/q/ - Quest


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File: 1387656848520.jpg (37.23 KB, 720x480, midnight guard.jpg, IO Exif Google TinEye)


Unrest in the high houses of Canterlot is afoot.
Since times immemorial many of these noble houses have been entrusted with safeguarding mysterious artifacts of shrouded origin. Few remember their purpose any longer, and over time many have been stolen, lost, sold or just thrown away as meaningless trinkets. But recent events have called for an inventory among the houses, revealing how many have neglected their duties regarding these strange treasures. Now the rulers of Equestria have demanded that the houses regain their artifacts at once, or they will risk losing their noble status for disregarding the symbols of their authority.

However, the truth is far more dire. These seemingly meaningless items all share a common origin: they are remnants of the immense power of the demon king Tirek. Known as the ruler of Midnight, Tirek once wielded the Power of Darkness - an immensely powerful magic capable of twisting any living being into a horrible monster under his command. And though Tirek was slain long ago, many believe that he could not truly be destroyed, merely banished from the world. Furthermore, were the remnants of his power ever brought back together, it is possible Tirek himself could return to dominate the world once more. This is a possibility the alicorn sisters cannot risk happening.
In an effort to keep panic from spreading, knowledge of Tirek is limited, and the houses have been instructed to only tell the full truth to those who they know can stomach it. As such, most who are recruited to help recover the fragments of power are given false information. Excuses of various kinds masking the true importance of their duty.

You are among these recruits, gathered in a meeting organized by House Starling.
The house representative will arrive to speak momentarily. Make yourselves ready.


Meanwhile, in the safety of his own study, Lord Starling awaits his trusted shadow


I enter, bow my head and wait for orders.


I'll look over the other recruits, do they seem like they will last long out there?


"Whisper. A thing of great importance to our house has been taken from us."
He glances at an empty box on the table, next to two glasses of wine
A ragged lot. Thugs, mercenaries, guards, street performers, gamekeepers…


Do I recognize the box?
Did I know what's in it?
"When was the theft discovered, mylord?"


Shake my head slowly, at least the mercenaries and guards have a chance. Talk to one of the guards. "So, how many of them you think will actually be fighting with us?"


It looks old, but not too familiar.
"Not too long ago. And when I reported it, well, a lot of things started happening.
Look around you."
He takes the fine crystal glass and takes a sip
"What do you see? Fine hardwood, exquisite gold detailing, the most valuable of artisan crafts Equestria can offer.
Tell me… do you take it for granted, that we have these things?"
"Hard to say. From what I've heard this is mostly about chasing thieves, so I felt obliged to come.
My brother told me some of the other houses have put out bounties on some weird items too lately. He went looking through some places he knows to see if he could score a quick sack of bits from a sale. Here's hoping. Poor guy needs a break."


"Obliged huh? I understand that feeling.
I hope your brother doesn't hurt himself chasing treasure he can't obtain..
You can call me Coral by the way." Smile sweetly like a crystal pony can.


"Pondering such questions is for those with time on their hooves. My line of work does not leave me much."


"And if we fail to recover that old thing, you will be left with plenty, as it will mean the end of House Starling."
He takes a sip
"You haven't even touched your wine."
"Cloudcover. And I wouldn't worry about him. He's not foolhardy, just opportunistic."


Snicker slightly. "Sounds like most of the lot here."


Seeing as this might not be just another recovery mission, I think I'll sit down as well.
And take a sip of that wine.
"The thieves must have been highly organised to steal this. Perhaps one of the other Houses are making a move…"


Yes, this is horse.
Dog isn't here yet. Maybe I should wait on dog.


"I'm just happy to make Canterlot a safer place."
"Perhaps. Perhaps it was someone on the inside.
But if that was the case, I doubt they knew what they were doing. Because aside from me, I don't think anyone inside these walls knows what the thing in that box really was."
You can always talk with those present, see if you can scout out good leads on adventure


"Same with me really, If canterlot falls to some silliness like this, what chance does the rest of Equestria stand?"


"Whoever it was, they will be found and be delivered justice."


He glances around and lowers his voice
"To be honest I think this is a welcome slap on the nobles' wrists"
"Make sure of it. Because it is not just our house that is at risk. It may well be all of Equestria, if the Rainbow of Darkness is repaired…"


"The Rainbow of Darkness? I have not heard of such a thing…"


Look curiously and reply just as softly. "Not a fan of the noble houses?"


Walk inside and look around.
"Did I hear somepony say adventure?"


Wow, so many colorful Equestrians! I love the darker tones and textures they all have; it's so different from the bland 'shiny' everything in the empire! How many different species can I see?


"As it should be. House Starling was entrusted with watching over one of its fragments, as were many of the noble houses of Canterlot.
Legend has it that if the shards are ever brought back together, the great demon Tirek would return to rule the world."
"They often seem to think themselves above responsibility and humility. This is a welcome reminder that they are still but ponies."
It seems you aren't the only crystal around. There's another one there >>512478 and a unicorn mare over there >>512479 as well as many others killing time in the courtyard, waiting for the house representative.


"You believe somepony has stolen this fragment to summon this demon?"


Another crystal? Wonderful, I'll have to aquaint myself with her. Later, though; she seems otherwise occupied at the moment.
I check out the unicorn mare. What type of gear is she using? How does she carry herself? Does she appear to be of noble lineage? Just as importantly, how attractive is she?


"It'd be nice to see them send some of their own forces instead of relying on us to clean up everything."


"It is possible. Or somepony has paid some hapless minion to do it for them. Whatever the case, the line of Starling has sword to keep those shards safe. And we will recover ours."
"As I've heard, they did. This is far from the only group."
#Eira, please describe yourself


I'm wearing adventuring gear! Ropes, torches, knives, that kind of stuff. I probably don't look very noble at all. A little rugged even.


Drink my wine empty.
"I will leave at once then. Do we have any intelligence regarding the theft?"


"Maybe we'll run into them then." glance around. "I don't know how much faith I have in the others here.."


So, a regular pony eh? Perfect! I don't have to worry about breaching some convoluted code of etiquette by not having the right mane styling or something. I confidently stride over to her with a friendly smile.
"Good evening, milady. How do you fare upon this fine day?"


"I know an old somepony in the historical district. He is usually in the know about this and that, so start there. Whoever wants these shards would want all of them, and an operation that big is hard to keep low profile."
"Maybe, maybe. Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me, taking these big jobs… My best friend has spent the last weeks guarding a construction site way out of town on some mellow little hill. Must be cozy…"


"Uh… are you the pony who wants me to find some stuff for him?"


Smirk at him. "Always taking big jobs? Got a bit of hero's blood in you Cloudcover?"


"What about the other houses? They might send their own agents if they've been hit too."


"Uh… Oh! Oh, nay, milady, I am merely a fellow adventurer!"


I think you wanted to reply to the post above me


"Uh… Oh! Oh, nay, milady, I am merely a fellow adventurer!"


I eye him suspiciously.
"Are you trying to replace me?"


"Could be, could be. Maybe I just have a big heart."
"They are tight lipped about their own losses, but I can tell which ones have certainly had theirs stolen. Those are the ones who are now mad at me for admitting I lost mine, prompting Celestia to demand the others be inventoried.
My representative should be down at the courtyard soon picking out search parties. Go with one and take them to the historical district. Look for a pony who goes by Word Salad. He can give you more info."


"Actually, I was hoping to recruit you. You see, the family that is hiring us all is supposed to be very powerful here in Equestria. If somepony was willing to steal from them, it stands to reason that the thieves had access to significant resources. Potentially resources that would make working alone a dangerous prospect."


"I will depart at once."


"I bet you've helped a lot ponies already."


I puff my chest proudly.
"I don't work alone. I have a partner I work with. I've dealt with plenty of treasure thieves before, this will be a piece of cake."


"All in a day's work I suppose?"
He looks a little awkward at all the attention
Lord Starling nods and pours himself another glass.
"Don't let the house down."


"I see. Very well then, I wish you and your partner the best of luck."
I've got to go now. Thanks for understanding. If I'm lucky, you'll still be running when I get back.


"Luck? I don't need luck, I have a crossbow."


I guess I'll leave him alone then. Maybe there is someone else to talk to, or someone will come talk to us?


"The shard will be returned before you know it."
Bow my head and take my leave.
Return to my quarters to stock up on travel gear.


"It was nice talking to you Coral I uh… won't mind meeting you again."
You can check on the others talking over yonder >>512505 or wait for the representative.
You are ahead of schedule. If you want, you can still scout out the recruits before the official representative arrives.


I believe that would be good.
Where are those recruits gathering?
Watch them at a distance.


All over the courtyard. A few of them stand out, like the crystal mare >>512506 and unicorn mare >>512505


"I'll see you around Cloudcover."
Uh, I guess I'll check on the others while I wait.
"Hey, you look like you can hold your own."


"You'd be right to think so! Are you the pony who wants me to find something? By Celestia's flaming snatch, I can find whatever it is you seek!"


Trot over to them.

"Hello there. Are you here for the chase as well?"


"Yes I am. Looking for me?"


Chuckle a bit "I"m waiting on that pony as well. They should be here soon, in the meantime we should get to know each other maybe."
"Us and every other pony in the area it seems. I'm Coral." offer you a hoof shake.


"I was looking around to meet who else joined up. Have you heard about this thief business?"

Shake his hoof.
"Slow Shell."


"My name is Eira. Adventurer extraordinaire."

"I've heard rumors. Nothing I wont be able to handle."


You will be officially briefed when you are #ready


"Yea, a pretty bold thief. I'm hoping to help resolve this quickly. Honestly I'm glad you are both here. Most of these others just seem to have wandered off the streets in hopes of coins."






"Like a walk in the park."


Although I think we should pause for the others, especially since you're tired.


As you see a few more recruits arrive on the scene, the house representative enters the courtyard as well.

"Good day everypony. I am glad to see so many turned up. For we have great opportunities available for each of you.
The master of the house, Lord Starling, is seeking a very special item close to his heart. An old heirloom of the Starling line that has most unfortunately gone missing. A great reward will be offered to any who can return it safely. And if it proves dangerous and difficult, we will double your reward.

The item itself is hard to mistake. It is a unique gem, known as the Jewel of Midnight - a large, deep black stone set in a silver frame. It holds great value to our lord for sentimental reasons, but has little monetary value beyond that. Perhaps you can still even feel some of its old power as you get near it. We surely will, so bringing forgeries will get you nowhere."


"As long as the money's good."


"Any clues to its whereabouts?"


"We have few real leads, but it may pop up in some underground auctions, or may be owned by a private collector. If you need to buy it off someone, the house will gladly repay your for it."


"I hope not, that would be really boring and easy."


"I suppose we better head off then."

"I might have an idea where to look."


"First come first served.
Return with good news!"



Look around.
"That's good and all, but my partner hasn't arrived yet."


The representative of House Starling is taking questions if you have any, or arrived late and need a recap.


Where am I?
And where is that chatty horse friend of mine?


Right, right! Damn nobles, expecting us to shape our schedules around them…

Quickly arrive and expect my briefing.




Right then. What other exotic species are around? I want to meet them all!


Those looking to work for the house and hunt treasure should be at the mansion courtyard listening to their briefing. You aren't late are you?
It seems the first briefing was already given, but if you raise your hoof you can probably get a recap.
Oh look, a zebra >>512623 and a diamond dog >>512622


What if I am?


I just need to know who I have to travel with.


You might miss out on the money
Well just looking over the lot here, most of them seem like opportunistic rabble. A few do stand out though, such as this one >>512625 this one >>512623 and a couple of others.


Right then, let's go meet the zebra! I approach the zebra with a friendly grin and my head held high.
"Greetings! How do you fare on this fine day?"


Who is the noble I'm working for?
And they gathered together, how nice. Go over there and just stand on the side for now.


"Please correct me if I'm wrong, but what I gathered is that one Tirek-related artifact under your care with the potential to summon him has gone missing, and you suspect someone is trying to gather many similar artifacts for that very purpose. Is that it?"

"Yes, yes fine day to you. What, were you gathered for this cursed artifact business too?"


I guess I can try to not be too late then.


"As a matter of fact I was. Are you alright? You sound rather stressed."


I have arrived already! Just waiting for my partner now.


Whoa there.
Approach her.
"You seem to assume an awnful lot young lady.
Why, Tirek is just a fable to scare foals!"


"We're dealing with demonic curses here, safety is of paramount importance. So yes, of course I'm stressed when a misstep could cause any of us to go insane or lose limbs if we're lucky, thank you very much."

"And you too little! I work with curses like this on a day-to-day basis. Of course, better for you to believe it a fairy tale. Security reasons."


"Or better to not shout around too much about it, right?"


Well you came here to House Starling, so they will be paying you to get the job done.
Then, your loyalties may lie else where. That does raise the question of why you are here?
The representative looks uneasy
"We have no information regarding such fables. This is merely a personal request of Lord Starling to return his lost heirloom."


"What are you on about? It's just an item with some emotional importance according to our briefing."


"What did I miss?"


Well, they didn't say anything like that in the letter. I assumed I was to be with a group of professionals.

"Right, right, I suppose stress on the job is making me imagine things."

Brush it off nonchalently.

Roll #1 6 = 6


Give her a complacent look and turn to the others.
"You seem fervantly interested, lady."


…Demonic curses? Um… I get the feeling I'm missing something.
Or maybe SHE'S just crazy.
Okay, something's up. I don't know what this "Tirek" is, but clearly the briefing didn't inform us on everything.
"Ugh, I knew it was bound to devolve into politics sooner or later, but so soon?" I facehoof and start rubbing my temples.


"Mixed it up with another job. Don't mind me. As you can see, I am quite stressed."


"Not much. We're on gem duty today! We'll be looking for a large black stone set in a silver frame that was stolen. Simple, right? We'll be done by dinner!"

"Give me one reason to not be interested!"


"For those who came in late, Lord Starling is paying a handsome sum for the return of his family's lost heirloom known as the Jewel of Midnight. While it's not valuable on the market, it does have great sentimental value to my lord, and as such we ask for heroes like you to seek it out and return it."
The representative gives you a lingering look
"Is there a problem?"


"There isn't, isn't."

Inure myself against… headaches.


Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"The lady is just a bit uppity, that's all."
"No, it's a very good quality. I didn't get your name."
Wave a hoof.


"There, there goes the headache. Sorry for your trouble."


"Oh boy do I love treasure hunts."


"Eira, adventurer extraordinaire."

Motion at Cassie.
"That's Cassie, my partner and BFF."


"Oh, spare me the innocent act, I've been in this dance since I was born."


I sigh and facepaw.
"Let's just stay with partner, okay?"


Word on the street is, there is a pony who knows a lot about a lot of less known things in the Historical District. Goes by Word Salad.
Or if you want to look for more official info, there is always the Great Library.

Also, a guard by the name of Cloud Cover can join you if you desire the extra company.


Nod in response.
"Good to meet you both. I'm Aurelius. Former townsguard."
"Now, no need to jump at each other's throats so soon, is there?"
We should start with Salad.


"Headaches can do many things to your mind. No, if you'll excuse me…"

DID I get the correct letter? No one seems aware at all. Bah.

I'm going to take my leave for a while to check.

