Gathering up your crew by the edge of the Everfree, you decided with finality that Brynn would not be part of this expedition. Thus, You, Leafy, Cherry, Cobalt, and Vernant, set off into the eerie woods in search of "the truth" the Green Stallion spoke of in your last encounter.
With the assistance of Leifjka's powers and the tree she rendered a sapling, you had a loose guide into the woods.
Unfortunately, a cockatrice stumbled upon your party, threatening to turn Cobalt to stone as it charged him from the woods.
Leifjka's powers proved indispensable once more as she hurled the cockatrice clear to the other side of the woods.
Finally the crew stumbled upon a half buried tomb covered in moss and other vegetation. Slowly, they descended, leaving a pair to form a rearguard.
Inside was a hall covered in glyphs and images of a time long past. The end of the hall opened into a much larger room, with the only other exit seemingly blocked by a large boulder of a door.
But you solved the puzzle quickly, your detective background helping you piece the puzzle together without issue. With the help of Cherry and Vernant, you hit the appropriate glyphs in the correct order fast enough, and the door spewed a mist of Dragon's Bane as it rumbled open.
A trap in the hall failed to deploy, much to your relief.
The extensive room beyond the hall behind the boulder housed a large stage, with a massive gate at the back and two guard pony statues on either end.
A book with a self preservation field of magic sat on a table near the door, and you collected it with care.
The door opposite the stage proved to be a treasure room of sorts. But though it was filled nearly to the ceiling with mounds of gold and jewels, the riches weren't what drew your eye.
It was the detailed carving in the polished back wall. One depicting a dragon affectionately holding and nuzzling a pony.
>>600828 You blink again at the drawing on the back wall as Vernant squeezes past you and begins to inspect the wealth piled in the room, an eager grin plastered on his usually surly face.
"Puff," Cherry sounds off from behind you, "You're staring awful hard. It's important, isn't it."
You nod, making the flashlight in your mouth scatter the beam from ceiling to floor with the motion as you ponder the exact import of the drawing.
It's a clue to the past, or so you think.
A further investigation of this "tomb" might help clear things up. Then again, you have a book seemingly full of history in your inventory now. Perhaps you should leave before you set off any traps. >What do?
Please ask for as much detail as you want at any point. I know I've been light on details while writing to keep things flowing but if things aren't making sense please say so. Or if you'd just like more details.
>>600840 My opinion? Green Stallion and Dragon were good friends, other dragons fuck shit up, ponies start hating dragons and seal Green's friend and put traps to prevent other dragons from freeing him.
You step further into the room, allowing Cherry to stand in the doorway as you move the flashlight's beam from one end of the room to the other.
"One sec, Puff," Cherry says as she rummages through her saddlebag, searching for something.
You continue to look around the room, before stepping to a side and patting the walls while Vernant noisily rummages through the mound of wealth in front of him.
"Notice anything out of the ordinary?" you ask, briefly taking the flashlight from your mouth.
"Aside from the HUGE STACKS OF GOLD?" Vernant says excitedly, "No. Not at all. How much room you two have in your bags, by the way?"
There's a light scratching sound and an orange glow slowly intensifies from near the doorway. You turn around as the lit candle on the desk reaches its standard burning brightness, bathing the room in a somewhat comforting yellow light.
"There," Cherry says with a grin as she puts the pack of matches back in her saddlebag, "Should be easier to look the room over without holding onto that light the whole time."
Thanking her, you put the flashlight in your saddlebag for the time being.
Looking around the room, you notice the drawing is twinkling slightly in the candlelight.
You also notice a stone the size of your head sticking out from the far end of the room oddly.
Vernant kicks some of the gold in front of him aside, his eyes narrowing intently.
"Hey, got something here," he says, shoving more gold and gems to the side to reveal a latch and sturdy wooden door beneath.
"Trap door of some kind," Cherry says.
"Might be a bolt hole," Vernant replies.
"Only one way to find out."
You hear faint hoofsteps. Should be Leafy and Cobalt. >What do?
