This normally runs on /mlp/, but I'm a dumbass and got banned for the day. It'll be running on here as a one off. >ooc chat http://cytu.be/r/Pretendhorse_Playhouse >Alternate Chat http://cytu.be/r/mlprpg
Timber Hoof is a unusualy large Earth Pony. He wears stone armor with roots wrapped around his hooves. He spends his times in the woods, away from "civilized" society. His life follows a path of balance. The only thing he considers truly reprehensible is unsustainable behavior. If he sees an individual or situation that is developing in a manner that will eventually lead to the world being unable to sustain itself, he will venture to correct it.
Sadly, most of the world does not see his point of view. They seek progress and happiness more than they seek the ability to stay alive. He has long since given up on trying to reason with pony-kind as a whole. It has only made him into the villain. Instead, he hopes to lead a few individuals down the right path. If successful, then maybe those ponies will be the future leaders and correct the path pony-kind is currently on.
Gender: Male Race: Earth Pony Class: Shaman Alignment: True Neutral Cutie Mark: Timber Hooves: +1 to unarmed strikes H/W: 6/6
>>609601 >>609603 >>609606 >10642, Myna's Day of Folly. Dusk. In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the shifty and paranoid Gopal met a dying knight on the side of the road, who in her final moments entrusted to him a strange map and a handful of jade stones. After a chance meeting with Stella, the two followed closely behind Tourmaline and Maali as they met an injured goat named Montresor who pointed them towards a nearby hamlet, claiming to have been attacked by bandits. However, all was not as it seemed. The hamlet was rigged with bear traps, and they found a prisoner in one of the houses named Crucible who claimed that Montresor had locked him inside. After being freed and healed of his wounds, Crucible has merrily left to murder the double-crossing goat, leaving the group to contemplate what to do and where to go next… Tourmaline and Maali stand around the hamlet of Blaiseville, ever wary of the bear traps in the tall grass around them. Gopal, still suspicious of the strangers, sits somewhat poorly hidden in the storage room, doing his best impression of a bag of loot. Stella has wandered off for now, apparently distracted by something. >>609602 After escaping from the clutches of the Shells of Light, you left the strange town of Lunemark and went your own way, moving across the Painted Plain as you pleased, caring little for the others you were captured along with. Now, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. You have lost the road as you meandered and are somewhat clueless as to your own position. The sun is going down by now, and there isn't much of anything where you are save from what looks like a solitary house on a hill in the distance ahead of you and the beginning of what you think might be Midwood behind you. You feel unreasonably cold, despite the temperature being quite warm.
>>609612 You hear a springing sound and a jolt of sudden pain shoots up your leg. You have stepped in one of the bear traps, and it won't be coming off without some tricky maneuvers. On the bright side, it's one of the older, blunter bear traps, and probably won't be causing any serious injuries. >Tourmaline takes 2 hits >>609613 You acquire 3 gold and 8 silver dillies from one of the coin purses. There's much more you could take, but the money's in large sacks and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. >>609614 >pic related As you approach the house, you see that it is not abandoned after all, despite its run-down looks; a lanky goat with tan hair and long, curling horns sits on the front porch, a spear and tower shield lying on the ground next to him. He wears a golden amulet around his neck. Past the house, you can see what appears to be a tiny hamlet surrounded by a wooden fence. "Good day to you!" the goat says merrily as you approach. His voice is deep and smooth. "You look reasonably sane, and from the looks of you you're not a Shell. What are you doing all the way out here in the middle of nowhere? …You're not a cleric, are you?" >>609616 You find a small leather shield embroidered with green snake hides and decorated with feathers and beads. It looks like it might have served some ceremonial purpose, but it's as good a shield as any.
>>609612 >>609621 Maali cringes at Tourmaline situation and picks the shield to kickly rush to her "This is the second time I ask of you to be careful…" he mumbles as he tried to get the trap out. "If you'd like I can go in and get the sword for you '1d10'
>>609619 Gathering what i could, i quietly make my way out of the shed back outside, making sure to avoid the swords and spears on the floor "Fine, if goo horse not wanting to work together i just find new fighter!" [1d10+2] Stealth
>>609621 >>609624 You fumble with it for a while, but it's still clamped firmly around your leg. >>609623 "I've had some unpleasant experiences with them in the past," he explains. "That and they drove out the last king of this land and now foreign clerics have come and lock up everyone from here to the Isle of Glass. What's there to like?" He shrugs. "Anyhow, you seem to be one for treasure hunting, so I'll give you a hint. This house?" He taps the stairs on which he sits. "It isn't abandoned. There's a fine stash of treasure down in the basement, and the old owners never let go of it. They're still down there, fawning over their precious gold." He gets up and opens the door to the house. "Go and have a look if you don't believe me." He flashes you a smile. "The name's Flynn, by the way." >>609625 You take the loot and silently crouch in the tall grass, unseen by waking eyes.
>>609634 "Alright…" He took a deep breath and the pulled his hoovessel back. They became thicker and thicker with the many layers of rock that stared forming around his arms as he slammed them down on each side of the trap
>>609632 It's more stubborn than you thought, apparently. >>609639 The bear trap twists and breaks off under the force of the impact. You both suddenly hear a voice calling you from the nearby grass. >>609640 It looks like it hasn't been used in years. Cobwebs hang from every corner, the books on a nearby shelf are rotting, and the only light source is the fading sun through the window. There is a large open trapdoor at the far end of the room which would have been covered by the remains of a rug, leading into what you assume is the basement. There are a pair of stairs leading to the second floor, which looks like it leads to the dormitories. "Well, I was debating how to go about swiping the loot myself, you see," Flynn replies. "There's a whole family of bloodthirsty blanks down there, and I'm not much of a fighter. Not to mention I don't have any way to see in the dark."
"Fascinating. So, the blanks have kept their love of their possession even after so many deaths. I should like to see them for myself," he says as she enters the house. "You are welcome to come with me. They'll likely attack. And then I'll have to kill them again. Then you'll have your treasure."
"You have a spear," Timber says. "Strike the tip against some rock to create some sparks. Use the sparks to light something. I suggest those books. Then you'll have your way to see. Or, you could be like the animals and use your other senses."
Timber walks up to the trap door to see if there are stairs leading down.
>>609652 Leaning over the trapdoor, you can see that the goat wasn't lying after all; there is a modest pile of copper, silver and gold dillies at the bottom, along with other valuables such as goblets and marble busts scattered around. There is a ladder that leads down as well, but it is broken beyond use. Suddenly, you feel a tremendous weight hit you square in the back, and you go plummeting into the basement below. You hear loud, mocking laughter coming from above, and you see the goat squatting over the trapdoor, leering at you and sporting a shit-eating grin. "This is what I do, my friend!" he crows. "The trinkets I'll be stripping off your corpse, that's the real treasure!" He cackles again before slamming the trapdoor shut, leaving you in complete darkness. You hear the soft click of a key turning as the goat leaves you to your fate. Somewhere very nearby, you can hear the sound of heavy breathing and shuffling hoofsteps.
>>609669 You manage to find a piece of the ladder. You can't see too well, but it seems flammable enough. As you feel about the basement, you bump into what's left of one of the house's owners. In the darkness, you can barely make out that it is an earth pony; or at least, what's left of one. A quick glance tells you that he is a blank. He is emaciated and wears tattered rags that might have once been overalls, slack-jawed and eyes glazed in their sockets. Behind him, you can see the outline of a second figure; it looks like a pegasus mare, but you can't really tell in their state. The blank swings at you with one bony hoof. [1d10] >>609678 >>609679 >>609680 You press on to the southwest towards the village of Torngrove. Night falls quickly as you keep moving, a half-moon drenching the Painted Plain in an eerie blue light. The ground is steeper as you move further north, indicating you are closer to the Durac Hills. Grass is sparser here and the ground slightly rougher, making the road blend in somewhat with the path. A signpost nearby separates the northern road leading to Ringle from the southern one that eventually leads to your destination. An owl passes silently overhead as you see what looks like an active campsite to your right in the middle of a smallish cluster of trees, although this is off the road away from your destination.
>>609687 You manage to keep out of range of the blank as you create your makeshift torch. You can see that there are four blanks in the basement. Apart from the two you've already seen, there is a smaller stallion, possibly a colt, that seems to be doing nothing but staring at the far end of the wall. There is also a tall mare wielding a pitchfork, who begins to trudge towards you. The mare that was behind the earth pony in overalls wields a broken dagger. It doesn't look like there's any way to leave the basement but the way you came down. The unarmed stallion swings at you again, while the mare with the dagger lunges at you, letting out a strangled moan. [1d10] [1d10]
>>609697 As you approach the camp site, you get a tune stuck in your head that you can't help but hum loudly to. You're about as stealthy as a bull in a China shop. You find a modest campfire with a tent pitched near it, and a wooden stool perched in front of the fire. Next to it is an enormous caravan painted maroon and blue, with a triangular flag perched atop it and blowing in the night breeze. It reads 'Clean Slate's Traveling Emporium - Everything For The Traveler!'. The same slogan is painted on the sides of the caravan, along with a little note on the left side reading 'Free gift for every worthy customer!'. The caravan itself appears to be packed to the brim with supplies, but whoever the eponymous Clean Slate is, they are nowhere to be seen. >>609700 The book's title stands out plainly with its gold lettering on a red background. It reads "The Adventures of Francois, The Moonlight Knight: by B. Starkey". The titular Francois is an earth pony in black and blue armor, wielding an enormous cyan sword that seems to be getting struck by lightning in the cover art. >>609701 It catches light. The flames start to spread slowly across the wooden floorboards above you. Approaching the pony, you see that it is a colt after all. The shuffle away from you as you approach. On the wall are several scratches and markings that look like they were made with a stone, but they don't seem to mean anything. The pitchfork-wielding mare stabs at you. [1d10] >>609704 You were distracted by a passing butterfly and temporarily left your companions. You stand alone in the middle of the road through the Painted Plain, a half-moon shining above you. There is a signpost up ahead marking the way to Torngrove in the south and Ringle in the north, and you can also hear familiar voices coming from nearby.
"Well, I have some time to kill before that door is finished burning," Timber says to the mare attacking him. "I suppose I should defend myself until then." >Nature Elemental: automatic, recharge 8 after effect ends; your connection to the natural world is complete, allowing your body to reflect the natural cycles. The transformation lasts for the next 3 turns, and you may perform any action that you normally can. You can choose 1 of 3 forms whenever you transform: >Decay: you burst into rot and fungus, multiplying your physical attack damage by 1.5 rounded up and gaining +1 to intimidation
>>609708 You find yourself reunited with your old companions, minus the dog; humming from nearby suggests he's in the area, though. >>609709 As you search the camp site, you hear hoofsteps, and a green unicorn with a wild salt and pepper mane bustles over to you from behind a nearby clump of trees. He sports a bushy beard, and the shadows under his eyes show he is about middle age. He wears a brown hat and a matching coat with too many pockets, and his cutie mark is a bag of coins. Upon seeing you, he drops the firewood he carries and clasps his hooves together in delight. "Customer!" he says in a husky voice. "Stranger, friend and potential buyer, perhaps. Lovely night for sharing stories, partaking in good company and perhaps striking a deal, isn't it?" He doffs his hat. "I must confess it isn't often I encounter others, even here in the Painted Plain." He excitedly shuffles over to his caravan and produces a bag of trail mix along with an extra seat, taking a hoofful for himself and offering you the bag. "Please, sit down anywhere you like," he says offhandedly as he puts down the seat. "Clean Slate is at your service." He flashes a genuine grin to you, evidently delighted to have some company. >>609713 The blanks all take a few steps back as you turn into your nature form. The smell of smoke begins to fill the basement. The dagger-wielding mare stabs at you from behind. [1d10]
"He's off scouting a campsite we saw, over yonder." she says, gesturing to the right, where Stella can see a campsite through the trees. "I don't suppose you were able to find a place for us to sleep while you were gone?"
Timber grunts as he is stabbed in the back. "Well then, I think it's time to get out of here…" he says as he pulls the dagger out. "Let's see if I'm still a good jumper."
He gets under the doorway and does a shoryuken up through the burning door. >Earthen Strike: recharge 1, spell; a melee attack against a single enemy using an earth-covered limb, crits on 8+ and crit fails on 3-
>>609718 He looks slightly disappointed at being left alone. "I… Of course," he says, grinning again. You can see that he has a gold tooth. "I'll be sure to bring up more seats, then." He promptly springs to his feet and begins digging through his belongings again, laughing quietly to himself, still sporting a wide grin. You meet up with your companions shortly, who have been joined by Stella. >>609725 The wooden door is no match for your mighty hoof as you break it open and clamber out of the basement. The blanks gather around the place, staring emptily at the hole in their roof. The sun is quickly setting, and night will soon fall. Flynn is nowhere to be seen. There appears to be a hamlet nearby that may or may not be of use, although the prospect of spending your night in the forest is also appealing to you.
>>609728 The bookshelves catch fire easily enough, and soon the whole house is going up in flames. >>609730 >>609733 >assuming Stella and Maali are following You arrive at the camp site and see what Gopal saw before. Clean Slate is rummaging through his gear when he glances over. His eyes nearly pop out of his head at the sight of the lot of you, and he makes a strange presumably religious gesture. "Welcome, welcome!" he calls to you as he puts seats down. "Please, take a seat. I, Clean Slate, will be your host for this evening. If there is anything you require, please, let me know. I am a humble merchant passing through these lands and have so very many goods on sale just for the weary traveler. Please, feel free to peruse my goods." He sits by the campfire himself, pulls out a pipe, lights it and takes a long drag before blowing out a perfect ring of smoke. "Tune in, turn off, drop out, drop in, switch off, switch on, and explode," he mumbles.
Timber nods in satisfaction and leaves the burning building. He walks back toward the woods to seek refuge from the rain. He's one to avoid civilization normally anyway. And, the past few days have taught him to avoid contact when he's vulnerable such as while sleeping. These hard times clearly have everyone on edge.
>>609735 "Of course you can rest here for the night! However, I couldn't help but notice you're missing camping supplies. Clean Slate happens to be *selling* camping supplies." He grins again, his gold tooth flashing in the firelight. "An intelligent pony would purchase a certain somepony's goods, and a wise pony would attempt to barter with said somepony. I'm sure you are both intelligent and wise. So," he says, spreading his hooves, "shall we do business? Keep in mind I buy as well as sell." He eyes your valuables greedily. >>609736 You find the following items while browsing his goods: >up to 20 meters of thick yellow rope >5 jars of small glass beads >30 sealed paper bags labeled 'No-Bakes' >5 tin cans labeled 'Traveler's Taffy' >one wooden box labeled 'Water Eaters' >a small wooden cube with intricate pieces and carvings >a telescope >a glass jar containing a firefly to cast light >a smaller glass jar with the inside filled withwhat looks like dust >a smoking pipe made of steel >small round tin container labeled 'Curing Balms' >10 black ceramic urns >an ordinary looking cloth bag >6 smooth oval stones engraved with yellow runes >an empty glass bottle that seems to glow blue faintly >5 sets of camping supplies >a dull wooden sword >a silver amulet engraved with the symbol of God (a ten headed snake with a coiled tail) >several sets of clothing >an animal mask shaped like a bird >>609737 Night falls as you enter Midwood. The trees stretch tall above you, unmoving in the gentle breeze. You note that there is a distinctive lack of animal life here, and the woods are utterly silent. Some of the trees are dead, their trunks scorched completely black. Not a particularly nice place to spend the night, but as good a forest as any. >>609738 "Everything you could ever need!" he proclaims with a grin. "Water Eaters, Fire Beads, No-Bakes, magic rope, clothes, weapons, you name it." He glances over at Gopal. "I see your friend here has already taken the liberty of seeing for himself." He takes another puff of smoke.
>>609740 You clamber into a nearby tree and get to sleep. You are woken in the middle of the night, although you'r not quite sure what stirred you. You feel somewhat uneasy, and there is an odd rubbery smell in the air, like static. Judging from the position of the moon above, it is around midnight. >>609741 "It's what you put in it, actually." He uncorks the bottle and pours water from a canteen into it before recorking it and promptly throwing it on the ground. The bottle remains completely unharmed. "Any liquid put into this magic bottle will be kept completely safe," Clean Slate proclaims. "The bottle's indestructible. Invented by a fellow named Syro, I believe." He hands it back to you. "7 gold dillies for it." >>609742 He turns it over and over using telekinesis, his eyes lighting up. "This weapon is incredible,"he muses. "I've never seen a crossbow with this design before." He floats it over to his caravan and one of the camping supplies float out in its stead. "I'll take that trade, and thank you very much." >>609743 "Unfortunately I cannot demonstrate the Water Eaters, but essentially they expand into huge crystals when thrown in bodies of water. Very useful for crossing lakes or rivers. They break after about an hour, if I'm not mistaken. Usually safe for ponies, but… one such as you…" He looks you over with a slightly furrowed brow. "I'd keep away from them. No knowing what might happen. "As for the Fire Beads, they're quite simple. Put them on the ground, strike them with a rock or a hammer, and they burst into flame. Very very useful for camping, or for warding off smaller enemies if need be. The rats really don't care for them." He eats another hoofful of trail mix and offers you some.
>>609745 He simply opens one of the packets and produces a small flat biscuit, holding it over the campfire. It rapidly expands into a large loaf of warm bread. He grins and takes a bite to show it's edible. "Two silver dillies a pack," he says after swallowing. >>609746 Clean Slate turns the dagger over, tentatively poking the end of the blade to test its sharpness. "Not bad," he says. "I'll take it for, say, four silvers?" >>609747 You don't see anything special, but you do hear a faint rustling noise coming from a nearby bush. You get the strong feeling something or someone is watching you instead. >>609748 "As you please." He takes another bite of bread as you stand watch near the caravan. Clean Slate looks over at Gopal. "Clean Slate has to wonder, why is a group of perfectly healthy wanderers out here in the middle of nowhere with no camping supplies and evidently misguided? Where are you all headed, if you don't mind my asking?"
Timber does what any animal does when it is threatened: peacock.