Night DM, work tomorrow


"You'll always be my BFF in my heart! Come on, let's go! I've got a good feeling about today and I need your nose to sniff out that gem!"

"Salad sounds like a good start. Soup would work too though."


Chuckle a bit.
"What a colorful joke."


"It still doesn't work like that, Eira. No matter how much you want it to."

"Pleasure. Let's get moving then. Want to lead the way?"


"It might be best, yes.

Anyone else cares to join us?"


Ugh, fine. I've been stonewalled before.
"I came to Equestria seeking a reprieve from the games and manipulations of the noble houses. Excuse me for getting miffed that I'm already getting dragged back in.
Forgive me, I get… irritated when politics are involved. I am Amber Dawn, of House- I mean, Amber Dawn. Just, Amber."


"I'm sure we can keep our job simple enough to leave politics out, don't you think?"


Nonchalantly wave a paw at him.


A few come along, such as a ninja
The guard tilts his head, as it waiting for you to ask for him to come alone if you want him


I'm here.
Where am I?


I blink a few times.
"Is it?"

"I know I'm your best friend!"

"Nice to meet you Amber."


"Of course. It's the politics of our employers that worries me; they have a habit of making your job harder."
"Ooh! Good evening, madame! How do you fare?"


"…Hello there, my good sir. Have we met?"


Look back at him.
"You coming too, bud?"
"Lets leave such squabbles for last, don't you agree?"
"Indeed. It sounds like we will have a great time together."


The party is about to leave to look for Word Salad.
"Well, I suppose I can come along. I'm Cloudcover, from the Guard. I had a few days off patrol duty well, here I am, trying to catch thieves even on my free time."


"I wasn't talking about that but that is factually wrong too now that you mention it."

"I'm surrounded by ponies again so there's that."


"Am I that forgettable? We've already met, remember? I tried to recruit you to assist me. Looks like we might be working together after all, eh?"


How fortunate.

"Hello, I believe we haven't met before."


"We haven't."


"Hello to you as well. I am Amber Dawn. Pleased to make your aquaintance, my good sir."


"You feel it the same way? That's great!"

"I know you're just trying to tease me, it's not gonna work!"

"I didn't catch your name last time, that's all."

Wave a hoof at him.


"Slow Shell. I heard we'll be leaving soon for this Salad fellow."

Wave back.

"Always good to have a Diamond Dog on the team. I've heard those fingers make life very easy."


"Ponies like us, we never change."
Give him a little smirk.
"I'm supposed to be retired, you know."
"I suppose we haven't. My name's Aurelius. Yours?"
"Yes, he seems like the most reasonable bet."


"Slow Shell."


Nod in acknowledgement.


"Name's Eira."
Nod at Cassie.
"That's my good friend Cassie, professional gem sniffer!"


"A brave heart never retires. Where are we headed?"


"If that makes you feel better falling asleep."

Give him a deadpan look.

"Stop using that word."


"Ever heard of Words Salad?"


"Well met, Cloud Cover of the Guard. I look forward to working with you."
"Well then, let's not just sit around yapping. To find Salad of Words! Er, Wordy Salad! Ah… Oh, you understand what I'm saying!"
I begin to head for… Well, outside the gates for now, then to search for Whatsisface.


"Good day."
"Only passing mentions. Some village idiot who sleeps under benches in the historical district near the pauper graves."


"Charmed. The name's Slow."


"Which one? My name? Don't be ridiculous."

"Sounds like the kind of pony we need! Village idiots sometimes have valid information because nopony listens to them."


I let out a snort.
"Sounds like a prime information broker."


Pause and look back at them.
"You ladies and gentlemen coming? The sooner we find him, the better!"


"I can lead you around. Patrolling the streets every day makes them quite familiar.

Are you all ready?"


"That's what I said."




"Yes, the sooner we start, the sooner we'll find this gem!"


"How vulgar, madame! For shame!"
I take a chastising tone, but I've got a huge grin on my face. "Besides, don't you know that a gentleman always finishes last?"


"Let us go."


"After you, Cloudcover."


Roll my eyes.
"Sure they do. Thanks for the life lesson. I'd be lost without it."


"Well, you're a bit of a dry wit, aren't you? And I was considering putting you in charge of morale, too."


"Naturally." I smile "I'm glad you're leading us Cloudcover."


"I'm sure chirpy little Eira would be more than happy with that."


Oh, another crystal pony. She's talking with the guard again, but I don't think he'd mind me stepping in.
"Well hello there! Fancy meeting another crystal down he- are you blushing?"


And so you headed off, with two leads on your mids. Word Salad the information broker, and the Great Library.

Soon you arrive in the Historical District, the old heart of Canterlot that has remained nearly unchanged since ancient times when the city was far smaller and less prosperous. It's hard to think the city of nobles was once such a utilitarian and rugged place of dark stone and rough wood. But many still called this place home, even if the rich consider it little more than a dump.

Your best lead so far is the pauper graves, an old set of crypts where those who cannot afford plots in the fancier graveyards are buried for free.


"Hehe. I like you; you're sharp."
"Perhaps we should split up. One group go after Worm Salad, the other see what we can find at the library, then meet back here and share what we learned. Sound like a plan?"


"Seems like a fine plan. I'd like to go to have a word with Salad."


Roll my eyes a bit "Are you here to look at your reflection or to find the gem?"
"Call me Coral by the way."
"I'll go to the library."


Fake a smile and do a thumbs up before going back to being nonchalant.


"Hiding in crypts.
That's sacrilegal, on top of illegal."
"Very well. I will head to this Salad pony."


"You're very condescending today, Cassie."

"I'll go talk to Salad Word!"


"It was a compliment!"


So who is going for the #Library and who for #Salad?


"I am Amber Dawn. Pleased to make your aquaintance." Lean in and whisper, "I think your cheeks were tinted, but I wasn't the one your eyes were on."
"So Slow Shell, Aurelius, and Eira will go talk to Salad, while Coral, Cassie and I head to the library! Sound good?"


"Sounds like a plan."


"I'd rather stay with Eira. She tends to get herself hurt if I don't babysit her."


"It sounded like sarcasm!"

"What she means to say is that good friends stick together!"


Very well then. Looks like it's you and me, Coral!"



"You two should work out a solution then. Are you good with books or with ponies?"


"Its not really splitting up if we all go to the same place So its fine with me." whisper back "Please, I'm just being polite."


"Books work fine too, I like digging around."


"Did it?
And sure, I did."

"I like books better than I like ponies."


"Then you both should head for the library."


Small pause so I can cook and eat. Please keep chatting if you want.


"For what it's worth, I think he might be interested in you. He certainly gets a bit tongue-tied around you. Just something for you to consider."
"Is that alright with you two?"


"Fine with me."





Is this correct?


I think Cassie and Eira are up for Library instead.


Cassie and Eira are headed to the library.


Eira and I are going to the Library


Cassie and I are going to hit the books!


Very well

And so you split up.
Cloudcover went to help with the graveyard, thinking the extra muscle might be useful.


Ah, the great library of Canterlot. An impressive sight indeed, dwarfing even the notable collections of the royal castle of Everfree.
However, things look very tense here. Many of the library guards are searching the area, and everyone looks uneasy. Especially the librarians and archivists who are overseeing the process.


You remain in the historical district and go poking around. The pauper graves are a quiet place, since nopony cares about the penniless dead. But it seems the dead are not silent, because you can hear faint sounds from inside the large crypts…


"You think someone forgot to return a book?"


"Seems like we are on the right way…"
Is there a way down or something?


Look around for this Word Salad '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Maybe somebody took all the books off the shelves and put them back in the wrong order."




Approach one of the ponies working here.
"Excuse me? Is something going on?"




Let her handle it.

"The word you're looking for is quiet. That's what you have to be in a library."


"You have been quiet this whole time."


"Indubitably, my good madame."


There is a soft snoring coming from one of the large crypts. The door is unlocked.
The guard keeps looking into the bushes as he speaks
"Theft. An old, very valuable book has been taken."


"There's something in that crypt…"


"Stop calling me that."


Nod and take point by the side of the crypt's door.
Slowly open the door.


"Oh. What kind of book? Maybe we'll come across it on our adventures if it is stolen!"


All this over one book? At least we should still be able to find something about this artifact. Go to one of the clerks. "Excuse me, we're looking for information on an artifact held by House Starling. Might you direct us to where we can find relevant books?"
"Then what title would you prefer, milady?"


"Just call me Cassie."


Sounds like someone is asleep in there.
Looking inside, you can see most of the walls are lined with dozens upon dozens of little cubbyholes, most of them full of bones
"One of our finest ones. Irreplaceable. A tome from ancient times, detailing spells forgotten by modern magic"
"Oh, um, yes, certainly. What is the item in question?"


Can I make out how many of them?

Roll #1 9 = 9


Look around.
Who's in there '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


"The Jewel of Midnight, a certain gem."


"Very well, Cassie."


"The artifact is known as the Jewel of Midnight.
…as a bit of an aside, might you have any books on swordfighting techniques? Preferably ones that contain illustrations of the moves described?"


Hundreds of years worth of dead poor people. There must be several floors to this place to accommodate them all.
You look into a few of them, when suddenly A SKELETON POPS OUT!
He does something of a double tale
"The… Jewel of Midnight you say?
It's missing?"


Hit it. With my fisthoof '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


I meant how many sleeping ponies!


"And we aim to retrieve it. So, what exactly can you tell us about it?"


Only the dead rest here.
Your hoof gets lodged in its teeth. Roll to not get spooked.
"Do you know what it is?"


Very well.
Then blast away at the skeleton arrassing the other guy.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Of course I won't get spooked '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


"A jewel? The owner seems to value it and he needs it back, that's what we know right now."


"I know that the House Starling appears to be already trying to cover up what it really is. However, as we have been hired to find it, I feel we need to know exactly what we're dealing with."
I have to go in a minute, so let's just get to a stopping point.



"A jewel or something."


You are super spooked. You even scream like a little foal
You smack the skeleton, and realize it's just a normal skeleton. Not even an undead one.
It crumbles on the floor.
Someone is laughing.
"Well. The book that was stolen recently is related to the jewel you seek. That much I can easily say. Further details however, are a bit less… available."


There was never a doubt it was a normal skeleton.
"Instead of mocking, show yourself."
Word of Power.

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


"When did it go missing?"


I wish I had a tobacco pipe and a magnifying glass right now…
"Now that's concerning! Any leads on who might behind it?"

"Cassie, this might be more exciting than I thought it would be!"


"Yes, I can barely contain my own excitement."


It's all part of the act!

"Who's there?"


"Try to stay calm and collected, okay? I know you can get overexcited sometimes!"


"I'll do my best."


"Clearly this jewel is of great importance, and YOU, good sir, hold the key to our success in safely retrieving it from those who would use it for evil! You are a scribe, dedicating your life to the glorious pursuit of knowledge! Now what knowledge do you have on the Jewel of Midnight?"
Inspire to make him loosen his lips. [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


A somewhat disheveled, but deeply amused pony pokes his head out of the cubbyhole
"Orrite meighty nonneedtabeall shoutyboutit."
"It was found missing this morning. The chief librarian was so shocked he had to go home to rest after hearing the news.
Not many ponies even know that book exists, let alone what it contains. And those who do would have no reason to steal it, since it has no market value."
"How did you know it was a tool for evil? Who told you that? I thought I knew everyone we informed about this."


"You Word Salad?"


I look at them both in confusion.
"I get the feeling I'm missing some information here…"


"Where was it?
Maybe there are some clues.2


"By how he talks one would assume he is."
Turn to Salad.
"We need. Informations."


"Innifomashions eeses likkade laadidaa missafancyprancy innivisitorpon, ehfack? Wossayoulot wannanoen?"
"It was in the relic room. Only those with prior approval are permitted inside."


Uh, I was being theatrical. If it really is a tool for evil, then we definitely need more info.
I bluff like hell.
"Please, this involves the noble houses. Since when have they ever let anypony be completely in the know? Besides, I'm a representative of the House Angelite of the Crystal Empire; you haven't met me because I was briefed in the empire. Now can you help us?"

Roll #1 3 = 3


Start pacing around him.
"The stolen artifacts."


"So are we getting a permit then?"


"Suffice to say that by themselves, the book and jewel are primarily harmless. But together, they can be dangerous. So it would be lovely if you could recover them before someone who knows this has a chance to get their hooves on both, let alone the rest of them."
"Letting dogs lift their legs at our most precious treasures seems ill advised."
"Wanmomment willyaright?"
He spits out a huge wad of tobacco
"Ahem. Sorry. Shouldn't speak with my mouth full.
Word in the shadows is there are buyers for those old things the nobles have been guarding. Which is really odd by itself, but get this - someponies have been hearing talks of these strangely-clad groups roaming the outer countryside, poking around a lot of places that all share a single connection - they were all somehow related to this ancient myth about a 'Lord of Midnight'."


"You are right, you shouldn't speak with your mouth full.
But do an exception and tell us of these buyers."


"Oh well, I guess you don't need that book anyway."


"Any idea where these freaks meet?"


"Very well. Would you mind directing me to the books on sword-fighting techiques?"
When the clerk isn't looking, lean in and whisper to Cassie. "I'm going to try and eavesdrop on some of their conversations, see if I can learn anything. You keep pressing them for information directly."


"Or just, you know, finding actual clues about where the book was taken."


"Hey! Don't talk smack to my BFF! She's my treasured partner!"


Seriously, Eira…
Let out a sigh.


"Trust me, you're about to get slammed with a wall of red tape and paperwork. Nopony is better at frustrating attempts to accomplish anything than the houses. That's why I'm taking the indirect approach."


"The title is information broker not information giveaway.
What's in this for me?"
"Combat techniques are in the martial wing, third floor, aisle eight"
"Mhm. Still not letting her mark any of our books as her territory."
"In the worst case scenario, the world will need that book returned. We have checked the room. There is no way we could have missed something.
…is there?"


"See it this way. You have only to lose from us not finding those relics."


Look at Cassie, then back at the librarian.
"She wont. She's a bitch, they don't do that."


Head to the martial wing, doing my best to appear bored as I listen for any gossip, scuttlebutt, or other conversation that might be of use. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


I did take some money for costs right?
Give him a handful of bits.
"The place?"


"Here we go again…"

"You are ponies. Of course there is a way you missed something. I'd bet the life of Eira on it that you did."

"I'm not touching any fancy bureacracy, you can count on that."


"You're gonna owe me big time for this, you know that right?"
He flashes a grin, showing his teeth are immaculate. He is clearly making good bank with this job…
"Place is called the Pig Bag. It's an underground auction where they don't show what they sell. They only give you a number, and the clients need to know what number correlates to what item beforehand.
Often a lot of the buyers are just hired help too, so don't shake the place down. Your best bet might be to trail them to where ever the seller has stashed the goods."
"They all look the same to me. Last I read they're all equipped the same too."
All the better. You notice a discarded key that had been tossed under a shelf.
From the looks of it, it's a rough copy of another key. Probably an important clue.
"Classy. Well, look around if you must. But unless you can show me something we missed, I'm not permitting you anywhere near the high value things."


"And how will we find out which number is which?"


