/q/ - Quest


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 No.623697[Last 50 Posts]

Character quick sheets: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YtJQBc0iTprzd9tM2Zdwji-tDLlBM9thurgmlLkwa8k/edit?usp=sharing

Notable NPC's: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Et2xW9JB943OTH9r4jrr7nsVreWMQQZEYQvkR0CQHKI/edit?usp=sharing

The crew appears to be busying themselves turning the ship into an absolute mess. The captain is undoing the main sails with her telekinesis while the others knock over all sorts of stuff on deck.

The island of Anafi is visible on the horizon now.


Time to prepare for the coming battle.


W-wait, you don't have to fight now!


Not yet?
Well, I can wait then.


We should recap our plan. So its all clear.


How is a dragon gonna sneak around?


He won't.
He'll fight the ships.
But that's in a few days.
Now we'll just mellow to the village for some recon


Well yeah, a plan recap I wouldn't mind then.


Yes, first let's case our target.


Your current known possible objectives are to:
Free Odyris from the fortress dungeons.
Free Olivia from the fortress dungeons.
Free the houseguards from the fortress dungeons.
Defeat the mage defending the fortress.
Stop any hostile ships from pursuing as you leave the island.

Obviously, there is more to it than this, but that's up to you guys to figure out. You'll be arriving at the village soon, which is located on the other side of the small island, about half an hour away from the fortress on hoof.


I love it.
Time to go upstairs


The captain has replaced the main sails with damaged sails with remarkable speed. These damaged sails have holes and slashes in them, as well as some stains of blood?

Speaking of blood, the crew seems to have splashed some of it on various parts of the ship. Under the warm sun it'll dry up in no time, making the ship look like it's seen battle recently. With this 'disguise' you'll be less likely to rouse suspicion by going to the island to 'repair' the 'damages'.


Great lets get all of us together, say, below deck.
"This is going to be dangerous, so we should take it slow, the first part of the plan must deal with the ships, Adrianos wanted to capture one. Thoughts?"


"How did he plan that without rousing suspiscion?"


"Selling a ship might give us a good amount of gold…"


"That's the brilliant part. An attack on the port would draw defenders out of the keep – allowing for a safer capture of the prisons - preferably by air. I suspect you didn't have any intention of sneaking, did you, Mereghyl?"


"With force." I reply calmly.


Niphon nods, having just arrived.
"That might be an idea, but how do we go about that with all the crew around? There's bound to at least be one crewed ship ready to move out at a moment's notice in case of corsair activity."


"I see. You intend for me to act as a decoy to draw the guards out of the keep, so you will have an easier time to sneak inside.
That is manageable."


"Or the opposite – I can manage the helm of a ship, but I can't fly. How strong are you? Strong enough to airdrop in a small raiding party and capture the prisons? I saw you carrying Flavia, but one pony is much different in weight than a party of them."


"Even with a battle at the docks, I doubt they would not notice a dragon flying inside their fortress."


"There might be other ways to get inside the fort. Perhaps we can bribe a guard in the village. Or get ourselves a disguise."


"That would give you more time to operate."


"Don't forget about the magical defenses in the fortress. There's not much in the way of a garrison, but the mage is an issue."

Seeker speaks up.
"I can help with the mage. I also have a suggestion if we're talking about a fortress. They're likely going to have some kind of way of communicating with other islands and the mainland. Probably messenger pigeons, maybe something else. Getting rid of their ways to communicate will give us time before they scramble a response force from a nearby island."


"Could work.. once we're inside I'll need Chester with me, he'll handle the magical part of the locks and I'll take care of the mundane part."
Nod. "Right, we'll need to learn what we can, and see what kind of disguise would get us inside. If there is a possibly one that lets Mereghyl in too that would be ideal for getting the prisoners out."


"One thing is certain – if that fleet is still above water when we're done inside, we'll have pursuit."

"We need to find out where that mage keeps quarters, too."


"Pigeons.. I suppose finding out where those are kept and killing them would be best."


"I will dispose of them when it is time."

"I doubt that, but I will be here to get rid of their fleet once I know you are done with your part."
Show you the vial of knockout poision.
"I also picked this up in the capital. It might serve you well in there."


"Speaking of infiltrations… a fortress that big is probably well-stocked, but when they're not in a siege, it's likely they still get food from the neighboring town and traders. We might be able to spoil the food with poison – maybe soften up their defenses. And if that fortress has siege weaponry on it, we could use it to destroy some of the fleet out in the port."


"Try to leave one for us to liberate."


"Poison might alert them however…"


"I cannot make any promises, but I will try."


"I like your thinking, Adrianos."
Niphon nods.
"You're right, they're bound to have coast defenses, we could use their own weapons to take out some of the ships present."


"Try to visualize, mentally, fifty times the coin you earned in the capital. That's one ship."

"Something less obvious might make them suspect only food poisoning, hm…"


"Still better to attempt getting you, you could carry the prisoners out on your back."
I accept the vial from you pocketing it.
"Thank you cousin, I'll use this well."


"You would need to signal me some way then. First to initiate the attack on the ships and second to go for the prisoners."


"These are all great plans.
But let's first try to estimate the size of our opposition.
We must also realize that the fort is half an hour walk from here.
It would be safer if we could leave on Mereghyl rather than being exposed while making for the docks. Unless we cause a distraction in the village.


"As I have said, you need only give me a sign to fly for you."


"All the more reason to send Mereghyl to help with the prisoners. I think we should also look for other routes in – drainage routes and the like."


The ship is approaching the docks of the island village. There's curious commoner folk watching from the shore already. The village looks reasonably prosperous… for a community of plebeians.


"Wait – the Dromons here are supposed to protect the entire coast, right? What if we intercept some of their ravens or carrier birds and inform them of an attack up the coast? They're loose a huge chunk of their garrison. Each one of those dromons requires THIRTY ponies to properly sail."


"Perhaps Chester can do that."

"Yes, I'll leave you, Nolin and Niphon in charge of recon. While I and Anthe will try to learn what we can from the villagers."


"Hmm, well we have a rough idea of what we need. So lets try to find a way in, as for the signal, maybe burning a cart of wood would be enough, or ask Chester to do a spell that you'd be able to see.. unless he can teleport that far.."


"That will do."


Niphon looks up at the sails.
"We've already got a supposed attack on our ship to report…"


"Let's remember then what description of our supposed attackers we give to the good gentleponies. Just in case we go that route."


"Pirates are always a good choice. Let's say, Oddomane? That will stir a few pots."


"Arab ponies!"
"Angry seaponies?"
"Undead aquatic mutants."
"Corsairs could work."


"Angry sirens, that way we might learn rumors of actual sirens too."


"Sirens sing, they don't smash a boat to pieces."


"That might be a bit far fetched, they are not very common."


"…..right. Arab pirates then."


Chester appears next to you with a wide grin as you mention the sirens.


Chuckle. "You always know just when to show up, is that a talent unique to cats, or sorcerers? "


"…do you hear everything we say?"


"I was listening to your… plans."

Niphon clears his throat.
"We're docked now."

The captain walks over to you.
"Ve are here, messieurs et mesdemoiselles. Repairs vill start as soon as ve are able, vous comprenez?"


"So, just to be sure, once you need the prisoners to be picked up, Chester will signal me."



"Let's head into town."


"Bien sur."
Time to go outside.

"Will you not join us to the village, Mereghyl? You could always come back here later?"


"I will. I just wanted to make that sure."


"If that fails, we'll light a huge fire or something."
"Thank you, it was a very smooth trip." I smile at her and head off into the village.


"I am sure you will find a way for me to notice."


You disembark from the ship and step onto the small wooden dock connected to the village. You see a few smaller boats docked here as well, but nothing worth calling an actual ship.

A few of the ponies walking about are giving you looks as you head down the dock and into the village. The village is one of moderate size, with buildings placed seemingly at random around a small stream which flows out into the sea. You see a small temple dedicated to the five faiths, a tavern, a general store, an apothecary and a smithy. There's probably more to see further ahead.


Stick to the others for now.


"I guess the other ships must have left."


Ask the others.
"Me and Surprise will pay our respects to the temple, meet you by the tavern later?"


"Or maybe it's not a big port!"


"Hmmm, could be."


Nod. "We'll see you there Flavia."

"where do you want to go first?"


"Not much to see here. Let's go further."


I also want to go deeper


Further on, you spot a small armory, a carpenter and a market square. There really isn't much to the life of these plebs.

Surprise looks at the small temple.
"It looks like it could use some decorations! We should paint it pink and cyan!"


"So far, the tavern seems the best option for casing the place. I wonder if there's a local thieves' den…"


"That'd make a very great deal of ponies sad!"


"The tavern is a good place to start, yes."


I'll go to the market.
'1d20+10' to notice about the market.
"Perhaps, you'd be surprised by what you can learn by just watching."

Roll #1 18 + 10 = 28


"I prefer actively searching!"

Look for shady figures - thugs, bullies, theives, pickpockets, muggers, that sort. '1d20+13'

Roll #1 8 + 13 = 21


"But they're bright colors, they're supposed to be uplifting right?"

There's only a couple of stalls being attended here at the moment, but the ponies seem very interested in you as you are a visitor and thus a potential new client.

In a small isolated community like this these types tend to not fare very well. It doesn't look like there are any such criminals around here.


I'm just walking around.
Any nice things to see?


There aren't any ponies leaving towards the fort now that we got here, are there?


Walk up to a stall as if I were interested in the wares.
"Interesting.. do you make all these yourself, or trade with ships?"


Non-paved roads, piles of pony waste lying on the side of said roads.

It's very likely that some ponies living in this village also work in the fortress as servants and whatnot. It's the late afternoon right now, so they may be returning to the village soon enough.

You approach a mare selling pottery. Amphorae are of course very popular in the empire as ways to store goods, liquids and food. She grins widely as you inspect her wares.
"Oh… I mostly sell these to our farmers and plantation keepers. We don't get much traffic for trade through here, that goes to bigger towns and cities."


"But things like temples are supposed to mean something, and be perfect in their form, to give ponies the fixed point they need in their lives!"


It goes without saying that there is a distinct smell of poo in the air thanks to the sweltering heat.


I just want to assure that we are not given away by a chatty mare or whatnot.


I tilt my head sympathetically.
"Really? Even with that big rich keep nearby you still don't get to trade much?"


If this goes on for long, I might as well retire to the tavern soon.
I presume Anthe already fled there


I want to look for a large farming stall.


"I dunno, it just looks a little depressing that's all. Things that look nice attract more ponies don't they? Just think about the basilica back in the capital!"

That is a possibility. It would probably have been a wise move to come up with a fake name and whatnot together.

"We're pretty isolated, see? I mean we see plenty of ships pass by the island, but our village is pretty small so we rarely get visitors. The fortress gets supplied from the capital I think."

She didn't even leave the ship as far as you saw! Neither did Chester, though he might just be going invisible.

Seeker and Niphon are together, they seem to be hitting it off pretty well.


"We could talk with the head priestess here!"


I should talk to Seeker later, but let Niphon have his time.


There is a stall that sells pottery, one that sells fruits and vegetables, one that sells seaweed and one that sells random junk. The others aren't 'open' right now.


It would have.
I can play it off by speaking draconic and not Equestrian, though.


Fruits and vegetables then. What does the stock look like? Large selection? Narrow selection but a lot of stock?


"Oh, that's a shame. I can just imagine the things you'd be able to make with a bit of imperial material. Even a trading caravan would be a nice thing for your works of art."


"I'll go visit the inn. I'll see all of you there later."
Take my leave to the tavern


"I guess… She better look a little more uplifted than her temple though!"

What shall you do then?

A narrow selection, it seems. Being this far south, the most popular things you'll see grown here are fruits like melons, strawberries, olives and tomatoes as well as vegetables such as onions, cucumbers and peppers.

"Oh that's so kind of you to say… I've wanted to move to Cantria for a while now and start a business there, but it's just so expensive. I don't think I'll ever be able to afford it."

The tavern is smaller than the one you stayed at in Clopantinople, but it's still large enough to accommodate for plenty of ponies wanting to drink away their evening. As it stands, there aren't very many ponies around here at all. You guess many of the townsfolk started working the fields again now that the worst of the heat has passed.


Visit the smithy.


"Maybe she likes it like this!
Not everypony has the money they have in the capital!"
Off we go, to find the priestess!


I suppose.
Order a glass of wine with my supply mone and ask the tavernkeeper what's going on in town.


"Get a lot of business this time of year?"


Nod in acknowledgement of this.
"I'll be there soon enough."

"Really? Have you tried going up to the larger port to try and make more money? Its not that far from here after all."



Roll #1 11 + 10 = 21


The blacksmith's workshop is mostly set up outside. On one hand it doesn't seem like a bad choice given the warm climate, but on the other it leaves you to wonder if working outside on hot days isn't a little too much to handle. The smith is sharpening some older looking weaponry on a grinding stone. His furnace doesn't seem to be going at the moment. Perhaps you could lend him some dragon fire.

As I said, the small temple doesn't look like much, but it does seem well maintained if anything.

Inside, there's benches set up in a circle around a rather beautiful altar. It appears to be shaped out of an oak tree's bark. In the four corners of the temple you spot a shrine dedicated to each of the elements. There's only two other ponies praying here at the moment, one who looks like a farmer, the other seems to be a barbarian judging by her glossy coat. There's a priest of the Mother sweeping the floor as well.

That's ten silvers. Since you're not stressed, it doesn't do much. It is very tasty however, probably made on this very island like most things you'll find in this village.

"What's going on? Well, I guess you folks visiting the village is about the most exciting thing to have happened here in the last week. We've been trying to keep our heads low ever since the civil war started. And even now with those tales of corsairs raiding the coasts we have to be vigilant."

"Ponies gotta eat all year. My sales are the same every month of the year, with the only variation being which type of fruit or vegetable I'm selling. Not that I'm complaining, makes my finances more predictable as long as we don't have a failed harvest."

"Oh I don't think they'd like plebeians setting up shop there… It would be nice to get some extra sales from the sailors though."


"You get business from the fort, though, I'm sure?"


What race is the smith?
And that depends, he might not want the furnace to go… but I'm sure he will ask when he notices me, which isn't hard.


"They grow ever bolder. They've attacked our ship. Praise Aqualia that our crew managed to push them back."



Do not interrupt their prayers, but rather stop by the priest and greet him with a smile.
"Good day brother."


"Sure do, not so much recently but they're still buying plenty. 'Course, we also have to donate food to them on top of the taxes we pay."

Earth pony.

He's certainly noticed you, but he doesn't pay you too much mind. Strange…

He grimaces.
"Where was that? Mother help us if it was nearby the island… you ought to go inform the authorities if it was in Agrian waters."

He nods at you, still sweeping.
"Good day, sisters. Can I be of service?"


Squint my eyes.
I guess I can play dumb… and light his furnace.


"Sorry about the questions, but I'm from the capital, where there aren't as many farms. Is that.. law? Or are they encouraging you to donate?"


"It was just a few hours away." Shake my head. "I'll be sure to inform the authorities…"


"Are you the main chaplain of this church?
Me and my friend Thalia are travelling the land in pilgrimage to pay our respects."


He stops and turns to you, raising an eyebrow as he sees his furnace lit up.
"… Thank ya kindly. But please tell the lord that I can't follow up on his offer. I've got my own business here I can't just abandon."

"I'm no expert on the laws of our theme, but as far as I know we're obliged to supply our lieges with a share of our food during times of war to support the armies. The civil war ended as far as I know, given how the ducal family was driven out of the province."

"Please do, I don't want this place to be caught by surprise next. Damn Arabian scum…"

He smiles gently.
"I'm flattered you'd call our humble little chapel a church. Yes, I take care of the building and give sermons while I am not working on the fields. We're only a small community with little means to get outside help, so many of us fill in several roles."


"Why have the corsairs been so active lately? What's the Doux doing about it?"


"The ducal family was driven out? Then who's in charge of this theme? Some usurper?"


"We will be staying in town for the next few days, and were wondering whether or not you'd like our helping hoof with your flock."


Stare at him and raise a brow.
I'm going to try and use the not-speaking-equestrian ruse, since we didn't come up with a fake name for our family.
I'm sure my inquisitive look will urge him to talk though.


"Hah! Can't say I know, last I heard the mainland was a disorganized mess. Seems like the navy is only doing marginally better. You know, I heard our allies to the west are converging their fleets without us. Meanwhile we're scurrying to defend our own coast with the whole theme going haywire. The Saddle-Arabians must be salivating right now while looking at us."

"I think he's from the same house as our previous doux… but really it's so hard to keep up with politics sometimes and being isolated like this doesn't help. I don't know why this civil war was necessary in the first place, don't we have enough things to fear already that we have to add our own countryponies to the list? Pulling out the majority of the fortress garrison while corsairs are on the prowl? I don't like it one bit. It's a damn shame the late doux had to die such a sudden death."

