Practically everyone has heard the Tale of Three Children in some form or another. It is one of the most widespread children's stories in the realm after all. Though each telling may be a little different, the story is always the same - three children, often depicted as rivals, are playing together when they meet a hungry beast, and are saved by the timely appearance of a winged hero who kills the beast and then succumbs to his wounds after ensuring the children are safe. Or just needs a rest before leaving, if you prefer the softer versions. This story, though old, is known to have been written by an author from a town at the foothills of the Skypiercers - a mountain range so high that those who travel it can walk among clouds and easily get lost. And now, after the worst storm in generations, those clouds are gone, allowing for the first proper exploration of the higher peaks in ages.
One thing found, hidden for centuries in the clouds, is a large and elaborate temple. Some of the mountain folk say they always knew it was there, but never bothered to tell anyone. But whether you believe them or not, it has been attracting adventurers to delve into its uncovered halls. You have arrived among the very first, and stand outside the outer walls of the complex. Aside form you, there are some tents and booths set up, with enterprising locals selling maps of dubious quality, various climbing and adventuring gear, and home cooking at a highly marked up price. A tingle of natural arcane magic can be felt in the air, and the magnificently carved walls of the temple are truly a sight to behold. It would be best to ensure everyone is present and prepared before actually braving the inside.
>>503889 You clamber up to one of the ledges and take a look. It seems there is only one main entrance to the temple proper. The other structures don't seem directly connected. >>503888 You notice an aeon floating around near the entrance, studying the carvings on the walls. He is clad in a long coat, with a scarf held roughly in the shape of his head and two boots hanging limp in mid air, giving the illusion of levitating feet. >>503892 You can see three, maybe four groups, and half a dozen merchants.
>>503897 "A sufficient application of force to overpower the bolts would be the easy method. The harder part will be dealing with what is inside." >>503900 There's a hork talking to an aeon near the main door, and a wandering capra.
>>503902 The first thing you find on display are the ample assets of a pair of capra ladies. You can pick up several hints as to why they are here at the campsite… The smell tells many tales. Their heavy coin purses tell the rest. And the aforementioned assets explain the heaviness. >>503903 "Whatever they needed to build a vault this big for." >>503904 "Enough force to overcome the structural integrity of the door locks"
>>503911 "Oh we're just getting started" "Can't let a good opportunity go to waste now can we?" >>503909 >>503910 "I am not scared, I am curious. This place holds many riddles lost in translation and time, as well as a natural font of arcane magic. I am merely cautious as to why it warranted such a… grand structure."
>>503913 "If it was anything they didn't want coming out, they'd probably would have hidden it better. A few rocks and some grass and a kid with a shovel would have been able to bury it so that no one would ever know."
"Best course of action I see. We'll try to be careful with the door, we don't want it to fall on us, but inside you'll probably have more material to study. Worst comes to worst, we put the door back and bury the place ourselves."
>>503916 >>503917 "If you so desire, I can join your venture. Most other parties have gone to look through the outer structures, but my research indicates that the main temple is the location of the Vault itself." >>503918 Looks like a drakin, hork and aeon are about to go at the door.
>>503921 It's not so much a doc as a .txt file. Looks like another aeon, a hork, a drakin and a capra are headed for the main gates >>503924 "Most likely, if monetary wealth is all you seek. For me, certainly, as I seek knowledge more than trinkets." >>503925 As you leave and look back, you are greeted with a most inspiring sight as both pairs wave you goodbye. "Bring us something nice ok?" "We'll be waiting!" >>503926 >>503928 The door is… rather imposing. Made from great slabs of stone, bolted shut with mighty bars of iron, and bearing the marks of previous attempts to break it down and blow it up.
>>503929 "Guess the answer to this problem might be precision instead of power. We'll work on the latches, Mister …, I never got your name."
>>503930 "Either of your names. If we'll be working together for a bit, introductions are in order."
Take a swing.
"Name's Kaito Guluem."
>>503932 "That's what we're thinking and trying for. If you want to join us in our little break-in, talk with our other Aeon friend over there. We'll try the latches, see if you two can figure out if this door has a handle to twist."
>>503934 "That we do. Just as soon as we get this pop this rather imposin' door here. You can help us try to force it open or join our other comrades here." point to the Aeons, "in trying to find a key or something."
"It may be fruitful to see if we could instead damage the wall near the hinge rather than the door itself. Or possibly look for weaknesses left by past attempts." >>503936 "This place refers to itself as a vault, not a temple. I'm sure you can sense the immense natural pool of arcane magic inside as well. I would not be surprised if we met natural aether elementals inside."