"Just show me where the Dog damn book was and I'll be sure to find something!"


"Looks like that loosened your tongue enough. And dont you happen to know these numbers?"


Stealthily pocket the key, then browse the shelves for any books on techniques for using the longsword or fighting with a shield.
Rolling to see what I find.[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


"What? Where'd you read that?"

"That's not true, is it Cassie?"


"I'm not even going to ackowledge that question, Eira."


"It's a genuine question!"


"What if I asked you if mares have dongs?"


"They do have a book that records that. But they burn it after every auction, or so I hear.
You could try to swipe the book, or talk the burner into neglecting his duties."
"Biology of Sapient Nonequines. It's called a psudopenis."
Nothing worth paying attention to, really.
But this key would be useful to present to the others
"You are free to search the surrounding area with the guards."


"I'd tell you no, we do not. That wasn't so hard was it?"

"I don't think Cassie has one of those, so your book must be wrong."


Fine, I guess I can come back later to find something to improve my skills. These Equestrians must have some fencing schools I'm unfamiliar with!
Regardless, I return to Cassie, Eira, and the clerk.
"Excuse me, but would you mind directing me where the room where the book was held? I know we aren't allowed in, but I'd like to see if we can figure out how the thieves got in."


"Hmmm, doesn't sound too hard."


"It was a stupid question to begin with."

Supreme Survivor.
Any clues I find?


I shrug and just follow suit.
"Are you going to sniff the thieves out?"


"I am a pony of science, not hearsay."
"It's on the central platform on the fourth floor. You may have seen the walkway that leads there if you looked up in the martial section."
The room is suspended in the middle of the fourth floor. The only access route is a walkway that connects it to the rest of the floor, with quite a fall down to the third from up there. The area is also too narrow to safely fly in for most pegasi.
"If you ignore all the hired goons and other unsavory types keeping the place safe, sure."


"No, just look around properly."

Do I have acces to check that walkway out?


"Why not use your nose though?"


"Thank you. Now, I assume the room was locked. Did they destroy the lock, pick the lock, or bypass it entirely?"
got to go. See you guys next time.


"Yeah, thanks for the tip."
Nod at Shell to leave.


"Why not use your magic?"


"The room is always locked, and indeed it was still locked when we found that the tome was missing."
It is blocked off by a locked gate


"I only know how to use telekinesis…"

Locked huh? Anyone around?


Go to that guard.
"Open that gate for me, will you. I need to have a look around that walkway."



"It's not useful at this moment, unlike your nose!"


"How is my nose useful down here?"


"You can track scents with it! You know you're good at finding and spotting stuff!"


Not here, no.
The closest guard is a a few halls down it seems
"If ya need anything else, don't be afraid to come back"


"Don't get too comfy in here. Remember the catacombs are for the dead."
Proceed to leave.


Take out my lockpicks and see if I can pry the gate open.

Roll #1 6 = 6


"I could track the guards, sure."

That works."


"I was talking about tracking the thieves with your nose!"


"How could I tell them apart?"


Time to find the others


"I don't know, you're the scent expert!"


"I'll use my nose when I need to then, allright?"




"So far as anyone is concerned…"
he shoves the tobacco wad back in his mouth
"…ayyam arredyded."
The lock is simple, and easy to open.
They should be at the library, right?


Shake my head and leave for the library.


Open the gate then.
"Done and done!"


Go there.

"I hope the others have discovered something as well."


"I've little faith in the usefulness of informations centuries old when unting very current thieves."


Pat her on the head.
"Good pony."
Now let's check that walkway.
Supreme Survivor for clues.


"Well you never know!"


"You never do, indeed."


A lot of guards are searching the outside for… something.
It may have been possible for someone to shimmy down from here using a rope. The better question is, how did it not leave any marks on the siderails?


Approach one.
"Good day kiddo. What's got you all so stirred up?"


Any scents?


Smells like old books mostly.
…which does imply the culprit may also smell like old books.
"A very valuable book was stolen from the treasure collection. It is imperative such a relic is returned at once."


What did they say again? That the head librarian hasn't been since it went missing?"


"Say no more, I will help. How long ago has this happened?"


"Did they say that?"


"Yes they did. It makes me suspicous."


"This morning. The head librarian went home after hearing the news. It hit him pretty hard.
The book is invaluable. In… many ways."


"Maybe an inspection of the site of the crime would help."


"That does sound a little bit suspicious."


I sigh.
"Don't take this wrong, but I want to know how he smells."


"Only those with special permission are allowed in the treasure room. Currently Assistant Head Librarian Hard Cover is in charge while the Head Librarian rests."


"… Does that mean you need to smell his butt?"


I nod in agreement.


"Well it'd be best for all of us if the Head Librarian was not disturbed after such a grave happening. Show me to Hard Cover, if you may."


"No, not his butt! Geez, Eira, how do you even come up with all this absurd stuff?!"


"I've seen dogs sniff butts!"


"I've seen a pony in a bar once who threw up on the table then slept in it but I don't assume you would do the same!"


"That one, over there."
He points at one of the library workers


"Thank you, lad."
Trot over.
"Am I talking to the Assistant Head Librarian?"


"Of course not, that's repulsive!"


"Yes. Are you with the last lot that came in here asking about the Jewel of Midnight?"


"They are friends of ours, in a way. We work together."




"But dogs sniffing butts is natural!"


"Hrm. So I take it House Starling hired everyone they could get.
Well. Everything will be just fine if you get the book and/or the jewel back."


"Do I look like a common pooch?"


Look for clues '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


"The book is interesting us. What of it?"


"Not really, but it's a valid question!"


"It's a tome of ancient spells lost to modern magic. Priceless as a historical artifact, worthless to anyone else since the language it is written in is lost to history."
There are books in this library.


"Let's just ask where that librarian guy is."


More clues plox '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5




"Now, which language was that?"


There might be some merit to pooling the party's knowledge to see if it leads to any obvious conclusions
"Dark Tongue. A language that has been dead for thousands of years now."


"This narrows it down nicely enough.
Who spoke it?"


"Legend has it it was the tongue of ancient beings corrupted by their own magic beyond recognition.
For all I know, nobody even knows how the alphabet works any more."


"Is there some… Expert, of such things?"


Let's find a guard.
"Hey. Where is this head librarian? I need to speak with him."


"Not to my knowledge. The Head Librarian may know, if anypony. He likes obscure things."
"He is at home, resting from the shock of the theft."


"Consulting him might hasten the time before this books returns into your hooves."




"You are welcome to try, but he was heartbroken when he left this morning."


"Where is his home?"


"I'm sure he will come around once he hears how precious his contribution will be."


"It's the mansion two streets that way."
"Don't be surprised if he doesn't want to be disturbed though."


"I won't, but any clue we can get is gonna help us."
Go to his office/room/whatever.



Come on Eira."


"Let's see what this is all about then."


"Right behind you!"


Let's go find that mansion.


And so you leave the library behind and head for the Head Librarian's mansion.
It's not huge, but he is clearly wealthy. A few guards are watching the yard, looking a little blue.


"Why, we meet again. What brings you this way?"


Wave to them.
"Excuse me. We need to talk to the Head Librarian."


"Hey, you guys are here too! What'd you find?"


"Something is fishy about this librarian."


"Informations that'd be best to disclose in a more private place than a street.
But do not fear, it is good."
Smile proudly.
"And a lead as to recover the stolen book."


"We're sorry, the Head Librarian needs his rest today. He is most distraught over the loss of some valuable property."


"Alright, whatever you say! Cassie is a little suspicious about the head librarian."


"That's what we're here about. We have news that might cheer him up."


"We'll see if what I'm suspecting checks out once we meet him."


"And we are the ones supposed to fix that."


Well… I suppose it's worth a try. Come in then."
The guards signal a butler, who soon returns to take you to the master bedroom.

The Head Librarian is a mess. It seems he has cried for hours judging by his eyes.


Sniff sniff.
Supreme survivor.


"Sorry to disturb you, Sir Librarian."


"Your Highness Librarian, we might have a way to track the stolen good down reliably."


I snicker softly.


Doesn't really smell too much like old books in here.
Save for the butler.
He sniffles a bit and tries to clear his throat
"Y-you have n-n-news about m-muh book?"


"We have tangential informations that might lead us to its recovery.
But we do need your help for this."


still in the library?


At the Head Librarian's house
Go on."


"There is a certain group we might have come across that's interested in gathering as many artifacts as possible, as if pieces of a puzzle.
We have a rough idea of who these ponies are, but we need a way to narrow it down.
It's my belief that the ones we are looking for have a way to actually translate and use the book."


I might have been wrong…
Step beside the butler.
"Some day, huh?"


"Like some kind of Rosetta stone?"


"Uh… No. Not at all.
More like interlocking rings of possible culprits!"


"Translate Dark Tongue? sounds preposterous. Aside from me and a few of my obscura enthusiast friends, I doubt there is a pony alive who even knows the alphabet, let alone any actual words"
"Crazy. I thought it was bad enough the Torch of Black Fire went missing, but now this too. Ugh. I though Canterlot was a good city."


"No, I mean the way they can translate the book! They must have some way to do it."


"But you must have learnt it somehow!"


"Excuse me.. a torch?"


"Maybe half a dozen texts of Dark Tongue are known to exist. That book was the most complete one. We have slowly pieced together what we assume is the complete alphabet, but that's about it. We don't even know how to pronounce any of it. And if the legends about Dark Tongue are true, we couldn't even if we tried since only one twisted by dark magic could make such sounds with their mouth."


"Why do you even want such a book to exist?"


"Very well then. And those friend of yours, that know of the dark tongue aswell, who are they?"


"What kind of torch?"


"Mages are known for their curiosity. And Knowledge is useful as a tool.."


"You know, the symbol of House Sunset. It was found to be missing recently.
I hear it burned with a black flame that couldn't be extinguished, yet also didn't actually burn anything. Probably some magical novelty commissioned by the old Lord Sunset centuries ago."
"Preservation of knowledge? It would be a shame for a whole language to become entirely lost."
"Lord Noblecrest is one of them, and most of the others are our friends from long ago. Collectors, scholars, that sort of deal. I think Fademane still teaches at the Canterlot Academy if she didn't retire yet."


"Yes, that sounds reasonable."


"Very well.
Thanks for your time, your Highness. Be sure we will be swift in bringing the perpetrators to justice."


"Some knowledge is better off being lost forever."


"I see. Hey, have you been around the library recently?"


"These theifs certainly like the color black.. was anything else stolen?"


"Not really. I just handle whatever books the master brings home."
"Now I don't like being a tattletale…"
He looks around
"…but I heard a lot of the noble houses got in trouble for having lost this and that. Like Lord Noblecrest, who had to admit he threw away some symbol of power Celestia gave his house ages ago. Though apparently it was his mother who threw it out, at least according to him.
Also Darryl, the guard out there? I think he's into stallion.
And the cook? Probably eats more food than he makes."


"Do you work with someone on that?"


"Interesting. Do you have any idea why they might have stolen these artefacts? That is, if there's a connection between all these thefts."


"No, it's mostly my job. Though we do have a courier who sometimes helps carry large book loads."
The shrugs
"Anarchists trying to steal symbols of power?
Kids trying to one-up eachother?"


smile at him. "Hey, at least Darryl won't be stealing your dates.
..Which reminds me, I heard one of the house lost a black gem. I bet it was given to some mare as a gift for some party."


"They seem rather organised. Perhaps there's something more behind it. Terrorists, trying to discredit the noble houses."


"Where is he?"


"Or maybe a collector willing to pay a lot of money for these items!"


"Probably at the library?"
"Juicy. What of it though?"
"You'd think buying and selling such things would be incredibly hard."


"It's just an idea I wanted to run by you. I suppose we need more evidence first."


"Probably would be.. if they are even aiming to trade them for coin.."


"Hey, I'm just asking questions here."


"Collectors ask me to retrieve and find things all the time! They usually pay good money for artifacts to add to their collection. Maybe one of them contracted some thieves to actually steal these items."


"Well, good luck with that.
I think I may need to get the master another crate of tissues."


"Sure, you do that…"

Hmmm, this isn't as easy as I hoped.
Back to the library!


It might be prudent to exchange info between party members so that you don't forget clues.


"I think we should stop and have a briefing at this point. Maybe find someplace safe."


"Have you guys discovered anything relevant? We found some interesting gossip…"


Nod sadly. "Try giving him something warm to drink as well."
"Well, what do make of all this?" I say causally to you.


"Let's find a place where we can calmy speak it over. I think I might have a lead."


"Alright, I'll let you chose the location you feel is the safest then." Look ready to follow them.


"Inns usually make good resting places."


"Riiiigght." Give him a hoof up.
"Smart thinking."


There are plenty of options. Get a room at an inn, go to one of the more secluded nooks of a park…


A park is fine.


You gather in a safe, secluded and private spot in a park.
Now is the time to make battle plans.



"We've learned of an auction of stolen goods taking place. Very secret, very secure. The goods are all marked with codes, so we'll have to secure the code book before we can make a move on them."




"Good one!"


"Hm. I suspect the courier of the Library might have to do something with the stealing. It is a long shot but the only lead I could get."


Cloudcover takes this all in and thinks for a while
"So, what's our next move? Check out the Pig Bag?"


"We need to find out who took it in the first place."





Cloudcover taps his chin
"So, this is what we know so far: Several items from the Noble Houses have gone missing, including the Jewel of Midnight and the Torch of Black Fire, as well as a book of spells written in the forgotten language known as Dark Tongue.
These may be auctioned at the underground auction house known as the Pig Bag.
And… I think that's most of it.

What's our next move?"


"Well, of course we need to investigate the auction houses. Better check the buyers too. Those most interested should be detained."


"Actually, there is also reason to suspect that this was an inside job. I found this discarded in the library." Show them the key.


"I guess it doesn't matter who stole them as long as we can find them."


"Huh. I was suspecting someone from there too."


"What's this supposed to be?"


"How many people would have access to that area or the key anyway?"


"Hm. Looks like a copy. See the rough edges, and the remaining flash? I think this is a hastily made cast of the original key. It also seems to have been cut down a bit.
I've seen similar things on skilled burglars. They aren't easy to make, but can often circumvent several locks in the same set."
"Probably the high level librarians and perhaps some cleaning staff and/or guards."


"We have our suspects. We should however head towards the auction house first and foremost. Securing the stolen goods is out priority."


"A key, probably to the room in the library where the book was being kept."
"Yes, it's a copy… Which begs the question of why it would be discarded. If the original isn't missing, there's no reason to get rid of the copy… unless they expect to get searched later on."


"Good point. All the more reason to suggest it was an insider who knew that investigation would be coming."


"So that still leaves plenty of people who had access, and even then, the possibility of some third party thief."

"I agree. We can investigate further once that problem has been remedied."


"Indeed. With luck, we can get a list of the items, their storage locations and possibly even buyers.
But we will need to be discreet, or they will scatter and vanish."


"Right. If we're ready, let's head out."


"Noone laugh now. The only way I saw to get in was a walkway which was locked by a gate. I sniffed around and it all smelled like old books. The butler of the head librarian smelled the same, but he was at the house. He said he was working with a courier. I think we should check that guy out."