"Our flock here is not very large, but as a agricultural community we are very much devoted. Without the Mother's blessings, we would be nothing. Us farmer ponies realize that better than anypony else."

He stares you down for a moment, then puts the sword he was holding on the ground.
"If the lord thinks he can intimidate me into agreeing, he's woefully wrong. I'm not going anywhere. Period."


"How many farms are out here on this island, anyway? Just yours – or is there much competition? Or is there a commune?"


"But then… Why the scarce affluence?"


Cross my claws and wrap my tail around me.


"These are interesting times."


"Oh there's a couple. Enough to supply everypony on the island with food. We can't really permit much surplus without trade coming through. It's wasted effort if it don't get eaten before it starts to rot."

He seems a little confused.
"Hm? I'm not certain I follow, sister. I know the temple is not quite as big as the ones you find in Cantria, but we hardly have the means to build such grand structures. Nor do we have any need to."

"If you don't have anything more to offer, then please leave me be. I need to get these old things back into shape before the Saddle-Arabians decide to target us next."

"I don't care much for interesting if it means the province is going to Tartarus. Sure hope those high folks in Cantria have some sort of grand plan to solve this before the whole dam just bursts."


"Will you be here much longer? I need to go speak with the captain of my vessel to see how long we're going to be staying here, but if you're still available after, I'll be interested in a proportionate amount of stock."


Snort some smoke.
Keep watching him though.


"No, words fail me.
What I meant to express was surprise at the small size of your flock!"


"Let's hope so. But I think this island should be safe. There's a large fort nearby."


She perks her ears.
"I'm wrapping up here in about an hour. It's getting late. If you're interested in buying though, I'll be more than happy to supply."

He waves you off and picks the sword back up, getting back to work on the grinding stone.

"Oh, rest assured everypony here is as devoted to the mother as you'll find them elsewhere. However, prayer alone does not show how devout one is. Working in the fields and plantations to survive shows just as much devotion. They are Her fruits we harvest after all."

"A large fortress with a small garrison. To be terribly honest with you, if a raiding party arrives here I don't think they'll be able to muster the force to come out and save us. The navy is really our own defense at this point. Our smith is currently gathering what weaponry he can for the village militia."


"A village militia? It's that bad?"


"It's a matter of numbers – I need to know how much we need logistically. Say, how regular are your shipments to the fort? We were planning on visiting to see the local fare, and it's a long ride up there. If you'd like, we can give you a ride up to the port in our vessel – you'd have to come back the long way when we're done, of course, since we're moving on soon."


"But that's amazing!
Have you shown how appreciative of all this the mother is to them?"


Keep watching him work.
Not like I have much to do as of now.


"Well, we always have some defense of our own to at least slow down any raids while help is on the way… A few of us are veterans of battle, but most of the townfolk have only ever used their pitchforks for farming purposes. That's why we've decided to spend some time making sure our equipment is up to par."

"I ship to them every week. If you can shorten the trip I'd appreciate it, but with a full load it only takes me about an hour to get there on hoof. The way back only takes half that long."

"There's really no need, we're all very close to the Mother and we know it. It's hard to ever forget when you spend the majority of your life completely surrounded by nature."

He continues on sharpening the swords on the stone, stubbornly ignoring you.


"Don't the soldiers of the fort ever come down here?"


Smile again, bowing my head.
"I understand. Then would you mind if me and Thalia went praying by your altar?"


"On occasion. To, ahem, find some company for the night. The servants from the village who work at the fortress are usually not very receptive to their advances since they're of course not allowed to shirk their duties while at work."

"Of course, there's not need to even ask me such a thing."


"Thank you brother."
Off I go, to the altar. Guess I should not worry too much, if things are alright here.
What of the ponies praying earlier?


"Well, I'll speak with the captain about giving you a lift, then."

Go find Marcus at the tavern.


"I see."


The farmer seems to have finished his prayer at the altar. He nods at you in respect as he walks past. The Varangian is praying at the shrine of Ignis still.

"Thank you."

Marcus is drinking some wine whilst having a chat with the barkeep. It's not very busy in here yet.

"I don't blame 'em, some of them find company in the arms of their brothers and sisters in arms, but after months of being stuck with the same ponies I imagine they sometimes want a different pair of hooves holding them for once."


Whisper to Thalia.
"I wonder what she is praying about."


"Marcus, I've come up with something."


"Have a drink and tell me."


She whispers back.
"To the Varangians, the elements are the high gods. They worship them waaaay differently than you guys do. With living sacrifices and stuff! I've see them hold huge parties where they sacrifice prisoners to honor the gods, I don't know about you but that's not my kind of party at all!"


Gulp down in visible discomfort, shaking my head.
And sit down in prayer for a while, just clearing my mind of worry.
Not using S&P.


"Weekly, the fortress brings in shipments of food – and they're willing to hitch a ride with us up to the fortress. We buy off or hold in temporary custody the owner – and we can ride inside stealthily. Old Trojan trick."

Sip the drink.


Thalia sits down with you. You hear hoofsteps behind you.


Flop flop does the ear.


I seriously hope the innkeeper isn't hearing all this.

"Do they bring water and wine to the fort?"


Sounds like the Varangian is leaving as well.

I assumed you waved her off and went to a a secluded table


"Probably. Apparently they're being forced to continue offering their 'military support' even after the war is now effectively over - openly, anyway."


Well that was a good prayer! Now it's time to go and see the world!
Coincidentally, I will see the world in that Varangian path!


"Not surprising.
I was thinking, perhaps if could slip some sleep drought into the wine and water, it might make our task easier, no?"


"When I mention that plan you were concerned that it might cause them to go onto high alert – feeling like it's now worth the risk?"


You mean to follow her? She's now left the temple entirely, heading towards the tavern.


"Now that I'm here, I'll admit I'm beginning to see the wisdom in it."


"Well, the avenue is open to us. Have you found anything useful here?"


Well I can totally not stand out, you know!


"Nothing in particular. A few soldiers come here once in a while, but waiting for that might rouse suspicion. When is the next food delivery?"


"Sometime this week – not today. I'm sure we can have some say in it. Probably a few days when our repairs are 'finished'."


You and Thalia follow her into the tavern. Marcus, Sonja, Karabi and Adrianos are here, talking to each other at a table in the corner. The mare walks up to the bar and orders something.


"How much money do you think our man will need?"


Mh. Okay, I guess she's not different from anypony else then…
Go at Marcus' table and sit down.
"How much did I miss?"


"The farmer? Sounds like a poor peasant. He perked up at the idea of us buying a few radishes."


"Welcome back."


Nod and smile.
"The chapel here is quite nice. They have a really cool altar."


Nod. "All the better."

"We're discussing the option of using a food shipment to enter the fort."


"Perhaps I'll have a look later, for the artistic value. Any revelations about the fort or island?"


Shake my head.
"I really haven't had a look around…"
"Oh. Well, I'm sure you will find out a way!"

Stand back from the table.
"I think me and Thalia should go get one more look at the place! See you guys later, okay?"


"Good hunting."


Look at her leave


I suppose I show up at the tavern about then and see Flavia about to leave.
"Did you forget something?"


To Nolin: >>624147

Mereghyl: >>624178

The rest of you, continue as you please.


Stubbornly keep watching.


"I dunno.. if you looked the part I doubt they'd even know you're a villager until you said so.. But I should be going, it was lovely to talk with you Miss."
I excuse myself to go the tavern to see what the others have learned?


"I'd like to know if Nolin has found anything yet. How long do you want to wait before making our move?"


"A few days at most, we can't stay here too long, it will draw suspicion. And that boat isn't cheap."


I wanna go around and get a feel for this town. See how its inhabitants behave, or if there is any outstanding problem with it, some wrong to right, some frown to turn upside down…
So just start trotting around, with eyes wide open!
"Nuh-uh! I'm just going on a tour of town!"


"That brings me to another point.
It would be most prudent if we can get whatever valuables are in the fort."


"It's a matter of logistics. Even if you steal every coin in that fort, I doubt you'll get half the wealth we'd get from selling just one of those Dromons. If we can wipe out the garrison – sure, we can loot to our hearts' content, but there are limits as to what even a skilled burglar could carry out on a smash-and-grab mission."


He doesn't seem to care, looks like your approach is not working.

It appears that the largest concern of this village are the corsairs whom are threatening the southern coast of the empire. It dawns on you that assaulting the garrison on this island and destroying the fleet may have unfortunate consequences for a village like this. They would have to purely rely on their own militias to defend from any raids, and while you aren't an expert of military matters, it's clear even to you that these villagefolks would most likely not fare well against corsairs.


That would be a straight up evil thing to do!
But maybe not all is lost.
I need to investigate the corsairs!


Maybe if I spread my wings and 'accidentally' block the sun to make it a bit darker for him.
I'm certain he might rant again, and I may even find out who this lord he speaks about is.


Nod as you speak.
"Of course, you're right.
And I'd like to avoid too much casualties if we can.
Let's hope we get a good price for the dromon."


Marcus, Adrianos, Sonja and Karabi are at the tavern. Flavia and her friend Thalia have just left it.

By asking the townfolk? Roll investigate if so.


'1d20+12' I smart!

Roll #1 20 + 12 = 32


And I will activate the crit with TWO action die!


I'll just have a seat with them.
"I'm guessing they didn't have your favorite wine cousin."


"A pity there's no Penneian here.
Did you discover anything, Nolin?"


Roll two d6's


"Yes, I'm interested to hear."


Roll notice. Two times.



Roll #1 4, 3 = 7


Shake my head.
"Nothing important, Just that the villagers and the fort don't really trade between each other.. The fort gets its supplies somewhere else, like the capital."


Look at Adrianos.



Roll #1 17 + 10 = 27 / Roll #2 7 + 10 = 17


I'll spend an action die for the second one

Roll #1 4 = 4


"I've found out a little more. The fort is supplied with food by the local farms – and I've arranged for us to transport that food. We can poison it, or even sneak in inside of it."


Corsair is really just another word for 'pirate' or 'raider'. Corsairs specifically refer to pirates who come from the east, from the caliphates or the Grevyian tribes. It sounds like the ones who have been very active around the southern shores of the empire are mostly Arabians, which is a rather peculiar 'coincidence'. Corsairs will hit ships and villages, looting their worth and taking prisoners for ransom money.

There's little doubt that the corsairs have some sort of base of operations on an island within striking distance of the empire. The most likely candidate for that seems to be the Skyrosian archipelago to the southeast of here. Skyros was once a Trotantine state like so many in the empire, but it was swallowed by Saddle-Arabia after a disastrous naval defeat which destroyed most of the Agrian, Peneian and Saddlonican fleets. Recently however, they rebelled against their Arabian overlords and attained independence.

You notice there's a barbarian mare observing you from across the street with some interest. Judging by her clothing, she's a Varangian priestess. What catches your drake eyes the most is her coat, which is very glossy and gemlike. A fleshy gem? That can only taste delicious.

You can roll a knowledge check to see what you know about this particular religion.

Secondly, you also catch something large flying around in the distance from the corner of your eyes, near the fortress.


"Really. When are we supposed to do that?"


Knowledge roll
Turn my head slightly, to give her a better look, but then try and focus on the flying thing near the fortress. What is it?

Roll #1 19 + 5 = 24


Did I learn something about the size of those raiding parties, or how long they have been going on for?


The Varangian faith held by the viking ponies from the high north revolves around worship of the four elemental gods. Ignis, Aqualia, Terra and Aer are their gods, though with different names assigned to them. To be sure, they are seen as heathens by the church of the Mother, as their method of elemental worship involves living sacrifices and other gruesome practices.

All in all their religion is far from peaceful. Ignis is often seen as the main god of the pantheon, being seen as a god of war, fire and death. More interestingly to you, perhaps, is the fact that Ignis is often depicted as a dragon.

They usually will use galleys to get around quickly, with raiding parties only containing a couple of ships. Corsair raids have been a thing for centuries now, with periods of varying activity and intensity. The last two weeks have seen a remarkable spike in activity.


As for the creature flying above the fortress, it looks to be a dragon to you. You're not entirely sure which species it belongs to as it's too far away to see with the naked eye.


That would explain her interest in me.
Still, I will investigate her only after I managed to find out what is flying around the fortress.


It's decided. We sail for the Skyrosian archipelago!
I will make those raider forsake their evil ways!


"When it becomes convenient. Shipments are regular – weekly. We can take it at our leisure."


If you remember your geography lessons, a journey to reach the Skyrosian archipelago from here by ship would likely take two to three days.



"We were discussing the possibility of poisoning the drink as Adrianos proposed. What do you think?"


Well yes, but we are doing this after we take the tower!
I'm sure brother Marcus will have no objection whatsoever!
Tell Thalia how we are gonna walk there with freshly baked goods made 100% from bio products, get everypony around a big table and talk away their pirate problems!
"It's a genius plan, no?"


"Uh… maybe? I like your optimism more than your plan though!"


"I think its possible.. but unreliable, we have no way to ensure they'd drink it all once, or that some guard wouldn't sample it hours before meal time because he wants to make sure he gets his share… And if they discovered it, the mage would certainly be on alert "


I see… another dragon… and it might be against us. That is not good.
How big does the other dragon seem to be?
At least compared to myself?


"If only there was a way to make sure…"


Not much bigger than you, but it's hard to judge from here.


Hmm… that is concerning.

Is the mare still staring?


"We can't just leave them to the raiders' mercy!"


"Yes.. well, If we were the servants that served and kept the wine we would be able too.."


"You are quite good at disguising yourself."


"If we make the delivery all the way to the kitchens, we could replace them. Although I don't like adding extra risk to the plan. What if someone recognizes Marcus?"


She's not so much staring as she is observing you trying to intimidate the smith.

"Look I don't know how to solve that problem either okay? I'm not used to all this thinking ahead stuff!"


I was just curious about the smith.
Let's see if she gets intimidated easily though.
Stand up and go across the street, where she is, and settle down beside her, without a word.
Wrap my tail around myself, and make sure to display my claws properly. Get a good look of her gem coat too.
Intimidate '1d20+12'

Roll #1 12 + 12 = 24


"Risk of putting them on alert, or missing the chance altogether because they ate at a different time than we expected.. is almost as bad as getting caught. I could make sure no one will recognize us, or we could try to bribe someone to make sure for us."


Keep in mind that due to the adventure's menace, all NPC's are a level higher than you are.

Rolling for her resolve.

Roll #1 3 + 16 = 19


She backs away as you approach, but doesn't look away. Her coat is azure blue, almost like a sapphire gem.


"Let's think about this a different way. Even if we succeed in poisoning part of the guard, how much would that be? A few patrols?"


Heh. Good.
Lower my head slightly and snort some smoke, not directly at her though.


"Well I'm not gonna let the ponies of this town suffer because of my father!
Let's go see Marcus! He will know what to do!"



"Right, we might need to talk to someone who actually knows about the routine of the fort."


She speaks up, talking in a language familiar to you. It's Draconic, a common language shared by drakes and dragons alike all over the world. It's quite possibly one of the most spread out languages in existence.
"Did you come from the fortress?"

"There's no way of telling whether or not they'll target this village! It doesn't look that valuable to me!"

They're still here, though the barbarian mare seems to have left by now.


"If we can, if we can't we'll have to go in without any poison. The reward should be worth the risk."


I am still surprised ponies can learn it so well, too.
"I have not. Have you?"


"If they have been coming this way when there was a fortress, imagine what they will do when there is not one!
That will make a lot of smiles disappear forever!"
Interrupt them in a panic.
"Marcus! We must stop!"


Seeing you distressed I stop and look at you.


"If we do what we want to do…"
Look him deep in the eyes and frown, but quiet my words to a whisper.
"We are gonna get all these ponies in trouble!"


"What do you mean?"


"But there's way more other targets now because of the civil war's chaos!"

It's fairly unusual for ponies to know the language. Or indeed any non-dragon to know the language.
"No. I've come here to relieve my battle brethren and sisters."


I get a little closer with concern.
"What did you find out?"


"Your battle brethren and sisters? And who might those be?"


She nods towards the fortress.
"Those who await their death in the dungeons of that fortress. As Varangians, I've come here to request they die a honorable death in combat rather than face execution. So far my requests were denied."


Be a touch sarcastic.
"What if they deny all requests? Will you storm the gates? Free your siblings and fight to your ends?"


Group them up in a big conspirator hug!
"Pirates attack this town already! Imagine without the fort!"




You were discussing your plans in the local tavern of the village. Since most ponies are still at work there aren't many other patrons here, making it easy to get away from prying eyes and ears. Evening will fall soon and the villagers will begin returning to their village.

Anthe is still on the ship last you saw, hiding from the smell of pony waste lying out in the streets under the sun. Niphon and Seeker were together last you saw. Chester has of course disappeared from sight, though he likely isn't far away. Surprise is here with Flavia. Karabi and Sonja are with their partners.

"Not a chance. Perhaps their battle brothers and sister will though. They fear for their kin dying outside of combat."