>>503943 >>503944 The wall cracks a little. You can notice someone had tried blasting this point earlier after giving up on the door itself. A solid hit should crack the wall enough to allow passage. >>503942 "I suppose the easiest method would be to break a piece of the wall and walk past the door itself."
>>503947 >>503948 >>503949 A notable crack has formed on the stone under the lower great hinge. It might be possible to pull a part of the huge rock loose to reveal a hole large enough to enter through
>>503954 "As it stands, we need to take the needs of the others into consideration." >>503953 You're a little too weedy for this job >>503956 The capra keeps getting in the way… >>503955 Ok finally. A large chunk of rock is pulled back, revealing enough of a hole for everyone, even the Hork, to squeeze through to bypass the door.
>>503929 "You mentioned it earlier, but I was kind of busy with the door. I wouldn't mind finding out about this place, but if I don't get any money out of it, I don't eat and studying is hard on an empty stomach."
>>503959 "did you learn anything more while studying the door? Any hints would be useful when going in blind like this."
You enter the entrance hall proper, you take a moment to appreciate the internal architecture. Grand archways and mighty pillars hold the roof high, and the hallways are large enough to fit a dragon. "Human architecture. Impure. Partly horkish. Which is not unthinkable, given the natural hork population. But… why…"
>>503965 >>503966 Somewhere in the far distance, you can hear the echo of an explosion. The place is seemingly entirely empty up here. This entry hall leads to a larger room further on, and slopes downwards subtly. There are also long balconies above you, implying there is a second floor to this area. However, reaching those balconies from here would be quite a feat.
>>503970 You might be able to make it if you work those wings hard enough. >>503971 Carvings and texts line the walls, and the entire place is illuminated by magically charged crystals. Your essence tingles. Somewhere in the depths of this place is a great font of natural magic.
>>503975 Your attempt at indoor flight proves to be a failure, as you miss the jump off the wall to the balcony and crash down. >>503973 >>503974 It is a language you are not familiar with. The imagery depicts three figures and a larger winged one. The three seem to be worshiping, or possibly guarding the larger one.
>>503987 Looking closely at the three figures, you can tell that they one is clearly larger than the others, and another looks oddly hollow. >>503986 As you reach the round chamber, you see multiple possible paths. Directly ahead is a grand stairway that leads deeper into the complex. Branching off to either side are corridors that may loop back to those second floor rooms you passed earlier.
>>503994 You take the left corridor, and it indeed moves upwards sharply. Suddenly, you hear a blast, a crash and several screams of pain from further up. >>503995 Your earlier overview of the temple complex helps you get some bearings. This place is not far from one of the outer towers… Also, on the ceiling above the large stairwell leading down, you can see a rather prominent image of a dragon.
>>503998 Dead on impact, most of them buried by the rubble. On the plus side, the plan did work. This must be a part of the main temple. You managed to bypass the main gate by blowing up a part of the tower ground floor. …but for some reason, the explosives did not behave as expected. Indeed a lot of your explosives seemed defective in some way the whole time… Just being in this temple makes your essence tingle. There must be a large font of arcane magic somewhere here. >>503999 A part of the ceiling of the upper floor room has collapsed into a pile of rocks and human body parts. There is an armored Aeon left rather intact near the mess.
>>504012 You raise the beefiest guy. #Beefy Undead 10/1 >>504014 Suddenly a Dudge falls down the same hole. He was probably a little late to the party. >>504011 Elonir observes the damage "I presume the blast was stronger than expected, or intended."
>>504022 The party you and Crux were with explored the outer tower of the temple, and figured you could blast your way to the main temple from its bottom. The explosives went haywire and killed the others. But you did break through.
>>504024 Elonir picks up the book held in the death grip of the other expedition leader and starts paging though it. "A repeating motif. But what does it have to do with this place… Three children… beast… winged hero…"
>>504030 >>504031 "Wish we could have met under better circumstances, but these are the risks of the job. Take a look around and see what you can spot. We came in through the first floor, I think, but besides you and some other explosions, it has been empty and quiet."
>>504034 Not nearby. But there are others in this place… >>504035 You can make out some stuff relevant to the structure of this place. Most notably, two points stand out - The Arcane Focus Chamber and the Savior's Vault. It also seems some of the markings on the layout are more recent, or at least added retroactively.
>>504040 >>504039 >>504037 This shit's written in terrible handwriting in a language that probably isn't even real and if it is it was invented by idiots. Perhaps the meanings of the book would become more clear if you had it translated. The room on the opposite side is marked on the map as an archive. It might have some aids.