>>600852 Okay I say we wait for Leafy and Cobalt. Then we take Cobalt and Cherry down and send Vernant and Leafy up with the book and tell them to wait outside till we return Also check the door for any kind of traps
>>600855 Look we'll probably need Cobalt to see this, Leafy must remain outside at all times because telepathy link and sending Vernant to guard her and the book is the best solution. If something bad happens to us and they can't do anything to save us quickly it's better for them to get in Ponyville safely and take the book to Spike.
>>600854 >>600856 You have Cherry collect Leafy and Cobalt after they've found their way through the cleared hallway while you and Vernant finish clearing off the trap door he found.
The task is completed about the time that Leafy, Cherry, and Cobalt all arrive, standing just inside the doorway.
"What is this place?" Leafy asks, eyes twinkling as she gazes upon the piles of gold.
"Looks like a private treasure room," Cobalt murmurs.
"A treasure room with a trap door," you reply, motioning to the latch on the ground, "Peculiar, I would say. Now then; Vernant and I are going to open the door. Should nothing pop out, he and Leafy are going to take the book we've recovered and go wait up top."
"What!?" Vernant says angrily, "I find a trap door and you aren't gonna let me explore it? Just play watch pony?!"
"Vernant, please," Cobalt says softly, trying to soothe his other half's temper, "I'm sure he has a reason."
Vernant growls his disagreement, but otherwise refrains from saying anything further.
You lean close to the door, checking for any unusual mechanisms or wires.
There doesn't seem to be any.
"Well are you going to open it or stare at it some more?" Vernant says impatiently.
He looks over at Cherry, who stares back at him with her eyes narrowed.
Vernant looks surprised, ears perking up as the edges of his mouth twitch slightly.
Leafy snickers from behind Cherry.
"Alright, alright. Let's open it. Ready, Vernant?"
You grab the latch with a hoof, ready to pry it upward and, hopefully, open the door.
He nods, taking up a readied stance as he faces the trap door.
Taking a deep breath, you flip the latch off with a clang and pull on it, lifting the door up from the floor slowly as the wood creaks noisily.
The stuff burns in your eyes, nose, and lungs, making you incapable of holding onto the trap door any longer. You wheeze and sputter as you slam the trap door shut and struggle to stay standing.
Through your watering eyes you see Vernant struggling as well, though he seems to have fallen onto the stack of gold beside him.
Leifjka runs to your side, Cobalt and Cherry running to Vernant's.
THUNK THUNK THUNK
A series of heavy bangs sound out against the trap door as you struggle to draw fresh air into your still burning lungs.
Leifjka holds onto you, trying to steady you as she says something in a calming voice. You can't hear her over the loud banging sounds coming from the trap door. When she realizes, she speaks to you telepathically.
"It's Dragon's Bane. You got blasted with Dragon's Bane. Try to relax, you'll be alright."
The clear voice is a brief bit of good news, even as your eyes continue to water and nose runs. Your whole face and throat feel like they're on fire!
"You'll be alright. The sensation will pass in half an hour."
Half an hour?!
#You are borderline incapacitated for the next 30 in game minutes. Decide your moves carefully during this time, or wait it out.
You briefly ask her if Vernant is okay.
She nods. Or at least the purple blob moving around in your watery vision makes you think she's nodding.
"Yes. He got it a little better than you did, so I think he'll recover first. Still, he doesn't look much better than you right now." >What do?
"I don't think taking you outside like this is a wise idea," she replies through the mental link despite most the noise in the room subsiding, "Personally I think there are fewer living dangers down here than up there."
>>600882 >>600881 "I…wouldn't mind looking around for you while you recover," she replies to your thought of sitting this small portion out, "But if I could get Cherry to accompany me and maybe have her lead…." >What do
>>600885 Thing is I really think Cobalt should go in. Leafy too for communication but I don't know about Cherry. I mean there aren't any apparent dangers and we and Vernant would be safe but still I think that Cherry should stay with us
>>600896 >>600895 >>600892 You decide to let Cherry and Leifjka check out what lies beneath the trap door, with Cobalt staying near you and Vernant to ensure your safe recovery.