I snicker.
"Good nose! I think you might be onto something, the courier might know a thing or two."


"…It's going to be really, sad if it turns out that it was the butler."


"Didn't really seem like the action type."

Give her a glare.
"I said no one laugh."


"Don't jump to too many conclusions. The Butler or the Courier could have been doing their jobs, only to have someone ask for the information or location of other books afterwards. All this does is prove they were there."


"Excellent work. By the way.. what do you usually work as?"

"It always is, and at the same time isn't. We'll have to find out."


"So? If he had a key, all he'd have to do is walk in, unlock the door, grab the book, and walk out. I really hope the answers not something so… Cliche… but we can't rule anypony out just yet."


"A babysitter."

"The guards would have asked what he was doing there."


"I.. imagine it could have led to situations requiring your sense of smell. Yes."


"I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you!"

"What? Ah screw you!"


"If we want to hit up the Pig Bag, I know where it's located. Though I doubt they'd host an auction so early in the afternoon. If we wait a little, we might catch some of the buyers but also face harder resistance."


Glance at Eira with a smirk.
"You bet it does."


"True, but since he's the Head Librarian's butler, they might have been familiar enough with him to accept an excuse of 'picking up some books for Master'…
*sigh* This is why I hate politics. So many questions and no solid answers… It gives me a headache, yet it seems I can never escape it."
"Then lead on, friend. I'd like some more evidence; any more speculation and I think my head will explode."


"Let's go early. A suspicious buyer would be there early too."


"Sure, let's do that."

"Yes, but it would have been obvious by the morning that he did it, since he was seen there. That would be pretty stupid, wouldn't it?"


"We should go in now, at least to scout it out and get familiar with it."


"Easiest answer, he goes for something else, finds out its location, gives a thief the key to copy in case he gets caught, and the crime is perpetuated instantly. The thief wouldn't even be there long enough to leave a hair or a scent."


"That still leaves someone else he was working with."


Smirk back and yank her tail with my telekinesis.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


"Right now, we don't have much evidence, and it still leaves plenty of people who would pass by and access to the key, making it better to look for the items and whichever individual or group brought them to the auctions. We can work from there."


You yank down her pants with your telekinesis
"Very well. Right this way then."
It takes you a little over half an hour to make your way through to the historical district's east side, where Cloudcover points at one of the old pubs.
"That'd be the one. I got his location from a guy we caught trying to smuggle horny goat weed into town. The auctions happen in the basement.
Now, please excuse me a moment."
He heads to a side alley


"Finding the items is more important, ye-"

Pull them back up!

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Hold! Where are you going?"


Let's put it back on and pretend nothing happened.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


"Uh… I thought there was someone hiding in there."


"Eira we've been over this…"


Politely avert my eyes, then give a wolf whistle just for giggles.
Attempt to stealthily follow Cloudcover. [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


"To put the guard outfit out of sight. It's not exactly the best thing to wear when trying to avoid attention."
He gives you a glance but leaves it at that.


Try not to stare.

Anything suspicious about the building itself?




That's actually a good idea. I look myself over; how conspicuous do I look?


"Everyone! FOcus!"

Read up some of my notes on the artifacts while I'm waiting, if I have any.



"Very funny."

Wait for him to get changed.


I should take the time to make sure Primrose looks presentable.

"Shall we lounge around inside or hang back in the outdoors?"


"To split is best, but if you're not comfortable we wait inside."


"I have Primrose with me, I wouldn't mind a bit of fresh air while looking around outside. We can come in for a cup later and then go to the auction."


It's old-fashioned. Probably among the first of its kind in Canterlot. Not big, mind you, but enough to house a few guests and cater to the needs of plenty of others. It's possible there was a wine or potato cellar that was converted to work as the auction room.
Well you are rather shiny. Then, they doesn't mean you couldn't pass as a foreign buyer.
The book is written in an old, dead language known as Dark Tongue. According to legend, it is the language of ancient demons, impossible for any normal creature to read or speak.
The Jewel of Midnight is a dark gem with no real monetary value, used as a symbol of authority by House Starling centuries ago. If the way it's depicted on their crest is correct, it has a complex, unusual cut.
The Torch of Black Fire is likewise a symbol of House Sunset. A torch of heavy brass and iron topped with a seemingly eternal black flame. The flame in itself doesn't seem to burn anything though, and may just be some kind of optical illusion.
A little conspicuous, but given the nature of the auctions, she only serves to reinforce your cover as a fan of exotic rarities.
He soon returns without his armor, looking rather more rugged with his mane down and body more clearly visible.


"Go, then. Look out for… anything."

I might have to inure my eyes to check the book. Hmmm.


"Looking great. Are we ready now?"


"You look good. You should dispose of that armor more often!"


Yeah, "inconspicuous" isn't really my thing. As long as I act natural, there shouldn't be a problem.
"Well, well, well. Just wait until miss Coral gets a look at you!
At any rate, what is our party's next course of action?"


"You could come with me and give the area a look over. The rest could stay here and watch who comes in."


"Sounds like an idea."


"Very well, who would like to stay and keep watch? We'll be back after getting our bearings for this place."


"I can stay here and watch who comes in. Maybe even chat up with some of the possible buyers."


"I could accompany you on your patrol."


He looks surprised at the attention, opens his mouth to say something, and then closes it again
"There may be a back entrance as well. See that side building? It looks newer than the rest of the place, so I'm guessing it was added later to cover the old hatch leading to the basement.
We can try to break into the basement and/or check the bar and inn in case we can catch someone there."


"Chat up? And you always tell me I chat too much!"


"Because you talk too much about nothing."

"Snatching pobies would blow our cover of buyers, wouldn't it?"


"That's crap, I talk about plenty interesting stuff."


"Are we going to steal it back, then? We might want to check if it's there anyway."


"I'd say we go take ourselves a look. Even if we don't get into anything, we can see who comes and goes and reference anything with those that stayed inside."

"If we find what we're looking for, we have no choice but to just grab it, since these are rather sought after artifacts. Even if we can't knowing they're here means we don't waste time wondering."


"See, you're doing it again!"

"Fine then, let's sneak in, but if someone gets hurt I warned you."


"Breaking into the basement will mean trouble if we raise too much of a racket. Another option would be that we pretend to have something we want to put up for auction."


"Agreed. I grow tired of lacking answers."
"Perhaps a small group could explore the basement while the rest pretend we have something to auction. In that case, it might be better for me to stay; as a noble, I might be more convincing as a seller."


"I'm guessing you mean me? I can say Primrose here might wind up on the auction block, but that I want assurance that they aren't going to just run off with her. Not that they could, mind you. She has a few safeties and she isn't a lightweight if you're judging by her looks."


"The latter sounds better. I have nothing of value, though."


"I've got my golden horn ring! I found it in a ruin down in the badlands a few years back."


"Can we put Eira up the auction? We lose nothing if they buy her and we get closer to the artifacts."


"Excellent. Though… in case we can't meet the bid, can you part with it?"

"Please take this seriously."


Check my inventory. Do I have anything that might appear valuable? [1d10]
"We want a convincing auction item. They won't let us auction off junk."

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Oh… no. Definitely not. It's priceless to me!"

I frown at her.
"That's really mean, Cassie."



"I do. I totally do."

I let out a laugh.
"Good one."

"Don't you want to help?"


"I'm not a slave you can sell!"


Some crystal trinkets. To the untrained eye they might seem downright mystical.
"Alright, how about this:
A few of us go with ser Dawn here through the front, get some drinks and try to chat up the people inside to find out more.
The rest go in through the back with me. If we get caught, our excuse is that we were told to bring the good into storage here for the auction.
Sound good?"


"Blast. I wonder if they'll let you reject the auction later. We need to decide, quickly."

"I go with Dawn. Good enough."


"Sounds great!"


"I jest, I jest. Still, we need something ponies might actually want to buy."
"Such as these crystal trinkets. We can pass them off as the… um… what should we call them to make them sound mystical?
Good plan. Let's do it."



"Sounds good. I'll go for the bar to get drinks."


"If the rest of you are going, then I can stay with Hariac. We can pretend to be early buyers."


"Yes, let's go, and quick. They'll probably be here early."


Are you going to the #bar or the #basement?


Amber Dawn




Jab her with a hoof.
"Don't be rude."



I'll stick with the bar, since Primrose and I look like buyers and we'd be noticed to much.



"Say, you call yourself 'Dr". What do you do?"



"Sure. You take care of yourself, I'll take a drink."


Bar, obviously.


"Yeah, I wondered that too! I studied archaeology for one."


"I'm a surgeon, but the emergency kind, not the ones you call for a lift of the rump. I'm not one you would like to meet, since most of the ones I have to deal with already have 3 hooves in the afterlife, but I'm not to give up on them. Primrose here is my assistant, since I need someone with a grip that doesn't yield and doesn't get tired from long operations."




"Who is Primrose?"


"My rather quiet Assistant here." I'll point to my mechanical minion. "Some research I stumbled upon mentioned how useful they could be and I haven't been able to part with her since. To be honest, I probably rely on her too much, but if you have a small wound or two, she'll be faster at patching you up than I."


"Very interesting…"

Can I examine what sort of magic is powering it?

Roll #1 8 = 8


Amber Dawn



"Right. While there, try to scout out potential sellers and buyers, and if at all possible, find out who knows about the inventory and bookkeeping."


"Is it sentient? I had no idea! I fought mechanical constructs before, but they never seemed keen on diplomacy."

"Just the two of us? At least we wont be drawing too much attention that way."


"Of course."

Start looking around at people here.



"Don't get yourself killed while I'm not there to watch."


"She's good enough that she can be left alone with children, but she hasn't talked much. Of course, I haven't looked into them as much as I should. I built her to help me, but maybe there were better models and tools that I didn't have."


"You too!"

"Who knows, maybe you'll get the chance to improve it."


"I think I'll say they're… the Ardentine Tears. They're, um… family heirlooms of the House Angelite, rumored to hold the strength and skill of an ancient warrior. Does that sound sellable to the rest of you?"


"I've never thought about it before, but I wouldn't even know what to add."


"Sounds like the kind of stuff you'd find in ancient ruins, yeah!"

"An ice cream dispenser?"


"Seems so. Eyes wide open, I have no idea what's ahead. This is not something I thought I'd do with two ponies on a day off. I was expecting two dozen guards and three dozed corpses by the time we're done…"
From here, the back door to the inn is obscured by some bushes and a fence. You can spot one fidgeting guard. A tough looking mare with a black eye and a club. She's leaning against the wall, drinking from a flask and muttering obscenities.
The bar is nicer on the inside. The old style of construction favored large open rooms, and this is no exception. There is a rather open kitchen off to one end cornered off with tables, and a well-stocked bar dominating the center of the room. The air is thick with tobacco smoke, alcohol fumes and the occasional puff of some difficult to pronounce narcotics. There are also stairs leading up to the second floor.
The barkeep keeps his eye on you, possibly trying to guess what you want to drink.


"How do we approach her?"


Look around, see who's in the room. [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Hail, Barkeep. Are we the only ones to have arrived?"


"Perhaps you were one of my patients? Most ask for something like that after their operations. Some would ask during it if they could."

"Something light if you have it, barkeep. After all thats gone on, I could use something."


Walk up to the bar.
"Have any good ale?"


"Probably best to act like we're supposed to be here. Don't be loud about it, just… confident and relaxed."


"Well between the stance, black eye and grim demeanor I'd wager she's a brawler. A direct confrontation could get messy…"
A shrouded figure keeping his head low and drink close
A pair of dirty looking lads playing cards
A fairly large diamond dog
An uneasy young unicorn who keeps glancing at the dog
A pegasus who sits very still and very straight
A beautiful unicorn mare who might pass for nobility had she dressed appropriately
A soldier of some kind who stays near the mare
A huge earth pony who keeps downing beer at an alarming rate and telling jokes to thin air
"No, it seems to be a busy day indeed in my old mudhole. What'll you be having?"
"Coming right up, horns."
He pours you something that fizzes mildly
"Two dogs in one day? This really is a busy day."
He slides you a mug


Take it and take a swing.
"Another dog? That's a relief. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy between all these ponies."


dangit, ignore that. Forgot you weren't with the rest of the group.


"Thank you."

Take a sip and let it sink in.


"Check the shrouded figure and the pegasus. Those seem the more likely."

I need to go. Night/


Show him my crossbow.
"I have bolts that can knock out a pony… or we could try and bluff our way in. I'm not a diplomat though."


"Good idea."
Approach the pegasus first, holding my head high with a slight smile.
"Good evening, sir. How do you fare?"


"And a lot of ponies assume you want to kidnap and/or eat them. I've met enough to know better, and to make those who live up to the stereotypes regret it deeply. One of the perks of being a barkeep is all the stories you hear. A lot of those contain good hints on how to keep yourself safe."
It bubbles all the way down, and has a sharp, fruity taste.
"Or we can try to make a diversion. Your call, really.
If you want, I can also go and talk to her, letting you take better aim."
He raises a brow and gives a polite nod
"Good evening. Just letting time slide by as I wait for my acquaintances."


"Do it!"


"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Amber Dawn, a traveler from the Crystal Empire. Might I enquire as to your name?"


I'll listen in to the Earth Pony. Maybe a few jokes will lighten my mood.


"If only I had a story about how to keep safe from clingy idiots…"


He takes a deep breath and walks on over to the guard
"Afternoon, miss."
"…Huh? Oh. Afternoon. This is private property, please leave."
"I was… asked to come here" '1d10'
She tries to see through his bluff '1d10'
"Calming Breeze." A fitting name. His tone is calm and cultured. Almost cold.
"…SO I SAY TO HIM 'Hey! What's the difference between that tree and those three?' and while he thinks, I CUT THE THREE RIGHT DOWN and BAM, three crushed bandits! SO he asks 'what' an I go I DIDN'T NEED NO WEAPON TO FELL THOSE THREE! HA!"
"Have you tried greasing your clothes?"

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 4 = 4


"Well met, Calm Breeze. Are you also here for the auction?"


"Not that kind of clingy."


Smile. That was pretty good.

But I should investigate with the others. Let's see if the Unicorn and her guard haven't gotten to fresh with the drinks.

"Hello, mind if I take a seat with you?"


"…Aaaah, right, you must be the other guard they said they hired." she then lets out a burst of laughter "Guess you came here to relieve me. Good thing too. I've spent half the day trying to drink wanter to sober up for tonight's thing and I need to go water the plants like nobody's business. Stand here, shut up, and don't let anypony in. I'll be back in a minute."
She leaves, with an unsteady, wobbling gait. As she turns the corner around one of the side buildings she bashes her head on the wall, shouting "AW FUCK NOT AGAIN. AND THE SAME DAMN EYE!"
Cloudcover looks equal parts confused and embarrassed.
His eye twitches a little
"What were you looking to buy?"
"Love troubles, huh?
Can't say I really know the whole business with doggy romance. All I ever hear about it is butt sniffing and knots."
The guard looks like he's about to object but the unicorn nods
"Go ahead."


"Ah, not you too. I hear enough of that anyway."
Take a long swing of the mug.
"I just have this pony I'm following. She saved my life once so I guessed fair is fair, you know. I could really use a break sometimes."