He stands up on his branch and shouts. "Whoever is out there, you should know that you're not dealing with a regular pony." >activate Decay Nature Elemental >if an intimidation roll is considered an instant roll, then I'd like to make one now as well
>>609751 "Traveler's Taffy? It's what it says on the tin, really." He opens one of the tins to show a selection of multicolored taffies. "Used to be quite common back in the old days. Now, these stones…" He chuckles slightly as he takes one and throws it on the ground. A deafening thunderclap sounds throughout the area. "Good for a distraction, I suppose. Or a nasty prank." >>609752 He raises his eyebrows. "Yes, well, we all want to change the world. Doesn't quite answer my question, though. Where are you going?" he asks again as he looks over the dagger. "As for this, I'll do five silvers at best. It's sharp, sure, but it's seen a lot of action, and I can easily find another dagger just like this one. You read through the pages of the book as you have so many times before. One passage has stuck with you for the longest time. >Renowned for their skill and courage, the Sentinels were tasked with protecting the Great Library of their homeland. When their order fell, the fires erased more knowledge than ponykind shall ever again possess. >It is said their swords seek to find that which has been lost. >>609754 A dull roar fills your ears, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. With a sudden gust of wind that blows up dust around your tree, a spectral image of a pegasus appears on the ground out of nowhere, dressed in hooded leather armor and glowing red and black. He wields a long thin dagger in his left hoof, and a second identical dagger rests by his side. Eyes darting around the area, he swiftly reaches for his belt and produces a throwing knife, lobbing it at you without a word. [1d10]
Tourmaline sighs, fantasizing about the wonders of the ancient library and the heroes of yore. Returning the book to its spot in her bag as gingerly as a mother carrying her sleeping child, she glances out at the wilderness, keeping her gaze trained on the shifting shadows for signs of bandits or predators.
Instead of attacking the spectral pony, Timber jumps toward the bush he heard something come from earlier and slams his hoof into it. >Earthen Strike: recharge 1, spell; a melee attack against a single enemy using an earth-covered limb, crits on 8+ and crit fails on 3-
(Reminder that with Decay Elemental, my attacks are doing 1.5 times the damage.)
>>609757 "Cheers!" He passes you five silver dillies from his coinpurse and raises his eyebrows at the mention of the hills. "Be sure to steer away from the Masked One camps if you're headed there then. They LOATHE outsiders in their camps, and you stick out like a sore thumb if you're not wearing their awful masks. Never trust somepony in a mask, I say. You can never tell what they're thinking under it…" He drifts off for a minute before suddenly snapping back to reality. "So, if you ever see a bunch of great big pale moths with red markings, just don't go near them. They mark the borders of those dreadful people's camps, and they spit at you. Ghastly things." He shudders. "Oh, one other thing. The Shells have a camp over where the village of Torngrove used to be. Not a nice place to visit, at least not anymore. Used to be such a pretty village. Only place left to go is north nowadays. That's where I'm headed myself," he explains. "Scuttlebutt is there's a nice place up there, safe from those horrid Shells. Lunemark, they call it. I heard it's packed full of other refugees. Potential friends, potential allies, potential customers too." He grins widely again. "Mayhaps you've heard of it?" >>609759 Whereas before there was the faint sound of crickets, you can't help but notice everything's gone silent. You get a vague feeling of unease. >>609758 >>609760 "All this?" He gestures at the supplies you requested. "I hope you have some large amount of coin on you, miss. That'll be 8 gold dillies. As for your other request, well, there is this." He takes out the silver amulet of God. "This amulet may look ordinary, but whoever wears it will be protected from all manner of evil mind-altering spells. They say it's blessed by Raam, you know. The knights in Briom used to wear these. I-" He falters mid-sentence as he looks at you, his usual friendly grin turning into a mask of horror. Without another word, he dashes into his caravan and closes the flaps, evidently spooked by something. >>609761 An unearthly yowling pierces the night air as you slam your hoof into a feral cat. It hisses furiously at you and runs off into the undergrowth. Your invader reaches for another throwing knife. [1d10]
"Hmm. So the two weren't related… Or at the very least, that animal was not the thing keeping this spectral image alive."
"Well, I don't know who you are," Timber says to the spectral pony. "But you chose the wrong pony in the wrong place."
Timber dashes right at the spectral pony at shocking speed for his size. He gives him/her a hoof thrust right in the chest with his massive hoof of decaying power. >regular unarmed attack [1d10+3] (with 1.5x power)
>>609764 You see a red phantom appear in the trees behind Stella. He is a Diamond Dog clad in simple patchwork clothes and wearing a mask in the likeness of a fox. In one paw he wields a hand axe, and his other is surrounded by an aura of flame. Clean Slate evidently sees the same thing, as you see him dash into his caravan. >>609765 You clamber up one of the nearby trees, camouflaging yourself among the leaves. >>609766 He dodges your punch and shrugs at you. >>609767 You hear a dull roaring sound, but you can't find the source of it. The phantom attacking Timber Hoof swipes at him with both its daggers. [1d10] [1d10] The phantom behind Stella conjures an orb of flame from its paw and lobs it at her. [1d10]
>>609768 Timber Hoof swats aside the phantom's swing and plants a hoof in its chest, leaving it lying on the ground helpless. Stella's liquidous body is suddenly consumed by flame, setting her alight like a living bonfire. She collapses into a puddle. >Stella takes a whopping 8 hits and is helpless
"I suppose if I kill you and you don't come back to life, that means you're one of those hunting us 'leeches'. An admirable pursuit. However, I'd prefer to let my life pan out and then be taken away. It's natural for all creatures to defend themselves from the threat of death."
"So, let's see if you come back to life."
Timber stomps on the spectral pony's head. [1d10+3]x1.5
Tourmaline groans when she sees the phantom incinerate Stella, realizing the futility of attacking him. She does the only thing she can do at this point; she pushes the puddle of Stella around, shaping the jelly back into a horse shape. >helping her out of helplessness [1d10]
>>609770 He rolls out of the way in time and you merely stomp the ground instead, raising a cloud of dust around you. >>609771 You burn your hooves on Stella's smoldering surface as you try to help her. >Tourmaline takes 1 hit >>609772 Your shield passes straight through the phantom, and you only get a mouthful of dirt and grass for your heroics. He turns to you and takes a few leisurely steps forward, throwing his arms out by his sides in defiance. >>609773 You bubble uselessly and fail to reform yourself. Timber's invader rolls over, trying to get back up to fight. [1d10] Stella's invader produces an intense flame in front of them, attempting to burn Stella further. [1d10]
Tourmaline blows on her burnt hoofsies in pain, then slowly steps back from the fight. She can neither harm nor be harmed. She resigns herself to this fate, sheathes her weapon, then steps back from the fight.
>>609777 You reform yourself into your usual likeness. >>609778 You find one of the jade stones with the hole through the middle. You look through it instinctively, and your vision blurs momentarily, making you dizzy for a moment. You suddenly see a red eye appear over the phantom's head as it looms over Stella. >Gopal can now attack the invader >>609779 You step back and watch as Gopal takes out a strange stone and holds it up to his eye. He seems to stagger for a moment. Stella's invader waves his left hand around in a whiplike motion, casting a spell of some sort. >[1d10], deals 1 extra hit, critfails on 2-
>>609782 You hurl a shard of elemental ice at your assailant, but it goes wide and flies into the nearby cluster of trees. >>609783 You crouch and sneak up behind the invader. He doesn't notice you at all. >>609785 You watch the ongoing shenanigans stoically. The invader hacks at Stella with his axe. [1d10]
>>609788 Your depth perception betrays you, and you end up slamming your shield into the ground behind him instead. He wheels around and slashes you across the face with his axe, leaving a deep cut across your cheek. >Gopal takes 4 hits >>609789 Your missile goes wide. The phantom hurls a fireball at Gopal. [1d10] Magic Bolt
>>609790 >>609793 "Hello everyone sorry I had to leave I just had the worse tummy ache in a while an-oh…oh dear mister gopal why are you on fire?" He said approaching him while transforming into his signature form. Clear flowers glowing with magic sprout from his body as he directs the concentrated magic at Gobal,healing him
>>609792 You slip and fall to the ground as you try to flee from the fire, but manage to recover. You haven't gotten very far. >>609793 The phantom conjures more flames to burn your body as you try to get back up. >Gopal takes 1 wound >>609794 Gopal's burn wounds fade away as you use your magic on him. >Gopal DOESN'T take a wound The phantom leaves Gopal for now and focuses on the terrified Stella, sending a snake of fire towards her. [1d10]
>>609798 "Oh sweet Gaia mister Gobbler look at yourself. Please let me take care of this. You are too burnt,you shouldn't fight for now…" he said while mending his injuries hopefully he would heal those burns '1d10' natural medicine thingy
>>609797 You trip and fall only to get back up. Again. >>609798 It's just a flesh wound. You manage to stand by propping yourself up on your shield. >>609799 You channel the power of Gaia to tend to Gopal's injuries. The burns fade along with the pain, and he suddenly feels fit as a fiddle. >Gopal is now at 6/5 The phantom flings another orb of fire at the fleeing Stella. [1d10] Magic Bolt
Abenad: Entering the cave, you are greeted by a faint skittering sound and the stench of rotten flesh. You can barely see your hand in front of your face as you stumble about the cave blindly. Unless your ears deceive you, you can also hear faint voices from deeper inside. As you move along the tunnels, you find clumps of orange matter, faintly glowing as they illuminate the way through the cave. From what you can see, there is a path leading straight ahead, and one leading to the left that seems to slope steeply downwards.
Maali: The magic from your amulet closes Timber Hoof's wounds, leaving him feeling better than ever. >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 You can hear hoofsteps in the distance.
>>612348 >>21267136 (Tourmaline) >>21267150 (Timber) "Well, Timber has a good point, and looking at the map, the entirety of Durac Hills is circled, so, while this MIGHT be an immortal soul, it also might not." >>21267184 (Maali) "You can barely stand. I would offer to carry you, but I do not wish to shock you."
>>612348 I decide to move towards the voices, picking up a clump of orange matter so that I may examine it later. As I come to the fork in the path, I decide to go straight, to prevent myself from getting lost.
>>612348 He smiled at hs work. Letting out a sigh >Timber "T-there…a-are you feeling better now mister Timber? "
>>612350 "I appreciate it mister Valor…but I will be fine…"
>>612349 He nodded "Very well…since…everyone is insisting…" he said before closing his eyes. Flowers bloomed from him. Pale and bright as they filled him and the most wounded ally nearby him >Nature elemental. life. On self and most wouded ally
>>612355 "It is Gaia. Our Mother. She protects us when we are weak, and heal ouour wounds when we are hurt. I am merely her child. this necklace is a symbol of my faith, and an extension of my heart." He said humbly. Blushing a bit at the compliment
>>612353 Your magic courses through your body, radiating both yourself and Tourmaline. >Maali is at 5/2 >Tourmaline is at 6/2
>>612352 Fumbling through the caverns, you eventually find an enormous cavern faintly illuminated by glowing orange clumps of matter. On the ground lie the remains of a bloated monster of an insect, legs curled up and folded against its underside. What really catches your attention, however, are the group of travelers standing about the cavern. You see a tall axe-wielding Ibergalian, a small heavily injured deer with horns like trees, an enormous earth pony with armor made of solid rock, a lean Diamond Dog with a shoddily-crafted shield, and a young white dragon emitting a strong light from his body and crackling with electricity.
>>612349 >>612350 >>612351 >>612353 >>612355 The hoofsteps get louder, and you are suddenly interrupted by a strange beast. It has the arms and torso of a minotaur, the legs of a bull and the head of what looks like a deer, only with bright yellow eyes and pointed teeth. It is covered in brown and white fur, and has a bow slung over its shoulder. Strangely enough, it is dressed in maroon and white finery.
>>612358 I feel surprised as I come upon the group, bringing my hand up to cover my face, pulling my cloak around to cover myself, like a bat, only letting one of my yellow eyes to look through my fingers. "Good evening," I say, my voice smooth, charming, "I came in to get out of the rain that's begun to fall. Are you all with the others outside the cave?"
>>612358 >>612356 Maali stared up at him,at the same time he was being healed, the transformation still took a lot from him. He kneeled down, and the laid down on the ground. "W-who…who are you?" He asked the odd creature >>612360 "Um…yes…hello…mister" he said panting. One of the glowing white flowers of his body lost its glow, and fluttered to the ground, dead
>>612358 >>612360 Talking to the thing, "No, as far as my knowledge goes we are all our group consists of. If you would like to, I would not complain if you were to join us, though I speak soley for myself in this matter."
>>612363 "It was givento me…it is given to every Guarira… It allows us to channel our innate powers and call upon nature. Eventually our bodies can manifest nature…like this…" he said lowering his head an pouting at his tree antlers. "And this…" he said pointing at the flowers around his body.
>>612359 You dash into a nearby tunnel and blend into the shadows. You suddenly hear a strange ethereal voice in your head as you do so, and the axe you found seems to tremble in its holster. "Caitiff," the voice hisses. >Maali is now at 5/3 >Tourmaline is now at 6/3
I bow towards the group, now that no one's drawn their weapons or tried to attack. >>612361 "It is a good thing, then, that I came in here instead of staying out there." >>612362 "Allo," I say, turning to Maali, watching the flower fall to the floor. "My name is Abenad. I have been wandering in a daze for some time. To be among others again, is preferred, for I must act less like an animal among them." >>612363 "Another cavern? There was a path I did not take," I say, "I thought it would be better to go forward, than to turn." >>612365 "To join you would be premature, as we have just met. I will be… next to you, or behind, until we become comfortable with one another."
>>612368 Maali nodded, shakily getting up on his hooves. "It is a pleasure mister Abenad. My name is Maali." He said bowing. "Honestly I am not uncomfortable around you. You are just an odd sight. But thay just makes me want to know more…I never saw anypony like you before…" he said approaching Abenad
>>612369 "It is not only our power. It is the power we borrow from Gaia. The power we learn. Eventually there is no need for a sage to use the Eldunari to perform any feat. But I…Still have not finished my training…unfortunately…" "These are what shows our deep bond with nature, another symbol of faith. Allowing nature to grow inside of us. Become an extension of our being And once it grows big enough. I plant it down on the land, for reforestation of barren lands and the like…" he explained calmly and clearly.
>>612369 "I had already come some way in," I say, pulling out the orange stuff I had picked up, tossing it towards Timber's hooves, "I had begun to find this stuff on the ground." >>612370 "Are not all souls immortal? The bodies we inhabit are temporary containers for our spirits. If there is a thing known as an Immortal Soul, I would not know it from any other soul." >>612372 I step back from Maali as he approaches, further away from the group. "Do not stare me," I say, "I am not on a pedestal, I am not an exhibition." >>612373 "I am not turning my back on you. I would say I was in fact watching all of your backs, from a distance that would make it so you would not have to put up with me all hours of the day."
>>612375 He took a step back. "Oh…i-I apologize um…I did not meant to…sorry…" he shrunk behind Tourmaline timidly.
>>612377 "The trees feed on my body nutrients. Which is much healthier than any soil. Thus why they growmuch faster than the others. And when I plant it down, they have more thanenough nutrients to survive for over twenty moons by itself.
>>612376 >>612377 Instead of answering right away, I take some time to think about it. "It would be against my better judgement to alone, but perhaps it would be safer to stray from the straight path as a group. I have lost track of time, though, and do not know how long it may take us to get there, or if I may find it again in the first place." >>612378 "Were I your sister, I would be offended to be compared to something such as myself. As myself, however, I suppose I am flattered to be compared to her." >>612379 As you step back, I let my cloak fall, showing my fine clothes, with jewelry hanging off of it. Still covering my face, I turn around to lead the group back out towards the branching path.
>>612380 "No forest was made in a single day. It is better for me to plant them is that not right? I try to bring hope to this land, a small tree, a sliver of hope…Sometimes it is just what somepony needs…"
>>612371 The axe seems to be back to normal for now. It looks like a typical woodcutter's hatchet, only with runes engraved on each side of its head and a pinwheel-shaped symbol on its pommel.
>>612381 You lead the party out of the queen's former chamber. Strangely enough, you can't seem to find the path you saw before, instead coming to a branching path. The left path slopes downwards and seems to go in a spiral pattern, while the right path slopes upwards. The center path leads forward, but seems to be a dead end judging from the fallen rocks. >Maali is at 5/4 >Tourmaline is at 6/4 >Nature Elemental is no longer in effect.
>>612384 "What path has she taken?…she never told me about you…"
>>612385 "The plant knows how much it needs to feed from me. Somehow it does. The only consequences is that I need to eat more than usual…but that does not bothers me honestly. And I must admit I am not fond of tha idea…"
>>612383 "I cannot remember that much," I say, as I realize I don't remember how I got this far in, as well, "It was a sunny place, with a forest all around us. No roses would grow in the area…" >>612384 "Please, I do not need to be encouraged, or to be told I am better than I am. I know better than that." >>612385 >>612386 "I fear I have lost us. It may have been wiser to not place your faith in a stranger, though it is too late to learn that." >>612388 "I found it when I was walking in, but that seems pointless now that we are in an unfamiliar area."
I turn to the right path and go up, hoping this will lead somewhere better. [1d10] pathfinding
>>612387 Trudging through the cave system, you misstep and get your foot stuck in the cave floor, causing you to trip over. You make an awful lot of noise. >Gopal takes 1 hit and has broken Stealth
>>612390 You keep fumbling along the cave walls, eventually reaching an area where there is a second fork. One leads to the left and down in a narrow, twisting pattern, while the other simply leads straight ahead and sharply turning right. You see what looks like a termite the size of a filly scuttle out of a tunnel, looking directly at you before running up the opposite wall and into a small hole.
>>612391 "We may talk of dreams later, if you'd like. I remember mine often." >>612392 I watch the termite scuttle around and into the hole, then continue straight forward. [1d10] Navigation >>612393 "There's an awful lot of termites in here," I say, "Was that their queen you killed? How aggressive were they?"
>>612386 "Perhaps it might be best to journey deeper, you never know what we may find."
>>612389 "She is overly proud, thinks herself capable of that which she is not, kills at the slightest agrivation, and acts without caring of who it will hurt."