>>504047 "Perhaps some merchant made a ton of money selling old stock? Or maybe they just brought a mage." >>504048 The echoes make it hard to tell what it is. But it seems to be going for the archive.
>>504057 Absolutely not. It's human. You can tell because you decided to stick your nose right up to her. She attempts to grabs you as a shield. Roll vs '1d10' >>504058 "Wait… who are you? I didn't see you with the other pilgrims."
>>504069 "Our leader showed us a path, marked for us in the tongue of dragons" >>504070 "Yes! Of the great Savior that-ARGH!" >>504067 >>504068 You strike the drakin in what must have been a very sensitive organ, rip off a slightly chipped (and thus quite sharp) scale off her arm as she cringes and jab it in the same spot you hit earlier, leaving the winged thing helpless on the floor.
>>504073 >>504074 >>504075 >>504076 She tries to struggle back up but can't make it. "You really are fools… breaking into the Savior's shrine and not even knowing what it is you're looting… Do you not know your history at all?"
>>504078 "Your history is owed to The Savior." >>504079 "Think with that empty mass of a head of yours. You owe no less to The Savior that the rock there." >>504080 She relaxes, sighs, and lets you help her up "Thank you, brother in scales. I am uncertain if I should say I owe you anything though, given how it was your dog that attacked me."
>>504081 Try to act calm and hope that Malu didn't hear that.
"You're covered in blood and we've witnessed a few explosions. We're just a bit more eager to help at the moment."
>>504083 "There's only one of her and if she wants tose remains, she'll have to work with us to make it easy for everyone."
"Now look, Miss, we're just some adventurers that came upon an old, abandoned temple. Yeah, we might not all have the best intentions, but the Aeons here are more than willing to listen to your story and help you out with whatever it is. We work together, we all get out and you can claim this spot in the name of your Order, whatever it is."
>>504083 >>504084 >>504085 "Lets call it even at me not killing you. Leave this holy place while you still can. I have friends to return to, and a destiny to meet." >>504088 "The Savior's Pilgrims are many, and it was my task to secure the writings we needed from this archive while the others pressed on deeper inside. As for the blood… that was the last tomb raiders who came between me and my mission."
>>504100 >>504102 >>504103 >>504104 >>504109 She snarls "Fine then. My purpose to the cause is greater than my need to remain secretive. Help me find the oldest and newest entries in these archives. Those will help shed some light on many things." >>504108 It's really short. It won't be good for stabbing.
>>504115 "We pilgrims had no need for names here. Call me what you wish." >>504113 >>504116 >>504114 >>504117 The first and last entry are soon located and collected. The oldest was easy, it was closest to the door. The last was harder since it was not even the top one on a pile, let alone in a shelf.
The pilgrim starts reading, and soon smiles at her discoveries. "Just as I expected… these contain directions translated from dragontongue… poorly. The Savior did design this place after all… I was right." However the smile vanishes as she gets to the later parts of the last entries
>>504128 She seems a little distracted by the book >>504126 >>504127 >>504130 "This makes no sense! What language is this abomination!? It's… it's like the beautiful words of dragonkind were… twisted and mutilated beyond all recognition! I-I don't understand.. who would even write like this!? Have they lost their minds!?"
>>504146 >>504147 >>504150 "A lot can be lost in translation. But allow me to tell it as close as I can to the first version.
Three children lived together in this place Often they did fight but also play and race But one dark day, the children were to face The coming of a beast Looking for a feast Three children stood together as one For against a beast, alone they'd be done Together they fought, and very nearly won Or at least survived But very nearly died And in that darkest hour, came a great aid A winged savior, who its might displayed It would help the children was all it said Together they banded The final blow landed Yet the winged savior, with all its dreadful might Could not face the beast and live through the fight So the three children, in this time of plight Buried it here With all it held dear
…so you see… the Winged Savior.. is a holy Dragon. And it's remains are buried here. We have come to reclaim them for dragonkind."
>>504160 "It was probably smart of him not to include other Drakin, I guess, but right now, we're all here together. Let's try and find what you're looking for, maybe nick a few other things, and get them out."
Smile greatly. "A find like this would be wonderful for all Drakin!"
>>504164 "I have yet to see any clear depictions of the Beast from the tale, but I can imagine the bones are not in good shape. Still, they are no less valuable to us." >>504161 >>504162 "You are not filling me with confidence…" >>504166 "It truly would. But we have much more ground to cover. And we are not alone in here. More and more looters are finding their way in, and the Pilgrims will not hesitate to dispose of them. …however, if you were to bring a few proofs of demise to our leader, he may not regard you as such a threat."