Relaying this to Leifjka, she informs Cherry and the others of your intent.
Cherry agrees, but only after rummaging through her bag and handing off a medical kit to Cobalt.
"Just in case any other injuries become apparent."
"If anything happens, tell me and I'll come right back," Leifjka says over the mental link.
You nod, doing your best to smile. Your vision is still hazy and your lungs hurt, but the burning sensation has already died down a bit.
Cherry hefts open the trap door, murmuring it's heavier than it looks.
When she opens it fully and turns the door over, her and Leifjka gasp.
"Well….it's a good thing you dropped this," Cherry says with relief.
You can't make out what she means, so Leifjka describes it.
"There are about…a dozen stone arrows embedded in the door now."
You shudder at the fate you just narrowly avoided, suddenly thankful for the Dragon's Bane's effects compared to an arrows.
"We'll have to watch for any more of those," Cherry explains to Leifjka, "So I'll take point."
Leafy nods as Cherry peers down into the level below.
"Well, here I go."
She turns about, putting her hind hooves into the hole first, before climbing down backwards until just her head is visible.
"There's a ladder, so don't go jumping down."
With that, she descends into the unknown.
"Stay safe," Leafy whispers through the mental link before she follows Cherry down.
The room is quiet, save for the sound of the gently burning candle and a slight wind that passes through the dungeon.
Twenty minutes pass before the first update from Leafy.
"Pretty dark down here," she sends up through the mental link, "Lots of vines and moss on the walls, though. Doesn't look like the walls are as sturdy of stone as all that other stuff above."
"Anything in particular we should be looking for down here? We found a small room with a table and some chairs, but the hall branches off into two different directions and we weren't sure about proceeding. There aren't any drawings or anything down here." >What do/say/have Leafy do?
Silent moments pass before she reports back, excitement tinging her thoughts.
"Yes! Luckily there aren't any traps down here. The plants say it was some type of private living area. One hallway leads to a room, the other leads to a rough tunnel that goes underneath something big and heavy. The stage, if Cherry's directions are right. Makes me wonder what the tunnel is for, and who added the traps at the trap door?"
She goes silent again as her and Cherry explore below.
All the time sitting up here makes you realize a few things: Your wing feathers have grown back, mostly. A few seem to be halfway there but most are back. Most your feathers are the same color as ever. A few fade from your normal color to black at the ends. It'd look cool if it wasn't every fifth or sixth feather. Your vision and breathing are at normal again. Your nose is still a little runny, but overall you're feeling pretty good again.
#You are no longer incapacitated, but you also aren't at 100% right now. It'll take another 10 to be "normal." If you proceed without resting, more die rolls will be required for actions.
"Puff," Leafy says quietly through the mental link, "We're in the room."
"Bones." You can practically hear her take a deep breath before she continues, "Huge bones. It's hard to say for certain what they belong to, but it's not a pony. I….think it was once a…a dragon." >What do?
>>600907 "We looked around and we found a couple of books. One looks like a journal. The other one is a bit bigger and thicker in page number, but has custom writing instead of printed words. So, maybe they're both journals? Then again, they seem really old, so maybe that's just how they did books."
"There's also a small chain hanging off one of the bones. Might have been a bracelet. Or what passes for one on a creature this big. Should we take that too, or leave it?" >Take >Leave it
>>600912 "I flipped the books over with a wall vine and nothing happened. I think that means it's okay to take them? I feel…weird about messing with the skeleton. It gives off a strange feeling when I get close to it, either myself or with the plants."
"Should I take the bracelet or leave it?" Final choice >Take >Leave it
You instruct Leafy to take the books, but leave the bracelet for now. If need be, you can always come back, right?
The sigh of relief floats through the mental link.
"Good. Cherry said she was getting a weird feeling around it too. I think it's best to leave it here. We'll grab the books and head to the other hallway/tunnel. Are you feeling well enough to join us?"
