/q/ - Quest


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 No.629461[Last 50 Posts]


OOC: For now
Earth pony Guard light Green 24
Pegasus Guard cyan 24
Karabi 23
Marcus 21
Earth pony guard dark green 21
Pegasus guard green-blue 18
Earth pony guard lime 16
Mereghyl 16
Lady Commander 15
Niphon 13
Surprise 11
Pegasus guard dark blue 11
Pegasus guard blue 10

"You're naught but a foolish child caught up in a dangerous game. I will make you bleed, little whelp."
You'll be acting before her.

The water does feel nice on your charred legs, as filthy as it may be.

You carry and support your uncle and Olivia back down the tunnel to the cave where you arrived with Praxia. She's still here, what luck!
"So… that's an alarm going off. Exactly how doomed are we?"
There's a faint roar coming from somewhere far above. Praxia flattens her ears.


She's big, that's for certain.
"Do not be so certain."


The light green earth pony guard charges at Marcus and attempts to slam into him with his mace.


The pegasus cyan guard charges at Karabi and attempts to stab her with her battlespear.


Roll #1 20 + 4 = 24 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 17 + 4 = 21 / Roll #4 4 = 4


'1d20+3' Adrianos
'1d20+7' Sonja

Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #2 7 + 7 = 14


"Never fear Praxia, this won't be the end of my brothers."


Smile at her.
"Hmm I'd say, only a little bit doomed. Can you fix our friends up with some gills Praxia?"


Marcus has a short vision of how the mace could cave in his skull. Lucky for him he manages to soften the blow and not take any wounds.

The pegasus guard stabs at Karabi using her spear, but the griffon manages to slash it aside using her shamshir.

Karabi's turn.


Earth pony Guard light Green 24
Pegasus Guard cyan 24
Karabi 23
Marcus 21
Earth pony guard dark green 21
Pegasus guard green-blue 18
Earth pony guard lime 16
Mereghyl 16
Lady Commander 15
Sonja 14
Niphon 13
Surprise 11
Pegasus guard dark blue 11
Pegasus guard blue 10
Adrianos 7


She looks at the two wounded ponies.
"Yes but… you'll need to give me some time. I sure won't be able to help you fight, but I can get them out for you."


Karabi slices up that Griffon Guard next to her with dat Shamshir

Roll to hit '1d12+11'
Dmg '1d12+1' AP4


Roll #1 12 + 11 = 23 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8



Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10


"Crush them!"

Battle plan: +2 to melee attack rolls
Cadre: Everyone gains +2 (+4 total) to attack flanked opponents.

Wolf Pack Advanced: Targets adjacent to me are always flanked.

Don't forget to add them!


Pegasus guard, not griffon.

Karabi makes easy minced meat of the guard. She keels over, her grave wounds causing her to bleed out quickly.

Marcus' turn.


Marcus draws his shortsword and attempts to stab that mudponoe guard to death with one quick stab.
+2 from dragon.

Hit '1d20+5'
Dmg '1d8'

Roll #1 8 + 5 = 13 / Roll #2 5 = 5


AD to boost that roll to hit '1d4'

Roll #1 3 = 3



Roll #1 5 + 5 = 10


"Hmm I must have hit my head earlier or something, because.. why don't we go back with you?"


Marcus slashes at the guard with his dinky sword, but to great effect thanks to a little touch of destiny. The green earth pony falls over, dead.

The other earth pony guard charges at him and swings his mace in retaliation.

The lime earth pony and green-blue pegasus charge at Sonja and both attempt to hit her.

Roll #1 18 + 4 = 22 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 14, 6 + 4 = 24 / Roll #4 7, 8 = 15


Marcus struggles to block the incoming mace blow, but once again avoids his brain from being smashed to bits.

Sonja manages to block on the earth pony's strike and completely dodges the pegasus' attempt at stabbing her.




She blinks.
"Because… don't you want to help your companions? Marcus is still out there, isn't he? Fighting a dragon? That creature will surely kill him if it's not slain."


Delay initiative, let her come closer first.


Good. She's not quite so patient and charges straight for you at terrifying speed. She's right up in your face now, in melee range, ready to gore you.



"…right.. I'll just leave this to you then."
I start going into the fort.
"I'm going to catch up to Seeker. If you follow I can't promise I'll be able to watch over you." I say as I start walking off.


Not if I do it first.
Enter Rage stance, then lunge at her neck. Apply Crushing Force.
'1d10+10' for damage if it hits.

Roll #1 8 + 11 = 19 / Roll #2 10 + 10 = 20


An AD to make sure

Roll #1 2 = 2


She's a big lumbering target. Defense is not her strong suit.

Your attack is very impressive, enough to kill a lesser creature in the most brutal way possible. However, the dragoness barely even reacts to the heavy pressure on her neck, acting as if you are a mosquito causing her some minor grief. You can feel just how tough her scales are even on your razor teeth.



Sonja gores the one in front of her with horns '1d20+13'

Damage: '2d6+3'

Adrianos: "Clear a way to the siege weapons so I can support Mereghyl!"

Roll #1 10 + 13 = 23 / Roll #2 3, 5 + 3 = 11


A simple attack is a half action. She has another unspent half action left.



Roll #1 20 + 3 = 23


Right, again: '1d20+13'

Damage: '2d6+3'

Roll #1 9 + 13 = 22 / Roll #2 1, 4 + 3 = 8



Roll #1 12 + 3 = 15


Sonja batters and bruises the pegasus guard who tried to stab her. At first the pegasus seems to be holding up fine, but as >>629492 Sonja continues her effort to ruin the guard's day, she finally gets through and slams into the mare with lethal force.

You leave your uncle and the others behind and head back up, through the tunnel and into the dungeons, then after Seeker and the Varangian ponies. There's fighting going on in the halls of the keep, the Varangians using improvised and looted weapons to fight against guard ponies attempting to subdue their prisoners.

You see Seeker fighting a guard in single combat, easily dispatching the unicorn with a strong hoof buck to the face.





Roll #1 18 + 9 = 27 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 8, 16 + 4 = 28 / Roll #4 7, 8 = 15 / Roll #5 13 + 4 = 17 / Roll #6 7 = 7


Fidget around, back and fort, anxiously looking for a hint of what the right course of action should be from father's tired eyes…
"I must go help them."



Roll #1 19 + 3 = 22


Niphon charges at the pegasus guard left unattended and swings at her with his warhammer. Through sheer agility, she manages to dodge his blow and even gets in a hit on his warhammer herself.

Surprise flies up to the top of the gatehouse, where she barely manages to dodge an attack from a pegasus guard running towards the lever controlling the gate.


'1d20+5' rolling my init for that fight

Roll #1 3 + 5 = 8




Roll #1 3, 8, 2, 9 = 22


Charge up and smash the one by Niphon.

"Keeping up?"

He now benefits from my flanking.


Damage: '1d8+3'

Roll #1 7 + 11 = 18 / Roll #2 1 + 3 = 4



Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12


Your father is far too tired for all this, he's barely keeping awake right now. He doesn't even react to your statement.

Praxia nods.
"I'll take them out of here soon… but I need a moment first. I can only give gills so many times a day to you earth walkers."

Seeker turns to you, ready to bash your face before recognizing you.
"There you are, come on! No time for these damn clowns!"
She runs off, leaving the Varangian ponies to deal with the guards inside. Do you follow?


Might as well follow then. The barbarians can probably handle themselves.


"Thank you Praxia."
Hug her and father goodbye, then get running after Nolin.


You charge up to the distracted pegasus and take advantage of her opened flank, easily dispatching her while her eyes are still on Niphon.

Four more guards arrive on the scene!

Niphon grunts.
"This is going to be a long day. I can handle this, but we need to support Mereghyl!"




"I can handle the siege weapons if we can clear a good route up…"


>forgot to do two things last turn.

Karabi will slash that guy up gud.
Then we'll go secure the gate.
+4 because flanked.

If this kills him, Karabi will move to secure the gate (will do that once you give me confirmation)
Otherwise do it again
'1d20+15' '1d12+1'

Roll #1 1 + 15 = 16 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 13 + 15 = 28 / Roll #4 8 + 1 = 9


"Just take the stairs, there should be two sets of them leading right up to the top of the gatehouse! I'll follow you as soon as this is under control!"

You follow Seeker as she rushes past the chaotic battle going on in the hallways of the keep. These Varangians aren't joking around, even without proper weaponry they all seem to be fighting like complete fanatics.

There's fighting going on everywhere! Those vikings are battling against local guard ponies with every object they can get their hooves on. Some of their coats begin to shine and sparkle brightly as they let their emotions run free and go completely berserk.

You see Nolin running after Seeker and join the chase down the bloody halls of the keep.



Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12


Karabi slashes him in near half using her shamshir. He's deader than mere dead.


Keep running, I can't stop until I'm safe with brother Marcus!


Mmmmm, that red thingy in the map is the switch?


That's good.. maybe they'll live through this.


Yup. If you move Karabi in front of it, no one will be able to flick it as long as she stays in place.


Can Karabi still move, you didn't specify in your post if that took 2 hits or just 1?


She only used one action. Hence the single damage save roll.



"Karabi, protect that lever!"

Karabi is moved to that lever.

Meanwhile Marcus moves 6 squares next to Sonja and attacks the guard there


'1d20+5' '1d8'

Roll #1 6 + 5 = 11 / Roll #2 5 = 5



Roll #1 1 = 1


Lucky for you it's quite clear where you need to go to find a door to the outside. Seeker barrels into the heavy wooden door, smashing it open and clearing the way outside. There's sounds of battle on the courtyard and you see your friends and family fighting against guards while protecting the gate.

Above, you hear the clashing of two large angry dragons tangled into a fierce fight.

Please roll Initiative.

Roll #1 2 + 8 = 10



Roll #1 12 + 5 = 17


How many enemies though?

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4



Karabi 23
Marcus 21
Nolin 17
Pegasus guard pink 17
Earth pony guard lime 16
Mereghyl 16
Lady Commander 15
Earth pony orange 14
Sonja 14
Niphon 13
Surprise 11
Seeker 10
Pegasus guard blue 10
Earth pony Red guard 9
Earth pony purple 8
Adrianos 7
Flavia 4




Roll #1 10 + 5 = 15


The stallion manages to dodge your sword attack. No luck there.




See the map. You see the ones on the courtyard.


moving and
'1d20+4' attacking that earth pony guard with melee.
'1d12' if hit

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




Roll #1 12 + 5 = 17





Roll #1 13, 5 + 4 = 22 / Roll #2 2, 5 = 7 / Roll #3 20, 4 + 4 = 28 / Roll #4 6, 8 = 14 / Roll #5 13, 18 + 4 = 35 / Roll #6 2, 5 = 7


Seeker runs like hell towards the wall and storms up the stairs of the gatehouse.

Surprise giggles as she dodges two attempted stabs by the pegasus guard, much to the latters' chagrin.

The two earth pony guards on the wall charge at Seeker and swing their maces at her, forcing her to painfully block them.





Her scales might be thick, but my teeth are sharp.
Keep biting away at her, visciously.
Damage if they hit
Crushing Force to both

Roll #1 15 + 11 = 26 / Roll #2 4 + 11 = 15 / Roll #3 7 + 10 = 17 / Roll #4 2 + 10 = 12


You keep a tight hold on her throat, much to her annoyance. You must be actually hurting her somewhat now.

Pointing her massive maw at you, she opens up and unleashes a torrent of blue fire.


Roll #1 5 + 14 = 19



Roll a reflex save.

Roll #1 8, 6, 1, 3 = 18



Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6


You fail to dodge the flames and receive the full effects of them. That's no ordinary fire though, it doesn't even seem to care about your thick hide at all! It hurts like hell.




Swivel around to flank him and hit him from the back!


Roll #1 1 + 13 = 14 / Roll #2 3, 2 + 3 = 8



You have two actions a turn.

Roll #1 10 + 5 = 15


Either way, he can't hold up against Sonja's horns anymore and gets skewered.


Sonja uses the other half to run to the next guard


Turn skipped for now then.

Niphon charges up the stairs to the gatehouse and takes control of a balista.

Surprise leans against the lever with a content smile, still blocking anyone from triggering it from her side.

The purple earth pony guard attacks Nolin with his mace.

Roll #1 20, 6 + 4 = 30 / Roll #2 6, 5 = 11




I charge up to help Surprise!


Damage: '1d8+3'
Wolf Pack bonus: '1d6'

Roll #1 10 + 11 = 21 / Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #3 2 = 2


You can't make it that far unless you spend a full action running.


I'll assume you spend the full action to get yourself right next to Surprise.


Flavia's turn.


Searing Ray the Earth Pony beside Nolin, and then move closer to the stairs.

Roll #1 3, 7, 6, 5 = 21


2d8, not 4. My bad.



Roll #1 1 + 5 = 6


He doesn't even stand a chance in hell. Your searing ray strikes him in his unprotected flank, piercing straight through him.

You run towards the gatehouse unmolested.

Karabi's turn.
Then Marcus'.



Since a (N)PC can't move more than 5ft when next to an attacker, that means if I move karabi one to the left, off the lever, the NPC attackers still can't reach the lever right?


That's right.

It's a also a full action to activate the lever.


Karabi takes the initiative setting one 5ft forward, which is not a half action.
And then rams her shamshir right on the guard.
'2d20+13' '2d12+1'

IF the first attack kills him, I'll move Karabi towards the enemy, saying to Seeker "I'll take him, get to the catapults!"

Roll #1 14, 16 + 13 = 43 / Roll #2 11, 2 + 1 = 14


Looking bad for the guard.

Roll #1 5 + 5 = 10


Ignore that second thing, since that would imply I can't take that 5ft bonus step…
Guess if Karabi kills him at first, she Taunts the other one. And says that stuff to Seeker.
Sense Motive '1d20+5'

Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12


Karabi savagely cuts down the orange guard.