>>612390 "You think too lowly of yourself. All are born with equal potential, it is what we do with it that makes us who we are, and even those who make mistakes and waste it can still rise up," he says, then whispers last addition to himself quitely, "Much as I hope my sister will eventually."
"They were not aggressive to us. However, we had good reason to believe their Queen possessed an Immortal Soul. Thus, we had to slay her. An unfortunate impasse, though the shaman duo, Timber and Maali, attempted to negotiate with the Queen first. It wasn't talking."
>>612392 Falling flat on my face, i rub my nose for a moment before getting up and continuing my movement "Great" I grumble to myself "Now it looking like i lost in here! if Gopal not as big a chicken, this not have happened." [1d10] Searching for an exit
>>612394 As you take a step forward, the rocky ground beneath you begins to crack, crumbling and giving way to a twisting tunnel leading almost vertically straight down into the earth. You fall down the twisted path, knocking several of the chitinous soldiers out of the way as you spiral quickly down what is for all intents and purposes a rocky, slimy helter skelter. Eventually the disorienting ride reaches an end, dropping you roughly onto a flat rocky surface. A vast underground chamber stretches before you as far as the eye can see, effectively forming a subterranean canyon. The walls are patched with strange teal lichen that glows white in the dark, illuminating the stony corridors. It runs so deep you cannot see the bottom from where you are, but the distant sound of rushing water below suggests there is an underground river down there. On the other side of the canyon, separated from your position by the sheer drop, is a warm blue light, seemingly hovering in midair. There are also two paths immediately visible from where you are, the left path leading along the edge of the canyon while the right leads directly through a stone wall, deeper into the earth and seemingly twisting around.
>>612400 You hear voices in the distance, and follow them just in time to see the sharply-dressed monster from before fall down a twisted tunnel that has opened up, vanishing into the bowels of the earth.
>>612402 "I…um…I do not know…it was actually the first word, if not one of the first words of pony language I have learned…So I think I grew used to speaking it a lot…"
>>612403 He gasped and shouted down the hole "Mister Abenad. Are you okay?! Did you hurt yourself?!"
>>612404 "Thay does not work with normal ponies. You need to be a child of Gaia, only then you can have the bond needed for a plant to grow inside of you… a pony that visited my tribe once attempted to do it…the results were gruesome…"
>>612403 I snarl and roar as I fall further down into the cave, eyes darting around once I land, taking in the sights. Despite the beauty of the cavern, I know that this could be dangerous. In my mind, I blame the group for my misfortune. I decide to wait, though, and see if they do anything. >>612407 I roar back up the hole, in anger more than acknowledgement.
>>612414 >>612415 I take note that Tourmaline has not come down with the rest of the group. >>612413 "You, whose name I know not," I say, "I have a feeling that it would be best for me to not lead us any more. I feel it would be better for you to take charge, something tells me you would be more suited for the task."
"Damn them all." Tourmaline spits. She takes the Soul out of her bag, gazing deeply into its fire as she clutches it tightly to her chest. "Make no mistake, little flame. You are mine. I will have use of you in good time, rest assured."
Tourmaline puts the soul away and slides down the pit with the others.
"Caverns are also not randomly generated masses of space. They occur due to natural processes from the top down. Therefore, now matter how deep a cavern goes, something must have come from the surface to make it. And when it does this, it will leave a way back up."
>>612417 "I am sorry, I thought I had introduced myself earlier," I say, covering my face with my hand, bowing and flourishing my cloak like a cape. "My name is Abenad." >>612422 "That makes more sense," I say, "It would be better to apply reason, like an intelligent creature, rather than relying on gut feelings, like a beast."
"Ah, yes, I am quite confident that the trickles of water that formed this labyrinth were more than considerate enough to leave behind a set of stairs for we adventurers, and that no tectonic activity has ever been so rude as to disrupt any of the clearly-marked escape routes."
>>612418 You join the others in the bowels of the earth. An enormous underground canyon stretches ahead of you, with two branching paths leading to places unknown. One will take you along the side of the canyon, while the other leads through a rocky wall and twists around. There is a faint blue light coming from the other side of the canyon.
>>612422 >assuming the rest of you are following suit The path through the wall is narrow and cramped, forcing you all to move in single file. Eventually, after what feels like hours (although it was probably more like 10 minutes), you find yourselves on the edge of the canyon, overlooking the ledge you were just on. You can also see that the blue light is hovering above a very tall, thin unicorn dressed in plain ragged robes. His coat is a light grey, and he wears a large conical straw hat that covers most of his face, the only visible part being his unkempt bushy black beard. Behind him is a trail of small rainbow colored stones glowing brightly in the semi-darkness, leading up a tunnel to places unknown. The unicorn sits cross-legged with a simple wooden staff on his lap, looking out over the canyon, seemingly paying no attention to you, his horn glowing blue as he controls the orb of light floating above him. As you approach, however, six spectral blue shortswords appear from thin air and hover precariously above each of your heads without a sound, the blades pointing down and ready to strike. The unicorn says nothing.
"I would not consider suicide to ever be a justifiable solution to a problem. Plenty of forces in this land seek to make us Blank as it stands. I have seen firsthoof how turning the blade on oneself produces no results."
>>612429 "It is a pleasure, my good dragon." >>612428 After wandering back out of the cave, this is not the first thing I want to be greeted with. I consider going back inside to sleep, but wait to see what happens, first.
>>612432 >>612433 >>612437 He turns to you as you address him, and suddenly the swords vanish as quickly as they appeared, vanishing into wisps of pale blue energy and assimilating themselves into the orb of light. The sorcerer clears his throat. "My apologies," he says. His froggy voice denotes his age, but yet he sounds very sharp, and is clearly lucid. He seems to put special emphasis on his Rs and Ts. "I mistook you for a threat." He stands up and dusts himself off, taking up his staff. "What brings a motley group of strangers like yourselves to the Coil?" the sorcerer asks curiously, his voice echoing and bouncing off the cavern walls. You get the feeling he's sizing you all up under his hat.
>>612436 He tilts his head to the side in confusion. "…Excuse me?"
>>612438 "I came in to come out of the rain, came upon the rest of them, and lead them around to the point where we all got lost, and I had to let someone else take over from me," I say, the charm gone from my voice, replaced by disappointment.
"You're a pony. As far as I can tell, anyway. Thus, you must eat. Thus, you either have something down here which provides you sustenance or you've a way to the surface to procure it. So, what do you eat?"
Timber laughs. "How did YOU become stone like ME? It's just an affinity toward nature; a source of magic which many neglect. The fact that I CAN do it is why I struggle to believe in this Gaia. The only reason you have to believe Gaia exists I can do without any knowledge of it."
>>612439 >>612444 "And you would trust a complete stranger to be your guide in a hostile place like this?" He sounds amused. "You would have done better to find someone that knew this place inside out."
>>612440 "My name is Dreamcoat," he replies curtly. "My business is my own, but if you must know, I was meditating on… certain developments. I come to this place often to clear my head. It is quite beautiful, isn't it?"
>>612441 "Immortal Souls?" he parrots. "Well now, that is interesting." He scratches his beard for a moment. "…Let me ask you a question, young drake. Do you know what an Immortal Soul is? Why are your company searching for them?"
>>612442 >>612443 "I do not live here, if that is what you are implying," he says to Timber Hoof. "I visit this place often, however. It is a wondrous sight, really." Dreamcoat spreads his arms, gesturing to the gaping canyon around you. "This place - the Coil, that is - is one of the most remote areas in all of Rin. As far as I am aware it has never been mapped by any explorer. Even Doran Dragonfriend himself never went on an expedition down here. Who knows what one could find down here? It is often said that there are old and foul things living in the deep places of the world, after all…"
>>612446 "Maybe. Or maybe it is merely a copy of my ability. I have witnessed ponies forging spells a few times before. This could be the same. >>612447 He carefully approached and sat besides the stallion. "Indeed. It is quite a sight…" he said focused on the horizon. "My name. Is Maali…"
>>612447 "I could not live in a place such as this. I am already an animal by myself, but in these caverns, stretching out into unexplored infinity into the earth, I would be a lost creature in the darkness."
"Thus my joking response, little one," Timber says as if he is teaching a child. "Am I copying your ability? Or are you copying mine? Who can say? How does one decide what an original is? How does one decide what is a copy?"
>>612448 "Allow me to explain," Dreamcoat says as he begins to pace back and forth. "The Immortal Souls are objects that have existed since the beginning of time. Across the millennia their power has passed on from one bearer to another. They are ancient artifacts, older than you can even imagine. …Well, when I say artifacts, I mean fountains of magical energy. It is difficult to explain if you haven't read the theory. The basic framework, you see. It has to be learned." He pauses to gather his thoughts for a moment before continuing. "The bearer of an Immortal Soul is considered to be one of the most powerful entities in existence. Upon their death, the power passes to another, normally the one that kills them. One would have to be very powerful and skilled indeed to slay a Soul-Bearer. I cannot imagine what would happen if one were to gather all of them…"
>>612449 "Of a sort," he replies simply. He evidently does not intend on elaborating. His horn stops glowing and the orb fades, leaving only the lichen on the cave walls to shed light on the scene.
>>612450 "Yes, you said that already," he replies, not without a hint of annoyance. He reaches for a bag around his waist and produces one of the small rainbow stones you can see behind him, nonchalantly tossing it over the edge of the cliff. Almost 30 seconds later, you barely hear the distant splash as it lands in the river.
>>612452 "Of course you can. I have left a trail leading up to the surface for my own use. Feel free to follow it, if it pleases you." He gestures at the breadcrumb trail of rainbow stones behind him.
>>612453 "Well, of course many have come in here, but none ever took the time to map out this entire canyon. It is difficult to explore, after all. I believe the Masked Ones that live up above travel into this place from time to time, but God only knows what secrets they keep. As for a way down, I daresay there must be a path somewhere around here. I have no interest in what lies below, however. Follow the trail over there if you wish to leave this place. Or don't. I am not your liege."
>>612455 I listen to his explanation, sitting down, then reclining, closing my eyes. As I hear about the trail to the surface, I perk up and look to see the trail of stones, elated to see a straightforward and illustrated path out of this dark, cold hell of a cave. >>612457 "If that's what you're all doing, I may as well come with," I say, "To show my appreciation for following me after my fall." I shoot a glance over at Tourmaline, then look back at Timber.
>>612456 >>612456 "And I aam doing the same." He sighed contently. "I do not know why exactly. But I already like you mister Timber. Conversing with you is rather soothing >>612455 "I have never seen these stones Before. What are they?" He asked curiously. "Can I…see it?" He asked extending a hoof
>>612459 "Are you certain that you are not hurt? I can heal any flesh wound without a problem. "
>>612457 "Good luck getting anything from those stubborn fools," Dreamcoat says with obvious disdain. "They used to be more accepting of strangers in their camps, but nowadays they keep to themselves and don't allow anyone to enter. Still," he ponders, "mayhaps they could be reasoned with."
>>612458 "I must confess I have never seen one myself, but if the books are true then I daresay you will know one when you see one."
>>612460 "Of course." He passes you one from his pouch. It is a tad smaller than your hoof, perfectly oblong and glittering with all seven colors of the rainbow, emitting a faint light. "They are called Prism Stones. I believe the miners in Irontown down south sold them to tourists. They're not worth much, but are quite useful for navigating places such as these."
>>612461 "Heading out, are you? I too will leave soon. The Coil is intriguing to say the least, but I shan't stay here forever, Undead or not. I sense great potential from you all," he adds. "Don't go and turn blank over nothing."
>>612462 He lifts his hat up, revealing icy blue beady eyes adorned by low thick eyebrows. "You have?" he says. "How did you come across one? It must have been a powerful being indeed to have its soul physically manifest."
>>612466 "You have this aura of solemnity around you…it is like…makes me feel at home…"
>>612467 "Indeed you have found quite a use for them…They are… Rather pretty… Say mister Dreamcoat, would you mind if I stayed a bit with you here? This is a really nice View…I would like to look at it for a few more minutes. I am certain I could catch up to the others quickly"
>>612467 Despite what I've been saying about following behind, I feel the need to leave as soon as I can. "Thank you for allowing us to leave on your path," I say, bowing to Dreamcoat, before heading out to follow the path of rainbow stones. >>612468 "I felt offended that you took so long to descend after me. I understand that we have just met, and that you have no reason to be attached to me. My bitterness will pass, like a block of salt forced into the mouth." >>612474 I walk along with you, out of the underground valley.
>>612474 He smiled and simply shared the laughter with him. Looking up at the stallion with a beam of happyness. The combination of the beautiful landscape, the laughter and the company made him feel much better
"Then you are offended far too easily. As far as I was aware, there was no way out from the pit you'd fallen into. How could I have meant my hesitance to plummet into certain death and risk my blankness as a personal slight against you?"
>>612468 >>612474 >>612476 The trail of stones leads up a long tunnel that zig-zags uphill, turning sharply to the left so you cannot see the exit from your position. It is illuminated by the same lichen that grows all around the Coil.
>>612470 "I will not force you to leave," he says simply.
>>612473 His lined face is illuminated by the Pale Mother's Soul as he gazes at it deeply. "Well, it's no Immortal Soul, from what I know of them," he says after a while. "A powerful soul, yes, but it wouldn't hold a candle to one of the Immortals. Still, could use a soul like this one to create a powerful artifact, given the know-how. I must confess I lack the know-how myself. There were certain mancers in Jevel that specialized in soulcraft. Perhaps if you visited the place you could learn for yourself. Alas, I am but a humble sorcerer," he says with a noncommittal shrug. "I have been planning on visiting Jevel, however. The knowledge stored in that city is truly amazing," he continues, speaking more to himself than to you. "Where did you get this?" he asks casually after another moment.
>>612475 >>612476 He gives a distracted grunt in response as he observes the Soul.
>>612480 He just lays there calmly. "Would you like some tea over some talking? I wandered quite a lot throughout these lands…but this is the best place one could hope to find for a break. I appreciate the company as well…"
Tourmaline quietly sighs when Dreamcoat shatters her illusions of power, putting the Soul back in her bag. "As Gopal explained, we killed the hive queen for this. Jevel, you said? Perhaps a visit there might be in order for us."
"Now, our next objective should be to acquire masks. And food. In fact, food may be more important. We don't even know if we can find suitable masks. But, we know we can find food many places. We may not fear death, but hunger can make the mind dull. Not a good thing when one has negotiating to accomplish."
>>612481 He furrows his brow. "You attacked a Fleshmite Matron? For what purpose? They are predators, yes, but usually leave people well alone in my experience."
>>612482 "If you insist. I will be leaving this place soon, however. There have been certain developments that I must attend to. There has been a new prophecy revealed, one that I do not fully understand…" he drifts off, lost in thought.
>>612483 "If you will follow me, it will be of your own doing," he replies sharply. "I do not take wards."
>>612484 "It is a beautiful place, really. It's kept intact by ancient magic. It's all one solid piece of marble. After the curse began to spread, however, the magic inside began to run… wild. There is much of value in there, but be warned. There are magical anomalies within those walls unlike any other in existence."
>>612485 >>612486 You follow the path up and out of the caves, after about half an hour of walking. You feel the cool breeze on your face as you emerge into the Durac Hills, rudely followed by a spattering of rain from above. The rain is falling harder than ever before, with portentous gray clouds blocking out the moon above. The rumble of thunder and the occasional flash of lighting illuminate the area. On your left is an old mossy sign reading "Blackbone Cave - Do Not Enter!" In the distance you see what appear to be several brightly colored tents illuminated from within by candlelight. There is a dirt path leading to your left and to your right, the right leading to a small cluster of trees while the left leads downhill and towards the tents.
"The kind unicorn down there said there's a strong chance they have mapped The Coil before. At the very least, they frequent the area. That's good enough reason to go meet them rather than blindly delving into the unknown. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy delving into the unknown more than most things. But, I also want to meet these Masked Ones."
Timber faces the sky and closes his eyes with a smile, enjoying the feeling of the rain in combination with the gentle rumble of thunder.
"I know I've been arbitrarily pointed leader, but I confess my decisions would rarely be the popular one. I would have us forage the woods for food. Yet, I know many ponies would want to see what those tents have to offer. I leave the decision to another."
>>612490 "Oh…I see then…I suppose I better take my leave with my companions sion then… I have a question though. What have you been told about this prophecy? " he asked and urged to leave after he got his aswer.
>>612492 "Oh, that he did," I say, recalling the unicorn's words. "Well, I believe I could assist in getting the maps, at least. The caverns would be less intimidating if I knew where I was going." >>612495 Listening to your words and Timber's, I ask, "Do you have any thoughts on how you would acquire masks?"
"Gopal, Maali, and I met a travelling salesman yesterday who had a few in his stock. Sadly, I did not know we would need to speak with the Masked Ones, and did not think to purchase one. Should we encounter him again, we can ask him. Otherwise… you aren't a wizard, are you?"
>>612502 "Always a pleasure," he says somewhat dryly as you leave and reunite with your companions.
>>612505 There seems to be a solitary figure moving around the camp, a Diamond Dog in an elaborately designed fox mask wearing a leather hood and patchwork clothing and wielding a hatchet. Any others are most likely in their tents. He is grumbling indistinctively under his breath.
>>612506 You trip on a log as you approach and splash into the mud, getting the Masked One's attention. "Who goes there?" he snarls in a raspy voice as he heads towards you, his left paw gaining a fiery aura around it. He exclaims in surprise and anger as he recognizes you as the dog that was with Stella the night before. >pausing!