After a brief self check, you're feeling like you're back to normal. As far as you can tell, anyway.
#Status: Normal. Well, as normal as you can be, anyway.
You ask Vernant how he's feeling.
"Like I want to fight whoever put that trap there," he says, rising to his hooves, "And this pile of stuff isn't very comfy. Let's get moving."
Back to his usual self, it seems.
"I'm just glad I didn't have to use the med kit," Cobalt says with relief. >Join up with Cherry and Leafy >Let them explore the other tunnel while you do something else
>>600920 >>600921 >>600922 "We're heading down," you tell both Leafy and Vernant, speaking both out loud and through the mental link, "Let's all group up."
You lead the way down the ladder in the trap door, putting the yellow light of the candle behind you as you descend into darkness.
Your eyes adjust as you hind legs tap the ground. Turning around, you notice small glowing spheres growing from vines along the walls. They glow a light green. No doubt the work of Leifjka.
Vernant and Cobalt set down behind you, Cobalt smiling in the dim lighting as he looks at Leifjka's handiwork.
The three of you travel on down the hallway in the dim green light, until a pair of ponies come into view. Even in the dim lighting you can see Leifjka's smile well before you reach her.
"Glad to see you're both doing alright," Cherry says with a grin of her own.
"Glad to be better," you reply. "So, should we be expecting anything down this hallway?"
Leifjka shakes her head, "Don't know. The vines end before reaching the end of the hallway. They feel dirt where they stop, too."
"And after finding a dragon skeleton, I'm not sure what to expect anymore," Cherry says.
"A dragon skeleton?" Vernant asks in a hushed tone, "You're certain?"
"It's big enough to belong to one," Cherry replies, "And some of the bones sported large claws, horns, or spikes. I'd put money on it being one."
Vernant shakes his head, "A dead dragon. This place must be cursed, then."
"Cursed?" Leifjka asks for you.
"Well, it's more a speculation of my people," Vernant replies, "But Dragons are a special race. They're one of the few things that are more viscous than a Griffon in the sky. Thus, we respect them. Finding a dead Dragon was considered unlucky. If you killed it yourself, then you're a legend. But to find one already slain or to tread on a Dragon's grave….it was considered by my people to be a curse of some sort. Details varied from tribe to tribe, but it was never a good thing."
>>600925 >>600926 >>600927 "You seem to forget we already have a curse on us," Cobalt says lightly, "One worse than superstitions."
"Of course," Vernant says with a snort, "I'm stuck with you, aren't I?"
Cobalt just grins at Vernant.
"Regardless; We'll advance with caution," you assure Vernant.
"I'm more concerned with the quick escape portion of this plan. Even so, I haven't backed down from conflict before, and no curse, real or otherwise, is going to change that now."
"Well, we could all use some of that resolve," Cherry says from beside you.
The group nods before setting off down the hallway in silence. You take point, flanked by Vernant and Cherry, with Cobalt and Leifjka in the rear of the formation.
The hallway isn't very long. Leifjka was right when she said it ran the length of the room above, ending around where the stage should be.
The walls of rough rock give way to dirt, and the vines eventually peter out, forcing you to break out the flashlight again.
When you raise it, you're looking at the back end of the tunnel. Just a dirt wall, dark from the cool dampness of the underground, stands before you.
"End of the tunnel?" Cobalt asks from behind, "Or is there something up there?"
"Just a….wait," you reply, shining the light against the right side of the back wall. The tunnel seems to jut 90 to the right.
Following the sudden turn in the path, you find a new back wall where the true end of the tunnel lies. The ground at the end is disturbed, small rivets and mounds of dirt piled seemingly randomly.
"The end of the tunnel seems like it would be right under the stage or gate up above," Cherry whispers, "Something about that is strange. And all the mounds of dirt…." >Take closer look at disturbed ground >On second thought, let's turn around
Vernant and yourself reflexively take a step back from the mounds once you get a better look.
It's a ritual circle.