Point towards the fortress.
"I saw a dragon flying over there. I assume that dragon is with you as well?"


She shakes her head coldly at you.


Ah, we were still whispering in the corner.
"..Maybe there is another way to approach this, if they are short staffed because of these pirate attacks, we could present ourselves as pirate hunters as a way in."


Raise an eyebrow.
Sense motive.
Is she lying?

Roll #1 12 + 12 = 24


An action die for good measure to make sure.

Roll #1 2 = 2


"I see pretty much no way that we get out our prisoners without seriously damaging the local garrison. It just won't happen. But the lives of these civilians will be better once legitimacy returns to the throne of Agria."


She's definitely not lying.

Sonja nods.
"We've come all the way over here already, too late for second thoughts if you ask me. This is war, we can't avoid hurting anybody forever."


Furrow my brows.
"Is that dragon serving the fortress then?"


"She doesn't just serve the garrison. She's the commander of the garrison. A dragon mage is no laughing matter, she's both pony and drake."


"I see..If you want to go with just sending in poison, a delayed effect would be best so that they don't panic immediately."


Shake my head.
"That is a shame."


"Is it?"

"There's an apothecary in town, we might be able to purchase poison there. But how do we know when they'll have eaten the poisoned food?"


"As I see it, we have two things left to do – we need to actually get a look at the premises, ideally make a map – and see if anyone else here works there. Maybe we can learn more from them."


That second reply is Sonja speaking, didn't mean to make it all orangy.


"Is it not? With her guarding your battle siblings, you would need serious help to free them."


I'm here.
As always.


"Alright, lets go see if we can find a servant pony."
"ideally by being there, or someone else being there for us."


"I came here to request them to be allowed to die in trial by combat, not to forcibly free them. That's not my intention."
You suspect this mare is some kind of a shaman or a seer of sorts.

Your cousins are discussing what to do.

"Someone like you? Or that strange cat of yours?"


"And should they deny all requests and order them to be imprisoned all their lives or be executed?"


"I'm going to see if I can find anyone's that works up at the keep, will you be here, or back at the boat?"


"When will you explore the premises? When it's dark?"

"I'll be here if you need me."


Where can I go in this place again?


"It's a pity that spyglasses are so expensive. We should try to nab one while we're inside. But I suspect the fort will not be cordoned off – we can have a walk around the outside. Might even just try to walk in the front gates – I have some pull with the military given my rank you know."


"Then they may find themselves facing a host of angry viking raiders in a few weeks. The Varangians in there have friends, siblings, parents… they would perceive execution as a grave insult."

The fortress is located about half an hour away from here on hoof.


"There are rumors of that…. as well as rumors of other dissatisfied relatives of ponies who are imprisoned there."


"I'll be waiting here. I doubt I'll be of much use scouting and I want to talk a bit more to your friend Seeker."


"It all sounds like a recipe for death to come no matter how you look at it. It remains to be seen whether or not I can convince the mage to agree to my request or be confronted with a fleet of longships on her doorstep. Either way works for me."


Well.. Okay, I'll go and look there.
What could go wrong.
I'll disguise as a blue common pony instead of my right color just to sure. '1d20+11'

Roll #1 13 + 11 = 24


"Fine. But but before I go, I need you to pick striking date."


"As soon as possible. Tonight or tomorrow if we can."


"Let's say tomorrow, then. I'll let the farmpony know."

First head back to the stand.


An easy disguise for you. You've got it on now.

The salespony is packing up by now, but she's still at her fruit and vegetable stand.


"I see.
Do you think convincing the mage will work? What do you know of her?"


Alright, time to get walking to this keep. Watch for anyone on the road there too.


"We're headed up tomorrow, if you'd like to ride with us."


Is Seeker around?


Not here, she's off with Niphon somewhere.

"Very little, but I hear she is very short tempered."

"Tomorrow already? Well… that's a bit early but I guess I'd be stupid to turn down a free ride there. What are you getting out of this though?"

You come across a group of ponies on the road from the fortress! Looks like servants returning home after their shift.


My, my.
Let's see if I can't find them.
Can I take a 10 on that.


"Many dragons are. An agressive mage who is a leader of a garrison…"


"It's the Empress's hospitality. I'm from the capital because I'm a member of the honor guard."


I stop and greet them.
"Hello, good evening. Do you live in the village?"


They've left the village, it seems. Somepony saw them walk away together. If you know your brother, he's likely scouting out the area.

"I don't think you're here without reason. What does your presence here mean?"

"Uh… right. This isn't some kind of a trick, is it?"

They look at each other, a little confused about your presence.
"Yes we are. Who are you?"


"No, we have every intention of dropping you off with your goods harm-free once we arrive, and that's the honest truth."


Dear me.
I'll have to talk to them later tonight.

Mmmmm, go to the chapel.


"It is a mystery."


"I'm a traveling mercenary, Jirul, I heard you have a pirate problem and thought there might be work up at the keep.. Is that where you work?"


"Well… I guess there wouldn't be much point in abducting a simple salespony like me. Not like I have much of worth at all."

You pass by Mereghyl talking to some sort of Varangian shaman.

The temple here is very simple looking, but clean. There's a priest here, sweeping the floor with a broom. Aside form the altar dedicated to the Mother, there are also four shrines dedicated to the elementals, one in each corner of the building.

I suppose it doesn't matter then. I wish you like with the solving of your mystery. If it happens to involve a certain group of Varangians in trouble, I'm sure it would please the mighty Ignis.

"A pirate hunter?"
"We're just simple servants, not soldiers. We work to keep the fortress clean and its many mouths happily fed."


"I am sure it will."


Walk to the statue of Aqualia


"Ah, well I like to know who I'd be working for, potentially, could I walk with you and hear about your time there?"


"Glory to those who die in battle."
She turns away from you and walks off.

Aqualia's shrine has a little water fountain with a small pedestal serving as the foothold of a statuette depicting the goddess. Typical Trotantine art, shaped out of white marble and showing off her naked physical beauty. She's depicted as a beautiful seapony here.

"Sure, I guess. The fortress actually belongs to house Arravani who built it here almost two centuries ago. Many members of the doux' family spent time here over the centuries, but ever since the civil war on the mainland it's been solely used as a military platform. Aside from the garrison, there are no guests there at this time. I'm sure the new doux will come down some time in the future, but right now he must be far to busy."


Is there a traditional offering of sorts?


I should find Marcus.


I nod along with them.
"So they have a wise a Arravani in charge here now? Must be pretty boring with no guests.. I suppose that makes its even harder on you, since they need less of your care and give you orders simply because they are bored?"


You could try some fishfood.
Followers of Aqualia will often look for beautiful seashells on the beach to leave them in shrines dedicated to Aqualia like these.

You saw him pass by and head into the temple just now.

They look at each other awkwardly as you mention the Arravanis. They must be aware that Olivia Arravani has been locked in the dungeons of the fortress.
"Well… no. The pony in charge of the fortress' garrison right now is an appointed commander. She's not a member of house Arravani."


Follow him nearby the temple and subtly get his attention.
If possible.


I look surprised.
"..Oh? That sounds rather alarming. Who is the lucky lass that got appointed?"


He's inside the temple.


I'll walk out to get some shells.
"Mereghyl. Where you looking for me?"


I'll just wait outside then.


"Lady Alirva. She's part of the Mage Circle and allied to house Arravani. You really don't want to mess with her."

"Should I go get you some pretty seashells?"
Karabi asks with a slight mocking tone to her voice.


"Karabi. I didn't know you cared." I respond in a mocking voice.


I chuckle. "They sent a mage to lead the garrison? And one with a pretty name like that? I bet you're pouring half-water pitchers to the men after only two days! "


With a few powerful flaps of her wings, she flies off to collect some nice seashells.

"Eheheh… She doesn't fool around."
"Yeah, she's actually pretty scary."
"She's powerful enough to turn into a dragon, I think she'd eat anypony who makes her angry. And she has a short temper."
The servants collectively gulp.



I'm here

Aw, how sweet, she didn't have to.


"A full dragon? …you sound like you've seen it before.." I reply with a voice full of concern and look them over for burn marks.
'1d20+1' search I suppose?

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Nod and motion you to the side.
"I have discovered a few intruiging facts."


Look around.
"Perhaps we can fly up and discuss them in the clouds where no one will hear us."


You don't see any burn marks.
"Well yes, sometimes she goes out on patrol in dragon form. She's snapped at us a few times too. Errr… her mood can shift pretty quickly, if you know what I mean."


Shake my head and lower it near you.
"There is a good chance we would be spotted by their dragon as I have spotted her flying around the fortress."


"I see. Let's walk then.
Tell me about this dragon, why is she here?"


Walk with you.
"She is the mage. She is also the commander of the garrison."


"…I see..I'll have to be careful around her.. Do you suppose that she'll be here for a long time or will a new Arravani be arriving?"


"That…is very unfortunate…You have talked to her?"


"Of course not. How would I explain my presence here? I saw her from a distance. I have learned this from a Vagarian who spoke draconic."


"This is disconcerting news…
This Varangian, does he work with that mage?"


They shrug.
"They don't tell us this stuff. We haven't heard anything about any guests arriving so unless there's a surprise visit I'd wager not. I hear things are still chaotic on the mainland."


"She does not. She wants to negotiate with the dragon to let the imprisoned Varangians out. She said if they were to be executed, their people would attack the fortress with a fleet."


Perk my ears.
"Really now? Perhaps she could be a valuable ally…"


'1d20+8' sense motive on that.
This counts as a session, so I can cold read one of these guys? If so.. Did he work for the old noble house? Does he have any addictions? What is his favorite drink?

Roll #1 19 + 8 = 27


"They thrive in a fight. They wish to die in battle. Freeing and arming them might be a good idea."


"If this shaman could call this fleet in at the right time, it would make our escape easier.
Not to mention it might draw suspicion away from us."


"They would not arrive for weeks. We do not have that kind of time."


You think they genuinely are unaware as plebeians.

You can Cold read. Short sessions will not always count as full sessions, sometimes I'll consider two sessions to be part of the same session.

He has been working for house Arravani for years, just as he said.
He's quite fond of alcohol, but it's not quite an addiction yet. The stress might make him develop one though.
He loves Peneian red wine, but unfortunately for him it's very expensive.


"That's unfortunate. But we can still turn this to our advantage. The execution is planned in a few weeks. Have you discussed the possibility of freeing them with her?"


"She would rather try diplomacy instead, which will more than likely fail. We need to convince her to get those fleets right away if we want to save Father."


"I doubt there'll be time.
However, we'd be doing her a favor by freeing them. It's only right she'd repay us in some way or another."


"….or she'd rat us out as leverage to free those Varangians…"


"That still leaves the problem of the garrison master. Supposedly she can shapeshift between being a dragon and a pony."

"I was brief and did not tell her my purpose here."


"No, but we can hardly discuss favors with her without revealing our purpose…"


"She can do that? My, such an useful skill."


Raise an eyebrow that should say more than enough about you telling me how useful that is.

"Perhaps we shall not in that case."


"We could use that army ourselves.
Besides, if she wants them back, we can still discuss repayment afterwards."


"That is what I had in mind."


"Good work, Mereghyl.
This is very valuable news."


Simply nod.


Turn to you.
"Is there something on your mind?"


Look in the distance.
"I have a troubled feeling about all of this."


"I know what you mean.
This will get dirty."


"I know that. That is not what worries me."


"What's troubling you then?"


"I cannot say. Something foreboding."


"Whatever is coming. We'll deal with it."


Nod again.



As for the rest of you, evening is falling and thus the plebs return from their fields, farms and plantations after a day of hard work under the sweltering sun. Even the village's foals seem to have helped out for the day. Despite their work, they still seem energetic enough to spend their evening running around playing games. The tavern begins to fill up with ponies looking for some refreshments even as the temperature begins to slowly drop to more tolerable levels.

You should probably get something to eat. You could try the tavern or just eat some of the ship rations. As for sleeping, you'll need to stick to the ship or try and find someone in the village who has an actual bed to spare.


I'll get some food at the tavern and observe the plebians.


I need to find out if the inn has meat or not.


I think that's enough for right here.. Joyfully smile at him.
"Ah I should get going, perhaps I'll see you at the tavern after I secure a job at fort? We could celebrate over wine. I do hate to drink alone."


I assume you'd like to use bribe money for that. A meal for Karabi too?

The plebs are enjoying their time off and winding down from their work day thanks to their drinks and warm meals.

No meat, but there is fish.

He licks his lips.
"Maybe we could if the prices haven't gone up again."


Fish again… is it at least different fish from what the ship had?


Nod. "I'll look for you tonight then."
And trot off to the fort.


Yes, for Karabi too.
Any sight of Seeker and Niphon?


"I've finalized the arrangements to make that delivery tomorrow. Meanwhile, I was thinking of heading up under cover of night to scout the fort."


This is flounder, as opposed to the seabass they gave you on the ship. You should be used to eating a lot of fish by now, it's quite popular. Even ponies eat it at times, though not very often.

They continue on making their way to the village.

You run into Seeker and Niphon about ten minutes later, seems like they went scouting too. They don't recognize you, of course, not paying any heed to a random passerby.

Doesn't look like it. Seems like some of the fortress servants have arrived back in the village though, a few of them heading straight for the tavern.


"I think Seeker and Niphon have already scouted the fortress. actually."

I'll go to the tavern as well.


I see. Go over to them. "Ah, a fine day for a walk."
Can we see the fort from here?


You are at the tavern already.


From the way you wrote that it seemed like I was outside somehow.


Meat still tastes better though.
I guess I will go with the fish at the inn.


Yes you can, it's peeking out from behind a hill up ahead.

They nod politely, but keep walking. Probably don't want to talk to any locals.

From the way I wrote it, I meant that you can see them approaching the tavern through magical holes filled with glass that surround the room you're in.

You've replenished your need for food with a common meal. You're good until tomorrow.


It seems progress doesn't stop.
Tell me about these servants. Do they stand out from the crowd?


I suppose I should retreat to the ship then.


"Convenient for us, then. What's on the menu here?"


Oh, so no one else is here? Catch up to them and walk with them.
Whisper to niphon "not interrupting anything am I cousin?"


They're still wearing their uniforms, so they certainly do. Tidy and well-kept uniforms as opposed to the drabs the farmer ponies wear.

The crew has stopped 'repairing' the damage for their evening meal for now. Looks like the brought in some local food during the day for the sake of variety from their usual rations.

There's only a few different types of meals here, some more filling and expensive than the others. Still cheap for a patrician of course, they mostly serve plebs here after all.

He does a double take.
"Nolin? That's you? You're looking more blue than usual. Afraid somepony will recognize you?"


Watch some of the crew members just going about their daily lives.


"The salad's not too shabby."

Study their faces.
Maybe one of them seems troubled or financially bad of…
Sense Motive '1d20+10'

Roll #1 1 + 10 = 11


I laugh. "Why yes, always, I thought I could get closer to fort if I could walk around without worry about it."


"Salad it is, then."


They're eating and chatting with one another. It's in Prench though, which you don't understand.

Activate critfail.

You carefully look some of the servants over, none of them seem bothered though they do look fairly tired. You're about to give up when you make eyecontact with a pony you recognize. That mare used to live in your family's home! Back then she was just the child of one of your maids, but it appears that over the years she picked up the same profession as her mother. It seems she recognizes you too as she looks surprised at first, then a little worried. Excusing herself to her colleagues, she quickly leaves the tavern.

"Right. Seeker and I did some scouting already. We found a thing or two, but there are some… errr… complications."

A common salad for the noble pony. You're filled on food until tomorrow.


"Adrianos, I know that mare that just left!"
Get up.


"More complicated than how you're not holding her hoof right now?" I grin cheekily.


"Know her? What, you think she recognizes you?"




I have many years yet to learn all these curious languages.


"You stay here – no need to have her point you out to guards. Let me talk to her. You have a room? Finish your dinner there."

To the door – at a fast walk. I don't want to sprint unless I think she is.

Is she in sight?


"I have no room, I'll be at the ship."

Go for the ship.


Neither of them look amused by your implications. They're definitely not the biggest jokesters in the empire, that's for sure.
"Is that supposed to be funny? Look, we actually may have found a secret escape route that leads in and out of the fortress. The problem is that most of it is flooded right now. We can't really say for sure how long this tunnel is, but it does seem to lead straight to the fortress."

She's walking away from the tavern at a brisk pace. No telling what she'll do now. House Hippoi has been officially banished from Agria after all, your presence here is punishable by death.

If nothing goes wrong during the following days. You see Marcus coming towards the ship as well.

Mereghyl is here, watching the crew eat their dinners.


Is Anthe here as well?


I should not think of such a bad outcome.


Move faster than her, but don't break into a run.

Where is she headed? Residential? Farms?


"That's great work. I wonder if chester can do anything about removing water. I suppose you haven't been inside then?"


Not on deck. She's probably having a bad time in this place and hidden down below deck.