>>504168 "Right now, we hurry, find what we are ALL looking for, and head out before others nick our stuff. We'll worry about the after part later. Now, any hints in there about where to go to find it?"
>>504169 >>504171 >>504175 She takes the books "When I left for these, the others were trying to gain access to the Arcane Focus. Bring us some dead tomb robbers and I'll do my best to convince them to not kill you."
>>504183 Hold her. "We're not going to kill people for someone we don't know. We're here for our own things. But for now, tell them," point to our Aeons, "what is going on with this Arcane Focus and why you stopped the others from using it."
>>504185 "It's behind a terrible amount of secured locks. I needed these to help understand how to unlock the Focus. It is the only path to the actual temple itself. To what the architects of this place named The Vault. Or, as The Savior probably mean it, the Hoard." >>504190 "You won't get past them without me… I… think."
>>504191 "Listen, if you're right, then I'll want to save it too. This is important to all of us Drakin. But we won't bring them bodies of people trying to get ahead in life. Tell us where we need to go, and I'll do my best to retrieve it. This is important, it isn't something I'm going to turn around and take, this is for all Drakin."
>>504202 "How about this, the magic here is messing with the explosives lots of others are using. How about their bodies? Died trying to rob the place anyway, not much we could do about them."
>>504204 "Hold off on that, only if they press us. Anything we walk out with won't do us any good if the locals take us in for murder, and that includes your knowledge. Not many people to talk to or even listen in prison."
And so you head back to the map room with your newfound… ally of sorts, Tochi. After recovering the bodies from the rubble, you begin your travel deeper into the temple's bowels, watched over by the great dragon carving on the ceiling as you descent the great staircase.
NEXT TIME ON MOUNTAINS FIGHTING SMITING AND BLIGHTING
>>505675 You knock the capra out of your way, wounding it >>505678 You manage to smack one of the humans around, but the third guy sneaks in a stab at you "Innesnella jevlagrabbar! Krossadom miinavanner!"
>>505681 You level the human in one floor-quaking blow, leaving him helplessly crushed >>505684 The capra sneaks in from behind and leaps on you, ripping at your suit and forcing you to flail around helplessly in an effort to get it off
The other human is shaken by the crushing blow from Obleu, and does not manage to attack
#ENEMY Capra: 4/3 Human: HELPLESS/3 Other Human: 5/4
>>505699 You crush the human again with your hammer, leaving him helpless and making his friend jump back >>505701 Only to get slammed by Crux >>505704 Finally, Rale drains the life out of the helpless human, killing him
"HELVETES FOKKENDE FOKK VAD HANDEDAR!?"
#ENEMY Capra: HELPLESS/2 Human: DEAD Other Human: 1/4
>>505720 >>505722 Being a quick capra, he easily evades your efforts to chase him down, and disappears into the deeper parts of the temple >>505724 though he does leave a trail of blood if you really insist on tracking him
>>505727 It seems to be some sort of door emblazoned with marks of dragons and three humanoid figures. >>505732 You find a remote charge on one of them. Crude but effective. Popular with Pathfinders. >>505730 Said charge also seems to be armed!
>>505751 You float along the trail for a while, before noticing it ends in a pool. Near the pool are some discarded scraps of bloody cloth. Listening closely, you can tell the capra is hiding closeby. >>505749 The cracks on the door widen, but you are getting a little winded
>>505758 There isn't enough blood here… but there are some droplets on the wall near you. Maybe it climbed? >>505757 The trail ends in a small pool and discarded medical supplies. >>505756 The door is heavily cracked. A few more solid blows may break it, or your arms.
>>505775 You smash the door, making it collapse. Right on you. Roll to avoid being crushed >>505777 >>505779 The Capra leaps out in panic, tearing right through Crux and smashing into Rale who catches him
>>505786 You drain some life out of the flailing Capra >>505788 You're gonna need some considerable help to live through that. >>505789 You manage to lift one of the heavy stones, only to slip and get trapped under it yourself. >>505787 And you are leaking magic everywhere like spaghetti
>>505793 >>505797 The capra reaches over, and with nimble fingers sows a patch of Crux, ending his leaking >>505795 >>505796 In a magnificent show of power, you lift the entire huge mess off yourselves, dust off, and walk away with no further damage.
>>505811 "The crazy dragon priest! You know! The one who's killing everyone he sees and won't shut up about some fucking Savior!" >>505810 Bodies. Dead bodies. Hundreds of them. Many of them horks. And none of them look normal.