"Actually, I was looking to sell some artifacts that recently came into my possession. By the way, would you know who I need to talk to in order to enter them in the auction?"


"Apologies if I'm not that good at these things, but my name is Jonica, and I'm curious as to what brings out such a lovely lady like yourself to wait here?"


Move in, let's get inside!
"Good work."


"Well I take what I can from the stories I hear. Them I doubt you are in any mood to correct the holes in my information.
As for the pony, ever tried just telling that to her?"
"You seem to know awfully little for a seller…"
"Business opportunities. And you?"
"I guess my analysis was a little lacking. We should hurry before the actual replacement guard arrives."


So where are we now?


"I'll leave it to your imagination."
Finish the mug and shake it. He'll get the hint I hope.
"Of course I did. Several times! She just doesn't get the hint."


"Work and personal reasons. As you can see by my assistant, I'm in need of a few things to help her and my practice, by extension. Have they been keeping you waiting for long?"


"As I said, I am from the Crystal Empire, and as such am still new to this. In fact…" I chuckle weakly and look away. "This might, ah… be my first auction?" Try to smile convincingly at him.


You force open back door and enter the new wing of the building. This looks mostly like a stockroom full of food, with two doors.
You can hear a lot of muffled noise though one of them, while the other is silent.
"I prefer facts over make-believe."
He refills you mug
"And I prefer payment between refills."
"Things should pick up any minute now…"
So I take it you have not registered and verified your goods with the bookkeeper then?"



Look around for what she could mean.


"No, I have not. Where might I find this bookkeeper?"


Let's check the silent one first.


"We all have our preferences, don't we?"
Pay for it.
"So, got any interesting rumors going on? All the sugar-sweet candy-dandy pony news are making me go insane. Give me something good."


The guard nudges her
"We should head on up."
She nods
"We should. Forgive me, goat."
They get up and head upstairs together.
…is that what she was talking about?
"Those who know enough to make legit auctions here know where to find him. You're not some kind of spy are you?"
This seems to be the wine storage. Neatly kept, dark and chilly. The stone floor has a strange echo to it.
He nods towards Amber and the pegasus
"I think someone is about to get lynched."


Look back, then shrug.
"I see that every day. Something juicier."


Hmmm… I'm no stranger to such trickery. Hollow, there's something under there.
Check for levers.

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Info for info, perhaps?"
He gives you a smirk
No obvious ones. Just tons of wine bottles and beer barrel.


I'll follow a bit behind and see if any of those that stayed with me are noticing others going up and out.


Maybe… the barrel? Move the barrel. Or one of the wine bottles?
"Help me out here, Cloud. We've got this in the bag."

Roll #1 10 = 10


Roll my eyes.
"Fine, what do yo want to now."



"No, I just… *sigh* I did something stupid, alright? I got myself in debt with some ponies. The kind of ponies you don't want to be in debt to. When I heard somepony mention there was an auction of some kind going on here, I figured that… maybe if I sold these for a high enough price, I could… you know, fix things."


You twist the tap in the largest barrel and the entire front opens up like a door, revealing stairs inside
"Good work!"
"How's a knot work? I mean for the longest time I assumed you dogs were just really into rope games but?"
They head for a room and shut the door
Seems odd they'd be so theatrical about this.
"Well well, a classic story indeed. Tell you what. You help me out a little, and I'll buy your things."


"Piece of cake so far."
Head down carefully.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Tap on Cassie and signal that I'm heading up.

Any noise coming from their room?


Immediately perk up. "Really?! Thank you so much! What kind of help do you need?"


Nod back.

"Let's do it like this… do you know how you can easily put a ring on a finger? I know you ponies have hooves but you seem like an informed one to know what fingers are."


You can hear hoofsteps from down below
He nods, taking out a little notebook
Nothing at all
"Oh, just a little thing. Care to do it right now?"


Tread carefully.

Roll #1 9 = 9


"Well… Sure, I guess. What do you want me to do?"


Listen in on the other rooms. Are they all quiet?


"Now, imagine that ponies can do just that. You can put the ring on the finger then take it off any time you want. If we wanted to bring dogs into this, imagine that after putting the ring on -let's say that this ring feels really good- your finger would get swollen and you couldn't get the ring off for a while."
Drink the rest of my ale.
"So that's knots, basically."


"Make it out alive"
He jumps up, pointing a hoof at you
The barkeep, the lads and the shrouded pony pull weapons and lock eyes on you
The pegasus whistles and slips away towards the back.
Some commotion on the bar's side causes all the hoofsteps to move away from you. The road is clear.
Someone downstairs is shouting about a spy messing with the auction, which causes someone in one of the rooms to start frantically opening what sounds like a dozen locks.
He throws the notebook down and pulls a sword as the pegasus starts shouting about spies


"Not what I had wanted, but no choice now."

Have Primrose break in the door we are hearing the locks from. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10


Walk over to Amber and smack his head.
"Stupid pony, are you drunk again? What did I tell you about getting into trouble with strangers by telling your stupid lies?"


I bet Cassie did this. Good doggy.
Move down.

Roll #1 3 = 3


Well, fuck. That could have gone better. Maybe that big diamond dog could help out.
I guess it's worth a shot. I slump down and grumble incoherently, rubbing the back of my neck.
Rolling to give a convincing act of being drunk. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


Roll my eyes and kick his side lightly.
"Oh no, you're not getting out of it this easy this time. Do you want to get me banned from all the pubs? Can't I just enjoy a beer?"


With a thundering smash, Primrose breaks down the door, knocking the pony behind it over.
At the same moment, the unicorn and her guard burst out of their room and storm into the locked room
Everyone in the bar looks really on edge. This situation could go one way or another.
The pegasus seems to have vanished though.
The good news is this is clearly the auction room.
The bad news is, whoever was here must have escaped via some other route.


Look at the barkeep.
"See? What I told you? I can never get a break because of these damn ponies."


Check the pony that was behind the door. Look him over if he's carrying anything or has it near him, but I'm still a doctor and have to make sure he's relatively okay.


How many exists are there?

Roll #1 7 = 7


Okay, there's still a chance. I just hang my head and stare at the floor; Cassie's the one running the show here.


The guard has him at swordpoint
The unicorn picks up a large book he dropped on the floor
He looks terrified
One is a neat staircase leading up on the other side of the room. The other is a hasty tunnel that was probably behind a shelf that was knocked over recently.
The twitchy pony holds the big earth pony back, pleading him not to start another bar brawl
The big dog just looks at the scene with a blank expression
After a while, they all put their weapons away and the barkeep tells the troublemakers to behave or leave.
The twitchy unicorn breathes a sigh of relief and walks out.


"Shame on you! Now go outside and think about what you did!"
Tilt my head and look at the twitchy unicorn that is leaving.


"Everyone stay where you are and STAY QUIET. You, miss Unicorn, why are you after this book?"

Stay with Primrose and try to block the door.


Nod and keep my head down as I walk out the door. Once the door closes behind me, look around for the twitchy unicorn.


Walk back to the bar.
"Another round. Geez."


Well, we know which one to pick! Go through the tunnel, quickly!

Roll #1 8 = 8


"It contains things that are very important to me and my family."
He quickly heads around to a side alley
"That the pony you were talking about earlier?"
As you reach the end, you find some signs of a fight, lots of hoofprints and see a pegasus calmly walking away in one direction, and a glimpse of several ponies running in the opposite one.


Follow him. Discreetly, if I can. [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Look at Cloud questioningly.


"Split up and trail both?"
He soon stops and is joined by the pegasus from earlier.


Stay back out of sight and listen in.


"Go after the group, I'll trail the pegasus."


"Yeah. I'm plagued with them. So, where were we?"


"And I'm here on more important matters. Let me and my associates see if that's what we need. If it isn't you can walk out, we're after something important enough that they'll keep sending people even after rumors."


"D-d-did you get it?"
"Of course."
"Oh thank the sun and stars. When you pulled that diversion I thought we'd all die in there."
"Please. My plans have never failed us."
"Alright. Let me see it then."
He nods and rushes after the group.
You turn to follow the pegasus and see him stop to chat with a weedy unicorn on an alley.
"…I admit I sort of lost count."
The pony being held at swordpoint protests
"H-hey! That's MY book! Get your hooves off it! Both of you!"


"I think at the info for info part."


Wait and hide.
Can I overhear what they're saying?

Roll #1 5 = 5


"I'd say you'd have to argue with him first."

"And for all three of you, I'll be needing to check that book first. If it's not what I need, you can have it back. If its want we came after, your better off calling it a loss."


Watch and wait.


"Oh right. Yeah. There was going to big a fancy gathering here later tonight, hence everyone being kinda twitchy."
The unicorn starts reading a book the pegasus gives him. The pegasus then whistles and holds out a hoof.
Someone outside whistles
The unicorn grabs the book and throws it out the window.
She then gives a bitchy smile "Oops. Butterhorn~"
The pegasus whistles.
Seconds later, a heavy book falls on your head.


Who dropped that!?

Roll #1 1 = 1


Yell out for Cassie >>513964.

"Check the alley, we might have a runner!"

"And you, all three of you will be coming with us. We have questions that you will answer."


No idea.
But the pegasus sounds angry
The unicorn and her guard shake their heads
"I think not. But keep the wretch if you want. He's the auction bookkeeper."


"Fancy gathering? I'm intriuged. Hold that thought."

Go out into the alley.


Quietly draw my sword and shield, and wait for the right opportunity-
Did I see where that book fell? [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


The pegasus and unicorn from the bar are there, looking for something.
It's right on your lap.


Do my best to keep hidden [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Celestia's solar flaring orgasms, find a place to hide!

Roll #1 3 = 3


"I'd still like to know where you got the information about this place. I didn't come alone. You won't make it to the exit door unscathed. You can comply with us, tell your tale, and most likely get let out with a warning to keep it quiet, or you can try to force your way out and get far more than what you had bargained for."

Tie up the Auctioneer in the meantime. "We have some questions for you, first of all is do you feel any excessive pain?"


"Lost something?"


Ahem, excuse me, mislinked.
The book fell somewhere further down the alley, behind some boxes.
At best you can huddle behind these boxes.
"It's in everypony's best interest to not make this into a bloodbath. You are not the only one with reinforcements here."
The guard keeps silent and remains between her and you Looking closely, it seems like his uniform was stripped of insignias rather hastily. You can still see a vague outline where they once were. Between this and her strikingly noble demeanor…
"Now if you'd be so kind, I have associates to rendezvous with downstairs."
"One of my books, none of your business."
He seems a lot more agitated than he was back in the bar.


Do so.
Hug the book.


Supreme Survivor.
Where's that book?


"Actually, it's very much our business."
Step out into view with weapons drawn and pray that I'm not being stupid.


1. Let them go, we can catch them afterwards and we already have the Auctioneer.

2. In order to heal, sometimes we have to cut. No deal.


Roll #1 1 = 1


"We might be after the same things. If you wish to protect them and others, we can be partners in this. If you seek to cause ill, we won't have a choice."


Given the familiar whimpering, you'd guess Eira has it behind those boxes over yonder.
The pegasus raises a brow, then whistles again.
You can hear a lot of movement in the bar.
"What we came here for are the two halves of the auction inventory. And now that the plan has been executed, we can leave to hunt those treasures down properly.
We have no use for the Auctioneer. Whatever he knew, we know already. I wish you a good day."
She tries to leave


Walk over there and behind the boxes


"Trust me, it shall go better for you if you work for me rather than against me."
Command on the pegasus [1d10+2]

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


Let her leave for now. That guard of hers is actually trained, unlike me.

"You mister Auctioneer, on the other hoof, will come with us. I don't know what illicit goods you dealt with, but you might have come onto something you shouldn't have." Have Primrose carry him with us.


I look up at her and blink.
"… Hi."


Look down.
"You allright?"


O hai Eira
You realize there is a very large diamond dog behind you.
And a hulking earth pony next to him.
They are both heavily armed.
And they are both on his side.
"I think not. Now, where is the other half of my book?"
She and her guard walk down the stairs and out the door
The auctioneer, an older pony with a graying, well kept mane and expensive clothes sighs
"Lets get on with it then…"


"Yeah. My head kind of hurts though."


Sigh and get my Claymore ready, watching what's going on with that shiny horse.
"What happened?"


"Probably on the other side of town by now."
Turn to the diamond dog. "Care to even the odds? I bet I'm a better boss than he is."
Command on the Diamond dog because why not. [1d10+2]

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"You'll be coming with us to answer our questions. I'm sure even you would like a safer place." Look at the shattered door. "If you can though, do you have any idea what was in that book you were so eager to lock up?"


"This book fell on me while I was trailing a pegasus…"


"That's the book we are looking for. Don't you dare lose it."


"Really? What a coincidence!"


"Yeah, you attract trouble."


"I think it was purely my tracking skills."


"Depends, pony.
How do you treat your soldiers?
Wingpony there likes to think I stupid or something."
He rolls his eyes
"The book contains half the information related to the numbers of the auctioned articles and their storage locations."
The pegasus glances back
"Hey! What's going on back there?"


"Stay hidden. Shoot if things turn bad."

Step out in his sight with my Claymore.
"Sorry, ponies, party is over.
Scram before I spank you all."


"Information like that would be valuable. It's at least written in code, I presume? You wouldn't want just anyone grabbing it. Eve more reason for you to come along."



"Code? You could say that. I said half the information. In this case, I meant every other letter.
Both books are worthless gibberish on their own."


"Interesting, it makes our work easier. Please watch your hooves as Primrose carries you."

Take him down stairs with us. Let's see how the others in the bar are doing.


"While I expect them to follow orders, I trust them to think for themselves. You don't like something? Tell me; I need input from my soldiers in order to be an effective leader.
I don't need thugs, I need problem-solvers. That's why I want you."


It's empty.
The barkeep gives the bookkeep a smirk
"Things went sour again, huh?"
"Unfortunately yes. And I'm not paying for your cheap flimsy door."
"So long as I not regarded as foolish, I consider it better offer."
#Gained new Minion: Dulltooth.
Diamond Dog M
Martial Defender

The pegasus, unicorn and earth pony do not budge.
"I am going nowhere without my book."


"I'm sure you can get your fairy tails from mommy."
Lean on my Claymore.
"Now get the heck out of here before I get serious."


"Good to have you, sir."
Turn to the pegasus.
"Better listen to her. You don't want to see her angry."


The pegasus sighs
"Grandheart, would you kindly?"
The earth pony hefts his two massive swords and takes a stance
"LISTEN HERE BITCH, we're on a mission here. A QUEST! One of pure heart and BURRRRRNING PASSION and the first step on this fantastic journey demands we get that book."
His eye twitches heavily
"I know the books is somewhere here. And I can ill afford to have you lot misplacing it, seeing as it's the one thing that can possibly allow ANY OF US a chance at finding those stolen artifacts.


"Sorry bub, try to pick a less illegal mission next time."
Raise my claymore in return.


The pretty unicorn from the bar arrives with her guard
"I trust recovering one's stolen possessions is far from illegal."


"Let me guess, one of the nobles?"


"Yes. Lady Blazing Sunset of House Sunset, daughter of Lord Sunset. Now, the book if you'd be so kind."
Her guard tries to take a step forward but she holds him back "Sunsong, please. I can take care of this myself."