>>612504 "There's some comfort," I say, sighing. >>612505 I follow behind Timber, covering my face with a hand once more. >>612506 I hadn't noticed Gopal much by this point, but whatever he does now sure does get my attention…
4chan's down again. Huzzah. http://boards.4chan.org/mlp/thread/22112928 >10642, Myna's Day of Pleasure. Late night. In the previous session of Mortal Souls, Timber Hoof met a trio of adventurers called Doom, Rigby and Crucible in his mishap with what he discovered was known as an Orb. By using an orb, one would appear to a random person in Rin as a hostile phantom. Not wishing any of them harm, Timber left the group, with Doom leaving him with a cryptic farewell and an even more cryptic symbol drawn in the dust. He rejoined the rest of the party as they battled and slew the monstrous creature known as the Voiceless Songbird, which had stalked them for hours as they explored the Coil. Their victory did not come without loss, however, as the Songbird killed their companion Valor Firescale. After their victory, the Songbird's body underwent a transformation, revealing its true form as an ordinary griffon. Not long after, the sorcerer Dreamcoat arrived and explained the situation: the Songbird was his former pupil Gaspard, who had sought to recreate an Immortal Soul for himself; the process backfired, however, transforming Gaspard into a monster and driving him mad. He asked them for a favor: to keep the Immortal Soul for himself, to be able to keep it and study it for himself, to advance his work on breaking the curse… >Tourmaline is at 7/4 >Gopal is at 2/3 >Abenad and Maali are at 6/4 >Timber Hoof is at 6/6 >Valor is dead >Old thread: https://archive.moe/mlp/thread/22005049
>>22112966 (Tourmaline) >>22112980 (Timber Hoof) >>22113007 (Gopal) >>22113063 (Abenad) Dreamcoat sits cross-legged by the fallen body of his pupil, waiting silently for an answer from the party as he gazes blankly out into the black lake, lost in thought. >>22113223 (Valor) The last thing you see is the Songbird flapping about the cavern, then your body is suddenly wracked with pain. Your vision blurs and fades, replaced with all-consuming blackness. You feel the world around you turning, deforming and reforming into something other. Your senses leave you, and you know no more. Suddenly, you feel yourself coming to, and a blinding white light assaults your eyes. A high pitched screeching sound rings through your ears for a moment, but the sensation passes. As you take in your surroundings, you find yourself standing in a vast white empty void, tendrils of wispy smoke lapping at your legs. There is nothing in this void, save for a simple marble archway, clean and shiny as if it had only been built yesterday. The white fog all around you seems to emanate from this archway, blocking it up and making it impossible to see through to the other side. Next to it stands a middle-aged white alicorn wearing a simple yet refined blue tunic. His mane is relatively short for an alicorn, only about shoulder length. His eyes are completely black, with tiny little white dots in them as if they held a million stars. The alicorn is remarkably tall, well over twice your size, and seems to radiate a position of authority with his stiff posture and stern glare. He looks at you without saying a word. You also notice that all your possessions are missing. The only thing you possess is a scrappy grey cloth jerkin that flaps about you silently, although you feel no breeze in this place.
>>617077 "As I said just now, I wish to venture for the actual Souls so that we may help the world," I say, "But I am conflicted on whether we should give it to him or not. On the one hand, he may do research and make a discovery, but we do not know how long it will take, if at all, for him to further his knowledge any more than he already knows. On the other hand, it is the soul of his pupil, whom he has emotional ties to."
Tourmaline whispers, "If the Soul is something fake, artificial, we might not want to keep it, I suppose. Look what it did to its creator. But we shouldn't just hand it over like that. I certainly think we deserve a bit of a reward for saving his pupil, after all."
Maali didn't know what to think. this whole situation was odd, and he couldn't help but feel a pang of remorse for the gryphon… He remained quiet, letting the party decide their course of action. >>617079 ''He did gave us those scrolls, he might certainly have something or some information that we could use, maybe even know where we could find a real immortal soul''
"I would say that greed and lust for power had just as much to do with his insanity as any magic he conjured. It's also equally possible that the soul he created IS his sanity. Thus, he lost it and it's now safe for use by others."
He turns to Dreamcoat. "As of right now, we have no idea how to use it anyway. If you promise to help us should we figure out how to utilize it to end this curse, then I see no problem in letting you have it. Of course, the corollary to that is if you don't agree then you can't have it. But, really, do you WANT the kingdom to stay like this?"
"Let's see if we can get him to part with some magical equipment in exchange for the Soul. As loathe as I am to charge for something he's emotionally tied to, those scrolls he gave us were instrumental to our victory."
>>617082 "Does anyone?" he replies softly. "This curse will destroy the land if it is not cured. The buildings will tumble in on themselves, the weeds will overtake what was built over ten thousand years, and Rin will be no more." He turns to you. "We share the same goals, do we not? I swear to assist you in any way I can. If you would but give me the soul, I would be able to learn so many things from it…"
"Given your expertise, I'd say beyond any doubt you can be trusted with this. In fact, I think such research would benefit with the presence of additional Souls, would it not? Why stop with this one? I see a long-term investment here. We bring you more Souls every time we find one. We give them to you for safekeeping and studying."
"Of course, we barely got this one by the skin of our teeth. Those scrolls you gave us were vital to our victory. Have you any other equipment you could give us? If this battle is any indicator, it's that we can actually get these Souls, with a little help. If you supply us with a steady stream of equipment, I'm sure our Soul-gathering skills would be far more effective."
>>617097 "Yes, yes, of course. Let's get this over with," he replies briskly. His voice seems to carry about the white void, echoing all around you, giving the impression it comes from everywhere and nowhere at once. "I've got plenty of you lot to deal with, so make it quick. You're dead, so you get one more question and then you have to move on. Got it?"
>>617096 He blinks and begins to rummage through his satchel. "Not much I can spare on short notice, but these should be of assistance in some way… Hmm…" He eventually pulls out 3 scrolls and passes them to you, along with two smooth oblong stones engraved with strange symbols, one glowing gold and the other blue. "These two scrolls are enchanted with a spell of Catfall, this one will protect you from harm… This rune is a little… experimental, but it should work. Conjures the soul of a lost warrior to help you in combat. They vanish once you're safe. This other one is a teleportation rune. I daresay none of you are particularly magically inclined, so this should be a one-way ticket out of this cavern without having to take a swim. Place it on the ground and stand in the circle it creates, then pick it up once everyone is inside and you should be transported out of here.I'm afraid I can't spare much more than that." >Scroll of Catfall (2): automatic instant; the user recovers instantly from a fall and absorbs almost all damage from doing so. >Scroll of Steelflesh: automatic; the user takes 2 less hits than they normally would for 4 rounds or until helpless. >Summoning Rune: Summon an ally to fight by your side until the end of combat. Cannot fail, but higher rolls will summon better equipped allies. >Teleportation Rune: Transports a group of objects or people out of an area and into another nearby area, chosen at random.
>>617098 The axe flickers slightly with white light as you hold it near the soul, but no other effect is seen. Dreamcoat gazes at the immortal soul as you do so, deep in thought.
>>617099 ''I-I am very magically inclinned mister…I am really good at healing as well…'' he said hoping to impress the unicorn >>617100 he also eagerly waited for what scroll he would be given, looking up at Tourmaline like a child waiting for his mother to give him a cookie
>>617102 "Right where you died, of course. It was made by sorcery, but it's an immortal nonetheless. Now get moving. The Gate won't be open forever, and I doubt you want to stay here until the end of all things. So go on. Chop-chop." He nudges you slightly in the direction of the marble archway, an annoyed expression on his face. He takes a few steps backwards and his body begins to fade, becoming see-through and rapidly vanishing before you get the chance to say anything else to him.
>>617101 He smiles slightly. "Of course you are. But is your magic powerful enough to move you and your friends out of these caves?"
>>617105 "If it's power you seek, using a soul is as simple as crushing it in your hoof," he replies simply.
>>617100 >>617103 >>617104 He smiles widely as he takes the soul, tucking it into his robes. "Thank you," he says. "Sincerely. This is of great personal value to me, and will also be a major stepping stone in breaking the undead curse. You have done well, travelers." He draws his robes around him and takes up his staff. "If there is anything you would have of me, now is the time to say so. I am in your debt. Oh, and one other thing. This is just a potshot, but…" He uses his staff to draw a symbol in the dirt, one that Timber Hoof and Tourmaline both recognize. A V with tapered ends, as if representing a bird. "Does this mean anything to any of you?"
>>617112 The archway makes a rippling noise as you pass through it. Instead of finding yourself on the other side, everything around you turns black. A fierce wind blows all around you, and several visions appear before your eyes, familiar and unfamiliar. A black obelisk, sparking with blue lightning. A blue slime pony, blazing and burning like a torch as the phantom of a Diamond Dog averts its gaze. An iron sarcophagus, wide open for the world to see, the corpse inside clad in scarlet and grey finery, and the symbol of a horseshoe and an eye embroidered on it. A ruined city, and an unknown evil at its heart. Maali the deer, sitting on the stone pillar as he did not long ago. Shoeshine of the Masked Ones, cowering before some unknown fear. An ancient dragon, his wings spread as he looms over the northern mountains. Your own sister, kneeling with her head bowed in a dark stone dungeon, covered in bruises and scars. The visions fade, and you find yourself right where you were before, on the small island in the middle of the black lake. You see the sorcerer Dreamcoat bowing over the body of a black griffon as he converses with the rest of of your friends who are by your side. Your head spins, and you feel faint and disoriented. You see a faint red glow coming from Candy's backpack which Timber Hoof holds, and you feel drawn to it, as if whatever it is were calling to you. Dreamcoat glances over to you. "Welcome back to the land of the living, Mr Valor." >Valor is at 4/4 max HP
>>617110 He frowns as he looks at your hoof. "I can't answer that. I saw the same symbol drawn as part of the ritual Gaspard undertook… Where is this obelisk?"
>>617113 >>617116 "Well, it was worth a try." He purses his lips, touching his chin pensively.
>>617114 >>617117 The current flowing into the lake is strong, but you manage to pull through and swim back to the ravine where you were before, now flooded by the unleashed current of the river. As you swim, you see Candy standing at the top of the ravine, hastily lowering a makeshift rope made of what appear to be thick vines. Accompanying her is the paladin Cashmere. How he got there after being drowned in the lake is a mystery, but nonetheless he helps to lower the rope. "Mr Timber!" Candy calls. "Grab on to this!"
"A place called Lunemark, just north of here. So it was used in a ritual? Some kind of occult or arcane use?" she chews her lip. "Well, that's… unnerving. Please, sir, are you certain you can't tell me what it's for? Do you not know, or is there something more sinister at work here?"
She tilts her head and hits him with her classic 'I'm a little filly please give me everything I want or I'll guilt trip you into hell' look.
>>617123 >>617124 "After going through the gate, I saw several things before coming back," He says, more emotion in his voice than any of you have heard from him since his joining the group, "The last was Ember in dungeon, broken." Rage clear in his voice as he practically spits out the last word, his markings crackling with energy.
"Wait, wait– you had a vision during your resurrection process? That can't be right. How do you know it was prophetic? I've heard of the dying experiencing hallucinations from the outpouring of emotions– couldn't this be a similar phenomenon?"
>>617119 Candy and Cashmere hold the rope steady as you pull yourself up to the edge of the cliff. Candy wipes the sweat off her brow, while Cashmere removes his helmet to reveal his face for the first time. His coat is a yellowy creamy hue, with deep blue eyes and a magnificent golden mane. He sports an impressive handlebar mustache. He looks a bit haggard, his eyes overshadowed by his heavy eyelids, as if he had not slept in a long time. "Where are the others?" Candy asks with concern. "Did they…?"
>>617120 "I… cannot tell," he replies, musing more to himself to clear his mind. "I know that the symbol has some connections to the Faith of Order, but apart from that I know nothing… I will go to this 'Lunemark', then set course for Jevel. I have questions. Questions that need answering." He looks at you. "Thank you for all your help, travelers. Perhaps we will meet again. I am in your debt." With that, he takes one last glance at the body of Gaspard before his horn lights up and his form begins to distort, rippling and fading into nothingness. The only sound now is the distant dripping of water from somewhere in the cavern.
>>617127 You check your map. You are currently in the Durac Hills region, north of Geldra. See >>609665
>>617134 "I saw one thing I know for certain has happened: Maali standing, stranded on that pillar. And if there is even the slightest chance that what I saw was true, I would rather be driven blank than let my sister rot," he says with stony conviction.
>>617131 The only path out is the tunnel you floated in on, where Timber Hoof has left. Your rudimentary raft is gone, presumably having shattered during the fight.
>>617132 She takes the bag and begins to pore through it. "Well, not much is gone, and there's still plenty of food left for the journey back. Well, for you that is. I can't go back now since my mask is gone…" She trails off and looks over the edge of the ravine. "Indeed it has," says Cashmere. His voice is deep and powerful, resonating throughout the cavern. "I take it you managed to slay the foul beast that took my voice. This knight of Aloria hereby commends you. I'm afraid I was weakened by its vile sorceries, and had no choice but to swim to safety, slinking away like a beaten cur. Most shameful of me."
>>617134 >>617136 The current is too strong, and you get swept back into the lake, treading water. You go under for a moment, but you manage to resurface.
>>617133 "Ah, I see. If she's in trouble, you would have to rescue her, wouldn't you?" >>617135 "I don't know, I've just been wandering since I woke up. Did I tell you about myself?" >>617134 I walk to the water's edge, then jump in to follow Tourmaline. [1d10]
>>617134 "Tell me if any of these mean anything to YOU. A black obelisk, sparking with blue lightning. A blue slime pony, blazing and burning like a torch as the phantom of a Diamond Dog averts its gaze. An iron sarcophagus, wide open for the world to see, the corpse inside clad in scarlet and grey finery, and the symbol of a horseshoe and an eye embroidered on it. A ruined city, and an unknown evil at its heart. Maali the deer, sitting on the stone pillar as he did not long ago. Shoeshine of the Masked Ones, cowering before some unknown fear. An ancient dragon, his wings spread as he looms over the northern mountains, and my own sister, kneeling with her head bowed in a dark stone dungeon, covered in bruises and scars."
>>617139 ''There is no shame in running mister Cashmere, the opponet was bigger, more ferocious than you and vastly stronger…I a just glad that we made it out fine.. well except for Valor, but he seems to be fine..''
>>617142 ''Mister Valor, do you know of any memory you have lost? I remember that you lose fragments of your memories upon death…I know we should be worried about Ember, but are you feeling well yourself?''
>>617143 ''well… next time I will try to grow apples or pears…'' he said motioning to his antlers, he looked up to see how big they were now. it has been a while…
he also carefully stands on the ledge of the water, looking at the others swim by ''uh…I do not… know how to…swim…'' he mutters, the embarassment clear in his voice
>>617140 You trip on an underwater rock and fall into the water face first, floundering about for a moment. You don't get very far. >Abenad takes 1 hit
>>617141 Your broken rib, the exhaustion from the battle and the force of the current are all too much for you. You advance a little bit, but the current just spits you back out.
>>617143 You don't see anything that could be used as a raft. The only object in the vicinity that wasn't brought by the party are the remains of the pillar, but it's made of solid stone and would simply sink.
>>617144 "I… I don't know," she says. "They won't take me back, so I'll have to find someplace else to live. Maybe I'll head northwest, see if there's anyone left in Ortague…" Cashmere's ears prick up at the sound of distant splashing from the ravine, and he quickly begins to lower the rope.
>>617149 he was reminded to do his job and heal his friends >Nature elemental: life, on gopal and Abenad
>>617150 he smiles ''Well I hope you do, now please relax for a moment, it would be dangerous if you tried to swim wounded like that, let me help you…'' His body begins to sprout white glowing flowers, a flow of magic soothes Gopal and Abenad's pain
>>617153 He looks down, still glowing with flowers. ''well…I suppose it makes sense, alright mister Gopal, I trust you'' He heads with him in the tunnel
>>617154 He places a hoof in his leg, since he was too small to place it on his shoulder. ''Mister Valor it is fine, if I know one thing about Ember, is that she is amazingly strong. she will be fine, and we will find her. now calm yourself and let us head in the tunnel with Gopal, we will be safe and dry'' he offers him a smile, hoping to encourage the dragon
>>617151 You recover from the impact and swim with all your strength, through the tunnel and into the ravine. As you surface, you see a sturdy rope made of vines dangling down for you to reach, held by who you assume is Cashmere.
>>617152 You get a grip and swim out of the lake, eventually joining Abenad's side.
>>617153 You put your instincts to good use as you dig through the dirt and rock, making a rudimentary tunnel. You eventually make an exit on the side of the cliff you stood near before. Looking down, you can see both Tourmaline and Abenad bobbing about in the water. A rope dangles about to your right.
>>617156 You channel the power of Gaia into your companions. >Gopal is at 4/3 >Abenad is at 6/4
>>617155 "I… I don't know. The Inner Circle of our people are very private, and outsiders like yourselves aren't normally seen among us. I imagine you won't be getting a very warm welcome." She smiles to herself slightly, despite the dire circumstances.
"I know that you are a bright and resourceful pony," Timber says somewhat somberly. "I'm sure that you'll be able to find a good life wherever you go. I see a bit of myself in you: interested in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. Perhaps I'm projecting a bit, but I believe you'll be alright. Still…"
He looks to Cashmere. "If it's no trouble, would you look after her until she finds some place new? Or, at least a part of the way?"
>>617160 Cashmere frowns. "My… My lot is dangerous," he says. "I am on a quest, you see. A pilgrimage of sorts. I'm searching for a holy relic. The Sword of Moonlight, wielded by the legendary paladin Francois. A sacred artifact of the All-In-One, lost to time and legend. All books and maps led to this labyrinthian place, and it must be recovered for the greater good - assuming it exists, that is. I will rest here a spell, then continue on my quest. I cannot falter from my holy purpose," he declares. "But if miss Candy wishes it, I will do my duty to protect her." Candy jumps at this proposal, looking from you to Cashmere, blinking in surprise. She gives no response for the moment.
>>617161 >>617162 >>617164 You pull yourselves up and onto the edge of the cliff, where Candy, Timber Hoof and Cashmere are engaging in conversation. Cashmere looks over to you, giving a friendly wave. "Hail, adventurers! Congratulations on your slaying of the corvid monstrosity."
"I'm really sorry to bother you," Timber says. "But, to my knowledge, holy quests tend to last a long time anyway. I don't think a small detour would hurt anything too much, or even be that unexpected."
"Just don't bother him for too long," Timber says with a kind smile to Candy.
"Which reminds me." she holds up their map. "We must decide our newest mission. We've got the Soul from here. Or at least, a Soul. There could, in theory, be another one further within. But with the matter of Valor's sister being at hoof… well, I suppose we'll have to decide which is more… pressing."