Roll #1 1 + 8 = 9


And forces the red guard to focus on her instead, freeing the way for Seeker when her turn comes.




How many of the NPCs got killed already?



Does that qualify for a Morale check on them, or you don't do that?


I don't use the morale mechanics just yet since it's an optional rule. I will use it in future fights, but right now I don't want another thing to keep in mind.

That being said, the two remaining guards are ready to break and rout.


[1d20+3] try to attack the dragoness with an arrow
[1d8' if hit
and then move toward the others as best I can.

Roll #1 14 + 3 = 17 / Roll #2 4 = 4


Can Marcus do an Intimidate when it's his turn to get them to surrender?



You can.

You shoot an arrows up at the huge orange dragon. It's a hard target to miss, but your arrow does only very little harm to the beast.




In fact, I'll allow someone to do it as a free action right now.


I'm going to keep biting her until I can rip parts of her loose.
Crushing force.

Roll #1 11 + 11 = 22 / Roll #2 7 + 11 = 18 / Roll #3 7 + 10 = 17 / Roll #4 9 + 10 = 19


Raise my shortsword and shout to the remaining guards.
"It's over, you're outnumbered! Throw down your weapons and we won't harm you!" '1d20+13'

Roll #1 9 + 13 = 22


Throw an AD in there '1d4'

Roll #1 2 = 2



Roll #1 19, 6 + 8 = 33


The earth stallion seems too pissed at Karabi's taunting to listen to you right now.
The pegasus mare drops her spear and drops to the ground.

She roars, possibly in both pain and anger from the constant pressure.
She attempts to return the painful favor by slashing at you with her massive claws.

Roll #1 6, 9 + 14 = 29 / Roll #2 5, 6, 5, 3 + 3 = 22


She slashes at you wildly, really doing a number on you and your poor scales. Luckily, she doesn't actually inflict any serious wounds.

Still hurts like hell though. Imagine having to live together with this thing.




Sonja RUNS up

Adrianos attacks the guard. If it dies from the first hit, use the second to fire the weapon at the dragon boss.


Gotta run so pls calculate siege weapon damage

Roll #1 1 + 11 = 12 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10


That guard surrendered. You can kill her if you want but I assume you'll want to spend your precious time on making sure Mereghyl survives instead.

Sonja joins Niphon to help him out at his ballista.

Niphon fires his ballista at the dragoness and starts reloading (6 half actions left).

Roll #1 16 + 6 = 22


The projectile makes contact with the dragoness, but unfortunately it doesn't hit any weak spots. That must have still hurt her though.

Roll #1 4, 5, 3 + 1 = 13


'1d20-4' try the siege weapon if I can.

Roll #1 13 - 4 = 9



You're too far away to shoot it this turn, but next turn you can begin shooting. This is a light ballista, capable of shooting large projectiles with incredible force and penetration.

Surprise also runs to one of the ballistas and is joined by Seeker.

Adrianos joins you at your ballista to help with shooting.

The earth pony guard steps towards Karabi and attacks her in a fit of rage.



Roll #1 17, 12 + 4 = 33 / Roll #2 8, 8 = 16


Move here.
I need to crash. Feeling super sick.


And since they can actually shoot already this turn…

Seeker fires her Ballista. Surprise reloads once (6 remaining) '1d20+5'

Adrianos fires his Ballista. '1d20+3'

Roll #1 15 + 5 = 20 / Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13



Roll #1 4, 3, 6 + 1 = 14 / Roll #2 5, 4, 1 + 1 = 11


You join the rest on top of the gatehouse.



The two heavy bolts strike the dragoness, but not in any weak spots.


Karabi attempts to disarm the guard.

Roll #1 12 + 11 = 23



Roll #1 18 + 4 = 22


If that works Karabi picks up the weapon.

As for Marcus….
What the heck.
Shout to the dragoness.
"It's over, mage! Stand down or you will be destroyed!"
Coerce '1d20+13'

Roll #1 7 + 13 = 20


Put my last AD in there too '1d4'

Roll #1 3 = 3


Seeker and Surprise work together to turn the large siege weapon around and aim it at the dragon mage. Apparently she has experience with these intimidating contraptions, as she quickly manages to line up a shot and hit the dragoness with a massive bolt.

Unfortunately it strikes in a spot where her scales aren't quite so vulnerable. Still, it must have hurt her at least somewhat.

Adrianos has experience with artillery pieces like the ballista as well. Supported by Nolin, he too fires off a bolt at the lady commander. Like Seeker, he doesn't manage to hit a weak spot in the scales, but manages to hit the beast nonetheless.

Karabi hits the hilt of the mace the guard is holding, making him drop it to the floor and allowing her to quickly pick it up herself.

The huge dragoness seems to care very little about your threats. Mereghyl looks like he's in trouble despite the support from the ballistas on the walls.




As proud as I am, it would get me killed here, I can't stand against this.
"You are strong, dragoness, but are you fast?"
I'm going to run this turn. Cover as much space as I can from the big gal where she can't catch up.


She gives chase very quickly. She seems to be able to keep up with you with no issues, but without being able to attack you while doing so.



Sonja can spend 2 half actions on reloading the ballista she's on. Reloading it entirely, will take 6 more half actions. Alternatively, she can spend half a turn moving to a different ballista and half a turn preparing it for action for her next turn. Since she does not have the siege weapon proficiency, she'll fire with a -4 penalty to her attack roll.


No, reload both on that


She helps Niphon with reloading, who also spends his turn on readying the weapon to fire again. He'll be able to fire next turn with her aid.

Surprise and Seeker also get to work on reloading their ballista.
"Hurry the hell up before your dragon gets turned into dragon meat!"


You're on the same ballista as Nolin. Will you reload or switch?


Run to the next one.

"Keep moving to the fresh ones, Nolin!"



You abandon your position and run over to one of the other ballistas. You'll be able to aim and fire next turn.



Lemme see.
Can Karabi coup de grace the remaining guard?


Yes. Remember you get a +4 modifier when attacking helpless characters.


Ok, Karabi hits him on the head to knock him unconcious.
+4 from helpless
+4 from flanked and nopos thing.

As for Marcus, he can't do much here, but maybe he can run into the keep to check on the varangians?

Roll #1 5 + 19 = 24


Karabi hits the unarmed stallion straight on the face with the hilt of her sword. He collapses onto his belly.

Marcus could help reload the ballistas if you like. Kind of urgent stuff. He can spend a full action running now and help one of the ballista crews next turn.


Alright, help with the one that needs the most help, you chose.


Marcus runs up to help out reloading with Seeker and Surprise.



You can stay on this ballista and reload it this turn or join one of the other crews. Or run to a unused one and fire it yourself.


I grumble and look for the next place I can fire from.
which is.. really far away.. I'll spend my turn running to the next available one.. this one, but I can't fire it because I had to spend the whole time running.


Indeed. Next turn you'll be able to aim and fire.



Wut, and what about me?


You weren't here for your turn!


But I guess I can let you take a turn now instead.


I'll brb, if it's my turn before I'm back, Marcus and Karabi help reloading


Help reload Seeker's ballista.


You help finishing the reload early.



I can't run forever… try to lunge at her, bite at her neck again.
Damage if they hit

Roll #1 18 + 11 = 29 / Roll #2 9 + 11 = 20 / Roll #3 7 + 10 = 17 / Roll #4 7 + 10 = 17


And spend an AD on that first one to make it crit


You turn back to her.
"Your time is running out, whelp. You stand no chance at killing me, submi-"

Biting at her neck once again, you cut her monologue short as you finally manage to truly maim her. Your sharp teeth find their way through her scales, making the dragoness bleed magical essence. Her roar of agony is powerful enough to make the ground shake.

She gives her wings several powerful flaps and begins to claw at you frantically.

Roll #1 10 + 14 = 24 / Roll #2 2, 1, 6, 8 + 3 = 20


Sonja reloads twice


Keep tearing at her throat as she claws at me.

Roll #1 5 + 11 = 16 / Roll #2 2 + 10 = 12


Boost the attack with an AD

Roll #1 1 = 1


Her brutal retaliation leaves you gravely wounded. You try to keep up with more pressure of your own but she does not relent. You feel like your time here is almost over…

Sonja helps reloading, allowing Niphon to get a shot off with his ballista, quickly aiming and letting loose a bolt at the dragoness killing his dragon friend.

Roll #1 5 + 6 = 11 / Roll #2 4, 5, 5 + 3 = 17


Alas, the bolt strikes her hardened scales once again.

Seeker's ballista has been reloaded as well. She swiftly aims and fires off a bolt at her own.

Roll #1 13 + 3 = 16 / Roll #2 5, 1, 6 + 3 = 15


Fire ballista!


Roll #1 1 + 7 = 8


Her shot hits the dragoness' scales too. She lets out a string of curses and begins reloading with Surprise.

Error activated.

You attempt to fire a bolt at the dragoness with this untouched ballista, but something goes wrong. The bolt jams itself into the wood of the ballista itself, causing it to tear itself apart. Thick splinters of wood fly everywhere, the force sending you sprawled on the ground.



I'll assume he's gone for now. Turn delayed.

Karabi and Marcus both help reloading the ballistas.

Nolin's turn.


'1d20-4' '1d4' AD

Roll #1 13 - 4 = 9 / Roll #2 4 = 4


'1d4' explosion

Roll #1 1 = 1


Roll 3d6 for damage



Roll #1 5, 2, 6 = 13


You manage to get a decent hit in on the dragoness. Still she refuses to relent. She lets out a loud roar again.



No reason to run, I'm in no shape to outfly her.
Now or never.
Try one last time, try to rip her throat from her neck with my teeth.

Roll #1 6 + 11 = 17 / Roll #2 4 + 11 = 15 / Roll #3 2 + 10 = 12 / Roll #4 8 + 10 = 18


Sorry, net keeps acting up.
Assume I go around helping ponies reload.


"You've fallen short, weakling. You were inadequate."

More magical essence seeps through her neck wounds as she prepares to finish you off with a blast of her fire.


Roll #1 2 + 14 = 16


You better believe I'm going to activate that error


Before she can fire her torrent of magical death, however, Mereghyl doubles down the pressure on her neck. The fire, with nowhere to go, begins to further pressurize her neck area. The dragoness glares at you first, a look which switches to to one of fear as something goes horribly wrong. The fire blasts out of her neck wounds, ripping them completely open in the most agonizing way conceivable. The commander does not even have the chance to roar in pain as her entire neck area rips itself apart under the pressure. Mereghyl quickly lets go of her neck as the dragoness drops down to the ground with a terrifying crash.

With a blown open throat, there's no doubt she has been slain. By her own fire.


Breathe heavily and scoff, letting out some smoke.
I really need to get these wounds treated…
I am not sure if anyone even hears this, but.
"Your Commander is dead. Surrender or perish in flames, just as she did."


All the enemies here have been slain. You hear some shouting coming from the port outside the keep walls but that's it.

Seeker drops down from the wall onto a building roof, then onto the ground near the dragoness, scrutinizing the body.
"Not even a death roar. She's as dead as can be. About damn time."

You hear Surprise cheering.

"HEY! Your dragon is hurt. You might want to get your butts down here to help him. He deserves that much for what he did, no?"


Run to Mereghyl as he lands.
"You did great, Mereghyl."
Turn and shout.
"Flavia, Mereghyl needs your help!"


"Checkmate! There's how it's done!"

Cough. "Marcus, I don't doubt the talents of our ecclesiastical powers, but I have formal training in medicine."

I have a higher bonus.


"Her hubris killed her, not me."

Just nod.
"I feel weak."


I can spend an AD to reroll failed checks.
Scoot over, as fast as my legs let me, pulling my stash of medical and ritual supplies out in a hurry.
"Stay still as a stone, Mereghyl! You fought as bravely as any hero in any story ever would!"


Karabi pokes at the dragon and starts tugging at one of the scales until it comes loose. She inspects the scale for a moment, then puts it in her bags.

Seeker grunts.
"It's not a medical contest, just get started already before the poor sod bleeds out!"

Niphon pushes the guard who surrendered along with the knocked out earth pony stallion.


"No, a load of ballista bolts and your maw is what killed her. Hubris just expedited the process."

Seeker looks up and frowns.
"Bubble is still up huh…"


"Very well, I'll just oversee."


Lie down so the pony can treat me better.
I don't even care which one at this point.
"I did not plan to move much like this."

"Her fire was nothing I have ever felt."
"I have heard the claws and teeth are valuable too, if you can carry one, and wish to desecrate her corpse further."

"Those too."


Not too interested in that now.
I'll go see to the Varangians once Flavia has started working.


Mereghyl has lost most of his wounds, so he's not in good shape right now. What do you want to do first?

"No lollygagging. This isn't over yet. We need to check the keep."

Surprise ties a balloon that says 'Get well soon!' around your tail.

Seeker and Surprise come along.
"Let's hope the death of their dragon commander will be enough to squash all remaining resistance."


"Let's hope so."
Let's get back in the keep.


Start fixing the very large wounds and burn marks. Good thing I have the supplies to treat dragons.
He's not at 0 yet, so no need to stabilize. I will Mend instead.
'1d20+10' with 2 ad to boost '2d4'
And here's the '2d6' recovered wounds.

Roll #1 11 + 10 = 21 / Roll #2 2, 4 = 6 / Roll #3 4, 1 = 5


It's the thought that counts, I suppose.
Too weak to do much about the balloon.


One AD exploded even though the DC is 15 so they aren't needed so here's the rest. '1d4'

Roll #1 3 = 3


"What's the state of the plan. Nolin's here… did we take the dromon?"


"uuh, not yet, lets go do that."


Niphon stays behind to guard Flavia and the captured guards. As you push through one of the doors, you see a Varangian finishing off one of the guards by knocking him unconscious with a bowl of fruit.

Her coat is somehow shining and sparkling brightly, her eyes looking very crazed.

Seeker whispers.
"A berserker. Don't provoke her, she can't be thinking straight right now."