Then you better hope your allies are doing their jobs well to prepare for this job.

Roll Blend versus her Notice first '1d20+8'

If she spots you, she'll break out into a gallop.

"No, not a hair of him to be seen. There's more though, this place has a dragon guarding it. I'm sure you've noticed it circling around the fortress earlier?"

Roll #1 17 + 8 = 25


I believe in their abilities.


Let's go see her.
I wonder if she has eaten yet.


"Ah, about that. The dragon is actually the mage we were warned about, and she's acting commander of this fort."


Marcus heads downstairs, below decks.

You indeed find her downstairs, eating a sober meal with a somber look on her face. Chester is here too, grinning away with a cup of milk held in his paw.

Niphon blows his breath and moves a hoof through his mane.

Seeker raises an eyebrow.
"That makes things even more complicated. Spellcasters I can handle, but I've never been called to fight a damned dragon."


Can I get intimidate her into holding still?

"Halt! Imperial guard!" +2 for no apparent risk?


Roll #1 5 + 9 = 14


"If she's really a dragon, maybe Mereghyl could help out, would you mind filling him in on this when you get back?"


Resolve '1d20+4'

Roll #1 13 + 4 = 17


She's not giving in and starts running for it.


Probably to visit someone.


"Hello, both of you."


Free action, push it to the limit. '1d20+10'

Roll #1 13 + 10 = 23


How far away? I need to know; that affects my action


"Sure we will. We're hungry so we're going back for some food now."

Anthe glances back at you.
"Oh, it's you. Can we leave this place yet?"

Trained soldier versus servant plebeian. She doesn't stand a chance and you quickly overtake her.
"Leave me alone!"

You do take '1d6' damage.

DC for Push Limits is 20. You overtake her in less than a minute so there's no problem.

Roll #1 6 = 6


"I'm afraid not.
But the plebs have a certain charm to them."


"Alright, see you later. I'm meeting a new friend there for drinks after I'm done here." I trot on towards the keep.


She groans and buries her face in her hooves.
"It's just awful, there's poo on the streets and everything. How do these ponies live like such animals?"

They continue on their way as you head further towards the fort as well.

The fort itself is quite big, being surrounded by a tall set of walls to defend against land attacks. You see there's heavy weaponry present on the walls themselves. Scorpio's, arbalests and even small catapults. No doubt these are used to deadly effectiveness when launching flaming projectiles at any ships attacking the fort.

The harbor is connected to the fortress and you spot four dromons docked there. Bearing in mind that one dromon requires a crew of thirty to be at optimal performance, there must be at least 120 sailors present here right now.


"They're farmers. They don't know any better. This is how they live."


"An innocent pony has no reason to run from a guard. Now settle down – what's the matter?"


That's quite a formidable force. Lets see if I can get even closer, perhaps there is a gate?




"It's disgusting. I can't wait to leave this dump."
She pulls up her nose.

This is not even counting the garrison present at the fortress itself. Good thing it's not at full strength right now.

There's a gate to which the road you're taking right now leads to. There's also a gate between the fort and the harbor… that could be useful.

"I don't trust you, we don't have guards in the village!"
She glances around, trying to find an opening between you and Sonja.
"And you're not from this village or the garrison either!"

Marcus got recognized by a former Hippoi servant. Adrianos has gone after her. Nolin is out scouting out the area around the fortress. Niphon and Seeker have done the same.


"The plebs spend so much time among their animals, they act a bit like it. It's just the way these simple ponies are."
Turn to Chester.
"Have you been avoiding the plebs as well, Chester?"


That's dreadful.
We should totally give her guidance and love, once we catch her.
But in the meanwhile, I'm gonna go and look around town. You know, if we are scouting the fort I just had an idea.
Where is Marcus right now?


"Indeed – as I said, Imperial Guard. We're in from the capital to investigate reports of piracy. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"


Certainly, ways out are important, anyone guarding those gates?


"I've been… about. Your mage friend is slightly more intimidating than I anticipated."

Or to keep the sailors outside.

There's certainly ponies on the wall, that much you can make out. You also notice a faint glow around the fortress… as you come closer and closer you realize that this must be some kind of a magical forcefield, the one Victus was talking about! It's colored a soft pink and can only be faintly observed.

He's gone belowdecks of the ship after leaving the tavern.

"W-What? I'm just a maid! I work at the Anafi fortress!"


"Now, now, let's not get excited – it sounds like you just panicked. So what's stirring you up so much?"


Come find him.
"Brother, I have a great idea!"


Huh, what happens if I touch it?




"The dragoness?"

"Please join us, Flavia.
What's on your mind."


"There's a pony in the village who shouldn't be here. And if he's here there's surely trouble to come!"

Marcus is talking with Chester.
Anthe is here too, looking a bit somber.

It starts right outside the wall in front of the gate. It feels like a solid surface, your hoof tingles slightly as you touch it.

"The dragoness. She was unanticipated."



Bow my head in greeting for Chester, too.
"Brother, I might get to take a tour of the keep!"


"That's great, how have you managed that?"

"Indeed, I'd like to discuss that with Seeker when she gets back."


I see. So I can't pass the barrier at all?


"Well, we haven't yet, but…
If we say we are from the capital, and want to give last rites to the prisoners, they might let us in!"


"You'll have to forgive me, but you're being very vague."

Let's slowly walk her off the main street as we talk.

"Are you talking about some pirates?" I ask in a hushed tone. "Are they blackmailing you?"


"That's a good idea.
You might be able to send a message as well for them to be ready for their escape."


Nod veemently.
"Do you want me and Thalia to go right away?"


"I hope you weren't expecting me to take down a dragon. That would be a nasty business."

That's correct.

You hear someone shouting from up on the walls above.
"Pony at the gate!"

A pegasus guard glides down and lands in front of the gate, but still behind the barrier.
"Who goes there?"

"No! He's been banished from the realm because his family was found guilty of treason! Who knows what he's planning, he could be here to take revenge on Agria!"

Niphon and Seeker have arrived back at the village now and come to find you.
"Mereghyl, we've got a dragon problem as it turns out."


"No, we have a bit of a situation. I'd like you to stay here until Adrianos returns."

"No, you're here for the opening of lock, leave the dragon to us. How did you find out about the dragoness anyway?"


"Okay, listen, I'll look into this matter personally – but I don't want you spreading stories around and panicking civilians. If you're right, it could throw the town into chaos just knowing about him being present. Do you think you could come back with me – calmly – and point him out if you see him? If you can't do it calmly, then it's best I handle it myself."


"The dragon in the fortress? She is the mage and the leader of the garrison."


"What happened?"


"Jirul Ironhoof, Traveling Pirate hunter." I say proudly. "I must say you have a fine keep here, perhaps I heard wrongly and you have no need of such a pony as I?"


"I saw somepony in town. One of our former servants, I fear she recognized me. Adrianos is looking for her."


"She was flying around above the fortress. As a show of power more than anything I believe."

"… How is this your concern? You're not an Agrian guard! They're the ones who should be enforcing the laws here!"

"Niphon said so. Do you think you could take her on? I might have a few ideas now that I've seen the fortress closer by."

"Pirate hunter? And you're arriving by land? By Natura, where have you come from?"


Gasp and take a step back!
"If she told somepony…"


"You're going to walk an hour to the fortress and an hour back and HOPE that he's still here all out of distrust of the Imperial guard? This coming from somepony who flees guards who are just trying to protect the people? And for some reason you don't want me to arrest this 'criminal' that will cause 'chaos'? What's your ulterior motive here? I can tell you're not being honest with me."




"She seems to be larger than me, but I can try. Size is not the only factor."


"I am just coming back from turning in a few bounties to the city, passing through your village I heard of a ship that was attacked so…" '1d20+11' bluff roll just to be sure

Roll #1 17 + 11 = 28


"I believe so as well.
Have you seen the fort as well?"


"I spotted some heavy ranged weaponry on the walls which they no doubt use against ships and in case of aerial attacks on the fortress. If we could get on there, perhaps we could help you take down this dragon with heavy bolts and the like."

"I… if they catch him, he'll get executed. I don't want that to happen either. But he can't stay here and cause trouble for our village!"
She looks around and lowers her voice.
"Look… I'm not supposed to be telling this to anypony, but his father is locked up inside the fortress dungeons. It can't be a coincidence that he's here in our little village, I need to warn the garrison in case he's planning some kind of an assault to rescue his father."

He looks alarmed.
"A ship attacked? When did that happen? And where? You've docked at the village then?"

"It is protected by a powerful magical bubble, as you predicted."


"Very good idea. Aim for her wings. That would give me quite the advantage."


"Indeed. I want to stay here so we can flee if we get discovered."

"Can you breach it?"


I nod slowly. "Yes, a ship was attacked and had to dock at the village, I just heard about it today actually. I think they were coming from prance or something?"


Seeker pipes in.
"Even as a dragon, she still has those arcane energies stored in her. I could do a lot of damage with my anti-mage battle techniques."

"Please, remember who you're talking to."
He purrs.

He lets out a string of curses and quickly flies up.
"Stay put!"

A couple of minutes later you see two other pegasus guards fly through the barrier overhead, heading towards the village. The pegasus guard from before lands in front of you again.
"We're sending over some people to establish where this attack happened so we can scramble some ships to maybe chase down the perpetrators. Perhaps you could join them if this lead of yours is solid."


"But can't we just sneak past the dragon?"


"Where's Surprise?"


With me.


Surprise pipes in.
"What's the point in that, silly? They'll notice their prisoners are gone eventually and then chase us down and burn us to a crisp!"

She's here with Flavia.


"I do believe I would be defeated should I face her on my own. Do whatever you can to damage her, and I will try to finish it."


Bite my lips.
"Not if they don't know where we are!"


"Sure, I'd love to. I'm in need of the work really."
Can I see how the barrier works? How are they getting past it?
'1d20+1' search
'1d20+11' notice

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 11 + 11 = 22


"We'll try, but actually taking control of the walls won't be very easy. We'll need some help from Adrianos for that while you distract that dragoness."

"These guys are trained to hunt down pirates, there's no way we can outsmart and outspeed them with our little cargo ship!"

That would be an investigate roll. With a high DC because you're a layman when it comes to magic.

"Alright, stand-by."
He flies off again.


"So you want to outpower them."


"You can count on me."


Darn, I guess I'll have to count on Chester to remove it. Call after that guy.
"Hey, can't I come inside? Its really boring out here."


"We just need to make sure we won't get chased down by a flamethrower or a dragon!"

Niphon speaks up.
"It's a blessing the garrison is so understaffed at the moment. We're very lucky in that regard. In actual fact, I may have another plan which I need your help with. But first we need to get everypony together to see what they came up with."

He comes back a few minutes later and steps outside the field.
"Follow me. I'm taking you straight to the harbor."



"That plan being?"


"I'll tell you if it comes to that. Where's Marcus? I need to talk to him."


"I can't take this waiting any longer… Brother, they saw you, not me.
I should go look for this servant."


"You can clarify the nature of the help you need at least."
Look around.
"I saw him enter the ship. Probably to look for Anthe."


"Oh, to the harbor huh?" I hesitate staring at the barrier. "You're setting out that soon?"


"Very well, but be careful. I think they must be in town or on the way to the fort."


"I will make her desist."
So, let's go searching.


"Anthe. Just my luck. And don't be so impatient Mereghyl, one thing at a time. I'll be back in a moment."
He heads off onto the ship as well. Seeker stays outside.

"These are fast response ships. As soon as they can get confirmation on where these corsairs were encountered, they'll move out. If you don't want to come that's your loss, but I figured this would be your kind of territory as a pirate hunter."

Niphon arrives at the scene as well.
"Sorry to interrupt your tea party, brother. Seeker and I found out some stuff while scouting that you should know about."

Anthe gives him a dirty look, which he returns.


"Brother! I've been anxious to hear what you've both found. Sit down."


Glance at Seeker silently.


Rub the back of my head. "Ah. I understand, I would normally love to but I have a prior engagement, which was what drew me here in the first place.. If I go running off tonight I'll lose her for sure.." I sigh and give him a small smile. "Hey, give those bastards hell for me alright?" And then turn to leave.


"Maybe we should go outside and gather everypony for some planning."

She's glaring at the Prench ponies. She doesn't seem to be a big fan of them.

You find Adrianos and Sonja talking to a mare in a nice servant uniform. You recognize her, she used to live in the servant quarters of your home! You recall her being the child of one of your servants.

"Like I said, your loss. Thanks for the tip though. If it checks out, we'll be on those corsair bastards like flies on honey."


Nod with a grunt. "Aim sharp."
And.. start trotting away to the village.


Observe curiously.


Stand up.
"Yes, there's a problem. One of the castle servants recognized me. Adrianos is after her, but it's taking some time, let's see if we can't find her…"


Can I remember her name?


That's going to take a little bit since the pegasus guards are ahead of you.

She's quiet about it, so there's not much to observe. There's just a clear expression of distaste on her face.

Flavia and Surprise leave the ship and a minute later you see Niphon following suit.

"What? That's some serious bad luck. Damn."
He doesn't wait for you and immediately heads upstairs and back outside.

It's unlikely you ever interacted much with her and she left a few years back. You can roll knowledge to try and remember.



Roll #1 13 + 3 = 16


Sure. That's fine.
Let me know when I get back there.


Oh right, you remember now. Artephia, that was her name.


Right, time to step in and look… Majestic. And Caring at the same time.

"Artephia. How beautiful it is to see you again."
Let's begin by using Charming.


Let's go then.


Off the ship?


She lifts her hoof in surprise and looks back at you. Surprise waves a hoof at her cheerfully.
"Y-You're here too? I knew this wasn't some kind of a misunderstanding!"
She lowers her voice, careful not to speak too loudly.
"You shouldn't be here! I know what you're here for but you're just going to cause us all trouble!"

Niphon and Marcus arrive here too.

You head after Niphon, who in turn follows Flavia. Anthe seems to not care at all and stay behind, happy to be left alone.

Flavia approaches the servant mare and addresses her. She seems even more startled now.

Yes, they're all going back to the village itself.


"How is your mother, Artephia?
It seems ages since I last saw her…"
Motion the others to hold.


"I don't know, I haven't heard from her since that whole civil war mess started. And don't you try to change the subject, you should leave! Leave before they figure out you're here and you get arrested."
Her mother fled like the rest of the servants after the war was lost.

Karabi lands next to you holding a small bag.
"I went fishing for you."
She looks at the scene ahead.
"What is this? A situation?"


"My thanks."
Grab the bag and put it in one of my saddlebags.
"She's one of my old servants. She recognized me and we have to do something about it."


"You always were a smart girl, you know why we are here.
And you know why we cannot turn back on our steps."
Move closer, getting eye to eye with her but putting at least a meter of distance between us, so as not to invade her personal space.
"What would you do in my horseshoes, Artephia?
How far would you go to save your family?
You see the robes I'm wearing. I'm a mare of the church. I've sworn fidelty to things greater than ponies-
And yet here I am, where all my prayers led me. To help my family.
If even Divine Will wants us here, how could we, nothing more than ponies, not answer the call?
The bonds of faith are strong. The bonds of blood, almost as strong.
Look at us, and do not fear. Do not see in the lot of us the change and destruction you might be afraid of. Rather, see in us the weeping face of a child reuniting with his parents.
For the sake of family, and for the sake of spirit, be quiet."

Roll #1 5 + 18 = 23


And screw that, burn 2 ad on it too.

Roll #1 1, 2 = 3


"Bad luck. What can you do?"

Niphon leans in and whispers.
"I remember her. We ought to knock her out and store her in the ship. Can't risk her being a liability."

"You'll never break them out. Do you have any idea who's in charge of the place? She's mental! All you're going to do is cause trouble for the village and get yourselves killed!"


Oh well guess that didn't work then.
"You have my word, we will do nothing which could harm this village."


"You're right.
We can use her as a servant.
But still let me see if I can't have her join us willingly.
Be ready to knock her out if necessary.
Nod to Karabi.
"Be ready."

Step forward.
"Artephia, do you like your job at the castle? I could use somepony like you, you'll have a good pay."


"I am not helping you on this doomed venture. Because lady Alirva will skin me alive if she finds out. After burning you all to a crisp. Look… I-I can't stop you and I don't want you all to get killed, so I'm begging you, don't do this. Turn back and leave for your own sakes."

Niphon speaks up.
"You're acting like we have a choice. I refuse to sit by and watch while my father gets executed. He's your liege, don't you have any sense of loyalty or are you just a damn coward?"


"You will not respect us even for that little which is needed to keep quiet about seeing us in town, then?"


"I'm sorry then."
Nod to Karabi.


Do I have to roll some Ambush roll or what do I do?


"If I were to go to the guards with this, you'd get arrested and executed. I don't want that because you were always good to me, but I'm not helping you free a traitor who helped kill our doux, plunged our country into civil war and caused many of the people I knew to die. Just… go away and leave me alone. I don't want to be associated with you."