"Well, I'm obviously not going to go out of my way to help with personal matters," Timber comments immediately. "Though, you raise an interesting point. Whoever marked this location couldn't have possibly been referring to this artificial Immortal Soul. That map seemed rather old. And, Gascard wasn't here for that long it seemed."
He looks to Cashmere. "How long have you been in here?"
He gets closer to Tourmaline and whispers so that Candy Claws can't hear. "Also, we're not going back to the Masked One's village. Candy's mask is broken. She's not allowed to return. I can't imagine they'll take that well. Only bad can come from going back there."
>>617167 He brightens up as he sets his eyes on Cashmere. "oh I am so glad you made it out al-…Uh… May I ask… Did you made it out or have you died and returned?" "I would also rather go find Ember. And swiftly. "
She whispers back, "I imagine they wouldn't take her back even if we found a substitute mask, either… what do we do with her? We can't just abandon her after the services she's provided. We need to at least escort her to safety."
>>617170 >>617172 >>617178 "I fell." His face darkens as he recounts his experience. "I sank deeper and deeper into the water. Visions of emptiness haunted my mind, and I almost saw the white light from the mouth of infinity. With all the strength I could muster, however, I swam, carrying my burdens while racing against time. I dragged myself to the surface, and managed to catch my breath. I kept swimming away from the monster. It was too powerful for me. If it hadn't been for miss Candy here, I would have met my demise in those icy waters. I grabbed the rope, and hauled myself up here before passing out from exhaustion. I don't know how long I was out… I thank the All-In-One for giving me the strength to survive. I'd be at the bottom of the lake if it weren't for its divine grace." He places one hoof on his chest in a religious gesture.
>>617171 "I…" Candy shifts on the spot uncomfortably. "I can't. I've already been enough of a burden on you, on Cashmere, on everybody. I need to be by myself, so I don't bring misfortune to any more people. In fact, I should get a head start. Right now." She grabs her backpack with a singular purpose, evidently ready to run off. "It *is* a dangerous mission," adds Cashmere. "I would hate for miss Candy to come to any more harm." He gives Abenad a sideways glance as he says this.
>>617174 He takes the axe, and it lights up like a blazing torch. He shields his eyes as it does so, letting clatter to the stony floor. "I am no expert on enchanted weaponry, but perhaps this weapon is reacting to my holy blessing. It could be drawn to those of noble intent. Knights. Heroes. Noble folk."
>>617176 "Two weeks. Perhaps more. I cannot tell, to be frank. Time seems to move slower at times…"
>>617179 "Hmm, but then we'll never know if we got all of them, since there would probably be some other place we haven't mapped out or discovered. How annoying." >>617180 "Well, that's very fortunate for you," I say, trying to not look at Candy, even as she gets ready to run off.
"I'm really not anyone's boss. You can do what you want. If you want to follow me as far as this quest is concerned, that's fine. But, you're free to choose to do anything else, relating to this quest or otherwise."
>>617184 It looks fairly old. The parchment is crinkled and weathered, and the edges are frayed. Probably about 6 months to a year old, by your reckoning. Maybe older.
>>617185 "I did not mean to offend," Cashmere says hastily. "I could very well be wrong. Still, you'd do best to stick to that axe, and, er, be careful with it. It could prove itself useful some day."
Candy puts on her backpack and gathers her assorted belongings. "I'll take my leave now," she announces to the party in a somewhat cold tone, uncharacteristic of her usual panicky self. "If any of you wish to leave without potentially getting lost, now is the time to say so. Otherwise, I'll be going, and I don't know if we'll meet again or not."
>>617190 "As soon as we leave the caves, I am going to search every library for a hint, and every dungeon for clue. Maybe if I could find a way to strengthen our bond…" saying the last part more to himself than anyone else.
"Less old than I suspected. It's possible that the map was referring to this artificial one. I don't think it's worth trying to figure it out when there are other locations we can at the very least eliminate as possibilities while exploring a much less difficult to traverse area."
>>617197 Nothing happens, except for a slight headache.
>>617192 >>617193 >>617195 >>617196 Cashmere gives you a wave as you leave the Coil along with Candy. "I'm afraid I have nothing to offer for destroying that monster except for my own gratitude. Strength of Raam be with you," he says. The journey back to the surface is long and taxing, but you make it in the end. As you walk, Candy rummages around her backpack and tosses you all some fruit for the road. Tourmaline gets a pear, Gopal gets two mandarins, Abenad gets an orange and Timber and Valor get an apple. She munches on a peach thoughtfully as you move through the Coil, eventually reaching the narrow twisted tunnel that led to the owlbear den. As you exit, you find the body of the mother owlbear lying near the entrance, her throat slit by some knife and a puddle of thick blood around her. The nest containing her three eggs appears to be undisturbed. The moonlight from outside illuminates the small cave, drenching the scene in pale blue light. There is a strong smell of smoke in the air.
>>617202 I squint at the orange. "Curious, it is like a small, soft pumpkin," I say, opening my mouth and biting down on it. "It is sweet! Very enjoyable." I eat the rest of it in two more bites, chewing on it all in my mouth before swallowing it.
As we leave the cave, I gasp as I see the owlbear corpse. "No!" I shout out, and run towards the nest, looking around to see if there was anyone nearby.
>>617207 You don't see anything, but you get a sudden sinking feeling in your gut, followed by a pang of hunger even though you just ate. It passes quickly, however.
>>617203 >>617204 >>617205 Exiting the cave, you see smoke coming from the bottom of the hill you stand on. The thick trees make it difficult to see the source, however. The night is clear, with no clouds in sight; however, it is also silent, with not a single night bird or cricket to be heard. As Candy follows suit, she rears up and sniffs the air with a frown. She pales quickly, and drops her backpack to scamper up one of the trees to get a better view. A gasp of horror from her location suggests whatever she's seen isn't a pretty sight. "Oh God… why… They said they would leave us alone…"
>>617211 You can't see or feel anything else for the moment.
>>617212 You dive into a bush and startle a mean-looking snake. It hisses and lashes out at you with its fangs, tearing into your left Achilles tendon before slithering off into the bushes. >Gopal takes 1 wound
>>617213 >>617214 You manage to lift the dead beast and haul it over your back in a fireman's carry as you join Tourmaline's side.
>>617210 You move through the bushes and overlook the Masked Ones' camp; or at least, what's left of it. The moon is clear in the sky and there are little clouds, the moon illuminating the ugly sight. The entire camp has been destroyed, the tents all torn to pieces. Pillars of smoke rise from the site, and the camp's inhabitants are nowhere to be seen. At the far end of the area are around a dozen caravans painted scarlet and grey, all but one of them moving away from the campsite escorted by figures of varying size clad in uniforms of the same color. Masked Ones clapped in chains are shoved into the caravans roughly, seemingly dazed and stunned, locked away and driven off to places unknown before your eyes. The uniforms are very much familiar to Tourmaline, having been captured by the same faction all those days ago. The Shells of Light have arrived. >pausing!
Taking shelter from the shitposting. >>22287630 (Tourmaline) "Overflow," he grumbles. He seems to have resigned himself to being badgered by you. >>22287633 (Valor) You suppress your urge to strangle him. >>22287708 (Maali) You accidentally snap one of the tent poles in the process. >>22287730 (Abenad) You pitch the tent. It's a flimsy affair, with a plain white ragged canvas with a small hole in its left side. It should be good enough to sleep in, though.
>>618721 You can't find any way to fix it right now.
>>618722 "I guess I don't really have a choice, do I?" He lets out a short laugh, then winces in pain again. "I don't see how I can be of much use, but fine. I'll do what I have to." He lies on his back and looks up at the tent canvas.
>>618723 You fall asleep quickly, your dreams haunted by visions of Ember, and the pale alicorn you saw after death.
>>618724 You won't be able to pitch it with one tent pole missing.
>>618727 >>618728 You find a relatively straight branch to serve as a makeshift tent pole, successfully setting it up. It looks sturdier than the other one, and larger to boot, with room for about three regular sized ponies.
>>618729 He just mumbles a prayer and turns over, closing his eyes and trying to sleep. Before you go to sleep, you fulfil Maali's request for reading a story from the book he found. For a book claiming to chronicle the adventures of Francois the Moonlight Knight, there is very little in the book dedicated to those stories. About 2/3rds of the book seems to have been torn out, replaced with much older, withering pages written in spidery hoofwriting that is difficult to decipher. The stories it tells are quite grim as well, this one telling of the demise of a group of greedy strangers that sought wealth in an ancient mountain. http://pastebin.com/Npdjbg2b
The sun wakes you all the next morning as its rays hit your faces. It looks like the day will be overcast, and far in the distance are puffy grey clouds like great brains. Tomorrow will most likely bring rain. It is about 7am, and you can hear the sound of birds calling in the nearby trees, an odd juxtaposition to the carnage and ruin in what's left of the Masked Ones' camp.
>>618730 Still on his branch, he decides to see if he can't let Ember know he is going to help her. [1d10] using that bond of theirs to SOMEHOW let her know. Because the smallest light shines brightest in the darkest abyss.
>>618733 The rays of sunlight on your face make it difficult to sleep.
>>618734 You groggily make tea for your companions. It looks drinkable enough.
>>618735 You see her in her cell again, slumped against a wall. As you watch, she looks up as if she'd seen something, and mouths your name silently. Then the vision fades, and you find yourself back in the tree.
>>618736 He hums, the quality of his herbs was rather bad after so much he had gone through…
>>618738 >>618737 He nudges Abenad's side "Good day mister Abenad, please drink up, it is a bit bitter bit it will help you wake up…" he gives the deertaur a morning nuzzle before moving to Tourmaline "Good day miss Tourmaline, thank you for the story last night, I couldn't stop thinking about it as I closed my eyes… So great.. Oh and here is your tea, enjoy. "
>>618755 I look at the berries, and instead of thinking of fruit, I think of meat. My mind travels back to when I first awoke in this new land, how my first few days had me wracked with hunger as I wandered the forest where I woke up in, but could never find or return to. I was loud, crashing through the forest like a war machine, scaring everything out of the way. I could only survive on fruits and foliage, then, before I was able to finally sneak up on an unsuspecting rabbit, wrapping my hands around its body, snapping its neck, and biting into it to take the nutrients and meat my body needed in this terrifying, cursed form.
My eyes glance up to where I left the carcass after skinning it, forgetting to butcher it, leaving it for the birds and flies to pick at, becoming nutrients for them, passing on life. I turn my head over to where I left that nameless arbelist's corpse, where a similar process would be underway.
I take some berries, chewing on them thoughtfully and reflecting on necessity.
>>618756 "Well depending on what leaves you use, the taste can vary. And yes, I can borrow you mine if you'd like of course."
>>618757 "very well, but you should remove those bandages… You won't need them… " he says and before his eyes, the stallion could see flowers blooming all over Maali's body, and he felt a stream of life flowing into him >nature elemental. Life on the Shell and himself
>>618760 The deer gives a smile to him as he eats peacefully, enjoying this moment of peace, leaning against Abenad a bit
>>618758 You eventually find it. A huge brown bear, happily feasting on a raspberry vine. It sits on its haunches as it eats, minding its own business. It turns to you as you see it, its ears pricking up. It makes no move to attack you though, watching you curiously.
>>618763 "my companions have been rather rough, and I honestly find it difficult to simply stand and do nothing when I see somepony in pain. I apologize on their behalf. My name is Maali by the way, a pleasure." he kisses his hoof and gently touches the Stallion's lips
Tourmaline stretches out on the grass, letting herself doze for a little while. Her thoughts start to turn towards the imprisoned Masked Ones, but she pushes them away and thinks back to the sands of her homeland.
>>618769 "I would love to guide you in the ancient art of making tea mister Gopal. As for the tower, we should make sure to head there well prepared as well… My shield is starting to feel a bit worn out… Maybe we should get new equipment before we go?"
>>618779 "Hm? No, it's pulled by them. Enchanted suits of armor, you see. They should obey my commands now that I'm in better shape."
>>618780 You kick the innocent bear in the jaw. Its head snaps back and it drops the berries in its paws. It rears up on its back legs and lets out a roar before charging at you on all fours and lunging at you. [1d10]
>>618781 You bring out your inner tailor and adjust the uniform to fit you. You could easily pass as one, especially with the masks they wear to hide your face.
"You indirectly kissed him on the lips and healed the injuries which we gave him. It's a start but it's not going to make him our loyal follower in an instant. He's a great deal of faith in the religion the Shells are peddling. We'll have to do much better to break him."
>>618793 Fortunately, the bear doesn't sever Valor's jugular. Unfortunately, the attack weakens him, leaving him fatigued. >Battling has worn you out, calling for an additional success to get up from helplessness until the end of the current fight
>>618797 "that would be lovely mister Gopal! Do you think it would look good on me?" the deer Said, turning around a few times to show Gopal his body. Now he could see his round curves on his compact form, further accentuated by the way tattoos on his body. Goodness at some points, one could swear Maali was presented to Gopal from the way he was showing himself
"Hmm…" Eyeing the Deer's form carefully, i return to the clothing pile, tossing larger pieces aside, pulling together what i can from the smaller sets. "I see what can do, hoping can find something!" [1d10] Disguise, Shell Soldier, Maali's size
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party continued their trek across the abandoned city of Ortague, constantly being harassed by a sniper in a distant tower. On the suggestion of their companion Starshine, they took an underground tunnel through the sewers of Rin to prevent being shot with crossbows and harpoons. While trudging through the sewers, they found a strange note with a rhyme scrawled on it: "Wake the bear, do not fear. Scurry mouse, into your house. Lift the lid, be glad you did." After an altercation with some slime monsters and a phantom, they emerged from the sewers and out into a square, in the center of which was the sniper's tower. After dashing to the wall of the tower to prevent being shot any more, the party are left to devise a plan as to how to get the sniper out and face him in combat… >Tourmaline is at 4/4 >Maali is at 6/4 >Gopal is at 5/3 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 6/4 >Archie is at 5/4 >Old thread: https://archive.moe/mlp/thread/23911630
>>636596 >>636597 >>636598 >>636599 >>636600 >>636601 As you crouch near the wall of the tower, you hear the clanking and rattling of armor above. After a moment, the hollow, flat voice rings out again. "Leave the city at once, or be branded trespassers and traitors to the crown." Starshine, sensing that a major fight is about to break loose, ducks into an alley and hides behind his greatshield. In his hurry, he drops a golden amulet that is vaguely familiar to Timber, Maali and Tourmaline for some reason. He quickly picks it up again, however, and hurriedly stashes it in his saddlebags before taking cover again.
>>636602 ''H-hey aren't you going to help us here mister Starshine?!'' He asks, glancing at the amulet for a second then back up at him, waiting for an aswer while waiting for the aswer, he walks along with Gopal and the others trying to find a door or gate, always hugging the walls
>>636602 Archie inspects her body to see if the two holes that were punched into her body is still there even after Maali heals her, if she's fully patched up she searches for the nearest party member in need of mending. >Mend: Herself or Team mate [1d10+2]
>>636602 "You know what," Abenad says loudly so that the sniper can hear, "We've already gotten this far in, if we're only trespassers at this point you've got a pretty light definition of the phrase."
"Furthermore, you're a cowardly piece of shit who can't face an enemy head-on like someone with actual integrity, which I think makes you a scared little bitch. So how about you toss your ballista or whatever you're pot-shotting us down, and come down and face us like a respectable equine." [1d10] Intimidation w/ Show Them You Rock, though considering how useless the skill generally is and how much you've been hyping this I shouldn't expect too much from it.
>>636604 Starshine glances up at the tower, then vigorously shakes his head and ducks into a nearby building in search of treasure.
>>636603 >>636604 There is an archway on the opposite side of the wooden tower leading to the inside. A flight of stairs lead up three levels and to the top of the tower where your assailant lies in wait.
>>636606 You heal your injuries, and feel fit to keep fighting for now. >Archie is at 5/5
>>636609 You can't quite recall where you've seen it, but it's definitely familiar.
>>636607 There is no response for a moment. Then you hear a resounding crash that creates a cloud of debris around the city square. Looking around to see what caused it, you see your assailant. A towering hulk of brass armor in humanoid form, holding a poleaxe the length of its body. Its face is a thick glass porthole, protecting a congeries of tiny grinding gears. It hoists the axe over its shoulder and speaks again. "In the name of Endon, Third of his Name, King of Rin, I, Coronus, Executioner of Ortague, sentence you to death." >BOSS FIGHT: Coronus, the Executioner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3CTxI_zbeU
Coronus charges toward Abenad and brings its axe down. [1d10+2]
>>636611 He gasps and backs away in fear for a moment as he sets his gaze on the walking armor ''W-what in the name of Gaia…What are you?!'' He shouts, immediately going to help Abenad '1d10' Natral remedy
>>636611 Archie glares at the creature, charging her three remaining bolts while conjuring up one last bolt. "I will not allow you to harm any of us." >3 of her remaining Homing bolts [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2] >Basic Bolt [1d10]
Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #3 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #4 10 = 10
>>636613 You exploit a gap in the automaton's torso and plunge your knife in. In lieu of blood, billowing black smoke seeps out, twirling around in the air like some sort of serpent before dissipating. Coronus flinches from the attack.
>>636614 Your magic heals Abenad's injuries, bringing him into peak physical condition. >Abenad is at 6/5
>>636615 You take cover behind the tower and out of sight while your companions distract the royal headsman.
>>636617 You grab Coronus' leg. It doesn't even seem to notice you.
>>636618 Your barrage of magical missiles leaves Coronus' carapace riddled with black smoking pockmarks. It visibly recoils from the impact, staggering and briefly falling to one knee.
>>636619 Coronus gives no response as you transform.
Coronus turns to face Archie, pointing at her with his free hand. A spectral black arrow appears over her head, but otherwise nothing else happens.
>>636620 >>636618 ''O-oh wow that was amazing miss Archie! you made it fall to one knee!'' He says before he sets eyes on the crow above her ''What…is that?'' He muses before turning back briefly to Coronus, using the window of opportunity Archie made by making him fall to a knee as he jumped to strike him in it's head twice '1d10' earthen strike '1d10' antlers
She stabs it in the other leg with her straight sword.