You break out your heavy equipment and begin on working to treat Mereghyl's wounds. Treatment will end next turn. Since you have the Bandage feat, you'll be able to Mend another time today.

Niphon comes closer, looking worried. The expression reminds you of the times back when he was just a small colt.
"Mereghyl… you look awful. I was worried you wouldn't make it there."

Niphon shakes his head.
"The dromon is outside these walls. With their commander dead… maybe the sailors will be willing to concede defeat. They sure seem to be panicked by the sounds of it."

He's right, you hear a lot of shouting coming from the port right outside the closed gates.


I don't have the bandage feat, you are looking at my lv4 sheet.


"It had to be done. I would rather get hurt if it means my family is safe."


"I knew you'd always protect us. Us all."
Squeeze his tail once I'm done bandaging him.


Flavia manages to alleviate some of the pain Mereghyl is in. He'll have to take it easy for a while and avoid strenuous activities, especially any more fighting.
"Thanks Mereghyl. That dragoness is dead only thanks to you. We're almost homefree with father now…"


"How could I not?"


"Sooo….what should we do?"
I whisper back.


"Let's try to get through, then. If you can sneak through, do it, we'll have to try to disperse the crowd."


"It still takes the heart of a true noble to stand tall in the face of danger…
You should not move too much still, now."


Okay, I'll just start sneaking over to the gate.

Roll #1 20 + 8 = 28


Ignore the flattery for now.
"How bad is it?"


"A few days' rest."


She pushes you forward, closer to the dangerous, bloodthirsty barbarian.
"Use that sweet voice of yours to calm her down."

You can attempt a mend as well if you like. I'll allow it.

"What about the keep? We don't even know if we have enough ponies to steer that thing."

You'll cross the wall next turn. Stand-by.


"What about the pursuing ships?"


"How many did we free so far? Walk and talk with me."

Mend that dragon! '1d20+9'

Roll #1 14 + 9 = 23


Roll 2d6.

"I don't know. Flavia? How many prisoners were there?

Better question yet, how many survived…"



Roll #1 4, 4 = 8


"If brother can pull off what he plans, there will be no pursuing ships."
A character may only be targeted by one mend check per day.
"I don't know… Too many to count!"


"That would be… preferable."


"Greetings. We're friends."
Influence '1d20+13'

Roll #1 6 + 13 = 19


GM fiat overrules the rule book


Between you and Flavia's efforts, you manage to properly treat the majority of Mereghyl's most serious wounds. That'll speed up the mending process greatly.

And a GM has the powers to shit all over the rules. Consider this a small reward.

You reckon there were somewhere between 15 and 20 of them.

"The messenger birds are dead, there's only one dromon left. If we can rout those sailors and take it… we can use it to get out of here. As long as we have enough ponies for the oars."

You sneakily drop down from the wall onto the other side. The sailors seem to be panicking somewhat, some of them hiding away while their superior officer tries to restore order.


Superior officer eh'
That sounds like a good guy to use that KO poison I had on.
sneaky sneak over to him please. '1d20+8'

Roll #1 19 + 8 = 27


Just thought you guys had forgot, no big.
"We should not use as much violence on the sailors as we used on the guards…"


"It had to be done.
Thank you both, for the help, too."


Her eye starts twitching, but she doesn't try to murder you. That's a good start right?

Seeker clears her throat.
"Remember? We set you free in the dungeons."
The varangian narrows her eyes and grunts.
"Where are the enemies? Did yöu see any öut there?"

"Let's hope some intimidation and a dragon is enough to make them panic and run."
He looks up.

"Though… the bubble looks to still be there. No escaping with that holding us back…"

You sneakily make your way over to the commanding officer, who's desperately trying to keep order among his panicking crew.


Continue calmly
"We're out of their reach for now.
We want to ask how all of you are doing…"


"But wasn't that the mage's doing?
She's dead now so…"


Raise a brow and point at the corpse of the dragoness.
"Do you think she might have some sort of… catalyst, in her?"


She grins. It's a bloody grin, looks like she took a blow to the face.
"We are victöriöus then! Önly minör casualties! Nö möre guards in the brick castle!"

"No idea. I don't know anything about magic. Where's that cat again?"


Okay. I'll apply the knock out poison to the sword. Use the martial spirit stance.
and.. attack the guy.

Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12


"That I would like to know."




Marcus >>630341
"How many of you are left? We still need to get the heck out of this place," Seeker asks.

"We are föurteen daughters and söns öf Varangia!"

Not realizing you're there, you slash at the officer with your poisoned sword. He yelps, but falls over unconscious before he can call for help. You could quickly stuff him in one of these empty barrels on the dock, or leave him here and leave the crew to panic.

"Let's hope he hasn't gone away by now. I'm not sure if I trust him all that much, but he got us this far at least."


"He would not go away without getting his part of the deal, would he?"



Uhm…wait we can't get the dromon working with that can we?


Into a barrel, also I need enough of his clothes to disguise as him.


"No, I guess not. But dammit, we need to get off this rock as quick as we're able."

I miscalculated. There are sixteen of them left.

But you can't, no. Though with Pomme de Mare's crew you'd have enough. That would require abandoning or towing her ship though.

I need two rolls. One DEX roll and one Disguise roll.


"The others must clean up the rest of the keep first."


'1d20' dex
'1d20+11' disguise

Roll #1 11 = 11 / Roll #2 14 + 11 = 25


Well fuck.
Who's a pegasus here to fly to Pomme's ship?
"We should take a look through the castle. Get anything valuable."


Where am I, and where are we in general?


"I'm going to check those buildings over near the wall. Looks like a smithy."
He trots off quickly.

With some effort, you toss the body of the officer into an empty barrel and disguise yourself as him without anyone noticing.

Surprise tagged along with you, she's a winghorse.

Seeker nods.
"Yes, but we shouldn't stick around for too long either. We need to get to safer waters quickly."
She looks at the Varangian.
"Go round up your brothers and sisters and bring them outside, just in case those sailors start another fight."

The same as last time, you're with Niphon and Mereghyl outside the keep, next to the corpse of the lady commander.


Guess I'll wait and figuratively lick my wounds.


I gotta see if she's okay!


Where's Nolin when I need him?
Anyway, there's one place I really want to check out.
The mages tower.
"Surprise, could you please fly to Pommes ship and ask her to come back into the harbor.
Not immediately, she should give us a little time to make sure the sailors outside won't bother us."
How many people can fly on Mereghyl?


Get on top of something tall and try to get the attention of everyone.
'1d20+11' bluff I suppose.

Roll #1 5 + 11 = 16


'1d4' AD that

Roll #1 1 = 1


You're left with the two quivering garrison guards who weren't killed. Flavia runs inside and Surprise zips right past her, flying towards the wall.

The Varangian trots away.

"Okey dokey lokey!"
She zips away, leaving nothing but a small dustcloud in her wake.

"What are you planning, Hippoi? You know if that longship wasn't stranded, we could use that to get away from this island instead."

Surprise tagged along with Seeker and Marcus inside the keep. She seemed pretty upbeat despite all the carnage, at least.

Speak of the devil, she zips right past you as you open the door through which Marcus and the others went!


Roll #1 10 + 5 = 15


"But the longship is in need of repairs. It will need towing either way. I'm thinking we should just take the dromon and tow Pommes ship with it.
If we don't take the Dromon, the sailors might use it to chase us."


"Hey! Wait!"
Chase after her.


You notice a portion of the sailors have already fled the keep to go hide. The remaining crew don't seem eager to storm a castle and fight a dragon inside, so they drop their weapons and leg it as well as soon as you give them the word to surrender.


Great. Now I'll just go back to the wall and try to flag down one of my family.


"I still reckon that longship will be easier for a small crew to use. It's your decision though. Let's hope the dromon crew don't feel suicidal today."

She's way to quick! But as she ascends into the air, something catches her eye and she stops. A few seconds later she comes down again.
"Hey! The magic bubble's still here!"

Sonja and Adrianos are still on the wall to guard the gate. Sonja shakes her head at you.


Well, show her that its me? Or just climb up there.
"Hey, these ponies won't stand in the way of your escape now."


"Hmmm. We can take a look at the Longship once we scoured the keep and chased off the sailors. If it's in an acceptable state, taking the longship might indeed be the better option. If it needs towing, we might as well take the dromon.
Now we should find the mages tower while we have the time."

Do I have to roll something for that?


"What magic are you talking about?
The mage is dead!"


She looks down at you as you approach.
"Oh. It's you. Opening the gates, hold on."
She pulls the lever, prompting the heavy gates to slowly start grinding their way back up.

Roll Investigate please.

She grabs your head and makes you look up. You see the faint outline of the bubble still surrounding the castle.

You see several of the Varangian ponies are starting to leave the keep. Their coats look very sparkly right now for some magical reason you can't fathom.


Investigative Pony '1d20+10'

Roll #1 18 + 10 = 28


Go over to her as soon as I'm able.


Also call for Chester while I walk, he'll show up.


"We need to figure out how to turn it off!"

Roll #1 16 + 12 = 28


You look around for a way to get to that tower with the help of Seeker. Eventually, you find the right staircase. It was hidden by a concealment spell which Seeker snuffed out.

No sign from Chester though.

You slip under the gates as they ascend again and enter the courtyard. You notice several Varangians have made their way outside by now. They trot over to the gate to investigate.

Chester could be really helpful right now…

"Maaaaaybe there's an energy source around here somewhere to keep it up! That way she wouldn't have to actively keep it running herself at all times!"


"We need to find that!
Have you seen Sir Chester around?"


Huh…where did he go off to?
Anyway, time to go up the stairs.
Let the anti-magic witch hunter go first.


stop one of them.
"Hey, where did everyone else go?"


"Nope! I don't think he's a fan of ponies fighting!"

The gates have been opened. Nolin strolls through and talks to one of the Varangians.

Seeker ascends first. The spiral staircase winds around for a while, when you bump into a couple of servants using the tower as a hiding place. They start to panic as they see you.
"Mercy! We're unarmed!"
"We yield! We yield!"

"Öhöhö! Yöu are the öne whö bröke us free! Söme öf yöur cömpaniöns are inside. Is the harbör clear?"

Mereghyl, Flavia and Surprise are outside.


"We're not here to hurt you.
Don't stand in our way and nopony will harm you."


Reach Nolin!


Also is Karabi with me?


"Inside.. I'm sure they are okay. There shouldn't be any resistance, do you want me to go with you just in case though?"


Right, Karabi is with you right now.

They clear the way, pressing against the walls in fear. Seeker climbs on, unfazed. You notice your old maidservant friend is among the group hiding here, looking nervous.

Flavia and Surprise come over as well.
"It will be ökay! Hunter mare tells us we need tö find öut höw tö leave the island!"


Pretend like I don't know her and keep going.


"First of all we have to destroy the barrier!"


"Hello you two, I'm glad you're safe."
I smile at you both.
"Hmm, well lets go. They shouldn't try to stop us.."
"…Uh.. where's Chester at?"
'1d20+1' search for ghost cat.

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Arrive with Sonja.

"I hear the way is clear. And the vessel itself?"


"We still have to lower the barrier, or there will be no way to move the vessel."


"I didn't go to the ship, so it should be intact."


"So that means back inside, right? Well, let's not dally."

That barrier… it's centered on the keep, I presume?


"There is probably a power source keeping it working."


You follow Seeker up. Karabi cackles as she passes by the scared servants.

Eventually, you reach the top, where a heavy steel door is blocking your way. It looks like it's enchanted. Seeker looks displeased.
"This is going to be a bitch to ope-"
She yelps in surprise as a grinning cathead suddenly pokes through the door.
"Damn cat!"

The barrier is indeed centered on the keep. No sign of Chester though.


"We need Chester for this. None of us know how to deal with her magic bullshit."


"Cousin, language!"


are you serious?
'1d20+1' search for some raw fish lying around.
"…Oh, Sorry Flavia."

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


"I figured you'd be here.
Can you open up the door for us?"


Surprise giggles.
"I'm sure whatever is keeping the bubble in place is going to run out of power eventually!"

The Varangians head off to go inspect the last dromon still in port.

You don't see any fish lying around which you could use to lure the strange cat with. Perhaps the battle really did scare him away. He's quite the craven after all.


grumble and start following after the varangains.
"Come on. We have to figure out how we're going to steer this thing."


"Maybe we could try calling for Chester?"
Take a deep breath.
"Heeeere pussypussypussy!
Heeeeeeeere little cat!


"Try saying 'siren' over and over" I suggest.


Chester doesn't say anything, but disappears behind the door again. A minute or so later the heavy door swings open, revealing the mage’s personal lair. The room is bigger than one would expect, possibly enlarged by some sort of magical spell. Judging by the decor, the mage used it as her personal study. And judging by the large pile of orbs lying in the middle of the room, this is where she kept her hoard as well.

Actually… you recognize those blue orbs! They look like the ones Ionela Lugosi used to store memories in!


Well now.
"Those are memory orbs!"


"This is useless. We should just search around.
Did we free everypony from the dungeon?"


"can't open any more cells without chester. Magic fire locks remember?" I gesture to my generally burnt fur. "Lets just worry about the ship, Marcus took Seeker with him right?"


Also are there windows here?


"You head for the Dromon, I'm heading inside. Finding the source is job one. Send him my way if you see him."

Storm the keep! Head to wherever I intuit the center of the barrier was as I work my way through the halls.


Doesn't look like Chester feels like responding to your calls right now!

You notice Pomme de Mare's ship is still here in the harbor. Looks like it never even left during the assault… that's worrying. You don't see anyone on the deck of the ship.

The Varangians seem interested in the stranded longship more than the dromon.

Seeker nods, seemingly familiar with them as well.
"Just how many memories did she tear out to fill up all those orbs, I wonder."

Chester floats over.
"It looks like the mage commander had a large catalyst installed in this tower as well. The bubble stays alive as long as it is powered."