Are you sure you want to do this out in the open? There might be ponies watching from a distance.
"Well I'm not."

No, she's aware of you all being here. You'll need to roll initiative first.


"We would not ask for help. These matters are ones we need to take in our own hooves alone."

Look at Adrianos.
"She said it. We should let her go."


How close are we to the town?


She walks off dejectedly.

On the edge. Lucky for you it's dinner time so most ponies are inside preparing and eating their meals. The maid starts walking away from the group.

You hear Niphon mutter under his breath. "What a bitch."

You see two pegasi guards flying over the village, heading for the small dock where your ship is located.



"The situation is degenerating. Fast.
We need somepony to make sure they are not here for us!"


"I doubt they're there for us.
But you should go take a look just in case."

"Niphon, Karabi, we should make sure she won't reach the castle."


"So be it.
Come, Thalia. We should hurry!"
To the docks!


And if Seeker is with me, Seeker as well.


Surprise flies off after them.
"Gotcha! Weeee!"

Karabi nods. "Just tell me where and how, Hippoi."

Niphon sighs. "Yeah well the problem is that the village is busier now than it was earlier. Everypony's gone home from work."

Two pegasi land on the dock. They're giving you looks but head straight for the ship otherwise.

You see Surprise is flying over here as well.

Too late, she's already sped off on her own.

Seeker is back at the dock still.


Good, race her there!


After a bit of a walk back, you get back to the village. Pegasi have already arrived of course. You saw them land from a distance earlier.


Where is she going? Back to the town or to the castle?


Keep my eyes on them and raise my head slightly.


Naturally, now to make sure my cousins haven't managed to get into trouble while I'm away. Check the tavern.


The captain has welcomed the guards on her ship. You can hear them converse.
"Ah, yes messieurs. Ve vere brutally attacked by Arabian corsairs yesterday, somevhere around…"
She points at a map lying on the ground.
"Here, zis area. Two galleys and a dhow chased us down. Ze wind vas not favorable for us and zey caught up. But zey seemed to be in a hurry because zey quickly took what zey could and left vith a eastern heading."

She's walking through the village, possibly to her home?

You'll get there next turn.

The tavern is very busy right now, seems like everypony has stopped working for the day and is now enjoying an evening meal. You don't see any of your companions here though.


Keep an eye on them.


Clop clop clop.
Also, mislink.


Goddamn it. I had hoped she'd go back to the castle.
Why isn't Nolin here?

"Karabi, you have good eyes. Fly up and see where she's going."
Look to Niphon. "We'll grab her from her home if we have to. Nolin can open the locks."


Seems like the guards are buying it, asking her some more questions about their numbers and whatnot.

Surprise lands on your head.
"Oooh, what's happening?"

You arrive back at the dock. Surprise is already here, standing on Mereghyl's head. The two pegasi are speaking to the captain, asking her questions about an apparent attack on her ship.

Why on earth would she do that? She's come back home after a day of work! Don't you remember?

Karabi nods and flies up, ascending very quickly to make a lot of altitude.


To report us?


Glance up at her.
"Could you cease doing that."


Whew. And here I was worried. There must be something I'm missing though, we weren't attacked…
Oh well. Motion Surprise to come over.


She did say she doesn't want you to get executed. Apparently she was truthful when she said that. Unless she's waiting until tomorrow.

The whole cover story of your presence on this island revolves around your ship being attacked by corsairs and coming here to repair the 'damages'.

"Hi again, I won!"

"Like… when?"
Flavia motions at Surprise, so she flies off.


That mare is strangely brave.
Or bold.

Look back to the guards.


I don't care, I can't let her roam free.
Look at Niphon.
"While we wait, what have you discovered?"


Ah.. maybe they are having a meal on the ship.. I'll go there.


"Race you again when I grow wings, you little cheater!"
"We should go for the castle. Try and enter with the offert of Nature's blessing."


They shake hooves with the captain and quickly fly off again.

"Seeker found out that there's a whole network of ancient tunnels under the island. I reckon those were once used as secret escape passages in the event of a siege. There's a problem though, it's flooded with seawater. Don't know for sure how deep it goes or if it even connects to the fortress. Seems like a good guess though. Seeker knows there's potions that allow for waterbreathing for a while, so maybe we could buy some at the apothecary in town. Might still be a risky bet though, we could get stuck and die in there."

You see the two pegasi guards take off from the dock and fly back to the castle.

Mereghyl, Seeker, Surprise and Flavia are indeed here at the docks.

"That might work! We just can't slip up and make them think we're spies or something!"


I guess that went without problem then.


"What are you even saying, we are really here to give everypone Her blessings!"
Wink at her, and on the way we go.


I see, Lets duck over to a corner and get rid of this disguise for a bit before going to them.


Looks like the captain bluffed her way out of it.

Nolin's back.

Nolin has arrived at the dock again.

"If you say so!"


Off to the castle!


"Hmmmm. That's interesting.
Adrianos has found us a way into the fort by means of a food supplier. But these tunnels could help in case we need a way out. That reminds me, I should call a friend."
Take that shell Praxia has given me and blow it.


I try to catch your attention. "Hey, I'm back.. where are you going off to?"


It'll take two more turns of travel time.
"I'm really excited to see your dad. What's he like? Does he like gifts? Surprise parties? Streamers? Drinking?"

Shell activated. Your contact is underway.
"… What? Marcus, that's just a seashell."

Marcus is elsewhere in the village.


"Nolin! We have a problem. Somepony has discovered us."

"Not just a seashell, Niphon. You'll see, you wouldnt believe me if I told you right now."


What.. okay.. I'll wait here for them to find then.




Ignore that then.


Do you want to search for Marcus, Niphon and Karabi? Just roll a search check.

"… Right. Is this going to help us?"

Karabi lands near you.
"I know where she lives. We've got a problem though, it doesn't look like she's alone. There's a foal too."


"Yes, our friend knows more about the underwater than any of us."

Look at Karabi.
"That is a problem indeed."


'1d20+1' gosh. I know what feat I'm getting next level.
Look for Marcus, he's the one everyone talks to about updates.

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


"Well, that is pretty useful I guess."

"We can silence them both. But we'll need to be extra careful."

You know what, this village is so small that as long as you don't roll a critfail, you can easily find him.

The three of them are talking on the edge of the village.


Okay. Run over there before they can leave again.


"Do you think we can just take the foal as a hostage? That way we can be sure she won't talk and once it's over we let the foal go free.


"The fort.
We are going to give those inside Mother's blessing!"


"Maybe… but since she's afraid we'll get ourselves killed that might just worsen the situation."

Nolin is here.

Niphon nods sternly at you.


Ready to arrive.


Raise an eyebrow and try to notice whatever they are looking at '1d20+11'

Roll #1 1 + 11 = 12


"When at the earliest could we infiltrate the castle?"
Since Adrianos isn't here, can you tell me when his thing was scheduled Groves?


You arrive at the fortress after climbing some hills. You see the faint outline of a bubble around it, which must be where the shield spell starts. The fortress is surrounded by big walls with artillery pieces mounted on top of them. The harbor is surrounded by a wall as well, but separated from the fortress by another wall and a gate.

The path you're on leads straight to a gate in the wall, which is closed down. This is probably a sensitive period for the garrison.

There seems to be a lot of activity going on, especially in the harbor.

You stare at Karabi's butt for a little too long. She glares back at you.

They seem to be talking about kidnapping foals or something.

Adrianos wanted to go tomorrow afternoon.
"We don't even have a plan yet Marcus. We need to bring everypony together and assign roles or this is going to be a fucking disaster."


I sigh.
"What are you even doing? I saw the guards land at the ship and you ran off, yet you aren't arrested."


Well, no use worrying too much.
Take note of the number of artillery pieces, of the size of the bubble and where it ends, and of how tall the walls are.
Then, off I go, all the way to the gate.


"I wasn't there."

"We'll have to do that immediately then. There's no more time to scout around."


"The others took care of them, I imagine." Niphon remarks.


You move in on the gate but the bubble is in your way, ending right in front of it.

You hear a shout coming from up on the wall.
"Pony at the gate!"
Moments later a pegasus guard lands in front of the gate, but still behind the bubble.
"Another visitor? What is your business here, sister?"

"Right. Let's gather everypony up then?"

"What about the foal?" Asks Karabi.


"What can we do? We either capture them both or we have to wait and hope. Do you think we'll manage to drag both a mare and her foal through town all the way to our boat?"


"I could take care of it tonight when everyone is sleeping. I will require some money for supplies."





"Salutations, guard.
We hail from the Basilica of the Mother, on a pilgrimage across the Empire, and came here to pay our respects to the brave souls of this fort."


It's evening now, before the planned meeting. What would you like to do before that?


I'm gonna visit that mare, a friendly visit though.


First off, I'm going to need to disguise as that same blue pony again.
Then I go to the tavern to see if the peasant is there

Roll #1 10 + 11 = 21


She lives in a small wooden house near the edge of the village. There's light burning inside still, so someone is awake at least.

You're disguised again.

He's here along with his fellow servant ponies, they're drinking wine. The cheap kind which plebs can actually afford.


Is Karabi with me?


Yes she is.


Knock politely on the door.


Take up a seat at their table.
"Hey how are things friends?"


You hear some activity going on behind the door until it's opened by Artephia.

She frowns as she sees you and starts closing the door again without a word.

"Well, lookie who it is. The stranger's back."
"Didyu have fun talking to the commander?"
You get offered some wine.


Put my hoof between the door.
"Hey, listen I just want to talk for a few minutes. No tricks, I promise."
Persuasion '1d20+13'

Roll #1 7 + 13 = 20


She glares at you, but doesn't make a move to remove your hoof.
"Okay, what now?"


Accept the cup with a grumpy grunt.
"Damn idiots wouldn't let me in, their loss."


"Perhaps I could come inside quick, you don't want anypony seeing me talking in the door?
I'll make it worth your while…"


"Whadda shame. Came all the way here for nothing now didya?"
Compared to the wine in Peneia, is watered down crap.


Roll #1 12 + 6 = 18


She relents and opens the door.
"Fine. But keep your voice down, my brother is asleep."


I think you mislinked.

"Of course." I say quitely and enter her abode.
Nod for Karabi to come in as well.


So I did.

"Whadda shame. Came all the way here for nothing now didya?"
Compared to the wine in Peneia, is watered down crap.

You enter her little house and head straight into the kitchen/dining room. It's not very spacious, but there is a table for four people to sit at.


Sit down.
"Thank you." talk a bit more quietly.
"I was hoping you could tell me a bit about the fort."
Grab out my bribe money bag and put 10 bits on the table.


"Aye, you'd think they'd be begging for the help of the mighty Jirul.."
I frown at the glass "I think I'm going to need some stronger stuff to enjoy the night.." And wave over a waitress.


"… ten silvers to buy my loyalty. You're kidding. What happened to your family? You used to be so much more, liked and respected by your subjects. I am not going to aid in your suicide mission and put my brother at risk in the process. Not for your father. Your sister told me I should feel bad for you because you're just trying to help your father, but I'm just trying to protect my brother from this recklessness."

One of the waitresses saunters over.
"What can I get you, sir?"


"Something strong, I've had quite the day, a Peneian red wine would do the trick.."


"10 silver for giving me the opportunity to talk to you.
I'll give more depending on what you tell me.
If you don't want to help me, you may keep it and I'll be on my way.
All I want is information, nopony has to know you were involved and if something happens just stay out of it and nopony will bother you or your brother."


"Peneian red? That will be quite expensive sir, but if you say so. I will go get a bottle from our special stock."

"Just… can't you see how helping somepony free a murderer isn't exactly something I can do? Your father may have been good to us, but he's still a traitor who caused everypony grief. Don't you care about that at all?"


"He is not a murderer and I have clear evidence to prove so. And I will do so in time.
But in the meantime I cannot allow him to be killed unjustly."
Since I don't have definitive evidence this is a Bluff I guess '1d20+13'

Roll #1 6 + 13 = 19


Boost with one AD '1d4'

Roll #1 4 = 4


woop '1d4'

Roll #1 1 = 1



Roll #1 16 + 6 = 22


Come to think of it, one of my feats would have let that pass anyway I think. But pass is good.


"Ah, once you've tried it.. there's just nothing like it, well worth the price." Pretty sure I can cover that anyway. "Besides, I want to show my friends here a nice time while I'm in town." I nod to the ponies at the table.


She rolls her eyes and sighs.
"Patricians and their power games…

Fine, let's assume he's innocent. What do you want to know?"


"First of all, how many guards are there in the castle? Not counting the crews of the harbor fleet and the mage."


"Alright then."
She returns a few minutes later with a bottle of Peneian red.

"That'll be 25 silvers please."
This wine is classified as booze and has 6 uses.
The fortress servants are staring at the bottle hungrily.


pay up and smile to the group, just how big is this group anyway?
"So, lets make this fun.. The first one with a story gets the first glass."


"Just the garrison guards? 38 of them. Normally there should be hundreds."

There's three sitting at the table, not including you.
"What… What kind of story?"


"I've heard there's been troubles at the mainland thanks to our enemies.
Can you tell me where the castle ravens are?"


"Something with the fort perhaps? Something fun, maybe a bit scandalous? You know, a good story to drink too." Pour the glass while I explain. "You can talk about your bosses if you want, I won't be around to tell them tomorrow after all, not that i'd do that to a friend."


She rolls her eyes.
"The post office is on the north side of the courtyard, right against the wall."

"Uuuuh… well we only got one boss left now and that's the commander, lady Alirva. She's in control of everything, I think she's a control freak or sumthing."
"She's really really overbearing. An' paranoid about her stuff getting stolen too…"


"Have you ever heard of tunnels underneath the fort?"


"Really? Tell me about her then, she ever look fondly at one of the guards, sing scaley songs about the moon, crawl around in sewers to hide her lockets?"
Nudge the glass into the middle of them so the one who wants to share can take it.


"Tunnels? Yes, but they're completely flooded, nopony ever goes down there because it's a deathtrap to swim into one."

"Noooo, she's cold as ice. Never a fond look or a nice word."
"She keeps all her personal stuff in the tower she lives in. The way up there is barricaded so only somepony with wings can fly up."
They both grab the glass.


Chuckle and pour another for them.
"Sounds like a real ice queen, just how does she expect you to keep it clean up their in her tower?"


"I see. That's very good to know.
What about the shield bubble, how do you servants get past it?"


"She doesn't, we're not allowed in period. She'll… get angry for even getting near it. So angry…"

"I don't know, it's magic. Way above my paygrade…"


"But you can get through?
Did you have to do something special the first time you worked there? Or did they give you something special to wear?"


"..What will she do if you get her angry?"


"I can walk through it without an issue. And no, nothing like that at all. It's impossible to get through that shield for those who don't work there, that's all I know. There is some really powerful magic at work in that fortress."

"Hurt us if we're lucky. But it's easy to avoid getting to that point… just follow her rules and don't get in her way. She's not a sadist or anything…"


"Hmmm. Very curious."
I should have brought Chester.
"What about the prisoners? I know about my dad and the Doux, but I've heard there's a group of Varangians in there."


"I see.. you sound like you're not really fond of her, she's nothing like the Arravani is she?"
Pour a glass for the third guy as well, and then myself so we all have one.


"She's not a doux. She's a murderer. As for the Varangians… they're pretty scary folk. Set to get executed they are. Can't say I won't feel safer."

"You betcha she isn't… wizard folk is always weird. Dunno why she was put in charge."
"Hope this whole mess ends soon so things can go back to normal…"


"She's not a murderer.
You'll see in time.
How many of those Varangians are there?"


sip on my glass. "Oh, what would that be for you? Another noble in charge? You old boss back?"




"Like… ten or twenty or something. I never go down to the dungeons, they scare me."

"Jus' peace again. No civil warring or corsairs threatening to attack us…"
"That's gonna take a while longer I think, heard the mainland is a mess right now."



"Hmm.." I stare at them for a moment. "What about if just someone more like your old boss was in charge?"


Nolin is in the tavern but disguised as somepony else, driving some of the fortress servants drunk with Peneian wine.

Marcus went to go speak to that maidservant who recognized him at her home.

It's dark outside by now and I don't really want people wandering off at this point.


But I had that tour of the fort to take ;_;


"That won't solve the corsair issues… they're a vile threat, y'know."
"We've had to start bolstering the village militias and everything, jus' so we could have some kinda defense."

Sorry, I want to keep the momentum going. We've spent plenty of sessions doing prep already.


Guess so. We all at the inn now?


"The fort doesn't patrol down this far?"


That's fewer than hoped.
"Hmmmm, I see.
If there's trouble how do they sound the alarm?"


Mereghyl is outside, Marcus and his griffon partner are out and Anthe has still not left the ship, but the rest of you are here to relax before heading back to the ship to sleep.

"Garrison too small, sometimes we get some pegasi or the commander flying over but that's it."
"Yea, those ships got to stay ready in the harbor to move out…"

"We blow on airhorns and sound the bells. I think the commander has magical tripwires set up in places too… not to mention the enchanted locks. Really obnoxious sometimes."