"This better not be a trick.


Peek from behind the boxes.

"Really? Okay."
Float the book alongside me and carefully approach this fancy pony.


"Don't give it to her just yet."


The pegasus takes a few deep breaths to calm down
"In case you managed to find the intellect to actually read the book, you'd know it's gibberish.
You need both books, that and the one we have, to make sense of either.
So either we paint this alley red and see who has eyes left for any reading, or you give yours to us and there will be no-"
"Or we could cooperate."
The pegasus glares at Lady Sunset, but doesn't say anything.


"Fancy Lady gets the book, but we'll keep a close eye on you. If you are not who are saying you are, you're not going to get away with it."


"Cooperation sounds preferable. Red doesn't suit me."


The pegasus pulls out his book, while Lady Sunset asks for the other one

Give it?


Nod at Cassie.


Turn to my new companion.
"What do you think? Should we trust them, or are they trying to pull a fast one on us?"


"She is noble lady. Not too happy about it, but she can't help it."


"This was way to easy to find… I prefer a challenge."
Tentatively hoof her the book.


"Try being in your company. A real challenge."


Nod. "I can relate to that. If you say we can trust her, I believe you."


"Thank you for catching it."
She gives the book to the pegasus, who starts paging through it, taking notes whenever he finds a match
"Calming, will this take long?"
"Give me a few minutes…"


"Ha ha!"

"My head would have liked to avoid 'catching' it."


Turn to the diamond dog. "So, what's your name? I'm Amber Dawn."
I know we were told in meta, but this is IC. Shut up.


"Is not just trust. She dislike her position in life."
The lady gives him a sour look
"Do you mind you lumbering beast? I'm right here."
Calming breeze gives lady Sunset a snarky look
"Had you aimed better, there would have been no need for this."
Is deceptive name. Fangs actually rather sharp."


I have arrived.
Have my pawns performed well?


Good news: You found the auction books
Bad news: Another party of adventurers has them now




"So… we don't work for the same people, do we? Or do we? Do we?"


They are rather pleasant people.
Also, one of them is the daughter of Lord Sunset.
Lady Sunset speaks
"Depends. I'm here to get my family's lost treasure back. I guess you work for some house who is not above hiring mercenaries to do their work for them?"


"Ironic name."
"Forgive me, milady, but if what he says is true, then you understand as well as I why I would be hesitant to seek the truth from a noble. Also, I would ask you not to insult those under my command."


"We have some common interest then.
Perhaps working together would be a better option than fighting."


"Oh, but I am not a mercenary, my lady! I am an adventurer at heart together with my good friend Cassie."


"Hey, if it works?"


"There is power in agility. We don't need the ballast of that many bodies."
The Pegasus Calming Breeze is writing down locations as he deciphers them from the encrypted books.
"He used to be under my command. He'll probably switch owners again tomorrow.
Not that I'd need one like him. I am capable of plenty on my own."
"Potato, tomato, or whatever that saying is.
Are we quite done, Calming?"
"Half way. There is far more useless info here than I thought."


"I do it for the thrill and the fun in it, not for the money."


Raise my paw.
"I like the money myself."


"But it's no why we do this kind of stuff! You like sniffing things out and enjoy the challenge of it as much as I do! Don't deny it."


"I don't like sniffing things!"


Stomp forward aggressively.
"Do NOT talk about another intelligent being like he's some sort of PROPERTY! He CHOSE to work for me AS A SOLDIER; I no more 'own' him than you own mister Breeze over there! If you have any more insulting remarks, KEEP THEM TO YOURSELF!"


Since it was given, I suppose I'll be silent for now.


"Oh come on, I know you do!"


Wave a paw around.
"You're delusional."


"It's nothing to be ashamed about! I like using magic as much as any other unicorn!"


With a bit of cunning, you could probably see what he wrote down without being called out on it.
Her guard takes an equally aggressive step at you, but she calms him down
"Lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Perhaps I phrased myself poorly."


Cunning looking? '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


Step back. "Yes you did. Perhaps I overreacted, but… Take greater care when talking about those under my command, at least to my face."


You might want to work on that a little.
You managed to catch one thing before he shoved you away - [Heart of Darkness: Bare Hills]


All part of the act!


Calming Breeze finishes and shuts the books
"I know the locations."
Lady Sunset nods
"Thank you. Now, let us be off."
They all turn to leave.
A speedy eye can probably catch a further glimpse of the list.


Speedy '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4


Quik-Quik [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


Do I see anything?

Roll #1 4 = 4


Trained eyes!

Roll #1 1 = 1


Walk up beside Cassie.
"Hey. Thanks for bailing my dumb flank out back there. Sorry I screwed up so bad."


"No biggie, but you owe me a beer or two."


You only managed to catch one other glimpse before they are gone
[Mirror of Inner Demons: Silent Lake]


"I'll remember that. By the way, there's someone you might want to meet…"
"Hey Dulltooth, why don't you come meet some of my companions?"




"So… what now?"


"Is there?"

"We have a lead now."


"I saw some things. Silent Lake and Bare Hills."


"Dulltooth, this is Cassie. You saw her pull my flank out of the fire in there. She's a bit of a dry wit, but I think she means well.
Cassie, this is Dulltooth. He decided that I was a better employer than those two, so he'll be working with us."


"Now before you guys start freaking out, Cloud Cover and I split up. I don't know where he's at right now."

"Oh hey, another dog!"


"That gives us places to look then."

Offer a paw to the dog.
"It's good to see another of us between all these ponies."

"Where did you see him last?"


"Bitch. Always good."


Point where I came from.
"We descended from a set of stairs and split up to chase two different groups."


"Has this happened often? Anyways, I'll be off with the associates I came in with. Sorry for the damage."

Head outside with the Auctioneer.


"Which direction did he go?"


Point in the same direction I just pointed at.


Roll my eyes a bit.
"I'm glad you think that."

"We should see if he's okay."


Let's go, make way."


"Then there's no time to lose!"
"Sorry to cut the meet-and-greet short, but we've got a pony missing in a bad part of town! Let's go!" Take off in the direction Eira pointed.


You may head off to chase after Cloudcover when #ready


"Let's not assume the worst here! Stay positive, people."


Let's roll





I'll let the others know that I have the owner of the book who can deciper the rest for us, otherwise I am ready.




You follow the alleys where Cloudcover was last seen, and after taking a few turns marked by loose teeth, shreds of clothing, blood drips and face prints on walls, you find the somewhat based up Cloudcover wrestling with an even more beat up looking pony. Probably one of the guys from the basement.


"Both of you, stop at once!"
Word of Power.

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


Protect on Cloudcover.
Punch the other pony.

Roll #1 2 = 2


Leap of faith his assailant! [3d10]

Roll #1 9, 1, 6 = 16


Draw my sword toward the pony that cloudclover is wrestling. "Stop resisting now!"


"Primrose, restrain the other combatant." '1d10'

:I'll get to Cloudcover. "Are you, more or less, well?"

Roll #1 2 = 2


Repeating Shot. Set: Knockout. Target: Other guy.

Roll #1 1 = 1


Unsheath a dagger.
Slash one '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Dulltooth, subdue that pony!"
Suppress [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


…why the three rolls?
You leap in, smashing him aside
You shoot Jonica in the back of the head
Suddenly, you black out
Seeing just how outnumbered he is, the pony surrenders.
Cloudcover rubs his chin and sits down to take a breather
"Good job. The others got away but I caught this one."


"which way did they go?"


… Ow.
Look innocent.

Roll #1 4 = 4




"On the crime of?"


"One's enough. Good job."


Without his armor and with his mane down he looks quite different.
Dulltooth helps the good doctor up
"He was with the auctioneers, selling stolen goods."


I didn't/don't understand what a dc3 is.
"Don't you know better than to run off on your own? What if we hadn't gotten here in time?"
"…What did you do?…"


"Great job kid.
Next time though, bring some backup."
Smirk and pat him on the back.
"Go ask the doc to check you up."


"… Nothing!"

"Well done! I just had someone throw a book at me and that was it."


DC3/MIN3 means it succeeds on a 3+
The crook gives you a passing look
"Look, I'm sure we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement here."


"Thank you for your assistance."


Different in a good way? '1d10' look him over.
"Maybe he knows where they would run off to then."
Look to the criminal expectantly. "Well. Where did your friends go?"

Roll #1 2 = 2


"Yes, you fess up and we don't have to beat you up. Works out for you?"


"Yes, we can.
You give us informations and I won't just wander around the corner while my friends roguh you up."

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"Dulltooth, this is Doctor Jonica. Doctor, this is Dulltooth. He'll be working with us. How are you feeling, doctor?"


"It feels like I suffered some sever blunt trauma to the head, but I can't seem to find evidence of damage. Perhaps I am immortal or some such?"


"I'd rather you didn't test that theory. Is there anything we can do to help patch you up?"


"Primrose has a set of tools inside of her, you should see a lever you can pull to reveal them. Get them for me, if you may, and I can get to work on Cloudcover as well."


Your eyes linger perhaps a bit too long on all the torn clothes that expose his work-hardened body. Your eyes meet as he brushes his rugged mane aside, revealing his eyes, like pools of piercing steel. As his deep red lips part softly he speaks with the voice of one of a stallion of passion and power
"Uh… what are you looking at?"
"I work as security and heavy lifting, so I'm low on the info end of things. Best I can tell you is there were five major items to be sold today. But only the bookkeepers knew the locations they are being kept safe at."


"Tell it then. We don't have all day."


Blush a bit and turn away. "Just making sure you weren't wounded."

Focus on the criminal again. "Where are the book keepers?"


Lean in and whisper to Cloudcover "Well, clearly she is looking at you, my good sir; and it appears she likes what she sees."
Pull the lever and grab the tools. "These ones?"


"Yes, you'll find that Primrose has a lot of such things within her. She's downright skeletal without them, but far less capable too. Let me check myself, then I can bandage Cloudcover for his wounds."


"The five things were some old book and four things with weirdly ominous names.
The bookkeeper is still hiding in his safe room for all I know.
That's all I really know off the top of my head, unless you had some other things to ask."


"Something useful."


"We've captured the bookkeeper, unfortunately for him it seems that everyone was after him or his goods."


Cloudcover spits out some blood and joins the conversation
"Did you find out any place names?"


"Is that really all?" I ask my eyes narrowed at him.


"Just two."


Wave at him.

"How do we know you're not holding back on us?"


"Do I look like someone they'd tell details to?
Shit I can barely read."
"What were they?"


"Silent Lake and Bare Hills."


"Interesting." I hand her the tools, then turn back to Dulltooth.
"The hothead we just saved is Cloudcover. He's an off-duty guard who decided to help us out.
The other Crystal pony is Coral Burst. She's a good friend to have in a pinch.
Let's see… Aurelius over there is a bit of a stickler for the rules. Eira… Well, Cassie and her have been partners since before I met them, so ask Cassie what she's if you want.
…Wow. We're a bigger group than I realized. So, any questions?"


Cloudcover turns to the crook
"Ring any bells?"
"What, the ghost town and that old mine?"
"What we do next?"


"Alright. I believe you." Settle down next to Cloudcover.


"First we get the hothead and the doctor patched up, then we review what we know and decide the best course of action. Don't be afraid to weigh in yourself."


"Go on."


"It's nothing major. We can handle ourselves from here."


"Though I would add that we should find out where the other group we ran into is going and we can head elsewhere. If we knkow where they're going and be, we might as well let them do us the favor of retrieving the artifact from whoever has it."


"I good idea, but I don't know how we'd discover where they are headed. For now, it's probably best to pick one of the locations we already know."


"I'd argue for the town. Some of the people we are going against don't always act on proper reason. If they try to burn a house down, we can leave through a window or a weakened wall. In a mine, they collapse it and even I couldn't save us."


"Well not like it's any huge secret info.
Bare Hills is home to an old coal mine that was shut down almost a decade ago after it dried up.
Silent Lake is this old town built near its namesake lake, but after New Silent Lake was built on the other, actually populated, side of said lake, the old town emptied out pretty fast. Though some ponies insists it was because of ghosts."
He blushes a little but keeps a straight face


"Right. They both sound lovely."


I shrug.
"Doesn't sound much different from the usual places we dig around in."


"An intelligent conclusion. Our two diamond dogs might be able to dig us out of a cave-in, but I'd rather not take unnecessary risks."


"I'd say that we should go to Silent Lake, that ghost rumor was probably spread by these crooks to keep ponies away."


"Why can't we visit a beach sometime? Or a resort?"


"If what Coral says is right, Silent Lake might be those two things. If we're done quickly, they won't mind if we spend the night in a good hotel to make sure we don't risk things getting stolen overnight."


"Right. I think it's time we got ourselves a meal and made a plan of action. We have plenty of work to do before these crimes are resolved, and it won't get done by sitting around.
Also, my neck is killing me.

Do you want your next destination to be #Bare Hills Mine or #Silent Lake Ghost Town?


"Last time I visited a beach, I nearly got arrested after somepony fell into a hole I dug and broke his leg!"


"Probably because the admission prices are exorbitantly high and the locals are all pompous snobs?"


Ghost town.


#Silent Lake Ghost Town


Let's go bust some ghosts first.


Spooky scary lake town.


"I could be a snob for a day…"

"That sounds like a plan."

"Hey, if they arrest you that's not my problem."

[r]Ghost Town[/r]


Silent Lake Ghost Town.

"You'll have me around. I can set the leg back good an proper, so go ahead and dig."

"We should make arrangements for a simple hotel then. We can head there to prepare better and use it as a safe point for us."




"But you're a diamond dog! If they see a hole, they'll think you were the one who dug it."

"I guess. It really ruins the mood though."


"Well cordon off the area and make sure all the children are properly informed to avoid the hole in the ground. Nothing could go wrong."


"That's racist."


"It's natural!"

"If you say so."


"It's racist."


"Don't be so negative."


Roll my eyes.


Are you all #ready to travel to Silent Lake?












And so you set off on the first portion of your treasure hunt to locate the Mirror of Inner Demons. The ominously named thing belonged to House Falconwreath, who has a long history of alleged ties to assassin orders and shady political murders. Or, well, everyone is accused of those, but Falconwreath has taken more flak for it than any other noble house. A common rumor says that the Mirror can actually be seen in a portrait of one of the old heads of the house. Supposedly the mirror, though behind Lord Falconwreath, shows his reflection looking at the viewer, and that there is a corpse where the painter would have been sitting. Of course this is all rubbish. The supposed reflection of the lord is in fact the painter painting himself into the painting, and the "corpse" is just a shadow half a brush wide in the already tiny mirror. Or, at least, this is what they say when asked.

You have tracked the mirror's location to Silent Lake. An old town on the side of the lake it was named after. It has a colorful history of supernatural phenomena and is the center of much folklore in the region.
But before you head out into the old town, you can make a little rest stop at New Silent Lake, a modern, well-off town on the other side of the lake across from the old one. Who knows, maybe some of the folklore is interesting, or even helpful?


Time for investigating.
Where's the local tavern?


We should stop at the new town and see if we can find any info. What looks interesting in town?


Hit the pub!