Yes, but they're also obviously enchanted. You think you can open them from the inside though.

Roll Investigate please.


Okay… That's strange. Quietly follow Nolin.


"Karabi, gather up these orbs, we're taking them with us."
Turn to Chester
"I see. Can you disable it? Can we take it with us?"


To the source!

"I think we're getting close, Sonja. Form up."


Roll #1 4 + 6 = 10


'1d4' AD

Roll #1 3 = 3


"….Varangians, go to the Dromon, try not to kill anyone still on there." I tell the group of ponies.

'1d20+10' notice anything?
'1d29+1' search for clues nearby the abandoned Pomme De Mare boat

Roll #1 1 + 10 = 11 / Roll #2 28 + 1 = 29


Karabi gives you an incredulous look.
"I can't carry all of those, Hippoi."

He turns upside down.
"I can disable it, but it is built into the roof of the tower itself. Taking it would involve taking the tower, which would be… difficult."

Try as you might, you don't seem to be able to find anything that looks like it could be powering that shield. You find a whole lot of unconscious and wounded guards in the halls of the keep though. Looks like the Varangians had their fun in here as well.

The Varangians are shouting at each other in their own language as they inspect the longship.
"We dön't have enöugh pönies tö crew the galley!"


You don't see anyone on the cog ship at all. It's completely abandoned! Where did they go, you wonder. There doesn't seem to have been any fighting on here or anything…


Investigate the ship.

Roll #1 13 + 12 = 25


"I can see that. Just wait on deck and we'll figure something out."
'1d20+1' search below deck of the long boat.

Roll #1 16 + 1 = 17


"Hmmm, you're right.
We'll have to get some of those servants…."
Take a look out the window.
Do I see Pommes ship? "Karabi, could you go down and get some of those servants up here to carry all this."

Look at Chester. "Right, too bad. Disable it then. Anything else interesting here?"


"Something's not right. Maybe it's a hidden room – let's look around."

Search '1d20+13'

Roll #1 7 + 13 = 20


You're convinced there's no one on here. Surprise opens up her piehole and shouts.
"Helloooooooo? Anypony heeeeere? Where are yooooou?"

On cue, one of the wooden walls next to you slides open, revealing a hidden compartment. Well, this is a smuggler ship after all! Pomme steps out, wielding several swords in her telekinetic grip.
"Bonjour mes amis. Everyzing okay?"

You hop onto the longship. There's not much of a belowdecks here. It looks like it's clear.

The Varangians shrug and leave for the dromon.

Pomme's ship is there, in the harbor where you left it. You don't see anyone on deck though from up here. Karabi slinks off to talk to the servants.

Chester keeps grinning at you.
"That depends… on what you find interesting…?"

You search the walls for hidden rooms, finally having some luck. The entrance was indeed hidden by a shrouding spell! There's a stairwell leading up behind one of the walls, right by one of the keep's towers.


"An illusory wall. Come speedily now, Sonja, for an end to perniciousness awaits beyond."



'1d20+1' search the long boat?

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


"Anything that can help us.
Any messages from the mainland?
Anything of value?
Some magical scroll that can wipe out all our enemies?"


Take a deep breath of relief as soon as I realize who she is.
"Pomme! You scared the living daylights out of me!"


Look again through the window.
"Huh…that's odd…."


You quickly ascend the stairs, bumping into a group of servants near the top. They look very nervous as Karabi, Marcus' gryphon bodyguard, addresses them.
"Up up little ponies, we need your help to carry magic balls."

You already did just now! Once again, you find nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, there are oars and whatnot present here, but I doubt you're specifically looking for those.

"I did not mean to scare, mademoiselle. I assume ze battle has been won?"

Karabi returns with the servants in tow.
"Scoop up the magical balls or I will have an early dinner!"


"We are still looking for a way to bring down the magic shield."


'1d20+1' search the pomme ship for clues.

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


"Bring em to the harbour and hand them over to one of us. Don't go on the ships." I say without looking around."

? >>631100


"Marcus. You certainly found yourself a little hideaway."


"I was just thinking were to put my shell collection."
Turn around.
"How's things downstairs?"


"They've cleared a route to the ships, but we were waiting for the 'bubble' to come down. And all of this?"


"Chester will take down the bubble. This is the mage's quarters. We're just going through it for anything valuable or important."


"Let's have a look around, then."

Search '1d20+13'

Roll #1 15 + 13 = 28


The rest of the crew comes out of the secret room as well. And your sister Anthe too!
"Ve shall prepare ze ship to flee then."
She shouts some orders at her crew, who spring into action and head abovedecks.

You see the merchant pony from the village lying unconscious inside the secret compartment as well.

Looks like they were hiding in a secret compartment! The crew starts to prepare the ship for leave.

The servant ponies begin to collect all the memory orbs. Those things are a real pain to carry around…

You find:
- A pouch filled with 200 silver pieces
- An ornate scholar's sword, made from Draconian steel. Very fancy!
- A large chest with an enchanted lock. No doubt holding something special. Opening it won't be easy though.




"Is he hurt?"


"Marcus, you could use a lesson on looking more closely."

Raise the sword, then point it at the large chest, to emphasize my point.


Walk over to it.
"We could use Nolin for this…"


"Oh? Is he a locksmith?"


"He can open locks, he opened the dungeons up. Maybe Chester could help as well."


Battle loot

Coin: 2574
Gear: Broken Hardened Leather armor (Partial)
Magic: 4 Refreshing or Confidence potions (Party's choice)
Magic: 1 spell scroll: Teleport II
Magic: Potion cocktail (Love & Healing potion mix)


But this still isn't enough crew for the dromon?
'1d20+1' search around for the guard ponies that were hiding earlier.

Roll #1 13 + 1 = 14


Nolin is currently in the harbor of the fortress. The sailors have routed.
The Varangians (16 of them) are preparing the dromon for departure. They do not have the numbers to use the ship at maximum capacity, however.
Marcus, Adrianos, Karabi and Sonja are in the mage tower with Seeker and Chester. The castle servants are moving orbs downstairs as ordered by Marcus.
Flavia and Surprise are on Pomme de Mare's ship, which never left during the battle as they chose to hide instead.
Praxia is more than likely still down in the dungeons with your two rescued prisoners.
Mereghyl is on the courtyard of the castle, watching over two of the captured guards.

Tower loot:
- A pouch filled with 200 silver pieces
- An ornate scholar's sword, made from Draconian steel. Very fancy!
- A large chest with an enchanted lock. No doubt holding something special. Opening it won't be easy though.
- 421 strange blue orbs

You're right, there isn't.

The remaining sailors have fled the castle by now. They're likely headed for the village.


Pomme shakes her head.
"Ve only had to send her temporarily to dreamland mademoiselle. She vill have a headache vhen she wake, je pense."


Make sure they can see the blood of their dragoness on my fangs.


"I need to see my father now that everything is secured. Could you show me the way, Seeker?"


Go over to Flavia first.
"Hey, how are you with staying here while I see what's keeping everyone else in the castle?"


"Be safe Nolin."


They seem scared enough already, avoiding eyecontact with you at all cost and doing their best to appear docile.

You feel strangely strong already, despite your wounds. The dragoness may have punished you, but the fire inside you burns ever as brightly.

"Hm, of course. Quickly then, time's wasting."
She storms past the nervous servants and heads downstairs.

Surprise bounces up and down.
"Tell them to hurry!"


I nod.
And hurry into the castle to check for those slowpokes.


Time to follow her.


I should not move around much, still.
They just tended to my wounds, I do not want them to worsen.
Just make sure the captives cause no trouble.


You bump into Seeker and Marcus right before they reach the doors to the dungeons beneath the keep.
"Where have you been?" Asks Seeker curtly.

Some of the castle servants hurry past you, each of them carrying a number of blue orbs which look quite familiar to you.

You run into Nolin along the way.

You try to relax and stay still, but for some reason your mind can't stop thinking about fire. You feel a strong desire to surround yourself in it. To dip into a pool of molten magma and let the searing heat cover you whole.


It might be because of my injuries… but I must focus for now! This day is not yet over!


"Oh, I dunno, doing what you asked me to do." I say with a tone of annoyance. "And, we don't have enough ponies to use to Dromon."


"Nolin, we're going to get my father"

"Hmmm, what's the state of the longboat?"


"Its fine. Empty aside from the oars."


And start following you toward your rescue mission.


"If we can't use the Dromon perhaps we should use the Longboat then?"


You feel eyes burning into the back of your head and turn to see the Varangian seer you met in the village yesterday. She's certainly arrived here quickly.
"You are wounded."

"We can pitch in ourselves, how many Varangians are there left?"
You head down to the dungeons. It's still dank and dark in here, but at least it's a welcome change from the heat.

Seeker leads you down into a large pipe running under the dungeons. This must have been an old stormdrain of sorts.


Follow further.


"What would you expect after fighting a dragoness larger than you are?"


"Sixteen, and there is Pomme's crew."


The pipe doesn't allow for much freedom of movement, but luckily you don't have to go all that far before reaching the end. It's a sort of natural cavern underground, with a deep pool of water in the middle.

Praxia is still here, seems like she decided to wait before leaving. You see your father slumped against her, looking very weakened and weary. He seems to be barely conscious. You quickly recognize the mare lying on the ground next to him as Olivia Arravani. It's been many years since you last saw her, but you remember her colors well enough. She's wearing a blindfold over her eyes, which is not a great sign of good health.

Praxia raises a brow.
"You survived the dragon's wrath, I am surprised. Is it gone?"

From the sound of it, Pomme's crew is just about done preparing their ship for leave. The captain herself has dragged the unconscious merchant onto the pier, leaving her with her wares.

You had help. Ignis favored you today.

"Sixteen and eight… plus all of us. That's enough for a dromon, but not enough for a dromon and a cog ship."


"I could not say I felt it until the last moment."


"Wait, you can't leave her here! When the guards find her they will execute her!"


"well.. the Dromon can't follow us if we take it with us. So there's that to consider."
Kneel down next to Praxia. "Yes. The dragon is gone, and the guards. I'll carry one of them, we should go to the ships now."


"Yes, it's gone for good. How are they?"
Walk to my dad


"Nobody ever said Ignis makes it easy for us. It is good you survived. I feel a strong fire burning within you."

"Pourquoi? Vhat are ve supposed to do with her, mademoiselle? She is no ally."

"And I should return to the depths. I don't think you will need my help from here on out."

Seeker nods. "We should definitely not pass up on that dromon."

"I won't lie, they're in bad shape. They need proper rest and nurturing somewhere where it isn't so damp and cold. Truth be told I'm surprised she's still alive."
She nods at Olivia.


"Leave her outside the walls, at the very least!"


"We'll get them safely on the ships. Will you be joining us?"


"I feel it too. Strange. I can not stop thinking of said fire."


"I hope this isn't the last time I get to see your shining scales lighting our path." I smile at Praxia.

"Oh, Seeker, where is Mereghyl?"


She sighs and picks the mare up in a telekinetic grip, floating her along as she walks away towards the gates.
"As you say sœurette. Un instant."

"No, I should return to my duties before my absence is noted."

"That's good. Hold those thoughts and nurture them. You may be lucky enough to be graced by the great pyre."

"That depends on your cousin Marcus."
She starts to slowly sink herself into the pool of water.

"He's outside, taking a breather."


"Thank you, Pomme."


"The great pyre?"


"..Farewell then, mysterious and brave water beauty."
Time to start carrying my uncle out of here, I'm sure that Marcus will want to carry his new waifu.


Time to help my father and Olivia out of this dreadful place.

To the ships. Is the tower loot and battle loot gathered? I'll be counting it!


The bubble around the castle dissipated at some point. Looks like you're really free now.

The Varangians have prepared the dromon to the best of their abilities. You notice some castle servants carrying items onto it, but you'd need to move closer to see what exactly.

She shakes her head.
The great pyre. Ignis. Kekäle. Cinder. They're all one and the same.

You notice the bubble around the castle has dissipated.

She sinks away into the water completely.

You head up, dragging Odyris and Olivia along through the pipe and the dungeons. When you get back to the halls of the keep, you see the servants carrying the heavy chest from the tower outside.


"Let's go to the ships."


A chest? Poor plebeians having to do that.
Just keep going to the ship.


"I see. Do you think it is because I have ended the life of another dragon?"
Glance a the castle.
We are about to leave soon, I presume.


You follow the servants outside. Looks like the bubble around the castle has dissipated. The chest seems fairly heavy, but the servants manage by working together.

Mereghyl is here, on the courtyard. He's speaking to a Varangian who looks like she's some sort of a priestess. You don't understand a word of what they're saying.

"No, I don't think so. But I do think it will be important for events to come."

She walks over to the dead dragoness and kneels down.


"I suppose we shall see."


Oh. Go over to them and see what they are doing.
"Hey, are you ready to go?"


"I am."


I'll go to the ships since Nolin is looking at the priestess


"and.. your friend?"


"I am hoping she is too."


The mare takes out a glass vial and holds it under one of the dragoness' massive teeth, which are dripping blood.

She puts a cork on the vial as it's filled with blood.
"My brothers and sisters will want me to join them."

Seems like both ships are ready for departure. The longship remains stranded. Niphon is already on the dromon, looking eager to leave.


"Let us leave then, Nolin."
"Until next time."


Go to Niphon.
"What's the situation?"


"…" I shutter at the thought of what she plans to do with the blood. "Yea.. lets get out of here." To the boats.


To the boats!


She puts the vial away.
"I don't think my brothers and sisters will be willing to leave your chieftess."

He shakes his head.
"She's ready to go, but we're short on hooves."
His eyes widen as he sees your father. He quickly runs over to help support him.
"Dad! What happened?"

Your father doesn't respond. He seems somewhat apathetic right now.

It appears the ships have been fully prepared for departure. With the bubble gone as well, you'll be off this island soon enough.


"They drugged everypony. He needs medical attention."


"Will they not?"