"Sounds a serious problem.. Doesn't your dragon-mage have enough magic to spare for you village?"


Hmmm, interesting.
"Thank you."
Put another 140 bits on the table to make the bribe 150.
"If there's trouble, just stay out of harm. That will be our problem."


He shrugs.
The other two shake their heads. "Guess not no. Maybe too focused on protecting her tower…"
"It's magic, I don't know much about that stuff."

She covers the coins with a hoof.
"Try not to bleed all over the place, because we'll be the ones having to clean it all up."


"Doesn't that make you kinda mad? She spends all that energy protecting her books..
She already has all those soldiers there to help her out. And selfishly doesn't bother to think of you, the ones everyone counts on to do their chores.
You could all die if this keeps up."


Ignore that comment.
"One last thing, I've heard the town is putting together a militia against the corsairs?"


"Hey hey hey, we're not gonna tell her that. We like bein' alive."
"Not sure if I fear corsairs more making her angry."

"Yes we are. We're not getting the adequate protection even though we pay our taxes and submit a share of our crops for free. No helping that, so we've started arming ourselves better."


Shake me head and finish my drink.
"Just talking at the wind. Loyalty's gotta go both ways, that's how a kingdom should work."


They finish theirs.
"Well, y'know, reality doesn't always line up like that… we just got to deal with it and hope for the best for now."


"Sometimes you should try to make your own reality.. Try not to die before I see you again friends.."
I mutter and leave to meet with my family. Bring whatever is left of the bottle with me.


"If I wanted to give some money to that cause, would you see to it that it goes to the right ponies?"


"Thanks for the drinks! Come back anytime!"
There's about half of it left.

"Um… You would do that?"


Guess I can stay here, waiting.


"Yes, it's my responsibility."


"Well… thank you. I didn't expect this gesture, but thank you."

Ready for the meeting?


Give her another 100 gold for the militia.
It's not much, but times are tough.

Ready for le meet


The moon is out and the sky has been covered by a blanket of darkness and stars as the night well and truly approaches. You've all come together for a meeting to discuss your findings and put together a plan to tackle this dungeon break.

The captain has joined you as well, observing as Niphon steps forward first.
"I think we should go with the plan Adrianos proposed and go in by ship under the guise of wanting to do some trading."


I nod.
"I think so too.
It would be the best way to get near the fort, hopefully inside the fort if we play our cards right. My only real concern is that we'll be right in the middle of the harbour armed force. How will we prevent them from attacking our ship and thus our escape if it would come to that?"


"We should pull this off without even being seen…"


"Even if we can, it is wise to consider what to do if things go haywire."


"Here is some food for though.
What if we offered the Varagian Seer the chance she has been begging for?
Let her people out of the cells, and use that as a diversion for slipping away while the main corp of guards is engaged with them."


Pomme de Mare nods in agreement.
"Zis is a concern of mine too, monsieur. Zis ship is very tough with a thick enough hull to give a galley ram pause, but it is not invincible."

Niphon shakes his head.

Seeker pipes in.
"And dangerous given how they could easily hunt us down before we reach safer waters."


Yes but what of >>627083 ?


"As far as I understand the Varangian seer is unwilling to participate in any illegal actions.
Besides I was hoping we could take the Varangians with us."

"There is a possibility. What if somepony showed up so incredible that she will distract all the sailors, for a little while we're in the fort. You could sail out, they'll be too enamored to pay attention to you until it's too late.
While we're in the fort and see you're getting away, we strike and close the gate seperating the harbour. Their first priority will be to breach the fort again, not sail after you.
We can agree on a signal when it's safe to approach the harbor again."


"Do you think they could take out any of the ships? Those are a huge threat to us."


Niphon looks unsure.
"That's an option, but it still puts us at risk of being chased down before we can get to safe waters. We'll need to deal with that last dromon…"

"Je ne comphrends pas, vhat kind of person could pull off such a distraction?"


"Do you just want us to kill every single guard in there?"


"She's coming as we speak.
I expect her tomorrow, sometime.
You'll know how she could do it when you see her."

"No, if we can close the gate to the harbour, the sailor ponies will be locked out from us.
But I have not found a way to escape with 20 or so Varangians unseen.
If we could somehow sneakily set them free before any hostilities happen it would be a major help, but I'm not sure how we could get close to the dungeons pretending to be merchants."


I give you an annoyed look.


"Unless of course, you can do it Niphon."


"If they leave us no choice… really we just need to be sure that they can't overtake us while we're fleeing. And no offense to the captain, but this ship is about as agile as a brick. And not really designed to carry a large amount of passengers."

"We can't," comments Seeker.
"I think those tunnels I found will be a better access point. We just need to get our hooves on some waterbreathing potions to get through them. We'll try to stay hidden for as long as possible, free those Varangians and get the armed, then make a break for it to the harbor and steal that leftover ship."


"What about both?
If you and Niphon breach the tunnels with the help of Chester, while we're above and can lock out the harbour crew."


"And I thought I was the only one who was drinking this night." I groan in annoyance.
But.. if you want to go from their harbor.. we'd just want to isolate a couple guards from the harbor, knock them out and steal their uniforms, and hopefully just walk in to the dungeon.. Bring Chester to get us past any magic walls.."
"The tunnels might be better for sneaking sure. Where exactly are the entrances for those?"


"That's… That could work, yes."

"Between some rock formations near the beach. Unless somepony happens to look in just the right way they won't be able to see anypony enter."


"How big is this harbour? It will be in the middle of the day…"


I shrug helplessly. "There was no way to get close enough to tell, but there were many ships visible there."


It's not very big, not a merchant port for sure.

"Could wait until night…" Niphon comments. "Nighttime is the best time for these kind of operations."


"I think the tunnel option might be safer….unless…"

I suddenly think of something.
"Chester…what's your opinion on swimming?"


I roll my eyes. "He can't swim. He said that already."


He pops up next to you.
"Very unpleasant."


Missed that.
"Sorry I missed that.
Then how would we breach the bubble in the tunnels?"


Anthe looks annoyed at the cat.
"He's non even solid, how can he even be touched by water?"

"The thought of water which is not contained to a container is… unpleasant." Your mage responds.


"Well about the shield, can you trick it into thinking we're staff too?"


"Do you know anything about how the spell might recognize who may enter and who not?"


He purrs at you.
"But you'll need to be quick to get into the shield. How far do those tunnels stretch, I wonder."

Seeker shakes her head.
"We have no idea. No means to check it right now."


"You mean in years as mage and mage hunter respectively, you two never saw anything like this shield?"


"Probably?" I frown. "Would taking you up there to see it help?"


Seeker was referring to the tunnels.

"Magic is not so simple, constantly fluctuating, unique to every user. This is a powerful mage we deal with, it is hard to guess her exact limits."

He spins upside down and shakes his head.
"Probably is not the word I used. The question of whether or not you can navigate the flooded tunnels before my counterspell runs out remains."


"…wait how thick is this shield exactly? it didn't look that thick to me."


Seeker shakes her head. "It's not a physical object, thickness is irrelevant. It's about the raw power with which the spell was woven."

"I can put a spell on you which counters the shield, but how much time will you have before it has weakened? Weakened enough that the shield outpowers it?" Chester adds.


"If we need to get in the tunnel quickly, I could ask my friend to help you, but then we'd have no distraction topside."


I feel like this would be a great moment to pray for help from above.


I groan. "You're coming with us. So just reapply it before that can happen."


Niphon looks annoyed.
"Who is this friend of yours? Why don't you tell us already, seems like vital information no?"

Do you want to speak to Eurydice? Very well, you sit down for a prayer, clutching your cube. When you open your eyes, you're no longer in the tavern.

Eurydice's grove looks beautiful at night, with all types of different nocturnal flowers blooming under the waning moon.

"I will do my best. But underwater…" He trails off.


"I'll carry you." I offer. "You can sit on my back or in a saddle bag, whatever would keep you more dry."


"Would you believe me if I said she's a seapony?"


Lose myself into the sight of the stars for a moment…


Before he can respond, Anthe glares at him.
"He can just stay dry by being all ghostly again! What a load of crap!"

"Fine, I'll take you to the shield underwater." Chester says before disappearing from sight again.

Niphon scoffs.
"A seapony? The actual real deal? You're joking."

Chester pops back into existence next to you with a big grin.

You can see the same constellations as home here… Taurus, the Capricorn, Gemini… they're all up there, watching down on you.

"What brings you here, Flavia?" you hear Eurydice call out to you.


"You'll see."

Look at Chester.
"See, accompanying a seapony might make the route underwater better wouldn't it?"


I glare at Anthe as if I wanted to slap her.


Instantly, my gaze is caught by her face.
"Eurydice. We are about to move forth and rescue our father but…"
Look again at the stars above, tearful.
"It seems there might be no way to do this without hurting many, many ponies."


"Where did you even get to befriend a seapony?"

"It might make me hungry. … For fish."

She seems unimpressed by your glare, as if she can do better.

She's sitting by the pond again, looking at the reflection of the nightsky.

"It troubles you greatly, does it not? Death is a part of nature, yet it remains one of the hardest aspects of life to accept."

She turns her head to look at you.

"I understand your concerns, Flavia. The Mother will not look down on you for taking another life, such is the way conflict between her creations work. Such is the way she intended it to work. Life is sacred and should be respected, but in order to fully appreciate its wonder, we must also accept the presence of death."

She looks back down at the pond of water.

"I am no more immortal than you are, Flavia. I do not age, but I can be taken by Death like anybody else."


Oh, you wanna go? Fine. I'll go. Intimidate her.

Roll #1 13 + 8 = 21


"It is not what Mother will think of me that concerns me."
Go by the pond and lie at her side.
"I'd not be able to live with myself if I took somepony's life. Not the life of innocents."


"In Peneia Niphon. I'll tell you about it after we've established our plan."
Look at Chester.
"Try to contain yourself please. She's a decent seamare."

Clear my throat.
"So, let's summarize what we have so far, Niphon, Seeker, Chester and Praxia, the seapony, will infiltrate the castle through the tunnels.
I'm not sure Praxia will follow you further than that, but after that you infiltrate the dungeons and free the Varangians, our father and the Doux. If possible you arm them. And try to knock out guards, avoid killing unless necessary.
Meanwhile the rest of us will go on the ship to pose as merchants in the harbor, hopefully we'll be able to go inside the inner wall that way.

Now, once the fighting starts then what?
Some of us should man the catapults to take care of the dragoness mage together with Mereghyl…"


She intimidates back.

"War is a terrible thing, that is undeniable. But just like everything else, it is as the Mother intends it to be. Yet how far are you willing to go to protect those who you hold dear?"
Eurydice shakes her head.
"Matters of politics have always been foreign to me."

Niphon nods.
"Seeker and I both know how to operate artillery. I think Adrianos does too. We could get onto the walls with Mereghyl's aid and then take down the dragon mage with his further help."

Roll #1 18 + 6 = 24


Anthe is not only a bitch, she also looks very scary. Probably trained after all the years of abusing servants and plebs.


"All of this would be so easily fixed if there ever was a way to get our father out in secret…"


"If we can gain the advantage of the siege weapons and magic supressions I should have a good chance against the dragon."


"Then if fighting breaks out, Seekers first job should be to get outside as fast as possible.
Mereghyl will bring you near the siege equipment and engage the mage, meanwhile we on the bottom with the help of the Varangians will deal with the guards. Hopefully once the dragon falls they'll surrender."


I'll keep this in mind when I need to terrify someone.


"Those tunnels your companions have taken an interest in can easily lead you to the dungeons. The water, however, is an issue I cannot help you with. That is not my domain."

Seeker nods.
"Let me take care of her magical powers."

"That's a decent sounding plan," Niphon muses. "I'm surprised."

Seeker nods. "That sounds like a good start to me."

Karabi speaks up.
"What of the messenger birds?"


"Do you know where those birds are kept?"


"Another thing, if Praxia will help the tunnel, we need another distraction. We could use one of the siege weapons to fire shots near the sailors. This would give Pomme some cover to leave the harbor as fast as possible, we can leave with the remaining dromor and meet up at sea."

Look at Karabi.
"Yes, the messenger birds.
I was thinking Niphon or Karabi could go with Chester under the cover of night to poison them. We know where they are."




"…But a priestess of Aqua should exist, on the island!"


Sorry, I'm getting pretty tired


"I don't like blood and killing." Chester comments.

"Shouldn't I leave ze harbor before zat, monsieur?"

"No, not on Anafi. But… it appears your brother has acquainted himself with a seapony. How curious."


"He did talk about her…
But then, how could one single seapony help all of us sneak in undetected?"


"You're merely there to open the shield for Nolin as he poisons the birds, you won't need to fight."

Turn to the captain.
"Yes, leave as soon as you see fit, preferably after we're in the inner wall since your departure will probably cause some suspicion but I'm pretty sure there will be more confusion at first rather than them actively stopping you.
I'm merely saying what the course is if it turns out you do need some cover."


"They have some… remarkable abilities. She could help you breathe underwater and navigate those tunnels without anypony knowing about it. Of course that doesn't solve all your issues."

"Ah, I understand tzen."


"Are there any other things we should discuss?"


"Indeed. We would need to blend in once there but without uniforms, that'd be hard…"


I shrug.
"Just tell me where to go, you seem like you know the layout of this place a bit."


"The north side of the courtyard, right against the wall."


I nod making note of it in my head.
"I'll find a way to do some pest control over there."


"There's an apothecary, maybe we could do a light night visit?"


>late night


"Sounds reasonable enough, we can go right after we finish this chat."


"A strong sleeping potion should do the trick."


"For the ponies yea, but for the birds a good rat poison would work fine. Besides they so small, a sleeping toxin would kill them anyway."


"Not necessarily if you stick to the dungeons. They are dark, dank and lonely. No place a pony would willingly stay in."

"I reckon that about covers the plan for now. Perhaps it's time for some rest. We can speak more tomorrow once we have clearer heads." Niphon comments.


How late at night is it?
Still time for the infiltration now?


"Poor father…
Then, I should go. Discuss this part of the plan with the others.
But won't anypony notice the missing prisoner?"


What part?


I'm with Eurydice in her magical realm of adventures.
Also, the seapony and 'lets not kill' parts.


Can we go visit the town still?


"We have discussed that part already. Praxia, Chester, Seeker and Nolin will go with her through the tunnels. If she can allow them to breathe underwater that will save us some underwater breathing potions to buy.
As for the non-killing I can't promise that."


Sure there is.

"I don't know everything, Flavia. I can't see into the future how long it will take them to notice."

Sure you can. You might need to wake up the apothecary though, depending on whether or not he's asleep.


"You're welcome to come with Praxia too if you'd rather do that, but you'll be in the heat of battle if it comes to that."


"Eurydice says the dungeons should actually be almost empty!"


"That's great news.
But they still need a way out.
But…if Praxia can give them all waterbreathing they might just go in and out through the tunnels that way.


Nod eagerly.
"That's what Eurydice suggested as well!"




"Hmmmm, that brings up another thing."
Look to Pomme.
"This plan, if it even is possible, would mean we have a lot of ponies on board…."


"How many ponies? Zis is a cargo ship, not un passenger liner."


"Just considering options.
It still sounds risky to me.
If you were discovered right then, you'd be stuck without help."

"About 20."


"Maybe we can steal a bigger ship from the harbor."


Nod with a big, big smile.
"So we really won't have to kill anypony!"


"Mon dieu! On top of all of you?"


"There are other considerations as well, Flavia. We were hoping to get a ship and funds there."


"Well now. Don't hold back on the details."


"Oui madame." I say in broken french


"We could, but I doubt they'd just let us take their ship without noticing."


"Oh… So basically, becoming pirates."
Look down, a bit disappointed.


"It's about more than that, Anthe.
Try to see the long-term strategy here."


"Zat would put us above ze capacity of zis ship. It would be a very uncomfortable journey monsieur. Food may become un issue until we reach a safe port. And ze cost… vell, I assume you can count yourself."


"I see it.
A bunch of nobles with some stolen coin and the full might of one ship!
How is that even worth mentioning on the same level as the lives of what might be dozens of innocents?!"


"I assume you don't take credit."

"They're not innocents. They're traitors."


"How hard would it be to knock out their crew and just take it?"


"They are the everypony!
Like that scared maid we ran into! Or the Vagirians. Or the many farmers forced into giving food to the castle.
They are just sons and daughters and fathers and mothers to ponies that will never see them again!
Those on top, they are the traitors!"


"They serve our enemies.
They'll kill dad and not even think twice about killing you if they saw you.
We'll do our very best not to kill anypony, but we have to face the possibility that it might happen."


"Perhaps ve could work something out…"
She smirks.

Karabi speaks up for once.
"That is the reality of war, girl. There is no point running away from it, it will catch up to you eventually."