Impale: Weapon, Recharge 4; Pins an enemy to the ground with your weapon, making it an easy target for others. On success, all attacks against the target count as Automatic for one turn, but you cannot use Weapon skills next turn since yours is stuck in the target.
>>636627 That absolutely knoks the air out of Maali as he pathetically tries to drag himself away in panic. Blood leaks from the side of his mouth and pool under him, making a little trail as he tries scambling away to get up '1d10'
>>636631 >>636632 >>636633 >>636634 You all deal heavy damage to the headsman, cracking and denting its armor. Smoke continues to pour out from the wounds, creating a thick black mantle around the automaton before vanishing.
Coronus pulls itself back up. It takes its axe in both hands, the gears in its head whirring faster than ever. It speaks again; the voice sounds different, much deeper and slightly distorted. "I am the scales of justice," the automaton intones as it looms over you all. "Heretics and miscreants tremble before me." With this, it swings its axe with terrifying force, hacking at Timber, Abenad and Tourmaline. [1d10] Cleave DC -2
Timber turns to normal again. However, his roots wrapped around his hooves glow as they thicken up and harden. He smashes the glass on Coronous' face again. >Earthen Strike: recharge 1, spell; a melee attack against a single enemy using an earth-covered limb, crits on 8+ and crit fails on 3-
>>636654 His eye twitches a little, he turns to Cororus and shouts ''Hey could you stop that? I'm trying to heal him!'' He says as he almost jumps to attack the machine, but instead opts to help Gopal get up '1d10'
>>636656 The blow left you winded, and you are unable to recover.
>>636657 Coronus blocks one of your attacks with his axe, but the second lands between the plates of its armor.
>>636658 >>636662 You try to pull yourself back up, but Coronus stamps on your left arm. A snap resounds throughout the city square, and searing agony shoots up your left side. >Gopal takes 1 wound >Gopal has a Broken Bone: Bnes, can only stand so much pressure. Your maximum wounds are reduced by 1 until you can get the bone mended by magic or over a few weeks.
>>636659 You are pushed aside by Coronus as you run to help your friend.
>>636660 You pull the lanky equine back up onto her hooves.
>>636661 Your blow leaves a distinct crack on the glass surface.
Coronus staggers towards Timber Hoof and swings its axe. [1d10+2]
Timber's roots harden and glow again as he slams his hoof into the inner workings of the creature's head. >Earthen Strike: recharge 1, spell; a melee attack against a single enemy using an earth-covered limb, crits on 8+ and crit fails on 3-
>>636665 You stab your sword into Coronus' side. Smoke spurts out into your face as you do so, blinding you momentarily.
>>636667 Your magic gives Gopal the strength to get up, healing his lesser injuries. >Gopal is at 5/2
>>636668 You fail to conjure any more homing orbs.
>>636670 Thanks to Maali's magic, you manage to haul yourself up and away from combat. You are almost blinded by the agonizing pain from your broken arm.
>>636669 Your arrow gets stuck the inner workings of Coronus' head, jamming the gears. Coronus drops its axe, twitching and jerking erratically.
>>636671 Your strike connects with such force that it removes Coronus' head from its shoulders. It sails through the air and crashes to the ground at your hooves with a resounding clang.
Coronus pulls itself back up, despite its decapitation. Writhing and convulsing, it charges blindly at Abenad and Timber Hoof with its hands outstretched, thick black smoke pouring out in its wake. [1d10+2] vs Abenad
>>636672 It grabs Abenad and throws him at the tower, shaking the structure's foundations. Abenad falls limply to the floor. >Abenad takes 6 hits, helpless at 0/3
Timber Hoof gets a mechanical fist to the face that sends his head snapping back. >Timber takes 3 hits
After this brief rampage, the construct stands still, teetering on its crippled legs before finally collapsing in a pile of rubble. Smoke pours out and dissipates into the morning air, and an orb of soft white light appears over the empty suit of armor.
>>636673 After the construct falls to the ground, Abenad laughs at it spitefully. "Ahahaha, be a cowardly little piece of slag now!" he says, getting up and kicking it onto its back, before going into the tower and taking a look around for that ballista launcher.
>>636673 >>636672 Maali pants as he watches the doom automaton cripple and fall into rubble ''W-we did it…And everyone is alive…woohoooooaah…'' He stumbles a bit, get a bit dizzy from the blood loss, but shakes his head and rushes back to Abenad >>636669 ''Ah Curses Mister Abenad, stand still for a bit…'' >>636674 ''N-no wait up I have to make sure you are alright!'' He said holding into one of Abenad's legs and trying to pull him back, only to get dragged along >Taking six on natural remedy
>>636677 ''Now we should look for whatever it was protecting. Maybe it can be dangerous or it may be something good for us, but I am not taking any risks, so I'm trying to make sure we are all ready the best I can…Are you injuried yourself mister Timber?''
Instead of healing her own gut wound, she first heads over to Gopal first to heal his broken bones, then heading over to Maali when she's finished with him to also heal any fractured bones he has before she mends herself. >Automatic mending outside combat.
"Only slightly," Timber answers distractedly. "I understand what we must do," he continues on as he looks around with the same confused expression. "But… These cities never make any sense to me. How does one get anywhere?"
>>636680 ''A-are you sure you are completely alright?'' He sutters >>636679 ''Um, miss Archie I don't want to sound like I do not trust that you patched Gopal well but did you made absolute sure that he is okay?'' He fumbles with his hooves nervously >>636681 ''Well I honestly have not had any trouble going around this city, and I barely go into any you know!'' He pats Timber in the shoulder ''So I don't know why you are having trouble understanding this place''
>>636675 >Boss soul acquired! >Core of Coronus, King Endon III's royal executioner. A gift from the Machine City Vathis, Coronus was remade to fight the Alorian invaders during the One Day War. It survived the battle intact, still carrying out its orders to defend the city against any threat. With this victory, you have acquired three powerful souls. You may now use the souls to grant the party a Skill Point, or wait until the party learns Soulcrafting to gain a unique ability.
>>636674 You find a setup at the top of the wooden tower consisting of three large mounted ebony crossbows, along with an enormous harpoon gun. The crossbows could be removed with some elbow grease, but the harpoon gun doesn't seem to be portable. There is also a telescope, from which you can see the entire city.
>>636676 You heal some of Abenad's injuries from the fight. >Abenad is at 6/4
>>636679 Your magic miraculously mends Gopal's broken arm, along with his lesser injuries. >Gopal now has 5 max wounds
"There's our destination, right up there," Timber says in a frustrated tone as he points up to the top of the tower. "We can see it. It's near us. Yet, there's no way to it. And, the path to it will likely be longer than the line to it. It's frustrating and nonsensical. If we were in the forest and we needed to get to the top of the tree, we could simply climb the branches. There is no place you could not get to without traveling a mostly straight line."
>>636683 ''Yes ma'am, I will do just that…O-oh and you did a great job, you don't need to beat yourself over it, honestly…I mean the way you knocked it on it's knees…it was amazing!'' >>636684 ''I will try my best to relieve that for you…I'm sorry that I couldn't help any sooner…Or prevented that in the first place..'' >>636685 Now he goes to help Gopal as well ''Hold still…'' He mutters as his necklace glows brightly >>636686 ''Ooh…that…'' He tilts his head, looking up at the top of the tower ''I honestly try to not bother with it too much, really…Pony constructions confused me a lot and sometimes they still do, now come on, let's keep going, who knows what is waiting for us there, right?'' He walks past Timber, brushing his side against the Stallion's coat
>>636685 Abenad grunts in disappointment as he sees the harpoon gun is mounted on. "Well, this is disappointing," he says, looking around for something better. [1d10+1]Perception for anything of worth.
"That's another thing," Timber says in an annoyed tone. "Doors. They serve little function. I understand their intended use and they are indeed useful, I supposed. But, they are often so cumbersome. And, they are EVERYWHERE in cities."
>>636690 You look through the telescope and take in the view of the city. It all looks the same, however, apart from the castle to the south. There also appears to be some sort of fort near to your location.
>>636696 You climb up the wooden stairs and join Abenad. There is a mounted harpoon here, as well as a large telescope and three ebony crossbows.
After a while, Starshine emerges from the building he took cover in. His eyes nearly pop out of his head when he sees the remains of Coronus, but nonetheless he composes himself and clears his throat. "If you all are interested, I've found some treasure over here in this place. I've already taken my share. Don't know if any of you want some."
>>636697 ''Oh, a little bit of treasure always sounds nice, what have you found, Starshine?..Oh actually nevermind, it would be better if you took us to it instead'' He says as he gives Gopal another bit of healing '1d10'
"I'm more interested in that pendant you dropped earlier," Timber says to Starshine. "For purely intelectual reasons, mind you," he adds quickly. "I saw it and I have since then cannot shake the sense that I've seen it before. Or, something like. It was just so familiar. Tell me, what is it? It will bother me endlessly until I know."
>>636697 Archie turns to look at Starshine. "You were looting while we were fighting for our lives?" She couldn't be angry, he wasn't exactly fully part of the group yet, much like herself. But she couldn't help but give him an annoyed glare.
She simply sighs and follows Tourmaline and Maali.
>>636701 "There's a castle to the south, and some sort of fort closeby," Abenad says, looking over at Nightshine as he comes out. >>636697 "You leather-winged piece of shit!" Abenad shouts at Nightshine, "Let's see what you picked up when you were hiding from a fight! Drop everything on you, or I'll shoot you through the leg!" >Show Them You Rock; Intimidation
>>636699 "…What, this old thing? Found it a while back on some poor blank sod. Figured he wouldn't need it anymore." The pendant itself is made of solid gold, and engraved with the symbol of a shield. The chain is most likely brass.
>>636703 Starshine quails at your tongue-lashing, upending his saddlebags at your command. "I-I-I'm not a fighter! I'd have been no use! I'm just trying to make an honest living! Please don't hurt me sir! I'm afraid! I've always been afraid…" He flaps his wings ineffectively, cowering behind his shield. On the ground in front of you is a shining heap of gold dillies and gems, as well as a crooked dagger and a shiny silver arrowhead.
>>636698 >>636700 >>636702 Whatever he was going to show you is unimportant for the moment, frozen as he is in fear of the infuriated Abenad.
>>636704 Abenad climbs down from the tower, emerging and walking over to Starshine. He takes a look at the dagger and arrowhead, bringing them dangerously close to the batpony's eye. "Why'd you pick these up?" he asks, gripping Starshine's mane by the root, "And show them that pendant they were asking about, don't waste their time!"
>>636704 She then walks over to the trembling stallion, reaching down to caress his head. "It's okay, Abenad won't hurt you. But you need to know that sometimes abandoning others simply to loot something will cause them to lose trust in you… Trust is something you need to have while out here, it's something everybody needs to learn, even in small doses." >Persuade to be less afraid - Compassion. [1d10]
>>636706 "'Poor stallion' isn't a phrase that works, schoolmarm," he says, "If he's tagging along with us, he better be helping, not looting." >>636707 "After Gopal nearly died AGAIN, I'll be violent with anyone who wasn't helping when they could."
>>636709 ''But he said it himself he is not a fighter! I am not a fighter myself either and you saw what that thing did to me! It almost killed me in the moment I tried to attack it! All I could do was stay in the back and make sure you were good to keep going, imagine what would happen to him then? he would probally be dead himself!''
>>636705 He squeaks in pain as you manhandle him. "I-I-I-I can't help it," he gasps as he tries to get away from you. "These… urges… They can overcome me. They're so shiny… I NEED to have them… Please let go…" [1d10]
>>636706 He looks at you and simply nods, trying to regain his composure. "I just want to get out of this place…"
>>636707 You heal yourself again. >Maali is at 6/5
>>636708 It's tantalizingly familiar, right on the tip of your tongue, but it's just not coming to you.
>>636711 The house behind him the house is as dilapidated as you'd expect. Dust and grime cover every conceivable surface, books eaten by silverfish and paintings ruined. There is a staircase leading up, two closed doors to the left and right, and an open door leading down a flight of stairs to what you assume is the basement.
>>636713 "Even if you say that, he didn't show his face again until after the fight was over!" >>636715 Abenad puts the dagger and arrowhead in his velvet coat after Starshine breaks free. "Weakness like that will get you killed," Abenad says, frowning down at Starshine, "At least once."
>>636714 He gives Starshine a pity look and comes closer to whisper ''Don't worry…He is probally upset because he got really hurt during the fight…Or is just on a bad moood..I honestly cannot understand him'' He then pats Starshine on the head and follows Tourmaline >>636711 ''Did you find something?''
>>636721 "That's besides the point, you shouldn't threaten somebody like that for such a childish reason of him not helping us when he was too afraid. Yes I can understand your anger, even I was annoyed to learn that he would rather loot from the ruins than to help us stay alive… but we shouldn't hurt him for that either."
>>636723 "But I DIDN'T hurt him, I only threatened to if he didn't empty his pockets," Abenad says, "You're missing the point." >>636724 "I'm not saying that, either," he says, crossing his arms, now, "It'd be the same as saying we don't have to worry about getting someone to sneak in when we have Gopal."
>>636722 "Sure. It's this way." He beckons for you to follow as he enters the house.
>>636716 >>636717 >>636718 >>636720 >>636722 Starshine leads you into the basement, where he lights a torch to show the way. There is a tunnel at the back, roughly dug into the dirt and rock. It is narrow enough that only one of you could fit at a time, moving in single file. "Whoever lived here must've been loaded," he explains. "This tunnel leads to a big old cavern full of gold." Peering through, you can see that he tells the truth; trinkets, baubles and glittering gold abound through the tunnel, lining the walls of the cavern. "Pretty impressive, right?" he says with a grin. "Go on through. I've… er… I've got your back."
>>636728 His eyes light up ''Oh wow…We could buy a lot of things with this money…Thank you mister Starshine…See, you could have simply chosen to not tell us, but you were kind enough to only take what you thought you would need, thank you'' He gives Starshine a nice warm hug
>>636726 "Well, keep being good at what you're good at." >>636727 "No, I'm not robbing him, I was telling him to empty his pockets so we could see the what he chose while he wasn't helping us. He didn't even say why the dagger and arrowhead were worth taking, clearly it's just a compulsion. If he were an animal, he'd be a magpie." >>636728 Abenad fires a shaft into the darkness, in case there was anyone hiding inside. [1d10+1]
>>636729 >>636732 "Didn't have a good look around, but I think there's a second tunnel down there. Might lead somewhere interesting."
>>636730 He seems a bit taken aback by the hug, and does not reciprocate. "You're… welcome?"
>>636731 Your arrow falls a few feet and lands in a pile of gold. Nothing else seems to happen. "It's a bit of a drop to get down," says Starshine, "but there's a ladder I'll lower so you can get back up. Nothing to fret about, right?"
>>636733 "Might be. I'm sure you're better at spotting magical contraptions than I am."
>>636735 He gives him one more squeeze before letting go ''We have to be careful though…There might be a creature deeper inside…Or maybe a trap, I'm sure the pony who'se this gold belonged to must have set a way to guard it in case this happened…''
"If there IS another tunnel, then it's for a lot more than pointless baubles. It could easily lead to an Immortal Soul. Considering all the treasure in this place, whoever lived here must have been important. Thus, he would be involved in the hiding of important objects."
>>636735 "You'll stay here, right?" Abenad asks, "Will we need to tie you to anything to make sure you don't leave?" >>636736 "There could be more, though," Abenad offers, "We still don't know where the Immortal Soul is. Are they all monsters? Are any of them ponies or other races?" >>636738 "No, but from the way you've been talking to me, I can tell you don't care for me, at least."
>>636740 Her expression softens a bit. "Abenad that's not true, We haven't had enough time for me to fully think that I don't like you. I just simply… don't agree with your aggressive actions is all. Just because we don't agree doesn't mean I don't like you."
>>636736 "I…" He seems confused. "Well, if you insist. Nobody else is going to be needing any of it though. Your loss."
>>636737 "I don't doubt it. This much shiny's often got something nasty watching over it. I didn't see anything though."
>>636738 You can't see any traps, nor an exit tunnel for that matter. It seems that the treasure is all there is.
>>636740 "Why would I leave? You lot are my ticket out of here." To prove the point, he lowers the ladder.
>>636745 You recognize the amulet. The goat you met outside of the village of Lunemark had one on that was almost identical. The prisoner you freed, Crucible of Briom, said that amulet represented his knighthood.
>>636744 "Well I'm aggressive, dammit," he says, "And there's nothing that'll stop it until it stops by itself." >>636746 Abenad grumbles at Starshine, keeping eye contact with him as he slowly climbs down the ladder. "Who else is coming?"
>>636749 You don't find anything except an old spiderweb, which you stumble into. It's long abandoned, but it gets in your face and mane.
>>636747 >>636751 >>636753 You go through the tunnel and down the ladder Starshine provided. There is gold and gems everywhere, a veritable dragon hoard. It appears Starshine was wrong about the exit; the ladder is the only way in or out of this place.
>>636752 "No, I insist." He gestures toward the ladder; then, when he sees you're really not going to go down without him, forcibly pushes you with remarkable strength down the tunnel, off the ledge and into the cavern.
As you turn back, you see Starshine standing at the top of the ladder, effectively blocking the way out. He has a strange wide grin on his face. "Really? Really? I can't believe you fell for it. Especially you." He points at Timber Hoof. "Once was bad enough, but AGAIN? You should know better than to trust a complete stranger by now, friend." His body begins to shimmer bright green, and in an instant he transforms into a very familiar face for Tourmaline, Maali and Timber. The same goat that had led them into traps near the beginning of their adventure, even locking Timber away in a blank-ridden basement. "You lot really are thick, aren't you? I'm sure you have plenty of goods I'll be able to take for myself." His voice has changed, becoming a lot deeper and much more velvety. The bandit pulls the ladder back up and begins to leave through the tunnel. Before he does, though, he turns around. "Oh, one other thing. The Shells of Light send their regards." He cackles and leaves. After a moment, you hear the sound of heavy furniture being dragged, effectively sealing you in and leaving you in complete darkness.
"He tells us to learn. It's not as if he's ever actually trapped us before. I wonder what he thinks he's accomplishing. I suppose he was hired by The Shells to ineffectively waste seconds of our time. Ah well, let's see if there actually is a hidden passage around here. It could lead to something useful."
