/q/ - Quest


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 No.621290[Last 50 Posts]


Rise and shine, it's a fresh new day! The sun is out and shining, having already dispersed the usual morning fog. Today is Jurideis, or Judge's day, the first day of the week. After yesterday's shenanigans, you decided to stay at the Oily Olive inn with Marcus graciously paying for your lodgings and food. You're well rested and fed now (For 8 hours).

You should probably go report your findings to Victus, who is still staying at this inn with Nio.

After her traditional morning fight with her brother Niphon, Anthe has found her plebeian breakfast to be quite subpar and unfit for a lady, opting to only eat half of it. Thalia stretches one of her hooves out and nabs the plate as Anthe pushes it away from her.
One short eating frenzy later, the food is all gone.

Anthe appears to be displeased. "Who is this anyway?"

Mereghyl, too, gets breakfast. A large bowl of meat brought to him outside by two servants. Niphon joins him outside shortly after, wanting some distance between him and his older sister.
"So what happened yesterday anyway?"


"Yes, tell us, how was the party?"
Cut in while sipping on my tea, trying to divert the attention.


"Yes, I would like to know who that is as well…"

"We found what we're looking for. At least we hope so."


Smile brightly.
"That's so nice.
Mereghyl and I ran into our cousin Adrianos, he is in the Scholares!"


"Adrianos is here? What is he up to these days?"


"Roaming around the park at night, it seems."
Chuckle through the sips of my tea.


"Really? Did you tell him about our little predicament?"
Am I supposed to know what the Scholares is?


Yep. Honor guards of the capital.
"I did tell him things were not all right, but with how much happened last night it'd have been quite the stress to tell him!
Rather, I told we'd meet again today."


"Smart thinking.
Where did you go last night?"
Nod to Surprise.
"And who's your friend?"


"I went to the Basilica, and met Thalia there! Oh she's from the church!
There are just so many things me and her have to learn together, now!"
Bump Thalia's shoulder in a -we gonna have fun- kinda way.


"I'mh Suhpraish!" The mare exclaims to Anthe with her mouth still full, bits of food spilling out. "You werenh going ta eath theat, huh?"

Anthe looks disgusted and shuffles her chair a bit further away from the pegasus.

With an audible gulp, she swallows her food.
"Don't you remember me, silly? We met back in Peneia at that super fun party! I remember like it was just a few days ago. … I guess it kind of was in a way!"

He grin widens further.
"To-o-otally will!"


"She has a… Different way about things, as you can see."


Anthe's nose wrinkles.
"She's a plebeian, Flavia."


"Talia…or Surprise? Are you a priestess-.."

Look again at her.
"Wait..you're that priestess of Aer, right?"


Snicker at that.
"I'm not even sure it applies to her!"


Finish my meal before answering.
"Flavia fulfilled a divine mission. I aided her in it."


She digs around in her pockets and takes out a piece of parchment.


Name: Thalia
Function: High Priestess
District: Thema Anadolus
Ref. Number: DCCCXC

"Totally says so on here!"

"Well she has no manners. Don't they teach any form of etiquette during clerical education?"

"A divine mission? Since when does Flavia do missions?"


Take the card.
"Yes, it says so.
Seems you both have quite a story."


"Since yesterday, apparently. Has she not shared her enthusiasm concerning religion with you before?"


"Oh yeah, you're going to find this funny! I totally thought I wasn't going to run into Flavia until several months from now, but I mixed up the Grogarian and Lavinian calenders so my calculations were really off!"
She laughs. You're not sure what she means.

"Of course she has, she's a real young talent. You know I care a lot about her and Livia. But who even gave her a mission? And when? She's still inexperienced as a priestess."


"A divine entity, I presume. She has not disclosed much of the details, and I have not asked. I was more focused on how best I can help her."


"That's uh….funny."


"How did you help her? Was it dangerous?"

"Isn't it just! I usually like surprises, but this time I was the one to be surprised! And boy, what a surprise it was…"


"So, are you going back to thema Andolus soon?'


"I helped her fly. I also helped her in combat. I suppose you could say it was dangerous, yes."


Oh wow a mare starts sipping her tea and a minute later everyone is focused on such dreadful topics.
The dance!"
Yelp up, trying to distract everypony.
"Were the dresses nice?"


"I have no idea! Ever since I woke back up I've been having a lot of trouble anticipating things like before!"

He scowls.
"What did you fight against?"


"A spirit of Discord."


"Indeed they were. A shame you missed it."


"Yes. A shame.
Brother, Mereghyl, can we talk?"


Get up.
"Of course."


Let's trot outside, somewhere private.


He winces.
"That's… preposterous. How did that come to pass? Since when does my little sister involve herself in battle against spirits? They're supposed to be powerful immortal beings."

Mereghyl is outside with Niphon!


This inn is the place? Well, I suppose I lose nothing by trying. It does seem a little public, but less so than the barracks.

Give three short, controlled knocks on the door. Firm, but clear.


Oh wait.
I thought we were all together.
Nevermind that. Let's stay inside, somewhere private.
"So, you might have noticed something odd with my friend."


Mereghyl the dragon is eating outside along with another stallion you vaguely recognize.

The door to the inn is open, you see your family sitting around a table eating their breakfast.


"You can say that."


"She is… Not exactly the kind of pony you'd run into every day.
In fact, she's not a pony."


Give a courtesy nod before heading in.

Remove my helm and approach the table, with it in a hoof.

"If it isn't the Heir Apparent."


"She had help. Not only from me."

Nod back silently.


Whoops, time to make introductions.
"Ah, I'm so glad you came, Adrianos.
You might remember my brother Markus, and my sister Anthe."
Point at each.
"And of course…"
Sigh with a tiny smile.


Look over to Adrianos.
"We'll discuss this again in a few minutes.

Walk over to you with a smile.
"Adrianos, it's been a while."
Offer a hoof.



"It would seem the Church is more forgiving than the Empress in its justice. It is good to see you again, Flavia - and Thalia. I hope this morning meets you well."

Bag my helm and accept the hoof, but pull in and convert it into a hug.

"It has been years, cousin – too many. The capital may be the city of world's desire, but it lacks the charm of the east."


He lowers his voice.
"Mereghyl, I don't think you quite understand how powerful a spirit is supposed to be. They're physical manifestations of certain notions or ideals. You'd need a lot of divine help taking one of those bastards down. How did you do it?"

Your quarry from yesterday evening is here too. She waves at your cheerfully.


I already greeted Thalia, but to Anthe: "And good morning to you as well."


"Alas, we will not see that charm again yet.
I trust you've heard about our predicament?"


"It's okay brother, he knows."


Shake my head.
"It was not me, it was Flavia. She cleansed the spirit, as far as I understand. Or freed it."


"I had heard there was unrest in the east, but nothing specific. I assume it's internal, or otherwise there would be rioting – border encroachment is always greeted cheerfully by the warhawks in the capital. Flavia hinted at the need for discretion last night, and I can put two and two together. Where is the Lord Steward now?"


There's also a griffon hen here, but she hasn't joined the company at the table. You're not sure who she's with.

She looks you over. "Cousin Adrianos? What's with the outfit?"

He rubs his head.
"What is that girl hiding from us…"


"We assume he is imprisoned in the capital of Agria. But we honestly do not know."


"I am a Scholarian of Palantine, the imperial honor guard."

"Imprisoned? Madness. What intrigue is this?"


"A guard? Really? Well, at least the uniform is stylish."


"The old duke and his heir, both at once, died.
Unrest soon followed."


"Maybe her potential is just about to blossom."
Raise a brow.
"You are not envious, are you?"


"It's big. The brothers of the current Doux have unlawfully taken her place. They have allies in Thema Andolus…and within the Concords as well."


"Cousins of the Doux, excuse me."


"There is great prestige in the Scholae Palatine. You would be… surprised how many of our number are high nobility."

"At once? Was there treachery?"

"They would have to have Anadolus to support them, but the Concords?"


"I do not know for certain."


"Not all of them of course.
But they have somepony who conspires with them. At least we believe so."


"If they hold Agria… they would logically mean to secure their claim by removing pretenders. But there is not necessarily any reason to imprison the old administration – there is even legitimacy to be had by keeping it. Have you tried a diplomatic appeal to the now-sitting Doux?"


"No, I'm just worried about my little sister. Can I be?"

"When was the last time they did something relevant?"


"I'm afraid that line got severed when we had to flee our house to escape the thugs the new Doux had sent after us."


"You should not be. She is more grown up than she lets others on."


Chuckle good-naturedly: "The Empress hasn't been assassinated, has she? Job well done. However, let's save such levity for later, if you wouldn't mind. I need to know about the situation in Agria."

Indicate my conversation with Marcus with a hoof.

"But why? It doesn't add up. What about the other administrators. Surely the Doux had a full council of administrators, and each of them families. Have they all been imprisoned or run out?"


"You think we had time to figure all that out? We have just got here. The only friends we seem to have left are here and in Saddlonica. I need information."


"Grownups can still get hurt if they're not careful."

She huffs at being disregarded. She seems like a high maintenance case.
"They died, turncoated, fled or got locked up. Like our father did, because they seemed to think he killed the doux."


"They can get hurt and worse even if they are."


Nod to Anthe.
"As you can see, we don't have a lot of friends right now."


"Yes, but at least you can increase your chances by being more careful. Do I really need to spell that out? Can you imagine how father would react if something happened to Flavia?"


"I am aware of what you mean.
However, worry can cloud the mind and impede the senses."


"Right, right. I keep forgetting you've only just arrived. It's amazing to hear the matter is so fresh. I guess it would have to be, though… The Scholae obviously won't get involved, and I hardly have the ear of the Empress, but maybe there's another way I can help. I still think a diplomatic intercession may not be out of the question – I can write, not that my name carries much weight – but you'll need someone to organize your personal guard better if ponies are after you. Do you fight?"


"You two might want time to catch up.
Brother, I will be retreating upstairs with Thalia, if you don't mind."


"Yes, I'll see you later, sister."

"I am not much of a fighter. Niphon is. He has been anxious to take the fight back to Agria. But I do not need organization of my personal guard, since I'm afraid I don't have any for now."


Go back to the table and motion Thalia to follow up!


"If that's the case, you need to learn how to hold a weapon – battle tactics, planning, maneuvering, footwork. Not because you'll be on the front lines, but as a matter of self-defense. I've never met a recruit I couldn't teach."


"And it can save your life. Just… next time she tries to do something like this, make sure she tells all of us about it first."

Anthe shakes her head.
"I'm not a fighter. But we've been fighting in a different way, trying to find proof of father's innocence."

The pegasus kicks her chair back and flutters backwards over to you.
"Have fun with your… stuff, guys!"


Sit down and lock my room's door behind us.
"Thalia, was true what you said? About meeting my brother before?"


"I appreciate the offer, Adrianos. But I'm afraid I don't have the time to spare here in Cloptantinople. Once our business here is done we should make for our mother in Saddlonica."


"She asked me not to. She will not blossom if you always shelter her from the sun."


"I approve of that method – and it should be the top priority. Planning for all occasions is important, though."

"Cloptantinople is the heart of our world – the most useful place to make allies. Unless you think she's in imminent danger?"


"Hm? Oh yeah it was! Back in Peneios when I attended this super fun party the doux was throwing! That was last year. Your brother actually messed with my plans to prank the doux and her suitor there, I felt so silly after that."

"These are different times, we need to be more careful than ever with each other. We can't afford to have anypony get hurt."


"I know, and so does she. That is why she asked me. She trusted that I could keep her safe. I will always do everything within my power to keep all of you safe."


"It must run in the family.
Now. Let's go over your past, should we?
Tell me about the last few months."


"I don't believe we can stay here for too long. Especially after recent events."
Motion him closer.
"We have stolen something from a Concord that might prove her involvement in this whole intrigue."


"Then I hope that when the time comes when we face and adversary too strong for us, you'll have the sense to run."
He stares over the nearby canal flowing through the city.
"Fighting a spirit of chaos… just reckless…"

"What about them?"
She flutters her eyelashes at you.


Look at what he is looking, thinking.
"Or buy you the neccesary time to run."


Qt ponoe
"What happened before I found you? How did you begin to finally perceive Mother's mystery?"
Look all excited and happy about the question.


"I see… That is a good reason to get away. I can speak with the domestikos over my unit. I'll come with you – I can get time away."


"Truly? You'd do that just for us?"


He's looking at the water, at the sun reflecting off of it.
"I don't want any unnecessary crazy heroics from you. We need you with us."

"Weeeeell… I dunno if Natura is really my style… but I actually liked pretending to be a priestess of Aer. I guess I can't help but admit I liked it more than serving Discord. He's a funny guy, don't get me wrong, but his pranks are just harsh at times! Not even pranks at all really!"


"This isn't a matter of preserving the status quo – it's a matter of changing the course of history. Of course I'll help you, cousin."


"Thank you, cousin. I won't forget this."


"I am aware."


Gasp, and with intensity! Cover my mouth post-haste, hiding the gaping jaw from Surprise's gaze, as my own eyes begin to water.
Then, slowly, reach with a hoof towards Thalia…
And pull her in a huge hug!
"This is so amazing! You found joy in helping! You had a call!"


"What's your next move? Are you leaving the city today?"


"Soon. I need to do one final thing first.
I need to show these papers to a friend of ours. Would you like to join me?"


"So tell me, how do you feel about my brother Marcus?"

She's very squishy.
"It's more fun to make other ponies smile and laugh than to just make myself laugh. Is that a call? I dunno!"


"If that's the plan. Who is this friend?"


"A Concord."
Start walking towards the stairs.
"Anthe will you join us?"
Look to Adrianos again.
"Adrianos, my sister said something weird about this Surprise or Thalia. What do you know about her?"


"Even with such pressure, he is doing good work in keeping our house together."


"Lets have you decide that for yourself, okay?"
Let go and poke her chest.
"You have to go out there and make even more ponies happy, now!"


"I'd rather not, Niphon is out there. I'll stick around this place for now."

"A little bit late after most of it fell apart already…"

"I think I would like that a lot, you know."


Lean in and speak with discretion: "Flavia identified Thalia as a spirit of Discord. I had assumed she was to be disposed of after questioning – the plan has apparently changed."


"Then why don't you come with me, in pilgrimage?"


"We'll see you in a bit then."

"…a spirit of Discord" I repeat
"And she's now a friend of Flavia?"


Snort smoke with disdain, but say nothing.
What a foolish thing of him to say.


"So it would seem. We had quite the skirmish in the park."


"Great, just great. We'll have to keep an eye on her."
Start walking to the Concord room


I'll sleepily follow Marcus.
I was never a morning pony.