Great. I'll just find the nearest place to lay down then.
"Cousin.. if anyone needs stabbed tell them to call anthe. I'm done for the day."


Look you over.
"You are not hurt, are you?"


"I'll go get Flavia!"
He gallops off towards Pomme's ship.

"They're sworn Varangians, they'd sooner die than abandon her. Their loyalty to their charge is unquestionable."


I am a very burnt pony.
"Not as bad as you.. Maybe you should sleep too."


"Then… if you need anyone burned, call Anthe."
Smile weakly.

"I see. So? What now?"


I snicker "Yea, that's her special talent."


I'll wait here with the two.
Is everything loaded on board?


"She could probably do it better than that dragoness could. And that hurt."


I chuckle at your joke.
"Yep. For serious thou, the only thing I'm going to open is any bottles of wine that we looted."


"I hope I can just have a little respite… maybe nap for a few weeks or months."


"Months? That's a bit long for a nap, even for a dragon."


"I am sure it would help my wounds heal after such a gruesome fight."


For the loot I need at least part of it to pay Pommes fees, though I'll have to ask Groves how much that is.
Otherwise I just want the healing/love potion. The rest can all be for you guys.


sounds fair enough.
"Sounds like we need a special sign for our vacation, maybe a few mares to keep our burns from getting to bad."


"I will let you have those. I will be content with just my hoard."


"We should leave this island before the rebels come here to investigate what happened."

Niphon runs up to you.
"Flavia, need your help now! Follow me quick!"

Pomme requires another 490 silvers.


Gasp, taken by surprise.
"What is it?!"


I'll take those 490 from the hoard, the rest can be divided amongst the others.


"Hopefully you got enough treasure back from this castle to call it that again."


"Yes, we are leaving at the earliest opportunity."

"It is just not the same as the old one."


"It's father, you need to come and look after him!"
He gallops off towards the dromon. Pomme follows him, looking curious.

Very well. You take 490 silver pieces from the stack. Niphon returns with Flavia and Pomme in tow. You don't see Anthe anywhere, so she must still be on Pomme's ship.

"Then I will rejoin my brothers and sisters before their duty."
She walks off to join the Varangians on the dromon.


Gasp and rush after him!
"I thought Praxia had taken him far away already!"


You follow Niphon to the dromon. Marcus is here, as are your father and lady Arravani. They don't look to be in critical condition, but you should get them to lie down somewhere more comfortable than the wooden floor.

This ship must have a cabin for officers to rest in, that might be a good place to let them rest during the journey.


"Oh dear-
Please, help me take them to the captain's cabin! They need to lie on something that won't break their backs!"


Niphon picks up your father onto his back while Surprise grabs Olivia with surprising ease. They bring them to the main cabin of the ship, where a few hammocks are hanging off the walls. This'll have to do as a temporary clinic.

Pomme clears her throat and looks at you expectantly.


Turn to miss Pomme.
"Yes miss Pomme?"


Turn to Niphon and Surprise.
"Anypony else is hurt that I should know about? What of the guards we fought?"
Meanwhile assert their conditions with a medicine check. Who's hurt the most and how badly?

Roll #1 16 + 10 = 26


"You promised payment upon arrival to the island, monsieur."

Surprise raises a hoof.
"Nolin's hurt! I saw he had burns! You already took care of Mereghyl so I guess that's fine?"

Your father seems to mostly be in need of rest. After removing Olivia's blindfold, you establish that her eyes are indeed gone. At least they had the decency to properly treat the wounds, so they didn't fester. You will need to keep her drugged for a while though, to ward off the pain while her wounds heal.


"So I did. And I always keep my promises."
Hoof her the bag of gold.
"I hope you didn't have too much trouble during the assault?"


Five years of med school was indeed enough to learn when eyes are gone!
Use whichever supplies are needed then, and treat them.
Once I'm done, sit by father's bed. Is he still out of it?


I'm sure I found a bed somewhere by now.


"Of course not. Zis was not ze first siege we had to live through."
She surrounds the bag with her magic and floats it over to herself.
"You vill take zis vessel along to Saddlonica? It is not very subtle."

He's fallen asleep. You're sure he'll be more lucid by tomorrow.

As you're working on your patients, Nolin comes into the cabin as well looking for a bed.

You stumble into the same cabin Flavia is using for her other two patients. There are two more free beds here.


Frown at him and immediately shove him onto a bed!
"Walking around with a leg like that!"


So can this ship run or not?
Do we need Pommes crew? No one is every clear about it?


"A nice mare pushing me into bed? This is actually just what I was looking for." I chuckle and poke your nose. "Don't worry, I'm done moving for the day.. Tell Anthe she has to do all the work now."


"I'm not your mailmare, cousin! Now stand still as I take care of this."
Treat his burns.

Roll #1 16 + 10 = 26


I'm sure you could have counted yourself, but fine.
Niphon clears his throat. "I propose you lend us some of your crew on this ship, captain. We'll attach a line to your ship and pull her along. That'll be the fastest way of doing it."

Flavia applies some salve to Nolin's burns to help heal the skin. She then wraps a layer of bandages around the leg. It should heal up entirely given some time.


I'm not even sure how many NPCs we picked up.
Who am I missing?

"What do you think, miss Pomme?"


"Thanks Flavia. I'm just gonna rest for a while.. I'm pretty tired after all that."
And then I try to fall asleep, leaving the rest of whatever needs to be done to the others.


"As long as it gets us safely to Saddlonica, I can agree to your plan messieurs. You vill get your extra crew."
Pomme leaves for her ship again to give out the necessary orders.

Less than an hour later, your dromon is pulling away from the island of Anafi with Pomme's ship in tow. The Varangians and Pomme's crew are working together to keep the ship going despite the language barrier between the two groups.

Saddlonica is quite a journey away. You will have to hope the tides and weather are on your side.



Odyris Hippoi and Olivia Arravani will spend this time recovering from their ordeals in the dungeons.

Nolin still has a locked chest to crack open as well.


How were they holding up, psychologically?


I'm probably spending my time, reading, thinking bout what to do in Saddlonica.
Making sure Mereghyl gets the help he needs.
Waiting for either dad or olivia to wake up. I'll need lodgings in Saddlonica for both of them…or shall I send them to Nolins family in Cloptantinople?


I'll get to work cracking open that lock, maybe have one of those prench mares around to watch too.


Your father appears to be mentally sound, but physically he's really not up to par yet. He's lucid again though, so that's good.

It's hard to judge in the case of Olivia since you've continued to administer drugs to keep her from having to deal with the pain from her wounds.

You can catch either of them awake at times even though they sleep a lot.

Chester has already worked on removing the enchantment from the lock, leaving the core part to be dealt with.

This is your field of expertise though. It's a hard lock to crack, but you reckon you're capable of opening it with the tools you have. The crew is sort of very busy keeping the ships running, since you are no doubt going to be chased down. You'll need to roll impress to get one to fall for your dexterous trickery.

You'll also need to roll a prestidigitation roll to get started on that lock, of course. Your Dex penalty has been removed now thanks to Flavia's continued medical treatment.


Seek the guidance of Eurydice.
It's been a long time since I did last.


Let's go the first word I get that father is awake and can speak


'1d20+10' to get the lock started.
'1d20+3' to impress one of the crew.

Roll #1 16 + 10 = 26 / Roll #2 17 + 3 = 20


You sit down and take out your wooden runic cube, setting it down in front of you and starting your prayer to Eurydice.

When your prayer is done and you open your eyes again, you're no longer on the ship. Once again you find yourself in the Eurydice's beautiful domain. The dryad is, like always, propped up against her beloved oak tree., playing soft tunes on her golden lyre with her eyes closed and a serene smile on her face.

You get word from Flavia that he's awoken from his long slumber on the second day of your journey, so you drop what you're doing and head over to the cabin where he and Olivia were placed.

You open the door and see him sitting upright in his bed, leaning against the wooden wall behind him. He turns his head slowly towards you as he hears the door open, a ghost of a smile appearing on his face as he sees it's you.

Flavia isn't here right now, she went off to go meditate for a moment to give you some privacy.

You manage to attract the attention of one of the Prench crew. You know she wouldn't be able to understand a word of what you're saying even if she tried, but that's not about to stop you.

She leans onto the chest with her forelegs, propping up her head with her hooves as she gives you a sweet smile every time you look up from your work on the lock.

The lock clicks once. Roll another Prestidigitation check.


Walk to him.


Stand here, listening to the beauty of her music, until she deems it time to stop.
"I've come to thank you, Eurydice."


Nuhuh, I can speak prench.


"Watch this." I say with a smile at the prench mare.
'1d20+10' keep unlocking it.

Roll #1 2 + 10 = 12


He reaches out with a hoof, weakly grasping your shoulder.
"My son… you have no idea how glad I am to see you again. It has been so… so very long…"
He coughs a few times. Flavia has told you his throat isn't doing so well after being exposed to the cold dampness for so long.

She stops only a few seconds after your arrival.
"Flavia. You've returned to me in good health. I presume you were successful."

I forgot and can't open your sheet too check, my apologies.

One of your lockpicking tools snaps in half as you apply too much pressure. Better be careful… you never know what other defensive mechanisms this chest has to keep thieves out.

She grins and giggles as you snap the tool in half.
"Very impressive~"


"So we have. Both my father and the Doux have been rescues, albeit she is not in the best of shapes…"
Wince, looking to a side.


I blush and pull out another one to try again. '1d20+10' "Eh, seems these things are only good once. Still, can't imagine that anything inside would be more beautiful than you.

Roll #1 20 + 10 = 30


"…Far too long. I never thought this is how we'd see each other again when I left."


Want to crit that?



Hm. On one hand, I'd like to talk to the heads of house, but they're probably being mushy right now. I'll talk to Sonja instead.

"We did it. A hoofhull of soldiers conquered a fortress, and doing so, have thrown the Theme into chaos. Maybe not yet, but soon, things will begin to shift. The pretender is no longer secure on the throne."


"Did they violate her in any way?"

"If you want me to take over, just say so."
She snickers at your blush.

Her schadenfreude is shortlived as the lock immediately clicks twice on the next try, opening up the mechanism. She looks surprised and stops leaning on the chest.
"Oh la la, you were just pretending to mess up huh?~"

He keeps smiling a closes his eyes for a moment.
"I am very… very proud of you, son."
He pauses for a moment, then opens his eyes again to the best of his abilities and looks at you.
"Yet I'm left to wonder just how… you pulled this off. I never thought I'd see daylight again as soon as they put me in that dungeon…"

She scoffs.
"You ponies and your pretenders and usurpers and claimants and whatever other words you come up with. Leave the throne to the strongest of the herd I say. And let those too weak to defend their title perish. A blind pony is no fitting leader."


Smirk at her. "Maybe I just wanted an excuse to have you around longer~"
Time to open it up and see what we got.


"She has been wounded by them. Gravely. Her eyes were…"
Bite my own tongue and shut my eyes close, almost tearing up.


"It's a long story, Father. Once we heard where you were, we knew we had to do everything we could to rescue you.
We received help from Nolin and Adrianos in Cloptantinople and made our way to the island as fast as we could. Our family is far from defeated.
We'll get back what we lost and more."


"Someday someone will find a better way. There is no doubt that a government is strongest when vested in a single, powerful leader. But with your system, the champion is constantly fending off blood sport and usually dies before any real experience is accrued. The subjects don't know who to follow. Too much uncertainty. Too much chaos. With our system, yes, sometimes you end up with weak rulers. However…"

Draw my weapon and rest it casually on the deck. "He has people to be his weapons and his eyes. Strength in battle is good, but intelligence, strategy, wisdom? They are musts."


You open up the heavy chest, the hinges creaking as you swing the top.

Inside there are a lot of papers with scribbles and calculations drawn onto them you can't really make sense of as a layman. More interestingly though, there's also a large red and yellow colored egg in here, locked in a glass case to protect it. You've never seen anything quite like it.

You also find a small bag with something heavy inside, as well as two spell scrolls like the one that was found before.

She remains quiet for a moment.
"Blinding has become one of the most used punishments of your home. Perhaps you've come here to ask for my thoughts on that?"

"But… how could you have known where I was locked up?"

"I still can't see sense in this arrangement. Your empress, for example, why is it always the youngest daughter? The young should follow the old, not the other way around."


Check the bag.
"Aw, I was hoping for a necklace that I could give a pretty mare.."


"It is an unnecessary confusion. Our house succession is the opposite, you know."


"Among other things.
Now that my duty to my family is done, I can fully commit to your cause, Eurydice!
Our cause!"


"We had some help, from a Concord.
He believes you and the Doux are innocent. Those traitors have fooled the Empire into thinking you killed the old Doux…"


She leans in to look as well. Inside the bag is a large cut gem which looks to be a diamond. It's huge if it really is diamond!

The Prench mare leans in to look.
"Mon dieu…"

She nods.
"Everywhere is different, your empire is chaotic. Too complicated and convoluted."

You're surprised to see her shaking her head.
"Your plight is not yet done, Flavia. Nor are you ready for what is to come.

The shadows have stirred in the last few days. They move nearly unseen even to me. I cannot expect you to hunt those even I cannot see. But they cannot stay hidden forever, sooner or later they will rear their ugly heads for all to see. I will need you then more than ever."

He nods slowly.
"They made it clear that we were accused as such."
He looks over to where Olivia is resting.
"I did no such thing, nor do I believe did she."


"We know, but what happened there?"


"The empire wasn't built in a day – it was the result of many cultures being brought together and united. Reform would have to come from the top. But what we've done already is a step in the right direction."


"Shadows seeking to hurt my family again?"


"Praise the Moon.." Grin wide and grab her hoof.
"I knew you were good luck, lets find the others, why.. this thing alone could buy us at least part of a new home."


He sighs.
"A series of unfortunate events that did not seem to end. I've never witness such bad luck and… well… admittedly the doux was at fault as well. If she had been… wiser with her decisions, perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation right now.