[1d10] to search through odds and ends for any moving parts that could open a secret passage
"I wonder if he would come back to life inside you or if a new body would form," Timber muses as he searches.
He pauses for a moment and then a new curious smile forms. "We could potentially feed ourselves forever if a new body did form. If we were so inclined to eat meat, anyway. Personally, I think it's still to unhealthy to resort to."
>>636762 "I'll just take the good parts, we can burn the rest and use his bones for decoration," Abenad says pointedly, "I can butcher a cow in two hours, I can't imagine a goat would be much different or more difficult."
>>636764 "Bones aren't good for houses," Abenad says, shaking his head and waving his hand as if the notion were a fly buzzing around his head, "We might be able to make a helmet out of his skull, though. Surprise Gopal with it."
>>636767 "You know what, Tourmaline, I just thought of something that would have been funny a while ago, about that dumb phantom- 'I'd like to put it out of its misery, but that's what we're trying to do in the first place.'"
>>636765 "Curses that goat! I… I should have thought about something being off there… Um… Sorry mister Abenad, I suppose you could have strangled him a little bit there…" he grumbled "Hmn… I think I will try something… Mister Abenad, do you think you could toss me up there?"
>>636769 "Hindsight is pointless, it's more important to think about the future," he replies, his right eye twitching, "And as much as I'd like to throw you into a wall, it might be more prudent to let the one with wings try first." >>636771 Abenad comes up to the furniture and starts whacking at it with his longsword. [1d10+1]Split >>636770 "They'll be too damn tiny, though! If you're making a house, do it out of brick, or mud, or wood, not bones."
>>636767 You light up the cavern again as Timber searches, but it quickly fades.
>>636770 As you pass your hooves across the walls of the cavern, you notice an anomaly in the rock. There are three tiny indentures in the stone, small enough to be able to fit something in. As you examine them closely, you find that they are shaped very distinctly; the first is shaped like a star, the second like a bull's head, and the third like a bat.
>>636771 >>636774 The barricade blocking the tunnel is remarkably heavy. It doesn't even budge. You briefly wonder how he was able to pull such a tremendous load in so short a time.
As you stand about, you catch a snippet of the goat humming and singing as he leaves you in the dark. "It's not unusual to be loved by anyone…"
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party searched for a way to exit their makeshift prison. After some inspection, they discovered a set of three symbols depicting a bull, a star and a bat, with the imprint of a hoof mark on the ground before it. While at first they assumed it was some sort of lock-and-key mechanism, they soon found that standing on the hoof mark made all three glow blue. After some experimentation, they managed to open the door by applying force to the bull indent, magic to the star indent, and blood to the bat indent. Upon this, a secret door revealed itself, giving way to a long and twisted tunnel whose contents remain unknown. Meanwhile, Tourmaline broke through the barricade sealing them in and confronted the turncoat changeling. After unsuccessfully trying to lie his way out of his predicament, the changeling made a run for it, but was intercepted by the party. Now they have demanded he tell them the truth, under pain of death… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 5/4 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 4/5 >Archie is at 5/5 >Old thread: https://archive.moe/mlp/thread/24200770
"Alright, here's the truth," says the changeling. "My name's Clement. Clement of Omos. I came to Rin looking to make a fortune, but the Shells took me for an undead. I was still on the run from them when I met you two the first time around." He gestures at Tourmaline and Maali. "Eventually they caught up to me. I explained myself, and managed to get signed up. Was meant to go around hunting down undead like you, so I followed you for a bit. In disguise, of course. Lost track once you reached the hills and joined up with those basket cases in masks though, but I managed to join up with a Marshal… What was his name again? Waylon? Weyland? Something like that, I forget. "Anyways, this Marshal was just preparing to raid the Masked Ones when I joined him. After the gig, we traveled north for a bit and then he sent me and some others to scout out this city, looking for something or other. Not really sure what. Long story short, the rest of my group got picked off by Coronus, I got away and hid. By complete luck I ran into you lot, took a different face so you wouldn't catch me for the moment. "The plan was to get you all trapped then go and fetch William or whatever his name was to get you on the way to the tower. And… Well, that's what happened."
While she waits for Clement to get finished with his speech, Tourmaline quietly grips the handle of her katana. She gives a wink to Maali and Archie, and draws her hoof across her throat. >Still sitting on Clement's back
>>637913 >>637912 Abenad keeps his arms folded over his broad chest, nodding as he hears Clement's story. "Hmm," he grunts once it's over, "Well, you'll be sorry to hear they're all dead, now, thanks to us, save for one who got away."
>>637917 ''O-oh right…I imagined he was mentioning another tower…I think there might be many others around'' He chuckles as Abenad tickles him with the nudge >>637918 ''It is true Clement…It was a lot of trouble and our friend Gopal almost died because of it'' He looks up at Tourmaline and bows in front of him as he knows what is about to come, muttering something to Clement in his language ''And before we release you…'' He puts a hoof in his forehead [''That the stars look after you in the afterlife'']
>>637918 "Listen, mister… Clement you said? If you cooperate with us and just answer our questions, we'll let you go. You can leave and neither of us will bother one another, you can go back to treasure hunting and we will continue our own business. This way none of this will end in any bloodshed." She speaks calmly in attempts to persuade him. >Persuasion: Compassion [1d10]
>>637921 "Oh, no, he was talking about the other one, never mind," he says with a sigh. "I'd imagine we have to get into another fight with the Shells once they get back here, which is going to be a big hassle."
>>637919 "No way. That's… Well, that's actually pretty impressive. I'd congratulate you if I weren't hung up right now."
>>637920 >>637921 >>637922 He begins to seriously panic once Maali begins to say his prayers. "Nononono wait! Please, don't! I don't want to die… Not here, not now…" He whimpers and struggles again, albeit vainly. "I know I did you wrong, but I take it all back. Please… Just hear me out, will you? I can help. I worked with the Shells, I know more about them than you do. Just spare me and I'll do what I can."
"Make an official report to your superiors that we've gone blank, died fighting some big monster or a large creature with a sword, use your imagination. You can find it in your heart to do that for us, right?"
>>637927 "Tourmaline, please, let me handle this," Abenad says. >>637926 "Alright, vermin, listen up. We won't kill you, but in exchange we want you to tell the Shells that we all died and that there's nothing to worry about. And if we find out we're still wanted by them, or they're still after us, we'll find you and kill you ourselves, understand?" >Show Them You Rock
>>637926 "I keep my promises. But after we part ways, you must promise to never interfere with us again. Even if we cross paths, we want you to make sure you stay away from us. In return, we won't bother you. Does that sound good to you?" >Persuasion [1d10]
>>637929 "Mister Abenad, there's no need for threats any longer. The poor thing is scared senseless as it is."
>>637927 "Or perhaps he could report to them that the creature we faced had injured us gravely in the process of defeating it."
>>637935 "Well I mean dead dead, of course," He says, "Isn't that obvious enough?" >>637937 "That's a good point you've got there. We should just go ahead and kill you then, I guess, no use for you otherwise."
>>637939 "Tourmaline, you're missing the point, or you've at least got it in his ass. You're just not as intimidating as I am most of the time. You can't help it, it just doesn't come naturally to you all the time."
>>637937 "Perfect… Tell us everything you know about the shells, or any possible useful information we can use here in Rin. Points of interest, highly dangerous towns and cities… anything can be useful to us." She keeps her kind and gentle smile and tone, trying to keep him calm even when her allies are threatening his life.
>>637938 "No, I've promised to release him. We're letting him go after he's finished giving us information." She speaks this time with a stern tone.
>>637942 "Come now, really? He's got traitor and liar written all over himself, and he just tried to trap us underground." He puts his hands up and sighs. "Clearly I'm useless here, though, so I might as well scout ahead." With that said, he goes back to the money pit and through the hidden entrance, armed with a crossbow.
"I'm not missing the point, you oaf, the only possible reason I wouldn't be intimidating to a changeling whom I just spent the past 10 minutes beating senseless and can now kill permanently the moment I feel like it is because you, for some ungodly reason, DECIDE FOR OUR PRISONER that I'm not intimidating and stick your hand into what I'm doing. The only possible reason anything I'm doing could not possibly work is that you think you can decide for him what is and isn't intimidating, and stick your nose into my business."
>>637938 "B-but I know other things! Just stay your hoof- er, hand, whatever it is you call those things."
>>637939 He exhales loudly and clutches his chest as you step off him. "Thank you kindly, ma'am."
>>637942 "Well, first off, the Shells of Light have their headquarters in the Tower of Silence, off to the east and over the Broad River. They've occupied most of eastern Rin, but don't have much influence in the west yet. Their main goal at the moment is to take all their prisoners, brainwash them into forgetting about the outside world and give them a brand new life in the city of Lomar. They've completely rebuilt the place from what I've heard. They're calling it the Relocation Program or something like that. "The Shells have outposts at Torngrove, Ringle, Purley, Happy Vale, Night's Horn, Irontown, Geldra, Syro's Mire, and Easthold-By-The-Sea. Their leader is a goat called Joyce, although nobody ever gets to see him. He's a Bishop of Light, I think. He has a council of Advisors that work with him in the Tower, although they never leave, so good luck capturing one of them. From what I've heard, the Shell army is roughly 900 mercenaries strong, with 12 ships blockading the port in Geldra. The hamlet of Lunemark is somehow protected from them, there's a great big monolith that keeps out any living thing that doesn't have the curse. Don't know how long it's been there, but it is what it is. "What else is there…" Clement taps his chin. "Oh, yes. There's a rebel group led by a pony named Doom. Fancies himself king of Rin. No one knows where their headquarters are or how they move about undetected, but the rebels are the biggest threat to Shell control that I know of. They're also running low on money, from what I've heard. The Shells, that is. Joyce is a powerful goat, but he can only hold the fort for so long before Sarnath stops sending him money. "That's about all I know." He shrugs, then winces, looking down at his heavy wounds.
>>637946 "Oh, and the rebels definitely aren't in Lunemark. It's a tiny little hamlet and it wouldn't be able to fit them all. If I had to guess, I'd wager they've got some hidden base in the north somewhere."
>>637943 As you go back down to where the door was, you see that a long, twisted tunnel has opened up, made of smooth light stone. It is lit by orbs of pallid blue light that hover in midair, emitting a faint warmth.
>>637946 "I see… any other points of interest? Maybe dangerous beasts much like that golem we fought earlier?" She wanted to make sure if he had any other information. She also takes a moment to heal his wounds. >Mend [1d10+2]
>>637946 >>637947 "That… Is quite a lot of information… But thank you, I suppose you deserved your freedom and the right to remain alive… May I just ask, what will you plan to do with your life from now on?"
>>637949 You cannot tell how much time passes, and after a while the walls feel like they're closing in around you, smothering you and suffocating you. The air is foul, having circulated this tunnel for decades if not centuries. Eventually you emerge into a large chamber where the air is somewhat fresher, and you no longer feel so light-headed. As you enter, another pale blue orb of light appears to illuminate the scene. The chamber is wide, yet has a low ceiling. There are ten ancient stone statues depicting rearing snakes. At the foot of each statue is a carving depicting a different symbol for each one: a pair of shackles, a mirror, a rose, a hammer, a nail, a pinwheel, a rook, a shield, a tree branch and a wheel. At the far end of the chamber is a great stone archway decorated with the ten-headed serpent of Rin (pic related), beyond which is an old wooden ladder leading up to an iron trapdoor. In the center of the room is a stone receptacle shaped like an enormous goblet, although it appears empty. Its rim is decorated with the same symbols.
>>637950 You fail to heal his wounds with your magic. "Well, I don't know if it helps any, but up in the Serpentine Keep - that's the castle where the king sat - I heard they captured a live dragon, and kept it in the dungeons after it tried to burn down Ortague. That was years and years ago, though, well before the curse took hold. Dragon's probably dead now. What else is there… Oh yes, up north there's a place called the Dreaming Spring. I heard that if you drink water from there while thinking of someone, you'll be able to see them in your dreams next time you sleep. Don't know the truth of it though, I've never been there. "I know for a fact there's some sort of witch up on Mount Venn though. She roams the place at night, and sends her children out to hunt too. She has control over the whole north-west, up to the river delta where the city of Jevel is. Strange place. Looks clean and fresh as the day it was built, but no one lives there anymore. Mages like you used to study there, you know. "That's about all I can think of right now. Might be worth a look-see, might not."
>forgot to reply >>637951 "Well, I suppose I'll be heading back home. I'm not serving the Shells anymore, and this place is far too dangerous if you ask me. Much rather go back to Omos. At least it's somewhat safe there."
>>637952 Abenad grumbles as he finally reaches the chamber, getting down on his knees and scanning the room, the statues, the receptacle, and the iron door on the ceiling, cupping his hands around his eyes to see better. [1d10+1] Rolling observation and perception
>>637957 The soul you acquired was not an Immortal Soul. It lacked the energy and size the Songbird's soul had. Clement gets up and stretches his legs, putting on his saddlebag and slinging his shield and spear over his back. "So… Is that all, then? Can I…?"
>>637960 Abenad reclines on his side, resting his head on his fist as he waits for the party to come by, passing the time by flipping copper dillies and calling heads or tails. >1= heads, 2= tails [1d2] Tails [1d2] Tails [1d2] Heads [1d2] Tails [1d2] Heads [1d2] Tails
Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 2 = 2 / Roll #4 1 = 1 / Roll #5 2 = 2 / Roll #6 1 = 1
>>637960 >>637961 >>637962 He nods "To the passage, then Serpentine keep, I understood…" he says a tad gloomy "An army of hundreds… A relocation program… This is a lot to take in. I think I might have trouble sleeping Tonight thinking of all these things"
>>637961 >>637962 "Righty-o. Don't take this the wrong way, but I really hope I don't meet you lot again." With that, he flashes green and transforms into a teal mustached pegasus before walking out of the house and flying off somewhat lopsidedly.
>>637961 >>637962 >>637964 You adjourn to the tunnel, following it through until you arrive at the large chamber described in >>637952. Abenad is sitting there, passing the time flipping coins as you arrive.
>>637965 >>637964 >>637962 >>637961 Abenad gives everyone a wave. "Archie, head on up to that door and see if you can open it," he says, pointing to the trap door on the ceiling, uninterested in the statues and things in the chamber.
>>637965 >>637952 >>637963 "Oh my, another puzzle? Mister Abenad have you found anything about it?" he asks while taking a good look at the goblet and the symbols, putting his little deer mind to work "Hmn…"
>>637969 "Doesn't seem like a puzzle to me," He says, "But that goblet in the middle probably needs to be filled with blood or something. Seems appropriate in this setting, you know?" >>637968 "Archie, how good are you at massive bleeding wounds?"
>>637969 You recognize the symbols as being part of the religion of Rin. The assorted sigils represent the different aspects of God, while the serpents represent God itself. It is purely a ceremonial adornment, as evidenced by Archie and Tourmaline.
>>637967 >>637968 The ancient trapdoor moves aside easily as you climb up, warm sunlight and fresh air eagerly rushing in. You find yourselves standing in an overgrown intersection, grass twisting and curling up to your necks and vines covering the stone walls. To the left is a long, twisted alley culminating in a rusted gate leading to a crumbling yet intact stone building of unknown purpose. To the right is a street that appears to have been some sort of market district, with several shops with once-colorful banners hanging from them; you can identify shops that sold writing supplies, alchemical potions and reagents, clothes and groceries, among others. In front of you is another alley, this one blocked off by years of rubble from the surrounding buildings. You are not alone in this place; as you take in your surroundings, the thunder of hooves reveals two blank ponies charging towards you; however, these are not like the Ortague soldiers you've seen throughout the city. They are clad in a tattered black and white robe over steel plate armor, decorated with snakelike embroidery. On their heads rest a rusted helmet with an equally rusted chainmail veil. They wield longswords, as well as holding strange talismans made of cloth. These are the war priests from the holy city of Aloria, who invaded Ortague in the last battle in Rin's history. The first war priest passes its talisman over its sword, making it glow faintly, then swings it overhead at Tourmaline. [1d10] Blast
The second raises its talisman, emitting a pulse of energy. [1d10] Wrath
Archie glares at the Blank that just struck Tourmaline, preparing to step in front of her and protect her as she gets up to fight. >Homing Bolts on Blast Blank [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2] >2 Homing Bolts on Wrath Blank [1d10+2] [1d10+2] >Final Basic Bolt on Wrath Blank [1d10]
Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #3 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #4 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #5 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #6 8 = 8
>>637970 "Erm.. Are you certain? Perhaps the goblet might need to be filled with the things in those markings maybe?" >>637972 >>637973 Before he could keep trying to figure out the puzzle, his attention was drawn to the blanks attacking his comrades, rushing to help Tourmaline who seemed to be in quite a pickle '1d10' natural remedy
>>637974 Both blanks fall before your barrage of magic like wheat to a scythe, although one of your shots goes wide. They collapse to the stone floor in a heap of clanking armor, black scorch marks peppering their bodies. In the distance, you see the faint outline of a white alicorn watching you from behind the rusted gate. He pauses for a moment, meeting your gaze, then walks away, vanishing behind the building.
>>637976 >>637975 You quickly clamber up the ladder to help Tourmaline, pausing briefly to take in your surroundings. You are in the middle of an intersection in the city, with a rusted gate leading to a building on your left, a market street on your right, and a blocked off alleyway in front of you. Maali's magic rapidly closes Tourmaline's injury. >Tourmaline is at 7/5 again
>>637977 You miss your swing, but both of them fall from Archie's magic attacks all the same.
>>637985 "Should I have?" He asks, "I thought it was a sacrificial chalice or something." After thinking about it, he carefully climbs back down the ladder and deposits 1 copper, gold, and silver dilly each into the chalice before going back up.
>>637986 The coins clatter around the stone bowl as you drop them in. Perhaps the gods will smile on you for your donation. Or perhaps not.