"Nolin, that Thalia is a spirit of Discord. You'll have to keep an eye on her."


"That sounds like tons of fun! What are we going to be doing? Throwing surprise parties? Baking cakes?"

"What, you actually think Anthe was a good regent in father's stead?"

You're at his door now.




There's no answer, but the door appears to be unlocked. Go in?


"That was not the fault of Marcus. We could not have known that we would need him back home."


"Right discord girl. I'll keep her close.." I yawn slightly.


"We are going to see all of the empire's most sacred places, and as we travel we will put a smile on everypony's face!"


"Good morning, cousin. Have you been run off from Agria as well?"


Look to the others.
"Keep your wits about you."

Open the door.


"Indeed cousin, our dear uncle's situation gives all Hippoi a bad time."
'1d20+8' notice about the door

Roll #1 18 + 8 = 26


"Maybe he shouldn't have stuck around Peneia for so long in the first place."

"Super fun, I'm in! I kind of seem to have lost most of my powers since yesterday, but I'll try to help put some more smiles out there!"

Nothing peculiar about it. It hasn't been forced open or anything. It's just left unlocked unlike yesterday evening.

You open the door. The room seems to have been cleaned up. There's no one in here, the bedsheets are folded up as if no one ever slept in them.

There's a note on the table Victus was sitting at though. It just reads: Need to run some errants, meet me in the harbor at Dock XIV.


Look at the note.
"…I don't like this."




"Now I will just have to explain this whole situation to Marcus before we can actually go!
Oh, and I need to meet with Livia again!"


"…What does that breezy Noi think of this?"


"Are you saying education is not important, then?"


Nio left you yesterday evening after you left the ball.


"He's gone. I don't like this at all."
Look over the room.
"Do you think anypony got to him?"


'1d20+8' notice about the room

Roll #1 13 + 8 = 21


"Where is she anyway? Did Marcus send her away? I really figured he'd send Niphon or Anthe, not Livia!"

"He could have finished his last years in Cantria instead."

No signs of struggle or anything. Looks like someone cleaned up and just left.


"Blaming him will not help any of us."


Look at her with a slight frown.
"It will take me a while to grow used to you just knowing things…"


"If he was abducted or anything, they cleaned up all the signs of it.. Lets get check the docks and be on our hoof-tips about it."


"Just one more thing."

Go back downstairs and go see the innkeeper."
"Hello sir, the pony of room (was it 9?), did he leave?"


"You're right, of course. I still don't like it though. I hope he's as capable as he thinks he is."

She giggles.
"I'm sorry, you're all just particularly important ponies you know. Though…"
She stops smiling and frowns.
"I dunno, I seem to have forgotten how to do a lot of stuff since yesterday…"

It's the old mare again.
"He left early this morning, I was only just awake myself. Of course, he only rented his room for a day."


"And he was alone?"


Put a hoof on her shoulder.
"Hey. It's okay. Look at me."
Smile at her.
"We will figure out together your new path."


"We have to trust that he is or perish. I would rather trust him."


'1d20+7' sense motive
"Of course, he wouldn't want to stay around."

Roll #1 20 + 7 = 27


She shrugs.
"He had that strange little bug creature with him, that's all."

"Oh I'm sure we will! I mean there wouldn't be much point in us all being here if we weren't going to do something special, would there?"

"I guess we'll see soon enough if that trust was well placed or not."
He turns away from the water and back towards the street.
"I'm going back inside, I should go work on my equipment. See you later, Mere."

She's definitely speaking the truth here, there's no doubt about it.


"Okay thank you."
Look to Adrianos.
"We shall prepare to leave then. When can we meet you?"


Nod in confidence, and rouse myself from the ground.
I need to have that talk with Marcus. Where is he?


"Thanks for your help."


He's downstairs still, looks like he's getting ready to leave!

Wf is AFK again.

"Come back any time. I hope you liked your stay."


Catch up to him, dragging Thalia along!
We need to talk!"


"Yes, we really do."


"Then please, let us retreat to my room."


"Alright, lets go talk then?" go to our room.


Follow Livia.


Nod at him.
"Take care."


Actually, get the others in here too.
Anthe and Niphon and Adrianos.
Then, lock the door.

Letting everyone sit, I will take place in the middle of the room, keeping Thalia to my side.
Before opening my mouth, I will cast one last glance towards Marcus, as if to let our eyes lock and assure each other that what was about to happen is no joke.
Finally, clear my throat.

"I have been chosen as champion of one of Mother's most powerful spirits."


I sit down nearby you taking this all very seriously.
"How did that happen? What does this mean for you?"


I'll be quiet and just think about this


Niphon frowns.
"Mereghyl said something about that… what's going on Flavia? How did this happen?"

Thalia raises a hoof.
"I know the answer to that question! Pick me!"


I tilt my head.
"…Okay spirit girl.."


"It means my duties in this moment reach beyond simply my family.
I have a mission, but I cannot share in it. Just know that it will be hard and long a toil."
Address Marcus specifically.
"Brother, I want to help our family however I can before embarking on my journey, but do know that it is an unavoidable step in my future."


I sigh.
"You've become as mysterious as the mother herself Flavia."


Finally speak up.
"So let me get this right.
The mother tells you that you're her champion, then you become friends with a Discordian spirit, and now while we need each other the most, you want to leave all of us, including Livia, behind and you won't even tell us where you're going?"


Scruch a bit.
"I'm sorry…"
Blink one or twice.


"Weeeeeell… Flavia isn't just any pony, she's a special case! So are you and…"
She points at Marcus.
Then at Adrianos.
"And you too! But you're all special in your own way. Flavia is special in that one of Natura's most powerful dryads picked her to be her champion in this world. In return she's been given semi-immortality and other divine powers. Discord gave me that and more as well, but that was centuries ago. Aaand… I kind of lost my powers too. Flavia's actually more powerful than I am right now!"


Pout a bit.
"I wanted to hold off on telling them about the immortality…"


Roll my eyes.
"Semi-immortality? Divine powers?
Flavia, do you know how crazy this all sounds?
She's a spirit of Discord. She could be making all of this up."


"She was a spirit of discord, and this has nothing to do with her word anyway.
I've known the dryad who gave me this gift ever since the day of my initiation."


I actually shutter in surprise.
'1d20+7' sense motive about that.
"Cousin.. "

Roll #1 8 + 7 = 15


She giggles and puts her hoof around you.
"That's way too elaborate to be a prank, Marcus! I can't bestow immortality on anypony! That was way above my paygrade even when I was serving Discord!"

You don't think she's lying about any of that, as utterly insane as it may sound.


"Go on. Say what you have to."


"Don't do that."

"Flavia, it's not like I don't believe you, but this is all a lot to take in."


I carefully trot over to Flavia.
Take her hoof, while making a bowing gesture.
and kiss it.


"Why not? We're old friends aren't we? Don't you remember how much fun we had back in Peneia? We talked for like half a session!"


"Brother, I know how you feel.
This much would overwhelm me as well if it wasn't for the years I had to come to terms with it, b-"
Blush profusely in embarrassment and shock as he does that, my whole body comically jumping on attention!


"What were you doing there anyway? Really?"

Look over to Niphon and Anthe, how are they reacting?


Smile up at you with pride and bring you into a hug.
"Anyway I help you serve The Mother. Don't hesitate to ask."


Smile warmly into the hug, enjoying it while it lasts.
"Thank you so much, Nolin…"
Let my voice trail off into a pleasant purr.


"I was trying to prank the doux, but then youcompletely distracted me and I missed the perfect chance. That was really silly of me, but not hard feelings!"

Niphon looks distrustful of the spirit. Anthe seems intrigued, but skeptical of Flavia's story and her new friend.


Look at Nolin's gesture.
This could be good.
"Flavia, who besides us knows about your…gift?"




"Mereghyl knows. So does Discord, I think!"


I let the hug naturally and chuckle a bit as I return to my previous spot.
"I'm a little bit envious to be honest, you have such a clear purpose and way to serve her. Just try to remember that for now, you're still a Hippoi, doing everything alone would be reckless."
"But you.. better not cause trouble for Flavia. No pranking her." I say sternly.


"Hmmmmm. Very well then.
But you're sure you can keep her…" nod to the spirit "under control?"


"You don't need to tell me twice, Eurydice would destroy me if I did!"


"Brother, she has repented.
There is nothing to keep under control now."
Smile gently.
"I won't.
Even Eurydice told me to care for my family first and foremost.
So let us all save our father."


"You do know that Discordians are known for their trickery?"


"But she is not a discordian anymore."


"I'd have to destory what's left of you then."

"Good, lets go to the docks before our friend catches a boat out of here and leaves us with no further leads."


"I am no theologian, but I know what I saw in the park. You have talent and intuition. On that note, I should tell the rest of you, I am asking leave to join you. The Scholae can survive with one guard at large."


"Yes well, I don't doubt she's repentant, but I'd still say you should keep an eye on her until she's proven that."


"Did the dance bear no fruits?"


She sticks out her tongue at you. There's a little halo floating on top of her head.


"Only notes that we have no way of understanding."




"You see that?" Point to the halo.
"If she's not in Discords favor anymore, than how does she do that?"


Can I manifest a halo too?



"May I have a look?"


"I know a few arcane spells too, if you're so curious!"
The halo splits up in several floating balls of light and begin to dance around.
"Just simple light spells for party effects!"

With Glow, you could.


Glow it is then!
Smile at Marcus.
"It's really easy!"


"Sure, why not."
Show the rolled up paper to Adrianos.



Look to her.
"Welcome aboard then. Don't give me a reason to regret this."


Two pieces of parchment, both rolled up.

There's text written on both of them, but it's in some kind of strange code you've never seen before. Definitely not standard imperial code.

She gives you a hug.


"Should we head for the docks now?"


"Yes, yes. That's okay."
Get her off me.

"We need to get going to the Docks soon to meet with our friend."

"Please keep her under control while we're there."


Any common ciphers helping here? Quickly try ROT1, transposition, Caesar-Shift, etc.

Or at least try to recognize some sort of pattern.

'1d20+6' (Knowledge)

Roll #1 20 + 6 = 26


"Sounds like a ton of fun!"

You may very well be able to decipher this given time, but it would likely take you a few weeks to do. Like I said, this is no common code at all. Your best guess without any references at all is that this is a custom code made by and for the Concords.


Nod at marcus's statement.
"Stay in line Miss Spirit."


Roll my eyes after telling you again how there will be no need to.
"Let's get going now!"


"I can break this code – but it would take time. Catching your Concord friend might be faster. On the other hand, knowing the key to the Concord code might be invaluable later on."


"We don't have two weeks. We should get going."


I look surprised.
"Really? Maybe we can keep a copy for you to practice on.."
how long would copying one of these take?


"Two weeks is a bit pessimistic."


If you had a mage scribe, this would be done in less than an hour. Without that, you'll need a Dex roll to see how you fare if you want to try.


"My role in the guard was often officerial – tactics, planning, strategy, logistics. Organizing searches, drafting and design. Those sorts of things."


"My friend Sonja is always scribbling away at chemical recipes. I could ask her to copy it over. In fact… I should see if I could get her to come with us."


"your friend who? Let me just try.."
'1d20+2' dex to see how I'd do at copying it.

Roll #1 14 + 2 = 16


"In any case, you should get the girls going and I'll meet you up ahead after I speak with the domestikos."


"Yes, that's fine.
See you soon, cousin."

Take my leave.


This will take a while… but it's doable if you want to.


"Good luck, I'll meet you at the ports. I need to get leave permission."

Slide back on my helmet and head for the barracks.


You head back to the barracks of your unit, where you left Sonja this morning. They're located in the military district, of course they are, near the imperial academy of nautical sciences.

Your shift is supposed to start this afternoon, so you're both still on leave for several hours.


Okay tell you what.
I'm going to the docks with Surprise. The others are free to follow if they want to.


Right. First, find Sonja.


..by the time I do this we'll miss the guy, just go to the docks.


I'm going to the docks


The harbor of Clopantinople is impossibly massive, stretching as far as the eye can see. This harbour is many times bigger than the one in Cantria and Peneios for sure. Hundreds of ships lay tied to the docks here, with many dozens more constantly leaving and arriving. No wonder the captain of the ship you came in with didn’t want to deal with this mess! You can see goods constantly being tugged off and loaded onto merchant ships, while navy dromons are under maintenance further down in the shipyards. Like the merchant district, this place attracts species from all over the world.

She's polishing her horns in her quarters! You don't often see her do that, as she avoids doing it in company.
"Back already, Adrianos? Our shift doesn't start for another four hours."


Go to that dock


Head toward dock XIV.


You follow the numbers down until you're at the dock you were looking for. You spot Victus and his tiny friend soon enough, they're both hunched over a map and speaking in that strange language again. Victus still looks very much weak, though he seems slightly less exhausted than yesterday.


Keep an eye out for sidequests wrongs to right.

Roll #1 8 + 11 = 19


"It's about my family. Something urgent has come up. Soon – maybe even today – I need to leave with them. I'm hoping the Domestikos will let me go. It's not like half of the guard ever show up for their paid-for 'honors' of shifts anyway. I thought I'd tell you first, since you've been my shield-sister for a while."


"Good morning. We did as you asked."


"Leaving already?"
I smile softly as I approach him


There doesn't seem to be any sidefun to be done today!

She touches her horn with a hoof a few times, testing its sharpness.
"Where are you going then? Off to battle for your lands with them?"

He looks up from the map and back at you, giving you a weak smile.
"Did you? I feared the worst since you seemed to be taking so long. Nio says you handled the whole thing fairly… elegantly."

"No, I'm not going anywhere. I just needed to call in some favors around here. I'll tell you in a minute."


"I'll take that as a compliment."

"Hoof him the papers please."


"No one was hurt.. So, I'd say that's true."
give him the letters and coded papers.


"The battle isn't for land – it's for family… and for an ideal. For love of justice. For glory. Those things we always dreamed about when we came here. What the Scholae were supposed to mean."


Nio floats over to Thalia and lands on her nose. Looks like he's interested in her just like he was in Flavia.

"We all have our methods, it's the result that counts. A sentiment which is very common among us Concords."

He takes the parchments and reads them over, frowning.
"This isn't… hmmmm. This isn't imperial code. Not even the code we use in our order… damn."
He rolls up the first piece of parchment and checks the second one.
“Decoding this will take some time… it could take days or even weeks depending on how quickly I can figure it out. Once I have, I’ll be able to read these and find some more clues about this whole matter. Until then though… I have some news regarding lord Odyris Hippoi which you’ll find very important.”

She gets up and puts her tools down, content with her horns for now.
"I feel like you haven't come here to say goodbye, have you?"