Maybe, what kind of places are there to visit in New Silent Lake? Does it actually have a lake with fishing by it?


The town seems decently well off. It's not Canterlot, sure, but it's more than you'd expect for a fishing village.
…come to think of it, there doesn't seem to be any kind of dock here. Maybe there are no fish in the lake?
As you had for the nearby pub, you pass a group of kids playing in a fairly large pool. One puts on a blindfold while the others toss little items in the pool, and then the blindfolded one dives in to go look for them. They seem to be having fun, considering all the laughing and splashing. You also pass an older couple who are just lazing around in the sun, eating daisies and sipping mead. The afternoon sun is warm and the breeze from the lake is refreshing. This seems like a very comfy place indeed.
The pub itself, known as the Sleepy Hollow, is far from packed. A few ponies here and there, but beyond a slight buzz of conversation, it's calm.


Thank Dog for that.
Sit down at the bar.
"I'd appreciate some beer."


"Evening, barkeep. Slow night?"


I think I'll let the others take the lead on this.
Just order a drink and listen. '1d10' for overhearing anything.

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Just the way we like 'em. This is a quiet town with no need for a lot of noise and hustle."
He leisurely pours a pair of drinks
"Only two kinds of people ever really show up here. Those interested in the local folklore, and those looking for a quiet place to take their mind off things. Which ones are you?"


"Do you know how hard it is to have a chatty mare trailing you everywhere? I'll let you guess from that."


This is… not the ominous atmosphere I was expecting from someplace so close to a ghost town.
"Um, about this place we're headed being a ghost town… Are ghosts actually real? How would need to fight them?"


"Monsters are real. I am fairly certain ghosts would be weak to magic."
"I'd love to hear some lore actually." Sip on my drink.


"Well we have plenty of places you can rent a room in to watch the quiet sunsets."
"Ah, so you're fans of the local folklore? We get those a lot. Historians, academic types, the occasional thrill seeker.
Should I start from the beginning, or?"


"The beginning, if you would please."


"That's the last thing I need."


"The beginning is a nice place, but if its a long story, you could skip to the part about the ghosts."


"The beginning."


"Well, legend has it that at the bottom of Silent Lake, the lake which this town was named after, sleeps a terrible monster. A beast that defies description that hungers for the flesh of the living. When it awakens, it seeps out from the lake and devours any who meet its gaze, eating their bodies and leaving their souls to forever wander this world. And if it is not pleased with its meal, it will bring forth terrible misfortune in revenge. This is why the old town of Silent Lake was such an unfortunate place. It must have burned down two dozen times and been wiped out by storms another half dozen. But they always rebuilt on top of the ruins, hoping the beast would not return. And it always did. That is, until the blind hero walked into the lake to face it, and stopped it from awakening. None know how he did it, but since then a terrible ritual was enacted every few years to ensure the beast could no longer return. A ritual so ghastly none dare even ask what it originally was like."
His tone becomes a lot less spooky
"But over time it just sort of turned into a little annual festival featuring lots of cooking and swimming. We still celebrate it here, even if we did move over to the other side of the lake. I guess it does its job. No calamities have ever plagues New Silent Lake.
Well, either its the festival, or it's because this town is behind the beast's back so it can't see us. Haha!"


"Why was the town abandoned?"


Take a swing of my drink.
"The town gets destroyed over and over again and none of them get the hint."


"Walked. Into the lake."


"Well once other towns were built nearby, it must have made more sense to move to this side of the lake rather than always go around it."
"Well, home is home I suppose."


"So, what's with the old town? Any scavangers, junkies, or anyone there at all?"


"Yep. That's what the legend says."
A bespectacled pony pokes his head into the conversation
"Ahem. If I may interject, the original legend says he walked into the lake weighed down with rocks. This is still present in the older texts describing the Four Rituals of Silencing, and is known as the Ritual of Binding."
The barkeep looks displeased
"Trivial, can you please try and not to needlessly worry the guests for once with your tales of gore and horror?"
He shrugs
"Eh. Probably. That and ghost hunters.
Just the other day a pair of priests came around asking for directions there. Said their were going to fight off the spirits of the damned and cleanse the area or something."


Curious. Towns don't just get abandoned like that.
"Makes sense…do many ponies go there?"


"Not really. Like I said, thrill seekers sometimes go there to spook themselves in the foggy seasons. Not much else, at least not much I'd hear about."


Perfect! "Oh, are you a researcher? I'd love to hear the original legend! And don't worry, I'm no stranger to gore and horror."


Wave a paw.
"Bunch of mumbo-jumbo made up stuff."


Trivial beams at this
"Trivial Pursuit, historian, folklorist and fan of all things old and forgotten.
Now forget the happy little cooking festivals and diving games you just heard about. I have uncovered numerous older texts related to the rituals and their origins. Four rituals were used to emulate the original hero's feat - the Ritual of Binding, the Ritual of Blinding, the Ritual of Sacrifice and the Ritual of Drowning. Or, well, those are the closest translations I have been able to give their original names."
The barkeep rolls his eyes and goes clean some glasses
"…right, so, while the texts were only partially readable, I have pieced together what I believe are the most plausible original forms of the Four Rituals as well as the original feats of the Hero.
See, the oldest texts I have found tell that the blind hero carried a sacrifice of dead flesh to the bottom of the lake. With a little derivative logic it's easy to see what really happened here. A blind pony, wounded and dying, tied heavy stones to himself and walked into the lake to be eaten by the monster. Now, granted, again that is a bit of a liberal translation but the implications are there. The original was a bit more poetic, speaking of flesh that sleeps upon the blossom of corpses and of seeds of darkness that make it bitter. A very wordy way to say 'dying pony with a heavy heart'. Obviously."
He sure like talking a lot…


"So, is there any information on why they were doing this?"


"Well obviously to pacify the monster in the lake"




Shake my head. "Stories like this make me want to drink more."


"But why would a monster that devours entire villages be satisfied with a single pony who's already half-dead?"


"Finally someone who agrees!"
"…maybe it has to do with spiritual fulfillment? That a willing sacrifice sates it more than a hundred unwilling ones?
There are still questions ahead to be answered, but for that, I'd need more material to work with."


"A shame. Anyway, what can you tell us about these four rituals?"


"Or the monster to exist."


"Well that's where I needed to apply a bit of interpretation, given how next to nothing of the original texts remain. Still. With the limited writings as landmarks and more modern traditions to work backwards from, I believe I have a fairly good image of what the original rituals were like.
The Ritual of Blinding is obvious even from the name. The beast eats any who meets its gaze, so they take the sacrifice's eyes.
The Ritual of Binding, though a very rough translation, is related to affixing rocks and weights to the sacrifice to make it sink in the lake. They also probably had a symbolic role in representing the weight of responsibility.
The Ritual of Sacrifice mentions the cutting and burning of flesh, so it was probably a ritual mutilation of the sacrifice to represent the broken body of the original hero
And finally what I assume was originally called the Ritual of Drowning. It mentions the sacrifice is never seen again, so my interpretation is that the blind, bleeding and burnt sacrifice and its weights are thrown in the lake to be eaten by the beast."
The bar keeper groans
"And what's that supposed to mean?"


"And what of the… ghosts? Is there any information on why ponies began to believe the spirits of those consumed by the beast were doomed to wander the world forever?"


rub my forehead with my hoof, "These rituals all sound awful. Nopony ever tries to do them right?"


"Well, I think someone would have seen this so called beast at least once if it existed, right?"


"Miscellaneous reports of hauntings are common in the history of old Silent Lake. Though some can be chalked down to the architecture of the town. Since it was built on old foundations and ruins, it's not uncommon to accidentally run into an old grave when trying to build."
"They could have been going on for hundreds of years for all we know"
"Perhaps they did but did not live to tell the taaaaaaale"


"So there is no proof of it existing."


"Well… there are plenty of stories!"


Sigh slightly and keep drinking. "Maybe you can go back to the seeds of darkness part?"


"Stories are just that. Stories."


"Do you know what we might find in the old town if we went there today?"


"A line of a poem related to the Ritual of Sacrifice says the sacrifice was 'Laid to rest upon the blossoms of corpses, made bitter by seeds of dark.' Or, so I felt the translation worked best. It could also be read as 'black seeds' or even 'black fruit' if you prefer that interpretation."
"Dilapidated houses, pests, weeds, probably the bodies of a few moronic ghost hunters, and a whole lot of angry spirits."
"All stories began somewhere, and those beginnings are factual."


"Dulltooth, what do you think about all this?"


"We could make up a monster right here and now, you know."


"It just seem familiar, Like I'd heard it before." I comment curiously. "Maybe it was some other darkness thing I was thinking of, that's probably just poetry after all."


"Is not really related to anything. Bad things maybe happen in past. Still, mirror is in town. That is what we after, not solving ghost mysteries."
He grumbles but does not answer
"Well, these sort of elements do show up in all kinds of poetry and literature. Fruits of ill deeds, seeds of evil and other such make for fine metaphorical elements."

Cloudcover is looking out the window, gazing out over the lake


"Come on, we could make the story of the Monster in the Mug. It drinks your beer when you are not watching."


"Knowledge is power, my friend. But you are right, we have strayed somewhat from our purpose." Turn back to Trivial Pursuit. "Have there been any other travelers through recently? Perhaps carrying some sort of mirror with them?"


"Nope. Last interesting lot I saw was the knight and priest who were headed out to the ghost town to fight evil spirits or somesuch."


"Well, thank you for the story then." I smile politely and then make my way over to Cloudcover.

"What do you think of all that Cloud?"


"Oh? And when did they pass through?"


"When was that?"


"It's all very convenient is it not? Ghost town with dangerous architecture and horrible past? 'Stupid' ghost hunters go there and never come back because they got careless in some abandoned building? Where better to hide your stolen goods. Roll your goons in flour and send them out on patrol as 'ghosts', hide the loot in the old basements and collapse most entrances on purpose. A perfect hideout."
"Day before yesterday maybe? Or then it was yesterday. My sense of time is terrible."


Reply a bit distantly with a nod "I suppose that's better thought than there being some grain of truth to the sacrificing parts of the story."


"Huh, they might still be around then."


"Very well then. It appears that our next stop is the old town. Is everyone ready to go?"


"I wouldn't trust that guy's 'translations' for a minute. I've seen his kind. Failed scholars looking to overinflate their discoveries in an effort to break into the scientific high society. He finds some old dark poetry and after a little liberal translating claims he discovered three ancient civilizations and the origins of Alicorns. It's sad, really."
"Watch yourselves out there. You never know when the beast may huuuuunger!"
The barkeep throws a wet sponge at Trivial Pursuit
"Oh shut your face already."


"I'm scared out of my mind."


"Don't worry, Dulltooth here will protect you. Won't you, big guy?" Cheekily wiggle my eyebrows at them.


"Ah, that makes sense. The locals don't seem to take him seriously either." pause thoughtfully.
"If its just common bandits, they probably wander about after sunset, so exploring during the day would be better."


"I'm sure I'll need it against this imaginary monster."


"If needed."
He cracks his knuckles.
"Then we will lose a lot of time. We won't make it there before sunset today."


"Well, I hope nobody's afraid of the dark then."


#Investigate the town tonight
#wait until morning


"Let's have some shuteye before going on the scavanger hunt."


Investigate the town tonight.


Either is okay with me


"If we head out tonight, visibility will be low and we run a risk of being prone to ambushes.
But if we wait until morning, we may be facing more bad guys than if we go now. Remember - we aren't the only ones who want that mirror."


"then we just have to stick close, and go tonight."


"Agreed. Let's not waste any time."


"Fine, let's get over with this."




"Very well then. Pack your bags, we're moving out."

You head out of New Silent Lake and start navigating your way around the body of water in the rays of the afternoon sun. If you keep a good pace, you can probably make it there a bit before sundown.
From this distance, it doesn't look so bad. Some of the houses are wonky and lean in odd ways, but that just makes the place feel quirky and full of personality. How bad of a ghost town could it possibly be?


Pscht, ghost don't exist.


I start idly whistling a tune as we make our way around the lake.

I left my love, my love I left
a-sleeping in her beeed
I turned my back on my true love when fighting Evil Ted


"This doesn't seem too bad."


"Of course it doesn't."


"You seem very confident."


"She doesn't believe in ghosts, ghasts and spooks."


"Why shouldn't I be?"


"We'll see how bad it is when we get inside."


"A wise policy."

"An abandoned town, filled with rumors of ghosts? Seems like the perfect place for an ambush."


"Thugs are nothing we haven't dealt with before."


I left my love a letter in the holler of a treeee
I told her she would find me in
The Crystal Cavalry
High, Ho! Off we go
There's no such word as can't


"Can you please stop that."


We'll ride on down to Hell! And! Back!
For the Shiny Commandant

I left my love, my love I left her
sleeping in her bed


I groan.


Try to hum along '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1


You end up trying to hum the first four notes the entire way, constantly starting over in an annoying, disjointed loop.
By the time you get to the town, everyone is annoyed.


"What have I gotten myself into.."


Look confused. "What's wrong? You don't like that song?"


"I don't like how you butchered it. I think my ears will take at least a month to recover."


"Eh… not to be mean, but… Oh, there's no polite way to put this… Coral, you're tone-deaf."
Look around the town, see what I can see. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


The sun is setting, giving everything a blazing coat of red and orange, as if the whole town was on fire, with time slowed down to a crawl.
It is very quiet here. From your approach you could see several buildings that could serve as possible hideouts. Most prominently the large old mansion that was probably a town hall at some point or other. It connected to other buildings as well, forming a larger complex.
To get there, you'll need to reach the town square first.


[crystal body dims] "Oh.."
Go to the town square. "We start with the big buildings in this case right?"


Town square it is.


Kepp my eyes open for danger '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1


You enter the town outskirts. The town square shouldn't be too far away, provided you can use the straight road.
…which is sadly not an option. One of the large buildings has collapsed on the road, blocking it off entirely.

Your options are to either find an alternative route via the streets, or try breaking into and navigating one of the buildings.


"Around or through?"


go up and tap on the nearest building's door as a test of its strength. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10


Rotten to the core.
You can easily break it open


"Let's head through one of the buildings. Maybe we'll find something along the way."
"It's not your fault. Besides, nopony's good at everything. Take me, for example. Can't lie for anything; you saw what happened when I tried back at the bar."


with a smile I'll just push it over.
"Through here."
"Hopefully I'll be really good at finding this mirror." I say cheerfully.


now with a roll '1d10+1'

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


Follow her.
Can I use the DD racial to dig through the rottne wood if need be?


"Here, let me try." [1d10]
"As for being good at things, you're great at catching Cloudcover's eyes. I don't think they've left you all night."

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Amber!" Blush intensely at her remark.


Dude, I'm a dude.


The way opens with a wet crack.
Looks like this used to be a lobby of some kind, retrofitted from a larger room by adding an extra wall to cut it in half. Said wall is in better shape than the rest of the room, and seemingly thinner than the older walls around it.
There is a door leading to the right, or you could try breaking the thin wall.


Break it.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Amber DawnCrystalis a guy?sorry
"That's odd.." Go to the right door and look around.


I try the door.
It's not like he chose his name!


