
Slowly starting to get a liking, maybe getting romantically involved slowly.
"Hey, I'll give you the dick, ain't it great?"
Next campaign involves the very worst of unspeakble horrors, ask DM. It's also why I wanted a Guts pone.
Collapse on the ground once the exhaustion finally claims me. Quietly watch Radiant while I'm lying helplessRolled 3 = 3
Well I was a bit distracted trying to protect Equestria.
Also this whole thing was not that serious to me then.
Celestia observes the skull for a moment until it falls silent, she then levitates to her eye level
>ENJOY YOUR SELFISH SECRETS WHILE YOU CAN. KILL ME. IT WILL NOT ABSOLVE YOU.
Celestia says nothing, she simply levitates the skull high into the air and focuses for a moment, then shatters the evil thing with a single thought.
"…I expect to see everyone involved in the throne room. Now."
**Well, you'll have your chance depending on where this goes. Guts pone isn't exactly very mentally stable, or at least he's not supposed to beRolled 2 = 2
As you all arrive, Celestia asks for a casualty report.
Gracious begins listing
Myself not included, we lost Dusklight, fourty two soldiers, Captain Skyburner and the entire crew of the Stormherald and by the looks of it… Cloak.
Did I miss anyone?
**I'll keep him for the next campaign, all I'm saying is that relationships aren't supposed to go very well with a RIP AND TEAR RIP AND TEAR kind of pone
So when he's showing moments of weakness Trusty can come woo Radiant**
Feel a strange sense of loss upon recalling the death of the entire Stormherald, as if something close to me was destroyed.
I was looking forward to using Sheffield again sometime
Valaince clears his throat
"As far as I know, he lives, if badly wounded. Though I myself should perhaps not be counted among the living"
next in turn speaks Dagger
>Princess. Without my brother, I fear I will no longer be able to perform my full duties as your eyes in Canterlot. I wish to… retire.
"You will do no such thing. You know your position is a lifelong one. We will find you a new partner in due time."
Watch at the princess for refusing Dagger's request, but say nothing. slowly get back up on my feet proper.
Fall on my knees and let my tears flow.
"I have failed you… I let myself to be fooled, and my failure allowed them to revive Strife… I couldn't even protect Cloack and because of my mistake, everyone on the Stormherald have died, and we almost lost Trusty as well… I am not worthy of the honor to be your champion…"
>Then so be it. We accept the offer, glorious sun. She will begin training under me first thing in the morning if not sooner.
Fight the urge to put a hoof on the Paladin.
**Radiant's new armour set should totally look like it has Celestia's legs embracing the wearer
http://darksouls.wikidot.com/embraced-armor-of-favor**Rolled 5 = 5
"It is true, you perhaps did fail this day. But so does everypone. Nopone can ever be perfect, and the most important thing of all is to learn from those mistakes, as well as to understand that those closest to you are there to help in such difficult times."
She gently pats your head.
"And what of you two?"
She turns to Gracious and Valiance.
>"I WISH A NECROMANCER JOIN ME IN THE CATACOMBS ONCE THEY ARE CLEANED. I WILL REST NOW, AND HOPEFULLY FOREVER"
"I wish to join him. Not in death, but in guarding the tombs until the day I die. My time has passed long ago, I am not a pony of this world. Allow me to serve where I will not be in the way"
Celestia nods to both.
"Now then, was there any other unfinished business between anyone?"
"Princess, the traitor Reanimator stated that he was a lich, and we were unable to locate his phylactery before he was laid low. With your permission I would like to begin searching for it immediately."
"I would accept the Celestial Radiant's assistance if she would be willing."
**I raise inquiry to Celestia on why I was called if you're going to brief us on next quest here
"If you allow me, I will spread Your Light further… I will go down there once again to find his phylactery, and make him pay for his crimes…"
I wipe away my tears and look her in the eyes with sudden determination.
"But before I go anywhere, I demand to have a talk with Your Highness in private."
How curious. Celestia isn't moving.