Giggle at Nio's landing.


"Please tell us."


"You can't read it either? Would you mind letting us have a copy and try to decode it then?"


"You're the only one here who I know –besides me – who actually believes in those things. I wanted to ask you to join me."


Thalia wrinkles her nose, but the breezy stays put and looks her over.

“I pulled some strings and found out where they have imprisoned him. Agria is a bit of a disorganized mess at the moment, which does play in your favour. He’s currently being held in the island fortress of Anafi, just south of the Agrian coast. Among the other prisoners are Olivia Arravani, the youngest daughter of late doux Arravani, as well as some of the Arravani houseguards who pledged fealty to the lady’s side of the family.”

"If you'd like, of course. I'm good with codes myself, but I guess if two people work on it there's a chance it'll be done earlier."

She takes a long look around her, at her personal quarters and the city outside through the windows.
"Well Adrianos, I can't imagine being able to survive even a single day here without a partner who cares about more than just the prettiness of his cloak. Please, get me the heck out of this place."


"Anafi…how well protected is it?"


"We know where he is?!"
Look at my bro, who seems to be keeping his cool, for the proper way to react.


Smile and give her a hug.

"I've got to tell you, that's a lot off of my back. The stipend of silver the Scholae pays is nice, but if I have to outright quit, it won't end the world. I can't replace you like that."


"Alright.. And please go on.."
I'll just spend the time to make those right now if that's okay.


He motions you towards the map.

"Anafi is just a small island, there's not much to it save for the fortress built there to keep watch for corsair searaids. The only other thing of interest is the village that lies outside of the fortress walls. What's most interesting is the fact that there's not actually that much of a garrison there right now. It was completely emptied during the civil war and because the new doux is still restructuring his forces - giving priority to those protecting the borders with Grevyi - it's pretty understaffed for the time being. He's been trying his best to keep the prisoner presence there secret but… well, I still have some useful contacts who know a thing or two."
He smirks.

You can get started, sure. But it'll probably take longer than this conversation.

Victus is kind enough to give you some parchment and a quill to use, since you don't have one.

"I've been itching for a proper cause to fight. I'd be honored to defend your honor, friend. There's far more glory in that than there is to beating up hobos in the park at night."


I will have to make a cubecall, once all the details are known.


"Good. Now let's see the unit leader. Regardless of our thoughts on the Scholae, our Domestikos still answers to the Tribune – that puts just one intermediary between him and the Empress. Give him his due respect, and hopefully we'll make it out with income intact."

Let's go see about getting leave.


"You're a Concord, if you had to get some ponies out of there, what would you do?"


Sure, I'll stick around here until its done too.


For that, you must go to the inner city where the offices are located. Something tells you might be spending quite some time there filling in all kinds of paperwork…

It's not far away, thankfully. Just twenty minutes later you arrive at the doors.

He clears his throat.
"Well… there's actually more to it. Unfortunately, not all news is as good. The fortress has a mage defending it. She's probably a bigger threat than the guards themselves, as she's set up some kind of magical defense around it. Not only that, but there are likely more magical hindrances inside… arcane locks and the likes."


"I see. I'll have to find an expert."


Hopefully I can just get them to look the other way, if I can do a little smooth talking. Less time on paperwork is a good thing.


"..Arcane locks.. That's not good."


"Yes, you'll need somepony who can disable the field protecting the fortress. As well as any arcane locks you encounter, so they can be picked and opened normally."

He clears his throat and looks a little uncomfortable.
"There's… more bad news too. Your father Odyris will likely be executed sometime during the coming weeks along with the Arravani houseguards. Lady Arravani is seemingly going to be spared of going to the chopping block but… after being accused of conspiring against her father, her cousin ordered her to be blinded.”
He grimaces.
“… Permanently.”

You enter the building and head to the section you need to be. You already know your way around here, having been well acquainted with Trotantine bureaucracy during your time in the capital.

The door to the office of your Domestikos is open, so you knock and step inside. The commander of your guard, an earth pony stallion in his twilight years, looks up as he hears you step inside. He sighs audibly, speaking in his signature old man voice.
"Adrianos and Sonja… Your shift hasn't started yet and already I sense you found trouble."


"That doesn't leave us a lot of time…
Where would I find a mage?"


Gasp at the inequine news.
"We must act before any of this happens!"


I frown deeply at this news.
"….What else?"
'1d20+7' sense motive just to be sure.

Roll #1 4 + 7 = 11


Straighten up and salute.

"Commander, we'd like your leave for temporary suspension from active duty. This morning I received news that my family arrived in the East is in turmoil. I must answer my familial obligations and return to advise them."


"The Mage Circle might have somepony who could help you, but the more experienced circle mages will more than likely charge you a lot of money for an expedition like this… three, maybe four thousand silvers. You could go for one with less experience, but then you risk getting somepony who is too weak to deal with the spells of the superior mage at the fortress. It's possible that you could strike a cheaper deal with an experienced mage though, it's always hard to say with circle mages."

Nio flutters away from Thalia and babbles about something.
"Hm? Well, I guess that's also an option… There's a sorcerer who lives a few miles outside of the city who might be willing to aid you. He doesn't care much about money but… he's a little… uh… crazy. I've approached him a few times in the past for help and he always seems to pull through."

“I don’t know if they have maimed her already, but… I fear the worst. On the upside, provided her medical care is decent, she probably won't die soon.”
No, he's not lying.

He frowns.
"A suspension? How long of a suspension are we speaking here, Hippoi?"


"Just a little crazy? That's better than some of the folks we already have. Thank you.
What will you do now?"


You hear Thalia speak up from behind you. "That's offensive! Just because Anthe isn't here doesn't mean you should talk about her like that!"

"Decode these things. Keep digging for clues when I can. If I make some kind of a discovery worth sharing, I'll try to inform you. I doubt I'll be leaving Clopantinople any time soon, I'd really hate to travel in my condition."


"I've received word that the Theme of Agria is in turmoil – a pretender upon the throne, and having imprisoned the administration to enforce the rule. It could take some time – but dealing with the issue immediately can prevent it from expanding out into the other themes and potentially dragging the imperial legions into a peacekeeping affair."

Impress? '1d10+9'

Roll #1 1 + 9 = 10


"Is there any way we could contact you?"


poke her.
I think he was talking about us!"


Old habits die hard!

'1d20+9' Impress (Persuade)

Roll #1 7 + 9 = 16


"You're the best one to recruit ponies Marcus. I'll trust this to you."
And I stayed right here copying the notes.


He lets out a long sigh.
"I suppose I could release you from your duty here in the capital. It's not common practice for our unit, but you two have shown to be some of the more active individuals here. Dawnsworn park may see some more hobos, but I suppose you've both proven yourself more useful than anypony else."

"Just use my name and title, it'll get to where it needs to go. Of course, as long as you're traveling around it'll be harder for me to send couriers your way."

"Don't be so silly, I'm really sane once you get to know me better. Everypony I've ever met said so!"


"Thank you, sir. I will bring honor to the Scholae while abroad. I must acquire transport - am I dismissed?"

With that, turn smartly and depart.


"Guess that's why you enjoy smiles so much."
Be cheeky.


"Well, thank you. We should be on our way then."


"I'll have one of the servants work out the paperwork. Dismissed."

Sonja looks impressed.
"Everything went better than expected."

"You don't think I'm crazy do you?"

"One last suggestion, there is a ship leaving for the island's village tonight. You could buy passage under a false name and get to the island relatively safely."


That'll put a dent on regrouping in Saddlonica, but there's not much time anyway
"Thank you."


Whistle in indifference, quick!


"Good luck out there. And thank you for your aid. I trust you'll remain secretive about the information I entrusted you."

"I'm sane! 100%!"



"Everypony, I'll be sending a letter to Mom this afternoon, if there's something you'd like to send to her or Livia, give it before I send it. But no details on where we're going, nothing that can look bad for us if the letteer were to fall in the wrong hooves."


Both Anthe and Niphon stayed behind, for the record.


"And a good thing too – we have no time to waste."

Head to the docks. Do I see them?


What?!? Why?


"Tell both I love them…"


Anthe told you! You don't know why in her case. Niphon is tending to his sword, since he was practicing with it for a while yesterday.

Thalia nods.
"Tell them lots of love and a big kiss and hug from Surprise!"

You head down to the harbour of the city. As you know by now, it's a grand place with hundreds upon hundreds of ships moving in and out every day. You track down the correct dock and find them talking to one another. A sickly looking stallion and a breezie pony is just walking away from them.


"But we haven't told them about you yet…"


"It seems Thalia was correct in her assessment of Hippois yesterday, Flavia."


"Adrianos, feel like a little stroll to the edge of town?"


"Adrianos! Did trouble befall you?"


"But once they do, we'll have gone off to a friendly start!"


"The opposite: like she said – Hippois have silver tongues."

"You never stop moving, do you? Well, as long as everything else is sorted out, sure."


"No time to stop. Not now.
I'll explain on the way."


"Well yes. Trouble you talked your way out of, was implied."
"I'm not sure how to tell them I joined forces with a spirit! Mom doesn't even know about Eurydice!"


"I suppose the trouble is coming up for a reason to desert my post and not lose the position in the first place. Fortunately, it happened."

"Let's walk and talk, then. Tell me."


"Quite the silver tongue. Talking down spirits is one thing, but officials of our Empress' government are the stuff of legends!"


"Hey, you just told the rest of your siblings too. That worked out fine didn't it?"


"Flavia, Surprise, Nolin, you coming?"

"I know where my father is."


"But imagine telling Livia I'm immortal. Or how much I did while we were separated…
A letter might break her heart!"
Nod and trot along.
"Planning to be done!"


"That is important news. Where?"

"Ha, well I don't think the Empress is going to come to me in a dream-state and name me her personal champion, but it's good to have the extra stipend."


A fortress south of Agria.
Now the bad news, in a few weeks he'll be executed. Along with a number of ponies loyal to the old Doux.
The Doux herself is there as well. To be blinded soon."


Surprise zips past you, flying upside down.
"Let's gooooo!"

She's off!


Well, my worries will wait.
Time to save dad.


"Brother, if you gave me a minute, I might try and contact you-know-who."


"How long do you need?"


"South of Agria, on an island?"


"Literally a minute."


This is your last time you visit Eurydice this adventure. Just a warning.


We will have to be quick.
The fortress is understaffed, this will be our one shot, but we'll need a mage."

"Go ahead."


Well yeah, but isn't the adventure about to end?
The island is a different one, right?


Yes, the island is a different one.


I will take my chance. Best to use all my ammunitions than to have an unspent nuke in my arsenal during doomsday.


"A mage? For what purpose – scrying, or something?"


"To deal with magical locks and barriers."


You sit down for prayer, taking out the cube and concentrating.

Moments later you black out and find yourself back in Eurydice's realm. She's playing her golden lyre and doesn't open her eyes as she addresses you.
"Flavia… you've returned."


Karabi speaks up.
"We'll need a plan of escape, if we're going in there for a prisoner rescue. Steal a ship on the island perhaps… which would require somebody familiar with sailing."


"I see. Have you picked a date – or is it going to be 'as soon as we arrive'? If I had a time estimate, maybe I could figure out if we could get an Invisibility potion ready in time."


"There's a ship leaving tonight. We can't afford to waste too much time.
We'll lay low in the village nearby for a little while for reconnaissance and get them out."

"Hmmm, yes you're right. We'll go around the harbor after we found our mage."


"Agria is close. How long is the voyage by sea?"




"I came out in front of my family.
Told all of them what had happened to me, and who Thalia was."
Take a long sigh.
"It gave me peace of mind.
And I have such bright hopes for Thalia, too! She has a calling! A path, a reason to help ponies. Making them smile.
Once my duty to my family will be absolved, me, Livia and her will begin a pilgrimage across the empire, to bring Thalia's calling into the light of Nature and to begin working on that promise I made you long ago, Eurydice."

Look at her with the usual calm smile which dawns on my lips as we meet.

"But to do so, I plead from you help. Our father is being held and arcane magic will be in our path.
What are your words of wisdom?"


The island is around 4 days of travel by ship away from here, though it could be more or less depending on the weather, your ship, the person steering it, the currents and other factors.

She smiles, quite uncommon for her as she usually adopts a neutral expression.
"I'm glad to hear it. I trust in your judgement over her."

She opens her eyes and stops playing, putting the lyre down onto the ground.
"The arcane arts are not something I often come in contact with around here. If you do not have anypony with you who can dispatch it, you'll just need to find somepony who can. There are certainly warriors in your land who specialize in fighting mages, that much I know."


"Four days, I presume."


"And is there any one of these warriors who would fight for our cause?
Because time is short and trust is a price paid in blood."


"I am sorry Flavia, I know much, but I am not omnipotent like the Mother. The allegiances of each individual warrior is not known to me."


"I see. It will be up to us to be judges of their hearts, then.
One final thing I beseech of thee, Eurydice.
Where will I find these warriors, in Clopantinople?"


"I presume the military district, where military academies and gymnasiums are plentiful, would be a good place to search for them."


"Unfortunately, it's not enough time to get potions of any sort ready."


"That's fine. We'll manage."


You could spend a little longer in the village there.


Stand up with a big smile and a tearful face, which I try to hide by wiping it away with a hoof almost immediately.
In a shaky, emotional voice, squeal out a last question.
"I wish I knew of a proper way to express my gratitude."


>squeal out a last question
Ignore that part.


"I could buy one, if you think it will help."


"Just remember that I cannot make any promises any of them will be willing to help you, Flavia. That part is entirely up to you."


"No, one potion doesn't get us much closer to our goals, especially at the price."


Shake my head.
"This is just the last of a dozen things I owe you for.
But I will find a way, amidst doing your will and studying the Mystery, I will find a way to make it up to you for all of this.
Now I better go. My brother needs the informations before nightfall…"


"Goodbye Flavia. And good luck."
You awaken again.


"Fair enough."


Take a big gasp of the dirty city air, before jumping up.
"To the military district!"




"To find mage fighters!"


How am I doing on the notes now?


You managed to copy one of the two parchments before Victus needed to leave. You don't have everything, but this is enough to work on cracking the code.


"Flavia, are you suggesting we hire an army of mage fighters, run in there with swords out and kill everypony?"


"Anyone could've told you that mercenaries can be found in the capital."


"Not an army! Rather, a single skilled mage fighter to help us move past the traps and locks!"


"Those cost a lot of money, Flavia, unless the Mother is willing to cough up some bits I don't know how we'll afford a skilled mage hunter. And if it's just for the traps or locks, a simple mage will do. Mage hunters specialize in fighting mages."


Good enough then.
"Hmm don't suppose you know of one specifically?"