>>505817 >>505815 "Saw them earlier. Crazy lot, killed another search party in cold blood. Shouted something about being unworthy of the true secrets of this place." >>505816 You return to the others, your mind racing with imagery of the twisted bodies inside, and the fact that all of them seemed so at peace with their deaths. There were no signs of violence there.
>>505819 That'd have been great to notice something like a few minutes ago, when I was still looking at the place where the door once stood. >>505817 >>505815 >>505813 "I broke open the door. There's death behind it."
>>505821 >>505822 >>505824 "Alright, this is what I know. This place is apparently not made to hold treasure. It's designed to contain something really, really bad. Not that the others ever believed me on that. You've seen all the dragon imagery. I'm pretty sure it's indicative of the bad things." Elohir returns to you "The capra is rather correct. The more I read into the writing in this place, the more things start to make sense. But I still lack the keys to fully understand what is going on. Perhaps the drakin leader knows…"
>>505829 "You're coming with us Capra, but I want no surprises so I'm binding your hands for now."
Heal on the Capra while binding his hands. '1d10+2'
>>505833 "Hey, even you said you were worried. I just want to make sure we don't end up as a permanent part of this place. Right now, looking around is still the best bet, since there's a chance they found our entrance."
>>505835 The capra groans but complies >>505834 >>505836 >>505832 "If you really insist, they were headed down the central corridor. I don't know what they intended to find down there. The doors were far too large to ever dig through."
>>505870 >>505872 >>505873 "At last with this information our sister recovered from the sacred archives we have the key we need to unlock this final seal between us and our glorious destiny! With the heathens dispatched and the faithful gathered, we can at long last recover the Winged Savior and return him to his rightful place! Come! Destiny awaits!"
>>505893 >>505894 >>505895 >>505897 The pilgrims march into the light. You can hear some amazed gasping, followed by silence, which is eventually broken by the leader's voice "No… what is this!? THIS ISN'T THE VAULT!"
>>505900 It's a massive device as intricate as it is large. It hands from the ceiling of a great domed room, with visible strands of arcane energy pouring into it as it gently spins. Massive pieces of bronze armor are arranged on the floor. Possibly remnants of a statue that was once part of the device. The power focused in this room would be enough to create several Aeons, were it not trapped in that device…
>>505904 >>505905 The leader is trying to gather his thoughts. His minions are scouring the room for more info. A few of them focus on the other, equally massive door at the other end. "This makes no sense… why is this here? Is this place really THAT large… No… couldn't be… That'd be ridiculous…"
>>505908 Elonir looks around "Yes. The writing is on the walls. This… this is making a lot of sense to me. Or, at least, it is making many things clear about the purpose of this place. These foolish pilgrims are simply looking at it all wrong."
>>505911 "Three children - three races - lived in these lands. Humans, Horks, and Aeons. They are depicted all over this place. The Dragon these pilgrims seek is, in fact, the Winged Savior of legend, not the Beast as I first thought. This is a dragon's tomb, built with the might of Horks, the ingenuity of Humans and the magic of Aeons to house the remains of the great beast that saved them from… something."
>>505913 "And a vault. They might have tried to seal the bad thing here too. I say we stop them. As much as I'd like to bring back a treasure of the Drakin, I'd rather come back empty than to unleash whatever might be held here."
>>505916 >>505917 >>505918 As you talk, the Drakin at the far wall attempt to pry open the other door. Prompted by this, the device stops spinning, and instead shoots down a massive quantity of arcane energy into the armor, linking the pieces together, forming a massive Aeon. The Pilgrims scramble for cover as it rises, and their leader stands forth to confront it. Untouched lifeforms detected. State your purpose. "WE HAVE COME TO RECLAIM THE REMAINS OF THE WINGED SAVIOR" You are not one of the chosen caretakers. You are not touched by the Savior's burden. You are not permitted to pass.
>>505920 >>505921 >>505922 "YOU WILL LET ME PASS, GUARDIAN! I AM A HERALD OF DRAGONKIND! THIS IS MY DUTY AND DESTINY!" Only members of the chosen caretakers and those permitted by them may be granted passage. Only those touched by the Savior's burden can be considered for exceptions. You are neither touched, chosen, not a worthy vessel. You will thus be terminated if you refuse to comply.
>>505924 >>505925 >>505926 "WHAT BURDEN!? CEASE YOUR RIDDLES, MONSTER!" The Savior's burden is great. Its Guardians exist to ease it. To become vessels for it. To clean the Savior of His burden. "BLASPHEMY IS ILL BETTER THAN RIDDLES! I WILL KILL YOU IF I MUST! TOO MANY GAVE THEIR LIVES TO REACH THIS PLACE FOR ME TO TURN BACK NOW!" I am permitted to destroy any who are not acceptable as vessels, yet still insist passage. This is your final warning.