Many of the lines are broken, and it's far smaller in scale than the one used to summon Leifjka. But a good number of small circles and squares drawn in the ground are intact, though they don't house any items as far as you can tell.
"We should leave. Now." Vernant says in a hushed tone. "Lest The Harbinger send its lackey after us."
As much as you want to agree, something about the statement seems off. The Green Stallion told you to come here, for one. And if it was a trap set up by The Harbinger, wouldn't it have done something by now?
"The only damage to the lines and mounds seems to be done by time and some of the dirt above falling onto the diagram," Cherry says from a kneeling position beside the circle, "I imagine this is how it was left when whoever used it for whatever purpose was finished with it."
She looks up to you, "Which begs the question: What happened here?"
The question hangs in the air as the group ponders. >What do?
>>600937 "He told us about this place for a reason. There has to be something important here," you say out loud.
"Well, we've got 3 books, there's a giant gate guarded by statues here, and a hallway full of random gibberish and pictures. Plus an old ritual circle. Oh, and the dragon skeleton," Vernant replies sarcastically, "I think we've found a lot of important things. We just don't know what any of it means yet."
"I say we get out of here, go back to town, and consider getting Brynn on our side," Cobalt says from the back, "Like I said; He'll probably be able to read the books."
"And he might turn on us the second it looks like he can use that information to further his cause," Vernant says, anger on the edge of his voice.
"Who can we talk to that might know something about old languages that isn't Brynn?" Leafy asks.
"What about Spike, or Princess Sparkle, at the library?" Cherry asks, "They spend a lot of time doing research on all sorts of things. Maybe they can at least point us in the right direction?"
"Well, there ARE a lot of dragon motifs on the walls in this place," Cobalt thinks aloud, "Maybe Spike is familiar with Dragon language?"
"Worth a shot," Vernant says, "For now, can we please leave?" >What do?
>>600940 >>600941 >>600942 >>600943 >>600945 Everyone seems to agree the best choice of action is to leave. Turning about, the group heads back the way it came, until the dull green glow of Leifjka's plants help light the way back to the middle junction of the hallways.
"The rest of you go on ahead and get out of these tunnels," you instruct, "I want to see this dragon skeleton for myself."
"I'm not sure what you're expecting," Cherry says, cautioning you, "It's creepy. That's about it."
"I agree with the pink one," Vernant says, getting a glare out of Cherry, "A dragon's remains are not to be trifled with."
"Yes, yes, I heard your beliefs just a moment ago," you reply, "I'll be fine, I assure you. Just go on ahead, I'll catch up shortly."
All but Leafy turn and start to head down the hall that leads back to the ladder. But your mentally linked partner stays, a look of concern on her otherwise cute features.
"Should I come with you?" she asks.
"You already saw it, right?"
"Well, there's no reason you have to see it again if it creeps you out. I just want to see it for myself."
"Still…." >Bring her with you >Have her stay with the others
>>600952 Look, it's better if all of them are at a safe distance. If something bad happens and we end up collapsing the entire thing over us we'd know that 1 Leafy is safe 2 If we survive she can communicate with us 3 If we need to run we'll have a more easier time trough the tunnels alone than with another pony
"How could I let you go it alone?" she says with a bright smile, taking her place beside you, "I go where you go."
You smile as the two of you set off to the room with the dragon's remains.
It's as creepy as you expected, though Leafy left out some details.
The room is fairly large, sporting a super sized bed, a large table with something bordering a couch on one side and a small chair on the other. A nightstand is beside the bed, and a set of shelves are carved into the smooth rock walls. All the books are molding or tattered, and the furniture has rotted with age.
Atop the bed is a massive skeleton. It lies as though resting, head lying atop massive clawed hands that hang near the edge of the bed. The spine and ribs of the body have collapsed with age, now lying in broken shards with a thin white powder coating what remains of the beds' sheets and stone frame. The bed proper seems to be made from feathers, now worn down and barely existent.