Do I know of anyone?

'1d20+6' Knowledge

Roll #1 8 + 6 = 14


"Well, you know what the opinion of Eurydice is about this plan of ours.
She suggests hiring a mage hunter, and no, no names were made.
Let's just consider the option, if possible."



Roll #1 4 = 4


"How about this, you and Nolin go see if you can find a mage hunter willing to work for us. Meanwhile I and Adrianos will seek out this mage."


"Will do my best, brother."


"That's a pretty good idea, I'll keep her safe. We can meet up back at the inn afterwards?"


"I actually know a mage-hunter from the legion, or ex-legion anyway. This is my city, after all."


"In that case it will be better if Adrianos comes with you, Flavia. We will talk further tonight, cousin. Nolin, let's go find ourselves a mage."


"Then should we exchange escorts, brother?
You take Nolin, I will go with Adrianos."



Roll #1 2 + 6 = 8


"Very well then. I do know the mages congregate outside the city, but I am not familiar with any of them. As for the mage hunter – she lives in the outer city district, so we have a little bit to walk."


"You think they'd be willing to come with us?"
Nod and start following Marcus.
"Right, only one crazy pony per team." I grin a bit.


"Who's the crazy one in our team?"

"Keep my sister safe. Good luck."


"Guess I better take Thalia with me then!"

Ready to go.


"The gryphon lover of course." I chuckle and pat your back.


"Is that what they say about me now?"


"She might need convincing – we'll see."


"The pony we're after is Lycia – she has a nickname: Seeker."


"Would you like to do the talking?
You can be the proud warrior protecting the young priestess."
Chuckle amused.


The two of you and Karabi start heading to one of the city gates that leads you outside the city where you need to be.

The two of you as well as Sonja and Thalia head to the outer city district, the largest district of the capital. It alone is bigger than any other city in the empire.


Just smile instead of answering the question.
'1d20+8' notice anything outside of the gates?

Roll #1 13 + 8 = 21


"So what do you think about this whole Champion of the Mother business?"


[getting lost intensifies]
Survival check!

Roll #1 6 + 16 = 22


"I think, they weren't lying. Something like this, is a true honor yet.. It must be a terrible burden.." I frown with concern.


"Yes. We'll have to keep Flavia close.
But I don't like this Surprise."


"If anything, she may have earned it by being so devoted. Even while on the run she won't skip church."


"I mean Thalia."


"OH. Honestly I'm not sure why Flavia wants that spirit around, unless she simply wants to personally watch over it.."


"I think she'll respect a fellow soldier, but you never know how someone will react until you meet them."


"I'm not either.
But perhaps this will prove to be useful in the future…
Nolin, you know we can't just save dad, we must save the Doux as well."


"Didn't you say you knew her already?"


"Yes, we'll need a captain we can trust to help us get away, and maybe a doctor to help too.."


"So many ponies we need.
But I do think Flavia learned some medicine as a priestess?"


"Hmm we'll have to ask her if she feel confident enough to deal with the injuries alone."


Listen Nolin, we're friends right?"


"If those nights throwing up toxic booze together meant anything…"


"When our house is back on top, I'll need somepony I can trust. I want you to be my spymaster then."


I close my eyes and nod.
"Given that my own father has hid himself away in all of this, it makes the most sense."


"So you accept?"


I give you a grin and a firm nod.
"Was there ever a doubt, that I'd be by your side in this, cousin?"


Pat you on the shoulder.
"I'm a slave to formalities.
That's what I get for being at the court."
Brotherly Hug time?


"That's why you're the face of the house Marcus. Somepony has to know how to talk properly."
Bro-hug time.
Complete with back pat.


After the hug.
"Now, as my spymaster, you should know a thing or two about my ideas for the future.
I do not intend to simply rebuild House Hippoi as it was before. No, it is time for our House to become the strongest in Agria."


I ponder this suggestion a moment.
"The strongest? Well that's going to take a lot of hard work. Got a city in mind to start building?"


"We don't have to.
I simply have to become Doux of Agria."


"Not building your own city.. building your support, reputation, army.. Those are what give a pony real strength.. Any particular reason for Agria? We could go anywhere really."


"Yes, we will build an army, we can build a reputation. But those are not enough for true power. You need blood.
And Agria is my home, it belongs to me. And I will have it back, with intrest."


"Blood can be bred for, once we have a hoof hold again."
"If you're certain, then. We'll find a way to make Agria, and its mares, ours, future Doux Hippoi." I reply with a confident smirk.


"I'm talking about the Doux's blood.
And when we go to the island it will be right in our grasp. The rightful Doux is there, alone and with little help. We take her with us. In time, we convince her to marry me and transfer the title to my family. Then we have a legitimate claim.

This is important, that's what keeps this whole system going. Have no claim and your siblings might start to wonder why they can't just take your place. That's the second part, while we build up our forces, we must make sure the current Doux can't sit comfortably in his role. We must attempt to drive a spear between the two cousins so they will be too busy fighting amongst each other to run the Thema properly. "


My eyes brighten a bit.
"Ah, so you do have a plan already. The scheming ways of courts prepared well."


"Mmmm, the details of how we'll drive the wedge I'll leave up to you, spymaster.

Give it then some time and the cousins infighting will disgust most of the other lords. Infighting is not good for the system.
Then we come, with our claim and everypony, well most might not actively fight with us, but they sure as hell will not challenge us when we win."


"And if we can find ways to weaken those who would fight us all the better.."


"Indeed. Of course, for now, this must stay between us."


"Naturally, and I expect we'll have many more conversations of such a nature."


"Of course.

Our first task, besides the rescue of course, will be to evaluate how we will best convince the Doux to transfer her title to our family. That's a big decision. We must do it in such a way that they do it willingly, at best make them think it's her idea. If she has family with her that might complicate this task. If at all possible it would be best to only save her and her guards.

And another problem might be…dad. He's a good pony. But also very loyal, I'm afraid the idea of taking over the title might be offensive to him. Another reason why we should convince her to do it willingly."


"Are you suggesting.. that I make sure she's the only one who survives if they happen to be others of her family?"


"No. But let's hope she's alone.
Because if there are, or extremely loyal house guards, then something like that might be necessary before all this is over.
Are you prepared for that, Nolin?"


"…." my brow furrows. "I will kill for you Marcus. But. Don't ask me to do it lightly."


Put a hoof on your shoulder.
"I promise. Don't get me wrong, I want to do this whole thing as bloodlessly as we can. But our enemies have already shown they're prepared to kill and before this is over, this will get messy.
So I need to know that we're committed to this."


I sigh and give you a smile.
"No turning back now eh'? I'm with you. Until we both should fall to your ambitions." Then I pat your hoof. "And if that happens I'll be by your side in Tartarus, making a throne out of Discordian skulls."


"Glad to hear it.
Now let's go, Nolin, we have a dynasty to build."


"Time changes things – ponies most of all."


"Lets hope that a crazy mage and a mage hunter won't kill each other before we can pull this off."
And then we trot off.


Since I am too big to fit inside the inn, I am just chilling outside, near where I had my breakfast and talked in the yard with Niphon.

When I see Nolin approaching, I raise my head and call out to get his attention.
"Cousin Nolin."


"Mmm, Mereghyl? Did you find a nice place to sleep?"


Motion around me.
"Not quite. I do miss the quarter of our castle that I knew as my own."


"Ah, I imagine that Marcus won't be returning, you can use his bed." I say laughing as if I were drunk.


"Will he not? Why?"
Sense motive.
Is he drunk?
"It might be uncomfortable to tuck my tail in, in that bed, however."

Roll #1 8 + 9 = 17


This pony is not actually drunk, he doesn't even smell like enough booze to be drunk.
He stops laughing and instead is grinning like a maniac. "Yea, he has.. another bed to be in. Anyway, what did you do with your evening?"


Hm. Quite the actor.
Look around for safety, only family should know.
"I helped Flavia with a divine matter. It was quite eventful."


"Really now? What happened?" I sit close to your scaly chest so you can speak softly about it.


Coil my tail around you and lower my head closer to yours.
Fangs facing somewhere else, obviously.
"She has asked for my assistance in what she told me was a religious mission of hers. She wanted me to fly her to the Basilica, where we confronted a spirit of Discord."


"Amazing, what did the spirit look like?"


"It looked like a white pegasus mare, armed with a peculiar umbrella."


"…A girl? Was she cute?"


"I would not know. The concept of beauty and such in ponies is something I still struggle to understand. I can easily tell them apart, but can not recognise the singular elements you, and other ponies, find desirable."


"Coooome on, you can tell if she's cute or not. Did she look like one of the painting from the mansion?"


"I was told that those paintings represented the ideal of beauty, not of 'cuteness'. She did not look like one from the paintings. Objectively, I can tell you that her mane and tail was… poofy."


I sigh.
"Alright, so you're there with the poofy mane'd mare, at the church. Then what?"


"After Flavia confronted her inside, she tried to fly away. We chased her down. She landed in a park, and Flavia challenged her to a battle of faith."


"A battle of faith? Now that sounds interesting."


"It was also a regular battle, for the Spirit could create weak clones of itself."


Snicker "A mare who multiples? I like the sound of that."


"I am not quite certain it would be wise or healthy to consort with Spirits of Discord."


"What, she's still a mare, right? Anyway, its not like she'd even have survived a battle with you and Flavia, so I can't even meet her.."


"She did not die. We did not mean to kill her, only to cleanse her."


"Oh really?" I smirk and prod your chest. "So, if she's cleansed, she's fair game right?"


"I would consult with Flavia first."
Let myself smile a bit.
"I am also sorry to dishearten you, but I am afraid that the cleansing has robber her of the power of creating mirror images."


"Poor girl…" I shake my head as if I were really disappointed by that. "Ah, but I bet she's cuter than the one Marcus is with right now. Poor guy. But at least it worked."


"Speaking of which, mind letting me know what you and him have been doing?"


"We went to a party, and got a mare very distracted so that we could take her things.." Smirk "Marcus is quite the hero of her night."


"It always fascinates me how easily ponies can be manipulated by promises or fulfillment of mating."
Ponder about that for a moment.


I burst out laughing again while you're pondering.
"Just as easily as a dragon with gold. Remember that time I bribed you with chocolate coins, and you thought they were real?"


Give you a look that could shoot daggers. Or fire.
"I have learned to trust deals with you with the utmost precautions on that day."
Smile after a few moments though.
"I suppose you had time to think about that while sitting on top of that tree, did you not?"


I frown.
"Hey, that wasn't funny. I missed out on snack time, and it was fresh chocolate chip cookies instead of orange slices too! That meant a lot to my colt-self. Besides, did you really think I'd have that many coins just from my allowance?"


"I supposed you have relieved some other pony from them, and thought it would be best to hide it with me, where that amount would not have raised suspiscion. I was overcomplicating the matter, in hindsight."


I snicker.
"Yea, I remember having to make up a story about trying to rescue the duchess's cat from the tree and getting stuck so that neither of us would be in trouble. To this day I"m not sure if dad knew the truth or not.."


"I think he might have suspected when I started putting Anthe on treetops once she started to annoy me."


"To be fair.. I did lock her in her room more than once and hide the key randomly in the castle.."


"Do you think we might have made it worse?"


"Hmm I dunno, she always got out soon enough, thou it did take her a while to notice sometimes.. all that time spent in front of the mirror." I yawn boop your nose a bit "Anyway, I'll see if I can deliver these goods and crash for the night, pretending to party and have fun while staying sober is tough work. Even a night pony like me can only be up so long."


"Sleep well. We will need all the rest we can get, will we not?"


"Heh, yea, got to take all the safe night rests we can get.."


"They will not last."


Nolin, Mereghyl and Marcus

The sorcerer you’re looking for lives several miles away from the city, a walk which would take you one to two hours if it weren’t for Mereghyl. With his help it takes you less than half of that.

You've arrived at the forest where the individual going by the name of 'Chester' should be living at. This is an oak forest, of which there are a few in the southern parts of Trotantium. Centuries ago, before the empire even existed, these kind of forests were often seen as holy places as dryads, breezies and other forest spirits were rumored to live in them. Much of Trotantium’s religion today has roots in forests such as these, as they have unusual plants and critters living in them which are hard to find elsewhere in the empire. These ecosystems are seen as a blessing of Mother Nature, enduring throughout the centuries during even the harshest droughts by her will. Given the southern climate in these parts, it’s hard for you to imagine anything but the Mother keeping these forests so lush.

Bordering this forest is a massive piece of farmland. The entire capital is in fact surrounded by acres upon acres of farms and plantations. The field you've landed next to seems to be growing wheat.


"Such a quaint place."
Does one of us (Nolin) have to roll Survival to find the house?


A Search check will do, actually. The sorcerer should live somewhere on the edge of the forest, not in it.


"A nice place to get away from it all and be close to Her."
I have +2 for survival..

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


Searching '1d20+2'

"Mereghyl, do you see the house?"

Roll #1 14 + 2 = 16


You walk into the forest itself for about a minute until you remember he lives someplace on the edge of it!

You remember the forest itself is not your destination, as the sorcerer lives on the edge of it, a wooden shack located in a small grove which doesn't take you too long too find by following the path running alongside the forest.

It doesn’t exactly have the looks of a rich pony’s house; this small shack is very simple, made up of wood and overgrown by vines here and there. There’s a pond of water next to the shack, with thin wisps of mysterious fog floating above it.


'1d20+8' notice about the shack/fog

Roll #1 3 + 8 = 11


"There it is."
Point it out obviously.


"No time to waste then."

Knock on the door.


The shack doesn't look very special at all, it was clearly built a while ago and the years haven't been kind to it.

You're not entirely sure what the deal with the fog is either, though it may just be some strange natural phenomenon.

You knock on the wooden ramshackle door, but receive no answer. Roll Notice.


Walk around the place, does it have a window or something?


Notice '1d20+9'

Roll #1 1 + 9 = 10



Roll #1 3 + 8 = 11


there's a set of small windows, but they're all dusted up, seeing inside is really hard.

Roll Notice.

… No one home? Are you at the wrong place? Or maybe he's gone out into the forest?


'1d20+8' notice what's inside of the window

Roll #1 14 + 8 = 22


You peer inside the shack, the inside look deserted. There's dust everywhere and it looks like no one has been in here in a long time.

Then you notice something not quite right. A shimmer in the air inside the shack… it dawns on you that there may be some sort of illusion spell at work here.






"Are you all right?"



You hear the sound of purring coming from somewhere behind you, like that of a cat. You turn to look at the source of the sound and see a cat sitting in an oak tree nearby, purring audibly. That’s… certainly not a normal cat though. It’s a bit bigger than normal housecats ought to be and, more disturbingly, it has an impossibly wide toothy grin on its face.