>>637988 >>637989 With some difficulty, Archie manages to give Tourmaline a lift over the rubble blockage and into the alley. It is crumbling and overrun by weeds. A few blank civilians scatter and shuffle away as you approach. Ruined houses can be seen along the paths, and the remains of a smithy are on your immediate right. A sign nearby identifies it as having been simply named O'Headey's Smithing and Repairs. The ground is uneven here, sloping upwards slightly along with the terrain. At the very end, you can see that there is a very long, snaking path leading up to a stone bridge, beyond which is the Serpentine Keep. The Keep itself is enormous, a hulking jet-black complex of narrow spires sprawling from left to right. It appears to be built on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the rest of the city.
>>637990 Archie carries Tourmaline over the pile of rubble, where you cannot follow without considerable effort.
>>638002 "Wow, what a rich, detailed description of the building and its history in the context of the city," Abenad snarks, "You must be reaching your daily allotment of words by now, I'll give you some time and maybe they'll be back up to a normal capacity." He slows down, letting Tourmaline take the front and him bringing up the rear, with Archie in between.
>>637997 >>637998 >>637999 You keep moving past the alley and in the direction of the Serpentine Keep, past houses, barracks, shops and many other buildings besides. You note that the entire city is very similarly built; all the buildings are made of the same dull stone and of similar shapes, making the city appear like an enormous maze. Time passes. The sun moves slowly across the cloudy sky above. It is early afternoon by the time you reach the bridge leading to the Serpentine Keep. More snake statues adorn the entrance, and tattered flags with the ten-headed serpent banner flutter in the breeze. Across the bridge is a thick black stone wall protecting the castle. More importantly, however, there are three blank Ortague crossbow on the bridge still following their final orders. As you approach and take in the sight, the crossbowmen begin to fire on you. [1d10] vs Abenad [1d10] vs Archie [1d10] vs Tourmaline
>>638005 "Then give me a preface or a full sentence, at least," Abenad complains, "If you're not skilled in the language, at least tell me that so I'm not forcing you to speak in something you can't say." >>638004 "Yeah, mostly just disappointment and being cranky at being the most talkative person in the group." >>638007 Abenad looks down at the arrow in his chest and sighs. "More of this?" He asks, aiming the crossbow and firing back at the crossbowhorses. [1d10] Marskman Shot+Split @ 1 & 2
"Were you born with some kind of horrific defect which compels you to be as asinine and picky and annoying about everything as physically possible? No shit it's the fucking castle, there's nothing more for me to say about the stupid place you unlikable, antagonistic, needy, attention-whoring freak twat! I'll write a fucking essay on every damn brick in the whole fucking building if it will get you to take that bitchy tone of yours and shove it up your ass!"
>>638008 With a wave of your locket, you conjure 5 magical blue orbs above your head, ready to fire.
>>638009 You shoot both the crossbowmen in the chest and gut, respectively. They recoil from the blow, but are not downed.
>>638011 >>638012 The third crossbowman bodyblocks you, hitting you in the face with the butt of his crossbow and stunning you momentarily.
Suddenly, you hear the flapping of great wings, and a star-rattling roar resounds throughout the city. A gigantic glittering gold dragon soars out of the sky and perches on the far end of the bridge. Its wicked thorny hide encases it like the thickest of armors, and it stares at the lot of you with beady burning eyes. It spreads its leathery wings and roars, breathing a gout of golden sparkling flame down the center of the bridge. The licking tongues of fire consume the crossbowmen, scorching Tourmaline as she runs off the bridge. >Tourmaline is at 0/3, helpless >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party continued to interrogate the Shell agent known as Clement, who revealed several points of information regarding the group: they had little power in the west, they were attempting to control the city of Lomar by brainwashing their captives and giving them new lives there, their army is nine hundred strong, and the only bastions of safety in eastern Rin are the tiny hamlet of Lunemark and the Shrine of Order, where the Disciples live. In addition, there is a group of undead rebels led by one called Doom, but their location is unknown. Clement went on to give some information about certain locations of interest in Rin; he spoke of a dragon held captive in the central castle of Ortague, a place called the Dreaming Spring where the water supposedly granted dream-visions of whoever you think of, a witch living at the top of Mount Venn holding dominion over north-western Rin, and the magic city of Jevel, which stands as perfect as the day it was made. Upon divulging all this, the party freed Clement as he vowed to leave Rin and return home to Sarnath. After dealing with Clement, the party investigated a hidden passageway they had previously opened, passing through some sort of ceremonial chamber and exiting back out into the streets of Ortague. After dispatching of two blank Alorian saint-soldiers (and Archie spotting a white alicorn watching her), they ventured forth and arrived at a great bridge leading to the Serpentine Keep, guarded by a small group of crossbowmen. When Tourmaline charged to fight them, however, an enormous golden dragon swooped down and incinerated them, heavily injuring her in the process… >Tourmaline is at 0/3 >Maali is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 5/4 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 4/5 >Archie is at 5/5
>>640241 >>640243 >>640249 >>640255 The golden dragon bears down on all of you, its titanic wings spread wide across the great stone bridge. It is colossal, the size of a small building, sprawling its four legs over the blackened stone. The thick, thorny spines covering its body are like spears, and its bared teeth daggers. Its beady eyes, half-hidden under folds of scaly skin, have no pupils, instead shimmering gold like great gems. It meets your gaze, and with another earthmoving roar unleashes a tongue of flame across the charred stone bridge. [1d10] Autocrit
>>640257 Archie attempts to dodge out of the way as she fires her homing bolts in attempts to grab the attention of the dragon so Tourmaline has a better chance at getting up. >Flying up to dodge. [1d10+1] >Homing Bolts [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2]
Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #4 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #5 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #6 5 + 2 = 7
>>640263 You manage to leap out of the way, doing a quick forward roll and protecting yourself with a nearby pile of rubble.
>>640258 You go to stand up, but in the process catch another blast of flame to the face, scorching your body even further. >Tourmaline takes 1 wound
>>640269 You dodge the blast of flame as you fly up, unleashing a barrage of arcane missiles that leave blackened pockmarks all over the dragon's chest. It roars again and cranes its mighty neck to face you.
>>640270 You manage to cure some of Tourmaline's burns, giving her the strength to stand and fight. You, however, are quickly consumed by the dragon's flame, although you manage to escape the worst of it. >Tourmaline is at 7/3 >Maali takes 5 hits
The dragon sends a fireball hurtling in Archie's direction. [1d10+2]
>>640273 You dodge the worst of the damage, although your wings get burned somewhat. >Archie takes 2 hits
>>640275 You begin to heal your wounds via the magic of Gaia. >Maali is at 3/5 >Tourmaline is at 7/4
>>640276 Your arrow embeds itself in one of the dragon's thick scales. It doesn't seem to notice, however.
The dragon apparently loses interest in you all for now. With a flap of its tremendous wings, it takes to the air, letting out another roar before beginning to fly around the city at will, leaving you be for the time being. The path ahead of you is clear for now, although there is another obstacle. The western gate of the Serpentine Keep is sealed shut, presumably reinforced from the other side. There is, however, a large wooden siege ladder on the side of the castle wall, presumably a remnant of the siege sixteen years ago. It looks very old, and some of the rungs have rotted and broken. Climbing it would require extra care not to fall. Alternatively, there is sure to be another way into the castle somewhere in the surrounding area, although if there is it is quite well hidden.
>>640277 "I'm not sure if we should try out that ladder," Abenad says, rubbing his chin, "Whoever's in the keep might think we were invading… but it's probably the easiest immediate way in, and it's right in front of us." >>640273 "Archie, are you alright?"
>>640277 Maali pants as his hooves shake a little, he was completely paralyzed, the flowers around his body that once were healing both him and Tourmaline, flicker and fall out like lifeless flowers. His eyes were wide and his pupil trembling, his mouth hung slightly open as his fur was blackened and slightly scorched He wasn't moving…
>>640279 Pleased that Archie had the initiative to fly over without being asked to, he shouts back at her, "What's inside?" >>640280 Abenad starts to follow her before going back over to Maali. >>640281 After looking down at you in contemplation, he picks you up and slings you over his shoulder.
>>640280 Some of the rungs crumble and give way under your weight as you try to move up, and you end up stumbling back down to the bottom again. Abenad catches you as you do so, however, preventing you from being injure.d
>>640279 You fly up and over the battlements. You notice that for having suffered a siege, the castle is in surprisingly good condition. The dark stone it is made of is etched with snakelike decorations, and banners depicting the ten-headed serpent still sway in the breeze somewhat, although they have lost much of their color. Snakes in general are a recurring motif in the architecture, right down to the snarling viperine gargoyles decorating the walls. The gate is blocked from the other side by two thick wooden bars, preventing it from being opened. They look exceedingly heavy, and if they are to be moved will most likely require more than one person.
>>640286 Setting Tourmaline down, Abenad shouts back up at Archie. >>640280 >>640279 "Since no one's shooting you, it seems to be safe inside," he shouts, before looking down at Tourmaline. "I'm thinking she could lift you up in there, then Maali, and I could try the ladder again, or you all could try to open it up from the inside."
>>640286 >>640282 "There's two large wooden bars blocking the door, I won't be able to open it myself…"
>>640287 Archie flies back down, looking at Tourmaline and Maali. "We might be able to get the door open if Abenad can't climb up by the time I fly you two up." She then prepares to carry whoever climbs up on her first. "One at a time please, these old bones can't take the weight of two." >Rolling for carrying if needed. [1d10]
>>640289 Despite your age, you manage to carry Tourmaline and Maali over the battlements and onto the grassy ground inside.
>>640290 You manage to climb the ladder easily enough. It gives way as you reach the top, however. You will need to find another way out if you return the way you came.
From your position, you can see that the castle consists of five main towers: three ahead, on the other side of the castle, and two to your right. One of the towers ahead appears to have been destroyed, yet it is still in one piece. Immediately ahead of you is what appears to be a set of dog kennels, while further along is an armory standing in an overgrown courtyard. Across from the armory is a smithy, and beyond is one of the aforementioned towers, the largest of the five. It is connected to a fortified yet opulent building, more elaborately designed than any of the other surrounding buildings. It has a spire jutting out of the top, with a great black stone serpent coiled around it. In the distance, you see the gold dragon belch another gout of fire down on some buildings, reducing them to rubble in seconds.
>>640298 "It would probably be smart to find a way to move those bars. If we need a quick escape out of here, then we'll need to find a doorway out." She says, watching the dragon as she attempts to create bolts of homing magic. >Homing Magic [1d10+2]
>>640299 The smithy is in shambles. Half-formed bits of iron and steel litter the ground as you enter, some vaguely formed into weaponlike forms. The forge's flame has long gone out, and is now home to a large group of spiders that scuttle away as you approach them. There are blueprints and scrolls littered all over the place, and a blank earth pony, presumably the blacksmith himself, watches you silently from the corner. You don't find a ballista in this place, but you do find the blueprints to construct a catapult, as well as a map of the castle.
>>640300 You conjure two magical orbs above your head that begin to follow you around.
>>640301 >>640303 The armory is a large rectangular building, made of solid stone. It stands tall amongst the others in the castle. Inside are several mannequins displaying suits of armor of varying qualities. Most are chainmail, but there are some of leather and plate too. Many of them are heraldic, displaying colors of the many feudal houses of Rin. There are shelves upon shelves of weapons too. Morning stars, zweihanders, spears, daggers and longaxes are but a few of the variety found in this place. On a wooden table in the corner, you see an old dusty cloak, seemingly made of some creature's pelt. It is made of short black fur with white stripes, and seems to shimmer somewhat in the dim light. It is remarkably smooth and velvety to the touch.
>>640308 "Mm, I like what I see here," Abenad says, looking around at the various weapons. He goes over to the cloak, picking it up and snapping it to get the dust out, then looks around the room to see if there was anything else of notice or intrigue. [1d10+1]
>>640308 Archie follows Tourmaline to the smithy before looking around. "Aha, a map." She walks over to the map, studying it a bit. "Hmmm… Maybe we should inspect the Royal Hall and Viper's Chair… Might find something interesting in there."
>>640304 "No it was… The fire of the Dragon… It burned me… And I felt like it struck me in my very soul…" he shivers >>640308 Maali picks up the cloak, examining it, and looks for some valuables as well" >>640309 "Please… Don't…"
>>640310 The cloud of dust from the cloak gets in your eyes and nose, preventing you from being able to see anything else worth seeing. You suddenly hear someone clearing their throat behind you. "Hem, hem." Turning around, you find yourself confronted by a straight-backed old earth pony with a long beard, dressed in a long-sleeved robe, half-moon glasses and a circular tasseled hat. His coat, mane, clothes and eyes are all a dull, lifeless grey. You notice that he is translucent, and floats above the ground slightly instead of walking. "Greetings, Lord Shaper," says the apparition. His voice reverberates and echoes slightly. "I am Touchstone, Chamberlain of the Serpentine Keep by grace of His Majesty King Alton. I trust your journey was a safe one?"
>>640313 Abenad gets to the cloak before you do, and as he does so finds himself face to face with an apparition. In one corner, you spot a suit of heraldic plate mail armor intended for young colts to wear. It looks like it would fit you quite well.
>>640312 You find that the south gate is in ruins, having been broken open by the Alorian saint-soldiers that sieged the city long ago. You spot three of them still remaining, shuffling about the courtyard. They do not seem to have noticed you yet.
>>640316 Rubbing his watery eyes, Abenad grunts in confusion at first, before blinking several times to clear his vision. Of course he wasn't Lord Shaper, but he might as well go with it. "Greetings, Touchstone," he says, bowing politely, "I would have liked it more if it had been safer, but as you can see I've made it back alive." After standing up, he cranes his neck around to look for anything else that might catch his interest. [1d10+1]
>>640317 The bars are simply too heavy for you to lift on your own, despite your considerable strength.
>>640320 The Great Hall's doors have been violently destroyed in the siege, yet the rest of the building stands tall. Inside it is a wondrous sight, despite its blemishes; huge stained glass windows depicting snakes and alicorns cast colored light on the red carpet and varnished wooden floor. A long mahogany table sits in the hall's center, shaped like a map of Rin and sporting markers at the major cities. Behind this is a set of stone stairs leading to the Viper's Chair, a huge, exquisitely decorated throne made of ebony, snakes intricately carved into its wooden textures. A great carving of the ten-headed serpent rests on its back, the heads looking down at the rest of the hall. The hall seems completely empty. There is no food on the table, and the throne and table are gathering dust. There are little signs that anyone ever inhabited this place.
>>640318 There doesn't seem to be anything else of notable worth here. "Of course, milord," says Touchstone. "We are, as you know, working very hard to quell the Stormenders. Our scouts report they've been much more active around the Broad River region, which leads us to believe they are amassing their forces somewhere in Red Valley." Touchstone clears his throat again. "King Alton is currently in the Great Hall discussing a battle plan with Prince Lune." He gestures towards the large, opulent building you saw before. "Accommodations for your entourage have been made in the adjacent tower. If I can be of any further assistance, I shall be doing my daily rounds. Now, is there anything else I may assist you with?"
>>640321 You find that it fits you quite well and would provide a decent amount of protection, although it will take a while to get used to moving in armor.
>>640328 "Yes, in fact, I've been looking around the armory just now, and I'm just absolutely astounded at the vast array of weaponry we have here- and I don't know what all we have. Would you procure for me the inventory?" >>640327 Abenad clicks his tongue at Maali. "Would you please let Tourmaline know there are sleeping quarters in the tower?"
>>640329 "Of course, Lord Shaper. I will send for it at once." Touchstone bows and exits the armory.
>>640330 You find Tourmaline in the Great Hall, an intimidatingly large building decorated with snake motifs and boasting a varnished table shaped like a map of Rin. She is currently sitting on the large ebony throne at the far end of the hall.
>>640331 You find the Viper's Chair to be surprisingly comfortable. You can't help but feel a little powerful sitting in the throne of ancient kings. Your right hoof begins to tingle. Looking down at it, you see the V-shaped mark on it begin to glow faintly.
>>640332 >>640331 "Miss Tourmaline!" he calls out "Me and mister Abenad have found sleeping quarters in this place…How goes your findings? Oh and I also found armor… Do I look valiant like a knight?" he says shifting a bit "It still feels a little odd wearing clothes and armor like you ponies do though…"
"It's not like an article of clothing you can just throw on because it 'looks' like it might fit you. Try running and fighting for hours on end in something that wasn't designed for your weight and figure, then you'll see what I mean."
>>640334 >>640335 You have a little trouble carrying all the gear, but you make do for now. Your movements will be slowed slightly because of your load. Touchstone returns carrying a scroll, which he promptly unfurls. It reaches down to the ground and then some. He adjusts his half-moon glasses and clears his throat. "Hem hem. 'Henceforth follows the arsenal of the Serpentine Keep as of Drothen's Day of Longing, 7 004: 100 longswords and arming swords, 20 claymores, zweihanders and other greatswords, 75 bows with 500 arrows, 40 crossbows with 200 bolts, 80 spears, 50 falchions, 35 morning stars and maces, 90 halberds…" He drones on like this for a good ten minutes or so, rattling off statistics ad nauseam. "…three catapults and five ballistae." He clears his throat again. "Is there anything else I may help you with, my lord?"
>>640333 You look absolutely majestic. You notice your amulet is glowing slightly.
>>640339 Considering the weight of everything, Abenad lays out his inventory, finally deciding to keep everything he came in with, along with two spears, the extra two daggers, and extra bolts for the crossbows.
He then gives Gopal five zweihänders, longswords, crossbows, spears, falchions, morning stars, halberds, a catapult, and a ballista to hold on to until they meet another merchant.
>>640342 >addendum "No thank you, Touchstone, you've been more than enough help already," Abenad says, bowing to the apparition once more before heading to the hall where Tourmaline and Maali were. >and of course he doesn't take all that and give it to Gopal, it doesn't work that way
>>640343 "I will be inspecting the courtyard if you need any further assistance, Lord Shaper. The Tower of Truth's foundations are becoming unstable…" He bows again and leaves the armory, except this time he fades away and vanishes. You join Tourmaline and Maali in the Great Hall. Tourmaline appears to be sitting on the old king's throne. You notice that both her right hoof and Maali's necklace are glowing faintly.
>>640344 ["Mother?… Are you trying to talk to me?"] He says in his tribe's language to the necklace >>640345 Maali nods "Yes, resting right now would be grand… I am just wondering what is going on with my Eldunari and Tourmaline's hoof…"