One of the clawed fingers bears a chain with something affixed to the end of it. Large enough to be a necklace by pony standards, but no more than a bracelet for a dragon of this size. Even so, it hangs off a finger, the chain being caught between joints in the finger.
The room glows in dull green light from Leafy's vines, which have pervaded even this small room. >What do?
>>600955 >>600956 You take a few steps closer to the skeleton, feeling uneasy as you do. Even though it's crumbling from old age something about it seems…off. Leafy's aversion to describing it or going near it are suddenly apparent as you notice she stays near the doorway.
Leaning in toward the clawed hand, you take a good look at the bracelet.
It's gold, as far as you can tell. Though tarnished with age and moisture, the chain and locket on the end still shine in some spots. The locket at the end is especially marred in a few places where it seems it was held or opened repeatedly. The chain itself is in fair condition, but is plain other than being made from gold. The locket has designs on it of a foreign nature. Concentric circles embedded in the locket flow outward in an almost hypnotizing manner, then end in squares, triangles, and strange writing. Much like the symbols on the boulder door from the beginning of this place. >What do?
>>600959 What writing there is on the locket is scattered about the front of it, in no particular order. They may hold meanings by themselves, but you aren't certain. And a number of them are corrupted with tarnish and illegible as a result.
>>600958 You reach out, gently lifting the locket without removing the chain from the finger it's stuck on. Turning it over gently, you see a small, relatively simple closing mechanism. You could open it without issue, if you so choose.
"Puff, what're you doing?" Leafy asks in a sharp whisper from behind you, "Don't mess with it!" >What do?
>>600979 "Thought I was dead, did you?" he says, a genuine grin creeping onto his face, "Unfortunately for us both, that isn't a possibility right now."
He strides over to the table with a sofa and a small chair, looking it over for a moment and stroking his chin.
"Hmm. No, this is quite inadequate." His eyes burn a fierce green for a moment.
A bubble seems to appear around the table and chairs, colors slightly displacing for a moment as something shifts. Before your eyes, the chairs reassemble and clean themselves, seemingly aging backwards to become pristine and new, even shedding the dust that had accumulated on them.
"Please, have a seat. Or stand if you like. Whatever floats your proverbial boat."
He saunters over to the chair, sitting in it with a gentle thump and leaning back as though relaxing.
>>600980 "The Harbinger was your mate, wasn't she?" you say flatly.
The Green Stallion jerks forward, slightly, before resuming a more relaxed position with a slight look of annoyance on his face.
"Straight to the heart of the matter, are we? I suppose it was a little…obvious, once you set foot in both my office and my private quarters." He sighs, looking over at the skeleton on the bed with a slight grimace, "Yes. You are correct. The Harbinger, or Halzureat Loroshkima as my people called her, was the one whom I fell in love with. Am still in love with." He says the last sentence with emphasis, as though reminding himself.
"If you'd like to talk, please, sit. I might be able to answer some of your questions here without interruption, for a time."
You give him a look of pure skepticism.
He rolls his eyes, "If you're worried about her, trust me: She can't intervene here. This is holy ground. Old and uncared for anymore, but able to repel her powers quite handily. It is why I chose this place for our meeting. Well, that and there are documents here that I'm sure you've collected already which should help paint a larger picture."
"But I get ahead of myself. Please. Sit." >Sit >Leave
>>600982 >>600983 >>600984 >>600985 You move to the couch and take a seat. Leafy is hesitant to follow you, but eventually sits by your side. Her expression towards The Green Stallion is hardly one of trust, however.
"Look, Leifjka, if it's about controlling you, I am deeply sorry," The Green Stallion says, moving from his relaxed position to one leaning on the table. His expression is serious, as is his tone, "I did what I felt I had to. I needed to resolve the situation quickly and-"
"That doesn't make it okay!" She yells, making you shush her.
"No, no, it's alright. This bubble dampens sound and slows time in here a bit for us. Don't worry about a thing. And it's good for her to get it off her chest, believe me."
Leifjka folds her hooves together, puffing her cheeks in a pouty face as she turns her head away from The Green Stallion.