Niphon shakes his head.
"We'll need enough ponies to crew it ourselves, outrun an angry dragon, fight off about 30 sailors and get out before the fortress artillery lights us up like a shining star in the night."


"This is not what you are suggesting, and we both know it!
You had the audacity, the bravery, to complain that a plan which did not put our family on the line and did not kill any innocent was not good enough, because we'd not be able to sack and raid the only defense this town has against pirates!
Listen to yourself! What happened to you while you were gone?"


Sense Motive. '1d20+13'
How evil is that grin?

Grab you closer and whisper.
"If we don't have that ship, we'll have to pay back Pomme some other way. Look at her. Do you think what she'll ask of us is gonna be any better than the plan we have now?"

Roll #1 3 + 13 = 16


Look actually afraid by my brother's actions, falling immediately quiet as my ears droop back.


On a scale of 1 to 10? About a 7.




If everyone thinks they understand the plan and are content with it, say ready and I will skip to the next scene on the next day.


Wait for a signal and start burning stuff.
I think.


Sure, just tell me what's my role and I'll do it.


As long as marcus and I can have obtained the poison for the birds, since that was part of the plan.


Shall we just obtain that off-screen and I'll pay?


I don't even know.
You can either go with Nolin or with us. Both will probably have fighting.
You could also stay at the boat.


Marcus, your crew hasn't been properly briefed. Perhaps you should give them a brief reminder?

If you want to poison the birds, Nolin and Chester can do that this night. I will just need a Sneak roll from Nolin to see if his efforts were successful or if he had to abort.


Which side has less members?
Also, I chose Searing Ray as my Devotion Basics spell.


Yes, I'd like a briefing


For the love of god, I said it one billion times. No one just bothers to read.


Is Praxia here yet?


I'll brief everyone, but I need to know if Praxia is here


It's evening, no time has passed yet until I get a ready from everyone.


'1d20+10' '1d4' action dice for that,
and ghost basics makes it so the pentalties are less that applies here?

Roll #1 14 + 10 = 24 / Roll #2 1 = 1


But I need to know if the "next scene" is gonna have Praxia there or if she'll be arriving!


Normally I'd let you play this out real time, but we don't really have the time for that anymore. Ghost Basics doesn't really come into play because I'm essentially cutting this objective from the adventure.

That being said, you manage to infiltrate the fortress with Chester's help and poison the messenger birds. The fortress will be on alert because of this, but they have no way of sending out cries for reinforcements.

I told you she's arriving around 3 PM already. The next scene takes place the next day. Nothing is stopping you from waiting on her to start the scene.


"So to recap, this is our plan.

Nolin, together with Chester, Seeker and Praxia and others if they want to join, will enter the fortress through the underwater tunnels. There they'll go to the dungeons and free the Doux and her guard. They'll try to arm themselves and go towards the top.

Meanwhile I and the rest will arrive by boat, pretending to be merchants.
We'll try to get as close as possible and attack them by surprise when Nolin and his crew come up.
If we're attacked, Mereghyl will fly Seeker, Adrianos and Niphon up the wall to the siege weapons to attack her, while the rest of us fight the guard off."


Okay, I needed to be sure!


"That's agreeable to me, but what's our escape plan? Are we attempting a rout, a capture, or a smash-and-grab?"


"We should attempt to capture the second dromon and escape with that. Then they won't be able to chase us."


"That sounds ideal. Very well then, I'm ready to move out."



Niphon clears his throat.
"So we'll kill the sailors in the harbor? There's at least 30 of them left. We could use the artillery pieces on the walls to deal with them once the mage is dead."


"So easy, even a lizard could do it."


"I was hoping we could chase them away by artillery fire, but if they don't, we'll have to fight our way through."


"I will go with Cousin Nolin if you please, Brother. My soul begs to see father again."


"Is everything clear?"



"Where should I even be?" Asks Anthe.


"I think you'd be safest in Pomme's ship. Unless you want to fight as well."


"Yes, brother."


She huffs.
"And get blood on my clothes? No thank you."


"Then it's decided. We'll see you back at the boat."




Le ready post


Aye aye captain






You rest up on the ship for the night until morning dawns and you're awoken by the early sunrays. Marcus knows Praxia will still be away for a few hours. Nolin and Chester have infiltrated the fortress at night after a visit to the village apothecary and poisoned their messenger birds, they're sure to be distraught about that.

You did promise the salesmare you'd go to the fortress today, but didn't specify a time. You should probably go get her and make sure her goods are loaded onto the boat. It's unlikely that she'll be pleased with what is to happen, but those are worries for later.


I'll wait on deck.
Looking at the sea, while drinking some water.


Time for morning prayer.
I need to relax.


Right. I'll go pick up the salespony.

"We're heading up to the fortress now. I hope you've got your sea legs – though it'll only be a puddle jump."


I'll pray next to Flavia on the boat.



Seeker joins you.
"I heard you wanted my advice on something."

Do you want to chat with Eurydice or just have a prayer?

She's got a cart stacked to the brim with crates of her goods.
"I heard a lot of the sailors pulled out to hunt some corsairs down, so I'm really hoping that won't affect my sales…"

To the Mother? Aqualia?


"I was wondering if you had any advice on dealing with the mage."


Playing the waiting game


Just a normal prayer.


The Mother of course.


"Let me worry about her. My aim will be true, I learned a thing or two about operating artillery in the legion."

Her presence is strong here, despite the fact that you're surrounded by Aqualia's domain. This island seems very fertile.



"Hmmm. That's good."
I'll move on to Praxia's arrival if you want


"I get the feeling they'll be back soon. Pirates flee at the first sign of resistance. They're creatures of opportunity."


Very well. A few hours into the afternoon, the salesmare has moved her goods onto the ship. She seems to be one of the richer villagers, probably 'controlling' several fields and plantations.

You hear some splashing from besides the boat, before seeing Praxia flip out of the water and into the air, shapeshifting her form into that of a landpony before landing down on the deck of the ship, much to the amazement of the crew who drop down on their knees.
"Marcus, you called me right as I was taking a bath."

"I hope you're right, but they're probably going to buy less this week anyway."
She starts loading her goods onto the ship with the help of the crew over the course of some time until a fishlike friend of Marcus shows up. The crew drop to their knees and start shouting something in Prench.


I feel more confident already.


Go investigate the fish.

"What ho?"


Smile and greet her
"Praxia, I'm so glad you could make it."


She seems to have shifted her form into that of a landpony. As you remember, some followers of Aqualia are masters of disguises. You've never seen a seapony like this before though, they tend to be really reclusive.

You hear Niphon mutter to himself. "I can't believe it…"
Seeker seems unimpressed and drinks from her flagon.

Sonja pokes you in the side.
"What is that pony creature? Witchraft?"

"What's the machination of yours which I'll risk my life for today?"


>"Which machination of yours will I risk my life for today?"*


"I need some help to rescue my father."


Oh, Marcus's friend is here. I'll just watch how she interacts with everyone else for now.


"Perhaps a disguise. Aqualia is a patron of disguise, after all. Although, the swimming was convincing… Well, sea ponies tend to be rather isolationist, even around the shore."


She looks around.
"Rescue him from what exactly? Did the kraken take him? Sirens? A sea serpant? Something even more dangerous?"

You can inform her of the plan instantly if you want.

The crew of the ship seems to be almost worshiping her. Seaponies are held in high regard among some sailors, unlike their siren counterparts.

Sonja appears to be skeptical.
"Never have I seen such a creature. Can they be trusted?"


Inform her of the plan instantly.
She doesn't have to go with them inside the fort, just lead them inside.


"I can trust Marcus."


Maybe she'd be willing to help us turn the sailors of that dromon to our cause later..


You see a pang of fear in her eyes when you mention the dragon, but otherwise she hides her reaction fairly well.
"I don't like dragonfire very much. I'll be staying away from it, I'm sorry to say."

She doesn't seem convinced, but doesn't dwell on it further.

Marcus wants to use her as a distraction already.


"Don't worry, you'll be going nowhere near her.
She won't be in the tunnels and you don't have to go in the fort.
If you can just help Nolin and the others in, you'd have helped us so much."


Ah, right.
Well, I'm going to be spending some time with her, trot over to the sea pony. "Hello, welcome aboard, I'm Nolin, I've heard a lot of nice things about you."


"I can do that for you, Marcus. And maybe not get eaten by whatever lurks in those flooded tunnels. Nothing else? I'd like to get into the water again as soon as possible, the sun is just really vicious today."

Anthe walks up to the seapony as well.
"And I'm Anthe, I'm sure Marcus told you a lot of nice things about me."

"My name is Praxia. Now you'll need to excuse me while I go back to the water before the sun cooks me alive. I'll see you at the tunnels later."
She jumps overboard and flops into the water with a loud splash.


"Nothing else-"
Well there she goes.
Happy enough she wants to help.
Look a bit proud of myself at the rest.


Whistle mischievously at him once the seapony is gone.
"You sure know how to impress a lady."


"That's right.
Isn't that right, Anthe?"


"Where did she come from, anyway?"


I frown at Anthe. "I think she didn't like you cousin."


"I met her in Peneia and called her here."


"She must have very good ears to hear from there."


"Seaponies work in mysterious ways, Adrianos."


Anthe stomps a hoof as she jumps overboard. "I wanted to talk more to her!"

Niphon clears his throat. "I have to admit I'm impressed, Marcus."

Surprise rolls her eyes and smiles.
"Seaponies? Oh yeah, I've pranked them before!"

She huffs.
"Yeah well she smells like fish."

She gives you a very unhappy look.
"What are you implying!"


"Anthe, that's quite enough.
She doesn't like being in the sun, that's all.
Now, let's set sail for those tunnels and get this show on the road."


I sigh at the childish mare. "You came off a bit.. strong, and stomping isn't a good way to make friends."
"Right, we can pat ourselves on the back later."


Pomme is the only sailor who didn't seem particularly impressed by the seapony and shouts at the crew to get to work.

Seeker clears her throat before Anthe can respond.
"Let's get going to those tunnels. We can't stay on the ship."


Nod and get moving then.
'1d20+10' notice any threats?

Roll #1 19 + 10 = 29


I'll be next to the captain while we set sail towards our destiny.


Where's chester anyway?


You set off together with Seeker and Flavia. You don't see Chester anywhere but knowing him he's likely to be around somewhere.

Chester is nowhere to be seen as per usual.

You finally undock from the pier and sail off towards the fortress. The 'repairs' to the ship are done, making it look as good as new. In any case, the trip to the fortress is quite short and soon enough you begin your approach on its harbor.

… There's a dragon speeding towards your ship from the fortress though.

A big scary orange dragon.


Look up.
"Everypony. We might have company."


Also, um, aren't we going to the tunnels first?


I'm 90% sure she's not coming for us.
Maybe 20%.


"I don't suppose we know what color the mage is."


"I don't think there's many other dragons around, Nolin."


The tunnel team is going on foot.


"While I'd love to believe that, let's not make dangerous assumptions."


"Chester? You're not napping are you?"


Oh alright. Chop chop.


Oh good.
I was thinking we'd drop em off there.

"We'll see what she or he wants."


The dragon stops just short of your ship, flapping its powerful wings to stay in place.

The resulting wind is battering the sails of the ship. Judging by the shapes of the dragon, this is in fact a dragoness. She speaks in a powerful booming voice, shuddering the wooden planks on which you stand on.
" Who goes there? Who approaches my fortress so recklessly without the proper flag signals?"

A plume of smoke flies around you, dropping itself onto a nearby boulder and materializing into a large grinning cat.
"Missing me?"

Now that would be suspicious.

You arrive at the beachfront, hearing a loud booming voice coming from somewhere at sea. Praxia is waiting in her earth pony form in the shadow of a boulder, standing up as you approach.
"I trust none of you are claustrophobic. I've taken a look at the tunnels and they are quite dark and narrow."


Oooooh boy.
Step forward.
"Hail. We're merchants, simply bringing over the supplies from the village for the fort!
We were not informed of flag signals!" I shout.


"Only as much as anyone would miss a cat-mage." I smirk at him and motion toward the path ahead. "ready for this?"


It is a dragoness indeed.
Just give her a stoic look though.


"I can make it light."


By coming out here, she's meeting us on our terms. We can make use of that.

Outmanuever '1d20+16'

Roll #1 3 + 16 = 19


Smile at Praxia and go to her puddle of water.
"I think we'll be okay, we have a wonderful guide after all."


Boost '1d4'

Roll #1 1 = 1


"The next time you come here you will use the proper signaling methods. If I see you again and you fail to follow these simple instructions, I will torch your ship to nothing but ashes before it has the chance to even sink."
With a particularly powerful flap of her wings which sends some of the rigging flying, she speeds back off towards the fortress.

Pomme straightens her mane. "… Merde. Zis is vhy I hate Trotantine military harbors."

The seapony stares at you for a moment, as if she senses something in you.
"That'll be appreciated. Let's hope it doesn't attract anything lurking in the shadows down there though."

She waves a hoof at you, causing something to happen to your body. You feel your anatomy changing and realize she's given you a set of gills. Seeker gets the same treatment, to which she grumbles something you can't hear.

He goes transparent.
"Let me worry about the field."

Opposing roll.

She waves her hoof at you, somehow triggering something deep inside you. You feel the flesh of your neck shift and change around. To your surprise, and maybe some horror too, you've grown a set of gills!

Roll #1 3 + 8 = 11


You've got your eyes on her and memorize potential weak spots.

Her error range increases by 2 until the end of the scene. Good job.


"Let's be on our way then…"


"…." I keep moving into the water, looking over my hooves to see if they are still hooves.
"This feels.. interesting."


Try them right now!
And can I talk under water?


Pomme nods.
"Oui monsieur."

The crew shakily put everything back in place, sailing on as the ship approaches the harbor.

A pegasus guard flies through the bubble shield surrounding the fortress and harbor.
"Ahoy! Dock one is free, the lady commander has allowed you access through the bubble shield!"
"Dock one, understood!" Pomme shouts back, taking her ship through the now very visible magic bubble. It feels a little odd as you pass through it, but there's no resistance whatsoever!

Your anatomy hasn't changes aside from the gills which are now present on your neck. It feels pretty strange… good thing you still have your normal way of breathing!

You see the entrance to the tunnels, a pit between a few boulders with a drop which ends in a pool of water.

You can jump into the pit and try! Praxia goes first, doing a flip into the air while shapeshifting back to her seapony form and dropping down into the pool below the earth.


So far so good.
"Take your time, miss Pomme."


Off I go, into the dark unknown!
Gosh this is so exciting!


Follow the mares into the these tunnels. I hope chester doesn't decide he's hungry all the sudden now that we're fish-like.


"Oui monsieur."
She and her crew carefully maneuver the ship into the docks themselves. You see two other ships here, a dromon which appears to be ready for action and curiously another ship which is stranded on the shore. It looks like a galley, but smaller and sleeker. That must be one of those Varangian longships you've heard about before!

The walls of the fortress look intimidating from here, towering high above you with artillery pieces looming over them.

You jump into the pool of water below. It's quite cool here in the shade, a nice refreshment from the heat outside. The water is very dark and somewhat murky, navigating this would be very hard without help from a creature who is used to dark seas.

Seeker jumps in after you.

Chester dissipates into thin air before you can wonder any further.

You jump into the pool after the others. The water is nice and cool, but also very dark and murky.


I will keep from lighting my horn, as not to go against her warning.


Can I guess what that ship is doing here?

Roll #1 13 + 2 = 15


Just keep swimming along with the group.


Praxia dives and you dive after her.

I need a survival roll from both of you.

You honestly have not a clue. There's no way of telling, really. You could ask someone who works here in the harbor.

Surprise appears on top of you.
"Hey, whatcha looking at?"

Roll #1 8 + 9 = 17


'1d20+4' rollin'

Roll #1 10 + 4 = 14


Point to the Longship.



Roll #1 14 + 17 = 31


Close one. You almost lose track of Praxia at one point, but Seeker pushes you along her path. Eventually you're faced with a pink barrier blocking the way further ahead.

"It's stranded! What good is it being over there!"

"Maybe it's damaged, so they put it there for repairs." Niphon says.

Like a fish in the water, you're a natural at this. Have you considered pursuing a career of being a fish? No? Well, you too almost hit the magical barrier blocking the way forward. At least it gives off a bit more light…

Roll #1 16 + 9 = 25


"Is this where we should wait?"


"Oh, that's just perfect."
I say sarcastically
Get up and go on shore.


Look around expectantly for Chester.


Suddenly, an invisible force pushes you all roughly through the forcefield. … Looks like Chester pulled through.



The ship is docked now. Pomme stops you, keeping her voice low.
"Monsieur, how long do ve have to stay here? Ze crew vill not fight for you, zat is not their jobs."


Good then.. I guess we just keep swimming


"What are Varangians doing here? They're suppose to stay apart from the politics of the realm."


"If you see any trouble, move out.
We have to wait to give Nolin time to free the Varangians."