Seems like this is a common room. Possibly a dining room.
Some dishes are on the table
You punch the thin wall and crack it. Behind it you can see a dark room that seems to be rather long. It has no obvious windows, but extends in the direction you wanted to go to pass the broken building


"Why are there dishes still out?" are they clean dishes or really old and broken?


Dishes on the table… How recently have these been used? [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7



Step through the crack.
"This way."


Nope. Old and dusty. Smells like they might even have some old food in them.
The floor feels different in here, and it's very dark. This may have been a bath once.


Do I have a torch or something?
Please tell me I brought a torch.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Alright, nothing to see here. I head through the wall Cassie went through.


Well, just an abandoned house then. Go after the Diamond Dog.


You're not dumb.
Careful not to light the house on fire with it.
As you head through the crack, you hear faint giggling behind you.
On the other side, illuminated by Cassie's torch, is an old style bath. Several tubs, a stone floor and buckets for carrying water.
In the back, a large tub is integrated into the floor, with a fireplace under it, and a hole on the bottom for draining the water.


Keep it in front of me, and below my height then.

Hmm, which would be the best way to continue through? Break another wall?


Look around, is there some sign of ponies been here recently? '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Who's there?" Look for the source of the giggling. [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Something funny up there?" hurry to catch up to Cassie.


You see a vague flash of a filly vanish behind a corner
Not recently, no. The dust hasn't even been disturbed.
There is a door leading out back towards the house, or you could try breaking the bottom of the big tub to get to the basement via the drainage hole


Open the door, see what's behind there.
The drop to the basement might be dangerous if stuff collapse.


NopeNopeNope, I've read enough ghost stories to know what happens if I follow one. Stick closer to the rest of the group.


Looks like a dressing room. It probably loops back into the house if you want to try this route.


"Cassie, do you see a way forward?"


Keep going then.


"I think I do. Through these rooms."
Find the door that goes back to the house. Hopefully we find a hallway and can just exit the other side.


The floor in the dressing room sounds hollow. Two doors lead from it. One should get you back into the main house. The other veers off to the side.


"Be careful walking here, I think the floor might give if you step too hard."
Let's check the door leading back to the main house.


It opens up to a hallway. There are a few more door here, a staircase up, and on the other end you can see the same dining room.


"Hmm. We have a lot of doors here."
Try to check a random door that is in the direction we are headed.

Roll #1 1 = 1


move carefully up the stairs '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1


From the darkness, eyes stare back at you.
Dead eyes, accusing you for letting them suffer.
Unblinking and unflinching, they stare deep into your very soul. You can almost hear their tiny voices crying out for you. Cursing your name for allowing this to happen. And cursing it again for coming here to disturb their rest.
The light of the torch and the setting sun flicker against the glazed orbs, making them ignite with the cold fury of those so cruelly betrayed.
Roll to not panic.
As you move up, you see another faint image of something. It only appears for a second as you turn to look, like a flash of light catching an ethereal figure trying to evade your sight. Before you can think further, you realize something has grasped your hoof. Something cold and harsh with a jealous grip like a desperate filly trying to stop the one adult it can confide in from leaving its side.
Roll to not panic.


'1d10' Paladin brave.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Slowly close the door and turn away.
"I think we should go around the house."

Roll #1 4 = 4


Oh wait
Your hoof just went through some rotten planks that clamped down on it.
That's not the death grip of a ghost filly at all!
What has been seen cannot be unseen.
They know you now
They have seen your soul

There are still a few doors left on this floor, and the whole second floor and basement unsearched.


"What's up with you? Seen a ghost?"
I chuckle.


"Don't. Open.

Try another door, damn.
Open it more carefully.

Roll #1 4 = 4



Open that door and check.


"Keep looking for a way out. I think this place is a dead end."
'1d10' check a door up here.

Roll #1 3 = 3


Smack his hoof.




This room looks dark. It could be a bedroom, but there are no apparent windows. Or if one exists, it is boarded shut.
Dozens of dead unblinking eyes stare back at you from the darkness, faintly illuminated by the rays of the setting sun, giving them a hellish red glow. They meet your gaze without flinching, as if they knew you did not care how they suffered. And they hate you for it.
You open a door and look inside. It's a half-collapsed room. Perhaps once a bedroom or nursery. A cradle slowly rocks in the middle of the floor. Beams of light from the broken ceiling illuminate the room, casting stark stripes of red and black across it like some infernal prison.
You feel a cold touch on your shoulder.


Roll not to panic '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10


Shake it off. Its just my imagination. There isn't a mirror in here is there? look around. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


Why would you panic? It's just a room full of dolls.
Nope. And even the crib is empty. The huge holes in the ceiling and wall are making a draft, which makes it rock. That draft also touched your shoulder.
It might be possible to break through the mess here to get outside. Possibly even move along rooftops.


I chuckle.
Guess our little doggie is just a little nervous.
Close it again.


Alright, lets try to cut open a path to the outside '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


Shine in the torch, I can un-board them if there are.
Any windows?

Roll #1 7 = 7


Look around. Where's Cloudcover? [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


You smash a few of the old boards and kick open a fairly big hole. You can now exit the building.
Slightly more worryingly, those dolls had been nailed to the walls and furniture with wooden stakes.
Yes, one.
Curiously, it's near the floor. Perhaps this room was built over the remains of some other house, and what's floor level now was probably half way up the room originally.
Looking around, moving his ears sharply, as if trying to pinpoint a sound source


Wait a sec.
Open the door again.
Inspect that '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10


Rip the boards off then with my paws.

Roll #1 5 = 5


shout back to the others "This way everypony!"


Go over to him. "Could you go stay close to Coral? We don't need anyone winding up on their own with who-knows-what around."


All of the dolls have been staked to walls and furniture.
Except one.
That one is holding a hammer. You didn't see it before because unlike the other dolls, it has no eyes.
You rip a board off
Unfortunately, there are also bars on this window.
Cloudcover snaps out of it and walks up
"Ah. A way out. Good. This place creeps me out."


Boop it '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7


Walk back to the others.
"Anyone find a way out yet?"


"Yea but, its just an old house, nothing here."


It falls over.
It leaves a tiny blood stain on the floor as its head hits the floorboards.
You can feel the eyes in the room staring at you again. And that seems unlikely because you're in the middle of the room, and last time they were staring at the door.
"Old houses do not giggle."
Coral made a big hole in the second floor wall


Oh well, I heard something about an exit.
Time to get out and close the door and go to the exit.


"It was your imagination." I insist. but offer him a smile and a hoof. "Lets leave together then. We still have a mirror to get."


Exit through the wall.


I exit through the wall.


As you leave the room, you hear a single muffled sob right as you close the door.
You then head outside with the others
You move out onto the collapsed roof and look around. The sun is low on the horizon, and it seems fog is starting to roll in from the lake.
From here you can easily leap onto the next building over, as it's leaning towards you.
Alternatively, you can try to navigate the collapsed part to reach the fallen building rubble and the blocked off road


I guess I can see why ponies think this is haunted.
Weird wind in here.


Leap across the roof. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


Leap of Faith FTW [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


Leap like the wind '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


You make it over to the leaning building's roof.
There is a skylight on the roof you can use to enter the building, or you can try to make it to the other end to hop down via the balconies.


Go down the balconies, there is no need to go inside that place.


"Let's go through the builing, we don't need anyone falling down and breaking something."


Enter the building through the skylight.


"I agree with Cassie. Those balconies don't look too strong."


As you look down, you see something look back up at you. It seems further away than it should, as if it were inside the floor, staring up at you through the harsh iron bars of a cage. Its eyes are dark and its figure distorted, but your subconscious tells you it is a pony.
A sharp chill runs up your spine, and as you look down again, there is nothing there any more.


"…Do what you want, I'm taking the balconies."


"The Balcony looks fine to me." '1d10' climb down the balcony.

Roll #1 9 = 9


"I have a torch, don't worry."
Go down.


Climbing down the balcony. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Hop down the balcony. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3


You navigate the roof until you reach the other side. The balcony looks solid enough, and as you hop down, it holds. However, due to the wonky leaning construction, jumping down from it seems like a bad idea. A rope might help you get down, but there is none up here. Perhaps if you enter the house, you'll have better luck. At least you can probably avoid going to the ground floor.
A few loose boards are jammed against the door here. Had you tried coming from inside the house, the door would have been stuck.
You hop down the skylight and end up in a very dusty room. A slight draft can be felt here, and it makes all the dust tossed up by your landing swirl around in the air. The rays of the setting sun catch it and give the whole room a rad haze.


The one day I didn't bring a rope!
Oh well, get inside the fucking house then. '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6


Remove the boards. [1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


"Don't do it in the morning they said, navigating ruins during twilight will be easier they said… stupid ponies…"
Let's look for a way down.

Roll #1 3 = 3


You look around, but all you can see is more clouds of red, as if you were standing in some hellscape of bloody clouds.
You wade through the haze, barely able to make out anything other than vague silhouettes of boxes and furniture, your paws incapable of giving you any real aid, and your nose filling with dust, cutting you off from your sense of smell.
Then you come face to face with two ponies, just standing there in the haze, unmoving.
You manage to dislodge the boards, but not without some painful splinters to Amber.


Okay, remove the splinters [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


Snort the dust out of my nose.
"Eira, is that you?"
Squint my eyes.

Roll #1 7 = 7


You pull on the splinter. It comes loose. And it just keeps coming. The bleeding won't stop. The splinter is still in. You must have pulled two feet of it out already. And there is no end to it. Every inch is a rasping agony against every nerve in your body like the damned thing is breaking into thousands of jagged knives that seek only to torment you. The pain is endless. The pain is endless. The pain is endless. The pain is ending. The pain is endless. The pain is endless.
…oh wait no, that was just your imagination you big sissy. It was a big splinter though. Next time try yanking it out in one pull and not slowly nudging it out.
They do not move. They just stand there. Facing you. Judging you. You can see a glint as the light touches them. Perhaps a knife. Perhaps just a shard of glass.
They say nothing. They do not move a muscle.


Stare at Amber while he is apparently pulling at his hooves.


So what's inside?


It's probably the rest of these dumb horses.
It'd make sense for them to have weapons.
Snort the dust out of my nose again and look for that exit.

Roll #1 6 = 6


Damn that hurt! I hate splinters. Alright, enter the door. [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8




Seems like a fairly long room. It's possible the entire second floor is just one big room, possibly separated with a few walls.
By the looks of things, this place was used like a storage attic. Old furniture, unlabeled boxes, racks of dresses…
Your constant snorting keeps the dust flying. You look around the room until you spot what seems to be a wall. Judging the distance as well as you can, you think it should lead to the balcony. Or at least close to it.
As you turn to look at it, you hear a wet thump from your side.


find a way down '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9


Slowly follow Amber inside. "So.. find anything in here?" '1d10' look around.

Roll #1 4 = 4


What the hell?
Look there.


One of the ponies no longer has a head.
The other one has not moved.
Looking in that direction, you realize there are several more in the distance, barely even visible behind the dust and in this dim light.
The room full of junk is really quite cluttered. There doesn't seem to be a way down in here, or if there is, it's probably buried under tons and tons of crap.
However, there is a door on the far end.


What's behind door number 3? '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1


…look at the head. Do I know the pony?

Reach for my weapon with a paw.


You open the door, and a draft meets your face.
Beyond the door lies a sense-numbing hellscape of crimson red. It is as if you gazed into a sea of clouds drenched in blood, lit by an unholy sun blazing down from a sky darkened by thousands of thorny vines. You see a tall figure before you, reaching for a weapon. It is headed for a pony a short way further. A pony frozen in place next to another, headless pony.
And further in the far reaches of this red madness given form by the brush of an artist whose mind has long since forsaken this world stands a circle of ponies, each unmoving, all staring at some focal point obscured by the swirling clouds of red terror that are pouring out at you.
A rush of air passes you as you face the ponies, as if their angry spirits were trying to claw at you. Their faceless heads betray no emotion, but you can swear there is a large bloodstain forming under the fallen head, and a jagged glass shard in the other one's hoof.


Roll to not freak out '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5


I think I'm seeing things.
Must be the dust.
It got in my eye.
Back away, to the wall.

Roll #1 2 = 2


"What did you find, Whisper?" Look in the door he opened. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


It's a really dusty room and the setting sun is making it really red.
Also, there are tons of mannequins here. The head seems to have dropped off one and broken an ink bottle on the floor.
You bump into eachother and scream.








"What are you idiots doing?"
…Go underneath the skylight where I saw the caged pony and see if I can find… whatever I mistook for a caged pony. Just so I know. [1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7






There's a mirror on the floor. The shadow of the skylight leaves a grid-like pattern on it, and the reflected sunset makes it look like a pit of red light.


Oookay, that's, ah… Oh jeez that's creepy.
Hmn. A mirror…
"Guys? Were'nt we looking for a mirror or something? Cause there's a mirror here."


Then dust my shoulder off.
"…don't sneak up on me like that."


"Is there? That was easy."
Walk over.


This is just an old ordinary mirror. Stained and slightly cracked.
As the dust starts to settle, you finally get a better look at the room you are in. It must have been a dressmaker's workshop at some point that later became a storage room. You can see racks of dresses, many rolls of cloth and dozens of mannequins. Arranged in a circle. All staring up at the ceiling, where one more hangs limply on a noose.


"This isn't it."
Look back at the room.
"I bet some freakshow pony did this."


"I guess it wouldn't be that easy, would it? Now we-
Okay what the fuck is this shit?" Is there a place where I can cut the hanging mannequin down? [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


"Or maybe it was a ghost!"


You could probably drag one of the boxes under it to reach


"The dust played tricks on our eyes, that's all. After this town got abandoned some joker set these ponequins up to have a laugh."

Can I reach it?
I'm taller.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Okay, I drag one of the boxes over and try to cut the mannequin down. [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Your joint efforts manage to loosen the mannequin and score you one #rope
The mannequin flops down on the floor.
This could be considered mildly disturbing considering how all the other mannequins are stiff and solid.


Make sure that it really is a mannequin. [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Then wave a hoof.
"It's just humid because the lake is close, I bet."


Well, on the outside it is.
Do you want to cut it open to see what's inside?


…carefully cut the mannequin open. [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


It has the same cushioning as any other mannequin, but its wooden frame has been broken at every point where a pony would have a joint.


"Is this really necessary? I told you, it was some joker playing in an abandoned house.
Let's go."


"…This is deliberate. Someone is going through a lot of trouble to scare anyone who comes here."
"Yes, let's go."


Off we go!


You take the rope and head back to the balcony as the sun sets lower.
You tie the rope to the side of the balcony and toss it down, then use it to climb back to street level. The way forward to the town hall is now clear.

Cloudcover takes one final uneasy look back at the house.


"I think we can agree that we are never going in there again."
How close are we to the Square? [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Or to this town in general."

Start walking towards there.
"Everything allright?"


"I'd say."
He points at the lower floor windows. Mannequins are staring out of them, all facing you.
Also, the rope has been pulled back up to the balcony.

The square is only a small walk away now.
Fog is starting to fill the streets…


Enter the square. "Come on, let's hurry up and get this over with."


"Just the mirror or something."
Walk walk walk.




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