“It looks as though you are looking for someone.”

It speaks! And with a distinct foreign accent too! You can roll a knowledge check to recognize what kind of accent it has.


I whisper "He might be using a spell to hide himself. I mean, look at this weird fog and the air seems wrong.."


I do love studying languages.

Roll #1 11 + 5 = 16



Roll #1 11 + 5 = 16


'1d20+1' what's that an int check?

"I am little kitten." I reply to the cat.

Roll #1 12 + 1 = 13


That's an Equestrian accent, more specifically it sounds like one from around Trottingham.

The cat keeps purring, slowly swishing its tail around.
"And who… would you be? What do you call yourself?"


"Does one not introduce oneself first?"


Cautiously pet the cat.
"I'm Nolin, who would you be pretty thing?"


Trot over to the tree.
"We're looking for a mage. We have an interesting proposition for him. I suppose you would know where to find him?"


You would need to climb the tree he's sitting in!

The cats begins to disappear, popping out of existence after just a few seconds of fading. Several seconds later, you hear its voice coming from behind you.
"Chester. My name… is Chester."
You turn to see the cat having reappeared behind you. It's sitting on the ground now. It really has an odd way of speaking.


"Ah Chester. You are the mage we heard about?"


Invisibility or Teleportation? Who knows?
"I am Mereghyl. We are looking for you, if you indeed are Chester."


I back away from the cat with concern.
"And where do you come from Chester?"


"I am not a mage… but then again, I am a sorcerer."

"If I were looking for Chester… I would come here. Or… there."
He points at the forest behind him with his tail.

"Oh… here and there. How are you?"


"We came from there to here."


"What's the difference between a mage and a sorcerer?"


"…Wait, Chester. Are YOU the one we're looking for then?"
'1d20+7' sense motive too

Roll #1 4 + 7 = 11


"Then you are in the right place, are you not? With Chester."

He fades away again, reappearing a few seconds later floating in the air above you.
"Here's a riddle… where lies the difference between intelligence and wisdom? I'll tell you: wherever you want it to be! A mage… studies while a sorcerer… knows."

You get the feeling he's a little bit bonkers, but you don't think he's lying.

He turns to you, floating upside down.
"Am I?"


"Pray tell, would it then also be true that a mage talks, but a socerer does. Because that's the kind of sorcerer we're looking for."


I get a feeling that this guy wouldn't be too interested in pure money.

Sense Motive to get a sense what he would like in return for helping '1d20+12'

Roll #1 13 + 12 = 25


"Good. Now we need only negotiate the terms of Chester."


"That depends on what you expect a… sorcerer to do, does it not? If you look for magic, you are at the right place. If you do not… you may well be at the right place anyway."

You think that's a fairly safe assumption to make. He's probably interested in items with magical properties. Or a trade of services.

"My terms… are simple. I do something for you and you do something for me. I scratch your back and I scratch yours."


"Let's just suppose I would be looking for a mage who would like to go break into a fortress, disable a variety of magical locks and potentially get the better of an other mage, would I be looking in the right place?"


"What would you require of us?"


"You would be… looking at the right sorcerer. Who sent you here? And what… do you call yourself?"

"Have you seen my claws? They are tiny compared to your claws. How… urgent is my task?"


Oh, this a great time to do a cold read.
Does Chester follow a religion? Does he have any family? Does he have an addictions?


"Right, sorcerer, forgive the laypony.
You came highly recommended by a Concord you worked with in the past. My name is Marcus Hippoi, at your service."


"They are rather urgent. You would need something that includes the use of my claws?"


>Does Chester follow a religion?
No, he doesn't. He doesn't care much for subjecting himself to any of the higher beings.

>Does he have any family?

Definitely not.

>Does he have an addictions?

He loves catnip and especially loves scratching posts.

He gasps and widens his eerie grin.
"Victus? How is he?"

He slowly spins around his own axis.
"There are… critters in the sea which I am fond of in different ways. But… I am not fond of swimming in water. Have you ever heard of… sirens?"


"I have heard of them, yet I was not sure whether to believe in them or not. I only know of sea ponies, for I have interacted with them."


"Sorry, Chester. I'm afraid he's a bit sick at the moment."


"You don't have to swim, only dispel a few measly locks and barriers. Shouldn't be a problem for someone as skilled as you."


"Sirens are like seaponies, yet… completely unlike them in every way as well. Their songs are as beautiful, but only serve to enrage those who hear it. They are… in essence… serving Discord. Just like how the seaponies… serve Aqualia?"

He doesn't appear to be worried, as his wide grin stays in place.
"Sickness is preferable over death."

"You're right! I don't need to swim… but you may have to to get my help."
He floats around you slowly.
"Sirens get their powers from a magical crystal… take that away and they can no longer… siren. It does not even require them to die, isn't that just pleasant?"


"So you are… fascinated with these beings, are you not?"


I look a little ticked off.
"What do you want discordian power sources for?"


"I guess that's one way of looking at it."


"Not quite… but those crystals, I've never seen them with my own eyes. I could never, and will never, unless someone gets one for me."

"See there's a misconception… The sirens serve Discord, but they are not… his. Not in the same way the seaponies are Aqualia's. The alliance between the sirens and Discord is just… that. An alliance of opportunity. The crystals are powersources, but they only serve to provide the power the sirens need to use their abilities. Those abilities are part of… them, not the crystal."
He shakes his head.
"I try not to get involved in politics, it tends to spoil my appetite for food."

"I will gladly help a friend of Victus… but only if you can get your… hooves on a siren crystal afterwards."


"We have ourselves a deal."


"Does the fate of the sirens concern you? Or is it only the crystals you need?"


"I see…"
'1d20+7' is he lying about that?

Roll #1 11 + 7 = 18


His eyes widen and he purrs again.
"Very good. When do we leave?"

"I only need… one. You do not need to kill them over it if you think you can trick one but… if you do not, you do as you please. I dislike slaying critters without good reason myself."

He doesn't really seem like the type to lie. More like a bluntly honest type.


"There's a ship leaving to Anafi tonight. Do you want to come with us now or meet us tonight at that ship?"


Motion at my claws.
"I am afraid being gentle with foes is not my strong suit."


"I will come with you as you please."

He fades away again and the shack collapses in on itself. He then reappears half a minute later floating in front of you.

"Then… slaying it is. But let us not talk about unhappy things."


"Very well, lets go prevent some slaying for now."
I nod at Mereghyl
"Would you mind carrying us back?"


"I am. But I do have one question.
Are you a cat, or a pony pretending to be a cat?"


Nod and provide a ride for the others.
Safest way possible.


"One way or the other… does it matter?"
He blinks his big eyes at you a few times.
"I am filly nor colt."

You begin your voyage back to the capital. It'll take you about an hour.

You'll still have a bit of time left by the time you get back, so now is the time to begin preparing for the end of this adventure and the beginning of the next. Anyone who still wishes to buy something, talk to someone or do something should tell me now.


Get a quick bite before we go?


"Fair enough."

Nolin and Adrianos told me I needed to get someone for a boat.


we need to hire a good captain who will help us get away as well?


100XP for tracking down and recruiting Chester.
100XP for how quickly you managed to find him.

You could go back to the inn you stayed at the night before. They had decent food and even shelter that fit you.

Yes, you'll need to buy passage to the island of Anafi.

A reminder that Adrianos is capable of steering ships thanks to his high ride.


I was more thinking about the ride OFF the island


I'll make that a double meal then.
But not too much, I'll have to be able to move fast and think quick.


You could either hire someone to do that for you by waiting on you or count on stealing a ship once you're on the island.



We could do that here.
Might be better than looking in a small village full of guards.

We can just do a Search roll?


To find someone to give you passage to and out of the island? Yes.


Search '1d20+9'

Roll #1 11 + 9 = 20



You ask around a little in the harbor, but everyone either asks too many questions or too much money for you to afford. You may need to find a smuggler willing to operate under the law for a decent price and with discretion.

Two common meals or a different type of meal?


Let Nolin figure that out!


What exactly are my options and what are their prices?


"A smuggler.. Alright."
Alright. I'll disguise as some low-life commoner.

Roll #1 13 + 10 = 23


You may want to go further down the river for this… to the lower district of the city, also known as the slums.

They're in the book, dummy! Non-common foods generally gives you bonuses for about 8 hours. Not particularly useful, bu you have a lot of dosh that'll disappear anyway so I figured I'd ask.

You order two common meals, costing just 2 silvers, and are presented with a couple of fishplates that fill you for the rest of the day.


Yeah, I look too fabulous to be in the slums…


That's my destination.
I'll head down there.
'1d20+8' notice to keep on my toes as we go.

Roll #1 14 + 8 = 22


I was considering getting something non-common for the bonus, if we are going to siege an island fortress anyway!

Maybe for dessert. I earned enough from that arena battle at any rate.


Nolin could make a disguise for Marcus too if you wish. But perhaps I should run this for Nolin solo tomorrow?

By the time you reach the island, four days will have passed and the effects will have worn out.


Oh. I suppose take-aways are not an option because they would spoil?


'1d20+10' disguise for my cousin.
"You can't wear that silk shirt Marcus.."

Roll #1 6 + 10 = 16


Yeah, only rations don't spoil and they act like common food that lasts longer.


"How dreadful."


"…You can't have that shoe either.."
'1d4' action dice it.

Roll #1 2 = 2


How much of my silver can I spend then that would be lost anyway?


From the 286 silvers you have now, you only get to keep 25% according to your Prudence.

Anthe stomps over to you, clearly upset.

You both look like filthy tramps now. Your mothers would be proud.

Do you want to take Karabi along as well? She doesn't need much of a disguise since she looks pretty scary.


I'd like to yes.


I could probably acquire a few shiny trinkets and baubles with that money then…

Raise my head, unalarmed, at her.



You're off to the slums then. Roll a knowledge check if you please.

"Would you care to explain why there's a creepy cat skulking around the place now? It says you brought it here! Why!?"



Roll #1 3 + 5 = 8


Blink slowly and calmly.
"He will aid us in a matter of great importance. Unless you, Anthe, have learned arcane magic of great mastery in the brief time while we have been gone, Chester, as he is called, will stay."
Being called an 'it' for not being a pony certainly is not amusing, I should know.



Roll #1 18 + 3 = 21


"Well I don't like him, his smile is too freaky. Cats aren't supposed to do that!"

Ah Marcus, so detached from the pleb world.

You fare much better. If you want to find a smuggler you figure you'll probably be best served staying near the river running through the city. Water access is useful to them and they probably use it to smuggle goods into the slums, then to the rest of the city.


"I suppose the same could be said about your smug grin as well, yet we do not have you sleep on the streets."


Her cheeks redden in anger slightly.
"This isn't funny! What if he has fleas or something? Where did you find him?"


"Stick close to the river, we'll find a guy soon enough."
Trot along the river side.


Try to keep up.


"You live in a misconception about him, Anthe. A contradiction, even. You know he is not a regular feline, yet you assume he would carry with him the same problems as a stray cat."


There's some smaller ships docked here, cogs and the like. Some of them are being unloaded, containing mostly cheap junk.

Roll notice. Both of you. Karabi too.


"I don't care, I don't want him near me. Such a beastly thing."


"At least he does not complain every waking hour of the day."


'1d20+8' noticing.

Roll #1 17 + 8 = 25


Me '1d20+9'
Karabi '1d20+4' (not sure about mod)

Roll #1 4 + 9 = 13 / Roll #2 10 + 4 = 14


"Just because father isn't around to keep you on a leash doesn't mean you get to disrespect me!"
She stomps a hoof to stress her point.

Nolin notices a mare doing something quite strange on one of the ships. She's removing the Trotantine flag and replaces it with a Germane flag…


"Indeed, times have changed, Anthe.
You will have to learn with what and how we live for now, and deal with what we have to do in order to save our House."
Be much more stern than before.
"We need Chester for our cause, so if you dispose of him, think of it as an act of you disposing of our father personally. I will not allow that."


"Fine, but if I see him doing any funny stuff around me…"


Nolin noticed it.
I'm just here wondering about all the filth


I point it out to you guiding you that way.
"Just act casual."


Act "casual"


"You will stay put and mare up for your family.
Unless you desire for all of us to perish."


It smells like fresh paint here… you notice the letters on the back of her ship are freshly painted on.

It's not a big ship, one person could steer it just fine. It has a single mast and a square-rigged single sail. Cogs are quite popular for trading purposes and come in many sizes, this one is a smaller model.


She shakes her head angrily and walks away with an angry huff.


Look at the ship.
Then approach the pony.
"Nice boat."


Approach them calmly.
Which one is in charge?


There's only one pony here and it's the mare, a unicorn. She's quite clearly a commoner and freezes for a moment as she hears you talk. She quickly turns to you, dropping the flag behind her.



Giggle a bit in my hoof to hide the uncout gesture.
"You are talking like a seasoned veteran already.
The Schola really had a mark on you."


"Maybe not the Scholae so much as my preparation for it. My parents had the honors in mind for me for a long time – the Tribunes in command of the military hold rank equal to that of a doux. It would be the only way their ambitions could be realized, being relatively low-ranking in the House Hippoi. But the training wasn't as physical as you'd think – medicine, philosophy, tactics, administration – these are the sorts of things prized in the ranks."

Put my hoof on my chin. "But you've come a long way yourself. I came to the capital around your age, but at your age I couldn't claim to be hunting spirits or representing the Mother."


"Let us keep quiet about that, shall we?
Imagine if somepony overheard us.
At best, they'd think us mad. At worst…"


Wink. "I'm sure you're not the only one who those apply to in the capital – you just happen to be more successful at the former than most."


"Gosh, that would be amazing- meeting another Champion of the Mother… Maybe we even have the same mission!"


"Empress Dawnsworn felt even the sovereign state was subordinate to the will of the Mother. In a way, if you accept that interpretation, everyone in the empire is a servant of the Mother. I get your meaning, though – someone with your own level of devotion."


Shake my head.
"Somepony who has been contacted by one of the higher spirits of the Mother!
I'm sure there are ponies as devoted as me just about everywhere!"


" 'Though believers may spring widely from the cup of faith, a far-flung puddle is shallow – and in the cup, narrow, but deep. ' … That's Marcus Plotinus, a solar philosopher if the source doesn't offend you. I think the casual acceptance of the Mother in the empire means that there are few true devotees to be found with a depth of faith that you possess."


"…What of you, Adrianos?
Did you ever stop to wonder Her mystery on your own?"


Pause to consider the question.