But alas, there is no use lamenting it now."

"If you say so. It is your country, you understand it better than I ever will."

"Not just your family, but your entire homeland. I have been suspecting Discord for some time, but as of late I've begun to doubt his involvement. It does not seem to fit his… unusual style. Though of course, that still does not exclude him."

"Is it diamond? Are you sure?"


"Clue me in, I beg you!"


"Do you still feel like an outsider?"


"I dunno.. Maybe. Even if its not we can probably see it as a convincing fake."
Take her to find someone with better appriase skills, maybe Chester or Seeker or Marcus.


"What happened, father? We need to know if we want to fight these traitors."


"Like I said, they still move unseen to me. I have heard whispers about something sinister going on beneath the seas, but those are not my domain. I can't expect you to be able to investigate such a thing."

"How can I not? How can anyone not feel like an outsider in cities like Clopantinople? They are too big. Too many cultures. Too much chaos."

Roll for Search if you want to find Chester.
Marcus is in the cabin with the rescued captives.
Seeker is right here on deck.

He grunts and rights himself.
"What do you need to know, exactly?"


lay down, forelegs crossed before me, in front of her.
"What do the whispers say?"


"Everything…but I suppose this can wait if you'd rather not talk about it now."


Lets grab Seeker.
"Hey, I got the chest open. Come help me look it over."


"That the seaponies are in trouble. And if they are in trouble, Aqualia is too.

… What have you learned about Aqualia thusfar, Flavia?"

He sighs, then chuckles.
"You really will have to be more specific than that Marcus… I'm not sure what you want to know from me."

"Make it quick, we need to keep this ship running."
She hurries over.
"What do we have?"

The Prench mare lifts the egg out of the chest. Seeker gasps as she sees it, looking uncharacteristically surprised.
"By Natura, is that what I think it is?"


"Let's start with the beginning. What do you mean by weird decisions by the old Doux?"


"So you do know what it is. I knew it." I lean back smugly.
"See, we'll figure out what's valuable in no time. We're good at this."


"When no one is native, everyone is native. It's just cosmopolitan. You fit right in."


"I guess… Just what my mentors taught me.
Haven't had much time to familiarize myself with Praxia…"


"She was not a competent ruler, is what I was trying to say… She had no idea what she was doing, but worse yet ignored most of the advice her council gave her. She angered a lot of the Agrian lords and ladies with her antics… I mean at one point she tried to-"
He sighs and rubs his temples with his hooves.
"… She tried to 'nationalize' church property all over the province, because she figured she could use church funds to finance her war."

Seeker takes the glass case out of the mare's hooves.
"This right here is a phoenix egg. You know what a phoenix is, don't you? Only the most majestic kind of bird?"

"It never felt that way, I'm glad to be away from it now."

"Praxia? I'm not sure who you're referring to."


I nod. "Oh, and you're sure about that being one? The others will be so excited!"


"You know her! The sea pony my brother Marcus befriended."


Is there a war I should be aware of?


She carefully opens the glass case and touches the egg with a hoof. She then presents the case to you.
"Touch it. It's radiating heat. This is the real deal."

"So her name is Praxia. I see. She did not mention anything about this?"

Well you know, the civil war in Agria?


But…that war was started because the old Doux died? Or are you talking about the blind doux?


"No. But yet again, I did not peer too closely."


If you recall, when the doux and his son died, his eldest daughter took over.


touching the egg-case
"Its not like an incubator cube?"


Okay okay,
Let me recap

>everything is happy dandy and Dad goes to Doux 1, son still alive also daughters

>then Doux 1 +son dies mysteriously
>Civil war doesn't start?
>Eldest Daughter Doux gets the throne and fucks up
>Civil war starts now
>Daughter Doux Dies
>Dad and Blind Doux get accused of the murder?


"I assume that didn't go over well with the local church."


"When you see her again, it would be wise to ask her about the situation of her people."
She remains silent for a moment.
"How fares Surprise?"

The glass feels slightly warm to the touch.
"No, I think it's just magically treated glass to keep the egg safe and easier to handle. Phoenix eggs are very hardy."

"Of course not, seizing church assets is a blasphemous thing to do in the eyes of the people. There's no better way to make yourself unpopular than to violate the clergy."


"I see. Can you tell when it will hatch?"


"I've never hatched a phoenix egg before… but I know my avians well. I can monitor it for you to see when it'll hatch. Just give me a few days to look up some information. Hardy as they might be, they can also take a long time to actually hatch if not treated properly."


Smile and pat her back "We're stuck on this boat together anyway, it'll give you a hobby for a bit."
And then I'd look for the others to show off the loot and split it up.


For the first time you met her, Seeker seems positively giddy.

Flavia is currently in some sort of a trance. Marcus is talking to his daddy. Surprise, Karabi, Sonja, Niphon, Anthe and the captain are around though. Chester should be around here somewhere as well, if you can find him with a Search check.

The Prench sailor mare picks up the scrolls lying in the chest.
"What do you suppose these do? They look like spell scrolls, like the ones the Prench mages back home make."


"This might sound odd, but we should ask my cat. He's actually great at this magic stuff." I take her hoof and lead her around the boat with me.
'1d20+1' search for chester.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


"Oh, the cat? You should look in my hammock, he's always lazing around in it during the day!"


I chuckle "Your personal Hammock? Must be very comfy.. lead the way then."


"It's not much to look at, but we need to rest somewhere don't we?"

The captain agrees to levitate the two of you to her own cog ship, which is being towed behind the dromon by a thick rope. No wonder you couldn't find Chester if he was on a different ship entirely! You head to the hold, where you hear soft purring coming from one of the crew's hammocks.


I smile at her as we walk over to purring sound.
"I'm a little envious of that cat, he sounds like he's found the best bed in the world."


She giggles.
"Isn't that what cats always strive for?"

You walk over to the hammock, but find it empty. You look up as you realize the purring is coming from above you now and see Chester grinning down at you as he rests on a wooden support beam.
"Hello Nolin…"


"And ponies too sometimes." I nudge her gently.

"Ah, Chester. I finally was allowed out of bed, so I cracked open that box. There are some magic-scrolls in there that we'd like your help with."


"But it was not the clergy that eventually overthrew her"


The scrolls are whisked out of your hooves, floating up towards him as they unfurl themselves.
"These are inscribed with… a time stop spell… and a reverse gravity spell. Our old dragon friend was quite industrious."

She shakes his head.
"No, but it was a strong spark that set the card house alight."


"Really? Can we use them?"


He nods.
"These are designed to be able to be used even when you are untrained at magic. Or… in a mage's case… when they are too exhausted to tap into their magical reserves to cast a spell of their own."


"Really? That is quite special!" I carefully grab one.
"Messing with Time and Gravity.. I can't imagine being able to do those things, or facing someone who can.."


"These are… high level spells. But the scrolls can only be used once."


"Hmm and only last a few moments I bet? This chest was definately worth opening, a phoenix egg and now scrolls like this."


"How do you think we could get our home back?"



He floats down, moving through the wooden support beam as if it isn't even there.
"Their power and… potency depends on the mage who crafted them. The more experience they have, the better the scrolls work."

"I don't know yet Marcus, I don't know…"
You see he's starting to falter again.


"Oh? So we won't know until we use it? That's important too."
"Say, Chester, how do you do that?" I say at his antics.


"Rest, Father, we can talk more another time."


Has Anthe seen father yet?


Cough formally, as Marcus extricates himself from the family patriarch.


Walk to you.
"Yes, Adrianos?"


"I've only heard of the condition the head of household is in, given that I didn't assist in the actual dungeon run. How is the Lord Hippoi?"


She hasn't. When you're done, I'm timeskipping.

"Very simple… you just use your tongue. Unfurl the scrolls and, while holding onto them physically, you read their names in a dramatic manner."


"He has been through great trials. But he'll recover in time."

Make sure Anthe can see him next time he wakes up


I nod and look over the chest again. "Hey, do you know how to identify jewelry by chance? I'd like to know if this gem is real."


I'm here now!


Raise a brow. "That isn't much of an answer."


Very well.

He floats towards it, upside down, and eyes it for a moment.
"Diamonds are not my specialty, yet it looks like it is real."


"He's very weak. He hasn't had much to eat for the last few weeks. The guards weren't too kind either. That's what I know, Flavia is caring for him."


"I should have a look at him, once he's had some rest. But now the question becomes the matter of the Theme. I'm sure it has crossed your mind."


"If you think that's necessary.
And yes, the matter has crossed my mind. But before we can do anything, we'd need resources, alliances, an army."


"Then that brings us to the crux of the issue – what are your plans in those regards?"


"I'll need to have a talk with Doux Hypatia…that's as far as I've thought ahead."


Sigh. "Do you play the board game petteia?"


"Yes, I have."


Post "Ready" when you are prepared to skip.




"Mm, if its not real, its a convincing fake. Which can be as good to someone who doesn't know better."
That was all the loot we needed to identify.


or was it?


I'll just finish this talk with Adrianos


"That is what I think too. Yet there's something about it that catches my interest.

… Would you mind if I were to hang onto it myself?"

No problem.


"So you should know better than to play the real thing like a novice. Cousin, you have to have a plan in mind and motion. If nothing else, a goal. Petteia has more than one win condition, but if you don't know which you're looking for…"


"I cannot plan if I do not have any information or resources. And Hypatia is the first pony I can think of that can provide us both."


"You can't plan if you don't have a vision to plan toward. So… are you the kind of stallion who is just trying to recoup his losses, or do you see a higher call?"


"I intend to see the Doux returned to her rightful place on the throne and our house to rise accordingly for our loyalty. This is our opportunity to gain a place of prominence, rather than remaining a small house in the backwater of Agria."


"Well, you're diplomatic, if nothing else."


"What about you Adrianos, what do you hope to gain out of this?"


"…Just until I find a nice jeweler and the right mare to give it to.."


"For now I am content to aid my family in its time of need."


"..Thank you, Adrianos, I will not forget this when our house has been restored."


"Come. We should toast the victory. I'm sure this sort of crew keeps at least one vintage on hoof."


"I'll take you up on that offer."
When we're drinking…
"There'll be many ponies in Saddlonica. I'll have to talk with the Doux, but perhaps you could go around and see if there are any other potential allies around?"


"You wouldn't give it to me?"
He says that last word very innocently.


"Noooo. I really like it. And we're already paying you in siren gems."



Things are very busy today in Saddlonica, as the two fleets are gearing up to move out of the city limits to face the corsairs head on. Your sister and the Doux of Saddlonica are hoping to crush the corsair fleet and turn the tide against piracy with a swift and merciless series of assaults. Rumor has it that the pirates have assembled a proper fleet as well, no doubt aided by the Saddle-Arabians.

In any case, you doubt your sister will let you take part in the actual fighting. She's been pushing you to travel to Agria instead so that you may meet your future bride and leave an early impression.


"That was my plan. I'd like to get a feel for the city… the ponies there. If I can raise a mercenary retinue, all the better."


"That's how all great armies started."
Shall we continue to Saddlonica?


Probably so


"Perhaps we could call it even with this one diamond?"
He purrs.





You will get the chance to spend money before the prudence tax right now, unless you wish to simply stash it instead.

After some days of less than comfortable travel, Saddlonica city finally edges into view. During your journey, you were lucky enough not to encounter any corsairs or other Agrian dromons. Odyris Hippoi has gotten somewhat better, but is still too weak to properly function. Mereghyl, too, is too weakened to be able to do much until he has healed up entirely. Olivia Arravani is faring somewhat better, but is still receiving daily dosages of drugs which continue send her to sleep for the majority of the time. The times she is awake, her senses and mind are far too dulled to form any coherent dialogue.

Saddlonica city stands out thanks to its blue and white painted houses. Almost every roof you see is painted in blue, while the white walls reflect sunlight as if they are mirrors. More notably though, is the vast amount of ships present here. There are many dozens of dromons laying both in the massive port of the city and in the natural harbour in which Saddlonica was built as well. Many of these fly the colours of House Pontus, the ruling family of Saddlonica, though you also see many Peneian flags belonging to House Toxias. Seems like the captain of the ship that helped you get to Clopantinople wasn’t kidding when he said the fleets were rallying. This is a serious naval force, containing two of some of the empire’s biggest fleets.

As you are still flying under Agrian colours, no one seems to pay much heed to you as you enter the city port and manoeuvre around looking for a spot. When you eventually dock, the captain heads off to register at the port authority while her crew secure the two ships.


I loathe sea combat at any rate, so I am not going to lose out on much.
Travelling to Agria however… not my favourite thing to do.


Hmmmm, can I have a quick link to the inventories?


The sheet I gave you already has had Prudence applied to it.
"Say brother, what will our next stop be?"


"We should go see our family no?
Livia is probably anxious to see you again…Perhaps we can buy something quickly in town before we move on…"


Yet it would please your sister so much! You could go to the harbor and find a ship headed for Agria.

Not that you're obliged to do anything. If you don't feel like paying heed to your sister's desires, you could just spend the day doing what you want yourself. This city has plenty of possible activities. Roll Investigate if you want to find out what's what in Saddlonica today.


They haven't been updated just yet. You used your share of the money found on the island to pay Pomme, so right now you're pretty much broke until the next adventure starts.



I do believe that was your intention, spending your cut on payment?


I could always just tell her I'm preparing to leave, but not today.

Let's investigate

Roll #1 2 + 9 = 11


Gasp, covering my mouth with a hoof as not to be too obscene!
"I miss her so! And mother, too!
When will we be leaving?"


Yes, I forgot how much it was.

"We can leave right now if you want. I'll just say goodbye to Miss Pomme."


Seems like you don't really have that much of a clue.

There's the markets of course, if you feel like spending some money. There may be some games going on in the amphitheater or the hippodrome as well. You also recall Hypatia mentioning that Violia, one of your little sisters, is on her way to Saddlonica, but you don't know when she'll arrive.