>>505929 "It says the dragon fought a beast, and then died of its wounds. Or, to be exact, it says it could not live through the fight." >>505928 >>505930 "TO HELL WITH YOUR WARNINGS" Then see the world through my eyes, its intricacies laid bare and clear, the truths of the ages here and beyond shown to you with accuracy you cannot possibly comprehend. Understand your frailty and foolishness, and realize the folly of your quest.
In a thundering blast, the entire room seems to vanish, and is replaced with… itself. Only from a much, much different perspective. The bonds between atoms as clear as writing on paper. The impossible insignificance of this place in comparison to the size of the world, let alone the universe. The blinding chaos of radiation, heat, light, magic, sound and countless other waves and rays, each made visible and easy to recognize as they pierce your bodies and streak through the air. …to the Aeons, this isn't really all that abnormal.
The magical assault also seems to drain the Arcane Focus heavily. It is possible this has weakened the magical locks on the exit, if you wish to leave the Pilgrims to die and flee as they distract the Guardian.
>>505934 It's kinda overwhelming. You are also breathing manually. And blinking manually. And aware that you can see your nose. And that some part of you itches. And that you can't find a comfortable position for your tongue in your mouth.
>>505939 >>505940 >>505941 You make for the far door. As you reach it, you realize its magical locks are powered down as all the arcane energy is diverted to attacking the Drakin pilgrims. A simple push should be enough, if you push hard.
>>505943 >>505944 >>505945 You force the great door open and enter. It shuts behind you, as you leave the pilgrims to their fate. They came seeking a great treasure for all their kind. All they found was the judgment of an uncaring guardian. As you cross the threshold, the Guardian's words echo in your minds Approved caretakers. Your bravery is admirable. Serve your purposes well. The light on this side is not as calming as on the other. The charged crystals give off a faintly purple glow, making the blood on your clothes shimmer white.
>>505947 >>505948 It's not an uncommon thing. Lamprocks, torch crystals, they have many names. Luminescent stones that appear in many places and are valued as easy alternatives to torches and lanterns. However… the light these ones give off is simply not natural. It's… twisted. >>505949 Elonir points at the capra "I may know why we counted as approved."
>>505951 >>505952 >>505953 The capra rolls his eyes and lifts his arm, revealing a patch of blackened, bald flesh "You are probably talking about this. I got it from falling on some weird bones when climbing around earlier." "This tainted flesh may be what the guardian called… burden. And if this place was built by Human, Horks and Aeons, then it would make sense those are approved for passage. Since our group contains Aeons, Horks and this… 'burden', we qualified to pass. At least, this is my theory."
>>505966 >>505967 >>505968 You yank a few crystals off the wall, giving you a pocket of darkness against the door, and a bright light a little further down the tunnel where you threw the crystals. Soon you see what was coming. It's a Hork. A hork glowing nearly bright red in the light, its features distorted and unnatural, the rocks on its back like great jagged spires that corkscrew and branch wildly. It is looking for something. Probably you.
>>505976 >>505977 The hallway opens up to another large room. Several passages branch out from it, most of them small, and one of them as immense as the other dragon-sized ones that lead you here. From this elevated position you can see the entire place is bathed in the same unnatural purple light, and that many things are alive here. Horks with the same terrible malformations. Aeons whose energies lash out at random, not at all contained by their clothing. Humans with extra limbs, no faces, bones growing out of their bodies, and misshapen proportions. Under the light, they all glow bright red with taint. There is also more imagery here on the walls.
>>505980 >>505981 The images depict the dragon's battle with the beast. In each image the beast looks a little different, but is always depicted in red, while the other characters have been black. And as the beast is torn apart, the dragon becomes red. Finally, the Hork, Human and Aeon are seen worshiping the dragon, and turning red themselves, as the dragon becomes black once more.