"No, I don't think so. I am naturally familiar with the theology of the Mother as a matter of state and as a function of studying the philosophers of the Mother, but as Porphyry suggests my theology is more incidental – the philosophical accident – as opposed to the philosophical property. He might elevate your own belief further to definition – that is to say, you are defined by your relationship with the mother. A Flavia without the Mother is not Flavia, but an Adrianos could exist with or without the Mother and it would not affect his fundamental essence."

Stop myself. "Sorry, this is getting esoteric, isn't it? You probably weren't looking for something so metaphysical. What I mean to say might me more easily summarized with that classic pithy phrase – faith untested, faith untrusted."


Give this kneave a quick 'seriously nigga?' look.
"But as the Claptrosky brothers said, a pony is shaped by every drop of experience which washes upon his face.
We are products of everything around us.
Without perception of the Mother in those around you even Adrianos would not be Adrianos, for your interactions with those who do profess Her beliefs with more attention than you do have shaped your formation, your thoughts, and your every action up to this point."


"I don't deny that, certainly; by nature of sheer supply, there is more philosophy to be read of Natural philosophers than any other sort here in the empire. What I am saying is that on a more fundamental level is that the characteristic of whether or not I hold the Mother as my patron does not define who I am. I hold no particular opposition to it, and pay religious credence for political convenience, but I feel no particular draw toward it over any other belief system. If anything, it is Equitas that compels me - a belief in benevolence toward other ponies, and an open mind to learning. The Mother is not opposed to this ideal per se, and so I see no conflict with giving her token worship."


"Porphyry's disquisition on the nature of a pony always rang odd, in my mind.
How can one single idea define a being as complex as the flesh and blood and soul standing and breathing here right now?
The idea of the individual as abstractifiable into a single core value, stripped of all the things attached to it, denies the evolution each and every one of us goes through.
Think of Adrianos, or Flavia, as they were five years ago. That was when I began my studies and when you, I assume, where in the midst of yours already, correct?"
Take a moment to gauge for a negative or positive reaction, but keep on.
"The idea of Mother was strong already in my mind. But that idea, that core alone, if taken and frozen away in time to be awoken in a dozen or even a hundred years, would not give fruit to the same Flavia you are seeing today.
Equitas alone does not define Adrianos either, for there is so much in you that is everchanging, just as Nature is."


"The opposite could easily be argued, though – that you were fated, put on a path to the Mother, because there is fundamentally something that resonates with her in your soul. Isn't fate more strongly compatible with your theology? If there is no fate, how does the Mother guide you toward the future? To affirm this line of reasoning seems to strip the Mother of all of her divine nature and leave her as just an extraordinary creation deity, with no particular other qualifications to lead. That is to say, if her predictions and guidance can be wrong or otherwise fail, then there might be times when it is wiser to listen to ponies than to the Mother. You could create a soft-fate hybrid theory, but draw our own line at where fate begins leaves a bad taste in my mouth – akin to judgment of divines in the same breath as declaring their omniscience."


"Seeing the Mother as what you say, an extraordinary being which rules our whole lives through fate, is a misinterpretation of the holy books from a time before the Empire itself.
It saddens me to see how often this is still brought forth as the main interpretation, because of how reductive it is.
Nature is unique in its complexity, in the way Mother shapes each and every one of us through our own endless interactions with everything which is Her.
You see, scholars used to call everything which was equine 'not' of Nature, not of Mother herself.
But this reductive understanding of what the Mother means blinds us to the realization that I am part of Mother just as much as you are part of Mother, and the way our actions influence each other is that, too, part of the way Mother shapes our lives.
Atop of that, you have to understand Mother's light is not a biased one. She does not deny us choice, despite rejoicing when we make the right one, for making us grow in a world entirely controlled by the strings of Fate would lead to an already known ending, to a rhetorical question whose answer is known already.
Rather, we are left free to explore the Mystery in its fullness, and the greatest of understandings is in seeing the signs of this very growth on your own self, and realizing that every blade of grass and every cut of blade, that every thought of beauty and every feeling of dread are all parts of her."
"This is not the sermon we give to the folks at home, though.
My instructors called it nearly heretical."


Adrianos should roll a Search check to find the house of the hunter again. The Inner City district is very large and easy to get lost in if you aren't careful.


This is my city! '1d20+12'

"We're nearly there – so if we can suspend the conversation for another time? I do have something to say about that, but the streets are a bit more dense here, I don't want us to get separated or distracted."

Roll #1 1 + 12 = 13


You roam around the inner city for a good two hours until you finally start recognizing the streets you're in again. That's already a lot of time lost that could have been spent doing useful things. From here though, you eventually find the house you were looking for.

Seeker’s house looks fairly inconspicuous, looking similar to the other plebeian housings next to it. It’s definitely no villa, but it looks like a nice enough place for a commoner to live in. There’s a small bronze bell hanging next to the wooden front door.


No time to waste, then. Knock.


You don’t have to wait long, the door opens up slowly, revealing the inhabitant of this house. Seeker is an earth pony mare in her late thirties with baggy eyes. She looks the four of you over, sizing you up.

“Two priestesses and two Scholarians of Palantine…

To what do I owe your visit?”


"Feeling alright, Lycia? It's me, Adrianos."


It's been a while since you last saw her, you're only acquaintances.
"Adrianos, was it? I doubt you're here for tea, not during your work hours."


Bow gently.
"Honored to meet a friend of my cousin, Dominae Lycia."


"I'm taking some time off from the guard – I'm sure you understand. Do you have a moment?"


She gives you both a severe look for a moment, but ultimately steps aside and motions a hoof to the interior.
"Come in, I'll make some tea."


"Thank you for your time. I'm sure the demands of the capital keep you busy with work, most days."


Humbly keeping my head covered, step in.


She deadpans.
“I’ve retired now, in case you hadn’t heard.”

The inside of her house is quite quaint, with lots of little mosaics covering the walls. She leads you into the triklinion, where several couches are set up with small tables next to them. She pours some tea in a few clay cups and sets them down on the tables.
"Come on then, do sit."


Chuckle. "I had assumed yours was the kind of talent that never goes out of demand."

Have a seat. "And it's for that reason I was stopping by. I wouldn't ask you to work in retirement if it weren't for something important."


Is she of retirement age?


Sonja gives one of the couches a strange look, but settles down on one of them anyhow.

Surprise remarks "Oooh, I like the pictures on the walls!"

"A lack of work there is not, no… plenty of witches and necromancers still roam around free.

What is this job you speak of?"

She's in her late thirties, so not exactly.



Clear my throat, and try to explain this seriously!
"You see, my father has been kidnapped and imprisoned after a coup in the province of Agria."
Pause for a moment.
"And those who did this plan on executing him very soon, along with the rightful heir to the Agrian province."


She sips her tea.
"I've heard of the crisis in Thema Agria. Seems pitiful to be squabbling over bits of land when there's a real enemy to be fought just across the border. Hordes of ghouls being orchestrated by Grevyian necromancers and the only thing our lords and ladies can think of is how to best go about getting a bigger crown."
She shakes her head in disgust.


"Our objective is one more personal than the matters of succession alone – there's still something to be said for love of family, isn't there?"


"Which is why these ponies are all the more to blame for what is happening, diverting us from the real problems, committing cruelties in the name of greed alone."


"I suppose so. But I don't see how I could be of specific importance in this whole tale."

"I don't like squabblers. As much as I sympathize with you and your kin, I'm still left to wonder why you came to me."


"I believe there was a vision involved."


"We have been made aware of the presence of a mage, master of the prison where our father is being held.
This is where your involvement comes in."


"It must be an experienced mage if you come to me… an experienced witch, mage and necromancer hunter. Yet I haven't hunted in months now, not since Kratus died."


"Is that the reason of your retirement?"


"Our condolences, of course."


"But surely there are other falcons – less bonded, of course, but your own talents are undeniable even alone."


She gets up from the couch and walks over the the window.
"Every day when we were home, he'd go out and fly over the city looking for any sort of magical trouble. Then he would return to land here, on this windowsill, to tell me. And in the legion, we'd be in the vanguard, weeding out the magical from the non-magical."

"There are, but I haven't had any desire to continue hunting since."
She stays quiet for a while, turning her head to look at you.
"This mage of yours, do you know their name?"


"No, we do not. Maybe the pony who gave us this information does, and he forgot to include it…"
Bite my lower lip.
"I'm sorry to ask, but what happened to Kratus?"


She turns back to look outside.
"That is the worst part, I don't know. My best guess is that age got to him, he was getting very old. One day he was fine, the other…"
Her shoulders sag as she trails off.


Step forth, slowly reaching her and putting a gentle hoof over her shoulder from behind.
"There is nothing quieter for the mind that the endless fields of grass above which Mother's blue sky reaches-
That is where all the creatures will return to, once their days on this land are over.
In a way, your Kratus is still soaring above this city, standing watch. For you."

Rolling Impress '1d20+17'.
And use Charming, too.

Roll #1 7 + 17 = 24


And boost that with 2 AD.

Roll #1 3, 3 = 6



Roll #1 6 + 10 = 16


She rubs her temple with a hoof.
"If… I were to help you free your father and you manage to put the 'rightful' heir back in the place she ought to be sitting, can I expect to see Agria turning its attention to the east and the threats that lie beyond the border? I don't expect a crusade like those Westerners do, but knowing that our borders are protected from the undead menace will at least make it seem like I didn't waste my life herding cats."


Harden my gaze into one of determination.
"Trust me, I will see to it personally. The undead scourge has no place in Mother's Domain.
Those poor bodies need to go back to the earth, dust to dust like all things should, free to rejoin their souls in the next life.
Even if this was not part of your requests, I would still see it through."


You see her nod slowly.
"When do we leave?"


"Before nightfall. Will you be needing anything for the trip?"


Give Flavia an approving nod, but say nothing.


She turns to you.
"Yes, but I'll be handling it. I need but an hour… and some silver pieces."


"Both we can provide."


"Sixty silvers. Where do you stay at?"


Tell her about the inn and give her the money.
"We must bid you farewell now, and tell the news to our brother."


"I shall be there as soon I am ready. You'll have to see yourselves out."
She takes the silvers and walks out of the room, heading upstairs.

"She looks weary, are we sure she's worth taking?" Sonja comments.


"We will be leaving then."
Turn to Adrianos, nodding to both him and Sonja to leave the house.

Once we are outside, let's deal with this.
"You trust her completely, right?"


"She's not involved with politics – I think that's more reason to trust her than anyone else we could work with."


"I'm talking about her abilities, rather.
She seemed… Sad beyond what is equinely possible."


"Her talents earned her great renown during her days of service – and she's motivated."


"That she is. Rescuing the doux's heir will mean support for her cause.
But I'm worried she might be lingering too long on the departed.


"It's only been a few months. A mare has a right to be depressed for a few months after a death – but you know, this could be healthy for her besides, to get her ready to move on."


"You might be right.
And if anything happens, the words of the Mother could alleviate her pain."
Keep trotting silently.
"We should head back, shouldn't we?"


"Grogar embraces us all in the end, it was only a bird."

Thalia bounces next to you.
"We should totally cheer her up somehow, good thinking Flavia!"


"Yes, we don't want to be late. I'd like to discuss strategy with Marcus – hopefully he has more information about the island. I was thinking about searching a library for anything – historical information about past sieges, blueprints, direct ownership and previous ownership."


"I don't deny what you're saying, but ponies are easily prone to sentimental attachment."


Scowl at Sonja.
"Don't say things like those, she cared for it!
That bird was her friend!"
Then, to Surprise, give an excited smile.
"Got anything in mind?"
"And maybe he has the name of that mage."


Sonja shakes her head.

"We could bake her a cake, eating always makes ponies feel better when they're sad!"


"We totally could!
But we must get back to the inn now to do it!"


"Let's go then! Should we make a vanilla one? Or lemon? Or a fruity cake?"

Timeskip ahead to the inn? You're basically done with all the essentials of this adventure. This is downtime now.


I need to actually go make myself some dinner now.



You're free to do whatever now. Marcus and Nolin have succeeded in the recruitment of a mage but according to Anthe they left again a little while back to find a ride to the island. Your witch hunter ally should be here in about an hour.


Look at Nolin.


"I certainly hope you're not going away to germane, you're really too cute to not see again." Step next to her.


She sputters something back in Germane.

Sense motive roll.


'1d20+7' sense that motive.
"Calm down, we're just looking to make a deal." try talking to her in Prench.

Roll #1 2 + 7 = 9


She perks her ears and responds in fluent Prench.
"You speak Prench? Look, I don't want any trouble, I'm just an honest merchant trying to make a living."

You're not entirely sure what her deal is, but she seems to relax somewhat as you converse in Prench.


Keep going in Prench then.
"I can see that.. We're willing to purchase something from you actually, for an honest price."


"Uh… I sold my stock already. I'm sorry but my customers wouldn't be amused if I didn't keep my end of the deal."


Wave my hoof
"Its not what's on the boat now, but what we'd like to put on it."


"What… what would that be?"
She clears her throat.
"If you've come to the slums looking for a transporter…"


"That means we need a good one."


"And a discreet one." I add on with a coy smile.
"I'm guessing its something you can do for us, unless you're too busy.."


She speaks Trotantine with a heavy Prench accent. Doesn't sound like she has the best grip on the language.
"What kind of cargo, monsieurs? And ze weight? Ze destination?"


"Alive cargo.
Me, him and about 5 others, one of them a dragon.
But that's not all, we need you to bring us to our destination, wait there perhaps a few days and then we'll be back while we get our friends and then leave immediately."


"Mon dieu… Come aboard s'il vous plaît."
She gestures you to come over.
"I can do that, but ze dragon… he will slow us down unless he flies during ze day."


"Seven ponies, and a dragon."
I reply with a serious tone. "headed to Anafi ."


Walk over.
"He can do that, I'm sure."


"He did as much on the trip here."


"Anafi, Anafi, Anafi…"
She turns to a wrinkled old map splayed out on a table.
"Ahah, in Agria, oui? Zat is quite a way away. Almost 400 miles… but zat is doable. It would take us around four days from here depending on ze weather."


"That's great. Now then, we'd need you to wait there, hidden, until we can fetch our friends."


"Question… how dangerous vill zis be? I assume you are afraid of…. err… legal consequences if you come to me?"


"If things go smoothly, all the dangerous parts are going to be left to us."


"… my price is 50 silvers per passenger for ze trip there. And 50 silvers for every day of me waiting zere, not for every person."


"Not so much for you.
You merely have to bring me and those guests we'll pick up there, safely to Saddlonica.
I assume you're familiar with that."


"50 each, so that's…300 gold. That's a bit much no?"

Haggle '1d20+9'

Roll #1 3 + 9 = 12


She looks over the map again.
"… I will also count 50 silvers for each passenger on ze trip there."