He sighs, then turns to you, "Well, she'll get over it eventually. Hopefully. Now then, Detective, did you have specific questions, or would you care for my sob story? I'm here to help explain my position, as much as I can anyway." >What ask?
>>600987 "Hmm. Complex topic. The easiest way to put it is thus. The plan from collecting talented individuals was two fold, at the beginning. I needed a way to keep The Harbinger subdued, while building a backup plan for if she couldn't be. Partitioning out the power I gained through her into Contracts divided her power, sending her into a hibernation of sorts. The more I collected, the longer the hibernation lasted, and the more power I brought to bear against her should she awake and be angry with me."
"Then a certain someone went and ended her cycle early by breaking Contracts. We face a current predicament as a result."
>>600988 "You're a strange one. Ask a specific question then ask for the buildup. Well, alright then. Settle in, it's a bit of a tale, even if it's the short version."
The Green Stallion sits back in his chair, closing his eyes as he recounts his past.
"Back when my people thrived, I was a noble of the priest class. Since I was a young colt I was indoctrinated in the lore of my people, of our beliefs, of our history, of the beings we served. We served the dragons, of course, but our old beliefs had many see dragons as gods, or divine beings. Only those of the priest class learned more, and only the highest ranking of the priests were allowed to convene and help care for our Lords."
"I aspired to be one of the high ranking priests. To serve the just and mighty spirits that brought us health and good fortune, whilst protecting us from harm. A noble cause, one that would make my bloodline proud."
He smiles as he reminisces.
"And I succeeded. Fastidious study of our arts and history, harsh training of body and mind, the unlocking of the greatest power gifted to our people…..I accomplished much. As such, I was granted audience and eventually caretaking of our greatest Lord: The Harbinger."
"She was named such for bringing us everything good. Health, fortune, favor with the other Lords, wealth, protection….She was the highest ranking of the dragon-kind and she kept my people safe. I'll never forget being brought before her and telling her flatly that I was there to serve in all her needs. That I had the power to do whatever she required. She smirked at me, almost laughing to herself it seemed. The first time she'd done so as far as I know. Perhaps she admired my audacity. Time still hasn't told me."
His smile widens.
"Time went on. I served her faithfully, and in time she grew comfortable with my presence. Soon I was able to joke with her, treat her as more of a companion than some divine spirit. I think I was the first to treat her as such. Perhaps that's why things worked as they did between us. Or perhaps it was fate."
His smile disappears, replaced instead with a frown.
"But of course, one doesn't simply start treating a Lord like a friend. Not without those beneath you speaking of corruption. Not of you, but of the Lord. Of The Harbinger."
"One day, while caring for The Harbinger in front of the Golden Hall, guards and royal soldiers stormed into the chamber while I was consecrating The Harbinger for the coming festival. Led by a number of upstart priests, they claimed she had fallen. That she had given up her divine rights by allowing me to get too close."
"Madness, of course. But they didn't see it as such. Zealots, the lot of them."
"We tried to negotiate, to explain somehow. They'd hear none of it. I was willing to fight but she….she wasn't. I stood down for her, Detective. Let them take her away in chains, only to bring her back and try to slay her the night after the festival!"
The Green Stallion suddenly sits forward, slamming his hoof into the table harshly as a manic expression grabs hold.
"They thought they could cheat the system. Have her bring favor, then dispose of her. But I knew that's what they had planned. I used my powers, dug that tunnel with little more than a shovel and my hooves. Dug for what felt like days, until blood coated the handle! But I made it. I got beneath the stage and set up the appropriate circle."
"I kept her from truly dying that day."
He looks over at the skeleton, eyes burning with hatred.
"They slayed her physical form. Left her for dead, like she was nothing! She snuck to my chambers after they'd left. I tried to care for her, Puff, I did. But she passed, exactly as you see her desecrated remains there on the bed. I was by her side the whole time. It took her days to expire. DAYS! And I could do nothing but watch."