>>505995 The imagery makes its purpose very clear. The three you saw on so many walls - the human, hork and aeon, are here as well. But there are others as well. The red taint from the dragon is passed to the hork seen in most images, and in this shrine, he passes it on to the others who gather here to become Vessels. In their quest to "clean" the dragon, they are siphoning the taint from it, and passing it on to willing followers. >>505996 And it does. This place was built to keep the dragon, scarred and corrupted, but alive, safe. The clans it saved refused to kill it, and instead offered to purge the taint from its body. The temple itself was made with the ingenuity of humans, strength of horks and magic of aeons, built to keep the dragon safe, to house its Vessels, and allow it to leave once it was pure once more. And the three leaders of those original clans still rule here - the High Purifier, the Great Vessel and the Supreme Channeler. The three children. The human, the hork and the aeon. And most importantly, it sheds light on the nature of the Beast from the old tale. A Chaos Beast. >>505997 >>505998 There must be hundreds here. Some long dead, others mere days old. But all with equally deep signs of mutation and corruption. Warped bones, petrified flesh, impossible growths and twisted tumors all mark the Burden they took from their Winged Savior. As you stare at the corpses, the blind Hork from earlier returns behind you…
>>506018 Do remember the song, dear hork Yet the winged savior, with all its dreadful might Could not face the beast and live through the fight So the three children, in this time of plight Buried it here With all it held dear >>506019 It sits quietly. It can't see you. The mutations have long since taken its eyes. Maybe if you speak to it directly? >>506020 It leads to a final major room containing a gigantic door, emblazoned with a great image of a dragon in pure white. From a small hole in the door, a stream of red, writhing goo is being levitated by an Aeon. Its energies course outside its shell every bit as much as inside, great waves and sudden flares making it seem as if it was on the brink of exploding. The globs are being caught and eaten by a hork of impossible proportions. Its head is merely half way up its body, the rest being a swollen mass of twisted flesh and jutting stone. And finally, a human, who maintains a constant effort to heal the hork, while chanting prayers to the Savior. His arms are nearly skeletal and inhumanly long, his eyes sunken and entirely black, his spine bent to nonsensical angles and his entire body glowing red with taint. …the three children are right here, cleaning their savior.
>>506026 The actual three are in the room before you. >>506029 You can't find the strength alone. You will need help. >>506027 "Then why…. are you… here?" >>506028 "We… take the burden… so that the sleeping Savior… can dare… to awaken again. We… die… so it can… dare… to live…" >>506030 The mutation will not heal away, but it does stand up "…thank you. It seems I can still withstand more. My service is far from over. If you wish, I can show you to the high priests."
>>506032 Just to be sure: are you actually making your presence willingly known to the three high priests, or did you go back to talk to the mutant? >>506033 "The greatest treasure is to serve the Savior. We have no material wealth, save for the Savior's own bed of gold"
>>506038 He is probably inside the giant magically sealed vault behind the High Priests in the last large room. >>506042 >>506037 >>506036 You gather back up "This place was built by the clans the Winged Savior saved from the Chaos Beast. Parts of those clans chose to stay here, and follow a plan to take the corrupted flesh of the Savior and become vessels for its taint, so that the dragon could heal, and one day leave this prison it wanted for itself. We are the children of those first chosen vessels. Followers of the High Priests. If you so desire, I can ask them to make you vessels as well."
>>506048 "The Guardian accepted you as a vessel. To leave now would indicate it was wrong. It dislikes being proved wrong." >>506047 >>506050 "The gold belongs to the Savior. It is sacred to us." >>506049 "Come with me then. The High Priests will gladly take another."
>>506060 "We chose this fate, to repay the Savior." >>506053 "What you suggest is sacrilege." >>506054 "It will likely destroy you. Perhaps absorb you, given that you sound like an Aeon." >>506062 "Our gratitude runs too deep for any other word to convey the meaning." >>506056 "This way, then." The mutant starts walking towards the final large chamber
>>506074 "Nothing. I wanted to make enough money to pay for my lessons to be a healer of the people, and now this opportunity appears. I don't know how or even the best way to help them, but I know I must."
>>506079 "Firstly, they already said there is no wealth here of any sort. I came because I am interested in the dragon corpse, but that won't normally pay for anything. Secondly, I must implore you to consider that some are not worth helping if they choose fates that damn themselves. You won't damn yourself with them, will you, Drakin?"
>>506090 "He did not say the dragon was alive, the book did. And it is corrupted by the chaos beast it fought so long ago. That's what the high priests and the 'vessels' have been working on for so long."
>>506115 "The best thing to do then would be to comply with what they are asking us, to talk with their priests. Even at the least, we can use that information to bring others who might know of new ways to help."
>>506126 >>506127 You are a stain on the fine name of your kind. Do you truly think yourselves able to challenge us? >>506129 You have no need of gold. You exist to be a vessel to the Savior, as proven by you being here. >>506130 Such was the Savior's will. The Savior wished to die away from the eyes of the world. We would not allow that, though. >>506131 You grab a large candlestick and make a spear
>>506147 You summon your weapons >>506148 The Hork's immense mass gives it an advantage, and its fist knocks you back heavily >>506152 All the High Priests are corrupted to the point of nearly being unrecognizable. >>506154 You wrap a tether of your magic around the human and unleash your fury in a way that would make Death Elementals cower. His untainted flesh rots, boils and withers, leaving only a twisted skeleton held together by taint and anger.