"350 for 7 passengers, monsieur."

Roll #1 11 + 8 = 19


raise an eye brow at her and see how marcus's haggling goes.


Marcus wins despite his somewhat awkward start.
"Hmph, very well. 315 silvers it is, monsieur."

You can also barter for the money you'll pay her for waiting on you (50 silvers a day). And the trip to Saddlonica if you want that (420 silvers)


Seeker has arrived at the Oily Olive inn.

It's afternoon now, you have five hours before evening will fall upon the capital city.

I declare downtime.

The first adventure will end as soon as you set sail out of the city, thus applying the prudence tax to your coin in hand.

Derp, that's 490 silvers for Anafi -> Saddlonica.


"I don't suppose there anything special you have a hard time getting a hold of that we could help you with?"


How much can I spend so it does not go to waste then?


"We still have those oils – which I can tell are quite valuable. It might be worth taking them to market."



Look with a tad of worry at Surprise.
"I know this old statue is yours but…
What if we sold it to raise some money for the trip?"


You have 286 silvers in your hand. You will only keep 25% of whatever is in your hand judging by your prudence score.

"I'm sorry, but I have mouths to feed… it will have to be coin."

"I don't care about it if you need the money, it's just a fancy piece of rock!"

Sonja responds.
"I'm not one for bartering, but maybe you'll fare better if you feel like you could sell them for a nice bit of coin."


"I was thinking about having Cousin Marcus try his luck at the market. He seems like he knows how to handle money. Maybe he can find a buyer for the statue and oils."


Hug her.
"Oh thank you so much Thalia!"

Then nod at Marcus. Guess we can make a tiny sum off this statue.


Marcus isn't here yet, he's off to find you a ride. Once he comes back he'll surely be able to help you out.


"Of course, I don't mean to offend you."
Whelp. I don't really have anything I can sell, but add my money to collection.


The coin you and Marcus have in your hand combined is just enough to pay the ride to the island.


Time to see if I can find a gem store…


Well, maybe the others have an idea for the rest, I'll head back to tell them about the ride. with Marucs, can't leave the poor guy alone in the slums


I'll take 200 out of my stash to pay, I hope Nolin will spend some of his money he got during this adventure to pay the rest



Oh, I have that in hoof, well that's good.


You won't be able to fit in one of those, but you find a stall selling gems here in the commercial district. The salespony has a rather large nose.

Nolin offers 130 silvers. Together you have 345 silvers which is enough for the journey there.


"We will meet you tonight then, miss…?"


"Well, then we won't need to sell this after all."

Pull out the whistle.
"Thalia, I think this is yours too! I took it because I wasn't sure you'd come with us the other night, but now I can give it back!"


I don't trust this one…
Is there not a marketplace where even large creatures such as myself could fit?


"Pomme. Pomme de Mare."

"Oh! This is the slide whistle I use whenever something comical happens! It's special though, because… well it used to be mine! Nopony is able to surprise you as long as you hold it, that's how I got away so fast when you showed up!"
This is a lesser magical item with a 'Always Ready' charm on it.

This is the place, the commercial district has stalls everywhere and there's lots of room to maneuver. The Pegase river runs right through it, allowing ships to deliver their goods right here and have it immediately get sold.


"The name's Marcus, pleasure to meet you.
We shall see you here tonight?"


I do not trust those stallponies though…


"Ooooh! It could be really useful if we are faced with battle, then!"


"Oui monsieur, I vill wait for you here and take you to ze ship at midnight."

Why not? He looks very trustworthy, just look at how he's rubbing his hooves together!

Alternatively, there are other gem stalls as well. Germane gems, Prench gems, Pursian gems, Zebrican gems, there's so many different types sold by different nationalities.

"Exactly! Doesn't matter if somepony put up a surprise ambush for you this way!"



I guess I'm done for the day.
If I have time I'm going to visit Niphon


He's back at the inn, looking at a map of Agria. Chester is sitting on the other end of the table, observing your brother as he focuses on the map.

You don't see Anthe anywhere, or anypony else you know for that matter.


"Hello, brother."


Hmm… That is something to consider, getting one of each… but that also reminds me, I could try and get my claws on some books concerning those languages.


"Marcus is taking his sweet time. Do you suppose we should try our luck at the market alone?"


"Then maybe we should have the strongest one of us hold it, so he can react faster!"
Turn to Mereghyl.
"This is for you!"
And with a large, bright smile I present him the whistle.
"Maybe we should go look for him…"


He looks up.
"Did you find us a way to get to the island?"

You see Marcus entering the inn again.

Well, it's up to you where you wish to spend your silvers.


Bow myself over the map.
"Yes, we've hired a smuggler to get us there. She'll also help us get off. Problem is we have little money to pay her.
We might have to resort to raiding whatever money or valuables are in Anafi to cover our expenses."


How did it go? Do we have a boat?"


"Yes we do, sister. Did you find a mage hunter?"


"Well, there are a few other outstanding issues… what kind of a ship are we taking? How fast is it?"


As much as I want those gems, until I can safely deposit my hoard again, I will not be able to sleep well, knowing they will not be stolen.

How about those books, though?
Would they actually grant me languages?

Turn to you in surprise.
"…for me?"


"It looked fast and big enough. But I'm not an expert on ships. What outstanding issues are you talking about?"


"Marcus, we were just discussing finances. I wanted to talk longevity – no plan survives contact with the enemy, and part of winning a drawn out battle is soldier retention. We're not getting anywhere if we get stopped by bruises. We need to get medical supplies, assuming you don't have them already. A doctor bag, balms, bandages, salves, leeches – possibly tonics and ointments as well. I trust you've been properly trained in at least basic first aid."


"Since you are the strongest fighter of us all, it's only normal!"


"Not at all as a matter of fact.
We can purchase medical supplies on Anafi I'm sure."


"….a whistle."


If you pay with Interests!

He motions at Anafi at the map.
"Anafi has a small port connected to the fortress, as well as some docks in the village. There are sure to be Agrian navy dromons there as a rapid response force to corsairs. We'll need to make sure they don't chase us down as we flee."


"Why put off the purchase? In any case, how many of you know how to treat the injured?"


I used up all I had!


"Yes! A whistle!"
A rape whistle.
"It's special, if you wear it you will never be surprised!"


Take it gently.
"How do you know it works?"


"Because I have just spend most of my money getting ourselves a dependable ship.
In fact, I'm quite sure we'll have to enlarge our budget with whatever valuables we can find in Anafi to pay for all the expenses involved in this operation."

"That is a problem." Tap the map.
"I don't like the idea, but perhaps we can sabotage the fleet when they're in the harbor?"


"Thalia told me, duh!"


A foreign sounding voice speaks up.
"I have some magic that can prevent a wound from festering and… putrefying."
You look around and see a strange cat with a wide grin sitting on the table where Marcus and Niphon are conversing.

Then you must wait until you level. You can also pay reputation to gain languages for one adventure if your renown is sufficient.


"Perhaps we should let Mereghyl deal with them."


"That's mildly concerning. I can fund it with my own savings Do you think you could handle the merchants if I supply the coin?"

"That's… good. I don't believe we were introduced?"


"Brother, we can sell this!"
Pull out Discrord's statue.
"It's worth a neat sum and Thalia doesn't want it anymore."


"And she knows, how exactly?"

I'll need them permanently… that still leaves me with on what should I spend all my money so it does not go to waste.


"That might indeed be best. The ships are of wood."

Take a look at it.
"This might be worth a nice sum and the Mother knows we need it."

"Yes, I could. Might I ask how your search for a mage hunter went?"


"Flavia convinced her to join, but it's not a cheap service. She does have a very good reputation, though."


The cat fades away, then pops up behind you seconds later.
"My name is Chester. I was brought here for my sorcering skills."

Well I can't decide for you, take a look at the corebook if you want some ideas!

"It will be our safest bet unless we want to engage the Agrian navy at sea."


"Because it's hers!"
"Yes, she said she'd find us at this inn as soon as her preparations were done.
And payment will come later, in the form of commitment against the undeads to the east of Agria, something we both can agree on, I assume?"


"Another reason why we should make sure to raid all we can."

"It depends, should we try to stealthily go in and out the ship or should we fully attack the fortress? What do you think?"

"Payment? For this statue?"


"What? No I'm talking about the witch hunter we hired!"


"If you say so…"


"I see you're skilled at your trade."

"We're vastly outnumbered – at least some degree of discretion will certainly be required."


"Oh, I misunderstood.
Yes, she shall have it."

"The fortress itself is supposed to be understaffed. It might be easier than it looks, I'm more concerned about the mage."


"Attacking the fortress without some preparation will be suicidal. We'll need to find some backdoor to get inside. I don't like it, but we should we discrete about it."

He floats up in the air up to your eyelevel.
"What do you call yourself?"


"No plan was ever furthered by underestimating a battle."

"Scholarian Adrianos of Hippoi."


"Point taken. But we can only see that on Anafi itself. We'd need to spend a few days doing reconnaissance."


Smile and put it on his claw.
"Just keep it on!"
"Brother are you planning on…"
Lower my voice, looking around uncomfortably.
"Killing ponies?"


"I will do my best to carry it around safely."


"I really…. like that name."
He fades away again, not reappearing this time around.

"That's right!"
Surprise speeds up to you and pulls up your lips into a smile.
"We do say so! Heehee!"


"All the more reason to be discreet."



Blink at her, and nonchalantly say:
"I thought with this whistle I cannot be Surprised."


"I'm planning on freeing the lawful Doux and if somepony tries to stop us from doing that it is the law that traitors deserve the death penalty."


"That's not how the grand system works!"

Niphon nods.
"Maybe Nolin can show his worth since he's supposed to be a sneaky rat."


Settle down, still worried.
"And what if they are against that sentence?
What if they fight back and hurt you?"


"How does it, then?"


"That would be telling, can't do that!"


Point at the whistle.
"But you can confirm this works, yes?"


Your witch hunter has arrived. Anthe comes downstairs as well and orders a drink.

"Duh! Look!"
She grabs the whistle and blows on it, letting out a comical sound effect.


"You know well that is not what I meant."


"It works!"


"There are no rats in our lineage, cousin."

"Ah, our party grows."


Cough up a little, raising my hoof.
"I have been… Trained in medicine during my studies. And always carry supplies with me…"


"The magic of it!"


"That's good – what do you have?"


"You know what I mean."
He looks at the earth pony mare who just entered.
"That's our hunter? I guess we have everypony then."



"Well, only my bag. But it's a really good bag with all the tool and supplies, even things to treat dragons with!
We could go to the market and buy a few more items, if you are all so worried…"


"That would be wise, though haggling isn't my forte. I'd also like to purchase some Greek Fire – it's something of a signature weapon of mine."


"I'm not too used to talking with merchants either…"


"So be it. Now if you will excuse me, I might want to browse the items of the market."


"Well, Marcus?"


"I can negotiate if necessary."


"I excuse you!"


"Then we should head to the market and do this soon, before night comes."


And now start browsing the market I'm totally looking for a Poision Ring and some stuff that goes in it



Can I just do a Haggle roll?


"Good. I have a list of things I want – and the coin for it."


Yes. Tell me the things you wish to sell and make your haggle roll.


He wants to buy

Balm x2
Salve x2

And spend the rest on Greek Fire. But how much can be bought depends on the Haggle roll – so resolve that first!


Make that 4x bandages.
And torches, at least 2.


The Discord statue for selling
Haggle '1d20+9'

As for buying, I just remembered I can buy part of that with my bribe/supply money. You see that stuff in Adrianos post

Roll #1 12 + 9 = 21


Here's an AD to boost it '1d4'

Roll #1 3 = 3



Roll #1 20 + 9 = 29


Here's the roll for buying the medical supplies.
'1d20+9' '1d4'

Roll #1 6 + 9 = 15 / Roll #2 1 = 1




Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 20 + 9 = 29



Unfortunately, Marcus gets schooled quite a bit today.

He only manages to sell the statue for 90 silvers.
The medical supplies cost him 120 silvers.


Let's haggle then, goy!

One poison ring, anything else?


Mind blown from this jewery.
What if I don't want to sell the statue for 90s?


You can be a smart pony and take it along rather than selling it for no reason at all even though prudence tax is about to come into play.


Go look for a merchant and buy me some Greek Fire. I need to spend my money before we leave, anyway.


Haggle '1d20+9'

Roll #1 9 + 9 = 18


How many units?

Roll #1 7 + 9 = 16


18 silvers per unit, that appears to be the price.


Yeah fugh that, not gonna sell it for this little. Not when it's Surprise's in the first place.


One Necrotic and one Knockout poision


Bought 9, then. I have 4s left.


That will be 140 silvers. Want Marcus to Haggle for you?

Very well, you are now the owner of 9 units of Greek fire. Handle with care near wooden or fleshy objects.

Roll #1 20 + 9 = 29


He'd do a better job, yes.


FFS '1d20+9"


Haggle '1d20+9'

Roll #1 2 + 9 = 11


P-pls '1d4'

Roll #1 4 = 4



Roll #1 1 = 1


>10+ difference
So cheap, only 210 silvers for all this amazing stuff!


Well, at least it's something.


Mereghyl takes the offer.


Additional shared XP rewards on top of the ones given during the adventure:
2000 XP for finishing the adventure
200 XP for recruiting Seeker
200 XP for recruiting Chester
100 XP for finding a way to the island of Anafi
500 XP for putting up with Surprise and wiping the floor with her during the dramatic scene
300 XP for keeping your identity and looks entirely hidden from lady Cassicia
200 XP for keeping a low profile during your time in the capital
900 XP for getting everyone in and out alive

TOTAL XP: 4400

Additional shared Reputation rewards on top of the ones given during the adventure:
5 from the adventure’s Menace
Individual Legend scores
7 from completed objectives


Will you add that to the online inventory sheet?


Adventure Two: Dungeon Break

Menace: III

Four days later…

You're on a boat. You've been on a boat following the coast to the east for four days now. The boat isn't very big. It's a cog designed for trading, popularized in the west. The island of Anafi is within reach, you'll get there in just an hour. You're been fortunate not to have run into trouble on the way here. Corsair activity out here is on a sharp rise.

You've decided the village is probably your first best place to go to once you get there.

Arrival on the island will happen tomorrow during the next session.


I would torch any ship foolish enough to attack us.


What do we know about this village?

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12


While I have time I would like to spend some time with good old Mereghyl.

Also with our captain Pomme de Mare


A little knowledge is a powerful thing.

+Tactics Synergy


Roll #1 5 + 8 = 13


I am probably busy being very uncomfortable on a ship way too small for me.