You do have some precious loot on board, including a phoenix egg, three spell scrolls, a crate filled with memory orbs and some other stuff the others claimed.


I want to sell my War Club (20s) and get a Goblin / Superior / Keen War Club (60s)


"Do we have safe passage charted?"


I could swing by the docks in that case, maybe someone there knows about incoming ships.


A phoenix egg?
Now that IS interesting.

I'll keep my love/healing elixer close.

This is kinda OOC, but if you wanna buy some stuff with your gold, now's the time rather than going to family immediately


Do you want to roll for Haggle or just quick sell and buy? There are of course places to buy and sell equipment here in the port itself.

You haven't seen Violia for some time now, as she doesn't live in Peneios anymore.

The docks are very crowded, as you could have predicted. Sailors are busying themselves with prepping their ships for the coming campaign. Port authority will know about ships coming and going, so that would be your best bet.

Seeker identified it as such. She's taking care of it for now, since they are very hard to hatch.

Pomme is going to port authority to pay the docking taxes.


Um, yeah, that's why I'm doing it now. That's what the post is about. To buy it now. What are you talking about?


This is kinda OOC, but if you wanna buy some stuff with your gold, now's the time rather than going to family immediately

Sorry, I mislinked


Waltz into their office then.


I did already, added the items to my sheet and subtracted the money, and then even applied prudence to what was left.


Eh let's go then

Groves, do I have to arrange transport for all this stuff right now?


Port authority is actually located in a coastal fort on the edge of the docks. There are multiple desks here, all of which are busy tending to somepony already. Do you wait in line or just cut in?

That's a vague question. You can keep it on the ship if you want, unless you want to move it around to somewhere?


That depends, does the pony look like a pleb?


Oh right, the ship is mine!
Wish Pomme a good journey and we'll go!

"Hmmm, do you think Saddlonica is dangerous? We managed on hoof quite easily in Cloptantinople."


They're mostly just sailors, many of them are indeed plebs.

You know Pomme won't be leaving Saddlonica just yet. She told you on the way here that she'll spend a few days in the city with her crew, until the navy dromons have cleared out of the city.

The palace of the Doux is not far from here, this city really sticks to the coast.


Cut in line then.
"I have important business, so step aside."


….how does my suit look after all these days?


I should like to see the city. Get Sonja.

"What do you think? Perhaps a local imperial barracks, or the tavern for swarthy sellswords? Although, the larger companies would probably have their own guildhalls… More than anything, I need news."

Are there criers or something from where we can see at the docks?


"I think that someone is bound to be looking for us…"


The mare looks peeved, muttering something in Prench as she steps aside.

The clerk behind the desk bows his head somewhat.
"How may I be of assistance, my lord?"

I assume you carry more than one pair. You'll need to get them cleaned properly eventually though.

"Can we afford hired swords right now?"

Right now the biggest buzz around town is the impending anti-piracy campaign that will be launched by Peneia and Saddlonica. Roll Investigate if you want to find out other happenings around the empire.


Can I make out what it is?

"I need to know about incoming ships. One of them is important." I suppose I know where Viola is coming from, so share the details of that.

Roll #1 3 + 11 = 14


"Probably not, but it doesn't hurt to be in touch with mercenary companies. It helps you get a feel for which way the wind is blowing."

Investigate '1d20+7'

Roll #1 15 + 7 = 22


Luckily I know just the thing!

"Hmmm, you might be right."

Can I call in a favor for safe passage?


Are you sure you want to waste rep on a fifteen minute walk through hundreds of Peneian and Saddlonican sailors?


no then.

"then karabbi will teach em a iesson"


"I trust your judgment, brother!"


let's walk to the castle


She either just called you a jackass or wants to eat ice cream with you.

The clerk shakes his head.
"No more ships are slated to come in from Peneia today or tomorrow. There is a supply convoy coming in the day after tomorrow, but that's Peneian business that port authority doesn't concern itself with."

Perhaps she's coming over land instead?

Word on the street is that the condition of the Primarch is deteriorating. The head of church has been struggling with declining health for a while now, but from the sounds of it, he could pass away any day now.

The Doux of Peneia is in the city overseeing the campaign against the corsairs right now. Her husband the prince is present as well. From what you hear, she had some of her siblings travel to this city too.

There's rumors about tensions building between Saddlonica and Peneia too, despite their current cooperation. It seems both themes have their sights set on the Skyrosian archipelago to the far east of here, which only recently proclaimed independence after centuries of Saddle-Arabian rule. In its current state, it has become a juicy target for conquest.

Also reported were a string of alleged attacks on lone ships along the southern coast of Trotantium. Corsairs were first suspected to be behind these attacks, but witnesses claim that they were carried out by seaponies.

The Saddlonican palace is, like so many buildings, located near the shore of the city. It has been clearly themed around Aqualia, with fountains, statues and mosaics dedicated to the sea goddess all over the place.

More interestingly is that it has a strange water garden surrounding it, with wooden bridges set up as the only way to traverse it while remaining dry. The garden is walled off of course, you'll need to get past the gates first. There are guard patrols everywhere. Security must have been tightened with Hypatia Toxias' visit.


Time to go to the gate!
My family is already here!
The guards must know I'm coming!


Stick close to Marcus… I don't like this.


I thought I added Prench to my languages!
Weird… although land is possible.
"Did any ships arrive before then?"


You've been off the radar for over two weeks now, you're not sure anyone here expected your arrival today.

The guards stop you. There's ten of them guarding the gate alone.
"Who goes there? State your name and business!" One of them barks at you.

You did, but she's muttering and you didn't roll high enough to make out her exact words.

"From Peneia? Well, there's the warfleet of course. Several dozens of Peneian ships in there."


I'll assume ice-cream because I'm a handsome stallion.
"I doubt that's what I'm looking for. Have a good day."
Turn around and leave.

Back home then.


Does anyone of them follow The Mother herself?
"We are expected."


What about news from Agria? '1d20+7'

Roll #1 12 + 7 = 19



Roll #1 1 = 1


Saddlonica is famously extremely dedicated to Aqualia rather than the Mother. Some Aqualian heresies even spawned in this very city, which refuted the Mother as the highest deity in favor of Aqualia.

That being said, the Mother remains respected in most corners of the empire, even here.
The guard narrows her eyes at you.
"Your name, sister. I asked for it."

The clerk apologizes for not being able to be of more help as you set off.

You return back to the palace to consider your options. Looks like there's a holdup at the gates though. A few ponies seem to be struggling to be let inside. As you get closer, you recognize Marcus Hippoi as one of them. He's one of your sister's former wards!

News from Agria is rather sketchy, as the province remains torn following the civil war. The new doux seems to be restructuring many things, as Agria is suffering from massive financial debts. Even the navy and army have seen budget cuts now, as the Agrian government struggles to stay afloat.

That being said, they are still managing for now, but clearly it will take time to get things back in order.


Stop with a surprised smile.
"Marcus, is that you? I didn't expect to see you today."


"Flavia of house Hippoi.
And this is Marcus Hippoi, eldest brother of our house."
Stare him down in a calm form of anger.
'1d20+15' +7 - his appearance bonus.

Roll #1 5 + 15 = 20


I see if we can visit the court to see if any of the ousted administration is here in exile…

Who holds the debts?


An earth pony patrician approaches the gate as well, calling out to your brother. >>634888

The guard relents under your stare and the recognition of the stranger. She backs off and opens the gate for you.
"The Doux will want to speak with you."

Marcus said something about going to see the Doux of Saddlonica.

The debt is held by the Theme itself, as the Agrian treasury has needed many loans to stay running.



"But then I couldn't see your fuzzy tail around anymore." I taunt him with a poke of my hoof.
What do I know about Saddloncia?


You've arrived in Saddlonica city, capital of Thema Saddlonica and seat of House Pontus. For the past two weeks Peneia and Saddlonica have been amassing their fleets, supported by the imperial fleet, to launch a campaign against the marauding corsairs who terrorize the south coast of the empire.

Odyris Hippoi remains in recovery, as does your friend Mereghyl. Olivia Arravani has yet to sober up from her diet of drugs, but thanks to Flavia's good care her wounds have been healing well. The dromon you stole from the island of Anafi has docked and a landing party has gone forth to the local palace of the Saddlonican Doux to ask for temporary asylum in the province.

Marcus, Karabi and Flavia are at the palace, trying to get inside.
Andronicus has just arrived at the palace gates as well.
Adrianos and Sonja were collecting information and thinking about going to the palace to attend court.

Do you want to join your cousins in trying to get to court?

Last post:


While Marcus and co realizes who I am, I turn to the guard.
"What seems to be the problem?"


About time!


Stop as well and smile.
"Andronicus? I didn't expect you here either. I guess I should have, since Peneia is massing its fleet here. How are you?"


"My sister is in charge of the fleet, not me. You were lucky to find me here, supposedly I won't stay in the city for long. I am doing fine, thank you."
Smile as well.
"What about you?"


"I'm on the run from the law and I was hoping to speak to your sister."


Bow gently before the newcomer.


"I have heard of such troubles. I already spoke with some of your family."

Bow my head slightly in return.


"Good, so they're safe. Where can I find them?"


She scrunches indignantly.
"They refused to state their names, my lord. Not a wise thing to do to a palace guard."


"Flavia, this is a friend of mine, Andronicus of House Toxias.
Andronicus, this is Flavia, one of my sisters and a talented priest."


"They are inside, safe and sound."

"Ah, that's why she looked familiar. It is a pleasure to meet you, Flavia."

"They are with me. It would be even more unwise to not let them in when I tell you to, would it not?"


She's opened the gate already and told them to see lord Pontus.


"Most honored, Andronicus dominus. A blessing upon you."


In we go then.

"A sister of the faith, I can see?"


"I'd like to talk to your sister as well, once I've talked to my family. How is she?"


Nod humbly, following after him.
"I'm sure you are already familiar with my sister Livia. She, too, took on the path."


"She is at her usual, let's just say that."

"I know, I met her in the Chapel. She was praying, no doubt for you and the safety of your family."


Chuckle. "Good. Heh, you're never going to believe this, Andronicus, but we've been able to free my father. He's with us."
Not sure if he's right here or waiting on our ship.


Andronicus leads the way past the gates into the water gardens surrounding the palace. To get to the palace, you must cross several arched bridges which connect small islands with one another. The garden is for the largest part flooded, with riverplants and all types of fish thriving in this very comfortable environment. The island have some greenery on them as well, some of it familiar, others more exotic. Each island seems to have a different theme to it, making it almost look like a miniature version of the different continents of the known world.

The palace has stylish white walls, decorated with various mosaics themed around the sea and Aqualia. The roof is colored a deep blue, similar to the majority of the buildings of this city. Security seems pretty tight, with both Saddlonican and Peneian guards doing their patrols.

It would probably be polite to meet with your host first.


>Marcus, Karabi and Flavia are at the palace, trying to get inside.


True, true.
Let's go give praise to the Lord Pontus then


Raise an eyebrow.
"You have…"
"So that is what you have been up to, your detour from the capitol."

Off to the Lord we go.


"Yes, the time was ripe. It was quite an adventure. I should tell you later over some wine."


Of course, we shall meet the lord!


"One thing at a time, indeed."


With Andronicus leading you, the guards leave you alone. You recognize some of the Peneian guards from your time in Peneia. They seem to be the only friendly faces around here, tension is in the air.

You encounter the lord in the halls of his palace. Looks like he's heard of your arrival. Accompanied by a host of guards, he strides towards you. He's a rather handsome stallion in his early thirties, probably a few years older than Hypatia. He's clothed in the colors of his House, blue and black. His expression seems rather stern and serious.

"So these are my visitors coming from the east, more Agrian outcasts."


Follow Marcus' lead here.


Nod to him.
"I allowed myself to lead them inside the castle."


This is starting off well.
"Lord Pontus."
Bow my head.
"I thank you for the hospitality you've shown towards my family."


"As you should, your sister has assured me that they should be welcome here."

"Your conflict with the Doux of Agria is of no concern to me."
One of his guards hoofs him a piece of parchment, which he opens up and reads.
"You arrived in port with a ship we were told was stolen by corsairs during one of their raids on the Agrian coast. Very curious."


Perk my ears.
"Stolen by corsairs? I had no idea."


"Is she joining us?"


What a peculiar coincidence!"


He doesn't look impressed at all.
"I strongly suggest you modify your new ship so that future confusions like these won't happen again. By this time tomorrow, that ship will be on the kill list of the Saddlonican fleet."

"I believe she is in the courtyard, meeting with some officials."


"I see."


Hey I wasn't lying!
"Thank you, lord Pontus, we shall make sure no further confusion occurs."


"Good. Now you'll excuse me, I have a naval campaign to worry about."
He moves on past you with his entourage in tow.


That was a charming host.
"Went… Alright?"


That could have gone worse.
Bow as he leaves.

"Now, I want to see my mother, Andronicus."

"Better than I expected."


"If you say so, brother…"


Karabi cackles at you.


"We need only locate her for that. She should be easy to find."


I sigh patting Marcus on the back.
"I'll head back to the ship and see what I can do about the 'confusion' cousins."


"Keep quiet about my Father and the Doux, for now."


In reply I roll my eyes as I walk away. "You too Marcus."


As Andronicus said, she's easy to find with some asking around. You find Evanthia Hippoi in one of the palace's studies, busily writing away on pieces of parchment.

As the Doux stated, the ship's looks will need to be altered slightly.

Most importantly, the name needs to change. But it has to be a legitimate name. Pomme no doubt could help you with all this.


"If you excuse me now, I have to take my leave."
Go and find my sister.




Trot behind Marcus, eyes full of joy's sweet tears.


Surely sure can.
Lets go talk to her. In Prench even.
"Hello my lovely captain. How are you doing?"


As the Doux said, your sister is in the courtyard of the palace, conversing with some delegates from Clopantinople.