"I have no clue. We better find out."


Try and get my bearings again…


Niphon thinks for a moment.
"Well, some of them are locked up in the dungeons. Maybe that ship is theirs. Weird that they'd just… keep it there though."

"Hm, oui monsieur."
The walking plank has been extended onto the dock.

Praxia pulls you along further down the tunnels until, finally, you surface again. It's completely dark all around you, with cold dank air all around you.
"Oh great."


Tap my horn once, making it Glow.
"Fear not the dark."


"Sweet air, I missed you." I say and wait for the priestess pony to make it less dark.


"Sweet air? There's nothing sweet about it if you ask me."

Flavia lights her horn, immediately illuminating the room around you. You're in another underground cavern. Interestingly, there's a large stone duct sticking out of one of the walls. Perhaps this was once used as a sewer system for the fortress?


"Could this be used to our advantage? Maybe they have reason to want to break free their comrades."


"Will you be waiting for us here, Praxia?"


"Perhaps. That shaman said they wouldn't participate in illegal activities however.
…maybe we could rile them up however. You know how those varangians are."

Let's get off the ship


"Its not as sweet as you of course Praxia."
Peak into the duct and light step on it it too see if its okay to walk on or stays big enough.


"Don't you have all those people to rescue? I can stay here if something goes wrong, because I'm not willing to get eaten by a dragon."

You disembark. The salesmare starts moving her goods onto the pier as well.

The harbor has several piers as well as a couple of buildings which probably are there for the sailors to use. A wall prevents you from escaping this place from land, the only exits are the gate leading to the fortress and the sea.

You see there's a couple of sailors on the dromon right now, probably to keep it ready for action at all times.

"About the gills, they stay there for hours. By tomorrow they'll be gone completely though."
It appears to be big enough to walk through just fine, but you'll need to mind your head.


Any Varangians around?


"We are very thankful, oh noble Praxia."
Bow in salute.
"And now we should be off."


"Uh, they don't need to be watered or anything, sleeping in a bathtub might get kind of uncomfortable.."
Seems like the best way to go then, get walking.


No Varangians. Aside from the ones you know are in the dungeons.

"I'm wishing you luck, I understand that's a popular thing to do among land ponies."

"No, but do not mess around with them. And don't poke them with sticks, that's about the last thing you want to get stuck in there…"
The pipe stinks a little, but it's stable at least. Eventually you come across two grates, one in front of you and one above you. There seems to be a hallway above you, dimly lit up by some torch fire.


Huh…not even on their boat?


"You can open this, right?"
Look incredibly worried, whispering as if scared.


"Yea, It doesn't look magical at all.." '1d20+10' So.. I'll open the grate.

Roll #1 16 + 10 = 26


It's abandoned. Maybe Niphon was right about it being damaged.

You hear Niphon clear his throat.
"We should probably make our way inside the fortress."

Chester pops up right in front of you, smiling wide.
"Hello Flavia…"

"I've taken the liberty of disenchanting that lock already so you can… pick it."
This one is a very basic lock, with only a single challenge. You doubt the ones on the cells will be this easy…


"Yes, let's go."


"Good thing we have you."


Give gun a pat on the head. "Remind me to get you some salmon later."
'1d20+10' notice anything? Is it okay to go down?

Roll #1 16 + 10 = 26


"Right, let's go in."

'1d20+9' notice stuff as we head in

Roll #1 14 + 9 = 23


You head towards the gate leading to the fortress, which is thankfully wide open. The lack of garrison really shows, for such a big place there are certainly not a lot of people walking about. The main keep inside the walls has several towers sticking out of it, some of which also have artillery mounted on them. One of these towers must be used by the mage according to that maid… perhaps you could find her working here somewhere?

Adrianos spots the opening mechanism on the wall inside. There seems to be a second lever on top of the wall as well.

The grate which is above you, not below you swings open and you peek your head through it.

Signs of water exposure line the rocky walls of this corridor with only a few torch sconces having been applied to them. It’s fairly dark in here despite the flickering flames, and cold as well. Maybe not a bad place to be in on a particularly hot day, but it’s still far from pleasant. These are definitely the dungeons. There are multiple holding cells here that you can see, all of them locked behind thick wooden and iron doors. Getting these open is impossible without the right equipment, as you can see the intricate padlocks are enchanted.


I'm not gonna go out of my way to find her.
She doesn't want to be part of our operation anyway.
I wonder….look for the mages tower Search '1d20+2'

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


Head inside, I assume no one is stopping us?


Okay no one is here.. Time to climb up and find the ponies we want to set free.


Good luck we do have said intricate equipment, no?
Turn off my horn and peak up!

Roll #1 18 + 12 = 30


It's really hard to tell from outside… you don't see the dragon anywhere either, perhaps she shapeshifted again.

As a matter of fact, there is. They seemed to have no problem with you crossing the courtyard, but as you try to enter the keep a guard hurries over to stop you.
"The keep is not accessible to non-personnel! Commander's orders! There is an ongoing investigation here!"

You pull yourself up into the corridor. There are six doors here, three on each side of the walls. They all have enchanted padlocks on them.

"Which one will I disenchant first?"

No window to look through or anything… there's no way of telling what's behind these cell doors, what awful cells!


There really isn't a way to tell at all? '1d20+10' notice?
"Ugh, who designed this place? You can't even see inside… just do this one I guess."

Roll #1 10 + 10 = 20


"Wait! Why not knock and ask first?"


That's too bad.
Hmmmmm, can I enter the keep?


"Sure.. Go ahead.. We'd know the voice of your dad anyway, but not the others."


"Pretend you are a guard!"


Adrianos tried it but he got stopped by a guard. Apparently there's a pending investigation.

Well? Ir does Chester need to take care of this?


I'm waiting on Nolin!
He's the stallion here!


I kind of waiting on you to tell me if there was something else to tell these cells apart. but I guess not.
Just knock on the first one. "Hey, Hey, wake up.. prisoner."


No, no real differences.

In response to your knocking, someone kicks the door from inside. A voice with a thick accent sounds from inside as well.
"Dön't tell us what to dö milkdrinker. Give us öur fööd or leave now!"

You now notice there's a small slit next to the door, presumably to push food through.


Scoff at the insult
"Yea, no food, but I got a letter here, what's your names?"


"Aðalbriktr, Farþegn, Aina-rikiar, Eyfrøðr… löök there are fourteen öf us here, just give the letter."


That's too bad.
Hmmmm, what to do now?
Any captains around?


Well if I notice the slit for food I can get working on the other doors. Open and peek through.


"Hmmm no, I don't this one is for you."
Move on to another door and knock again. "Hey, you awake in there?"


The dromon surely must have a captain, but with a garrison this small it's likely that the mage is the only commander.

You see Surprise inconspicuously standing around the gate lever.
"You think they ran into trouble down there?" Your brother asks.

You peek through and see a figure lying on a bedroll on the ground. Probably sleeping.

No answer here. Chester suddenly phases through the door.
"Your uncle is in that cell. The lock is yours."
He points at the cell opposite of this one.


"No." I say confidently.
"We'd know by now if they had."


Wait what which when where
Which cell did Chester point to?


'1d20+10' time to get working on the correct lock then.

Roll #1 13 + 10 = 23


"Right. And I'm sure Seeker could handle any dark creatures that might lurk down there."

The one next to this one.

The lock clicks, one challenge done. One more before the lock opens. Be careful, it has a high DC.


'1d20+10' '1d4' I'll use an action dice then.

Roll #1 12 + 10 = 22 / Roll #2 1 = 1


"We have to keep our guard.
They're on edge."


Bite my lip in trepidation!


'1d4' I suppose I have one more left, use that too.

Roll #1 1 = 1


The padlock clicks open and falls to the floor. The door can be opened now!

"Probably because their birds are dead," you hear him mutter. "Say, you do know how to handle yourself in combat do you?"


Open it up and step aside. This is a reunion for father daughter..


"I know how to handle a sword."


With a gasp of emotion surging through my voice, fly open the door and jump in at the speed of wind itself, falling almost silently at the hooves of my father.


This particular holding cell is fairly small, meant for only a few people. There’s only one person in here though, your uncle Odyris Hippoi. He seems malnourished and weakened, but still fairly alert to the fact that you opened his cell door.

He looks weak. Frail. Different than the last time you saw him… like he's aged ten years in several weeks of time.
"Fla-Flavia? What are you… doing here?"
He stands up but stumbles slightly, nearly falling onto his side.

"Well, at least they learned you some useful skills in wineland."




"Right, you can explain the plan to him.."
Look around for the magical cat.
"Chester did you see the doux and her people here?"


No way! Catch and hold him!
"Father! We are getting you out of here, but we have to be quiet and quick!"


"I got taught something much more dangerous than that.
How to deal with nobles."


"Why are you worried about battle? There's not a bigger disturbance is there? We heard of pirates."


He smiles coyly and floats over to the cell next to this one.
He moves a paw over the padlock, removing the enchantment.

"You're… here on your own volition? How did you… Flavia this is very dangerous. You should risk your life for me…"
There's bags under his eyes, he's going to need to do some recovering once he's out of this…

"Some patricians carry swords. Just as important to be able to deal with those."

This is your cousin you're speaking to.


"You gotta teach me how you do that intangibility thing.."
'1d20+10'gently unlocking this one too

Roll #1 1 + 10 = 11


Error activated.

The lock makes a springing sound, breaking your lockpick. It's a good thing those enchants aren't on there anymore or you'd be in bad shape right now!

Wait… what's that clicking sound?


"…." get away from the cell door. "HEY GET BACK FROM THE DOOR" I shout at the doux inside to wake her up in case she was close to it..


What's the clicking sound?
Can I notice that?

Roll #1 14 + 12 = 26


I'm dumb


Roll reflex.

Not from this cell, no.


"Well, if those patricians come, I'll be glad to have you at my side, brother."


Well, let's start getting my dad out of here!
"Everyone was so worried but you will see, mother is waiting so eagerly!"



Roll #1 11 + 5 = 16


A flash of dragon fire fills the corridor, streaming out of pipes attached to the ceiling. You only barely avoid getting toasted entirely, but still get some nasty burns on one of your legs. Your DEX is reduced by 4 until the end of the adventure or until the proper treatment is applied.

Your uncle seems shocked. "Nolin!"

Seeker peeks into the corridor.
"Yeah yeah, enough of this teary reunion crap. Nolin, those Varangians your brother spoke off are in the first cell. I'll try to break the door open on the other cell, but it might trigger an alarm."

You kind of get cut short as the corridor fills with roaring flames and heat and seeing your cousin leap into the cell.

"By your side while keeping a close eye on me no doubt."




"Should I?"


I cough and check over my leg. how much damage was it? "I knew that already, but what about the Doux, was she okay?"




Your father pulls you closer.
"Hush Flavia… It was just some flash fire…"

"I don't know, isn't that what they taught you?"

For the record, that last AD you used I didn't count because it was after the fact. You still have it.
She pulls you up.
"We'll see about that. Now go get that last lock open, we can worry about your leg later."


Take long, calming breaths.
"It wasn't the real dragon?"


"They taught me that keeping your own family safe and prosperous is the first concern of any lord."


"…I'll do what I can."
'1d20+6' '1d4' try to open the lock for the doux

Roll #1 6 + 6 = 12 / Roll #2 4 = 4



Roll #1 3 = 3


Seeker pats you on the head.
"Of course not, clearly not the real deal. The heat was all wrong."

"Well, if we get dad back that's one step in the right direction. Then what?"

That lock is broken, you'll need to force it open but that might trigger an alarm. You can use this result to free the Varangians though if you want, because it's enough for that lock.


"Get our home back. Drive out the traitors."


"I've not been this close to many breathing dragons before!"
"Is the Doux's in here?"
Look concerned.


Oh. Sure I'll do that then.


"I can't tell, see if you can get her to answer."


"You'll need an army to back you up for that. And a navy too for good measure. I mean it's us against an entire Theme."

"Give it time."

The lock clicks open and falls to the floor with a clang. You open up the cell door and see more than a dozen scary looking Varangians staring at you.
"Yöu are nö guard!"
"Whö göes there!"

Behind you, Seeker is giving the door to Olivia's cell two hard kicks. '2d20+4'

Roll #1 19, 2 + 4 = 25


"That's why we'll need to get some help.
And we won't get that help just with our swords."


I rub my head. "Look could you not ask a million questions? I kind of got badly burned trying to save you. Just stand over there a moment. And if any of you can fight, please be ready."
I point toward the end of the hall we came in at.


"Maybe we should leave this to Nolin, father…"


The lock is smashed, but the force triggered an alarm. You hear bells ringing from here to the fortress above.

"Well I guess that was inevitable."

Seeker points at you.
"Door's open, now get your doux."
She draws her sword.
"We need to get out of these dungeons and up top to help the others! MOVE IT! You too, barbarians! We're going to get you some fighting sticks!"
The Varangians pour out of the cell and run after Seeker.

You're interrupted by the sounds of bells ringing all over the place. Niphon curses.
"Here we go…"

You see Surprise kicking loose the lever on the wall, making the gate come crashing down with a loud metallic sound.
"Oops! Hee hee!"

Karabi licks her beak.
"Marcus, our first real battle together. If we survive with wounds, we can mix our blood to celebrate."


That doesn't sound good.
Get ready and scan the skies for the dragoness.


They have weapons? How odd. Since she's shouting orders with a sword she must be fine. Go help my uncle and my cousin get to the tunnel.
"I hope it doesn't cause too much trouble for the others.. Lets get back to the tunnel."


They don't. Hence why they're going to go get some.


Gasp and go in, heading for the doux!
"Your highness, we are here to rescue you! Quick on your hooves, there is no much time!"
Drag her up and outside.


Wait what.. Just follow them I suppose.


Seeker is leading the Varangians out of their cells and upstairs to get weapons for them. She has her own sword.


Unsheath my sword.
"Hopefully we'll have blood left."


"Don't die or anything trying to do that." I call after them.
Just go with my family then.


She doesn't let wait for her very long. She soon appears from behind the keep in full dragon form, looking thoroughly pissed.
"Guards, deal with these interlopers and open that gate! Sailors at the ready! They will not leave this place alive. I will take care of this measly flying worm myself!"

She speeds towards you, roll initiative.

Roll initiative for yourself and Karabi.
"Marcus, there's a second lever on top of the wall, we need to either wreck it or guard it from anypony getting to it!"

You should help your uncle walk and get him to safety somewhere. Perhaps with Praxia if she's still down there?

You burst into the cell and see Olivia Arravani lying unconscious on a bedroll. She's not looking much better than your father, but in her case her eyes are covered by a blindfold as well. Blindfolds signify only one thing in this sort of context…

You'll need to carry her to safety somewhere… perhaps with Praxia?



Roll #1 6, 7 = 13 / Roll #2 18, 10, 15, 4, 18, 12 = 77


Gasp! Poor soul… Try and put her on my back, or at least walk shoulder by shoulder.
"Father, Nolin, we should leave!"


Fly towards her myself, meet her in battle.
"We shall see about that."

Roll #1 9 + 7 = 16


I guess I'm confused.
I kneel down a bit so he can get on my back. "I'll carry you for a bit, but the tunnel is small so I probably will have to put you down when we get there."


What's Karabi's init for this TL?

Mine '1d20+6'
Karabi '1d20'

Roll #1 15 + 6 = 21 / Roll #2 18 = 18



Roll #1 5 = 5



Roll #1 11 + 4 = 15


You're not that strong… she's completely out of it and needs to be carried.

Your uncle shakes his head.
"No, no… I can walk my way if I have to…"

Best to get these two back down the tunnel to Praxia. They'll be no good to you here.



You're standing near the gate of the wall surrounding the main keep, below which lay the dungeons. As the alarm was triggered, Surprise flicked the switch behind you to cause the two gates to fall shut, locking out the sailors for now. You'll need to make sure those gates stay closed by preventing the guards from operating the two gate switches (Both marked on the map as red boxes. One next to the gate, the other on top of the gatehouse.)

Several guards have rushed over to your location. There are three pegasi and three earth pony guards in front of you. You also see another guard land on the gatehouse above you. No doubt there are other guards on the wall making their way over here, so you'll want to put a couple of people up there to prevent them from flicking the switch.

There are artillery pieces on the wall which are operable. You doubt Mereghyl will be able to kill the lady commander on his own, so you may want to give him some support if possible. Seeker is not here yet, unfortunately.

As for Mereghyl, the lady commander has landed on one of the keep's towers in dragon form. She looks extraordinarily angry.

Order Of Combat coming next post along with the battle map.


Snort out smoke through my nostrils.
"A shame you have to die, dragoness."


"Ehem, right. ..Lets hope the water is good for burns.."
Escort them both to the water passage, carrying the blinded mare on my back and letting my uncle lean on my shoulder, or flavia's if she's strong enough for that.


Help Nolin put the Doux on her back, and be my father's eyes.


Moved to >>>/g/137716.

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