Neither are Gracious or Valiance. Or Dagger. Or the motes of dust in the air.
However, a newcomer stands at the end of the table.
He said he had taken his phylactery to the place where we found strife. That's separate from the tunnels.
I look at him. He chose the worst possible time for this. I growl at him.
"What do you want? Who are you?"
A particularly odd scar on my neck starts bleeding. Roll to determine how much I can control the bleeding and painRolled 6 = 6
"You must have pressing business, newcomer. Speak before I feel the need to strike for appearing unannounced."
"Yes that would be most kind of you. Thank you for holding onto it. It made remembering when this point was so much easier."
"I am Starswirls the Timewarden, also called by some the Bearded. Forgive the intrusion but in truth this will take less than the blink of an eye.
You have bested the Draconequus, Strife. Perhaps some of his words left you with questions in mind? I have the answers to those questions. Indeed, in many cases, I AM the answer."
"Dagger will not hear you. We are not in his time. Or indeed in time at all. We stand outside time. In my realm."
"Now perhaps you wonder why am I here and what I want of you.
I know you have no patience for eloquence, so I will be brief. One thousand years ago, when Celestia and Luna first emerged to challenge the supreme rule of the Draconequi, I summoned to my aid the greatest heroes I could find in all of time. Those heroes are you. You are the only band that has slain Strife, and thus you are the only ones fit to help me face him in his original, true form a thousand years ago.
Strife mentioned Celestia having selfish secrets and he said quite a bit about Beyonders. Please tell us as much as you can.
"We still have to kill the Reanimator. And I won't go anywhere or anytime until I have a have a chance to speak with Celestia."
"He is dead now, but not a thousand years ago. There, I am only soon to face him, and if time is to remain unbroken, I am to face him you at my side. Otherwise, he will be free to destroy the lands as he sees fit, before annihilating the budding equestria, ensuring you are never even born.
And I wouldn't worry about the phylactery. It was tucked within Strife, and destroyed during his demise. At least, that is the timestring I assume we are in right now. It is all a bit complex."
"Mm. If that truly is the case, then we do not seem to have much choice in the matter, now do we?"
We have no choice, then.
Ask him to tell us all he knows of the Beyonders in exchange, however.
"He refers to past events. Most likely to the fact that Celestia was the last non-bear to be taught the full secrets of Bear Lore, though she never passed the knowledge onto anyone.
As for the beyonders, they are the other weapon I need against Strife. Luckily, they are already handled. You are the last piece.
You may speak to Celestia as soon as we return. Not a fraction of a moment will have passed in this time. For now, I cannot risk weaving you in and out of null time.
You will come with me into the past, and assist in the battle that will save this world, allowing it to become the world you now know.
If you decline, it is likely that none of you will ever have been born."
"I don't care of the consequences, you will put me back in that time right now, unless you want me to be useless in the upcoming fight. I know that you are lying. I will talk with her about her secrets, and she will tell me. I won't fight with doubt in my heart."
"Oh you will come, and you will try to be worthless, and ultimately your nature will get the better of you. I have done this an infinite times, Goldentail. You are always the stubborn one, and you never listen to me when I tell it to you.
Like clockwork, really.
She will be hesitant to answer once you return, and your love and devotion for her will make you forgiver her for keeping secrets"
He opens up a large portal in the air
"And this is where I ask 'shall we go'?"
"I have yet to see it happen, little girl.
Now chop chop, into the portal. No time is being wasted but that's just how it works"
Tick, tock, tick, tock, heh."
NEXT TIME ON MLPGDND - THE TIMEWARDEN: IT BEGINS: IN THE PAST
JUST WHAT DID GO DOWN A THOUSAND YEARS AGO?
WHAT ARE THE SECRETS OF BEAR LORE?
HOW HARDCORE WAS STRIFE'S TRUE FORM?
WHAT ARE BEYONDERS LIKE?
WILL NOISE EVER GET HER STORYLINE?
WILL THERE EVER BE PROPER ERP?
ALL THIS AND A WHOLE LOT LESS