We swore to watch over the Savior to repay our debt to him To stand at his side and aid him, even when he did not want our aid We have toiled for centuries to free it of the Chaos Beast's taint! We cannot stop now!
>>506172 The vault must not be opened Not until the Savior is clean of taint Or all our work will have been for nothing >>506171 The human slaps your blow aside and blasts you with a spell >>506173 The Aeon lifts you up and slams you down with telekinesis >>506175 You cleave a great deal of bone and flesh from the human, but he still stands
>>506179 "Then. Let. Us. Leave And. We. Will. Bury. This. Place." I attack the human again. [1d10] "I. Have. No. Desire. To. Interact. With. You. Tainted. People. In. Any. Way. If. I. Do not. Have. To."
>>506186 You had your chance You chose to fight us To try and steal out riches
>>506181 Your strike connects, heavily distorting the chaotic Aeon >>506182 The human ducks under your blow and lashes out with a bolt of piercing light, leaving you helpless >>506184 The Human sends out another bolt, scraping your shell >>506183 The corruption reacts violently to this, causing all three to suddenly shriek in pain as their bodies try to restore themselves to an untainted state!
>>506197 >>506202 The Channeler focuses his twisting energies on Crux, forcing Malu's healing spell into a new shape, making it rend the Aeon's shell asunder. First to fight. First to fall. Your arrogance is your end. >>506198 >>506199 It is too late. There is nothing left to save. >>506203 You touch it with a finger. It crushes your entire hand You came here of your own volition. Leaving was never an option.
>>506233 >>506238 Tough the retaliation is enough to shake the room, you remain standing, landing a mallet in the mutated hork's face >>506234 Though it takes a little out of you to do so, you force the tainted energies of the room to realign themselves, blasting the High priests in the process >>506236 You finally manage to bash the Aeon, making it fall out of the air
#ENEMY Hork Vessel: 5/3 Aeon Channeler: HELPLESS/5 Undead Human Purifier: DEAD
>>506257 >>506259 In a burst of magic the Aeon comes apart. The tainted, chaotic energies whirl around the room before exploding against the vault door, causing its magical defenses to fail. Whatever is inside sounds very, VERY restless. >>506260 >>506256 Rale eats a thundering fist and is sent flying across the entire room, but Kaito retaliates by dislodging the Hork's jaw
#ENEMY Hork Vessel: 4/3 Aeon Channeler: DEAD Undead Human Purifier: DEAD
>>506269 You need to work on this whole "healing a fleshless being" thing. This isn't working. >>506275 Kaito's enthusiastic attempts to help you are making it harder to get up. >>506274 Oh right I forgot you got that 5th hit back. Silly me. >>506270 You remain standing, punching the Vessel's lights out >>506271 The massive corruption in his body drains away, leaving him looking… pretty normal. Compared to earlier.
You are dooming this world…
#ENEMY Hork Vessel: HELPLESS/1 Aeon Channeler: DEAD Undead Human Purifier: DEAD
You are on the cusp of unleashing a Chaos Dragon! Why do you think we have sacrificed so many to stop that from happening? Set all these safeguards? Given the lives of entire generations? We are trying to keep the world safe! Safe from this monster that could well end all we have known! >>506285 >>506286 Kaito manages to fall on Rale. Were the situation more fitting, some might fight this to seem lewd.
#ENEMY Hork Vessel: 10/1 Aeon Channeler: DEAD Undead Human Purifier: DEAD
>>506298 he wrestles to you to a halt >>506297 >>506300 We have kept it sealed for centuries. We have no idea of knowing, but the amount of taint we bleed from it never seems to end. Now with the others gone I don't even have a means to drain it any more!
#ENEMY Hork Vessel: 10/1 Aeon Channeler: DEAD Undead Human Purifier: DEAD
>>506307 >>506312 We are at the very source. But a few meters from the monster itself. And look where outsiders got us! Invasion! Murder! Misguided madmen seeking treasure and false gods, where only death incarnate exists! I have been its jailer for hundreds of years, trying to find a way to stop it, heal it, FIX IT SOMEHOW before it lost all control and broke loose.
>>506334 >>506335 The vessel leans on the vault door So long as I live, this vault cannot be opened. That is how we built it. But… if the end must be like this… then go. Tell the Guardian to seek for a new Purifier and Channeler. And run, before the world end. Or just kill me now, and be done with it.