"But I'd already completed the pact. Tied her to me in a way that violated all the laws my people had established regarding the powers we'd been gifted."
He settles back down. Leaning back in the chair with a cold expression settling in as he stares at the skeleton.
"And I made sure my people suffered for their betrayal."
He sighs, shaking his head and looking at the table.
"That's the short of it, anyway. There's lots of small details that help tell the tale a bit better, but we don't have as much time as required for more elaborate storytelling."
>>600994 "Haha! Hah! Both immortal? No, Puff. Not that. She's just living on borrowed time. And, being one who has some control over where he appears in time, I am the ultimate source of youth in that regard."
"And before you ask: No, that part has nothing to do with the Contracts."
"At some point she changed. It was subtle, or happened while she slept. She's gone from the most caring thing in the world to one of the most spiteful, at times. I must have done something wrong with the ritual, or it was not intended for the souls of dragons. Regardless, I don't know what she plans, exactly. She's still waking up, so she strikes out blearily with the force of a siege engine. I don't know what she wants. Only when she takes control of me does she share even the barest hint of her immediate needs."
"I've done everything as I should have to this point to keep her sane and healthy, but something in her has snapped. I only hope I can revert what's changed her before it's too late."
>>601001 >>601000 "I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT!" He cries, slamming his hooves on the table again. "She's still the same one I care about and love, Puff. She might look a little different now, and she's going through a rough patch, but I still love her and she's the same dragon I've cared for forever! I'll do whatever it takes to keep her with me."
"And she can't be destroyed. Not as she is now. She's trapped in the other realm, only able to leak through with her own inherent power using me as a conduit. Only in some circumstances even then."
"I don't know what would happen to me if she was destroyed. Or what would happen to her if I was. I suspect, if I severed the connection, she'd truly perish. What lies beyond death, Detective? My people believed the Golden Hall was where we all went. A dragon's fate is unknown to me, however."
"I couldn't just let her slip into the abyss. So unjustly, at that. You understand, don't you?"
>>601009 The Green Stallion rises from his seat, wiping his forelimbs off in the process.
"Can't quite understand what you mean. But if you're concerned about them, please, don't be. Once Harley is brought back to me, Brynn will likely follow. I'd be glad to have an exceptionally intelligent individual like him on my team, and I'm sure he'd enjoy being with Harley for all time in the most literal sense. In fact, pitch the idea to him next time you see him and see what his reaction is. I'm curious if it's quite that simple."
>>601010 "Of course! I have my own methods, but I try to recruit the best and brightest to my cause. Volunteers only. If they turn down the contract when I approach them, I leave them be. If they agree, they're on my team and subject to my terms."
He saunters away from the table, back toward the dark corner of the room. As he does, the bubble around you and Leafy shrinks, until finally it collapses with a barely audible pop. Leaving you and Leafy sitting on a rotted couch that you both quickly jump up from.
"Now, Puff, I'm afraid our time is up. I blabbered away quite a bit of it, didn't I? Well, next time I'll let you do the talking."
He turns around, smiling brightly as he slowly fades into the blackness.
"Goodbye for now, Detective. Take care, and remember my offer…."
With that, he disappears. Having given a few answers, but only opening up more questions.
As a familiar, feminine voice calls from outside the room to ask how you're doing, you have to wonder:
Is he really telling the truth? Or is this just another ploy?
As you rejoin the group and ascend back to the upper floor of this tomb, the thought lingers in the back of your mind.
Alright it's 1am here and I think we've gone on long enough for the night. Sorry to keep you all up. Thank you for joining me and putting up with my stuff, if you'd like more background stuff or a more novelized version of events at some point please feel free to tell me. I worry I may not be expressing things clearly enough for you so any feedback on the topic is appreciated. I know I'm not the greatest writer but thank you for bearing with me regardless of that fact. You're all great sports and I appreciate each of you.
Thanks again guys, and goodnight. Remember the /qt/ thread lets you ask party members questions as well as questions directed at me, and you can discuss ideas/plans there as well.