AD '1d4'

Roll #1 2 = 2


"Cousin, it feels like I haven't said two words to you since our little family has been reunited – even if by grim times. Our mutual cousins certainly seem to have grown up oddly, haven't they?"


"What makes you say that Ardy?"


Walk up to you.
"Mereghyl, would you like to carry me for a short flight?"


"Where do you wish to travel?"


"I want to see if we can get a view of the island. Not too close of course, I'd prefer if we can stay unseen."


Snort, amused, at the name.

"It's not my place to tarnish the names of others – though I am troubled by a lack of unity. Marcus seems distracted… though, to be fair, he has a lot on his mind. Niphon, though, called you a rat – I don't mean to peddle in gossip, but it was disrespectful, and I said so. We have enough enemies to be fighting amongst ourselves."


You've been away from Agria for so long, you don't really remember much of this particular small island at all.

You don't know much either, but you're aware it serves as a forward base for rapid naval deployment against corsairs and other sea-based threats. You can expect dromons to be stationed there, which is not the best news considering this cog has nowhere near the speed of a dromon.

The village is a farming and fishing community supplying the fortress with food and whatnot. It's not very rich, but they are reasonably well off.


I look totally stunned.
"What? I never sold out anyone, why was he calling me a rat?"


"I cannot make any guarantees. I am not very well versed at stealth."


"I don't know. That's why I was bringing it up – I didn't mention it to you because I wanted to stir up discord in the family, I just wanted to know if there was trouble between you two."


I sigh.
"I knew Niphon was jealous of me for my time studying aboard, but as far I know I've never done anything to make him feel that kind of betrayal."


"I understand, it is hard to hide in the sky.
But the island is still some miles away. Let's just fly. I wish to speak to you away from the others."


Nod and get you safely 'on board'.
Take off to the sky.


"Well in any case, you have my trust at least. I've been looking at that island on the horizon… It's a naval base, I expect that we will see dromons there – and I had a thought. Marcus said that he had heard the fortress was understaffed, correct?"


Let the wind blow through my hair.
"Peneia was very beautiful, but I always missed having a strong dragon by my side."


Nod. "Yes, that's what we heard. It should hold true still.."


"I missed you too, brother. One could not converse with the others like he could with you."


"I just wish we could have reunited under different circumstances. You did manage to get your whole hoard safe right?"


"I've been thinking about logistics. How many ponies on our side do you think are locked up in this fortress? If they wanted to arrest everyone in the administration – it has to be a lot, right?"


"There are at least two we are trying to rescue, possibly more if their ponies or other family were captured and not killed."


Snort smoke with disdain.
"I will remake my new hoard with the riches of our fallen enemies."


"What I'm getting at is that if we go to the ships BEFORE we go to the prison – we sabotage some – impress, imprison, or impale the crew. We have no reason to worry about being chased. Then, when it's time to leave, we sail out of port on one of those Dromons. Did you know that I have training to command a sea vessel? I could make it work, even with laymen. If we could get a Dromon out and sell it, our funding problems would be over, permanently. We could fund a small army – get this revolution into full gear."


"That we will.
You'll have a bigger hoard than ever before."
Look towards the horizon.
"Soon, we'll have freed Dad."


"Really.. you want to steal one of their small boats then? I seriously doubt anyone will turn over to our side without some kind of payment.."


Nod as I keep a cautious, large circle around the island.
"We came so far, we cannot falter now."


"Are you looking forward to seeing him again?"


"Do you really need to ask? He is as much of a father to me as he is to you. He was there when I hatched, and took care of me ever since."


"A dromon isn't a 'small' boat per se. I mean, relatively speaking. It's bigger than this boat, anyway. But when you think about it – isn't it reasonable? I mean, compared to liberating a Duke and a Lord Steward, liberating a ship is practically a footnote."


"It's weird Mereghyl…
I've been looking forward to meeting Dad ever since I left Peneia, but now that we're so close…I have mixed feelings."


"As long as you can captain it. I've no skill with such things." I confess with a smile. "But the liberating stage, I can definitely help with."


Nod. "I hope you're an able fighter. Mereghyl and Flavia both needed some footwork practice…"


"Are you nervous about no longer being the head of the house?
Or do you just fear he might have already died?"


"No, I believe we'll be in time.
And it's his right to take his place back at the head of the house, but I wonder what he'll think of what I did.
Will he think I did the right thing?"


"I can handle myself, its watching out for everyone else and escorting the prisoners once we save them.. The Mother knows what kind of terrible state they are in.."


"Actually, you pose a good point – there will probably be houseguards imprisoned, but they won't have weapons. We should remember to pick up weapons off of anyone we have to deal with – to arm our allies once they're free."


"You managed to keep the family together and our family members alive."


"Barely. But I hope it will be enough."


"We could stash whatever weapons we loot on the boat we liberate, but carrying a lot of extra would weigh us down."


"Mereghyl is pretty big. How much do you think he could carry?"


I scratch my chin. "We could have him carry quite a few weapons, but I wouldn't weigh him down with armor, armor is pretty heavy."


"The rest we can regain."


"But no such thoughts anymore.
We'll surely be chased by the navy if we try to escape. They could use a little fire when they do."


"It would be my pleasure."


"Surely this is the craziest thing any noble has done in centuries. With a small group of ponies we will try to break into a fortress."


If you wish to talk to any NPC's, now is the time.

The crew on the ship only seems to speak Prench save for the captain, Pomme de Mare.


"Right. Well, for some, armor just gets in the way."



Go see Pomme de Mare, after the dragon ride.


"Still, Chester and I could sneak ahead somehow to get the doors open or deal with the gate guards."


She's at the helm. She seems to be doing a lot of the work herself, letting the crew rest until she needs to rest herself. Her telekinetic abilities are pretty impressive.


"Right. I guess we'll have to land on the island before we know more about what our options are. We'll have to case the area. Maybe Mereghyl can scout from above."


The cat appears next to you, floating in the air with his trademark grin.
"I never get involved in battle."


"We have come prepared. If we can do this, the other families will know to fear us."


"Madame." I say in broken French, I would have asked just that word during our time.
"How long before we expect to arrive?"


"Sure, we should take this chance to talk to the team as well."
"I don't need you to fight Chester. I need you to stay with me and unlock things."


"Ah uh… I expect ze island to come into view on ze horizon within ze next half hour."


"Or they will simply go after us with renewed vigor. Either way, if they find out it was us, and they probably will one way or another, we'll have a target on our backs.
I wouldn't be surprised if they attempted an assassination…"


He floats on his back around you, poking your thief's kit with his tail.
"I can remove the enchantments from the locks, but the picking is yours."


"Hmmm, very well. While we're on the island, where will you be?"




"Hmm I see, all the more reason you should stick with me when we go into the fortress. The others couldn't unlock a child's music box."


"We will have to be on our guard, and if necesarry, not sleep relaxed until we have decimated our enemies."


"No chance we could find some more dragons to help us out?" I say jokingly.


"I am afraid I have spent more time among ponies than among dragons."


"I have a cunning plan, monsieur. Staying near ze island for no apparent reason for days on end would surely rouse suspicion. Ve vill fake damage to ze ship and pretend to be fixing it for as long as you stay."

He purrs.
"Oh… I'm sure."
He stops in front of you, floating in the air in a comfortable sitting position.
"What about the other mage? Surely she will be dangerous."


"Then we'll have to work with that.
I've been thinking Mereghyl, once we've restored our house forces, we'll need somepony to lead them. Niphon seems an obvious choice, he has talent and drive, but I'm not sure if he's experienced enough. He'll need guidance from Adrianos and you."

"That's a good idea. It allows you to stay in the harbor and in our reach."


Scratch his chin and offer him to sit on my back.
"Lets go see her now. But I'm guessing she'll want to stick with Marcus."


Nod, gliding in the air.
"I will do my best to lead him towards success, once we get to that point."


"Exactement. I do hope that if something goes wrong with your business there, you vill not doom us all."

"Who will?"


"Thanks, Mereghyl.
How do you feel about Anthe, she doesn't seem to get along with anypony except me."


"I'm sure if something goes wrong, you'll know fast enough. We're taking measures to prevent the other ships in the harbor to follow us. But it would be best for us to agree to some kind of signal to show on the night we should get ready to leave."


"That mare that Adrianos recruited."

And then I started trotting off to see the mage-hunter.


"She can be bothersome and a nuisance, yes, but it might be just her flawed way of communicating even though she does not try to irk us on purpose."


"Yes, she's quite friendly in her own way.
But she does have an ego. I just hope she'll use her talents for the good of the family and not to hinder us."


"Other ships? You mean to aggravate the entire island, monsieur? Zat is worrying information."

He disappears again as you walk away, reappearing next to you seconds later.
"All her talk of slaying and witchunting has put me off my food on occasion."


Frowning a bit at his random teleporting I give up on him sitting on my back.
"Yes, I guessed that she might try to ruffle your whiskers with such talk."


"I do think she has realized the gravity of the situation."


"If all goes well, that should not be a problem.
I'm merely talking about the worst that might happen. It is not my intention to aggrevate the entire island on purpose."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean her ego is gone."


He doesn't seem like an affectionate type, oh well.
"She hasn't been able to bother me so much."

Seeker is on the bow of the ship, looking up at the seagulls flying about the ship.

"I vould hope not. How long do you expect to stay there?"


"Thinking about something special?" I trot over to sit by her.


"I never said it was."


She looks back at you, her reverie broken.
"… No. Nothing special. I hear we're almost at the island you wish to go to."


"Yes, I was wondering if you'd had a chance to discuss the plan, or had any particular thoughts on it?"


"A few days. A week at the very worst."

"I'm not concerned about her fighting me. I'm concerned about her spreading discord amongst us, even unintentionally. But I have no idea how to deal with that."


What is happening right now?


"It sounds like a political mess, the kind I try to avoid getting caught up in. But if I have to get my hooves dirty to get some attention directed at the right places, I'll do it anyway."

"Very well monsieur. I do hope you plan on paying before ve leave ze island again."


New adventure started, you've been at sea for four days and the ship is nearly at the island.


"Of course.
Do you and your crew do this type of work often?"


"Think of it as trying to save innocent ponies caught up in a power shift. All my uncle did was remain loyal."
"But I more meant to ask, what is your fighting style like? I haven't had the chance to work a mage-hunter before."


She gives you a look which implies this is not a topic she wishes to discuss.

"I've undergone antimagic rituals which have made my body immune to many spell effects. I also know how to turn a spellcaster's power against themselves."


Eh, I've had my talks.
I should visit our new mage-hunter.


"Ah, then you're best suited for leading the attack on the mage, once we can find it."
"I had the idea that once we are inside, I'd have Chester stay with me and unlock as many cells and doors as we can."


She's speaking with Nolin right now.

"Chester, your sorcerer friend, yes? I have a feeling he's not a legal mage in the Circle."
Speaking of Chester, he appears to have faded away again.


Nevermind then


Let's see Anthe


"Perhaps, but he is not a bad mage. You shouldn't judge him so harshly."
I don't mind sharing, We should have a meeting really.


Okay, now I can actually focus.
See how Thalia is doing.


Anthe is trying to enjoy some tea in the galley. Unfortunately for her, Thalia and Chester are here too, both looking rather smug. Anthe seems to be very much not enjoying herself.

"I don't doubt it, but if he hasn't got a permit he could be imprisoned. Not that I'll even bother to try, I don't think he's all here with his mind."

She's downstairs, drinking tea with Anthe and that strange cat creature.


The griffon?


I shrug. "He's a cat, I doubt the laws even apply to him. And aside from that, he's already said he's not a fighter."


"Dear sister, may I join you?"


Hey I'm sitting down for tea as well!




No, an actual cat. Well, he's slightly larger than a housecat, but he looks like one. He also has an unnaturally wide grin on his face at all times, which is sort of odd. Apparently he's a sorcerer.

Marcus comes in too.

Anthe looks like she's sitting in a seat reserved for someone in a very good mood.
"I guess."

Thalia waves at you. "Hellooo!"

"I guess cats aren't technically citizens and thus not under the same laws as us ponies."


Well time to sit down.
"So… Chester, is it?
We hardly spoke, these last few days."


"Hello to you too Surprise.
It makes me happy to see you're getting along so well with everypony here."


"Indeed, so he's not likely to be arrested."
I sigh softly. "Enough about felines, Lets see if we can round up the others and make sure we're all on the page for when we land.. which is soon."


"Oh I've been here… and there. While you were there and here."

"I was just asking Anthe about her favorite food, so let me ask what yours is as well!"

"Shouldn't be too hard, this bucket of a ship is hardly worth its name."


"Then it will hardly be remembered either." I smile and lead her below deck where I guess the others are.


"A spicy salad with eggs."


Look between the 'cat' and Marcus raising a brow.
"So are you saying we are diametrically different?"


Most of them seem to be gathered here for tea.

"Spicy? Why not something sweet? Aren't you a sweettooth?"

He fades out existence, reappearing on your back as he begins to knead at your priestly robes whilst purring softly.
"I really do love these robes."


Sit down and join them.
What is most?
"Greetings, Is it fine if I join you?"


"Not since I stopped being a foal."


Yelp in surprise, but a second later begin petting it like I would a real cat.
"Now, you are just a big kitten aren't you?"


Niphon isn't here. You could fetch him quickly if you wish.

"Don't be so silly, once a sweettooth always a sweettooth!"

You begin petting it, but suddenly your hoof moves through the cat as if he weren't there.


Retract it, kinda scared.


"Hmm, well I don't mind a little something sweet when it presents itself."


Actually I need to talk to him anyway, go find Niphon.


"I think we diametrically different now."

"Seeee, more stuff you have in common with Anthe!"

You find him sleeping in a hammock belowdecks.


"I liked you better when I could pet you."


"Well, we are family so that wouldn't be too surprising."


Sigh and cough a bit.
"Hey, cousin, we're about to make shore. Wake up."


The cat winks at you cheekily.

You hear the captain yelling out some orders to her crew abovedecks.

You hear the captain yelling out some orders to her crew abovedecks.

"Are you and Niphon that similar?"

He opens his eyes a little bit, taking a few seconds to gain his bearings.
"… I'll be on deck in ten."

You hear the captain yelling out some orders to her crew abovedecks.


"Try stay low key for now…"


"Stop by and see your brother for the plan first." I say and go back to where everyone else is.


"Perhaps not, but that doesn't mean we don't have anything in common."


I should fill my dragon sized combat ring with some Necrotic poision


Scrunch at the cat, before turning my attention to the words of the cap.

"Brother… Is this shore?"


"Shouldn't be too long anymore, Flavia."


Moved to >>>/g/136781.

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