Her ears perk and she snaps her attention to you.
"Marcus! Oh you've finally come back!"
She hurriedly gets up and trots over to hug you.

She tears up as she sees you as well and hugs you.
"Flavia my sweetheart, I was so worried about you… are you okay?"


I'm pretty stoic!
Rolling for stoicism '1d20+8'

Hug her.
"Mother, we've found Dad."

Roll #1 4 + 8 = 12


Stand nearby, out of sight. Wouldn't want to rudely interrupt.


Nod, wiping the tears away as my lips shake, before throwing myself into a hug at mom' neck.


She's getting her own ship back in order when you approach her.
"I sense you want something from me, mister Hippoi. Something ahoof?"

You remain fairly cool. Good thing you've trained to keep your emotions in check.

She looks confused.
"You mean… you know where he is? What's going on, Marcus?"

It takes a while, but eventually they finish their meeting and leave the courtyard. Your sister sits down at a desk that was put outside for her and begins to write on a piece of parchment.

"I was so worried! And not to mention how worried Livia was! Where are Niphon and Anthe? Are they okay too?"


"We are all perfectly fine mother! And you will never believe it!"
Smile along with Marcus.


Whisper this.
"Mother, we've saved him from our enemies. He's in town."


Approach her now.
"I have news for you."


She seems surprised more than anything.
"How did you…? Where is he? How is he?"

She looks up as you address her and smiles.
"Hello there little brother, what news do you bring?"


"What a sharp mind you have. I won't try to deny it to you, I want your advice in making this ship less of a target." Pat the side as I say that.


"The Hippoi are here."


"He's on our boat, mother. I'd rather keep him concealed for now. He's very weak, but he'll recover. Flavia has taken good care of him."


"That makes sense, my friend. What do you suggest? A paintjob? The flags will need to change. And the name too."

"That's not really news… unless… have Marcus and Nolin finally found their way here?"

She nods - looking at least somewhat relieved about her husband's well-being - but then frowns and bops you on the head with a hoof.
"You made me worried sick with your antics though. Don't think all this excuses you!"


Scrunch involuntarily.


"Mother, I'd say an exception could be made for how well Marcus did to our family."
Smile brightly.
"This once~"




Nod. "Yes, all of that sounds well.. and A legal name at that, I was thinking we'd forge the paperwork for it, rather than stealing someone's name."


"Just try not to makes us worry so much next time!"
She looks at Flavia.
"I think your sister would love to see you as soon as she can, sweetie. She's probably in the chapel of the palace."

"Well that's one thing less to worry about? Are they around? I'd like to speak with them in person at least."

"Forgery would be the permanent solution. Stealing works fine as long as it's temporary. Any suggestions on which origin we can use? I don't mean to meddle with your business but I don't think keeping it Agrian is a good idea."


"I should go see her as well.
Afterwards, I'll talk to Lady Hypatia. We can decide how best to proceed."


Bow down.
"Of course mother. Then, I will take my leave."
Trot over, trying my best to keep my composture, the little mare in my head jittery and excited by the idea of meeting Livia again!


"I'll finish these letters later. Can you tell me which ship you came in with?"
Tell her and head to the chapel?


"Ah, but maybe I like your meddling." Stand a little closer to her.
"I'd say we could be prench, but my cousins wouldn't appreciate that too much.


Tell her and move on.


"Why not?"
The Prench are a notoriously proud people.
"I could work with Prench. I could work with most things, truthfully. A benefit of the job I do."

You explain to your mother where to find your stolen ship and head for the chapel.

The chapel of this palace is of course dedicated to Aqualia and it shows. The mosaic floor is actually flooded with a few centimeters of water, covering the various mosaic artworks depicted beneath your hooves. Several fountains sprout out of seapony statues standing in the water, with a large one in the middle.

Flavia is here, dressed in blue like other Aqualian priests. She's kneeling in front of an altar dedicated to the water goddess, drenching her clothing in the process.


Let Flavia go to Livia first


No drenching! Rush her and hug her from behind!
Yes I realize that will most likely drench us both.


She lets out a cry of surprise as Flavia nearly tackles her into the water, splashing around her hooves as she tries to regain her bearings.
"What's going on!?"


I chuckle.
"I'm sure you could, and as could I, but last I checked my cousins don't even speak a word of Prench. We'd have to do all their talking, and neither of us wants the burden of trying to do Anthe's talking for her. What else do you think could work? "




"Sisteeeeeeer! I missed you so so much!"
Nuzzle into her neck and hug her close!


"They just went to visit their mother."


"I could make it Saddlonican for you. Or any of your imperial coastal provinces, in truth."
She shows you a chest and opens it up, revealing dozens of different flags all folded up. Some you recognize, others are completely foreign to you.

She gasps as she sees Flavia and wraps her wet hooves around her as well.
"Sister! Y-You're back! I missed you so much!"

"Come, let's go find them."
She gets up from her seat and walks off to find the Hippois.
"I was just writing about you by the way."


This is top qt.


Time to tickle her too-
If only Brother wasn't here. Stop making a mess of this and squeeze Livia, calming down.
"So did I sister! I never ever want to be away from you again!
There is so much I have to tell you about these last few days!"


"This is why I love working with you, you're prepared for anything" pick some country known for being stuck up, but who speaks mostly trotine so my family can play along?


"I dread to hear what about. No doubt praising my virtues to a ten year old, for the purpose of that marriage?"
Trot beside her.


"I was so worried when we didn't hear anything from you for nearly two weeks! And mom was even more worried!"

"She's not ten, she's thirteen. Other than that, you're quite right."

You're pretty much describing Peneia there! Peneia could work, considering how you're on friendly terms with its ruler.


Step forward.
"Hello, Livia.
It's good to see you again."


Lift both of us from the water, staying close to my sis.
"But I heard you have been praying for us!"


Wonderful. Hold up the Peneia flag.
"I think she'd look good under Peneia colors."


"How did I guess!"


She gives you a bright smile back and hugs you as well
… a rather wet hug.
"Are the others okay too? W-What happened out there?"

"Oh I've been spending a lot of time here in the chapel… it's a nice place."

"What name should I give her, my friend? To me it does not matter, the paperwork remains the same."

"You're a bright stallion, Andy. The sign of a true Toxias. You'll make your future wife a very happy mare one day."


"One day. I'll just have to wait until she is actually a mare."


"We found Father. We've saved him and brought him here safe and sound."


"I think it's better if brothers tells you the most exciting part and…"
Smile brightly, taking one of her hooves.
"-there's somepony you should meet!"


"Just give it a year or two. Everything will work out fine, you'll see."
The two of you track down the Hippoi family in the palace chapel, enjoying a reunion between the twins of the family. They really do look strikingly similar.

She cuts you both off, looking very excited and happy.
"Dad's here!?"


Nod strongly.
"We should go meet him!"


"Yes, he's here…but lower your voice, we don't want everypony to know just yet. He's on our boat."


"I get the honor even. Maxine Million?"


Let sis do the talking.
I don't want to interrupt them.


She clears her throat, standing on the edge of the dry part of the chapel.

"Oh that's so great-!"
Livia stops herself and quickly bows as she notices someone clearing their throat behind you. As you turn to look you see Andronicus and a mare Marcus recognizes as Hypatia standing at the entrance of the chapel.

"Maxine Million."
She lets it roll off her tongue a few times.
"What a strange name. It will do."


Smile as I see her.
"Lady Hypatia!"
Walk over to her.


Gasp and bow as well!


"Next time we'll name it after you" I smirk at her.
"Ah, what should I get first? The Paint?"


Her belly has grown noticeably since you last saw her. Seems like her potential future heir is doing well!

She smiles cheekily at you. Now that you think about it, she's really a polar opposite to her ally lord Pontus.
"Marcus, you almost gave me the slip. It's good to see you're alive and well, losing my wards at this age would reflect poorly on my reputation."

You bow alongside Livia, making yourself wetter than you already were.
"Don't bow too hard or you'll be stuck like that." The doux chuckles.

"We have paint. We can arrange the changes, but if we want to play it safe we'll want to insert the ship's 'new' files into the Saddlonican port authority's records. It's more believable when they see this ship has supposedly done business here before."


Perk my ears, and raise my head with an embarassed red blush along it.


"Right, I can 'deliver' those copies for us. Should be simple enough."


"Goodess, that would have been a disaster wouldn't it!"


"I missed you too."


Livia flattens her ears, but the doux's chuckle only intensifies.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't be such a tease. But please girls, don't wear out your backs bowing to me."
Livia quickly straightens herself back up as well, looking mildly bashful.

"I don't know my friend, security is very tight with all these ships. It makes me nervous to be frank with you."

"You'd be partially to blame as well, little brother. Perhaps you should have trained Marcus to fight better. Hah!"

"Is Nolin doing well?"


"I did my best."


Step forth, worried smile on my face!
"Nolin has been such a great help! He was a little hurt, but we did all that Nature knows, and not even a scar remains!"


Unless the group is doing something important (meeting Andronicus?) I should see about getting audience.


"He's doing very well. His training helped us well…"


"That's why I'll figure out a way to get in there, just make the papers look good and I'll put it where it needs to be."


"Given how they're all alive, I'm inclined to agree."

"Excellent. That's very good to hear. I feel like I may have missed a thing or two of this whole narrative though. I expected you here weeks ago alongside your mother and sister. What occurred?"

They're meeting with Andronicus and his sister the doux of Peneia who used to be Marcus' mentor.

The party already had a short audience with lord Pontus, the Doux of Saddlonica. He was very curt about it, but you can track him down for an audience if you want.

"Of course. You can count on me as always."


"Uh… Lots of things!"
Sheepishly cratch the back of my head.


"Well, it's quite a story.
We've gone to the isle of Anafi, stormed a fortress, killed a dragoness mage and saved my father and the current Agrian Doux Olivia."


"It's okay, Flavia."


"Perhaps we have enough time for a quiet meal before I go scope thing out?" I suggest.


"Been having fun I see."



"Sorry I'm late. I've been surveying the town. How did your meeting with the Doux go?"


"Adrianos, this is Lady Hypatia, Doux of Peneia."


You haven't seen Hypatia look perplexed in… ever really. But right now she looks just like that. After a moment of silence, she snaps out of it.
"I'm sorry, but could you repeat that?"

She chuckles.
"Your treat?"


Chuckle along.
"I can assure you, it's all quite true.
And Nolin faced against a dragon, even with his injury! That was so brave of him, the true heart of a noble!"


"I know, if you had told me a month ago, I'd have thought you were trying to trick me."


Surprised arch of brows.

"I didn't realize we'd have the pleasure so far from Peneia."

"My apologies, Grace."


"Ah, of course, and your choice of meal too. How long has it been since we had a meal where we didn't have to worry for it slipping away from us? Too long I say."


"I… don't know what to say really."
She chuckles halfheartedly.
"That must have been an extraordinarily dangerous move to make. But if you managed to actually retrieve lord Arravani's last direct heir… that could have major consequences. As far as the empire is concerned, she's a traitor and a kinslayer."

As mentioned before, the Peneian Doux and her husband the prince came here to oversee the rallying of the fleets for their campaign against the corsairs.

She doesn't seem to register what you're saying right now though. Seems like Marcus caught her completely off-guard.

"Do you know the one thing the Prench love above all, my friend?"


"Her?! No way!"


"Perhaps, but my dad is similarly accused as well. And I intend to prove his and her innocence."


"A fine wine?"


"No easy task."


"I'm not saying I believe everything I hear, especially if you believe they are innocent. But if you're right about this and she was falsely accused and you can prove as much, she would be the actual rightful ruler of Agria instead of her cousin. That's… how succession wars are started."

"That too, but Prance is famous for its salads. Salads are holy to us and I know the Trotantines like them too. Do you think you could treat me to a nice salad bar?"


"If that's what it takes, so shall it be. But we're not far yet."


"No, but nothing worth doing is easy."


"You have concerns that others beyond those most closely loyal to the sitting Doux would doubt the legitimacy of the rightful Doux, then."


"You'll have to expect heavy resistance."


"They will the light!"


She clears her throat.
"Marcus… look… I've been setting up a betrothal between my little brother here and the current heir to Agria. You'll have to understand that I want the old alliance between Peneia and Agria to live on."

"It depends to which degree her innocence can be proven. Several new families rose to power during the Agrian crisis when they were of the lowest rank before. The Agrian council is has been mostly replaced with loyalists to the new doux.

Agria has been torn apart by war already, I don't think there's currently a lot of will to start another crisis. The empress may intervene… or not. She may prefer keeping the peace over adding fuel to old fires."


I offer her a hoof.
"Are you free now, my lady?"


Share a glance with Marcus, as if asking him if I should steady my tongue.


"I am an agent of the Scholae. I am sure that the Empress, in her wisdom, will understand the need to squash pretenders and ensure legitimacy."


"I see.
That's perfectly understandable, however it might prove to be a bad investment if it turns out the current Doux is not legitimate."

"I didn't say it would be easy. What about you, Adrianos, will you help me?"

You should!


"Of course, if my other duties allow it."


"Of course, as long as the forgery can wait until later today."

"The empress will no doubt deem the option which brings the greatest stability to be the wisest. Agria is a frontier province, it can't be weakened for too long lest the barbarians see the opportunity to invade."

She looks behind her and slowly closes the doors to the chapel, before continuing.
"Are you absolutely certain they are innocent of their alleged crimes?"


"I'm pretty sure no one else will check for a bit, lets find a nice place." And then we go into town to look for a good salad bar.


"I know my father is innocent and he assures me the accusations are false for Olivia as well.
This goes further than we think, I've met a Concord while I was gone, who believes some Concords helped frame my father and Olivia."


"Stability in the short term must some times be lost for greater longterm stability. I am sure the Empress sees far ahead."


Say, if Flavia is gonna remain silent (sorry for that, but in character and all that) maybe she can excuse herself and go chill out with Livia?


Moved to >>>/g/139673.

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